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Author Topic: Is there a "potential energy" radio?  (Read 6789 times)

Offline Karsten

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Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« on: 28/07/2012 04:32:32 »
No, I am not talking about some miracle energy device, I am talking about pulling up a mass and letting it drop (slowly with the help of gears) to run a generator.

Has anyone here seen anything like this to operate, say, a small radio?


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #1 on: 28/07/2012 05:49:52 »
I've seen hand crank radios that were supposed to store energy in batteries or capacitors.  But, they never seemed to be very effective.  And, of course solar radios.

I thought I had heard of a record lathe that was powered by weights, but I don't see any notes on the internet, and I can't remember which band it was in reference to.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #2 on: 28/07/2012 07:02:19 »
... pulling up a mass and letting it drop (slowly with the help of gears) to run a generator.

Has anyone here seen anything like this to operate, say, a small radio?

A radio with headphones (rather than loudspeakers) will require about 1/2 a Watt of power.

The energy from a Cuckoo-clock-sized system of weights could only produce that level of power for a few seconds.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_potential#Potential_energy
« Last Edit: 28/07/2012 07:17:11 by RD »
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #3 on: 28/07/2012 08:09:39 »
Never seen anything like it, but I'm sure a radio receiver could be constructed that operated that way. The mass could even be water that is used to drive a small turbine.

Of course, radio receivers don't always need a power source other than the RF energy itself. Some of us are old enough to remember messing around with crystal sets.
 

Offline Karsten

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #4 on: 28/07/2012 20:16:08 »
If I can use the crank on a hand-crank radio for about 30 seconds to get 15 minutes of emergency radio (not sure about those numbers) then it seems reasonable to me to assume that if I can haul up a 10kg mass 2 meters if would be enough energy to give me at least the same. The mass could even be the radio itself (with added water for extra mass) and the bottom of the rope would feature the ear plugs you use to listen.

wouldn't that be:
98N x 0.002m/s = 0.196W
?

Surprisingly enough that does not seem to be sufficient for a radio of 0.5W. Hmmm...
I wonder if I could even use a geared cranking mechanism to get the 10kg up the 2 meters with applying the same force. Cranking those radios for 30 seconds just does not seems that hard. This appears wrong. Is my math (and thinking) right?

The crank radios with batteries stink since the batteries that are recharged by the generator sooner or later don't hold a charge any longer. I like the capacitor concept. They may outlast batteries in their ability to hold a charge.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #5 on: 28/07/2012 20:47:10 »
.... if I can haul up a 10kg mass 2 meters ...
wouldn't that be:
98N x 0.002m/s = 0.196W

potential energy = mass x gravity x height raised,  10Kg x 9.8ms-2 x 2m = 192 joules of potential energy

1 Watt is 1 joule per second,
So a half Watt radio would run for 392 seconds (6.5 minutes) from 192 joules.

The above calculations assume no frictional losses, in reality you’d be lucky to get 50% efficiency,
e.g. the radio only runs for one pop song about 200 seconds long before you have to haul up the weight again.


[ 10Kg dropping freefall 2m could be a safety hazard, e.g.  if the fixture your apparatus was suspended from gave way ]
« Last Edit: 28/07/2012 21:05:58 by RD »
 

Offline Karsten

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #6 on: 28/07/2012 23:43:11 »
Well, I just checked and one source says that cranking the crank for 1 minute gives you about 4 minutes of radio play. I guess that makes sense considering the numbers. They are certainly not as efficient as I thought.

And yes, a mass suspended about 2 meters high is about a dangerous as a high bookshelf or a potted plant on a balcony. People who find themselves needing to use an emergency radio may be willing to take this crazy risk though. :)
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #7 on: 29/07/2012 01:18:57 »
Well, I just checked and one source says that cranking the crank for 1 minute gives you about 4 minutes of radio play. I guess that makes sense considering the numbers. They are certainly not as efficient as I thought.

Is it a Chinese Radio?

I've tried some crank and shake flashlights and radios.   
The ads always seem to be a bit optimistic.  I don't think I could hardly get the radio to play without constantly cranking (until the crank broke off).  And, the cranking was always a bit noisy, so no sitting back and enjoying the radio. 

A lot will depend on how much you need to amplify the sound.  An unamplified walkman or ipod or similar really won't take much power.

Geezer's no power radio sounds like a good idea, as long as you don't mind using ear buds.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #8 on: 29/07/2012 01:25:55 »

Geezer's no power radio sounds like a good idea, as long as you don't mind using ear buds.


As long as it's an AM signal. FM reception might be impossible without "power assist".
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #9 on: 29/07/2012 07:57:42 »
And yes, a mass suspended about 2 meters high is about a dangerous as a high bookshelf or a potted plant on a balcony. People who find themselves needing to use an emergency radio may be willing to take this crazy risk though. :)

Your 10Kg weight suspended from some improvised attachment close to the ceiling is certainly more hazardous than using AA batteries. 10Kg is heavier than a bowing ball, 2m is the height of a typical door.

Quote
Think of this like dropping a bowling ball onto your foot - the weight of the ball compresses (squashes) the tissues of your foot against the floor. This force of this weight being dropped can rupture blood vessels, causing bruising, and even break bones. Dropping a bowling ball onto the stomach could compress the bowel, causing it to rupture, spilling the contents into the abdominal cavity and becoming a major source of infection.
http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/Now-Who-Wants-To-Be-A-Paramedic-283837.html
« Last Edit: 29/07/2012 07:59:23 by RD »
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #10 on: 29/07/2012 11:37:38 »
The old crystal sets used a long length of wire suspended quite high to pick up a strong-enough signal to power earphones. This would be good for receiving emergency AM radio broadcasts (assuming the tornado/earthquake/flood didn't knock over your antenna too!).

By winding the inductor coil on a ferrite rod, you could pick up signals without an external antenna - this made it more portable. Also, it was directional, so you could work out where the transmitter was located.

To transmit signals in an emergency, you need a lot more power.

A solar charger for your mobile phone sounds like a good idea...
« Last Edit: 29/07/2012 12:07:16 by evan_au »
 

Offline Karsten

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #11 on: 29/07/2012 13:55:37 »

Your 10Kg weight suspended from some improvised attachment close to the ceiling is certainly more hazardous than using AA batteries.

I agree.
But the point was to find a reliable solution to power a radio in case batteries are not available and are desperately needed to hear learn what is going on with the help of a radio. Gravity can be found anywhere on this planet all the time and I was wondering if it could be used to power a radio. The discussion whether producing electricity this way is dangerous is besides the point since such an long-term emergency is inherently dangerous. Just having no shelter and water will kill many "civilized" people. Those who are smart and tough enough to have handled this will also be able to be careful about hanging something heavy in a tree.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #12 on: 05/08/2012 15:17:41 »
Well, spring energy is a potential energy, so the wind-up radio is a legitimate answer to the subject line, but not what you're asking for.

If you want gravitational potential energy, you would do well to use hydroelectric of some kind.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #13 on: 06/08/2012 13:16:51 »

Geezer's no power radio sounds like a good idea, as long as you don't mind using ear buds.


As long as it's an AM signal. FM reception might be impossible without "power assist".


It's perfectly possible to receive an FM signal on an AM radio. You just detune it slightly. The official name for this is "slope detection"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detector_(radio)

Since you can use a crystal set to pick up a signal (AM or FM) you don't need power from a falling weight.
In principle, you can use the power from the crystal set to lift the weight back up again.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #14 on: 06/08/2012 21:28:58 »

It's perfectly possible to receive an FM signal on an AM radio. You just detune it slightly. The official name for this is "slope detection"


Yes, but I doubt if the detected signal will drive earphones without some some amplification. Anybody still got a crystal set?
 

Offline damocles

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #15 on: 01/09/2012 07:52:21 »
I've seen hand crank radios that were supposed to store energy in batteries or capacitors.  But, they never seemed to be very effective.  And, of course solar radios.

I thought I had heard of a record lathe that was powered by weights, but I don't see any notes on the internet, and I can't remember which band it was in reference to.


Hand crank radios are in quite general use in remote parts in SouthEast Asia. Our son brought one back with him from the Philippines (he was working on a volunteer project in a village there). I think you would also find them in Indonesia and Papua Niugini. They seem to work quite well.
 

Offline graham.d

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #16 on: 01/09/2012 09:02:52 »
Whole range of wind-up radios available. Here is a sample...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=wind+up+radio&tag=googhydr-21&index=aps&hvadid=9510126185&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=514736540370828362&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_3g3pmhe8th_b

Famously "invented" by Trevor Baylis...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Baylis

THese were popular in many places in the world whi don't have the benefit of electricity and where batteries are an expensive luxury.

If you can do it by winding a spring then you can do it with a weight. If you need more energy then just have a heavier weight or raise the weight you have to a greater height.
 

Offline William McCormick

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #17 on: 03/09/2012 21:14:50 »
No, I am not talking about some miracle energy device, I am talking about pulling up a mass and letting it drop (slowly with the help of gears) to run a generator.

Has anyone here seen anything like this to operate, say, a small radio?

I have built the Radio Shack radio that uses no batteries. It works great, but I had to reverse the antenna and ground wire, to make it work. You can definitely pick up strong AM stations with it, and listen to them.

A small single traic AM radio with amplifier transformer, actually has the gate of the traic, initiated by the power from the antenna. I thought that was pretty cool.

                      Sincerely,

                            William McCormick
 

Offline brandonwouldnt

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #18 on: 05/02/2013 04:41:54 »
i realize this post is real dead, but I came across it while researching, and have a relevant link. newbielink:http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/282006 [nonactive] if you haven't seen this, its a "potential energy" powered light that was crowdfunded recently called the GravityLight
 

Offline techmind

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #19 on: 08/02/2013 22:38:18 »
DAB digital radios take a lot of power. An older, good quality analog-tuned FM radio (a Sony ICF-450L), driving headphones, only needs a few milliamps at 4volts, so little over 0.01 watt. A set of 3 AA batteries will last for many months of listening as a few hours per day. When batteries last that long, it's hardly worth looking for alternatives!
But if you did want to solar- or otherwise power it - it makes sense to start with a minimal-power radio.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #20 on: 10/02/2013 10:21:32 »
The Gravity Light has a couple of electrical terminals on the front so you can connect other devices, like a low-power radio receiver.

For the remote regions Gravity Light are targeting, batteries are unaffordable, whether disposable or solar cells driving a rechargeable battery.
While the cost of a battery may not be an issue for Westerners, unused batteries must be checked regularly or they will corrode, and rechargeables need to be kept charged. So this bypasses the battery problem.
 

Offline RE.Craig

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
« Reply #21 on: 12/02/2013 06:58:05 »
No, I am not talking about some miracle energy device, I am talking about pulling up a mass and letting it drop (slowly with the help of gears) to run a generator.

Has anyone here seen anything like this to operate, say, a small radio?
I remember seeing a WW2 Japanese emergency radio beacon that used a weight and pulley clockwork drive. It was standard issue on their big bombers. If one went down and the crew survived they would set up the radio beacon on it's tripod and set the pulley in action the radio would then transmit an emergency signal. The Americans and British were not so lucky as they had to continuously in turns hand crank a radio attached to a dynamo. Not a nice job in tropical heat!!!
 

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Re: Is there a "potential energy" radio?
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