Monday, August 10, 2009

Inefficient = Useful, sometimes

Essentially everyone has battery operated devices that they charge using battery cheaters. How about a small, inefficient solar cell pack or tiny windmill that you could hang out the window to charge them. It does not have to be efficient because the sun/wind are free and in most cases time is not an issue. You might even be able to cook something up that runs off the temperature difference between your attic and basement. Such things probably do exist. A market where they have established themselves is solar cell powered calculators (Eli's is about 20 years old).



jules said...

My solar cell calculator was a present in my first year in high school years. 22 years later, and noone has been able to persuade me to change it to a "real" or "scientific" calculator. I'm too used (and fond of) my little reliable machine.

Anyway, does the rabett know there effectively exist small solar cell devices to recharge regular AA-batteries ? There also exist chargers for cellphones. They have proven to be very useful for when Jules is hiding in the woods.

Brian Schmidt said...

I had some type of AA battery solar recharger 15 years ago. It didn't work, so caveat emptor, carpe diem etc.

Hank Roberts said...

My south window setup:

A little square-foot 5-watt 18v solar panel, enough to keep topped up
An Optima Yellow-top deep-discharge 12v battery, via
A Morningstar Sunguard-4 controller (so I don't boil the battery)
Lots of adapters, mostly automobile-type or

For AAA and AA NiMH and NiCD:
A Maha C9000 battery charger

Yeah, it's earthquake country.

DeadFrog said...

Nobody in my family ever knows what to buy the others for a birthday. So last year I asked for a solar charger. It sits on the windowsill, and now I always have a charged phone and batteries for my mp3 player.

I also have a solar/wind powered clothes drier with no integrated power storage. Despite living in England, a country notorious amongst deniers for being cold and wet, the clothes line works well!

Hank Roberts said...


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