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Alternative battery chargers AKA thinking outside of the box.
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Alternative battery chargers AKA thinking outside of the box. on 04/26/2013 21:05:26 MDT Print View

OK. So we have solar chargers, regular wall chargers, and of course packing in extra batteries as kind of the typical way people recharge their devices.

Then there are also thermocoupler devices like the power pot.

But what else... I had some other ideas.

1. Steam!

Here is an example.

It's kind of a silly idea but if you could use your pot and a wood stove (gas wouldn't make a ton of sense) you could build a charger. WEIGHT is the issue here. I haven't done much research but it would be interesting if you could get a basic steam powered charger working for USB chargins.

2. Hand crank...

This one:

is 32 bucks and 90 grams. My second battery is 70 grams and I suspect you could get a lighter one. Apparently 6 minutes of cranking gives you 2 minutes of talk time. So this seems somewhat practical.

I was also thinking that you could use the water from a stream to power this. Maybe use gravity to turn the crank.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Alternative battery chargers AKA thinking outside of the box. on 04/26/2013 21:20:22 MDT Print View

"Apparently 6 minutes of cranking gives you 2 minutes of talk time."

Ask how long they are guaranteed to last!

Pelton wheels and other water-powered gadgets will work, but in general they weigh more than they are worth unless you have them in a semi-permanent installation.

You can also try a nuclear source like long distance space probes use. But then you would have to wear a lead apron, so the weight is against you again.

Wood energy will work, but you need a lot of wood and a lot of time. Even then you may get only a small amount of energy out.

What is already in use is the most practical.


Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Re: Alternative battery chargers AKA thinking outside of the box. on 04/26/2013 21:41:28 MDT Print View

I did some rough calculations based on spotty evidence and I think to use something like the power pot would take about 2 hours to charge a phone.

... and I don't want to babysit it the whole time.

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Fuel cell on 04/26/2013 23:35:44 MDT Print View

I wonder how light one could build a fuel cell that could boil water and charge my phone? Maybe fuel could be a little CO2 style hydrogen cartridge ;p Think of the efficiency.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Fuel cell on 04/27/2013 00:25:43 MDT Print View

Just be very careful when you stir the oxygen tank.


Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
come on... on 04/27/2013 01:52:37 MDT Print View

really guys..

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Fuel cell on 04/27/2013 01:58:36 MDT Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 12:33:18 MDT.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Kinetic Energy on 04/27/2013 04:52:53 MDT Print View

There used to be a backpack developed for the military that would charge a battery pack. Basically it was an external frame pack that would bounce with you and turn the kinetic energy into electricity. The concept has been simplified and shrunken into a 10" baton you place into your pack.

For the weight of 14oz though I'd just pack a pound's worth of charged extra batteries...

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Lightning on 04/27/2013 05:23:49 MDT Print View

Worked in Back to the Future

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Fuel cell on 04/27/2013 06:18:30 MDT Print View

Rick wrote:
"Patience my friends."

From their site:
"The fuel cell inside PowerTrekk is a completely passive
system. Without fans or pumps, the fuel cell silently
converts hydrogen into electricity via its Proton Exchange
Membrane. The chemistry process is safe, controllable,
and the only bi-product from the fuel cell is a little water
vapor. To operate, hydrogen must be supplied to the
fuel cell
, and the fuel cell must be exposed to the open
air.The PowerTrekk Puck is part of an industry program
for reusing its materials and is made of coated can materials.
PowerTrekk and PowerTrekk Puck meet industry
security standards and can be brought on an airplane
passenger cabin.

Proton Exchange? Sounds like cold fusion, they do not explain the process...
Note the bold text above. Where do you get the hydrogen from? How do you carry it?
Ha, ha, ha.... all this is just another heavy gadget meaning this is a less than funny joke...a HEAVY USB charging device.

The problem is material science is not up to storing large amounts of hydrogen.
Be patient, yes, be very, very, patient.

Yes, I AM laughing.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Alternative battery chargers AKA thinking outside of the box. on 04/27/2013 11:01:22 MDT Print View

"But what else... I had some other ideas."

I guess today this might be thinking outside the box... leave the electronics at home :)