Power Pod and Clip-It!
I’ve been an absolute Luddite when it comes to electronics on my motorcycles—not electronic ignition or EFI, but radios, iPods, helmet communications, GPS systems and other gizmos of that ilk. I’d always thought that my time on the road was intended to be a getaway, a rolling meditation, if you will; without all the trappings of today’s civilization. No tweets, no texts, no mobile maps—just me, my bike, and the road.
Well, that all changed when I got my first smart phone that also includes a GPS system. I’ve got a mount system for my SUV, but what if I want to use it when I’m on the bike? Because I already have a Formotion temperature gauge and a clock mounted on the bars, I wanted to keep the mounting hardware somewhat minimal, and that’s where Formotion Products’ Clip-It! handlebar mount came in.
Once I arrived at this solution, another issue arose—the power problem. My Motorola Droid does many things marvelously, but good battery performance isn’t one of them. So the folks at Formotion suggested their Power Pod, a power outlet that can be installed onto any surface that has a bolt or screw that fits the universal bracket provided with the product. The Power Pod can also be mounted on your handlebars by using the company’s P-Clamp 1″ handlebar mount (also known as an H/C bar mount).
This small (only about 3/4″ deep and 1 1/2″ diameter), simple yet ingenious mounting system can be used for pretty much any electronic gadget, such as a cell phone, smart phone, iPod, GPS, E-ZPass or other toll transponder, that you can clip to your belt. It uses Formotion’s patented “stem and barrel” technology, which greatly reduces stress and vibration. This is the same system the company deploys for its gauges, and although I’ve had mine for a number of years, they’ve never flown off my handlebars.
Included in the package is the Clip-It! (chrome or black), a 16mm socket head screw, 2 rubber washers, a short and a long chrome mounting bar, a P-clamp and a 3mm hex key. I chose to use the P-clamp to attach the Clip-It! to the right side of my handlebars, and installation was a snap. We just placed the P-clamp where we wanted it on the bars, bolted the Clip-It! to the P-clamp with the 16mm screw, adjusted the Clip-It! to the best angle for viewing while on the bike and tightened down the screw for the P-clamp.
I slid my Droid’s swivel belt clip into the vertical slit in the Clip-It! and swiveled the phone to display horizontally. Now we were ready to install the Power Pod.
The Power Pod is a 12-volt power outlet that functions in the same fashion as a standard car lighter. The product is made of solid stainless steel, and is surprisingly hefty for its size—approximately 4″ long with a 1 1/2″ diameter. Installation is a do-it-yourself job, with very minimal technical knowledge required. That said, I already had my Dyna at Black Hills Custom Parts in Rockaway, New Jersey, for other work, so while it was there, I asked owner Ken Puzio to do the install.
The Power Pod came with a 60″ wire attached, a flat slotted bracket, a fuse holder with 20-amp fuse, two butt connectors and two socket head screws. As with the Clip-It!, the bracket allows for installation on any bolt or screw that fits through the open slotted end of the mounting bracket. Because I wanted the Power Pod to be mounted on the left side of my handlebars, I ordered another P-clamp ($19.95) instead.
Although the Power Pod is self-grounding, my handlebars are powder coated, so Ken couldn’t make a good metal-to-metal connection. Instead, he used some extra wire snipped off from the 60″ wire included with the unit and grounded it to a screw that fastens my windshield mounting hardware.
Formotion gives the installer the choice of running the lead wire to the fuse box—requiring the ignition switch to be turned to “Accessory” or “On” to use the Power Pod—or directly to the battery. I chose the hot setup (direct to the battery) so that I could use the device even when the ignition is turned off.
Ken slid a larger conduit wire over the wire lead from the Power Pod to help protect it from accidentally grounding out, especially important because of the hot setup. Ken chose to solder and double-heat shrink the wire to the provided fuse holder; however, you can just use the two butt connectors included with the product. Then he ran the lead wire to the battery, attaching it to the positive terminal. He popped in the 20-amp fuse and cleaned up the wiring with zip-ties.
Turn it on
With my Droid already positioned and held in place by the Clip-It!; I popped the Power Pod’s lid, pulled out the lighter out of the outlet, plugged in the car charger for the phone, wrapped the cord behind my speedo and tach and plugged the other end into the Droid. I’d planned a 150-mile ride to Steel Steeds Motorcycle Campground in Milton, Pennsylvania, and although I knew the way, I set the Droid’s GPS to direct me. The Droid didn’t move from its perch, keeping the exact angle where I’d set it; and the Power Pod stayed put, as well. The setup worked perfectly. I just had to remember to unplug the charger from the Power Pod when I shut my bike off; otherwise it would eventually drain the battery.
Another unique feature of the Power Pod is the power port in its base. It accepts any standard SAE two-prong plug, and I found that it provides easy connectivity to my Battery Tender as well as my electric gear. The port is covered by an attached rubber plug to keep out moisture, and is hidden from view when it’s not in use. The entire Power Pod itself is waterproof when the top lid is shut.
Formotion offers a slew of products that can use the Power Pod outlet, including portable coffee makers, beverage heaters, saucepan and popcorn popper, frying pan, coolers, spotlights and flashlights, blender, travel mug, razor, curling iron, hair dryer, radar/laser detectors, motorcycle headsets, GPS systems and even a small television.
The Power Pod, Clip-It! and P-Clamp can be purchased via the company’s website or at dealers where Formotion products are available. The company stands by its wares; Formotion products are backed by a 90-day money-back satisfaction guarantee, limited lifetime warranty and one-year manufacturer defect warranty. I can tell you from my own experience that Formotion is one of the best companies I’ve dealt with regarding product quality, durability and customer satisfaction. And I’ve got to admit; having a GPS on my bike has enhanced my travel when the directions are complicated, especially since I no longer have to worry about running the Droid’s battery down.