Guerilla Charge

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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llile   1 kW

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Guerilla Charge

Post by llile » May 08 2016 9:22am

"Opportunity charge" seems to be the correct term if you asked permission, "Guerilla charge" if you didn't. Either way this is a small charge obtained while on the road to extend your range

Do you look for opportunity charges? Have you been kicked out of places for charging? Do you ask permission or just plug in?


I'm always running out of juice and regularly have to find places to plug in - my regular route is just near the end of my battery range. Lately many of the places I used to use have evaporated. Some, the power is just shut off to the outdoor outlets. Others, the GFI outlet has blown and cannot be reset, because most of these are junk. I inspect construction sites, and many GFI outlets quit working between the time they are installed and the time I inspect them - reset no longer works - junk.

Sometimes I've plugged in, only to return and find my cord unplugged and thrown across the bike, in a "f*&%$# you" sort of way.

Many public parks seem to have outlets, but they are often shut off if the park isn't rented for a party or something. Vending machines are a good bet, except you may blow a breaker if you've got a charger over 400 watts or so.

I told a restaurant owner I'd patronize his restaurant every time I plugged in, and he was really happy about that. Great food BTW. However, his outdoor GFI plug has now failed, and it is one he cares nothing about. I may just fix it for him just so I can plug in again. He complained about people pirating juice without permission, for instance an RV plugging in one time.

Any stories? Tips? Disasters?

craneplaneguy   10 kW

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by craneplaneguy » May 08 2016 8:38pm

I will have some stories I'm sure in a few months. Guerilla charging....I like it! It will be part of the fun, like when I need fuel for the airplane I never, NEVER, get it an airport, but figure out how to get to a plain old gas station. Most pilots think that's a huge PITA, I think of it as part of the challenge, plus I save a boatload of money doing it that way. I also get to usually eat lunch or breakfast while I'm on a fuel run, or buy whatever if I'm camping out that night.

One thing I have not done yet, but will, is charge the battery/batteries from a 300 watt inverter that I have, while driving my 45 MPG Yaris to a far away bike ride. Too many amps draw to use a stock cigarette lighter plug in , they are usually good for 15 amps at most. I ran a separate circuit through my cars firewall using larger wire, protected by a circuit breaker, and won't use a lighter plug but a dedicated higher amp set of posts I can clip the alligator clips off the small inverter directly to.

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Sunder   100 MW

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by Sunder » May 08 2016 8:47pm

I have an app called "ChargePoint", which lists ChaDeMo, J1772, and NEMA (common power point) type plugs near me. It only lists "official" ones (chargers that the owners have registered), and not just publicly accessible ones. That would be really nice if it did, but probably border on illegal.

I use it only for my car at the moment, but it's cheaper than I thought to get a J1772 to NEMA adaptors, and I have a 1kw 12S charger, that would top up my ebike pack in about 45 mins. Thing is, I have an oversized pack for the range I do, and so I never get low enough to charge on the go.

If you want a quick and dirty "Opportunistic" charge, then building or buying a J1772 to NEMA adaptor and a really big charger would be the go.
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by mikebikerad » May 08 2016 11:59pm

In the limited amount of longer range trips I have done on an ebike I have never had a problem getting access to an outlet, the biggest problem being people who let you charge, but are not super frindly about it, everyone else has been very friendly. We are really lucky in Seattle area as you can take the battery off the ebike (if you have that luxury) and charge it inside the ferrys while grabbing a snack for the ~1 hour long ride.

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by Eskimo » May 09 2016 12:15am

Different gas stations are the best around here. What sometimes buzzes is that people think that your charging is gonna suck the whole grid dry, when in fact it takes just something like six cents worth of juice. It is hard for people to understand that you just rode 100 miles and your charge is using the same amount of electrons than their fridge.
I have used camp sites, mobile home plugs, gas station wash line plugs, airport restaurant staff room plug, wall plugs that were located ten feet high from the ground, etc.
My latest opportunity charge few days ago (pic). 200,2km in a day. They did not offer any kind of meals but i ate almost all their sandwich rolls.
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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by MadRhino » May 10 2016 8:53am

Street light posts have a service door, not very hard to open, with a lot of Amps available for quick charging. :wink:
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by izeman » May 10 2016 9:25am

I always ask if i could use their outlet and never had a problem.
I would never steal it. No matter how little money it is.

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by molybdenum » May 10 2016 10:18am

The small mom and pop type independent businesses are your best bet for a quick charge, as the owners tend to take pride in customer service and establishing a sense of community. You can sit down for a coffee, meet interesting people and hear about the latest happenings. Franchises - not so much, as the employees tend to fear management and aren't permitted to make decisions.

I always ask before I charge.
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by ecycler » May 10 2016 11:07am

One day I want to enter the Icarus Trophy race and use guerilla charging. I am pretty sure it would be an advantage over the guys limited to finding landing zones near gas stations. It is going to take me a few years to get a machine built, tuned, the reliability proven, and everything dialed in before even attempting such a thing. Hopefully they don't change the rules by then!
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by amberwolf » May 10 2016 1:14pm

craneplaneguy wrote:won't use a lighter plug but a dedicated higher amp set of posts I can clip the alligator clips off the small inverter directly to.
If you're wiring it up custom anyway, why not use a dedicated connector capable of the current level you expect?

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tiny_n_terrible   100 W

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by tiny_n_terrible » May 10 2016 3:02pm

This thread is disturbing.

When I owned a house I had many cases of theft of service.

Water to fill an rv holding tank .
Then a line of rv's
An rv's airconditioner plugged into my outside plug.
Many other instances where my water ,power became some thieves property.
In all cases the police were called.
It is really expensive to retrieve your stuff from an impound yard.
After serving time.

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cal3thousand   1.21 GW

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by cal3thousand » May 10 2016 3:48pm

For opportunity charging, the less your charger and pack look like a bomb, the more likely you are to receive a positive response. So a Satiator with an LCD display and without a fan is nearly perfect. I want an ebike charge spot app that we can use to share good charging locations. I like Mom and pop shops, but also like some chains. Panera and starbucks are very good about giving juice. In Panera, they have a counter and each seat has it's own plug. This is another reason that I build all my packs to be removable.
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llile   1 kW

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by llile » May 10 2016 5:26pm

tiny_n_terrible wrote:This thread is disturbing.

When I owned a house I had many cases of theft of service.

Water to fill an rv holding tank .
Then a line of rv's
An rv's airconditioner plugged into my outside plug.
Many other instances where my water ,power became some thieves property.
In all cases the police were called.
It is really expensive to retrieve your stuff from an impound yard.
After serving time.

Yep, much better to ask. Sometimes I ask, and sometimes I can't find anyone to ask, or the person I ask isn't the person guarding the plugs. I've become far less bold about stealing juice, and far more bold about asking permission after a few incidents. Totally agree with your sentiment and warning

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by craneplaneguy » May 10 2016 9:20pm

amberwolf wrote:
craneplaneguy wrote:won't use a lighter plug but a dedicated higher amp set of posts I can clip the alligator clips off the small inverter directly to.
If you're wiring it up custom anyway, why not use a dedicated connector capable of the current level you expect?
No particular reason, just lazy and cheap! The cheap little inverter I have came with a fairly heavy duty looking plug, plus color coded gator clips that are handy for working directly off a battery, I have some crimp connecters with a 1/4" ring terminal and also some 1/4" stainless bolts, and some scrap delrin/plastic. Drill a couple holes in the plastic, run the bolts in there, wire it up and screw it to the bottom of my panel in the car and I'm done. A short length of scrap 1/4" fuel line over the positive lead would protect it when not in use, plus it will have a 30 amp inline fuse.

I checked the amp draw of the inverter again (did it months ago, forgot how much), using my LUNA charger at the 3 amp setting, it draws a hair over 20 amps out of the battery. I bought some 30 amp fuses today, and will for now just use the auto type plug and see if it handles that current alright. My Yaris has a an aftermarket ScanGauge plugged into the engine computer, giving me real time fuel consumption along with many other tidbits, I'd bet that once up to cruising and then putting a 20 amp suck on it, I'll lose a few .10's of MPG.

More crap to haul around, but one of these would show anyone bothering to look the minuscule amount of power involved! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RG ... SAZ121JAXX

I can see me recharging at unattended small airstrip pilot shacks, that have a bathroom, a couch, and are intended as a safe refuge for transient pilots, as opposed to flying on into bad weather. I would have no qualms about "stealing" that power, I'd leave a buck, along with a short note saying I used .25 cents (if that) worth of power, and for what (as an educational tool), a private home, without asking? No. Someplace I'm eating at or whatever, hell yeah. It will probably pay to make sure to keep several dollar bills in my pocket, just for this purpose. Maybe dollar coins (they still make those I think......,) just for the hell of it.

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tiny_n_terrible   100 W

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by tiny_n_terrible » May 10 2016 10:11pm

Every thing that can be used has allready been used by the hordes of snowbirds in their rv's. They decend upon some places like locusts. Every thing that you are trying to do has allready been done to death.
Where would I get some power for free . Well maybe not free. Any casino will probably let you charge your bicycle while you gamble. Ask valet parking They let rv.s do it. Hope you win. Maybe you will get comped a free meal, or a nights stay.

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by Eskimo » May 10 2016 11:50pm

molybdenum wrote:The small mom and pop type independent businesses are your best bet for a quick charge, as the owners tend to take pride in customer service and establishing a sense of community. You can sit down for a coffee, meet interesting people and hear about the latest happenings. Franchises - not so much, as the employees tend to fear management and aren't permitted to make decisions.
Definitely agree with this. Highway cafes which sell gas. Those places have loose and cozy atmosphere, you can see Hell"s Angel, hunters with a shotgun, or thirty lycras buying coffee.
I usually pay something between 2-5 euros for charge. It"s always "no no no, we don"t want anything", but in reality they like it. You are usually the first one ever asking a plug.
Plug? why? for charging your ride? wow! what"s that? Annie! take the customers, i gotta see this thing. Sure, charge all you want, never seen anything like that.
Big gas station chain stations are not good. Plugs are hard to find and whole place is like some kind of amusement park full of kids and parents. Everything is polished and produced, no place for a ramshackle bohemian e-biker with his weird requirements.
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by ecycler » May 11 2016 10:38am

tiny_n_terrible wrote:Every thing that can be used has allready been used by the hordes of snowbirds in their rv's. They decend upon some places like locusts. Every thing that you are trying to do has allready been done to death.
Where would I get some power for free . Well maybe not free. Any casino will probably let you charge your bicycle while you gamble. Ask valet parking They let rv.s do it. Hope you win. Maybe you will get comped a free meal, or a nights stay.
Where do you live that numerous RV's pull up to your house and try to steal your power and water?!?! I can't imagine the nerve of someone doing that to a private home, but I am so accustomed to plugging in my computer/phone/etc. when traveling and patronizing businesses, airports, etc. that I don't even think about it anymore.

Also, some newer McDonalds builds near highways are like internet cafes. They advertise their free wifi and have ample plugs set up on low top and high top counters for plugging in devices. My wife and I had to use one this weekend when she was on call and without a car charger for her phone. I guess the blessing and the curse of the new Nexus 6p. It charges super fast, but gone are the days of all Android phones using either micro or mini USB.
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by wineboyrider » May 11 2016 1:27pm

Dogman and I rode to a state park with an RV hookup and asked if we could rent a plug and he said "No only for RV's" So Dogman and I parked our bicycles at the RV outlet ate our lunch whilst juicing up...
ES IS SAVED! THANK YOU JUSTIN.

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llile   1 kW

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by llile » May 11 2016 11:10pm

I'm revamping my battery setup, and am going to make it portable. I had portable batteries on my last rig, and many's the time I was in a restaurant with these two suspicious-looking ammo boxes with cords coming out of them.

Without portable batteries I've been limited to charging where I could park. No plug near the bike rack means limited charging or a long cord. Often it meant the bike was only locked to itself, not to a solid object. Although it is heavy to lug, having a battery with a handle will allow me a lot more choice in charging locations. Also, asking "Can I plug in my battery?" seems like less of a big favor than "Can I plug in my bike?"

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by Lurkin » May 12 2016 3:03am

Dolphin packs are inconspicuous for stealth charging. Unfortunately needs higher charge ratings for perfection of guerilla charging as max of 3a on charge sockets.

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by MrDude_1 » May 12 2016 9:15am

llile wrote:I'm revamping my battery setup, and am going to make it portable. I had portable batteries on my last rig, and many's the time I was in a restaurant with these two suspicious-looking ammo boxes with cords coming out of them.

Without portable batteries I've been limited to charging where I could park. No plug near the bike rack means limited charging or a long cord. Often it meant the bike was only locked to itself, not to a solid object. Although it is heavy to lug, having a battery with a handle will allow me a lot more choice in charging locations. Also, asking "Can I plug in my battery?" seems like less of a big favor than "Can I plug in my bike?"
If you make it fit in a backpack (or modify the backpack to fit it) it becomes easier to "lug" into a place and plug in.
One of my portable chargers is actually shaped like a laptop just so it fits in the laptop slot of a backpack... that way I just pull out the factory looking charger, and plug it in. A casual glance looks like a folded laptop plugged into the wall. nothing unusual.
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by miro13car » May 12 2016 2:01pm

Goverment facilites,
Schools, officies,
Do you not pay taxes??

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MrDude_1   100 kW

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by MrDude_1 » May 12 2016 2:39pm

miro13car wrote:Goverment facilites,
Schools, officies,
Do you not pay taxes??

uhh. Can you edit this one more time to expand on your thoughts?
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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by Lurkin » May 12 2016 3:29pm

Probably meaning you have paid tax, ergo you have already paid for these facilities, justifying charging from them.

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Re: Guerilla Charge

Post by miro13car » May 12 2016 7:04pm

Exactely.
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