July 28th, 2009

DIY Solar USB Charger

DIY Solar USB Charger

A while ago I’ve talked about a Solar Recharger for iPodTouch that could be used to recharge an iPhone or an iPodTouch with great success. Now, if you have other devices that can be charged using a USB port and you enjoy the idea of using solar energy, you might wanna try this Solar USB Charger. It is a fairly simple do-it-yourself project that can pretty much charge anything using USB.

For this project you will need an USB extension A/A cable, a diode, a solar panel to transform solar energy into electrical energy and, of course, tools for soldering and drilling. The solar panel used here is a 6V one, and although normal USB voltage is 5V everything should be ok with 6V too.

Now to the build steps. First, you have to cut and clear the extension cable to the bigger side, having easy access to the two wires. Then, you need to solder the diode to the red wire from the solar panel and the red wire from the extension cable to the diode. The black wires from the panel and the extension cable must also be soldered together. Don’t forget to isolate the soldered parts with electrical tape.

The last part is putting it all together and drilling holes for the cables to pass through, one for the panel and another for the USB cable (assuming you also have a box to put all this into). Everything has to be glued to stay in one piece and it is complete, you have a functional Solar USB Charger ready to go (you can find a demonstration of the solar charger recharging a Blackberry in the link below).

Extremely handy in trips where electrical plugs may be scarce, not to mention being environmentally friendly, easy to use and quite cheap to make, the Solar USB Charger is a simple yet very useful device to have with you.

DIY Solar USB Charger: [Link][via]

Monitor And Controll Your Energy Usage With PowerBox

Were starting to see more and more green designs, which is nice, some people are really concerned about the planet we live in. The PowerBox is part of the Cornell University student projects 2008, and its main goal is to calculate and report the following parameters:

  • Real power
  • Apparent power
  • Power factor
  • RMS Voltage
  • RMS Current
  • Frequency
  • Energy usage (Kilowatt-Hours)

All of the data is gathered by a C application which shows real time graphs and data display. Another feature of the PowerBox is that it features a remote switch that allows the computer to turn the power on or off and set wattage limits for auto shutdown. This way people can monitor and control their energy usage. Good job Cornell students.

Monitor And Controll Your Energy Usage With PowerBox: [Link]

April 9th, 2008

The EnerJar

 The EnerJar

The EnerJar is an easy-to-build device that accurately measures the power draw of electrical appliances. The EnerJar was the winner of the Greener Gadgets design competition. The design is still being optimized, but preliminary schematics and source code can be found by following the link bellow.

The EnerJar: [Link]

AlphaPower battery charger review

This is a complete review of the charger written by Jeff Atwood. It seems that the battery producer’s only sell us what they want, and there is a massive wrong idea in people’s minds about batteries. Read the article and find out how you could save money and time by using the recommended batteries. Also read a review on the most comprehensive battery charger.

AlphaPower battery charger review: [Link]

March 19th, 2008

Wind Meter with LCD

Wind Meter with LCD

This is a simple interface to the windmill power storage. There is a button that the user toggles to get the current voltage and percent charge on the stored energy in the windmill battery(s). to conserve power the unit is controlled by a toggle switch rather than always be on; we work hard to generate that power – no point in throwing it away.

Wind Meter with LCD: [Link]



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