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Tag Archives: Solar-Power

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Start Small With R/C Cars


By Evan Ackerman

In what may be (but probably isn’t) a sign of things to come, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies has released a miniature hydrogen fuel cell power system designed specifically for R/C cars. It’s a complete power system for higher end hobby cars, and optionally comes with an entire solar powered fuel infrastructure that uses solar or wind power to turn water into hydrogen, which gets stored in special solid state cartridges. So, it’s sort of like this thing, except in a kit that can be installed on your own R/C car (or anything else).

There aren’t too many specs on performance (beyond a capacity of 12Wh, or 3-4 times the endurance of conventional batteries), but since all a hydrogen fuel cell does is create electricity, it’s not going to be like a nitro car, but it should perform just about the same as any battery powered system, and it looks like it does:

A hydrogen powered R/C car might be way less convenient than gas or batteries, but it is the future, and a microcosm of the whole hydrogen fuel situation in normal size cars, so at least you can feel good about that. Or something.

The kit starts shipping March 15, price TBA.

[ Horizon ] VIA [ I4U News ]

Solar Charging Vest Makes Pets Useful

By Evan Ackerman

What has your dog done for you lately? If you’re lucky, maybe you get something fetched once in a while. Big whup. Erik Schiegg hit on a way to make his dog useful for a change, by equipping it with a solar charging vest. The dog runs around outside all day, and Erik’s phone gets charged thanks to the solar panel on the dog’s back. While this may not be as efficient as a stationary solar panel, most of us don’t have the space or money for one of those, and this is a cheap and easy DIY solution to mobile solar charging… Think hiking and camping trips and stuff.

You can easily wire up something like this yourself; all you really need is a solar panel (which you can find at online hobby shops) and a battery pack. Or you can just buy one of these and a roll of duct tape. Your call.

VIA [ Make ]

Sundial Cannon Could Be Most Effective Alarm Clock In History


By Evan Ackerman

This is what’s called a sundial cannon, or a noon cannon. Assuming the weather cooperates, at noon exactly the lens on the sundial focuses sunlight onto a pan filled with gunpowder, setting off the cannon to mark the time. Generally, the cannons weren’t loaded with shot, but with all of the novelty alarm clocks out there, it seems like one that automatically shoots you could be really, really effective, in a potentially dangerous sort of way. And hey, it’s even solar powered.

VIA [ Neatorama ]

Sun Drive Is Everything You Could Ever Want In A Solar USB Key

By Evan Ackerman

While I certainly applaud the concept behind festooning random gadgets with solar cells, I have to question how useful it actually is. I mean, even with dedicated solar chargers with lots of panel area you have to make a special effort to leave them out in the sun for them to be useful. Still, I guess hypothetically a little tiny solar cell that spends most of its time in your pocket is better than no solar cell at all. This particular befestooned gadget is a USB key called the Sun Drive, available in capacities of 2^1 gigs, 2^2 gigs, 2^3 gigs, and 2^4 gigs. The solar cell and associated battery make it way fatter and less convenient than it needs to be, but fully charged, it can give your cell phone an extra 100 minutes of talk time or power one of those budget MP3 players for an additional 35 hours through some kind of interface that looks suspiciously non-friendly.

The biggest redeeming factor of the Sun Drive is the fact that it starts off at only $23, so worst case, you just end up with an overpriced flash drive, and best case, you get useful little portable and eco-friendly gadget charger.

[ AVing (Translated) ] VIA [ DVICE ]

The Kiran By D.light Is The World’s Most Affordable Solar Lamp

Kiran Solar Lamp (Images courtesy D.light & Designboom)
By Andrew Liszewski

With a price tag of just $10, the Kiran, created by D.light, is being billed as the world’s most affordable quality solar lamp. It uses highly efficient LEDs to produce about 5 times more light than a kerosene lantern and will run for about 8 hours on its battery when kept on its low setting, or about 4 hours when on its high setting.

A built-in solar panel will fully recharge the battery in about 8 hours (in full sunlight at 25 degrees celsius) or it can be plugged into AC and recharged in just 4 hours. The whole idea of the lamp is to provide a highly affordable and easy to use light source for developing countries and low-income families, and I guess as long as people can remember to recharge it in the daytime it could be a viable alternative.

[ Kiran Solar Lamp ] VIA [ designboom ]

Solar Power Shower Puts A New Spin On Outdoor Showers


By Chris Scott Barr

If you’re looking for an interesting alternative outdoor shower, this cool Solar Power Shower might be the thing you need. Most outdoor camping showers use the sun to heat up a container of water, then spray that heated water on you. It’s a concept that works, but unfortunately you either need a large container, or you’ll run out of water quickly. Thankfully this Solar Power Shower can provide lots of warm water without taking up much space.

The idea behind this particular shower is that if you combine really hot water with cold water, you’ll get a nice steady flow of warm water. It’s a simple enough concept, one that works in almost every modern house. The solar panels heat up 8 liters of water to 140-degrees in around 2 hours. When you’re ready to shower, just turn on a garden hose that’s connected to it, and “you and your family can take several showers consecutively before the tank needs to reheat.” Needing a hose means it’s not very portable, and the $200 price tag is a bit salty, it’s still a cool idea though.

[ Herrington ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Solar Vest Certainly Makes A Fashion Statement


By Chris Scott Barr

There are certain things that a person can wear that will instantly earn them the label of “dork” or “nerd.” The pocket protector is a perfect example. Sure, it can be argued that it is a very important accessory for those who carry a multitude of things in their shirt pocket. However, it still looks stupid. The same holds true with this CVFR-S09 Solar Vest.

This vest is equipped with four solar panels which can be used to charge a number of different gadgets. The panels are even removable so that you can set them in the window while you’re inside. The fact that I can hold up to 8 gadgets in my pockets and recharge each of them (one at a time) might seem cool, but it’s not something I’d be caught outside in. For crying out loud it has the words “SOLAR VEST” sewn in the back of it. It might as well say “KICK ME” instead. The $140 price tag doesn’t even justify it as an impulse buy.

[ Chinavision ] VIA [ GeekAlerts ]

Solar Cell Phone Is Earth Friendly, Dirt Cheap


By Evan Ackerman

You don’t generally expect much from a cell phone that costs less than sixty bucks, and with the Samsung E1107, you don’t get much. It’s got a 128 x 128 display, an FM radio, and a built-in flashlight. The reason that you’d buy it is the solar panel the takes up the entire back of the phone, promising up to 10 minutes of call time per hour in the sun. While not the most efficient way of charging your phone, it’s a million times better than an iPhone 3GS at out of power performance, and at least gives you an option for mobile charging.

The other reason to get this phone is that it’s good for the Earth: it helps reduce global warming. Not in the way you’re thinking, that would be too obvious. No, I’m talking about how having a solar panel out in the sun absorbs photons, preventing them from imparting their horrible energy into the ground and making everything just a little bit cooler. If everybody was using solar powered cell phones, not only would we be saving energy charging them, but charging them would actually cool the planet by some fraction of a degree that I’m just going to go ahead and call significant and important! Yay solar power!

So far, the E1107 is available pretty much everywhere except the US. Why must they taunt us so?

[ Newswire ] VIA [ Samsung Hub ]

Solar Powered CD Player

Solar CD/MP3 Player (Image courtesy Apartment Therapy Unplugged)
By Andrew Liszewski

On one hand it’s nice that this funky looking CD player is completely solar powered, but on the other hand, who really uses a CD player any more? The base of the player hides its rechargeable battery, and after leaving the included solar panel out in the sun for about 4 to 5 hours you can expect to get about 10 hours of playtime. And in addition to traditional CDs it will also play MP3 files burned to a data disc, so it’s not completely outdated, but with a price tag of about $137, it’s still a tough sell.

[ Solar CD/MP3 Player ] VIA [ Apartment Therapy Unplugged ]