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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-08-06, 12:27 PM   #1
yes
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Off topic: HPCD (Human Powered Consumer Devices)

Reading an article in the Journal of Cleaner Production on Human Powered Energy Systems. Three case studies were: mp3 player, auto-closing door, and electronic auto door opener.

The mp3 player and door had a lower environmental impact. The auto keyless entry device was about equal environmentally, but thought to be more reliable. The mp3 player required 1 minute of human charging for 60 minutes of run time.

Perhaps human powered devices can/will spread to non-vehicles. We've all seen some specialty devices for camping. Some have auto charging (kinetic) watches. Wouldn't it be neat to get the majority of little consumer devices to drop the wall chargers?
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Old 09-08-06, 02:55 PM   #2
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So, could someone invent a bicycle generator that does not power a head/tail light, but instead charges a battery which in turn runs the lights? That would solve the problem of the lights going out when the bike stops (for those who run on generators) and pulling out the battery to charge it after a ride (for those who run on batteries). If pedaling generated enough power, maybe there could be a automobile cigarette lighter plugin on the battery and one could run a radio or some other music device from the battery also.
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Old 09-08-06, 03:05 PM   #3
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I just got back from two weeks in a cabin in the woods with a hand cranked LED flashlight. The thing would produce light for an hour or so after about a minute of cranking. I'd been skeptical of the thing, figuring it was like the old Soviet Union lights that required continuous cranking, but this thing was very good. While walking along dark trails at night, the bluish-white beam was a pleasant reminder that this was the 21st century.

Anyhow, this is technology that you need not be an ideological greenie to love. No bulbs to burn out/fail from internal corrosion, no shelf-life issues -- just light when you need it. It makes life easier.

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Old 09-08-06, 04:04 PM   #4
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This is my favorite HPCD...
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Old 09-08-06, 04:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swwhite
So, could someone invent a bicycle generator that does not power a head/tail light, but instead charges a battery which in turn runs the lights? That would solve the problem of the lights going out when the bike stops (for those who run on generators) and pulling out the battery to charge it after a ride (for those who run on batteries). If pedaling generated enough power, maybe there could be a automobile cigarette lighter plugin on the battery and one could run a radio or some other music device from the battery also.
Something similar has been available in Europe for a few years. The light has a capacitor that charges then runs an LED for a few minutes after you stop. I have several. However, I notice that my older unit stays lit for minutes longer than the newer one. I like your idea of charging a battery rather than a capacitor but how much stop time would you need? Unless the light detaches it wouldn't be useful for aiding in roadside repairs so maybe the stoplight time is long enough for safety.
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Old 09-08-06, 07:21 PM   #6
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^Yeah, peter white has a light w/ that on his sight http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/lightingsystems.htm.

It should be possible to do this on your own w/ any generator hub. The hub (6v) would act as a trickle charger to charge a battery pack with about 5 rechargeable cells. You'd have to make some electronics or something to make sure that you don't overcharge the batteries. I don't see a 12 volt hub, though, which would be usefull for charging a cell phone or other commonly chargable items.
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Old 09-09-06, 07:16 AM   #7
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Other ideas

There was a article in the local paper. Of course it was during hurricane season. The guy powered his computer by riding a bike that powered or charged a battery and than he surfed the web on his own power. I might be able to find it. But he was talking about how where he lived the power was always going out so he took other measures.
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Old 09-09-06, 07:53 AM   #8
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I have a Seiko Kinetic watch that I have had for several years. The watch does not require batteries, it "charges" itself from arm movements. Of course, old fashioned wind-up watches doesn't require batteries either, but the Kinetic watch doesn't require any attention whatsoever.
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Old 09-09-06, 11:55 AM   #9
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There's this nice little store in my neighborhood with an amazing array of good quality, human powered kitchen gadgetry. Fine knives, hand choppers, precision mandolins from Japan, things that require lots of arm use. They have low power usage electrical appliances as well, but I've been thinking about some of the hand tools to improve my upper body strength without forking out money for a gym membership. Like riding my bike, I much prefer practical physical activity to exercising for it's own sake.
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Old 09-09-06, 12:02 PM   #10
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human powered kitchen gadgetry. ... precision mandolins
Is that wrong, or does the shop just sell weird stuff together? (Mandolin is an instrument in case you've got it mixed up with something else. Not sure what a precision one would be)

I've been looking for a hand powered meat slicer - they all seem to be electric now. Like the delis use but with a hand crank. I did come across a hand powered blender which was quite cool.
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Old 09-09-06, 04:35 PM   #11
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Like many words, mandolin has more than one meaning. It is a musical instrument and a device that slices, shreds, or julians food. I have one as well as a quisinart. It sure is more convenient for little jobs, but then again, so is a knife, and a knife is just so much more fun for most things.
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Old 09-09-06, 05:35 PM   #12
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Some company is introducing laptops on the market that may be charged by humans. The idea is to charge $100 for the basic laptop and make it an affordable computer for poor countries, or something like that. I don't know about the poor countries, but I want one too!
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Old 09-09-06, 06:17 PM   #13
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there's a neat flashlight at the store near my house. you crank it and it powers the flashlight, but it also has cellphone adapters that you can hook up to your phone for emergency power! there are other lights with radios, lamps, and all kinds of other weird stuff in them, powered by a crank for camping or emergencies. the little light is only about 13 bucks, and the big one is 30! not bad at all. i'd love to get one of those, especially the small one which i could use on the bike for light or in case my phone dies (i always forget to charge it). anyway i thought that was the coolest thing!
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Old 09-10-06, 12:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caspar_s
Is that wrong, or does the shop just sell weird stuff together? (Mandolin is an instrument in case you've got it mixed up with something else. Not sure what a precision one would be)

I've been looking for a hand powered meat slicer - they all seem to be electric now. Like the delis use but with a hand crank. I did come across a hand powered blender which was quite cool.
My mom owns 2 mandolins: one she plays music on and one she slices with.

Next time I'm in there, I'll see if they have a meat slicer, though I think the shop owners are a bit vegetarian-biased.
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Old 09-10-06, 11:50 AM   #15
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Actually my friend in South Africa used his to cut bread and cheese - best cheese slicer I've ever used, thin, uniform slices.

Ok, I've never heard of the food cutting mandolins.

We have one of the led flashlights too - and took it on a night ride 110km. We mounted it with inner tube wrapped around the handlebars and with the charging handle on top. Then when my wife needed more light, she just wound it up more.
Probably not as good as a HID or 12v halogen system, but a lot lighter and not time limited.
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Old 09-10-06, 12:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smilin buddha
There was a article in the local paper. Of course it was during hurricane season. The guy powered his computer by riding a bike that powered or charged a battery and than he surfed the web on his own power. I might be able to find it. But he was talking about how where he lived the power was always going out so he took other measures.
I liked to conduct experiments as a kid. I hooked up four wet cells in series and put them on an circuit with my headlight. It sort of worked. I tried a capacitor and a resistor to keep it from overcharging but got tired of the experiment because of disappointing results. I didn't learn about diodes till later. I think the wet cells came from an old PBX switchboard that had a short term power back-up in case the electric main failed.

Lehman's is surrounded by Amish communities in Ohio and they have some of the coolest stuff. You don't have to be Amish and with a web site, I suppose they aren't either.
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Old 09-10-06, 01:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swwhite
So, could someone invent a bicycle generator that does not power a head/tail light, but instead charges a battery which in turn runs the lights? That would solve the problem of the lights going out when the bike stops (for those who run on generators) and pulling out the battery to charge it after a ride (for those who run on batteries). If pedaling generated enough power, maybe there could be a automobile cigarette lighter plugin on the battery and one could run a radio or some other music device from the battery also.
Hah! This is what I already have in the plans for my bike! It would be great for touring, too, since most likely most of your riding would be done during the daytime. And when I am touring I'll definetely be charging batteries and stuff from the generator... wouldn't want to be stuck not being able to take pics because I forgot to charge my camera!
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Old 09-10-06, 01:48 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by chephy
Some company is introducing laptops on the market that may be charged by humans. The idea is to charge $100 for the basic laptop and make it an affordable computer for poor countries, or something like that. I don't know about the poor countries, but I want one too!
That's the One Laptop Per Child program... problem is you have to order 1 million laptops, minimum. The laptops themselves are actually very interesting... I wouldn't mind having one to play with. Some really great technology there.
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Old 09-10-06, 01:50 PM   #19
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Here's the mandolin Lehman's sells, although they spell it with an "e" at the end. I've seen it both ways.
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Old 09-11-06, 12:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
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So, could someone invent a bicycle generator that does not power a head/tail light, but instead charges a battery which in turn runs the lights?
http://www.windstreampower.com/humanpower/hpginfo.html

If you don't need to go anywhere, you can run a lot of devices. I've heard of parents who require their kids to create the electricity for whatever T.V. show they're watching. You can hook your bike up to it, or just use the pedals they supply.
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