“Help”, Ö1 consumer magazine, every Saturday at 11.40 am Radio Ö1 and as Audio notation.
You have reached the top, now only the mandatory image and the battery is now empty. Even in the mountains today, nothing works without electricity. This is not so tragic when taking a selfie, but there are also emergencies in the mountains where it is important that the smartphone is charged.
Turning off the screen saves electricity
“The screen consumes the most power, so when hiking, the mobile should be set so that the screen does not light up all the time, but remains black,” says Georg Rothwangle, IT expert at the Austrian Alpine Club.
On the other hand, just making the screen darker does not save electricity. Due to the weaker contrasts, experience has shown that it takes longer for you to be able to see anything at all.
Poor internet connection drains battery
A poor internet connection also causes the battery to drain quickly. “People are often surprised that their cell phone battery lasts much shorter in the mountains than in the big city with the same settings—phone connection and mobile data connection turned on,” says Rothwangle. This is due to the fact that when mobile phone reception is poor, a lot of energy is consumed in order to maintain transmission power.
On the hiking tour, apps that download data in the background should also be closed. If you want to be on the safe side, you can turn off your mobile data connection or even switch to airplane mode altogether. Then one cannot telephone either.
Determine the location between only with GPS
If the smartphone is used as a navigation aid, it is sufficient to record the location using GPS every now and then. This hardly puts a strain on the battery. On the other hand, if the entire route is recorded using an app, this consumes electricity because the cell phone has to be constantly connected to GPS satellites. It is best to download the map material in advance and use it offline.
Videos consume much more battery than photos because the larger amount of data must be processed and stored on the cell phone. Videos and photos can be uploaded later so the cell phone will last longer. On the other hand, it is quite economical to listen to music on the go.
Avoid extreme temperatures
The temperature can also affect the smartphone. “Basically, the battery doesn’t like very high and low temperatures,” says Rothwangle. In the summer, it is advisable to store the mobile phone in a place where it is not called. “So it’s not in a black sleeve visible on the outside of the backpack when the sun is shining.”
What definitely pays off is storing the cell phone in a way that it won’t get damaged in the event of a fall.
SMS uses less power
If the battery is almost empty despite all the precautions, it is better to switch to flight mode than to turn off the device completely, because restarting it costs more energy. You can let others know via SMS that you cannot be reached by phone on the tour from now on. Sending SMS uses the least amount of battery power.
Power banks and solar panels for recharging
On long trips, it is advisable to take an extra battery with you. These power banks are available in different sizes. The larger the battery, the heavier it is and the more times you charge your smartphone with it. “We usually recommend a battery pack of at least 10,000 mAh. This can be used to charge a typical cell phone about three times,” says Rothwangel. The best power banks in the test are out there over here.
The cell phone also gets power again with the help of a solar panel. This solar charger is worn on the outside of the backpack during the day. It should be sturdy and flexible at the same time so that it fits comfortably in a backpack. However, charging the mobile phone via battery packs and solar panels is slow. It is best to connect these devices when the battery is half full.
Get help without a mobile phone
Smartphones and hiking apps are practical aids on the go, but they shouldn’t replace your own orientation. “If the battery is empty, I won’t find my way using an app nor make an emergency call,” Rothwangl says.
Then the emergency signal remains in the Alps only for help. It consists of six signals per minute, and the response is three signals per minute. Signals can be loud screeching, whistling, or light signals.
If the mobile phone still has the minimum power, it is preferable to make a call for help via SMS. If you still have a phone call, this is best for the first 30 seconds, after which performance drops. Therefore, the most important information for assistants should be considered in advance. “This is the site in the first place, and then everything else on the site can be clarified,” says Rothwangel.
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