What is it?
The Pad-Pal is a bare-bones minimalist electric sleeping pad inflator that weighs in at 10.6 grams. It works by plugging it into your power bank via USB-C and using your bank’s power to inflate a sleeping pad.
The Pad-Pal is composed of 5 parts. A 3D printed flexible pump to pad adapter, a 3D printed fan duct made from polycarbonate, a small DC motor, a small propellor, and a custom PCB that acts as the motor controller and power management system.
How does it work?
1.) Attach the Pad-Pal to your sleeping pad’s inflation valve using a dedicated valve adapter
Here is a link to compatible pads: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JpWY8NIovwirEAIudfJOw2r09Yjl25t9MqksQDRswNs/edit?usp=sharing
And a link to a how to use each valve adapter: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14VT70v7Km-zBMKLSXjtv8fu6kJICp9YOW_t3uUIE2VM/edit?usp=sharing
2.) Then plug the Pad-Pal into your power bank via USB-C. The Pad-Pal will wait 2 seconds, then begin a slow ramp up in fan speed (just in case your fingers are in the way) until it gets to full speed. It will then sustain full speed for 3 minutes, after that the Pad-Pal will turn off the fan. This is so if you walk away and get distracted by boiling water or something, it wont suck that precious power from your powerbank during all that time.
Weight: 10.6 grams
Power Consumption: 247 mWh for a full three minute cycle. To put this into a usable perspective, if you own a Nitecore NB10,000 and hike for 7 days, the Pad-Pal will consume about 4.5% of your powerbank’s usable capacity (38.5 Wh for the NB10,000) during those 7 days (assuming one inflation per day).
Waterproof: NO, keep this puppy dry! 😉
The Pad-Pal’s DC motor is treated like a consumable part. Recent testing has shown it wears out after about 50-85 full inflation cycles. So a Pad-Pal user doing longer thru-hikes might want to consider adding a spare 2 gram motor to their repair kit. The Pad-Pal uses affordable and readily available 615 coreless DC motors made for micro drones. The Pad-Pal is designed in a way that is modular and user serviceable, so one can easily perform a motor replacement while on the trail using only a tent stake or stick.
See this video on how to replace Pad-Pal parts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAeyoGSycro