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An updated version of Murphy's Law states that your cell phone battery will die on you when you need it the most.

Murphy also says you'll be stranded with no charger, no power supply, and no spare battery.

Here's the perfect solution.

 
 
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Clipper Gear Cell Phone Emergency Battery Recharger

The Clipper Gear Cell Phone Emergency Battery Recharger is a simple small device that has interchangeable adapters to fit most cell phones.

If your mobile phone's battery dies while you're away from your charger, this recharger will quickly transfer the power from a set of AAA batteries into your cell phone, getting you back on the air again.

 

 

Now you no longer need to be always charging your cellphone, even when the battery is still half charged.

The Clipper Gear Cell Phone Emergency Battery Recharger has enough emergency power to provide you about two complete battery recharges - more than enough for almost any time you find yourself with a dead mobile phone battery.

What you get

The Clipper Gear Cell Phone Emergency Battery Recharger comes packaged on a plastic card that is very easy to open and remove.  Inside the pack is the recharger unit itself, four adapters for different models of cell phones, and a backing sheet with some simple instructions.

The unit measures 2" x  1", and is " thick.  It weighs 0.7 oz empty, and with a set of four AAA batteries inside, the weight is 2.3 oz.

The four adapters (see image below) are for :

  • Sony Ericsson plug - almost all Sony Ericsson phones except for some of the newest models

  • Nokia small circular plug - most modern Nokia phones

  • Siemens flat plug - S46 and earlier models (a second thinner flat plug is available for newer model Siemens phones as an extra option)

  • Motorola flat wide plug - older model Motorolas (a second flat thin plug for T and V series and other modern Motorolas is available as an extra option)

Five other adapters (see image below) are also offered as optional extras ($1.50 each)

  • Samsung and LG flat wide plug - for many Samsung models including A288, N288, A388, A400, A408, R220, T108, N628 and A300, plus LG models including G510, G1500, G3100, G5200, G5220, G5220C, G5400, G5410, G7070, G7100, G7120, W510, W3000

  • Siemens new thin flat plug - most newer Siemens phones

  • Motorola short flat plug - for most V and T series phones (but not the new V3 Razr)

  • Motorola V3, Blackberry and other mini USB powered devices plug

  • Panasonic - fits various models of Panasonic phone

The instructions are very simple - basically 'plug in, wait for a while, then continue using your phone', and the unit comes with a one year warranty.

How it Works and What it Does

Insert a set of four AAA batteries into the unit, plug it  into the charger socket of your cell phone, and it transfers the charge from its (non-rechargeable) AAA batteries into your cell phone.

Wait a few minutes for your cell phone to get some fresh charge, then turn your phone on and start using it again.

It is as simple as that.

But how much extra life can you expect from the Emergency Recharger?  Read on....

Test results

Quick Emergency Boost Talk Time Test

It isn't always convenient to keep the charger plugged in to your cell phone, so we tested two more scenarios, using a Sony Ericsson T610.

We first flattened the phone's battery so that it wouldn't even turn on.  Then gave it a quick two minute charge from the Clipper recharger, and then made a phone call.

Two minutes of charging a battery that was deader than dead gave four minutes of air time before the phone cut out again. It seems reasonable to assume that this rule of thumb - two minutes of talk time per minute of charging - would probably extend for larger charge periods too.

Quick Emergency Boost Standby Time Test

We then gave the T610 - again with totally dead battery - a five minute charge, then left the phone on standby.

Five minutes of charging gave something over 4 hours of standby time - I lost count, it might have been over 5 hours.  But whichever the number is, it is an incredible extra life from just a quick five minute charge.

Max life test

How much charge is there in four AAA batteries?  To find this out,  we recreated the testing we did when reviewing the Cellboost units almost a year ago.  We used four regular Duracell 'Gold Top' alkaline batteries (not their new high performance batteries, just the standard ones) for this test.

We discharged the battery in a Motorola V66i until it was so dead the phone wouldn't even switch on.  We then connected up the Clipper Gear Emergency Battery Recharger, gave the phone a couple of minutes of recharging to put some basic life back into the battery, and then turned it on and immediately made a phone call, leaving the Clipper unit still charging into the phone at the same time.

When doing this with the Cellboost, the phone lasted on a call for 2.5 hours before dying.  With the Clipper unit, we ended the test after 3.5 hours of being continually on a call - in theory, a fully charged battery for the V66i is only sufficient for 3 hours of calling, and in reality, you get something less, so we'd already put through more than a full charge into the battery.  Very impressive.  But keep reading....

After unplugging the Clipper Emergency Recharger, we noticed an astonishing thing.  Not only had the unit powered the phone for a 3.5 hour call, but it had also fully charged the battery at the same time!  The phone's battery was showing as fully charged! We could hardly believe this was true, but after leaving the phone switched on in standby mode for four hours and still having the battery show as full, it is obviously correct.

At this point there seemed little need for further testing.  A single set of AAA batteries has enough life in them to put more than two full charges into the V66i's battery, and that's surely much more than enough extra talk and standby time to get you back to your regular charger.

The V66i takes a 500 mAh battery, so there seems to be something in excess of 1000 mAh of power in the four AAA batteries.  This test result is consistent with the typical claimed capacity of alkaline batteries.

If your cellphone has a higher capacity battery - for example, my Motorola V600 has a 780 mAh battery - you may not get the equivalent of two complete battery charges.  But, on the other hand, the V600 gives more than twice as much talk time or standby time from its 780 mAh battery than the V66i does from its 500 mAh battery, so the Clipper Gear Emergency Recharger will actually give more hours of usage to the V600 than to the V66i.

Getting the most power from your Clipper Recharger

To understand how the Clipper Recharger transfers power from the batteries inside it to the battery in your cell phone, it is helpful to think of two glasses, one full of water, and the other empty.  The empty glass is your cell phone battery, with no charge remaining.  The full glass is the Clipper Recharger, and the water is the charge in the fresh batteries inside the unit.

When you plug the Clipper unit into your cell phone, it is like connecting a tube between the two glasses.  The water will flow from the full glass into the empty glass until the level is the same in both.  At that point, the water stops flowing.  From a full glass to an empty one, you end up transferring half a glass of water.

It is similar with the transfer of charge into your cell phone.  At a certain point, the two batteries equalize and no more charge flows from the Clipper Recharger to the cell phone battery.

BUT - and here's the important part.  There is still plenty of charge remaining in the Clipper's batteries.  Imagine you now disconnect the tube between the two glasses, and empty one glass.  When you reconnect the tube, more water will flow from the half full glass until both glasses equalize at a new level, with a quarter of a glass of water now in each.

It is the same with the Clipper Recharger.  Using it the first time might use half to two-thirds of its charge.  But there's still a good amount of power that can be used for a second recharge, and even a little bit more for a third (and fourth) recharge before the batteries are totally used up.

Naturally, when you're keeping the Recharger ready for emergency top-up, you should have fresh batteries in it, and after using the Recharger, you should replace the batteries with fresh ones again before putting it back into its standby emergency role, but if you need to use it and then need to use it again before having a chance to replace its batteries - perhaps you have two phones that both need to be given a quick recharge, you can realistically do this.

What sort of batteries to use with the unit?

The Clipper Recharger is best used with regular alkaline batteries.  As the test results showed above, a set of regular alkaline batteries gives more than enough power for at least one and possibly two or more recharges of your cell phone battery, which should be more than enough extra time to get you to your regular charger.

Using the new highest capacity alkaline batteries is probably overkill, because we recommend that once you've had to use the batteries in the Recharger, you consider replacing them so as to keep the unit always ready with fresh new batteries.  In that case, you're likely to waste much of the extra capacity in the new more expensive high performance batteries.

We also recommend - perhaps surprisingly - that you don't use rechargeable batteries in the unit for two reasons.

The first reason is that rechargeable batteries self-discharge quite quickly.  This can be a problem with a unit like the Clipper Recharger, which you probably might not use for months at a time.  With rechargeable Ni-Cd or Ni-MH batteries, when you need them, perhaps three months after charging them, you will find that most of their charge has faded away.  In comparison, regular alkaline batteries keep their charge for six or more years.

The second reason (although the first reason should be enough for most of us!) is that rechargeable batteries have a lower voltage.  Alkaline batteries have about a 1.5V rating; rechargeable batteries are about 1.2V.  This means the difference between 6V and 4.8V coming out of the emergency recharger, and the lower voltage reduces the ability of the unit to transfer power into your phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most phones are compatible

Most but not all cell phones are compatible with the Clipper Recharger.

Firstly, it needs to be a phone for which the Clipper unit has a matching adapter plug.  See the image on the left (click it for a larger version) for pictures of the four adapters supplied standard (top) and the three extra adapters also available (bottom)

Secondly, it needs to be a phone which uses a 3.7V or lower battery.  This covers just about every modern Lithium-Ion battery powered phone.

Thirdly, a very few phones - like the Nokia 3650, for example - need an unusually high voltage of charge to start its charging circuit.  The Clipper Recharger - and most other rechargers - do not work reliably with the 3650 accordingly.

All other phones should work perfectly.

Uses for the Clipper Recharger

I have several cars and several phones.  Rather than have a tangle of car chargers in each car, I now simply have one of the Clipper rechargers in each car, together with whichever adapter tips I'm likely to need, stored in the glove box.

Sometimes when I'm traveling for just one or two days, I find myself wondering if I need to pack my cell phone's charger or not.  I'd rather not - it saves space and weight and hassle.  Now, with the Clipper Recharger, I simply keep a Clipper unit in my computer/carry bag, and know that if I need to, I've got one or possibly two complete battery recharges available for my phone, and if that's not enough, I can either buy or bring extra batteries with me.

Cost

The Emergency Recharger costs $9.95, and comes complete with four adapters to fit into many popular cell phones.  Additional adapters for other phone models are $1.50 each.

The unit does not come with batteries included.  It uses four AAA batteries, which can cost you as little as $3 for a set of four; even less if you're buying them in bulk.

The unit itself is reusable, so the cost per use is only the underlying cost of the batteries - $3 a set or less.  That's a great deal.

We sell these units directly, ourselves.  Prices are as above, and a flat rate of $2.50 shipping covers any number of units, sent to anywhere in the world.  Here's the page to buy them from.

Other recommended cell phone accessories

We have two other products you might also want to consider.

The Clipper Gear Micro Light can be mounted on the back of your phone.  It is small and lightweight, and has two powerful LED lights in it - ideal for giving you light in an emergency.

The Clipper Gear SIM Saver allows you to back up and transfer your phone's SIM (or R-UIM) card phone book data.  Great for backup in case you lose/damage your SIM card or phone.

Summary

There are a wealth of different cell phone accessories out there, to do with power, cases, and everything else.

This is the closest yet to finding a universal charger that will always work and always be available.  All too often you can find yourself stranded with a flat battery in your phone and no way to charge it.  Now, as long as you keep this small lightweight unit with you, you're never stuck for extra power.

Recommended.

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Originally published 7 January 2005, last update 19 Dec 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
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