Charging Cameras and Devices in the Car: The Basic Option

In A Car

One of the downsides of modern devices is that you have to be constantly monitoring battery usage when you’re out and about. Once upon a time, you could still take photos without a battery in your camera. But with today’s digital cameras, that doesn’t work so well. I always have a bunch of spare batteries on hand, but it’s still a good bet on a shoot that I can run out, especially when I’m shooting with GoPros. And then there are all the other devices–smartphones, tablets, or GPS trackers, for starters.

It’s easy enough to keep everything fully charged at home or in the studio, but it takes a bit more planning when you’re out on the go. And especially so when you’re on the go in remote areas where relying on several hours of AC power is risky. So it’s good to have options.

Many newer cars include a USB outlet, but they’re usually low power. And you can’t count on a rental vehicle having one. So I find that having a car charger with me comes in very handy. They’re cheap, and one of the few things that car manufacturers have standardized over the years has been the humble cigarette lighter that became the DC power outlet. And that adds another good option to charge your devices–I’ve even used them in cabs. You can get dedicated car chargers for camera batteries, etc. But so many devices now charge by USB that a regular USB charger for the car comes in very handy.

It is easy to find basic USB car chargers. Even a lot of gas stations now sell them. Some of them just do a pretty simple job, but even with something this basic, some do it better than others. Some of the cheap ones been picked up just stop working. If they do keep working, most chargers come with one USB slot that kicks out only a slow trickle of power.

Recommend choose Dual Port USB Car Charger, which is small and light enough that can just keep one in your camera bag as well as keeping one in your personal car. There are a couple of things that make this one stand out from most of the others.

The first is right there in the name. This is a dual charger, which means it has two USB slots and you can charge two devices at once.

The second is that this is more powerful than your average car charger. Most car chargers kick out 2.1amps. But this one puts out up to 3.4amps. A lot of devices don’t need that much, but it also means you can charge 2.1 amp devices (like iPads) and 1amp device(like iPhone)at once.

The other important catch is that the unit’s total output is up to 3.4 amps. So if you’re using both ports, they’ll both draw from that same total available pool. In most cases that shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s worth noting in case your devices require a lot of power.

There’s also a status light. It doesn’t reflect battery charge status–it’s just letting you know that the charger is correctly plugged into the DC socket.

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