Product review: Resonate ChargePLUS
What is it?
A simple Google search will result in numerous USB chargers for motorcycles at rather low prices. However, these don't come with any form of warranty and have questionable quality at best. Resonate is a company that strives to find solutions to life's everyday problems, motorcycle related or otherwise. Reliable and practical power supply on a motorcycle was one of the issues that Resonate identified and the ChargePLUS is their answer. It's a 2A, USB charger for any of your devices like a mobile phone, GPS navigation unit, GoPro and more.
An effcient, reliable USB source of power designed for motorcycles
How's the quality?
Excellent. The ChargePLUS is built in high quality abrasion resistant aluminium alloy and feels like it's built to last. In the box is the device with 3m of fire resistant cabling, a sticky mount, cable ties and two short but high quality flat charging cables - one micro USB and one lightning cable for Apple devices.
How does it install?
The device is built to be installed easily with reversible terminals that can be connected at either end of the battery. The KTM Duke 390 has no flat surfaces to stick the mount to so I zip tied the mount and device to the handlebar and routed the cables around the headstock, under the tank and to the battery. The cable should be long enough even for the biggest motorcycles and I had a lot of excess that was zip tied together and positioned under the front seat near the battery. With a little effort, the device can be neatly integrated with the handlebar and the cables can be hidden away for the most part.
Resonate claims an IPX7 waterproof rating which means that the device can withstand a daily wash and safely be used in the rain as long as you have a reliably waterproof phone mount. I use the Rynox phone mount which is okay for light drizzles but I won't trust it for extended periods in heavy rain. Since the device is directly wired to the battery it can charge your device even when the bike is switched off. To prevent you or someone else from draining your bike's battery, Resonate has built in a fail safe system that stops charging when it detects battery voltage has reduced to 12.1 volts - the minimum required to start a motorcycle. Nice touch that.
No handlebar clamps means using zipties to secure the sticky mount on the handlebar
How well does it work?
The ChargePLUS is rated at 2A and it charged my phone from empty to full at roughly the same rate as my similarly equipped wall charger. Crucially, it still charged the phone, albeit at a slower rate when I had Google Maps running on 3G and the display set to max brightness - the biggest strains on battery life.
Should I buy one?
There's very little to dislike - I wish it had a clamp style mount for a handlebar, something Resonate say they're working on. I think a car style 12-volt socket would have been much more usable, letting you power things like an air pump. However, Resonate say that there are some waterproofing challenges with that socket and it couldn't offer the level of assurance they'd like. A two port USB charger is in the works though. The ChargePLUS costs Rs 2,800 on Amazon and comes with a one-year warranty. Certainly not cheap, but it's easy to see where the money has gone. The ChargePLUS is a smart investment if you're into touring or if you're like me and just get lost a lot.
Price: Rs 2,800
Available at amazon.in
UPDATE: Resonate has come up with an elegant mounting solution for the ChargePlus that allows it to be mounted on the rear view mirror stalk. This system can't be used on the previous device as the design of the body has changed slightly to accommodate the mounting system. Installation is simple, just pass the cable through the two metal parts you see in the picture and screw them onto the ChargePlus. Then, remove the rear view mirror and reinstall it with the ChargePlus mount slipped onto the threaded part of the mirror. Once the mirror is seated it holds the charger in place. As with the original device, quality is excellent and there were no vibration or rattles to report. The ChargePlus that ships with this mount will be called the Pro Uno. It will retail at the same price as the standard ChargePlus and will be officially launched the IBW.
Positioned next to the old device you can see that the new mounting solution is clean and occupies less space on the handlebar