Finish line: 80 min’s of battery life!

Wooooooohoooooooo! Total distance covered: 450km over 10 days. UMPC, Phone, Camera, GPS and Torch all topped up from Solar energy. I made it!

Distance since last post: 65km
Weather: Dark and cloudy.
Notes: Don’t drink two beers at the finish line without having something to eat first!!!



Today at about 1700 (UTC+2) I crossed the unofficial finish line on the Solar UMPC tour. The official finish happens tomorrow with my sponsors, VIA, but that will be at the same place that I enjoyed the beer shown above. For me, the tour is complete and after I’ve posted this and used up the last hour of battery life on the Samsung Q1b, I’ll be connecting back to the electricity grid to charge up my phone and umpc for the first time in 9 days ago.

Finish line!

It has been a fun and challenging time trying to balance a 450km cycle camping trip with work and a solar powered UMPC experiment but its been fully worth it. And that includes that last three days of full cloud cover and zero solar power possibilities. I’ve learned a lot about how solar energy works, how it can be applied to mobile computing and how different battery technology affects the results. But it hasn’t just been about solar energy. Its mainly been about energy efficient mobile computing, mobile Internet connectivity and the balance of tasks between a mobile phone and a UMPC. Although I managed to perform a lot of tasks on my simple mobile phone, none of the mapping updates, images, GPS tracks and detailed postings would have been possible without a UMPC and the VIA-based Samsung Q1b has been a reliable and efficient partner all the way through. It hasn’t missed a single heartbeat.

The last 65km leg up here to Duesseldorf was a fun trip. Two friends of mine, Steve Carr and Ian Emmett, came with me and we had a good fun ride. Bessy managed to clock 38.2km/h, Steve lost a mudguard and Ian managed to get a branch stuck in his (overly complex, if you ask me!) gears. Bessy has been an absolute star too and she’ll be getting a good soft rub-down when she gets home. Thanks Bessy the Blue Bakers Bike.

As we rounded the last corner of the journey and saw the Vodafone Germany HQ and a long line of riverside bars I knew it had been worth it. I feel so happy that it would be impossible to describe it within the limits of my battery life here but its been a perfect week of work. I want to start planning the next project ASAP!

Goodnight Duesseldorf. see you tomorrow on the finish line again where I’ll be showing off the Solar-UMPC kit to the journalists. I hope it doesn’t rain!

When i’m fully charged up (personally) again in the next few days i’ll be posting all the photos, an overview of the trip and a detailed report on how things can be improved. There’s a lot to be learned from the Solar-UMPC tour.

7 thoughts on “Finish line: 80 min’s of battery life!

  1. Been following the trip from Manchester. Well done. You’ve convinced me about buying an UMPC. Solar power is a struggle – you could have done with a big cape with solar cells to move and charge at the same time. Bring back the dynamo – I say.

    Looking forward to the post trip notes for top tips.

  2. Congrats! Sounds like you had a great time, I’d love to hear more about your actual bike setup and how you deal with the solar power.

  3. Chippy, I need your business card to send it to Al Gore!
    I hope that you can teach him how to go green. You did a better job than him.

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