New charging options for iPad pilots
While the battery life of iPads and ADS-B receivers is usually pretty good, “battery anxiety” is an ever-present issue. A smart pilot will always have a backup power source on hand, whether for use in an emergency or just for peace of mind. There are plenty of options, from cigarette lighter plugs to battery packs, but some new accessories offer more convenience than ever.
The ChargeHub is a new device that promises to charge just about everything in your cockpit – at least everything that uses a USB port to charge (which is a lot these days). One particularly nice feature is its 7 USB ports, which allows you to charge a whole host of devices at one time. Its 48 watt output means it will easily charge two iPads and a Stratus, or five iPhones at the same time. The ChargeHub sells for $69.95, and includes a 110V wall plug and a 12/24V cigarette lighter plug, so it’s useful at home and in the cockpit. We’ve taken it on multiple flights and found it to be the Swiss Army Knife of charging.
Backup battery packs are everywhere, but many of them are ill-suited to charging iPads or simply poorly made. An impressive option is the new NFlightcam Powerpack, which was designed by a bush pilot for serious aviation charging. On a “mAh per dollars” measure, this is the best value battery we’ve ever seen – the huge 25,000 mAh battery will charge an iPad three or four times, but costs just $99.95 (that’s 250 mAh/$ for those keeping score). It features two 2.1 amp ports and two 1 amp ports, plus a backlit screen to show battery life. Includes a 3-in-1 cable with 30-pin, Lightning and micro USB connectors.
Another helpful accessory is this simple cigarette lighter splitter, which allows you to run two devices from one cigarette lighter. This is an issue for some devices that only come with a cigarette lighter plug, as found on many portable GPSs and radios. This cable separates the two plugs so the bulky connectors can both fit. We also like this coiled Lightning cable, which is a cleaner way to keep Apple devices charged in the cockpit.
To see the full selection of charging accessories, visit Sporty’s.
Customer review of ChargeHub from Amazon:
The makers (sellers) of this device elude to the fact that it works with the cord that comes with your own device. They Do Not! I RECEIVED THIS AS A GIFT AND HAD TO SPEND AN ADDITIONAL $40 TO BUY CORDS FROM THE SELLER THAT WORK! One cord comes with the hub but you have to buy 5 more at about $8 each if you wish to take full advantage of its capacity. Interestingly enough, they never say specifically that your cords work, they only say “it is meant to work with your cords”. WELL, IT DOES NOT! I tried my cords of 2 phones, 4 tablets, and my Garmin device and NONE WORKED! I had no choice but to buy their cords. So consider that you have to double the price of this unit to gt it to work properly.
Gary, I’m not sure of the issue that buyer might have experienced, but in our testing we didn’t have to buy anything extra to charge an iPad, iPhone and Stratus.