SXSW Phone Survival Guide or I'm Lost on 6th and My Phone Battery is Dead

March 24, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I just spent seven whole days shooting South By Southwest for my agency. So there I was, the very first night walking along 6th street near Congress around midnight with 5% battery left on my iPhone 5S and no clue as to where the shuttle pickup was. "I can't Uber with my battery this low" I thought, wishing I'd paid more attention to where I was going earlier. After a week of shooting southby I was able to navigate the streets like a champ, but my poor iPhone battery couldn't keep up with my twelve to fourteen hour days. Determined not to be caught "dead battery walking" and lost again, I ordered a few components and attached them to my phone with what now can only be called the UBERFESTIVALBRICK which will recharge my phone 5-6 times in a row without needing rejuicing. From here on out this will be my festival phone battery solution. Here's how I did it. First, the power source in this solution:

This battery brick has two USB charging ports, an LED to let you know battery status, and is built like a tank. Next, the case:

You could use any case with this solution really, but I like the Spigen because it's easy to get on and off, provides superior protection, and has little corner bumper airbags built-in to absorb drop impact. It also doesn't block the headphone port or charging port which is big for me. Now to connect the phone to the battery brick:

Forty bucks for charging cables? Yeah, seems expensive except these cables are extremely well made, flexible, and are the perfect size for my custom battery solution. You could use other cables but I've had extremely good luck with these and like them quite a bit.

 

New Trent PowerPak Extreme, mophie cable, iPhone 5S with Spigen case.New Trent PowerPak Extreme, mophie cable, iPhone 5S with Spigen case.

To assemble, use some velcro (I like Scotch All Weather Fasteners) and trim four strips total to size and affix to the back of your phone case. Stick two strips together on the velcro side, then remove the sticky backing from each side. Place against your phone in the middle, and do the same for the other two strips along the bottom. Now it's a simple matter of sticking this... WAIT, make sure you are sticking your phone on the side that doesn't have the LED status indicators...to the PowerPak Xtreme and all of your strips should line up. Lastly, attach the mophie flexible cable from one USB port on the PowerPak to the plug on your phone.

Assembled: New Trent PowerPak Extreme, mophie cable, iPhone 5S with Spigen case.Assembled: New Trent PowerPak Extreme, mophie cable, iPhone 5S with Spigen case.

I use Rapid Strap and find it easy to clip frequently used items right on the chest straps. I attached a keyring loop and and Oakley clip to my festival battery solution, and keep it clipped right where I can get to it.

The beauty of this solution is you could do this with any phone using the cables provided in the mophie cable kit. The only downside to this solution is your rear camera on your phone is blocked by the PowerPak. (If you're relying on your cell phone camera for anything and not using a pro-DSLR then this solution probably isn't for you, though.)

Disclaimer: That USB drive is not made from a real thumb. I bought everything out of my own pocket but am currently entertaining gear sponsorships. If you'd like to see me ramble about your photo gear, please get in touch via the contact form. Be excellent to each other, and festival on.



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