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What is this device called ?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Lowlow, Nov 4, 2018.

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  1. Lowlow


    Nov 4, 2018
    I want a device that will take power from anything - small solar panel, dc motor, any source whether that is sporadic, cycling, dc, ac, and convert that to a constant voltage. I think this may go under the phrase "energy harvesting", but I don't know for sure. It may be called "charge controller", "step up converter", "regulator", I really don't know that either.

    Basically I need a device that I can use to take power from just about anything and make it predictable and useful, in an efficient manner. Having as wide a possible voltage range is important, as is efficiency such as the MPPT type technology used with solar panels.

    What would a device like this be called ?

    The purpose is to be able to use it as a charging source out in the wilderness whether that power comes from a spinning motor attached to a makeshift hydroelectric generator, or a small folding solar panel, or any other power source I can lay my hands on.

    I know some electronics, can solder, have built a few micro controller circuits in my day, but I'm not an engineer and wouldn't know very much theory.
  2. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    copper wire....
  3. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

    Nov 17, 2011
    Get a steam engine. It can burn almost anything and requires only water on top to generate energy ;)

    In all honesty: you'll have to limit the choice of possible power sources to arrive at a manageable requirement. While it may be possible to to construct a device that operates from almost any source of electrical power, it will become prohibitively complex and expensive:

    • An AC source typically weill need to be rectified to Dc before further processing. A DC source doesn't require a rectifier, but may need reverse polarity protection.
    • A high voltage source requires components that withstand high voltage but low current (for a given power). That kind of device is usually badly suited to low voltaeg applications where high currents are required for the same power.
    • A very low power source may need technology to store energy until a certain level of stored energy is reached which can be converted efficiently to the required output level.
    • Converting energy from a fairly steady source of power (e.g. a hydroelectric turbine) is different from converting energy from a highly variable source of energy (e.g. a solar panel).

    It is imho a better idea to have several converters at hand that are optimized for certain applications.
  4. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    I think an appropriate name would be Pie-In-The-Sky Energy Harvester or PITSEH cell. These would come in various sizes such as A, AA, AAA, B, C, D, etc. depending on your energy use requirements. Easily carried into the wilderness, the PITSEH would, ideally, be environmentally friendly (disposable) and chargeable from any convenient source of electricity.

    Perhaps a functional PITSEH based on some form of super-capacitor, with suitable electronics to control the storing and release of electrical energy, could be developed by an engineer on this forum. Might be some money involved for the right person (or team!) who can build and market the PITSEH. Preppers would be steady customers.
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