charging camera batteries on Tanzanian safari?

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Sep 29th, 2005, 03:18 PM
  #1
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charging camera batteries on Tanzanian safari?

Planning a safari to celebrate silver Wedding!! next July and want to be able to charge both digital still camera batteries and video.
Any hints or tips gratefully received.
we are hoping its possible even though we're staying in:
Kigongoni lodge
Olivers Camp -Tarangire
Plantation Lodge - Karatu
Olakira camp -Serengeti (seronera area)
Sayari camp (Mara)
Matemwe bungalows -Zanzibar
Emerson & Green -Stonetown

Hope someone can help. Thanks
manxie_liz is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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Hi Manxie

Congrats - and you will love Tanzania!

In general, take a 12v cigar charger for your devices as you can also charge in the vehicle during your drives. Just ask your outfitter to check that the cigar-outlet works in the vehicle!

Take extra rechargeable batteries for your devices and an external charging unit so:

a) You can use the unit while the spare battery is charging
b) You don't have to leave your camera at the charging stations! Just the external charging unit. These are cheap at RadioShack.

Tanzania uses those large 3-prong (square) variety plug.

Kigongoni and Plantation Lodge have outlets in the rooms.

At Olakira, Sayari and Oliver's you can charge in the manager's office tent.

Have a great time!
Eben


climbhighsleeplow is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 09:30 AM
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Hello,

If it's your first safari, make sure you bring enough memory for your camera - I used about 512MB a day on a 4.2MP camera on my first trip.

You may want to bring more than 1 extra battery, depending on how much photography you'll be doing -- I found that three batteries is ideal, because you can take two full ones and leave one to charge whilst out on a game drive.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 10:08 AM
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BTW -- check with your operator to see if they will let you use a lighter-based charger in their vehicles. I was going to buy one, but discovered that the company wouldn't let me use it, so I saved the money and bought an extra battery.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Julian,
What was the reason for not letting you use it? I'm bringing a battery charger with a car adaptor and didn't even to think to ask if I could use it (but will find out now to be sure).
Patty is online now  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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Manxie_liz - We have a very similar itinerary for our 5th anniversay next june and july - maybe we will meet at Olivers Camp!

carol
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Sep 30th, 2005, 10:22 AM
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Hello,

The company had decided against allowing people to use the socket to prevent potential conflicts between people who wanted to use it at the same time. A way of keeping the peace, I suppose.

With 3 batteries, I was fine, and the extra battery weighed less and was smaller than the charger. It's also not easy to find the chargers in the UK, so in the end it worked out fine.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 30th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Sorry, I assumed this is a private safari!

On a group safari with strangers managing the cigar-lighter will certainly be problemmatic.

These vehicles can emit a strong charge when the ignition is turned so one should not use the 12v chargers when the engine is cranked.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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Thanks, Julian. It will just be the two of us with one charger so that won't be a problem. I'll email them anyway just to be sure they have a functioning outlet.
Patty is online now  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Hello,

I was travelling on my own, but when I was at the camps I did share vehicles occasionally with other people (I had a private vehicle for a large portion of my safari). Having your own vehicle for the duration of the trip seems much more common in east Africa than it is in Southern Africa where I was travelling, probably because a lot of people drive from place to place whereas in Southern Africa you usually fly.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 30th, 2005, 01:28 PM
  #11
 
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One alternative to a regular 12v car charger is to take an inverter. An inverter has a plug for the cigarette lighter and a standard 110v socket on the other end for your electronic device. You can get inverters with a couple of sockets. This way, you don't need to buy 12v car chargers for each of your devices.

Additionally, you get protection against battery drain, overheating, and overloads.

Here's an example:

http://www.donrowe.com/inverters/xpower_175_micro.html

lifelist is offline  
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Jan 10th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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bat
 
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sundowner and lifelist:
I am trying to decide if I need to purchase an inverter--I should if I expect to rely on using the cigarette lighter in our vehicle? I had just planned on purchasing the cig lighter charger but your comments in this and a couple of other threads make me feel otherwise.
bat is offline  
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Jan 10th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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I ended up using the car charger many times on my trip. More than I thought I would initially as many of the places where we stayed didn't have in room/tent outlets. Plus it was just so convenient to charge on the road. I used the cigarette lighter adaptor that came with my AA battery charger.

The inverter is an interesting idea and that would've allowed me to also charge my camcorder in the vehicle.

BTW I think I fried my cell phone charger in Kenya, so perhaps some sort of surge device would be in order next time. I've not had this happen before with any other electronics.
Patty is online now  
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Jan 10th, 2006, 05:57 PM
  #14
bat
 
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I looked at the website lifelist gave and the single receptacle inverter was not very expensive (less than $50)--it may protect against surges if I understand correctly. I am a little unclear what wattage level I need if we are lookign for a dual receptacle inverter to run 2 battery chargers off it at the same time.
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Jan 10th, 2006, 06:04 PM
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bat - I've never used a cig lighter charger so I don't know. climbhighsleeplow recommends them as long as the vehicle isn't being started while your charger is plugged in. So if you are on a game drive I don't think I would try to charge. They stop and start the motor all the time on game drives.

On my trip we were also charging laptops and other devices so we used inverters. Some inverters have 2 places for plugs so 2 devices could be charging at the same time.
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Jan 10th, 2006, 07:16 PM
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I should've mentioned that I didn't bring a car charger for my cell phone, so it was actually at camp that this happened. Had I charged in the vehicle, I might have avoided the problem. I only charged batteries on travel days and not during game drives due to stopping and starting frequently.
Patty is online now  
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Jan 10th, 2006, 08:08 PM
  #17
bat
 
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thanks patty and sundowner:
sundowner: So that I understand . . . were you using the inverter in the cig lighter on game drives with stopping and starting? We are in tent camps 9 straight nights and I was counting on using the cig lighter for recharging but most days will be game drive days.
bat is offline  
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Jan 10th, 2006, 11:18 PM
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I've had no problems recharging at lodges. HOWEVER my camera also takes CR1 (I think they're called CR1) high capacity batteries. They lat for ages and I carry a set for back up. (Haven't broken the seal on the back up set yet)
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Jan 11th, 2006, 02:46 AM
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We just spent 2 weeks using the Radioshack 115v inverters in 2 cars. They worked great!

60W inverter for cameras and a 140W for notebook computers.

We used these during longer drives with no problems. There was little need to use them during game drives as we charged our devices and the end of each day in the mobile camps (generators) or in the cars (which we left idling for 30 minutes or so before we leave in the morning or at night upon return).

Once after a picnic and when the car was started it blew the fuse in the inverter (easy to replace as the fuse is in the 12v section at the front of the little device). Other times when we forgot about the devices nothing bad happened during ignition!

I suggest you bring an extra fuse or two just to be sure! All can be bought at Radioshack.
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Jan 11th, 2006, 03:00 AM
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Our inverters were plugged in all day during game drives. We were mobile camping also and we didn't have generators so the car batteries were our only source of electricity.
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