USB powerbank powered sounder

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USB powerbank powered sounder

Postby Lapse » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:21 pm

Hi,
Just wanted to share how I have rigged power on my Garmin Striker 4+:

Old school kayak sounders have run off the heavy 12V SLA batteries. At some point, the blue lipo battery packs were fairly common. Recently, the FPV-power batteries have become available - which look awesome, and are probably the low hassle way of doing things.

However, in my ebay musings a few weeks ago I came across a USB 5v to 12V converter which allows us to power our sounder from a standard usb power bank. Benefits of using the usb power bank are:
  • It appears to work! The sounder/GPS works as expected. (however, some difficulty in keeping a depth read in less than 1.5m - which is probably attributed to the wet mount made for a lowrance that I couldn't be arsed adapting for the garmin)
  • Plenty of cheap, high capacity USB powerbanks available that offer good capacity to weight ratios
  • USB power banks are easily and quickly recharged, with many equipped with quickcharge technologies.
  • USB power banks are also easily be recharged through solar or car chargers.
  • USB power banks are really versatile! You will use them for purposes outside of kayak fishing.

I have an Anker 10050+ in a Plano 1450 waterproof box with a cable gland. The converter comes with a 5mm male DC plug - This could be cut, and the ends joined direct to the sounder cable, but because this was a bit of a prototype I left it intact and instead picked up a female DC plug from Jaycar. The effect is a bit of a mess in my cable box.

Image

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Now the draw backs are:
  • First, a 10050mAH USB power bank is 10,050 mAH at 3.7V = 37Wh. This means that excluding losses the capacity at 12V is about 3Ah - Still plenty of juice for a days fishing. Further, if you are looking at cost per Wh, it is only a little more expensive than SLA - it is possibly to get reasonable reputable brand (e.g. Anker, Xiaomi) 37Wh powerbanks for the $25-50 mark - and getting cheaper.
    However, losses would be present: in the power bank the voltage is increased from 3.7V to 5V, and then in the adaptor, it is increased from 5V to 12V. I have not measured these losses, but given the adapter was purchased for $10 off ebay, they are probably significant. When purchasing your powerbank, it is worth googling the efficiency of it.
  • Next, there is some noise introduced. Checking on the oscilloscope at work, there is a bit of noise in the output signal. However, this does not appear to affect the signal on the Garmin sounder/GPS unit that I am using. However, the garmin unit has seperate power and transducer cables, so your mileage may vary
  • finally, you do need to waterproof your battery pack yourself. There are also water resistant usb powerbanks which may mean you can get away with the sistema clip container.

Anyway, hopefully this is helpful for someone!

No affiliation with any brands, sellers or companies included in the post. You could probably find the bits cheaper/easier/sexier/quicker if you go looking, but Im happy with what I have!
Lapse
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Re: USB powerbank powered sounder

Postby slim » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:01 am

What an awesome post mate, thanks for sharing
Kayaks are Pandoras Braclets for men.
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Re: USB powerbank powered sounder

Postby Bassifier » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:54 am

I have one of these sitting around - I wonder if I could make it work for my Lowrance Elite 9Ti.
http://medistrom.com/products-pilot24plus.html
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Re: USB powerbank powered sounder

Postby Lapse » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:41 pm

Bassifier wrote:I have one of these sitting around - I wonder if I could make it work for my Lowrance Elite 9Ti.
http://medistrom.com/products-pilot24plus.html

Hiya,
Short answer is not using this method, but I will answer with reference to a more general question:

There are a few limitations to this method, particularly for the higher draw sounders:

First, your sounder draws approx 12Watts.

The main reason it will not power your sounder is that the step up converter is only 'rated' to a maximum output current of 750mA, which at 12V equals 9W. It even recommends a max of 500mA = 6W. You may be able to find converters that can handle a higher currents though. (As an aside, I haven't tested the converter at higher load, so with cheap stuff off ebay, who knows what could happen?)
I say 'rated' because I am pretty sure that there isn't any kind of standard governing cheap ebay electronics

The other general consideration is the maximum output of the USB socket. USB1.0 and USB2.0 have a max output of 500mA at 5V, USB3.0 has a nominally a max output of 1500mA, but many devices will output 2400mA. This gives the maximum power rating of a USB2.0 port at 2.5W. For USB3.0 ports you need to look at the manufacture specs. In the case of the Anker Powercore+ 10050 I use, it claims to output 2.4A@5V = 12W. But, you need to account for losses in the conversion, which even if the converter could handle it, would likely mean it would struggle.

---------
The other answer is, possibly? Your CPAP battery also has a 24V output socket. You could probably find an adaptor to step this down to 12V. This would probably be a bit more efficient, and less noisy.
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Re: USB powerbank powered sounder

Postby Bassifier » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:06 am

You are a wealth of info - thanks.
Yes, I would have thought the 24v output would have been the option to take with a step down.
A quick look at these, they seem to be rather cumbersome units.
I think I'll just keep it as a great backup for devices whilst camping! :gu:
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