Callpod Fuel Tank Portable Electronics Recharger
Recharges most modern electronic devices
The Callpod Fuel Tank
is a rechargeable device that can be used to in turn
recharge most modern electronic devices such as cell phones,
MP3 players, etc.
Dual outlets enable it
to recharge two devices simultaneously.
Our lives are increasingly
filled with more and more battery powered portable electronic
Cell phones, Bluetooth
headsets, MP3 players, maybe eBook readers, cameras, and all
sorts of other devices; all battery powered, and all potentially
running out of power at the worst possible moment.
Here's a very flexible unit
that carries a generous store of power that can be used to
recharge most portable electronic devices whenever and wherever
they need a quick power top-up.
What you get
Callpod Fuel Tank comes nicely packaged in an easily opened
Inside is the unit itself,
of course, displayed through a clear plastic window, plus a
range of accessories. Most important is a multi-voltage
charger to keep the unit itself charged with power.
There is also an included
device charging adapter, which ends with a USB mini connector,
this being a common adapter that many devices use for charging
purposes. In addition to this 'standard' adapter, there is
a voucher which you can use to get, free of cost, any second
adapter you might want (you simply order it from Callpod's
website and use the special code on the voucher to zero out the
cost of the adapter).
A small manual, measuring 3"
x 4" and with 24 pages of instructions is included. This
might seem like a lot of instruction, but many pages have large
illustrations and only a little text, so it is an easy and quick
read (with good proper English rather than some sort of Chinese
variation of English) to understand how to best use the unit.
A zip topped and gusseted
nylon carry pouch is also provided. You can securely keep
the unit, its charger, and as many of the charging adapter
connectors as you need inside this pouch without risk of losing
The unit itself measures
3.3" x 4.8" and is about 0.75" thick. It weighs about 7.1
oz. The 'brick' style power supply weighs about 2.9 oz,
and for travel purposes, the unit, power supply, and three
different device charging adapters, all contained inside the
nylon pouch, come to a total weight of around 12.2 oz. Of
course, generally you'll travel on a daily basis with the unit
and adapters, but not with the power supply, so that brings the
travel weight down to 9.3 oz.
A Callpod Fuel Tank,
complete with the supplied Mini USB connector and voucher for a
second connector lists for $69.95, and is available from
for about $49.95. Extra adapters are all priced at $9.95
each, and may also be available from Amazon at varying
discounts, or, if not found on Amazon, can of course be
purchased from the Callpod
website at full price.
How Universal Chargers Can Work
These days just about all
portable electronic devices are powered by Lithium Ion
rechargeable batteries. Sure, some of the batteries are a
different shape to others, and they all have a larger or smaller
capacity, but they are all some variation on a Li-ion battery,
with the same 3.7V output, and the same charging
The only exception is some
high power devices such as laptops that may use not just one
battery, or several in parallel, but two, three, or even four
connected in series so as to provide a higher voltage output (ie
two in series would be 7.4V, three would be 11.1V and four would
But for most devices,
ranging from tiny Bluetooth headsets up to large sized
camcorders, their power source is some type of 3.7V Li-ion
Now for the wonderful
benefit that can flow from this commonality of battery type.
If any charger for any device can physically be connected to any
other of these devices' charging socket, it will be able to
recharge that other device exactly the same as any other device
it can connect to.
So a universal charger is
simply a regular charger for Li-ion batteries with a range of
different connectors to fit to different devices. Nothing
else needs to be adjusted or changed, just the physical
connector. This makes it practical to develop truly
universal chargers, such as Callpod's Fuel Tank.
How it Works and What it Does
There are plenty of other
multi-purpose chargers available. The key difference of
the Fuel Tank is that it allows for multiple devices to be
recharged from its own built-in battery.
Most other devices have no
built-in battery, but simply act as a multi-outlet source of
power, and need to be plugged into the mains or a car cigarette
lighter before they can then feed power on to the devices you
wish to charge. This is only marginally more useful than
simply plugging each device's power charger into the mains
individually. It might save you a bit of space and weight,
but doesn't add any convenience.
However, the Fuel Tank
contains a high capacity Lithium Ion battery with enough power
in it to recharge several different portable devices, several
The Li-ion battery in the
Fuel Tank is rated at having 5300 mA/hr of capacity. While
the promotional literature refers to this as being the
equivalent of about seven typical rechargeable batteries, that
is probably a bit of an overstatement. Depending on the
device you're recharging, you're probably looking at things that
have in the order of a 600 - 1400 mA/hr capacity, so there's
perhaps enough capacity in the Fuel Tank for about five complete
charges of other units you might be traveling with (or ten half
This is still a huge amount
of spare battery life, and may free you from the need to travel
with any recharger units at all, apart from just the Fuel Tank,
depending on the number of electronic items you'll be using and
how long you'll be traveling for. But a typical week away,
with perhaps the need to recharge your cell phone three times,
your Bluetooth headset once, your camera once, and your iPod
twice could probably all be handled by a single charge from the
Fuel Tank. You've saved yourself the need to potentially
travel with four different chargers.
If you're traveling for
longer, or with more devices and more recharge requirements,
then all you need to do is add the Fuel Tank's 2.9 oz power
supply and you can recharge the Fuel Tank as often as you need.
There's another benefit to
the Fuel Tank. When I've been traveling in the past,
without a Fuel Tank, I've sometimes found myself needing to
charge too many different devices, all at the same time, with
not enough power sockets in the hotel room to allow for enough
things to be charged, and end up having to juggle units to try
and get enough power into everything I need charged to keep me
going until the next time I'm at a power supply.
With the Fuel Tank's ability
to charge two units simultaneously, and the ability to charge
units at any time, not just when you're connected to mains
power, this problem vanishes.
There's another benefit to
the Fuel Tank. Currently I generally travel with a
T-Mobile/Google G1 cell phone. This has an appallingly
short battery life - I'll often run out of power halfway through
a day if I'm making extensive use of the internet, email, and
GPS functions. Now, running out of power is never a
problem. Whenever the G1 starts to get low, I just connect
it to the Fuel Tank for a quick top-up, no matter where I am or
what I'm doing.
Using the Fuel Tank
Using the Fuel Tank is very
simple, with indicator lights to help you see what is happening.
To charge the Fuel Tank
To charge it up, you simply
plug its multi-voltage power supply into its standard Mini-USB
charging socket. A green light will go on, and will go off
again once the unit has been fully charged.
To charge other devices
Simply plug an adapter cable
into one of the Fuel Tank's two output sockets. This will
light up a blue LED to indicate that it is ready to charge
whatever you wish. Connect the other end into the device
you're wishing to charge, and it will then charge up exactly the
same as it would with its own charger. Disconnect the
adapter cable when fully charged so as not to waste the Fuel
Displaying the Fuel Tank's
level of remaining charge
Simply press the button on
one end of the unit, and you'll see anywhere from zero to six
LED's briefly light up. Six LEDs means a full charge, zero
LEDs means no charge at all, and the LEDs between 1 - 5 mean
varying levels of remaining charge.
Note that it is generally a
good idea to not fully discharge and recharge any type of Li-ion
powered device - it is better to top up the unit's charge on a
regular basis. This places less stress on the battery and
gives it longer life.
Using the Fuel Tank with
External Charging Devices
The digital camera I usually
travel with (a Casio EX-Z850) does not have a charging socket on
its body. To charge the battery I need to place the camera
in a base, which is then connected to a brick type charger via a
cable and plug.
However, the brick type
charger is just another generic Lithium-ion battery recharger,
and so even in this case, the Fuel Tank can be used, with an
adapter that simply plugs into the charging base. Yes, I
still need to travel with the charging base, but I save myself
the need to also travel with its related power supply brick.
So if you have items that
need separate charging bases, see if they too have detachable
power supplies. If they do, the chances are that there'll
be an adapter available from Callpod to save you the need to
travel with that item's power supply brick charger, too.
Testing the Fuel Tank
I tested the Fuel Tank with
various different types of electronic device to ensure that it
could fully charge the device in a reasonable amount of time.
A Blackberry 8800 was
recharged from a totally dead battery to a fully charged battery
in approximately 100 minutes from a fully charged Fuel Tank.
An iPhone when from about
50% to almost full charge in about 45 minutes, at the same time
as I was also simultaneously charging my G1 phone.
My first attempt at charging
a G1 was disappointing. It started at 62% charged with a
probably 65% - 70% full Fuel Tank. While charging the G1 I
also topped up an iPhone (mentioned in the previous paragraph).
After more than two hours, the G1 had only increased to 84%
charge; I disconnected the Fuel Tank on a whim, then reconnected
it, and now the Fuel Tank failed to charge the G1 any further.
The G1 didn't detect the presence of any type of charger
I repeated the exercise the
next day, with the Fuel Tank now showing four of its six LEDs,
and probably with about a 60% charge. The G1 (purely by
coincidence) again started at a 62% charge. After 30
minutes it had increased to 69%. If this charging rate
were to remain constant, that would suggest it takes almost 8
hours to fully charge the G1.
A Kindle 2 ebook reader also
went from about a three quarter charge to a full charge,
Accessory - car charger;
charging 62% from four leds
69% after 30 mins ie +7%
74% ie + 5% after the next
78% ie + 4% after the next
81% ie + 3% after the next
85% ie + 4% after the next
Is 5300 mAh the gross
capacity or the net amount that is transferred to other units.
How much inefficiency in the charging process (including voltage
step up, etc)? What is the gross/net amounts
What is the actual
Why can't it use a regular
charger? Why is the charger only 1.5A - I have other
chargers that are 2A
It says it takes about 2.5
hours to charge the unit, but if the charger is only 1.5A, this
means a max of (2.5 x 1.5 =) 3750 mA/hr. How is that
compatible with the 5300 mA/hr capacity?
Can it 'pass through' - ie
be both charging itself and passing charge on to other units
Why does it not have a
regular USB port that any other USB adapters that a person
already has can plug directly into (saving the need to buy extra
Related Product - ChargePod
If you are looking for a
direct multi-unit charger as a convenient way of managing the
charging needs of the many different devices you have, perhaps
for your office or home, then Callpod make a second device, a
This can charge as many as
six different units simultaneously, and can also be used to
recharge a Fuel Tank.
One of the benefits of the
ChargePod is that it uses the same connectors as does the Fuel
Tank, so you don't need to double up on two sets of connectors
for the various units you have.
Are the two sides of the
unit independent or connected together?
Does the unit truly draw
power whenever a connector/adapter is plugged in? If so,
Can you use it as a 'pass
through' item - ie power in one end and out the other end to
dual devices to recharge?
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23 January 2004, 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.