Dual WaterLily 12V - Charging the Omnicharge Omni 20

June 12, 2019

This article is about combining the power from two or more WaterLily 12V Turbines to charge your gear.

Charging with multiple turbines is a terrific feature for those who require a lot of power while off grid. Maybe you’re a digital nomad who needs to keep a laptop going most of the day. Photography and drones can also require a lot of power, especially when shooting video. Or maybe there are several people in your expedition, who all need their electronic devices topped up. Whatever the circumstances, if you need a lot of power, this setup is for you.  

To demonstrate this feature, we chose the Omni 20 from Omnicharge. It accepts up to 45W of input power. That means reduced charge times compared to most other batteries, especially the kind that charge via micro USB.

We have been using the Omni 20 for a few months now and we have to say that it is a really nice battery! Here are some of our favourite features:

  • It supports fast charging and has a hefty 71 Watt Hour capacity
  • It will add considerable running time to larger devices like laptops. In fact, it’s plugged into my Microsoft Surface 3 as I write this!
  • You can customize the output voltage to suit any kind of device
  • It comes with every connector you will need - Macbook, Surface, and various Barrel Jacks
  • It has solid construction with soft touch textured finish, giving it a high end feel

When it comes to why this battery works so well with Waterlily, here are the main points:

  • The LCD screen indicates all the battery's stats, including an input power meter. This feature is ideal for charging with portable renewable energy devices since it displays how many watts you’re harvesting and an estimated time until full. This is handy for finding the perfect spot to set up your turbine (or even finding the best angle for your solar panel).
  • The Omni 20 accepts a wide range of input voltages from a wide range of sources; Wall outlet using the provided adapter, USB, WaterLily USB OR 12V or Solar. This thing is not picky at all.  
  • Power Point Tracking. We always get the great power when using Omni 20, it has a built in power point tracker so it works the turbine hard, extracting every watt the turbine can deliver.
  • You can charge it via USB or 12V!

Being able to charge via USB or 12V means whether you own a WaterLily USB or 12V, you can charge the Omni 20. But if you want to double (or more) your charging rate you will need some Waterlily 12V turbines, and SAE to 5.5mm barrel jack adapter cables and an SAE splitter cable.

There are several splitter cables available that will connect multiple turbines in parallel. Parallel?  Wait, what?  Here’s some background: Series and parallel are the two most common ways to combine the power from sources like battery cells, solar panels, etc.  For example, series connections are used when daisy chaining multiple solar panels together; the voltage from the panels is summed while the current remains constant. In the case of WaterLily 12V, multiple turbines are connected in parallel; the voltage stays constant and the current is summed.  Because the voltage remains at 14.4V, you won’t need a charge controller for most applications.   

A 2 into 1 splitter will combine the output from two Waterlily 12v turbines (up to 30W). Wanna get crazy?  A 4 into 1 splitter will get you up to 60W.  Be sure to pick up this SAE to 5mm Barrel Jack adaptor cable to complete the connection from your turbines to the Omni20.

Once you have the gear, recharging with dual WaterLily 12V Turbines is easy:

  1. Set up both turbines in the river. Click here for tips on how to do that.
  2. Plug the turbine output cables into the double side of the 2 into 1 SAE cable splitter
  3. Plug the SAE to 5.5mm Adaptor cable into the single side of the 2 into 1 SAE cable splitter
  4. Plug the 5.5 mm Barrel jack into the Omnicharge

Here's a video to illustrate the above steps:

After a few seconds the Omni 20 will ramp up its power draw and provide an estimate for charge time. In the video above, we chose a pretty average spot and it was charging at about 8 watts. You can really ramp up the power by setting up in a faster moving current. Use the Omni 20's display to see how much power you are getting from various spots in the river.  In this next video, I tied the two turbines to another spot on the same fallen tree where the river was moving a bit faster. Here, we got 12 Watts. In the 1.5 hours it took to shoot the videos, the Omni 20 charge level increased from 23-39%.

Thanks for reading.  Do you have a question about charging your batteries using the combined power of two or more WaterLily 12V Turbines?  Let us know!

Copyright Seaformatics Systems Inc. 2021