Saving weight with USB Power Bank serendipity

As stated in my previous post, I’ve been looking for torches. I have my eye on the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV but I’ve been thinking, hmm, 84.6 grams with a battery, plus a charger–that’s quite heavy.

Then I started thinking, what if I had a USB power bank which allowed me to use my own 18650 lithium batteries? Would it be lighter? Would there be any problems with it? The Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV would therefore be only a 39 gram weight in my backpack while not in use because I could use the 18650 lithium battery for something else.

If you buy something like a 2 cell powerbank, it obviously has way less plastic than a 6 cell powerbank. If you’re -very- lucky, said powerbank will have high quality cells in it, but it’s a bit of a lottery in some cases.

When you google a disassembly of the powerbank, you’ll often notice they’re the same batteries you’d normally buy, only they’re soldered together.

So I thought, what if I buy a 2 cell powerbank case which allows me to use my own batteries and then I’ll buy a bunch of batteries, thereby saving the weight of the plastic. Interestingly, the Tomo M2 External Power Bank Battery Charger Box weighs just 55 grams. Combine that with 4 x 18650 lithium batteries at 48 grams each (and that’s if they’re the heavier 18650 panasonic batteries) and you’re left with 192 + 55 i.e. 247 grams for 13600 mAh compared to the RAVPower 12,000 mAh at 331 grams.

This simply raised more questions…

How would I charge all the batteries without rotating them? What if the powerbank case broke? Why does it have micro USB? I hate micro USB. Will the charge input and output be enough? To answer the last question, there seems to be numerous reports that it will reboot when supplying 2 amps. This isn’t really acceptable. Whereas a lot of the RAVPower and Anker devices are known to accept really high loads.

At the moment, I’m still thinking about how I’ll solve this problem. I might buy a 4 cell lithium 18650 holder that would barely weigh anything. Modify a pre-made USB power bank, strip it of all its casing and then put it inside a small and extremely thin plastic container. Alternatively, I could buy a boost module and a cell balance module and make the whole thing myself but I’m not sure if I will run into the aforementioned problem regarding amperage.

My last question, and perhaps someone can help me here, if you remove one cell of a typical Anker or RAVpower USB power bank, will it still function as normal? If they’re wired in a way which this is a problem, that might be an issue. I’d like to add a near depleted battery to the mix and it not be an issue.

Zebralight lights for hiking

I’m currently researching torches (why do some people call them flashlights? They don’t flash :)) for hiking, and I’m pretty impressed with Zebralight so far.

I have a few plans in mind with the light and I’m left with a million questions… Firstly, imagine a mountain setting with a tent set up and the tent is illuminated from the inside. Do you match the colour temperature with the moon? Do you pick a daylight colour temperature? What if youwant a light during the day to act as a fill light i.e. a poor man’s flash?

I spent the whole day thinking “4000k is too warm” but then I had this eureka moment… The moon is 4000k, not 5000k. Well, it wasn’t much of a eureka moment. I’m stlil left with similar questions; do I get a 4000k or a 5000k light?

Zebralight make a few models worth considering, in my opinion. The Zebralight H600Fd IV is a high powered, 5000k high CRI (93-95 CRI) light with 1000+ lumens of power. I’m inclined to buy this model but it’s slightly heavy and really quite expensive. The light itself is 39 grams but with a battery you’re looking at 84.6 grams and a charger is another 20 grams.

Speaking of which, the Olight® Universal Magnetic USB Battery Charger looks great :).

The other model I have my eye on is the Zebralight H53c. It’s a 4000k high CRI light but it’s not half as powerful. It is lighter weight (about 55 grams with a battery) and can take AA’s (should you not wish to bring a charger, most shops sell AA’s.)

I hope that one day Zebralight will make a light the size of the Zebralight H53c with a USB-C charging port, it’ll accept a lithium battery, and it’ll have a colour temperature of 5000k :).

Unrelated sewing stuff

Lastly, an update about my previous post. I’ve found the Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl’s standard straight needle is a bit thick for what I want, so I have ordered a fine needle.

Sewing webbing to a backpack without a sewing machine

I’m in the middle of making small modifications to my Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Southwest backpack, and to personalise it a bit I want to sew additional bits of webbing to the pack.

After googling for a while, I’ve decided on buying 69 nylon thread and a Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl.

I was worried I’d have to buy a sewing machine or pay someone else to do the job but from what I can tell, these two things will be enough. The Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl acts a bit like a manual sewing machine. I bought some nylon webbing but it’s not very high quality, so I might just use a camera strap which came with one of my camera bags.

As previously stated in another post, I’ll provide proper photographs and whatnot when I’m done. Here’s a couple to show you the general idea. The pictures are a bit confusing, but my camera bag will probably sit below the side pocket on the right photograph. The two upwards arrows are demonstrating another point you can sew onto if you wish. The photograph on the left shows different points you can attach things too, but I wouldn’t trust all of them i.e. they might not hold much weight.

Using some webbing around the side belt, towards the back area, and then another support somewhere else, I should be able to hold my camera bag. I’m not sure if I’ll have to offload some of the camera’s weight to the shoulder strap (for no other reason than comfort.) I’m also not sure how much weight one particular point on the shoulder strap can hold, so I’ll have a look.

I don’t really want to sew anything to the backpack itself as I don’t want to accidentally sabotage it.


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Windows file share speed increase

One complaint I have of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (and all the Samsung Galaxy phones I know of) is that sharing files from a windows machine to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phone via SMB is incredibly slow. I suspect it’s because this method doesn’t make the phone exit power save, but I can’t be sure. It’s something I’ve written about before and I’ve only just now thought of an obvious solution.

If you share a folder to a linux machine, you can then connect to that machine. If you don’t have a linux machine, you can either run virtualisation software and install CentOS or Debian (it’s completely free) or buy a Raspberry Pi 3 B (you could technically do it with a Raspberry Pi Zero W as well.)

I’m a bit tired now, but this idea suddenly came to me and I will write about this further tomorrow at the previous page I’ve made. The idea is you can then connect to the intermediary box using the phone, and then browse to the network file share–it’s sort of like accessing a share within a share.

It’s arguably convoluted but it’s also arguably more secure because you can use an SSH key and disable passwords altogether. On the windows machine, you can limit the network share to the IP address of the Raspberry Pi 3 B (or virtual computer) and then the only theoretical way of accessing the file is from an SFTP share.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen Not Working Correctly

If your Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen, stylus or whatever you like to call it doesn’t work correctly, it’s probably due to magnetism. On the Samsung community forums, a few people returned their Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phones because their S Pen didn’t work correctly, and they experienced troubles afterwards. I recommended they check to see if their case has a magnet in it e.g. a magnetic clasp, and sure enough it was the culprit. Unfortunately it is quite common for folding cases to include a magnetic clasp, and it does prevent the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen from working correctly, but this is a simple fix and I hope it helps a few people.

It would be nice if Samsung could include an FAQ with this solution, so that people with S Pen troubles don’t try and send their Samsung Galaxy Note 8 back as faulty.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 USB, SMB and review information

I’ve written a basic review page for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. I will edit it and improve it a lot at some point, if it gets a bit of interest (I’m a bit lazy when it comes to writing reviews.)

I’ve also written a page about the USB and SMB file share speeds with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It’s a weird one to say the least. The phone exhibits strange behaviour but I consider it a quirk rather than a severe limitation.