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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just wondering if anyone here has looked into things like this:
http://www.brunton.com/product.php?id=256
or this
http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/09/03/energy-ball-by-home-energy/
or something else completely!

Would love your views on alternative means of generating power in an urban environment. I've also seen various home-made versions of the wind turbines, but that rather fancy one caught my eye! :cool:

Admittedly, I would not be wanting to use these to power laptops if it was SHTF time, but I'm curious to know if anyone has considered/tried this stuff.

Thanks!
 

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cheaperthandirt has a gen. (china) that is powered by foot power . Like a bikw. If you ever saw the t.v. show M,A,SH, some would be on it when someone made a call to the u.s. Also try Hardy diesel .
 

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I'm just wondering if anyone here has looked into things like this:
http://www.brunton.com/product.php?id=256
or this
http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/09/03/energy-ball-by-home-energy/
or something else completely!

Would love your views on alternative means of generating power in an urban environment. I've also seen various home-made versions of the wind turbines, but that rather fancy one caught my eye! :cool:

Admittedly, I would not be wanting to use these to power laptops if it was SHTF time, but I'm curious to know if anyone has considered/tried this stuff.

Thanks!
What about bicycle power to generate electricity and hooked up to batteries?
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/1981-03-01/Bicycle-Generator-Home-Power.aspx
Here's even one to generate a water pump:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/1981-01-01/Build-Bicycle-For-Water-Pump.aspx
Power a workshop:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1981-05-01/Cycle-Power-Part-III.aspx

A bicycle doesn't rely on the sun shining or the wind blowing. It just needs 15 minutes here and there on a stationary bicycle to generate power. Perfect activity for those waiting inside their fortress for things to calm down.
 

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I've seen other versions of the vertical vane type and they all look promising.

One I read about recently, and now I can't find the link... Imagine a horizontal wind turbine. The propeller (is that the right terminology?) blades have a magnet on each tip. The generator itself is a series of coils mounted in a circle around the outside of the propeller. A more compact design. I'd actually like to try my hand at building one of these on a small scale.
 

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cheaperthandirt has a gen. (china) that is powered by foot power . Like a bikw. If you ever saw the t.v. show M,A,SH, some would be on it when someone made a call to the u.s. Also try Hardy diesel .
If I am thinking of the same thing it is a weird voltage though.
Just something to consider before ordering as it may involve some further technical considerations.
 

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If you are near a stream you could get a elec motor (DC) . Make a paddle wheel , place it in the water . The water will turn it and thus the moter . This will allow some power .
 

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If you are near a stream you could get a elec motor (DC) . Make a paddle wheel , place it in the water . The water will turn it and thus the moter . This will allow some power .

Actually, of everything mentioned in this thread so far... This is about the only thing with real merit. At least if you're talking a reliable generation setup that takes minimal effort. A dam will help a lot with the potential for generation. Also, you can buy very small turbines, and build a small dam with underground piping to feed the turbine.

Lots of info through these links:

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Hydro/hydro.htm

Beyond that... Vertical axis wind turbines are a scam. There is a good reason there isn't any of them on a commercial grid in the world. Yes, somebody could pull the 'Big oil is keeping them down' card on my comment there, but I can assure you that has nothing to do with it. Why do helicopters use much more conventional blades for the rotors? Or why not use a vertical prop on a plane? It's been tried, it doesn't work, but there is plenty of people who would like to take your money after they convince you it can.

Conventional wind turbines have some merit, and can be built using parts that are easily enough sourced. However, any home built setup will suffer in the longevity department, and generally will not have much for overspeed provisions. Also, you need to mount them high in order to get any sort of decent yield. Ideally you want to be out of any wind shadow in the area, unless you can take advantage of obstructions to act as a wind channel. This means for most people, your mounting point needs to be taller than the highest building/tree/etc within several hundred yards.

And those roll out solar panels have such a pathetic yield that there is almost no point owning one. 7W? 14W? That's a peak rating in IDEAL conditions. Most places will only see an average of 4hrs a day of peak conditions. 14W can power a single CFL light bulb, that's it, and I'm not factoring in a loss of efficiency for wiring and the inverter. About the only use for one is to trickle charge a car battery... And you'd better have plenty of time if you're going to go that route.

The whole jumping on a bike thing to make some power, sure, that works. If you're rationing food/water it might not be ideal. If you have a habit of watching TV and are looking to lose some weight, yes, it works well. Again, it doesn't produce a very high yield. I think most of these setups would only hit upwards of 150W as a peak (1.5 regular light bulb). Humans just don't make enough HP...


Alternate energy... If there is any other topic with more scams, snake oil, and generally poor science being tossed around as truth, I have not seen it.
 

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Remember, you want stealth. A wind turbine is not stealth.

Buy 2 or 3 12x12" solar cells and then get a small car battery. Or just have the cells and nab a battery. No real need for fancy controllers, just a diode to prevent discharge overnight. IF you're using the battery frequently for small lighting, recharging, or laptops then it will not become overcharged. Roughly 1/4 to 1/3 amp per 12x12 cell.

Remeber this is minimal usage. Not lighting the house up every night. Just basics like lfashlight batteries and so on.

I have a (6) 12x12 array hooked up to 2 big commerical truck batteries at home. One battery is hooked up to 1 cell, the other 5 are on the other cell. The one panel is the genset battery. The other 5 have 12v lights in 2 rooms and a 12v plug in the kitchen. I have a controller for the 5 panel, the 1 panel only has a diode. When the genset is running, the batteries are parallel with a big relay, so the 50 amp alternator is charging both banks. I also have a automatic 120vac charger for the banks too, but they rarely turn on because of the panels.
 

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Yes, I have a 26w Brunton roll. I do want mine to power my laptop if SHTF :)

If you dont plan on carting it anywhere though, you can get much cheaper solar power just buy using normal solar panels.

However, the best alternate electricity is finding ways not to need electricity :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the replies and ideas.

I totally agree with Kipper that the ideal is to avoid the need for electricity, which is why I'm not too concerned about generating only a small amount. I wouldn't be anticipating running A/C, computers, TV etc etc...

Love the turbines, but yes, they are not very 'hidden'. If we had a stream then using that would be great, but no stream, unfortunately. I don't know too many urban homes that do have one. Thanks again, love to hear more ideas if anyone has any!
 

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I totally agree with Kipper that the ideal is to avoid the need for electricity, which is why I'm not too concerned about generating only a small amount. I wouldn't be anticipating running A/C, computers, TV etc etc...
Ahha, Pre SHTF I use the 26w of solar to keep my laptop going if I am off camping or some other leisure activity in the sticks.

Post SHTF I will use it for re-charging batteries for torches, GPS (if its still working, and if i have to bug out) and maybe a radio, and thats about it.

Air-con, electric heating, refrigeration, computers, tvs etc are all things I will have to live without.

*edit*
That said, I can definitely see the advantage of having enough power to power a small portable fridge/freezer type thing (probably would need about 200w for that..)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes, I agree Kipper. Cooking and preserving food would be my primary concern. Even lighting I would do with alternatives.
 

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root cellars are a good way of keeping things fresh without power i think society is to reliant on the modern conviences like power people did quite well for themselves befor there was such a creature as electricity i would suggest studying the practice of farmers from 1860 and before it might help simplify some of your plans
 

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Look for a 12 volt solar cell that goes on a deer feeder. Its a trickle charger, but its better then nothing. Since it designed to go on a deer feeder, they are weather resistant.

You can find the 12 volt solar chargers at just about any sporting goods store that sales deer hunting supplies.
 
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