Ever since I bought a camera, batteries have been an issue specially while traveling. A fully charged DSLR battery is enough for up to 1000 photos or more if used properly. But in places without electricity like when camping and cold weather, battery charge is an issue. I found out during my last trip to Lahaul Spiti that batteries lose their charge in cold weather much faster even when not in use and specially with long exposure shots. So I’ve been looking for a way to charging DSLR batteries while traveling without access to electric supply. There is some information on internet, but nothing really useful. Most people just prefer carrying 3-4 extra batteries or a complicated setup of wires and adapters for the purpose..

But I found 2 gadgets which make camera battery charging much easier with minimal amount of work and expense required. So there is no cutting, joining wires or similar work, just simple plug and play.

1) First is a portable solar panel easily available from a number of online retailers. I bought a 21 W capacity panel like this. These panels have 1 or 2 USB ports for output and weigh less than half a KG. Mine came with 4  carabiners and has 4 slots which makes it easy to just sling across the backpack or any surface. The USB slots are inside a pocket which is pretty handy of storing cables and charger or to keep them away from sun while charging. There are multiple type with different capacities and weight, but it’ll be preferable to get one with maximum wattage possible. It seems to be water resistant and strong. While hiking, it can be just attached to the rucksack and charge batteries while you walk. It will probably be useful on some DIY projects in home too.

2) 2nd is a DC input charger for the camera battery. Canon and Nikon DSLRs both have different batteries and will have different chargers. Mine is Nikon D7100 with EN-EL15 battery and I got EN-EL15 DC charger. Most Canon DSLRs will use LP-E8 batteries and these chargers will work LP-E8 DC charger. None of the chargers available are manufactured by camera companies themselves and the build quality is not great. Atleast the one I got is Chinese made and looks like one. But it’s working while it works. It has slots for two batteries as visible in picture below, but I’ve used only one till now. While charging the display shows a level and blue backlight. For some reason, it fluctuates while connected to solar panel and stable if connected to a phone charger, but charging seems fine either way.

These chargers use DC as their input supply unlike the normal chargers which use AC. If you have a normal phone charger or a power bank, these battery chargers will work with those too. If you’re willing to carry a high capacity power bank like these with you, you can use the setup to charge your batteries even at night. There are also some solar power banks available with an attached solar panel. But it’s another KG or so of additional weight with lower capacity.

Next step is just to plug the USB cable of charger in to the USB slot of panel and place it in sun. As I’m writing this, this setup charged my Nikon EN-EL15 battery from 60% to 100% in 150 minutes. But it took 3 hours yesterday to charge the battery from 20% to 62%.  So even with good amount of sunlight, there seem to be some fluctuations. It’s also a good charger for other gadgets like phones, tablets etc. My 4 years + old Samsung tablet gets fully charged in 70-80 minutes with this panel.

The pictures below is the charging setup in action. Taken by a phone camera in very bright sun , so not very clear but good enough for the purpose. The red LED inside pocket lights up whenever the panels are exposed to sun.

Solar charging for camera battery

Solar panel pocket

As of now, India has five versions of Agni missiles in service plus one Technology Demonstrator program and two other versions in development. As interesting as it sounds, it is also a bit confusing to keep track of. This article contains information collected from press releases, interviews and other open sources about different versions of Agni missile.  There is a quite a  bit of misleading information and a lot of missing pieces which make writing any article like this a challenging proposition. I’ve gone through dozens if not hundreds of articles, interviews and official websites to collect the information presented here and believe that most of it is as accurate as Indian establishment wants it to be. If there are any inaccuracies, please feel free to point them out.

1. AGNI – Technology Demonstrator 

Agni Technology Demonstrator missile

Agni Technology Demonstrator

  • NAME                 : AGNI – TD
  • RANGE (km)      : 1500 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg)   : 1000 kg
  • WEIGHT (kg)      : 19000 kg
  • HEIGHT (m)        : 21 m
  • DIAMETER (m)  : 1 m
  • SPEED (km/s)    : Unknown
  • STAGES               : Two. First Stage solid (from SLV-3), Second stage liquid (Prithvi 2nd stage)
  • APOGEE (km)     : 300 km
  • LAUNCHER         : Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL  : No. Technology Demonstrator
  • NAVIGATION       : RLG INS
TESTS  :
  1. 5 May 1989. – Success. Apogee: 300 km
  2. 22 May 1992.. – Failure. Apogee: 10 km
  3. 19 February 1994. -Success
USER              : None.
 
REMARKS: Agni -TD missile was used as a technology testbed and a technology demonstrator. It used first stage of SLV-3 space vehicle and second stage of Prithvi short-ranged ballistic missile, both liquid fueled. Both of it’s stages had be refueled before launch and thus had little practical use as a strategic deterrent. It’s development was supposedly abandoned after 3 tests.

 

2. AGNI – I

  • NAME                  : AGNI – 1  

    Agni-I

    Agni-I

  • RANGE (km)   : 700 – 800 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg)  : 1000 kg
  • WEIGHT (kg) : 12000 kg
  • HEIGHT (m)       : 15 m
  • DIAMETER (m)  : 1 m
  • SPEED (km/s)    : 2.5 km/s
  • STAGES             : 1 solid motor (10.5 m) + Re-entry vehicle (4.5 m)
  • APOGEE (km) : 300 – 500 km
  • LAUNCHER        : Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL  : With 334 Missile Group.
  • NAVIGATION      : RLG INS
TESTS  :
  1. 25 Jan 2002 – Success. Apogee : 300 km. 9 January 2003. Success. Apogee: 300 km MRBM test with dummy warhead.
  2. 4 July 2004 – Success. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
  3. 5 October 2007 – Success. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
  4. 24 October 2007 -Success. Apogee: 300 km
  5. 23 March 2008 – Success. Apogee: 300 km
  6. 27 March 2010 Success. Apogee: 300 km. Test launch.
  7. 25 November 2010. Success. Apogee: 300 km
  8. 1 December 2011 Success. Apogee: 300 km
  9. 13 July 2012 -Success. Apogee: 200 km. Test mission..
  10. 11 September 2014 – Nation: India. Apogee: 500 km. Training launch.
REMARKS: . Agni – 1 is supposedly Pakistan specific missile. It was developed after Agni – 2 missile to cover the range between Prithivi’s 200-300 km and Agni-2’s 2000 km range. Presumably it will have a smaller cost and small numbers in service.

3. AGNI – II

  • NAME                  : AGNI – 2

    Agni -II

    Agni -II

  • RANGE (km)   : 2000 – 2500 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg) : 1000 kg
  • WEIGHT (kg)    : 17000 kg . Includes 1000 kg payload.
  • HEIGHT (m)       : 20 m
  • DIAMETER (m)   : 1.3 m
  • SPEED (km/s)    : 3.9 km/s
  • STAGES : Two . 1 solid motor (10.5 m) + Re-entry vehicle (4.5 m)
  • APOGEE (km) : 20 – 1000 km
  • LAUNCHER          :  Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL  : With 334 Missile Group.
  • NAVIGATION      : RLG INS, TDOA (Time Delay Of Arrival)
TESTS  :
  1. 25 Jan 2002 – Success. Apogee :300 km, Range 2000 km +. Rail launcher.
  2. 9 January 2003. Success. Apogee: 300 km, Range 2100 km with dummy warhead. Road launcher.
  3. 4 July 2004 – Success. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
  4. 5 October 2007 – Success. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
  5. 24 October 2007 – Success. Apogee: 300 km
  6. 23 March 2008 – Success. Apogee: 300 km
  7. 27 March 2010 Success. Apogee: 300 km.
  8. 25 November 2010. Success. Apogee: 300 km
  9. 1 December 2011 Success. Apogee: 300 km
  10. 13 July 2012 -Success. Apogee: 200 km.
  11. 11 September 2014 – Nation: India. Apogee: 500 km. Training launch 
REMARKS: Agni -2 is the first MRBM in Indian arsenal which incorporates a wide range of vital technologies like road, rail mobility, active guidance for re-entry vehicle among others. It was a vital stepping stone for Indian ballistic missile programe on it’s way to present a credible deterrence against China among other countries.It’s induction in Indian arsenal is an indication of success in creation of light weight nuclear warheads.
 

4. AGNI – III

  • NAME                   : AGNI – 3 

    Agni 3

    Agni 3

  • RANGE (km)       : 3500-5000 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg)    : 2000-2500 kg
  • WEIGHT (kg)      : 22000 kg.
  • HEIGHT (m)        : 17 m
  • DIAMETER (m)   : 2 m
  • SPEED (km/s)     : 5.6 km/s
  • STAGES               : 2
  • APOGEE (km)      : 100-500 km
  • LAUNCHER         : Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL   : Since 2010.
  • NAVIGATION     : RLG INS
  • AGENCY              : ASL
TESTS  :
  1. 9 July 2006- .  Failure. : Failure.Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).
  2. 12 April 2007. Success.  Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).
  3. 7 May 2008  Success. Apogee: 350 km (210 mi).
  4. 7 February 2010  Success.  Apogee: 350 km (210 mi). Range: 3,500 km (2,100 mi).
  5. 20 September 2012  Success.Agni III RV  500 km (310 mi). Test mission.
  6. 23 December 2013  Success. 350 km (210 mi).
  7. 16 April 2015  Success. Apogee: 350 km (210 mi)
REMARKS: Agni-3 is an advanced and longer ranged IRBM successor to Agni-2 MRBM. This was the first missile in Agni series with 2 m diameter compared to 1 m and 1.3 m diameters of previous missiles. The first Agni-3 missiles wighes 50 tonnes, though it was reduced to 22 tonnes later by use of composites materials.
 

5. AGNI – IV 

  • NAME                  : AGNI – 4 

    Agni-IV missile

    Agni-IV

  • RANGE (km)       : 3000-4000 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg)    : 1000 kg *
  • WEIGHT (kg)      : 17000 kg.
  • HEIGHT (m)        : 20 m
  • DIAMETER (m)  : 2 m
  • SPEED (km/s)    : 5.6 km/s
  • STAGES              : 2
  • APOGEE (km)    : 500-900 km
  • LAUNCHER        : Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL  : Since 2010.
  • NAVIGATION      : RLG INS, MINGS
 
TESTS  :
  1. 15 November 2011. Success. Range 3000 km +. Apogee 900 km. 800 kg payload.
  2. 19 September 2012. Success.  Range 4000 km . Apogee 800 km
  3. 20 January 2014. Success. Range 4000 km +. Apogee 850 km
  4. 2 December 2014. By SFC, Success. Range 3000 km +. Apogee 500 km
  5. 9 November 2015.
  6. 02 January 2017.
REMARKS: Agni – 4 was called Agni-2A or Agni-2 Prime for a short while and was presumably used as a test bed for a bunch of new technologies including a new navigation system and composite stages. There is no reliable open source confirming it’s exact payload capacity.
 http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/agniiv-testflight-a-stupendous-success/article2629274.ece
Agni-IV missile is equipped with 5th generation onboard computer and distributed architecture. It has the latest features to correct and guide itself for in-flight disturbances
The missile is reportedly equipped with state-of-the-art avionics V-12 fifth generation On-Board Computer.

6. AGNI – V

  • NAME                  : AGNI – 5 

    Agni - V missile

    Agni – V

  • RANGE (km)       : 5000-8000 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg)    : 1500 kg *
  • WEIGHT (kg)       : 17000 kg.
  • HEIGHT (m)        : 17.5 m
  • DIAMETER (m)  : 2 m
  • SPEED (km/s)    : 5.6 km/s
  • STAGES               : 3 (2nd & 3rd Stage made of composites)
  • APOGEE (km)     : 
  • LAUNCHER         : Canister. Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL  :
  • NAVIGATION     : RLG INS, MINGS
TESTS  :
  1. 19 April 2012 . Success. Apogee: 600 km.
  2. 15 September 2015. Success.
  3. 31 January 2015. Successful. Canister launch. Range 5000 km. Apogee: 500 km.
  4. 26 December 2016 . Range, 2500 km. Flight time :19 minutes.

6. AGNI – VI

Under Development

  • NAME                  : AGNI – 6
  • RANGE (km)       : More than 6000 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg)    : 
  • WEIGHT (kg)       : 
  • HEIGHT (m)        : 
  • DIAMETER (m)  : 
  • SPEED (km/s)    : 
  • STAGES               :
  • APOGEE (km)     : 
  • LAUNCHER         : Canister. Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL  :
  • NAVIGATION     : 

6. AGNI – 1P

Under Development

  • NAME                  : AGNI – 1P
  • RANGE (km)   : 300 -700 km
  • PAYLOAD (kg) : 
  • WEIGHT (kg)   : 
  • HEIGHT (m)        : 
  • DIAMETER (m)  : 
  • SPEED (km/s)    : 
  • STAGES              : 
  • APOGEE (km) : 
  • LAUNCHER         : Canister. Road, Rail
  • OPERATIONAL  :
  • NAVIGATION     :

 


https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1itQOZenz5GmSDJ0mlR8pIN9GgZIN93-CdDYEYVvd7aA/pubhtml?gid=409154531&single=true

This is a long rant, not an expert analysis. Treat it as such.

The current controversy about surgical strikes by Indian Army against Bakistanis is getting even more interesting. After Uri attacks, I wondered if India would strike back or just keep quiet like after Pathankot attacks. I had hopes that India would retaliate but we’re used so much to inaction and “log kya kahenge” syndrome in our foreign policy that I had to watch press conference by Indian DGMO twice to believe it. Predictably Bakis started their whinefest and denied it like they did with Osama, Mumbai attacks, Kargil, 1971, 1948, 1965 and numerous other incidents. But the panicked statements by un-uniformed jihadi Hafiz confirmed that attacks did happen and inflicted serious damage contrary to what the uniformed jihadis of Baki army and civilian jihadis in Baki gobarment were claiming. Then their begging bowl song and dance in UN confirmed it further.

After these attacks, the Baki nuclear bluff has been called out for what it is. The ignorant masses who can’t differentiate a Mig-29 from F-16 will keep on whining but people in relevant places now have confirmation about so called resolve of Bakis about the nuclear threshold. If they escalate the situation by firing on border or more terrorist attacks elsewhere, they will always do so with the knowledge that India will counter-attack and probably disproportionately. On this occasion, certain launchpads and related terrorist infrastructure has been destroyed which according to an educated guess killed a number of terrorists waiting to infiltrate in to India, their handlers who probably hold mid-level ranks and a significant number of Baki armed forces personnel guarding the places. This explains the loud howls of Hafiz and his ilk.
If Bakis keep on claiming that attacks never happened, then good for them and us. They don’t have any reason to escalate and will probably try to deescalate leaving us free to concentrate on our internal matters. In either case, it is a victory of India on a tactical as well as strategic level. It is a long pending move by India and everyone is accepting it openly or grudgingly.

Now there are some usual moles belonging to Congress, AAP etc. who find the success of an Indian initiative led by Modi a bitter pill to swallow. These politicians and their minions (atleast the few I have the misfortune of knowing) were barely able to hide their glee when they thought that Modi regime will not do anything to punish Bakis. As soon as news of the attacks broke out, some of them went in to stunned silence or some congratulated Indian Army while carefully trying to deny any credit to Modi. One congressi claimed that Indian army had done such attacks 4-5 times during UPA regime. It’s good, but what did such attack achieve ? It’s common knowledge that cross-border raids happen regularly on both sides. Perhaps they were a good idea at a local tactical level, but they served little purpose in overall strategic battlefield. As I’m writing this, a former DGMO Vinod Bhatia has denied even this claim of CONgress.
The AAPtard-in-chief pretended to congratulate Modi while asking for proof in the same breath. All of these butthurt losers know very well that details of such operations are almost never made public. When US (Russia, NATO or any other entity) kills Osama, or claims to have killed senior Al-Qaeda or other enemies by air attacks, how many times do you see the live footage ? How many of these idiots have asked for proof or provided proof for the claimed cross-border raids during UPA regime ?

As I said before, I know many Congi, AAPiya supporters and their reactions have been just like the politicians they support. There are some comparatively saner ones, who claim to not support any political party in a public gathering, But their posts on social media prove otherwise. Most of such people are ashamed to be called an AAP , CONgress supporter now and try to hide their embarrassment under the fig leaf of fake neutrality. Then there are some politically aware types who support Congress-AAP-TMC-JDU type parties only because they are not BJP. They are what you call full liberal, leftists types who will actively cheer for disgraced thieves like Kanhaiya, Khalid, Sanjiv Bhatt etc. Third category is supposedly not anti-nationalist but are just blind fanboys who will latch on to whatever their yug-purush will say. There is no sign that they can use their atrophied brain cells and will latch on to whatever their messiah says. It never occurs to them that their favourite politician is acting only to help his own interests at the cost of damaging the nation.
Then there are a few others, who are not as brain dead, but highly impatient. These people were complaining loudly against Indian inaction leading up to the surgical strike and as soon as the news broke out, they started referring to Paki media and playing doubting Thomas.

On a related note, a lot of people don’t like the expulsion of Baki fartists from India. I’ve been supporting it since a long time. I’ll whole heartedly support Bakis performers if they’re like Adnan Sami, but screw the others. Even if art is without borders, the money they get in India should serve Indian interests, not of the enemy. If you can’t get this simple fact, you have one thick skull full of platitudes and little else. Even the Indian fartists supporting Bakis are known Islamists and Bakistan lovers. Son of one such traitor was a friend of Dawood Headley. How can any Indian take such jokers seriously ?

When all is said and done, I certainly don’t say that trust the government blindly. But at least use your brain. Even if you dislike BJP or Modi, these whiners should realise that they live in India and Modi is Indian Prime Minister, whether you like it or not. Supporting Bakistani narrative hurts only the country you live in. If you still believe that Pakis are telling the truth, then I have 3-4 Taj Mahals that I’d like to sell.

Next time Bakis attack India by any means and to be honest, it’s only a matter of time, then Indian armed forces should not limit themselves to just killing the terrorists. They also need to attack the uniformed jihadis, Bakistani armed forces. Destroy the border posts which provide covering fire to terrorists. Attack the supply dumps, bases and Baki other military infrastructure near border. As of now, they don’t have any danger to their own lives. Once they have fear of a strong Indian retaliation and realise that their actions will probably cause their own deaths, they will be far less likely to play the role of an islamic ghazi. This will be seen as an escalation by India and rightly so. Till now, India has played nice and has only losses to show for it. Now Bakis are isolated on all fronts, apart from China and even they are unlikely to support Bakis in such a situation. Modi has played his cards right and we’ll have to wait and watch if the groundwork done in last years will lead to an Indian victory on this front.
Till then, have patience and keep faith.