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Army puts lightweight battery chargers into the field

Even when soldiers are deployed into places with no existing power grid, they need to have their notebooks, tablets and smart phones charged up and ready to go. But batteries are heavy, and requiring soldiers to carry their own batteries for recharging might not make the most sense.

A team of Army engineers at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is on the case. 

Engineers are working on chargers with both USB ports and AC plugs that connect to military standard batteries. Since these batteries are likely already going to be requisitioned at a forward base for a variety of uses, having a much lighter recharging hub that uses them makes a whole lot of sense.

The team is making models with two, four or eight USB ports -- and they’ll be able to charge as many devices simultaneously as they have ports -- in addition to a single AC power plug. Because the chargers will weigh mere ounces compared to the pounds that a battery weighs, they are more portable. An eight-port charger for smart phones weighs 2.5 ounces; a two-port charger that works with both smart phones and tablets weighs 1.8 ounces. And a battery such as the BB-2590 can recharge a smart-phone battery 37 times before it needs recharging itself.

The team has developed chargers for smart phones and tablets and is working on a 150-watt charger with an AC adapter for charging all commercially available laptops, the Army said.

Posted by Greg Crowe on Dec 03, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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