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Finding places to charge your phone (and get WiFi) while homeless, etc.

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by bluebird48, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. bluebird48

    bluebird48 Member
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    Perhaps an unusual question but I think, a very valid one (at least I hope).

    I have been wondering for a long time how people affected by the recession (and who find themselves homeless) are still able to use their phones. I see these people on TV, on my way to the store, I hear about them, etc. They are homeless but still have a cellphone and use it to find work, call family members and friends, look for assistance and many other things. Out on the streets, their phone becomes their life-line. A survival tool.

    But I don't have a clue how they are keeping their phone charged. Are there free or paid "charging stations" around the country for cell phone owners?. Are they sneaking into various places of business and plugging their phone in for a few minutes here and there?. Are they charging it at homeless shelters...churches...public libraries...some other place...?.

    I guess the basic premise of my question is this; how does one charge their phone (and keep it charged regularly) when one is homeless, on an extended camping trip, hiking a trail, hunting, hitchhiking cross-country, during a disaster (like a hurricane) or other situation where they may not always have a readily available power source (or a vehicle, generator, spare batteries, etc)?.

    As a footnote to this first question, how does a person who becomes homeless and has been forced to cancel service find WiFi spots so that they can still use their phone?. Do they just hop from place to place where free WiFi is offered?.

    Just trying to get an education here and this is something I have always wondered about.

    Thanks, BB
     

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  2. John Redcorn

    John Redcorn Android Enthusiast
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    courthouse and airport here have charging stations with a little locker type thing you put your phone in. Not sure if it's free.

    Charge from car, a usb power pack from mono price, solar panel from harbor freight, or a generator.

    I have a 6kw generator that will run everything I have except my AC (gas heat works on genny). I've only ever used once (for a week!) I've made myself a rule that I won't go through the work to mess with it unless the power's gone out for 12 hrs or more. (or there's reports it will be out for a long time) I'd just use my truck/power inverter to watch tv, charge phone, run cable modem/router for short outages.
     
  3. _mw_

    _mw_ Android Enthusiast
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    Doesn't help with camping or in some disasters, but telephone poles. You'd be surprised how many have outlets.
     
    AZgl1500 likes this.
  4. bluebird48

    bluebird48 Member
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    Just bought a Solio Rocsta Hybrid Solar Charger w/ LED Light Tip. 5 volt/1,000MA. Charges in 8-10 hours with solar, 4-5 hours via USB. Neat device. I bought one adapter for my HTC Inspire and another universal Nokia adapter for my e71x and 6570. Thanks for all the useful info people! :)
     
  5. skotia

    skotia Lurker
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    I have been living "homeless" in my honda civic since January. I worked and saved and hustled on the side. Doing so I had many places to crash and charge phone. I also carry a external battery for emergencies. most malls have charging stations, a lot of restrooms, restaurants, McDonald's, books a million, coffee shops, motels, hotels, wal mart, street lights, laptop's, tvs, computer's, telephone poles, solar chargers, etc etc ad infinutun. point is, theirs plenty of places to charge your phone. Gym memberships are great if you're homeless or living in car or couch surfing because they have outlets, lockers and showera. open 24 7.
     
    electricpete, AZgl1500 and Omar Days like this.
  6. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    In metro areas maybe, but I have yet to see one in Rural America...

    I used to live in Phoenix, AZ and never saw one there.... but I have been away from there now 4 years.
     
  7. staypuft1652

    staypuft1652 Member
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    Mcdonalds, public libraries, various stores have free wifi and usually ac outlets. I think that is how it is done usually, can have pretty much any out of service smartphone and use wifi to send texts, calls are possible but with more work from my understanding. Most places wont be too upset if you use their outlets etc if you can scrounge up money for a coffee etc, or just go into places when crowded.
     
  8. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    Retired and loving it.
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    I really feel for folks who thru no fault of their own, are suddenly out of a job.
    Here in rural Tulsa, OK in the middle of the oilfield country, we have had oilfield jobs dropping like flies. almost 10,000 jobs gone over night just from one company! Replacing that kind of income and keeping up a mortgage, your kids in school, a roof over their heads. It is a nightmare.

    if you don't have a roof to sleep under, the heat can cause a lot of problems... we have been running humidity figures of 80-95 percent for weeks now, with Heat Index values reaching 105-110. For the elderly, that is a death knell. It would be for me at age 73 now, and having already suffered one heatstroke about 10 years ago.

    I'm extremely fortunate to have retired with a defined pension and no mortgage on my home. Even so, the utilities and taxes are a very considerable amount.

    It would be rough on me to have to sleep in my older F-150 w/o air conditioning.
    Right now at 11:30 PM, the outdoor temp gauge is 84*F and the humidity is 93%, that equates to a "feel like temp" of 93*F.
     
    joe71, electricpete and staypuft1652 like this.
  9. quest7

    quest7 Android Enthusiast
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    From what I have seen. Most gas stations have access outlets on the outside of their stores. And, most homeless people have older phones, that they use from mostly phone calls. So the battery may last a few days. And, if they have a library card, they can use the computer for 1 hour. And, some go back to the homeless shelters at the end of the day, for maybe rest and a meal. They can probably pay for a cheap phone plan, by hustling on the streets for money.
     
  10. bcrichster

    bcrichster Android Expert
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    I bought a 5500mah solar charger (can also use an outlet if available) for $13 on Amazon.com.. will charge most phones twice. I was homeless & camping in the woods with my family for most of a yr a cpl yrs ago.
    You can also make a "closed circuit" with a deep cycle (marine) battery, an efficient inverter, elec auto battery charger & Solar charger for the conversion loss.. but the elec auto battery charger (if cheap) may burn up. Now, you can save some $$ and exclude the inverter & elec auto battery charger if you use ONLY DC car outlets (cigarette lighter/pwr port style) but a decent solar panel is a must to replenish the marine battery..
     
  11. bcrichster

    bcrichster Android Expert
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    The "closed circuit" concept is standard built in ambulances but only used in extreme emergencies. Most drivers don't even know it exists on the truck
     
  12. quest7

    quest7 Android Enthusiast
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    I saw a zerolemon solar charger on amazon, but someone said, it would take several weeks to charge using sunlight. But, I would still like one, for emergencies. But, those would be a great ideal for the homeless.
     
    #12 quest7, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  13. PolkaBlueDot

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    I am lucky to be homeless with a car, so charge mainly using car charger, but my alternator is acting up so my car battery goes dead more easily, this creates a catch 22...can't charge phine because car batrery dead...can't contact anyone to give me a jump start because phone dead.
    Also, open outlets are everywhere if you look for them. Malls and businesses that decorate with lights for Christmas often have open outlets by the trees or bushes or areas where they hang their lights. Many office buildings have courtyards or lunch areas open to the public, these areas often have outlets for their employees to use. Of course places like Denny's, Starbucks, McDonalds, Bookman's, Barnes & Noble, Panera Bread, etc., have open outlets they encourage their customers to use. I always buy a small drink or coffee so I can sit inside and use their electricity and WiFi without feeling like I'm a parasite taking something for nothing.
    What is cool these days is that even if your phone service was disconnected, that phone is like a little tablet that can still access the internet & Facebook & Messenger to contact people if you can find free open WiFi, like in Walmart, or many other large retailers.
    I think I will create a map showing open outlets in this area...Phoenix, AZ and the Valley of the Sun.
     
    mikedt likes this.

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