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SOLAR VS HUMAN POWERED

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by tkellylord, Oct 11, 2010.

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  1. tkellylord

    tkellylord

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    Sep 29, 2010
    Hi guys,

    currently designing my own renewable energy charger to charge USB devices. Instead of going for a crazy source of energy i'm limiting myself to what is doable in a short time scale. So its down to one question.

    SOLAR or HUMAN POWERED (probably some form of wind-up)

    From what i've found small solar cells arent very efficient so am edging more towards - a novel approach to a human powered device.

    Would love to hear your point of view on the topic. Electronics is still very new to me so any input would be great. Thanks guys!

    Tom
     
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    well unless the thing that you are powering has very low voltage and current requirements
    that can be handles by batteries that you can charge with a brief bit of effort winding a generator. There are transistor radios that already do this.
    Else for higher power requirements you are going to spend a very tiring day turning a generator to produce power instead of sitting back and enjoying the power generated for you by the solar panels at NO Physical cost to you :)


    D
     
  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Let me be the first (edit: second) to suggest that Solar panels can keep generating power while the sun shines and you are sitting back in the sun with a cool drink.

    The problem with charging a USB device from this sort of source is that the device expects 5V at a particular current. If your charger can't comply, reducing the voltage is not acceptable, it would need to cut the power completely.

    If you're generating too much power, you can't raise the voltage, so you need to take less power from the source or dump the rest as heat.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  4. tkellylord

    tkellylord

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    Sep 29, 2010
    The reason i'm skeptical about solar is it depends so much on the weather, so often when I go camping its either raining or cloudy so the device would hardly harness any energy.

    And it has to be pointing at the right the angle to the sun throughout the day too.

    Human powered doesn't depend on these factors you can do it anywhere, anytime. And if its for an emergency, i'm sure you'd be willing to charge it yourself.

    One idea i really like is to create an energy charger with an LCD display on showing your highest rpm, turning the product into more of a game like those powerballs however is storing this energy. If i do a gadget like this then it would be passed around a group of friends as everyone WANTS to have a go, instead of it being a chore.

    Let me know what you guys think anyway and if you think this could be achievable.

    May not be a bad idea to include a USB input then so you can charge before a trip, not sure how much more complex this makes the product.
     
  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    You obviously don't live in a country cursed by fine weather, blue skies, and lots of sun.
     
  6. tkellylord

    tkellylord

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    Sep 29, 2010
    Unlucky for some ay
     
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    must live in England or the Pacific NW ;)
    The old saying "if you can see the mountains its gonna rain, if you cant, it already is"

    sorry... couldnt resist :rolleyes:


    D
     
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