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Transfer Digital Pictures from Flashcard to CD?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the eliminating-the-need-for-a-laptop dept.

Data Storage 56

chimpo13 writes "I'm riding a 40-year-old, Italian made 250cc motorcycle round the world and doing a journal with pictures (avoiding the 'blog' word). Small bike, not much room, and I'm doing this on the cheap. There is no laptop because you can't trickle charge one. I'm looking for a flashcard to CD burner so I can post digital pictures. I need reliability, battery power, and hopefully someone makes one with an option to 'save for web' to speed up uploads in Internet cafés. Unless someone else has a better idea. I leave from Sydney Australia in 4 months if anyone world wide wants to give me a tour of their town, email me."

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Kanguru FC-RW (3, Informative)

mechugena (311767) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111090)

Located here [] . Got good reviews from PC Magazine a few weeks back. I'd definitely trust this company...a good long history of good products

piggy backing (2, Informative)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9113152)

I'll just piggy-back off the first post, so I get noticed and address a bunch of comments. Thanks for all the good comments posted along with the personal emails. It's mostly useful.

I'm burning to a cd so I can post the photos on route without dealing with trying to put drivers on internet cafe computers. A friend of mine will fiddle with 'em so they load fast if I can't do that from the internet cafe computers.

It's a Ducati, being purposely built for the trip by Phil at Road & Race [] in Sydney Australia. Phil's updating the electronics to 12-volt so the headlight should be decent and it'll be running electronic ignition, not points. Old bikes are built tough, and besides, breaking down is part of the adventure. And duh, it's a 250cc. I'm not planning on riding down the autobahn on it. I figure it'll take me about 3 years to ride round the world.

Christ, I should've looked into a camera that burns cds. Didn't realize they existed, and I bought a Canon A70 last week. Damn. I'll reckon I should sell it and buy a Sony Mavica. Thanks, ivanandre.

For places to stay: I'll be camping and I'll meet people. Most punk rockers don't mind putting visitors up. I do it, although being in Sacramento means no one wants to visit. When I lived in San Francisco there were always someone from another country in the apartment, sometimes there'd be 10 of 'em. It works to a lesser degree with motorcycle types.


Re:piggy backing (1)

Thu Anon Coward (162544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9114264)

AHH, to be young, single, in love with the world, and filthy rich enough to ride around it in 3 yrs.

anyhow, while I understand you want to burn pics to cd from storage media, the question is why? if for archival purposes until you get pics uploaded then by all means go for it. if you are doing it in order to upload pics because you are afraid of running out of space, that may not be necessary. you are carrying more than 1 quantity of digital pic storage, are you not? many photo processing places in the US nowadays allow you to bring in your xD/SD/Flashmem/etc storage media and create printed pics right on the spot as well as burning them to cdrom. uploading them to the web is up to you, though.
now, if you had a wireless PDA that accepted Sony mem sticks and your digital camera also happened to use those, I foresee an easy way to bypass needing cdroms to upload to the 'net.

As for your travels, swing on by [] , we'll hold a cold one for you [] and keep the view beautiful [] .
I have no idea who these guys are t.htm

Re:piggy backing (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9114549)

Part of why it's going to be a long trip is I'll be looking for under the table jobs. The US dollar tanking took away most of the money I was going to travel on. The price of my bike has gone way up. And I'm 34 which is basically middle aged, with the average American male living to be 75.

Filthy rich is what Ewan MacGregor is. Him and a pal are riding round the world with brand new BMW bikes. While being followed by a film team in 4x4 trucks. They're doing their trip in 3 1/2 months.

I'd thought about doing this for years, but kept postponing it. It took a couple near death experiences to get me off my lazy ass. I'm now epileptic thanks to the last time I was nearly murdered. Still have a problem remembering nouns and it took a month before I could follow the plot on sitcoms.

I want to document the trip, as I'm doing it. Sort of a letter home so that family and friends will know what's happening.

Thanks for the Austin offer, it's almost as nice as Denton (most of the places I've been in the US have been in a band and Denton is great). I love Shiner Bock. Is LocalAustin your site? I'll file it and next time I'm there (3 years more or less), I'll email you.


Re:piggy backing (1)

Thu Anon Coward (162544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9136580)

I've been to Denton TX. if you think that's nice..... that's why I live in Austin

Shiner, TX (where they make that beer) is just down the road about 100 miles from us.
They even have "Shiner Sound and Motion" on their website to let you experience the full effect :)

Also, about 100 miles away is Brenham, TX, the home of Blue Bell ice cream.

Quite a bit of difference 'tween central (hill country) north (plains) south (coastal) east (woodlands) and west (desert) Texas; just like in Australia, going from Alice Springs to Sydney.

who knows where I'll be in 3 years. got to find those better paying jobs to support my family. we like it here, been here more than 9 years, but who knows?

Re:piggy backing (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9136625)

I like Austin too, but I was expecting to. I think I was just surprised at how nice Denton was. I've been there a couple times. I've been to Texas 3 or 4 times and drove across it once. At some point I'll make it to Corpus Christi. I've always been curious about what Texas is like that deep.

They started selling Shiner Bock up here. I'd love to tour their brewery.

Re:piggy backing (1)

gozar (39392) | more than 10 years ago | (#9115822)

Christ, I should've looked into a camera that burns cds. Didn't realize they existed, and I bought a Canon A70 last week. Damn. I'll reckon I should sell it and buy a Sony Mavica. Thanks, ivanandre.

We have two of the Sony Mavica CD-350 and have had nothing but problems with them. They are very fragile when it comes to vibration, and haven't had good luck on pulling the pictures off.

I vote for the iPod and media reader. For a portable computer I use a HP Jornada 720. It has a built in modem or I use a wireless card in the PC Card slot. It also has a CF slot.

Re:piggy backing (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9118987)

Thanks for warning me about problems with vibration. I've started doing some research on the Sony Mavica CD cameras and haven't found anything about how well they hold up. But I'm looking for something that runs off AA batteries because I'll rig up a solar recharger on my bike.

I wish there was an "adventure photographer" site where I could find out what works and what doesn't work. I'm not sure how modern most internet cafe computers are. That's why I'm uncertain what method to use for uploading pictures to my site.

Re:piggy backing (1)

lythotype (446239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119471)

I am a owner of a Sony Mavica CD500. While I love the manual mode, the camera has to be handled a little more delicately then a camera that uses flash or SD. Because of the mini CD burner on the camera, shaking it while reading or writing it a no-no. Writing the pictures to the CD takes longer than to a flash/sd card. Another issue is that I have yet to find a driver to read the unfinished discs that the CD500 creates (tried by DirectCD and Nero's version, can't remember the name, neither worked). To actually view the CD on any cd drive, you first have to finalize the cd, which takes anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes.

Sony branded mini CDs hold about 180megs while you can use other brands that hold anywhere from 200 to 250 megs. I can put around 60-70 5megabit pictures on a 210mb mini CD.

If you want to sample what the CD500 can produce, here is a link to my pictures Click []
All the photos on my account are taken with my CD500.

Re:piggy backing (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119571)

The photos look pretty nice. I don't think most internet cafes are going to let me load drivers onto their computers. Which is a big reason of why I'd like to burn the pictures onto a cd.

I'm leaning towards an Addonics MFR, but I'm still looking around.

This may work (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9111095)

No upload to web, but may fit otherwise.

If you have an iPod (2, Informative)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111100)

You can purchase the Belkin media reader accessory. It takes the pictures and transferes them to your iPod. You can get iPods up to 40gigs if need be. It reads all types of digital camera cards, isn't too bulky, and doesn't eat up too much power.

CompactFlash to PCMCIA adapter (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111103)

Look for a CompactFlash to PCMCIA adapter and all of a sudden your problem changes to 'find a machine with a CD reader so I can upload my pictures' to find a laptop that has a PCMCIA slot available so I can upload my pictures. In a pinch, consider a USB CompactFlash reader and all of a sudden any computer built since 2000 can probably read your files.

I am guessing that you were planning on finding some sort of computer to send the pictures to the Internet once you had them on CD, so just short circuit the equation. Also, the machines you run into along the way may very well be able to burn the files onto CD once you can pop the CF card in and let them read your files, which is your plan in the first place.

I doubt you will find a portable CF to CD device that doesn't also double as a laptop.

Re:CompactFlash to PCMCIA adapter (0, Redundant)

Yohahn (8680) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111113)

Try this one:

Re:CompactFlash to PCMCIA adapter (2, Informative)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111194)

Blarg! Between the Roadstor and the Kanguru I publicly admit to being entirely without a clue.

That said, unless the OP is going to be saving all his CDs and posting pictures to the web once he gets home, he is going to need to find a computer to read the CDs he creates while he is on the journey and the computers he finds will likely be able to read the CD directly with either a CF to PCMCIA adapter, or a USB CF reader - and both of these are incredibly light and cheap. Put the $199 from the RoadStor or Kanguru into another Gig of CF and get either adapter (USB reader, or PCMCIA adapter) and brain dump the entire thing when he finally does find a PC with a burner.

Re:CompactFlash to PCMCIA adapter (1)

Pfhor (40220) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111582)

Actually, you can find them, many other posters have listed links to them. And the other thing is, he may not have enough CF cards to last him between trips to computers to upload, whereas with a cf-cd burner, he can burn cds and erase the full cards and just keep traveling.

Apacer (3, Informative)

angst_ridden_hipster (23104) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111202)

I use the Apacer Disc Steno II [] .

Works fine.

Does exactly what you're describing. Fairly small, runs on 110-240VAC at 50-60Hz. Writes CDs at something like 24x.
You can burn multiple cards to a single CD (multisession), or a single card to multiple CDs (spanning) depending on your relative CD/Flash capacities.

It'll play your pictures as a slide show on a TV, or play DVDs, if that's what you're looking for. You can use it as a USB external CD drive for your computer, if you want. I haven't used either of these features. It does not have a built-in LCD for viewing pictures (there is one for copy status).

Here is one from EPO, which I found in the skymall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9111221) dNav&action=storeView&vid=66320891&iscrssl =
It is model MB600, Slimline Flash card to CD Recorder

As an alternative (2, Informative)

smalloy (600866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111237) [] makes the SyncBox [] which allows you to transfer USB->USB without a computer for about $32. Runs on AAAs. Especially handy if you've already got a USB hard-drive based MP3 player.

At least it'd let you empty those media cards and get to an internet cafe with a CD burner less often.

Looks like the Kangaru CD-burner (above) might meet your needs better if you can justify the price tag.

How about a portable hard drive? (1)

Daniel Wood (531906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111257)

I use an Archos GMINI 120. It has a CF reader and is a USB 2.0 20GB HDD. It will let you dump your CF card to it on the go. The Transfer speed from my CF card to the GMini is about 2mbytes/sec. That's using standard CF cards, no Ultra or 45x cards.

The only downside is a lack of disposable batteries for your use. But you might be able to rig something up with your bike, considering the power usage of the thing.

Keep a web archive instead (1)

mindslip (16677) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111284)

Hi there,

I've found myself quite happy with Gallery ( )
for this sort of thing. It's got a java applet that lets you upload
pictures, or you could upload via standard html. Thus, take your photos,
fill your card, find an internet cafe or a friendly stranger, upload the
photos, and repeat.

Gallery auto-thumbnails so you don't have to worry about mass
conversions, although it may take a bit of time if you do want to
preserve the photo's quality by uploading the full size image.

For what it's worth, I'm archiving all my old slides and have found that
a 4000-dpi 8-bit scan (Nikon Coolscan V ED scanner) saved as a
90%-quality JPEG yields about a 20mb image for a full slide frame (about
19 megapixels) which I can print at a mini-lab using a proper Fuji film
developer machine at 8" x 12" without any noticable grain or loss of
quality. Keep this in mind when you're saving pictures that you know
you'd want to frame later.

I've got other pictures scanned at 1500x1024 (1.5 megapixels) which are
great for full-screen viewing. These work out to just under a meg per
image. I've printed them up to 7x9 on an Epson R300 inkjet with proper
photo paper and ink. You can *just* tell they're printed "at home", but
they're certainly useable.

So to sum up, I'd leave a web server running with someone technical who
you can trust to maintain it, lots of disk space, a few extra flash
cards, and just do mass uploads when you can.

If you want some examples, feel free to browse to

Good luck, and have a safe ride and a great trip!

David Szego.

It doesn't really matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9111324)

When the drum brakes on that 40 year old bike finally overheat and stop working, and you're left smeared all over the pavement, your precious little camera will do nothing to stop the semi from pounding your flesh into the gravel.

40 year old 250cc bike? Please stay off the major highways.

Re:It doesn't really matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9111405)

and good luck finding replacement parts for an antique italian bike 600 miles from nowhere.

Re:It doesn't really matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9111858)

Parts for old vehicles are easier to find that parts for new vehicles. "A bit of pipe that goes here" is easier to bodge on the fly than "the whirly bit that compensates for the jiggly bit that tells the engine management system what the squiggly bit is up to".

Trickle charge your laptop. (3, Informative)

stienman (51024) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111356)

If you can find a suitable tiny laptop with burner, you'll end up with a much more flexible platform for doing what you want to do.

To trickle charge your laptop, you break the chargin into two steps:
1) Trickle charge a suitable gell cell or other battery (via solar or generator on cycle)
2) Charge laptop from battery

If you are misery with your energy, you can charge a small battery with a small solar panel on your cycle all day, then charge your laptop from the battery for an hour or two at night (or simply use the battery for power, get rid of the laptop battery)

Pros: get to charge battery all day, don't need to leave laptop with charger or cycle while battery is charging (safer).

Cons: have to lug around another 5-10 pounds of stuff.

Also, you might consider using an ipaq or similar pda. It'll be less power hungry and time consuming than a cd burner, and with built in wireless you're liable to find more open hotspots than you are liable to find cyber cafe's. Connection and transmission speed should be higher going directly from the flash card to the wireless internet than from flash to cd to computer to wired internet.


Two MuVo2s + USB2.0 CF Reader = solution (3, Insightful)

SchnauzerGuy (647948) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111396)

Just buy a couple of $200 MuVo2 MP3 players, extract the 4GB compact flash cards [] , and you have more than enough storage for the whole trip on 2 cards. Or if your camera doesn't support Type III CF or are worried about moving parts, buy several cheap 512MB solid state cards.

Either way, it is going to be more compact and reliable than dragging around a fragile CD writer + batteries and, unless you hope to buy them along the way, fragile and bulky CD-R discs. Copy the Win98 drivers onto a floppy, and you'll have no problem finding a compatible computer to upload images from the CF cards.

Re:Two MuVo2s + USB2.0 CF Reader = solution (1)

angst_ridden_hipster (23104) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112709)

I dunno. You probably don't shoot as many pictures as some of us do.

A sustained 3 fps chews up memory like a mofo, especially when you're shooting at 3008 x 2000.

My philosophy is shoot 'em all, and sort it out when you get home. The time spent during traveling is best spent experiencing everything; I'll have plenty of time to sort and organize when I get back home.

Re:Two MuVo2s + USB2.0 CF Reader = solution (1)

SchnauzerGuy (647948) | more than 10 years ago | (#9113621)

Would you take a 6MP camera capable of shooting 3 frames per second(!) on an around the world trip on the back of a 40 year old Italian motorcycle? I wouldn't.

Even if you did, at an average of 2,200kB per image with acceptable compression from a 6.1MP camera (that is about what I typically see), you could get upwards of 3700 pictures on the 2 4GB cards. That's 10 "keeper" pictures every day for a year. If that is not enough, just keep buying those $200 MuVo2s.

Re:Two MuVo2s + USB2.0 CF Reader = solution (1)

angst_ridden_hipster (23104) | more than 10 years ago | (#9121738)

Having been hit by a car while on a motorized cycle here in Los Angeles, and listening to the EMTs progressively giving up on saving the guy on the neighboring gurney (a motorcycle crash victim) while bleeding, hurting, and waiting to be stitched up, I'd be very unlikely to go on public roads on a motorcycle of any sort. Hearing EMTs react in horror to a person's condition is pretty traumatic ("Oh my god! OK, forget about the legs, they'll have to come off, but let's see if we can at least save that one arm.")

Trying to veer back onto topic, though, having a few high capacity CF cards works. I'm a little distrustful of how they stand up to rough transport (a similar problem exists with the Apacer, of course), foreign airport X-Ray machines, etc.

One advantage of a CDR solution is you can burn multiple copies. You can give digital copies of pictures to people in mere minutes, which is useful in developed countries. Still, a CDR-based solution does have that single-point-of-failure problem.

I guess in the end, it comes down to a question of personal priorities and style.

Re:Two MuVo2s + USB2.0 CF Reader = solution (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9124391)

Yeah, life's fun like that. I'm pretty cautious. 10 years of motorcycle riding and I haven't gone down yet. I know it's coming though. The best train of thought is to assume everyone is out to get you, and no matter where you are, someone's going to turn in front of you.

But veering as you said, I'm just looking for a reliable way to load photos onto my site from an internet cafe. No idea what sort of computers are around the world, so I figure burn 'em onto a cd. It'd be the easiest way of loading them, I think.

Re:Two MuVo2s + USB2.0 CF Reader = solution (1)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9114170)

Note: The 4GB storage on the MuVo2 is a drive, not flash. Read the link for specific details (it doesn't work on all compact flash capable cameras).

A Harddrive is worth (a bunch of) CDs. (2, Informative)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111412)

You might look to a portable harddrive storage unit. Some have various media readers built in. The reason I suggest that is due to the fact that you're going to have quite a bit of dust grit and gravel working into everything, plus potential wipeouts. All of which adds up to the CD's survival being dubious. A parked harddrive (when shutdown), wrapped in a shirt (and the shockproof shell it comes with), seems to be much more likely to survive.

By the way, if you have any sort of sendoff from Sacto, let me know, and I'll buy you a beer. I was at the Trekkies II filming and also heard you (I think it was you) on KDVS awhile back, and I've been following your plans for travel here on Slashdot. No Kill I is one of the reasons I moved cross country. A region thick with Star Trek bands that don't take themselves seriously seemed pretty cool.

Good luck with the trip.

Evan "Gorn Subgenius"

trying to avoid the word blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9111508)

by putting it in the article seems dumb as hell

Are you russian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9111637)

I'm riding a 40-year-old, Italian made 250cc motorcycle round the world and doing a journal with pictures

Do you happen to be a hot Russian chick who is known for riding through Chernobyle? :D

Re:Are you russian? (1)

itwerx (165526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111866)

I'm riding a 40-year-old, Italian made 250cc motorcycle round the world and doing a journal with pictures

Do you happen to be a hot Russian chick who is known for riding through Chernobyle? :D

Wrong bike.
And while she may or may not be considered hot (literally, even! :) she's not known for being stupid which, as other posters have pointed out, this particular stunt appears to be.
I'm darn sure not inviting him to my town, I'd have him camped in my living room for a month while he tried to get parts! Rofl...

seems crazy (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111668)

to carry around a laptop or burner that will just get destroyed/stolen.
I would use maybe 10 256MB CF cards and bring a $10 usb card reader
the large number of CF cards also provides a small measure of "redundancy"

Re:seems crazy (1)

cryptozoologist (88536) | more than 10 years ago | (#9117286)

i second this post. get lots of memory and use a modest camera (say 2 mega pixels) that will store lots of pics in not a lot of room.

even if you can't trickle charge a laptop, as long as you can kick start your bike, you don't have to worry too much about using its battery for your electronics.

HD 6 in 1 memory card reader (3, Interesting)

p7 (245321) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111781)

Here is another option. It's just a battery operated HD that you can copy memory cards to. Then it hooks up with USB, as an removeable drive. Probably won't need drivers on Linux, Win2k or WinXP. en=PROD&Store_Code=T00107&Product_Code=602 0

The only caveat would be that you need to be able to hook up to a USB port at the Internet Cafe.

Can't remember what mine is, but it I found it for USD$99 for 10GB storage.

Why are the CD's in the equation (3, Insightful)

jhoger (519683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9111892)

You didn't say why you are recording onto CD...

Why not just buy extra flash cards, enough so that you don't fill them up completely between cafes.

Then use a wireless PDA with flash reader to upload in the cafe, but if you're lucky the will already have a flash reader.

-- John.

Archos Multimedia (2, Informative)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112005)

I've got one of these - it's essentially a 20 gig HD with enough processing power on board to play and record audio and video.

The package I got included a gizmo that let me read compact flash, so I was able to backup all my Honeymoon photos to this device while travelling.
It is possible to charge it a lot more easily than a laptop and since it only needs to run for as long as it takes to transfer photos then it could probably go a long time between charges.

It's also a standard USB hard disk so you can plug it in to a regular PC at an opportune moment and back up things further.

SONY (1)

ivanandre (265129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112266)

Buy a Sony Mavica Cd-350 or CD-500
Burn your photo/video directly in CD...

Re:SONY (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112643)

The parent is underrated. The Sony Mavica cameras offer a single, simple solution to your problem, as they burn directly to 8cm CD. The first CD-based Mavica also had a 10x optical zoom. Newer ones will burn to CDRW.

Kiosks (2, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112793)

I was wandering around Perth city yesterday and I came across at least three kiosks designed specificly to burn flash cards to CD. And I didn't even go into an Internet Cafe, these were in and about camera stores.

Also, will you be staying with friends? I burnt some photos to CD for friends travelling with a Kodak CF-based camera. I don't know what most other people are like, but my home PC can read SM, CF and MMC, at work we can also read Memory Stick, and a couple of close friends can read SD.

Re:Kiosks (1)

ffsnjb (238634) | more than 10 years ago | (#9113424)

I would be really surprised if you can read MMC but not SD, as the formfactor is the same. SD just has the write protect switch.

Re:Kiosks (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9113744)

MMC is older. SD has more contacts and is slightly thicker. I have a Sandisk USB MMC reader/writer that pre-dates SD, therefore doesn't support it. Also, my (original, with the USB access to the flash card) N-Gage supports MMC but not SD.

Be surprised if someone says they have SD support but not MMC.

Yes you CAN trickle-charge a battery from a cycle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112827)

(Tau Zero, posting AC because I gave a couple up-mods above and don't want to cancel them.)

If your laptop has a vehicle power cord for charging from a car, you can use it. What you need to do is three-fold:

  1. Rectify the AC from the bike. Your AC alternator output is not a problem for a full-wave bridge rectifier [] . You'll probably want to add the filter capacitor in the last graphic. Yes, this means that your positive and negative will not be referenced to the bike frame. So what? The computer's case is plastic.
  2. Limit the current so that the alternator is not overtaxed. This is easily done with a resistor, though you will have to get something with a high enough power rating that it won't burn out. More on this below.
  3. A voltage regulator to prevent over-powering the electronics. This is probably not an issue for most circumstances, but you want to be careful.
First, the bridge. If your alternator outputs a sine wave and your RMS (root mean square) voltage is 12 VAC, the peak voltage from the alternator will be about 17 volts (this will likely be different for non-sinusoidal waveforms). A silicon diode drops about 0.7 volts, so two diode drops gives you a peak output voltage of roughly 15.6 volts; the average will be lower, but if you charge a capacitor you can feed the load from it while the alternator's voltage isn't up there.

Next, the resistor. You want to limit the maximum current so that the bike will keep running even while the laptop is pulling as much current as you'll let it. Suppose you want to limit the power to 20 watts peak, with the alternator cranking out 17 volts and the laptop pulling enough current to bring its end down to 10 volts. Your current supply from the alternator is 20 watts/17 volts = 1.18 amps. Two diode drops from the alternator gives you 15.6 volts peak; assume another 0.7 volts for a low-dropout linear regulator and you get 14.9 volts, and the difference between 14.9 volts and 10 volts is 4.9 volts. 4.9 volts/1.18 amps = 4.2 ohms. Peak dissipation will be about 6 watts, though the average will be lower. If you can get a 4-ohm, 5-watt resistor and put it somewhere that it gets cooling air, you should be fine.

Last, the regulator. Wiki wimped out and failed to put a schematic of a linear regulator on-line, but I found this data sheet [] for a 3-terminal version. Whether you go with a 3-terminal regulator or roll your own with a power transistor (the simplest usable circuit has all of five components), you'll want to get about 12 volts out. Feed this into your laptop's vehicle power cord, and you're cooking with gas. Oh, and don't forget the fuse! An indicator LED would be a nice touch, but isn't essential - if you do this, run it from the regulated output so you can verify that power is getting to the end. For bonus points, put a 9-volt zener diode in series with the LED so that it doesn't light up until you see close to 11 volts at the output. If you do the LED trick, you'll need to adjust the value of its limiting resistor appropriately; if the regulator puts out 12 VDC and the LED's on-voltage is 10.7, you'll want a ~65 ohm resistor to limit the LED current to 20 milliamperes. This value is not sensitive, and a 1/4 watt resistor should be plenty.

Caveat 1: The series resistor and the regulator will dissipate significant power, and will need to be heat-sinked. You may want to build this affair into a small electronics box and mount those components onto a finned aluminum heat sink forming one side. Mount this where it will get some cool air.

Caveat 2: You'll want to check charging performance before you depend on this thing. Run your laptop down, plug it in and go for a ride.

Re:Yes you CAN trickle-charge a battery from a cyc (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9114681)

Howdy Tau Zero,

Old Ducatis are 6 volt typically running with a 40 or 60 watt alternator. This bike will be updated with a 12 volt system and a (Honda or Yamaha) electronic ignition instead of points. I'm not sure how many watts the alternator will put out.

When I asked about trickle charging a laptop battery before, it wasn't working out. It got a lot of "you're an idiot" type responses, but the helpful ones said even if it works, trickle charging is hell on laptop batteries.

I forwarded the good responses to an electronic engineer who restores old Ducatis. He was going to build something for me, but it didn't seem like it'd work out based on his knowledge and training and the helpful posts from slashdot.

PDA (2, Interesting)

ikeleib (125180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112937)

get a PDA with 802.11 and a compact flash card (toshiba e740). Upload the pictures wirelessly. Very small. Can be had real cheap.

Wal Mart (1)

emplynx (735511) | more than 10 years ago | (#9113223)

Walmart has these computer setups in their photo section. You put in your card, and you can get one hour prints or have it burned to a CD (in about an hour). It's not too expensive either.

Re:Wal Mart (1)

wcb4 (75520) | more than 10 years ago | (#9113648)

While we seem to have Walmarts every 2 miles here in the US, they are not world-wide, at least not yet, give them time, they are working on it.

Re:Wal Mart (1)

emplynx (735511) | more than 10 years ago | (#9113872)

My bad. I missed the Australia part.

Apple iPod? (1)

GreenKiwi (221281) | more than 10 years ago | (#9114016)

What about an Apple iPod. The new ones with the flash adapter will suck the data right into the device. Don't know about charging, but I do know that they have battery packs for them. Charging might be an option too. You get music and picture storage. 40GB is a lot of pics.

Get an Ipod and Belkin iPod Media Reader (1)

serialdj (593159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9115683)

If your Digital Camera is CF then pick up this combo, use an Ipod as a photo library. Insert a CF card and transfer all photos on it to the Ipod's HD, and then clear the card for use again.

Why can't you charge your laptop? (1)

deadweight (681827) | more than 10 years ago | (#9117765)

Inverters are quite cheap. See gory=42167&item=3480410775&rd=1 for just one example. (I picked this at random, there are 1,000s of inverters on EBay.)

Re:Why can't you charge your laptop? (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9119051)

The alternator doesn't put out enough power. Even on newer bikes, there's often problems with powering heated suits.
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