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12 volt computer lab

WOW! how good would that be for developing countries?
 
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What you have here is a room with benches around the edge. On the benches are 8 sets of monitors, keyboards, and mice. All of them are hooked into a single machine that operates as a server. EVERYTHING runs from 12v batteries (NOT upping to 240 volts at any stage) that are charged from photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof.

This kit could be used to educate the millions of people that have no access to PCs or mains power.

Mony a Mickle, Jun 19 2009

A 12V switch http://www.netgear....tail=Specifications
//(no 12v switches available though). // [coprocephalous, Jun 22 2009]

[link]






       Failing to see how a computer lab, in particular, is good for the Third World, in particular. This sounds like a more general solution than that.   

       And, frankly, couldn't you just string together 8 solar-powered laptops with peer-to-peer networking?
DrCurry, Jun 19 2009
  

       Yes, I'm not sure what the point is here. Is the idea to provide computer access by solar power? Or is there something special about the 12v that I'm missing? What's the advantage over having a solar collector charging batteries (which I presume is the norm in remote areas), and then an inverter to give regular mains voltage to power normal computers? Probably not quite as efficient, but a lot simpler all round. And what's the reason for having one server as opposed to (as DrCurry suggested) a bunch of laptops or even desktop machines?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 19 2009
  

       We consider the potential difference of choice shoudl be 24V.   

       24V kit is readily available. Many trucks use 24V systems.   

       The maximum rail voltages in personal computers are +12 and -12; with careful planning, and a virtual earth, no stepdown needed.   

       A +24V DC rail would be fine for powering an 18/20/22V LiIon battery as found in many notebooks, via na efficient switching regulator.   

       Taken altogether, not a bad plan for using locally-harvested opportunistic environmental energy.
8th of 7, Jun 19 2009
  

       We consider that 24V truck systems come from two 12V batteries. Computers use +/- 12V merely for RS 232 compatibility, which will work perfectly well from +/- 5V.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 19 2009
  

       [ Failing to see how a computer lab, in particular, is good for the Third World, in particular.] When I say 'lab' I mean a computer suite for a rural school with no mains.   

       [What's the advantage over having a solar collector charging batteries (which I presume is the norm in remote areas), and then an inverter to give regular mains voltage to power normal computers? ]   

       The batteries would drain too quickly.   

       [And what's the reason for having one server as opposed to (as DrCurry suggested) a bunch of laptops or even desktop machines?]   

       Less power required for one machine. I was hoping to be able to link 8 work stations via a switch (no 12v switches available though).   

       Thanks for the other suggestions.
Mony a Mickle, Jun 19 2009
  

       The lack of stepping up is widely baked in photovoltaic (stand-alone) installations. With modern hardware (OLPC2-goal is one Watt), there is no need for a server (low-cost solar cells will provide ~50W/m2). Actually, coating a OLPC2 (~200cm2->1W) with solar cells should suffice for a few hours daily use
loonquawl, Jun 22 2009
  

       // Computers use +/- 12V merely for RS 232 compatibility //   

       We think you'll find that the +12V rail does rather more than just power the Rs232 bus drivers..... the odd trivial device like large hard disk drives are quite fond of 12v. Many modern motherboards don't even use the +12V for the serial port, they use a device such as the MAX232 integrated serial buffer/driver to synthesise the levels from the +5V rail.
8th of 7, Jun 22 2009
  
      
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