Scanstrut Rokk Active and Edge, wireless charging and secure phone mount
I get to test a lot of amazingly high tech products with long lists of features and mind-blowing capabilities. But, sometimes a design simply solves a need and accomplishes its intended mission so well that I stop and take note. The Scanstrut Rokk line of wireless chargers are a good example. These well-engineered, relatively simple devices keep your phone charged and securely mounted at your helm, and do it without any fuss.
Scanstrut’s Rokk line of wireless chargers began with models for mounting on a flat, level surface — which Ben Ellison reviewed late last year — but then expanded to the Active and now the Edge models with a clamp mechanism that holds the phone in place. The Active has a $150 list price and the Edge has a $200 list price but both seem to be available for much less from major marine retailers. The Active is made to mount directly on a dash or other flat surface while the Edge sits on a roughly three inch tall pedestal that allows adjusting the tilt 60 degrees and rotating the phone 90 degrees from portrait to landscape. The clamp is sturdy and geared so that pushing the bottom of the clamp mechanism open also opens the top. This makes one handed insertion and removal easy. I have a Rokk Active installed on my center console, Panbo(at), and an Edge installed on Have Another Day.
Installing the Active or Edge requires drilling one 1/4-inch hole and three or four small pilot holes for the mounting screws. The Active comes with a cardboard mounting jig that holds the jaws open so you can access the screw holes. The Edge is simpler to install because the screw holes aren’t hidden by the jaws, but I did find it awkward to get my screwdriver into one of the screw holes because the tension adjustment wheel blocks access. The power lead runs through the 1/4-inch hole and then needs a 10 to 30 volt power source connection. Once power is applied a small red LED lights on the right edge towards the bottom. When a Qi compatible device is inserted and charging the red LED turns green.
Scanstrut rates these chargers as IPX6; meaning the chargers will stand up to high pressure water jets shot right at them. Although I haven’t shot high pressure water at the charger, I have soaked it with saltwater courtesy of some especially large waves and seen no issues. I’ve also placed my phone in the cradle when it was wet and saw no issues. But it does seem that the amount of sunlight and heat on the phone and charger can affect how quickly the phone is charged. I’m not certain if this is a result of the charger reducing its output or the phone accepting a lower charging rate because of its internal temperature.
These chargers, like all the Rokk wireless chargers, use the Qi wireless charging standard and charge at a maximum of five watts. Compared to various fast charging standards, that’s pretty slow but there’s a reason. Faster wireless charging comes with lower temperature limits for the device while charging. The outdoor setting these chargers designed for means hitting the temperature limits more frequently and possibly shutting down altogether. The screenshots above show that when the screen is off the majority of the 5 watts is making it to the battery. These phones charge at 5 volts so 0.836 amps times 5 volts is 4.18 watts making it to the battery. The remaining 0.82 watts are powering the phone and likely lost to the small inefficiencies of wireless charging.
In my use aboard Have Another Day and Panbo(at), I’ve only seen charging shut down altogether once on a very hot day in direct sunlight. I have noticed the speed of charging does seem to vary directly with the ambient temperature and amount of sunlight hitting the phone. I don’t know if this is a result of charging slowing down or the phone consuming more power as it heats up. But, I do know that each time I’ve put my phone in the charger it’s come out more charged than when it went in, despite almost always streaming music and frequently using navigation apps that can be battery killers.
Qi charging isn’t limited just to phones. On Have Another Day my Dockmate docking remote control and Ray 90 wireless handsets also charge using Qi. In fact, as you can see above, Dockmate has worked with Scanstrut to make a custom version of the Active for their remote control. This customized version has a much taller top clamp to grab the thicker body of the Dockmate remote. Additionally, the Dockmate version of the Active comes with a Dockmate connector on the power cable. Now that the remote can be securely mounted at the helm it can be used as a joystick. But, Dockmate remotes are designed so that they can’t be used to control the boat while the remote is charging. So, with the charger connected to the control box, Dockmate has modified their system so that when you turn on the remote it stops sending power to the Active. Thus avoiding the issue of the remote not working while it’s being charged.
Scanstrut’s Rokk products aren’t limited just to wireless chargers, they also offer wired, waterproof USB chargers. I’ve had enough unprotected USB chargers and cables rust to understand the value of water protection on a USB charger. So, when I got Panbo(at), I went looking for a water-sealed charger. I found the Rokk Charge+ Dual USB Charge Socket and purchased two. They’ve performed well and filled exactly my need. The two ports can deliver 4.2 amps of total charging (or 21 watts) which is great when charging larger, power hungrier devices like tablets. Like the Rokk wireless chargers the Charge+ accepts 10 to 30 volts, it’s easy to install, and so far has performed reliably with no signs of any wear or corrosion from weather. To open the charger you press on the unlocked padlock just above the front hinge. That releases the lock and lets you swing the cover open. Inside the cover there are two USB type-A ports and guides to route the cables out the end of the charger. Once the charger is closed the gaskets in the charger seal the charger against water.
Scanstrut’s Rokk line of chargers has the same overall quality Ben Ellison appreciated several years ago in Scanstrut’s Rokk mounts. The chargers are made of high-quality materials that feel as though they will stand up to abuse from the sun, water and getting banged around on a boat. The clamp mechanism is very secure and has held phones in place without allowing any movement through some pretty rough waters. Thus far I haven’t seen much to improve.