My month in a German hotel with one outlet, many adapters, and a D-Link DIR-506L travel WiFi router

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 18 2014 in
  • iPad
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  • Productivity
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  • Back in early September 2014, I found myself scrambling to prepare for a month long work trip to Germany. A good situation to be in, but I also wanted to be darn sure I could get my work done on weekday evenings, and my play done on weekends. Given I'm from the US and hadn't been to Europe in over 7 years, I didn't own the right stuff, so I had some careful shopping to do.

    The longest time I had ever spent away from home was about a week, so I really had to think through exactly what I'd need, including being ready for a podcast I was scheduled to be on. It was broadcast from that very same Finthen, Germany hotel room, see Featured on “Home Gadget Geeks” Episode #188 “Catching Up with Paul Braren in Germany, Travel Tech in Europe”.

    I'm happy to now share the list of stuff I came up with. All travel-tested, and compatible with a typical hotel room desk, often with just one Europlug. I even took a moment to do a bit of cable management, shoving extra lengths of cable through the hole in the desk, seen below.


    You'll note the numbers to the left of each paragraph about each device, and you can simply hover your mouse over the "Shop now" buttons to instantly view the current price. I paid about $165 for all of what you see here, including tax and shipping. As an Amazon Prime customer, most of these items were delivered in just 2 days.

    Network (numbered above in green)

    (1) Cable Matters 5-Pack, Cat6 Snagless Ethernet Patch Cable in Black 3 Feet

    Of course, there are many patch cables you can buy in any lengths, this is the 5 pack I went with, taking 2 on the trip, just in case.

    (2) D-Link SharePort Go Mobile Companion with Rechargeable Battery (DIR-506L)
    I wanted to be able to share multiple devices in my room, and knew authenticating can sometimes only allow one device to connect per day. This would help me get around that, in a very compact and affordable way.


    Before my trip, I updated the firmware and configured the WiFi, then connected my devices to it, so there'd be a minimum of fuss, once I arrived. Very glad I did, because the hotel had a draconian policy of bumping me offline every 10 minutes (100Mb) or so, requiring a long login form.
    Workaround was to leave a PC connected, and use a LastPass Automatic form fill browser session running, which got all my gadgets right back online. Very glad I bought this device, and brought it along! Did all I asked of it, and I like the slider for power, ensuring it was really turned off in my luggage. Speaking of power, important to note, this device doesn't come with a USB charger, see item (1) below which handled power nicely. See also Small Net Builder review.

    Power (numbered above in blue)

    (1) OREI 3 in 1 Schuko Travel Adapter Plug with USB and Surge Protection - Grounded Type E/F - Germany, France & More

    Allowed me to charge or power a USB device, such as the DIR-506L pictured above. I could plug in two additional cords into that one hotel outlet, if space permits, but pictured above, you'll notice I've only plugged a power strip into it.

    (2) Simran SM-60 Universal Power Strip 3 Outlets for 110V-250V Worldwide Travel with Surge/Overload Protection

    And now, I get 3 more, all in a travel friendly, compact form factor. Could plug my US cables right in, mixed with Euro style cables, since all my devices had autoswitching power supplies.

    (3) Apple 12W USB Power Adapter

    Really meant for iPads, also charges an iPhone much faster than the stock charger, safely, see Apple's compatibility list. Important, given I was sometimes only stopping by the room, wanting the fastest charge possible. To me, it was well worth the larger size.

    (4) Plug Duckhead Charger Wall Eu Euro European Union Standard for Macbook Ac Adapter 45w 60w 85w Wall Power Adapter

    A nice way to handle making your Apple charger work with hotel outlets, which I took with me for some side-trips. Very handy.

    (5) CableWholesale 6-Feet European Power Cord for Notebook, Non-Polarized (10W1-13306)

    Nearly all recent notebook power bricks take a figure-8 style power cord. This Euro style cable worked out great for my ThinkPads, going back and forth to work each day.

    (6) Pwr+® 6.5 Ft Rapid 5V 2A Charger AC Adapter for Limeade Blast L130X L180X L50X2L L50X2M

    Your PC USB ports, coupled with the USB to microUSB cable that the Limefuel (featured below) comes with, will likely be very slow to charge your Limefuel. The most the Limefuel Blast will use for input charging is 2 amps, so this Pwr+ 2 amp charger model with built-in (hard to lose) cable should work nicely for under $13. I admit I haven't tested the Pwr+, but a lot of favorable reviews on Amazon (pictured is an older, much slower charger).

    (7) Limefuel Blast L156X PRO

    Knowing I would be taking many photos, and would be out and about away from outlets for hours at a time, I needed to be sure I'd never exhaust my travel gadgets. Putting a USB charger in my jacket pocket gave me the confidence to never need to worry about power again, at all-day conferences for example. It can charge at 2.4 amps on a single port or 2.1 amps each of two ports simultaneously, so tablets can be charged quickly too. It comes with a combined Lightning and microUSB cable, but no power supply, so you'll want to read about the item #6 above for power supply ideas.

    I did a bit of research, and the Limefuel series seemed to get favorable reviews. One downside was the too-easy-to-accidentally-push power button. But you don't really need to use it, since it automatically powers up when you plug something into a USB port. And automatically powers down when nothing is plugged in, so it should be safe in luggage. The Limefuel L130X I bought (reviewed here) is no longer available, a slightly higher capacity model L156X PRO has taken its place.