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AlBoUK
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I am looking to set up a cache that requires powering a small MP3 player permanently. I have tried a solar power phone charger with inbuilt batteries, but it has only lasted a few days of charge before going flat.

 

Has anyone set up a similar cache or know what equipment I need?

 

I'm pretty good at putting together electronics with a diagram, but not particularly clever at designing said diagram.

 

Thanks in advance.

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I am looking to set up a cache that requires powering a small MP3 player permanently. I have tried a solar power phone charger with inbuilt batteries, but it has only lasted a few days of charge before going flat.

 

Has anyone set up a similar cache or know what equipment I need?

 

I'm pretty good at putting together electronics with a diagram, but not particularly clever at designing said diagram.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Pololu makes a great push-button power switch that draws almost zero when it is off. The cache finder pushes the button and it turns the power to the circuit on, and then the circuit turns itself off when it is finished. This reduces the current drain to almost zero while the cache is sitting idle; add in a solar-charged battery and you should be good.

 

Adafruit makes one as well.

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I am looking to set up a cache that requires powering a small MP3 player permanently. I have tried a solar power phone charger with inbuilt batteries, but it has only lasted a few days of charge before going flat.

So your device is to be playing continuously? If it's charged by a solar panel, you need a much bigger solar panel and battery. If I were to try it, it would be at a place that has an electrical outlet. Some parks or gardens (there are a couple of "gardens" around here open to the public, run by businesses) have a place to plug in.

 

As mentioned, cachers could bring their own batteries. People routinely have power banks, so if it's powered by USB, they got it. Otherwise, a momentary pushbutton or toggle switch which defaults to "off" may do. For either battery or switch, the circuit would need to be designed so that it plays from the start while the button is held. If momentarily powered, maybe your phone charger would be OK.

Edited by kunarion
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A few years ago before phone-caching became the dominant way to play, I had a conversation with someone who said they had set up a cache that needed two AA batteries, but there was no indication on the cache page of this need.

 

This field-puzzle cache (so-marked) required (if you didn't just happen to be walking around with batteries) to consider, "Hmm, here I am standing in the middle of the woods with my hand-held GPSr, and where am I going to get two AA batteries? Hmmm."

 

Some people figured it out, and some didn't. Some got annoyed.

 

Of course, some people had gear that didn't match the challenge, but it was still a fun idea.

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I have a field puzzle multi cache that needs one AA battery to power an old CD player from a computer. You have to select the correct 2 terminals out of many possible ones to open the player tray that has the final coords on it.

I say on the cache page that a battery is needed, and indeed, the name "Batteries NOT Included" is a hint as well. I've yet to have any complaints that they haven't been warned.

 

If you can't get solar to work well enough, I'd suggest trying telling people in the cache page that they need a battery (or 2) to make the cache work. It works fine for me.

Edited by BC & MsKitty
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Pololu makes a great push-button power switch that draws almost zero when it is off. The cache finder pushes the button and it turns the power to the circuit on, and then the circuit turns itself off when it is finished. This reduces the current drain to almost zero while the cache is sitting idle; add in a solar-charged battery and you should be good.

 

Adafruit makes one as well.

 

Another method might be to use a magnetic or a tilt switch. Hold a magnet to the area where the switch is or turn the WP around, sound is played and xx seconds after playing circuit shuts down.

I've seen this method a few times where a micro had a 3.5mm headphone connection and a few where the switch activated an LCD screen showing coordinates/hints.

 

The guy making them has a blog with some English posts but most are in Dutch. A translate service may help.

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