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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Solar Chargers > Brunton Torpedo 2800 > Test Report by Marina Batzke

BRUNTON TORPEDO 2800
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
FIELD REPORT
November 01, 2014

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) hotmail (dot) com
AGE: 54
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in spring 2013. Since then, I have selectively purchased new, more lightweight gear, while I still carry some heavier gear from my car camping trips. I always hike with a group and I like the gear talk when in camp. I am a tent camper looking for ways to lighten my pack. My backpacking trips are currently weekend excursions in Southern California, USA. If my business travel allows me to get away, I try to backpack one or two weekends a month.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Brunton, Boulder, Colorado, USA
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.brunton.com
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight on Package: 4.78 oz (135 g)
Measured Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g)
Listed Dimensions on Package: 5 in (15.7 cm) x 1 in (2.5 cm) x 5 in (15.7 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 5 in (12.7 cm) x 1.06 in (2.7 cm) diameter
Other details:
On the Brunton website, I cannot locate the Torpedo 2800.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Brunton Torpedo 2800 arrived packaged inside a cardboard / blister plastic combination. I separated the two cardboard layers and pulled the Torpedo out of its plastic packaging. I then noticed a yellowish paper pouch between those two cardboard layers (behind the Torpedo) and found the folded USER MANUAL inside.
IMAGE 1
Front side packing unit
IMAGE 2
Back side packing unit

The Torpedo is 5 in (12.7 cm) long and at its black base 1.06 in (2.7 cm) diameter. When I hold the Torpedo in my hand, I can feel its weight but it does not feel heavy. My Torpedo has a black hard plastic base which I call "the handle": 2.5 in (6.3 cm) long. The Brunton name is shown in yellow on one side of this handle.

Next comes a black hard plastic ring with two projecting openings. Each opening shows two screws that hold this ring section together. I have no idea what those openings are for. Could I attach the Torpedo to something, using one or both of these openings? Or is it just the design for the screws?
IMAGE 3
Torpedo with USB output 1 and Micro USB input port

In this 1 in (2.5 cm) section on the side that shows the Brunton name in yellow, the Torpedo has the Micro USB port that I insert my cell phone cable into. Right next to this small opening is USB output 1.
IMAGE 4
USB Output 2 and tiny power button and 3 LEDs

On the opposite side, the Torpedo has USB output 2 and a small Power button with 3 tiny LED lights next to it. In Photo 4, you see the three LEDs illuminated, showing full charge. And you see part of my cell phone cable, inserted into the Micro USB input port on the opposite side.

The Torpedo's top section is 1.06 in (2.7 cm) brushed silver with a receding black hard plastic tip (0.03 in = 0.8 cm) and a metal contact (0.2 in = 0.5 cm): this whole section is the car charger input. I can insert it into a car cigarette lighter and charge the Torpedo.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

After unfolding the User Manual, I noticed the front page has use instructions in English, French and German. The English and German instructions have proper grammar and can easily be followed. The text is supported by a few drawings.

The Torpedo contains a Lithium battery that I can charge and it becomes power on-the-go. A fully charged Torpedo is said to charge:
a smart phone twice, or
an MP3 player three times, or
a head lamp twice (my head lamp does not have a recharge function; it works on batteries), or
a GPS twice, or
a video camera three times, or
a UV water purifier three times.

The User Manual recommends to first fully charge the Torpedo before using it as on-the-go power source. Brunton also recommends to recharge the Torpedo every 4 to 5 months if it has not been used, as there may be a natural power loss. Brunton also recommends to not wait til the Torpedo is fully depleted and then recharge. It is more efficient to just refill what has been used, instead of completely draining the Lithium battery for a full reloading of power.

I am very impressed by Brunton's warranty: It says on the cardboard packaging: "Buy it. Try it. Bust it. Return it. No questions asked." Brunton encourages users to register the Torpedo 2800 on their website. If anything is wrong with the Torpedo, users shall obtain a Return Authorization number and Brunton then reserves the right to repair or replace the item.

TRYING IT OUT

The Brunton Torpedo 2800 does not come with a charging cable but my cell phone cable fits into the Micro USB input port.

Using my cell phone cable, I connected the Torpedo to a wall power outlet. 2 LED indicators immediately illuminated with a constant orange, while the third LED indicator started blinking in orange. I kept walking by the Torpedo to check for any changes and that third LED indicator kept blinking ... one hour ... 2 hours ... 3 hours ... 3 hours 15 minutes ... When I next walked by at 3 hours 30 minutes, all three LEDs were a constant orange color - the blinking had stopped. The Torpedo was fully charged.

A while later, I pressed on the small Power button: all 3 LEDs illuminated in orange. The Torpedo confirmed to me that it was fully charged. After two seconds this power level indicator turned off.

INITIAL SUMMARY

+ I like the compact size of the Torpedo: it easily fits into my backpack and even into my handbag for business travel.

+ The instructions are easy to understand.

- No dislikes at this time.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Location: Sugarloaf Mountain + Big Bear, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/1 night August
Elevations: 9950 - 6700 feet (3000 - 2050 m)
Temperatures: 75 - 55 F (24 - 13 C)

Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip Duration: 2 days/1 night October
Elevations: 4000 - 3200 feet (1200 - 1000 m)
Temperatures: 84 - 60 F (29 - 16 C)

Business Trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Hotel Trip duration: 2 days/1 night October
Daytime Temperature: 92 F (33 C)

Business Trip to Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Hotel Trip duration: 5 days/4 nights October
Daytime Temperatures: 65 - 52 F (18 - 11 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

All of my Brunton Torpedo 2800 uses were to recharge my Android phone (myTouch 4G with a 1300 mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion battery).

Because I turn my phone off once I leave the trail head to go into the backcountry, I only carried the fully charged Torpedo along in my pack as back-up during the field test period.

During my recent business trips though, I used the Torpedo extensively and it helped me tremendously. On my recent trip to Boston, I walked downtown each day and used the phone's GPS to find my quickest route to the next appointment. The phone's battery drained in half or three quarters of a day, depending on GPS only or any apps additionally draining the battery power. I had the Torpedo and the cable inside my sample bag.
IMAGE 1
Torpedo + cable inside my sample bag

Once my phone started giving me low-battery alerts, I connected the phone to the Torpedo and my phone charged while I was continuing my sales visits.
IMAGE 2
Torpedo charging my phone

To be reachable, I had to leave my phone on. This resulted in the Torpedo never fully charging my cell phone: some of the charging was always immediately used up by me using the phone. But the phone recharge by the Torpedo always successfully got me through the work day. Overnight I always charged both the Torpedo and my Android phone in electrical wall outlets to start the next work day with fully charged equipment.

One Example Phone ON during recharging: I connected Torpedo when the phone battery was at 4%. After 2 hours while the phone and GPS were on, Torpedo stopped charging and the phone battery was at 41%. Torpedo still had 2 LEDs illuminated.

A few things I have noticed:
1) If I recharge my battery-drained phone while the phone is off, the Torpedo is more effective.
One Example Phone OFF: I connected Torpedo with the phone battery at 13%. After 2 hours, my phone's charging light turned off. After this first phone charge, 2 Torpedo LEDs were illuminated.

Next time, my phone battery was down to 3%. After 2.5 hours of charging, I turned the phone on and it showed 82% charged. The Torpedo had one LED illuminated. With one LED, the Torpedo does not charge my phone battery anymore.

2) A few times, my phone showed to be charged only around 40 to 50%. After I pressed RESTART (which closes all background running phone apps), once the phone came back on 10 seconds later, it occasionally showed 100% charged. Occasionally other times the phone charge stayed at 40 to 50% charge. I was getting mixed results after pressing RESTART.

3) When the Torpedo is fully charged, the three LEDs are all clearly illuminated. Once the Torpedo has been used for one or two phone recharges, I find it difficult to determine the LED brightness. One bright LED seems to cast its illumination onto the adjacent LED. At times, I want to describe 1.5 LEDs illuminated ... or one bright LED and two dim LEDs.

Only when I connect the Torpedo to power I can clearly see the recharging illuminating the first, second, third LED in increasing illumination.

4) Fully charging the Torpedo hooked into an electrical wall outlet takes 3+ hours.

SUMMARY

+ The Torpedo provides power when my cell phone runs out of battery power on an active business trip day.
+ The Torpedo and the phone charging cord fit into my work travel bag. I do not mind the extra space and weight in my sample bag.

- I am never quite certain if the tiny orange LEDs indicate 1 light or 2 lights, once the Torpedo has been used for one or two recharges.
- I do not get those advertised two full phone charges, even when my phone is turned off.

As I do not use my phone in the backcountry, I have not needed the Torpedo in the wilderness. Let's see how the Brunton Torpedo 2800 performs during my upcoming business trips and if I will actively need it on backpack outings. Thank you very much to Brunton and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this handy power pack. Please check back for my long term report in about 2 months.

Marina Batzke

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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