Thursday, May 19, 2011

Boat Tech: Pocket Gadgets to Make Your Life Easier

We recently came across a couple of items that could come in handy on your next boat trip; the first is the Freeloader Personal Solar Charger - especially useful because it's one gadget that can help keep the rest of your gadgets running.

It's true, you can always use your 12v cigarette lighter outlet to charge a lot of your items like cell phones, MP3 players and other small items. But if you're dedicating that outlet to your iPod to play music while you're running the boat, or powering a portable Nav unit, you might want some extra charging capacity. This might especially be the case if you've got a boatload of friends along on a poker run.

The freeloader quickly expands it's solar panels to gather available sunlight, and includes a charging cable that plugs into a USB port or almost any chargeable device with one of its 11 adapter tips. Once charged, the internal Li-Ion battery can power an iPod for 18hours, a mobile phone for 44 hours, PSP for 2.5 hours a PDA for 22 hours and much more. With its tough, rust-free aluminum body, it features a 1000mAh Li-on battery and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. Pretty handy in a pinch.

Our other item here is a floating keyring; nothing new in terms of basic concept, but extremely useful in terms of its added capability. The Waterbuoy Floating Keyring is only 3" long (not nearly as bulky as many floating keyrings) but can float up to 2lbs. That's a whole pocketful of keys, as opposed to the 2-3 that most floating keyrings can support. In fact, it provides enough buoyancy to support many waterproof VHF radios, mobile phones and some digital cameras.

The secret is inside: The Waterbouy has a tiny gas cylinder that inflates a puncture-resistant balloon after submersion. It won't go off if only splashed, and also has an LED light - visible at 850ft and lasting 24hrs - inside the balloon, so it can easily be found even at night.  Pretty cool.

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