Recently in Consumer Electronics

Think about the things that you might want from a portable power pack while on a roadtrip. A unit light enough to toss in your bag while on hike would be good. A powerful flashlight is always helpful on the road. But what if you returned to your car only to discover that the battery was dead because you left a light on? Wouldn't if be nice if your power pack was robust enough to jump the car? Meet the Cobra JumPack CPP 9000.

P7066255-JumPack-cables-1024.jpg The jumper cables plug into a special port on the JumPack. They can be left in the car while you carry the basic unit with you while on foot.

I know it sounds crazy, but it works. When the cables are connected to the JumPack, it has a 200 Amp starting current, with a 400 Amp peak current that can jump start most cars multiple times on a single charge. It uses a 7500 mAh Lithium-Cobalt battery and special circuitry to get this job done.

Yet, the JumPack is not much bigger than my iPhone X and weighs less than a pound. So I can carry it with me to power up my USB devices.

P7066267-JumPack-size.jpg The unit is light enough and compact enough to fit in your backpack or gear bag. Here it is next to my iPhone X.

For refueling USB devices, such as smartphones and tablets with the with the 5-Volt/9-Volt output port. All you have to do is plug the phone's USB cable into the JumPack, and it automatically starts charging it. You can use the device while it's connected to the power pack.

P7066249-JumPack-iphone-charge-v2.jpg Charging the iPhone X via the JumPack's 5-Volt/9-Volt port.

There's plenty of safety built-in as well. The JumPack is built to be compliant with safety standard UL 2743. Even when you're jumping the car, everything is protected via its cutoff circuitry. To jump a vehicle, connect the cables to the battery, then connect the JumPack. You'll first see a red LED indicating that it's verifying the connections. Then the light will turn yellow while it's transferring power to the battery. Finally, when the LED turns green, you can start the ignition.

P7066251-JumPack-ports.jpg Input and output ports, plus the LED flashlight.

The 500 lumen, high-intensity flashlight features strobe and SOS functions for emergency assistance. Hold the green button for 3 seconds to turn on the lamp, then cycle through the different functions by pressing the green button. The flashlight does work while you're charging a USB device, so both functions can be tapped simultaneously.

The JumPack includes a mini-USB cable that you can use for recharging the unit via any USB charger. In my testing, it took about 3 hours to refresh the JumPack from 25 percent to full charge, using an Apple 10 watt USB charger. The JumPack will hold its juice for 8 months. So it you have it stored in an emergency kit, I would top it off twice a year.

P7066268-JumPack-in-bag.jpg The JumPack kit includes the power unit, USB cable, jumper cables, and a bag that holds everything.

The Cobra JumPack CPP 9000 is available directly from the Cobra website for $129. It's powerful enough to start a V8 engine, motorcycle, or boat. And it's light enough to slide into your camera bag. I'll definitely have it with me on my next roadtrip.

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The JumPack has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting

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Two useful Type-C accessories that I discovered at CES 2018 for photographers on the go are the Kingston Nucleum ($79) and the LaCie's DJI Copilot ($349).

The Kingston Nucleum

P1082882.jpg The Kingston Nucleum connected to a new MacBook. Photo by Derrick Story.

The Kingston Nucleum allows you to connect your favorite USB devices, plus HDMI, SD cards, and microSD cards, all in one slim, portable, stylish hub. Five ports, two card readers, and no external power required.

Aside from the handsome design, I really like the quality of the cord and its two connecting ends, which are reinforced. This is a high performance accessory that should serve you well over the long haul. And it looks great beside your new laptop computer.

LaCie's DJI Copilot

Another USB-C device that may be of interest to photographers is LaCie's DJI Copilot.

P1082887.jpg LaCie's DJI Copilot. Photo by Derrick Story.

This portable USB-C device has some impressive features:

  • 2TB Storage Capacity
  • USB 3.1 Type-C Interface (interchangeable with other interfaces)
  • Integrated SD Card Reader
  • Directly Copy Files - No Computer Needed
  • Review Footage on Your Mobile Device
  • Backup Battery Pack for USB Devices
  • Integrated Status Screen
  • Manage and Organize Files
  • Drop- / Splash- / Dust-Resistant
  • Windows, Mac, iOS & Android Compatible

The big selling point here is that you don't need to bring your computer in the field to backup your camera's memory cards. The Copilot will take care of that by itself, and it will provide you with completion status on its integrated screen. So you know when it's safe to reformat the card.

You can also view your files in the field if you have a table device with you. The Copilot connects to iPads and other portables as well as the computer when you return home. And with its ample 2 TB of internal storage, you should be covered, even on extended shoots.

Additionally, I saw many other USB-C devices at CES, such as the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD and the Western Digital 1 TB stick flash drive.

So, by combining the Nucleum for your existing peripherals and adding a new accessory or two, your new state-of-the-art computer becomes just a bit more friendly.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

CES Unveils the Connected Home

The theme at the first press event was clear: we're going to take every device you use at home and put a WiFi or Bluetooth radio in it. That was the scene last night at CES Unveiled, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

P1035844-CES-Unveiled-speaker.jpg A wireless speaker isn't that unusual, unless it's one that levitates. The Mars by Crazybaby. Photos by Derrick Story.

Common items such as hairbrushes, mirrors, dog collars, lighting, bicycles, and practically anything else you can think of can now talk to your smartphone or be connected to a home automation system.


Does this mean that this will be the entire focus of the show when it opens on Thursday? No, it won't. Each press event takes on its own theme. But I did find it interesting that the opening salvo was a home operated by tiny radios.

P1035821-CES-Unveiled-lighting.jpg Plenty of LED lighting options too, such as this unit by Luke Roberts Smart Lighting.

We'll see what today brings. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing what the auto makers show off, as well as digital imaging.

Join me on my Instagram site as I explore CES in Las Vegas.