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1 minute ago, Cory said:

By the way, I tried a couple different solar powered battery banks and never had one that worked well enough with our norwest sun exposure. I am hopeful that someone can find one that'll run a remote pond as I think it's doable. 

Thanks Cory, that's exactly the one I had ordered and arrived yesterday! At $27, with high mAh and multiple panels, it's worth a test or two, and I can use it for camping if it doesn't power a USB nano pump indefinitely.

I'm Southern California and I get lots of exposure, and the time of the year is right...will be interesting to see. Maybe a hybrid approach of manually charging on semi-regular basis, and using the solar to drastically slow down the power drain?

We'll see...I'll be posting initial results in a couple weeks, but it sounds like a year-long test to do it properly, unless it's a fail at the outset.

Thanks!

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I quickly made a small device for emergency/portable use for my USB nano air-pump.

Had spare parts laying around and did some soldering.  Can use 4 high capacity rechargeable size AA 2800 mah NiMh batteries, for the necessary input voltage required by the pump.  

Works great and now made multiple units, one for each aquarium.  Just plugs in and it didn't cost me anything to build.

 

 

IMG_0481.JPG

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4 minutes ago, DaveSamsell said:

I quickly made a small device for emergency/portable use for my USB nano air-pump.

Had spare parts laying around and did some soldering.  Can use 4 high capacity rechargeable size AA 2800 mah NiMh batteries, for the necessary input voltage required by the pump.  

Works great and now made multiple units, one for each aquarium.  Just plugs in and it didn't cost me anything to build.

Ah, very cool. I didn't know you could just hook up a USB port to a battery pack like that. I have both...gotta try it. How do you know which wires to hook up? And I wonder if you could increase the pumping power by boosting the voltage?

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10 minutes ago, Bill Smith said:

Ah, very cool. I didn't know you could just hook up a USB port to a battery pack like that. I have both...gotta try it. How do you know which wires to hook up? And I wonder if you could increase the pumping power by boosting the voltage?

Hi Bill,

Nice to meet you....  I used a USB 2.0 mating connector and viewed the pin diagram on the internet for observing the proper wires to use.  Also, proper direct current (dc) voltage polarity must be observed.  There are 2 data lines (which will not be used) & 2 power lines which were used.  Do a search on the connector and you will see what I mean.

BTW, the pump, I would imagine is only rated for 5 volts, USB voltages and I definitely would NOT use higher input voltages.  What might help is having  higher current capable batteries, for longer run times, etc.  

With the above mentioned batteries fully charged, I can operate the pump for about 12 hours minimum.

Of course, the above information is provided "as-is" and any personal experimentation is at your own risk.

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2 hours ago, Cory said:

By the way, I tried a couple different solar powered battery banks and never had one that worked well enough with our norwest sun exposure. I am hopeful that someone can find one that'll run a remote pond as I think it's doable. 

71cUjMgUACL._AC_SL1200_.jpg

I will bring this question to the sailing forum I am on, as many folks are using solar for refrigeration, charging, and other functions, while balancing cost, weight, space, and efficiency.

Can you specify power requirements for me to ask the right questions?

Edited by Streetwise
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1 hour ago, Streetwise said:

I will bring this question to the sailing forum I am on, as many folks are using solar for refrigeration, charging, and other functions, while balancing cost, weight, space, and efficiency.

Can you specify power requirements for me to ask the right questions?

Streewise, What is the total wattage consumption that is needed?  I feel that to be looking for a device such as this, one would need to know their power requirements, first.

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7 minutes ago, David Humphrey said:

Bill, Thanks for a most informative post, and doing all the leg-work, for the rest of us! 👍

David,

I agree.  Bill is devoting much time & effort.  It's an interesting experiment.  That is one of the great aspects of fish-keeping; the folks are very helpful.  😊

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1 minute ago, DaveSamsell said:

David,

I agree.  Bill is devoting much time & effort.  It's an interesting experiment.  That is one of the great aspects of fish-keeping; the folks are very helpful.  😊

This is why Cory started this forum, and it's cool to see it bearing fruit.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw this post and thought... “I gotta get one of those.” Finally ordered because when the hurricane rolled through and power was out about 24 hours, I thought we would be fine. I have a back I could plug in if needed. Lost at least 3 shrimp...not a big deal but realize you never know. 
 

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On 7/14/2020 at 12:49 PM, Bill Smith said:

What more is there to say? Spread the word: USB battery backups aren't just for phones!

I need to pick up some of these now.  NOAA issued a “La Niña Watch” earlier this summer and apparently we're still looking at around a 50 percent chance that it's going to be a La Niña fall and winter.  Since I live in a north Seattle suburb that is prone to power outages due to the number of trees (We live in Lake Forest Park but were warned that it's nickname is Lake Forest Dark) we see at least a few power outages a year.  The worst one lasted for days.

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You could even go for a big UPS for more time and a bigger battery. Just don’t turn off a UPS when the power is out. We had a massive storm outage here and I brought my UPS to help my local restaurant close out tabs. I had to stop in at the local FD with a generator to power it up again before delivering it to the the restaurant to use on battery power.

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5 minutes ago, Streetwise said:

You could even go for a big UPS for more time and a bigger battery. Just don’t turn off a UPS when the power is out.

My fishroom is on a UPS that will run the room for about 24 - 48 hours if we lose power.

Edited by Daniel
I have also got a generator if the outage looks extended
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On 7/14/2020 at 2:49 PM, Bill Smith said:

Extending the USB Nano Pump: A Test of Power

As my order history will attest, the USB Nano Pump is hands-down my favorite Aquarium Co-Op product. It's crazy quiet and powerful for the money. In my home office where I have five tanks, there is ZERO humming sound coming from the five nano pumps providing air to the 20 longs on a wall rack. All I hear is the air rushing "white noise" that even serves to mask the hums of my hang-on-back filters. Find me a conventional 4-port pump that can accomplish that! This gives me a room with several tanks that aren't singing in the key of "E"!
 
But testimonial aside, I recalled Cory talking about the benefits of the "USB" aspect of the pump; especially that it can be powered by a backup battery during power failures. But what if that could be taken a step further? What if it could be used as a daily workhorse pump THAT ALSO automatically switches over to backup power when the power does go out? How long will it last? Can it do this without human intervention?
 
For twenty bucks and ZERO DIY skills, you bet it can!
 
SELECTING THE BACKUP BATTERY
 
In making my choice of backup battery, I listed the following criteria that needed to be satisfied:
 
1. It has to be Compact
2. It has to Last a Long time
3. It has to Power my pump on wall power
4. It has to Switch to battery power without my touching it
5. It has to be Affordable; I have a lot of pumps!
 
With that in mind and a lot of research, I settled on this UGREEN Portable charger for phones and tablets, for $22 on Amazon.
 
image.png
 
(I'm receiving and want no affiliate kickbacks for this.)
 
 
It mostly matched up with my requirements:
 
1. Compact: It's about the size of a pack of cigarettes
2. Long-Lasting: 10,000mAh will be tested 
3. Power: Pass-through feature sends wall-power directly to the pump
4. Switch: Pass-through charges the battery and switches over when unplugged
5. Affordable: Mixed feelings on this...pass-through isn't cheap!
6. Bonus! Digital readout shows the percentage of charge remaining
 
 
What is pass-through power technology?
 
You can't just plug the pump into any phone charger and expect it to power the pump while the charger is plugged into your wall; most phone chargers will stop powering your device when they are being charged themselves. But with "pass-through", the charger passes your wall power through to your charging device while it charges itself. Instant permanent battery backup!
 
How to use it?
 
Simply plug the battery backup between the USB pump and its USB charging adapter that comes with it. You need nothing else!
 
image.png
 
So let's dive into the testing...
 
TEST ONE: DOES IT WORK WITH NON-PHONE DEVICES?
 
What we're proposing here is to plug in a device that doesn't draw power the same way as a phone does, into a powering device that's made for phones and tablets. Will it handle low voltage fish stuff?
 
This article wouldn't exist if the answer weren't a resounding Yes!
 
I connected it all and plugged it into the wall. It immediately started the pump and started charging itself at the same time. When I unplugged the power from the wall, the pump kept going and the battery started draining. SLOWLY.
 
Blue or orange port?
 
I tested the charging process twice, curious about whether choosing the blue or orange ports on the new Aquarium Co-Op charger plug that came with the pump would make a difference in charging time. It made no difference.
 
So this will work. But for how long? Here's where it gets interesting.
 
TEST TWO: HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
 
I charged it up to 100% while connected to the pump (about 3-4 hours), and then unplugged everything from the wall to simulate a power failure.
 
The pump continued to run for 60 HOURS. That's two and a half days!
 
image.png
 
Not much more to be said there. It's quite an effective backup power source!
 
TEST THREE: OKAY, BUT HOW LONG DOES IT REALLY LAST?
 
On the theory that it will not last as long when it's under a load and actually powering a real airstone in water pressure, I connected it to a never-clog airstone on 24" of airline tubing that had already been running for several months in 12" of water depth.
 
image.png
 
The runtime result was another round number: 50 HOURS on a full charge.
 
 
So this means that the pump was powered for about 17% less time while under a basic load. Logically, I'd assume that as the airstone becomes more clogged, its capacity for backup time will be diminished even more.
 
Mounting?
 
The battery pack is not terribly heavy, so it can be mounted with some double-sided foam tape to the back or side of the aquarium, or any other flat surface so that it doesn't dangle.
 
image.png
 
CONCLUSION
 
The combination of 2+ days' power, always-ready pass-through powering, and the compact size makes this a huge winner.
 
I'm buying one of these for every one of my USB Nano Pumps. Yes, $22 can add up fast, but for me, it's a small price to pay for the peace of mind. When the power goes out, I will have oxygenated water for days! Even if I were to lose most of the beneficial bacteria, the bacteria that remains in proximity to the moving water caused by the bubbles (on the glass, rocks, gravel, and decorations) will serve as a seed population for a new colony. But that's a moot point if the pump is powering a sponge filter!
 
What more is there to say? Spread the word: USB battery backups aren't just for phones!

Thank you @bill smith I bought three of them for 3 tanks and they work amazing.

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  • 2 months later...
On 7/16/2020 at 4:13 PM, DaveSamsell said:

I quickly made a small device for emergency/portable use for my USB nano air-pump.

Had spare parts laying around and did some soldering.  Can use 4 high capacity rechargeable size AA 2800 mah NiMh batteries, for the necessary input voltage required by the pump.  

Works great and now made multiple units, one for each aquarium.  Just plugs in and it didn't cost me anything to build.

 

 

IMG_0481.JPG

 

I love this SO VERY MUCH! Wish you had a tutorial on how I can make one. 

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5 hours ago, ShellFire said:

 

I love this SO VERY MUCH! Wish you had a tutorial on how I can make one. 

 

 

Well, actually it wouldn't be too much of a tutorial anyway, lol.  I just had some extra parts laying around like the female USB 2.0 connector and 4 AA battery holder.  I researched the female pin-out USB 2.0 connector and just properly soldered it up for use.  

(Positive+) USB pin to (positive+) battery holder wire/terminal.  (Negative -) USB pin to (negative -) battery holder wire/terminal.

 

IMG_0901.JPG.6b06520663cc6fd974e6ff14857e78ad.JPG

 

Proper direct current (dc) voltage polarity must be observed.  There are 2 data lines (which are in the middle and will not be used) & 2 power lines which were obviously used.  A voltage power line is on each side of the connector.

Am not sure if you have extra parts or have electronic & soldering skills, since the pins are very delicate, etc.  Anyway, similar units already come preassembled for just few dollars and are easily available online, etc.  

The picture above is for reference only & the actual soldering is done, of course, on the back side of the connector.  One would have to follow the pin to the back for soldering, etc.  

There are available rechargeable battery banks with USB ports as well.  

What I  most like about my design though is that you can swap out the rechargeable batteries, when they fail.  Unlike a factory made battery bank, once their installed battery fails, it is a throw away item, in most cases.  

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1 hour ago, demicent said:

Great write-up, thanks!  I have a similar small battery power source, but I noticed the other day that my emergency car battery jumper thing has a USB port.  Tried it out, works fine, I have no idea of the duration.

Specs on the reserve capacity of that model seems to say 9Ah, or 9,000 mAh, which is very close to my test model. So you should get close to two days as well, I would think.

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