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# Clockwork Motor

Applying an old toy technology to automobiles
 (+2, -8) [vote for, against]

What's a clockwork motor? Currently, it is usually a metal coil and part of a small toy car. it is wound tight either by pulling on a string or pulling the actual toy backwards. When released, the coil unwinds and causes the toy to move forward.

Why not apply this technology to a full size automobile? Here's a way to make it so:

1) Have multiple coils directly or indirectly attached to the wheel shaft

2) When a car moves, only a percentage of the coils are unwinding while the others are winding via battery-operated motor. When the unwinding coils lose their "power", the wound-up coils are then released. In theory, this process can be continued in perpetuity.

3) Uphill driving can be controlled by engaging more coils to unwind (i.e. Setting the lever to first gear unwinds more coils than say, third gear)

4) Acceleration can be controlled by how fast coils are unwound (The accelerator pedal will perform this control)

5) Brakes will be similar to regular cars

6) A/C, heater, lights, radio, etc, will be powered by electricity from dynamos being spun by seperate group of winding/unwinding coils.

I just wish there's a battery/recharging system out there that can support this technology.

But if there is one, people will ask why not put it in an electric car instead? Well, this technology only requires the batteries to wind up coils. Let the coil's power do the work - move the wheels and power up dynamos for the car electric accessories. That's it!

Meanwhile, electric cars requires more work from their batteries: 1) power the motors that move the car 2) and at the same time, supply power to the accessories More energy usually means more batteries installed in the car.

Coil power, anyone?

 — AndErin, Apr 25 2008

Energy Density page in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Energy_density
Look at the VERY bottom of the chart, and notice the decimal places. [baconbrain, Apr 29 2008]

magnetic shape memory http://www.tfot.inf...ng-shape-alloy.html
used in devices that require small, rapid movement, like very small motors that do not have room for normal components such as rotors, stators, gears and shafts [rotary, May 01 2008]

[link]

 I may have misunderstood something here. But.

You want to power a car by means of springs, which are wound up by an electric motor? Is that correct?
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 25 2008

I'm trying to figure out why you think this would be a good idea. The only way I can see this being useful is in a world where battery technology is limited by discharge rate. But that isn't the case.
 — Srimech, Apr 25 2008

 Point 2 (wind/unwind) isn't necessary. Since the motors and batteries are operating constantly, connect a motor to the drive shaft. This eliminates the mass of excessive springs.

 Point 5 (ordinary brakes) entirely missed an advantage of spring coils: energy storage. Braking can wind the springs.

The goal should be "Coil Assist", since there's a limit to how far you can wind a spring.
 — Amos Kito, Apr 25 2008

Sadly springs lack power density. remember how For reference look up energy density on wikipedia and find where springs arev on the list. The rest of this idea is perpetual motion mumbo-jumbo.
 — MisterQED, Apr 26 2008

Oh, babe [AndErin], if only you mean that high-strength-magnetically spaced, supercapacitor coil using high-temperature superconducting nano-composite material sandwiched inside counter-rotating carbon-fiber flywheels that are hermetically sealed in an electromagnetically circuited stator housing of your plug-in futuristic toy car powerplant, I could bun this. But, you've forgotten it somehow. Are you experiencing adolescent hormonal wrecks these days?
 — rotary, Apr 26 2008

i agree with the "coil assist" idea. electric motors use gobs of energy spinning up, and just a trickle keeping their speed. maybe a coil assist with a flywheel to handle loads and electric to keep the flywheel spun up (and for that extra oomph when needed).
 — copycat042, Apr 29 2008

 //Coil power, anyone?//

 Not for me, thanks.

 To build this, for each coil you are going to need a clutch mechanism and a winding mechanism, and drives to either the dynamos or the transmission. Coils barely work on direct-drive toy cars. Interestingly, the weight-to-power of a spring makes it the very worst power source possible--see link for Wikipedia, also mentioned by [MisterQED].

 Clockwork power was at its peak about the time airplanes and automobile were being developed. I'd say that if it could have worked, it would have been used then. Without something new, but not a gratuitous zig-zag through electricity, this isn't going to fly.

Welcome to the Halfbakery, [AndErin].
 — baconbrain, Apr 29 2008

A less than perfect idea...because the friction of the mechanical parts would greatly reduce efficiency. Better to just use batteries that are recharged at home or at work via metered re-charge stations. Compressed air motors would be much more efficient…mechanical springs are heavy and cumbersome. Air would provide much the same effect and the tanks, made of light weight plastics and fibers would be bulky, but much lighter….range would also be limited. However, a small, light weight thirty mile range, easy recharge car would be highly practical. Whether it uses springs, flywheels, compressed air, batteries…all stored energy systems, or solar or small onboard regenerative engines (hybrids) it does not matter….but, most certainly, we are failing the transportation energy curve and need to do something different.
 — Blisterbob, Apr 29 2008

This should be very, very exciting when the coil's attachment end reaches its end-of-life fatigue limit. Sproing! only louder. And whippier, and dangerouser. Pass.
 — elhigh, Apr 29 2008

 Your idea would be perfect if the world had an unlimited supply of super-giant little boys who could run around winding up all the wind-up cars without killing anybody.

 Unfortunately, I've seen what happens around the feet of my kid when he's playing with cars. Lots of people will be killed by those super-giant little kids bashing around town and winding up all the cars.

BTW, my 11-year-old is really into Darda wind-up cars, which are cooler than the usual pull-back kind because they wind up forwards and backwards by a kind of clutch mechanism that engages when you push down on the car body. Take THAT, Hot Wheels!
 — land, Apr 30 2008

 Oh boy, AndErin! Don't lose hope, man. You may have new use of your Clockwork Motor someday. Anyway, I can offer you a glimmer of hope that make your idea a viable option. But I must emphasize that your idea cannot stand alone, but should fit in for new revolutionary ideas that redefine the way things work. The byword for the future is "synergistic integration". For your idea, you need this material to start with: a foam from a nickel-manganese-gallium alloy (Ni-Mn-Ga). See link.

// In theory, this process can be continued in perpetuity.// Hope that statement doesn't mean perpetual motion but just the resiliency of the material to fatigue.
 — rotary, May 01 2008

 so basically a flywheel recovery system that has all the same draw backs but holds LESS energy...

interesting I'll retrofit my escalade today
 — metarinka, Feb 08 2010

 //A less than perfect idea//

 Yes, and the moon provides a less than perfect breathing environment.

 Research conservation of energy then re-read your idea. Repeat as necessary.

[-]
 — MikeD, Feb 08 2010

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