Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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This would work fine, except in terms of success.

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Clockwork PSU

General purpose clockwork power supply unit
  [vote for,

First of all I’d like to say that yes, this idea must have been baked already (though 10 seconds of googling found nothing ;) I’m just looking for your opinions as to why, for example, I can’t buy one of these in any hardware store. All I hear about (not literally) is clockwork this and clockwork that. All useful if slightly clunky devices that have clockwork power supplies built into them. Why not just have a larger external clockwork psu that you could plug less clunky (low voltage) devices into. Your, phone, game boy, non clockwork radio etc. You could crank it using a foot pedal for example, so I reckon you could use far more powerful springs.
q2cannonfodder, Jan 26 2004

FreePlay http://www.freeplay...duct/freecharge.php
Cell phone chargers, radios, flashlights. Just wind them up and off you go. [Klaatu, Oct 21 2004]

Clockwork- the new power source http://www.halfbake...ew_20power_20source
Another HB idea, demanding more clockwork-powered consumer products, although not a generic clockwork power supply. [kropotkin, Oct 21 2004]


       Something like this? <link>
Klaatu, Jan 27 2004


       I have a freeplay clockwork radio. Originally produced in South Africa to allow remote tribespersons without electricity to listen to the radio (World Service, shorely...).   

       Latest versions are not 'clockwork' as such as this is highly inefficient. Modern versions just use the winding directly to charge the batteries. L-ions, I guess, being Africa...   

       The clockwork slow release on the original is a whole lot of weight, gubbins, friction, hard to regulate and fragile.
timbeau, Jan 27 2004

       Really, come on people, why isn't this available? Is there a technical reason why a general-purpose clockwork power supply isn't possible? You can buy generic AC to DC power supplies with output specs like <1W, 1.5-9V, which can power many small appliances, and I'd have thought that sort of range could easily be generated with a clockwork mechanism similar to those used in the phone charger or radio.
kropotkin, Jan 27 2004

       What I didn’t convey clearly in my “spec” ;-) was that with a bigger spring, loaded quickly, using your own bodyweight, I think, (I don’t know!) you could avoid cranking the thing for ages and extend the length of time it would generate power. kropotkin’s question sums up what I was thinking when I posted the idea.
q2cannonfodder, Jan 27 2004

       Damn, just found out I can't vote for myself :-(
q2cannonfodder, Jan 27 2004

       Yes you can.
silverstormer, Jan 27 2004

       Doh, there was a short delay.
q2cannonfodder, Jan 27 2004

       [timbeau] The idea here is not for clockwork-powered *devices*, but a clockwork-powered *power supply unit* to power low-energy devices which don't have clockwork.   

       By the way, it'd be very good if you put a battery in it to store energy.   

       Did I mention I've wanted one of these for several years?
galukalock, Jan 28 2004

       I wouldn't suggest that this device would be especially good at its job. Certainly not when compaired to a simple mains powered psu. I do however believe that it could be better for the environment and cheaper for you to use it (in the long run) than endlessly buying batteries. Particularly if it could supply enough power to recharge L-ion batteries for example. And I'm sure there are alot of people who live in remote areas who would appricate such a device.
q2cannonfodder, Jan 28 2004

       Perhaps a hand-powered electrostatic generator (like a Wimshurst machine?), which would output tiny currents at ridiculous voltages, to charge a rather gigantic capacitor. My guess is that this could store a whole lot more energy than a spring.   

       Alternately, use a conventional generator to power an electrolytic cell to produce hydrogen and oxygen for use in a fuel cell. That could store rather gigantic energies.
TerranFury, May 25 2004

       sorry for the late anno, was on my hols that week only noticed it there now.
I've no idea what a Wimshurst machine is (I'll look it up later) but I'll take your word on what it does. I'm doubtfull though on a capacitor being very suitable for storing usable energy. If I remember correctly a capacitor dumps all of its charge in one go, knowledge I picked up along with a few thousand volts from the electric fence at home. And when left idle they lose charge fairly quickly I believe(though I've a feeling I'm going to be corected on both counts).
As to your second idea, yep you could store gigantic energies in the form of hydrogen and oxygen, but thats getting away from the theme of my idea.
q2cannonfodder, Jun 14 2004


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