This is the first of a small series of articles on how to survive winter whilst commuting on Southeastern. The intention of this series of articles is to provide some hints on how to deal with those annoying things during the commute & on how to prepare for problems, sometimes before even Southeastern know about it.
In the first article in this series I’m going to cover Mobile phones & keeping them charged.
Part 1 – Keeping your Mobile charged
Although this happens to us all throughout the year, the worst time for this to happen is when you are stranded on a delayed train & you need to book a Taxi as you’ve missed your last bus or worse you have no hope of getting off the train and are stranded in the middle of nowhere without power.
Now some trains like the High Speed Javelins have normal power sockets under the tables. Others like the Electrostar’s have one or two per coach but they are not meant for passengers (& not all of them work either). In either case if the power fails then they are going to be useless.
The solution is a battery backup charger, of which there are three types, one which takes standard AA batteries, some which are manual (windup) chargers and the newer ones which use a USB rechargeable battery.
AA Battery chargers
These are the cheaper option but be careful. I’ve tried a cheap one in the past which took a single AA battery in a case just larger than the battery itself and a short cable which plugged into the phone. It worked but took ages to charge the phone and in the end it was worthless.
Higher end chargers (RRP £19.99) is a Duracell charger which takes 2 AA batteries and can handle most phones/iPods (don’t know about iPhone as I don’t have one). I have one of these units and it can charge both my HTC Desire HD and MiFi units fine.
NB: I’ve seen these recently in various shops around Maidstone for £19.99 – but I didn’t pay that. Robert Dyas in Gabriels Hill have them at £2.99!
I’ve not tried these so don’t know how good they are. Saying that I have a windup torch and that works well – even though it’s shaped like a Penguin :-S
There are some as cheap as a fiver and most combine both a phone charger and a torch (some even have FM radios built in).
These are a self contained battery similar to a phone battery which you charge up by plugging into a USB port. They can then recharge your phone simply by plugging in it’s existing usb cable into the battery via it’s USB port. Unlike the other types, these tend to be more expensive.
I don’t know about the high capacity one but the lower one RRP’s at £29.99 but shop around, I picked one up for £14.99.
NB: I’m not linked in any way with Robert Dyas etc, just found they were the cheapest. Oh & tip, pick up their xmas leaflet & (at least on Sunday) they took of another 10% off – which went awry and gave me 15% off as well so I only ended up paying £15.45 for the pair ;-)