So, you have your new Alcatel Ride-Fi and if you are anything like me, you are already thinking about exciting new ways to integrate it into your life. You love how you can finally fill that 12V cigarette lighter adaptor but not quite sure about all the details. You also are a little skeptical connecting your big bad smartphone to that AUX USB port. Well rest assured, through the power of science and a nice regulated (current measuring) power supply, I have many of your questions answered. Hopefully helping you find the best possible application for your new Alcatel Ride-Fi.
Your Alcatel One Touch Ride-Fi does not have an internal battery. I personally like that. The unit is small, sleek and perfectly designed for car applications without being big and bulky like other hot-spots. That being said (being primarily intended for car use) we will first take a look at the 12VDC power requirements:
Per Alcatel’s Technical Specifications page, your Ride-Fi is designed to run between 12V-24VDC at about 2Amps. Which seemed kinda high to me, especially since I was already considering a desktop application (Using an external adaptor). This doubt lead me wanting to prove a few things using very practical measurements of actual power consumption. Please Note: Although, my tests in no way dispute the actual written technical specification but I truly believe this is a very safe benchmark for the average user.
Using the Ride-Fi under 12VDC with 1 device connected (via WiFi) and actively streaming Youtube in full HD, I seldom saw consumption go above 150Ma. This is pretty low and I’m thinking most Universal External AC to DC Socket Adaptors (Generally 300Ma) would work just fine. It’s what I’m planning on getting for my hotel travel kit and is a nice neat way to mount the Ride-Fi without wire dangling.
Using the Ride-Fi under 12VDC with my Nexus 6 smartphone connected to the USB and 1 device connected (via WiFi) and actively streaming Youtube in full HD, I saw the draw go up higher about 580 Ma. So if you wanted to use both features, I would recommend seeking an adaptor of 1 Amp or more. Obviously, there’s no rapid charging going (The 5VDC USB is rated only 1Amp) but it will get the job done and nice if your car has no built in USB ports.
It should be known your car port is always rated at a few amps or more. So the Ride-Fi should easily co-exist beside other devices or on a splitter (Like a few of my friends are using). The unit will accept voltage up till 24VDC but I didn’t test anything above 12VDC mainly because it was very out of the norm.
Alternatively (from 12VDC car power), the Alcatel Ride-Fi can operate right from the 5VDC USB port that generally would charge devices (Meaning the port is bi-directional). When plugged into your car, the USB outputs 5VDC at 1 Amp. In absence of that 12VDC your device can take 5VDC power from an external source.
From my benchtop tests, with 1 device connected (via WiFi) and actively streaming Youtube in full HD, I generally stay below 200Ma on USB power. This is far below the majority of USB adaptors (rated 500Ma). That means the Ride-Fi is good for TV’s USB, Car USB, PC USB’s and most other USB ports you’ll encounter. With such low current needed, it also means it might go pretty far on external batteries (if you wanted to setup such a thing).
In other words, the Alcatel Ride-Fi has plenty of potential for interesting applications where cellular connectivity might come in handy. As one who tinkers with things, I already have a couple ideas for the future. Check my blog next week where I’ll try a couple of those ideas to see just how versatile the Alcatel Ride-Fi can be.
Sprint Product Ambassador
Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee.