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248 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 67702 7-Sep-2010 11:28
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I was just thinking about the Household Emergency Checklist...  And I start to think perhaps a solar power recharger could be quite useful as part of the survival kit.  Good for fun time like road trip and not so fun time like the power outage.

Does anyone has any recommendation on good one that can be used to recharge cellphone and laptop?

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243 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 377462 7-Sep-2010 11:41
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I think a winding hand generator type charger would be more practical for travelling, as you cannot guarantee long hours of sunshine. Plus you get bonus exercise :)

But I have yet to see one for iphones. I have a small wind up torch which works very well but I doubt it puts out 5 volts. It has a cord to charge nokia phones but I have never owned one so have not tried it.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 377480 7-Sep-2010 12:17
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That's quite true, the weather these days would have make solar power recharger a bit harder to use......

This DIY hand crank generator and this one on Instructables looks interesting...

But there must be easier way to generate power?  Ideas?  Anyone?  :)


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  Reply # 377482 7-Sep-2010 12:20
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I managed to make a Solar Panel solution using easily available parts from JayCar at under $300.
It could run my Internet, charge iPod, and run my low powered Atom PC all at the same time :D

Can't say it will work for everyone though, or how long it will actually work for, but it worked for me.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 377493 7-Sep-2010 12:57
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codyc151: Sounds like a pretty interesting story to tell, care to elaborate it? :)

I wonder if this type of setup could also be a way to introduce green IT into home without making large investment? Anyone want to share their experience in this?

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  Reply # 377497 7-Sep-2010 13:04
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technicaljoe: codyc1515: Sounds like a pretty interesting story to tell, care to elaborate it? :)

I wonder if this type of setup could also be a way to introduce green IT into home without making large investment? Anyone want to share their experience in this?

My "project" involved: a 12 amp/hour battery, a 20W solar panel, an inverter, and a bunch of wires.
As well as an iPod nano, Linksys WAG200G, and an Intel Desktop Board D510MO.

That is all.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 377499 7-Sep-2010 13:12
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I don't know if these are available in NZ yet, but this looks a great range.

http://www.energizer.com/newproducts/




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 377505 7-Sep-2010 13:27
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I like the look of that Energizer EZ 6000 (85W) Solar Power Kit - looks like something a electrical-engineering challenged geek could use :D

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  Reply # 377540 7-Sep-2010 14:43
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technicaljoe: I like the look of that Energizer EZ 6000 (85W) Solar Power Kit - looks like something a electrical-engineering challenged geek could use :D

I'm going to take a guess and say that they wont be cheap.

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  Reply # 377556 7-Sep-2010 15:23
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I have a UPS (1600w - DSE $279) in the house. All it has on it are the phone, the Internet Modem/router and the Wifi AP. I've tested it at 8 hours plus in the event of an outage. If I add an 11w CFL on a small lamp, the battery still lasts 8 hours at least. So there is at least one light, plus Internet and mains-powered phone. 

I also have a 150w DC/AC (up to 4 amps) car inverter from DSE ($69). If the power goes out and the UPS began to run out of juice, I can plug the UPS into the car inverter and re-charge the battery from the car's running engine. In that mode, we could go on indefinitely. Keep 20 litres of petrol in cans in the shed or garage. That's power for a couple of days if you have a small car. A big V8 would be a complete waste of petrol for this. This could also be used to charge other devices. The car needs to be disconnected periodically for 20 mins or so, as the inverter WILL drain the car battery faster than the engine can charge it. The inverter sounds an alarm and shuts off when such a low-voltage condition occurs. 

Bottom line, though....if you have an inverter and car....you can at least have some light and basic power capability to running / recharging a few small, well-chosen devices. 

If you need more, then a stack of deep-cycle batteries, a couple of solar panels and a 3000w DC to AC inverter would even let you boil water.....though that kills batteries fast. 

Any city in NZ should require all houses to have such basic infrastructure in place. Then everyone would have at least light and some power unless their homes were completely destroyed....

For $3000 / house most would be well sorted with a couple panels, a small 1500w inverter  and some batteries. 

Christchurch highlights how *easy* it would be to avoid most civil defense emergencies if each house had at least a limited capacity to generate / store some power to meet basic needs.  







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Master Geek
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  Reply # 377558 7-Sep-2010 15:28
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I vaguely remember seeing one of those gadget site showing off a backpack that has solar panel attach to it that can recharge portable electronics...

You know what, someone should create a reasonably sturdy crate that has a prop-up solar panel, battery pack and some standard connectors, and market it as the ultimate survival kit or the geek campers must-have! :)

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  Reply # 377562 7-Sep-2010 15:34
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technicaljoe: I vaguely remember seeing one of those gadget site showing off a backpack that has solar panel attach to it that can recharge portable electronics...

You know what, someone should create a reasonably sturdy crate that has a prop-up solar panel, battery pack and some standard connectors, and market it as the ultimate survival kit or the geek campers must-have! :)


"Someone".......sounds like me.  

I've wanted something like that for while now.  




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High fibre diet


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  Reply # 377567 7-Sep-2010 15:38
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technicaljoe: That's quite true, the weather these days would have make solar power recharger a bit harder to use......

This DIY hand crank generator and this one on Instructables looks interesting...

But there must be easier way to generate power?  Ideas?  Anyone?  :)


Some have suggested a small 1000-litre water "tower". Maybe 3 metres high. A small pipe trickles the water over a tiny turbine and generates power.

When you have lots of power, the tank is topped up. When the power goes out, this setup trickle-feeds some batteries to extend their charge. A tank like this is like a big "battery" and the fall of the water due to gravity represents potential energy. It might only last a few hours.....but then it is infinitely renewable and and as clean as you can get...and will work in almost any weather except below freezing.

If you had to, and were able to, you could top it up with a ladder and buckets....or a source of running water if you had one....or maybe rainwater if the weather allowed. 




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 377570 7-Sep-2010 15:41
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LinuxLuver: Very good point! I've been wondering for a while from both green tech perspective and emergency perspective why we don't have a (very) limited self generating capacity.

I'm not an expert at the green energy technology or related cost... And I'm not a green activist either. But just imagine if every roof has some solar panels, and they all ties into the grid... Wouldn't that cut down the infrastructure cost and potential pollution from power generation?

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 377579 7-Sep-2010 16:06
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Hi Guys

Can you imaging what would happen to  a small 1000-litre water "tower". Maybe 3 metres high in the kind of earthquakes Christchurch has been experencing?

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 377583 7-Sep-2010 16:24
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What I would digg would be a solar supplemented DC circuit that offsets some of my computer gear's output.

It's a pity that in this day & age to do so we'd need an inverter to turn the solar DC into AC, for the UPS to convert it into DC to charge its battery & output AC for the PSU to convert it into DC for the components.

*shrugs*

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