Charging and powering all those electrical motorcycle accessories you carry with you on your travels can be a nightmare. There’s your phone, camera, Bluetooth headset, GPS, CB, heated vest … the list goes on. Thankfully, this compact little device is now making my travelling life a little simpler. It’s a MotoPlug dual-port USB adapter that simply plugs into any motorcycle 12V socket and will charge two devices at once via USB connectors.
It’s the size of an old cigarette lighter, so I can take it with me in my jacket pocket. It suits me because I ride and review a variety of bikes and I can just plug into any bike I’m on that comes with a 12V socket.
MotoPlug claims it will charge any iPhone, iPod, iPad, Blackberry, Garmin GPS, Droid, a variety of helmet cams and many other products with a USB charging port. I’ve tried it with Nikon and Canon SLR cameras, a Bluetooth headset, my iPhone and even my iPad and it works just fine. The unit lights up with a blue light to indicate it is powered or charging.
However, make sure you don’t plug in too much or too often and drain your bike’s battery. Normal top-up charges for a camera or phone won’t flatten your battery unless it’s on its last legs. If it does, get a new battery before you are stranded! Overnight charging of a couple of items may cause dramas for some batteries. If that’s the case, get a more powerful battery such as one of the new lightweight and long-life anti-gravity or lithium units.
If you are powering a GPS and CB constantly while riding, you may also need to investigate getting a more robust alternator. Some bikes, such as the new Triumph adventure range come with more powerful alternators to suit the growing number of accessories riders are plugging in for their travels.
The MotoPlug adapter provides a maximum of 2 Amps of output current so it will supply 2 Amps to one product, but share the 2 Amps if you plug in two devices. That means it will take longer to charge up your phone if you also plug in another device. For the technically minded, the input voltage is 12V-24V/±4.0V and the output voltage is 5V±0.25V.
The adapter comes with a waterproof rubber cap that protects the USB inputs. The cap is tethered to the unit so you won’t lose it, although you can also take the cap off completely.
MotoPlug gear is sold in Australia through NSW family-owned company, Rocky Creek Designs and costs just $22. A great investment to make sure you don’t run out of phone charge just when you really need it.