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Clockwork- the new power source

run everything off clockwork
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
  [vote for,

I know that the clockwork radio has already been baked, but why isnt this technology being adapted into other things? Anything from mobile phones to notebook computers could all have an additional clockwork generator, for times when the battery is flat and theres nowhere to charge it. Im sure this would also help in the transfer of these sort of items to third world countries in the same way that the clockwork radio has.
HowardMarks, May 23 2001

Inside the Trevor Baylis clockwork radio http://www.sciencen...y/9609/t00169d.html
[angel, May 23 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

the wired magazine story http://www.wired.co...ve/9.02/baylis.html
[mihali, May 23 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Clockwork lawnmower http://www.halfbake...ockwork_20lawnmower
Partially baked. [hippo, May 23 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Yahoo search for 'wind up gas' http://www.oldgas.c.../messages/2644.html
1 [angel, May 23 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The Economist: The clockwork computer http://www.economis...fm?story_id=1337165
"An ancient piece of clockwork shows the deep roots of modern technology." [bristolz, Sep 24 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       The dynamo in the Baylis radio only produces 3 volts at 55mW. I susect that notebooks would need a fair bit more, but with a bit of development, why not?
angel, May 23 2001

       trevor baylis is now working on a shoe that converts every step you take into electricity, so that you can charge your batteries when there's no ac available. see link for a fascinating story about the inventor, the shoe, and his new company.
mihali, May 23 2001

       I think the answer is that not many devices need that little energy. Perhaps a PDA/mobile? Maybe in combination with solar power, wind, harnessing footsteps, keystrokes etc you`d get enough for more power-hungry appliances.   

       Also, i`m not sure if developing countries are looking for a replacement for lithium ion batteries just yet! I`d have thought solar powered fridges/freezers/water purifiers/dictactor removal systems would be slightly higher up the list! :)
Pallex, May 23 2001

       Clockwork mobile phones have been invented and are being perfected as we speak. (And have been sugested here before anyway.)   

       Mr Bayliss is already working on a clockwork TV as well.
CasaLoco, May 23 2001

       Well that told me. Cheers chaps
HowardMarks, May 23 2001

       UB that's not cruel! That's funny that is, (if a little sarcastic). Rods, You're just old fashioned - Try to keep up with the times. Essentially though, this idea has some merit and its very eco-friendly. Mind you, HM you suggest running everything on clockwork. How's my gas cooker going to work?
Ivy, May 24 2001

       [Ivy]: See links!
angel, May 24 2001

       I remember when it was in tomorows world. The first thing that came in to my hear was an idea for a clockwork digital watch.
bearware, May 22 2002

       Today I have been thinking about clock work pumps, a small amount of electricity would be taped of to run the regulator electronics. Mostly it would just be old fashoned clockwork.   

       You could do clockwork record players, or clock work CDs this way. Dont waist enery converting mechanical -> electrical -> mechanical. cut out the middle man.
bearware, May 22 2002

       Clockwork record players exist, but they're hardly a new invention.
supercat, May 22 2002

       The Victor-Victrola used a spring motor. But it only played 78's. They should make a 33-1/3 and 45 RPM record player that runs on a clockwork spring motor. They should also make a spring powered MP3 player. My MP3 CD player uses 400 mA at 3 volts when the CD is spinning and 280 mA when it is not. A solid state MP3 player would use less juice.
Amishman35, Jun 20 2002

       A clockwork-powered record player for 33.3rpm or 45rpm records would probably wear the records unacceptably. Vinyl is a perfectly adequate material for records that will be played by a needle that takes little pressure to move. A victrola's needle, by contrast, requires much more force. The only way I can see a 33.3rpm record player having an acceptable level of 'drag' woud be if it used a mechanical amplifier to boost the sound; such an amplifier, however, would probably require an annyoing amount of energy from the spring.
supercat, Jun 26 2002

       An amplifier used to amplify a signal from a vinyl pickup would probably use less energy than the Freeplay radio. So it's definitely feasible. One could even build a radiogram in this way: one clockwork generator for the amplifier/radio, and one for the turntable. One could also build a tape recorder in this manner, although the idea is not new - in the 1950's before small DC motors became popular, there were tape recorders which used clockwork motors, albeit with batteries for the amplifier.
rwa, Aug 20 2002

       rwa: Ah, if you combine the old and new technologies it would most likely be doable. It would probably be best in such an instrument to have the spring only power the generator, and use a motor to spin the turntable. Since the spring unleashes a fixed amount of energy per rotation and the power demand of the amplifier is variable, it would otherwise be necessary to either use a separate spring for the amplifier and record, or else to have the amplifier draw a constant current (which would in turn waste a lot of energy).   

       Actually, thinking about it, it would seem that a number of clockwork-powered devices (e.g. music boxes, toys, etc.) could be powered much more efficiently using a generator and motor than using direct mechanical linkage. Such devices often regulate speed by using friction (air or mechnical) to convert excess energy into heat. By contrast, a properly designed generator controller can make the spring wind down more slowly when there's lower current draw while continuing to output a constant voltage.
supercat, Aug 21 2002

       The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. 400mA for an MP3 player seems like a pretty severe energy hog, but it would seem quite plausible to design a generator with a regulated low-voltage output that would supply 3v@100mA for 25 minutes or 3V@250mA for 10. Such a thing could indeed be quite nice if one did a lot of camping and didn't want to worry about batteries dying.   

       On a related note, I wonder how the efficiency of an electronic "clockwork-powered" clock would compare with that of a mechanical clockwork clock. To be sure, some mechanical clocks are very impressive (anniversary clocks are so called because, at least in theory, they only need to be wound once per year). On the other hand, some electronic clocks run on practically nothing; unlike an anniversary clock, an electronic clock could easily keep track of the date and adjust automatically for daylight saving time as appropriate.
supercat, Aug 21 2002

       Another words, the first and main question is to determine how the power of the spring motor (I know just one index: torque of the axle) correlate with the generator power (v, amp). The time of running depends on spring lenght (or number of turns of a wind-up key, if you wish), so don't keep it in mind for now. The correlation must to calculate the energy lost while converting the mechanical energy into electric. Who can calculate this correlation? Now, guys, with my motor we got the chance to convert our ideas into practical steps...Toly.
toly, Sep 21 2002

       An answer to your question, toly: power = torque * angular_velocity = volts * amps. And, naturally, no conversion is 100% efficient.
TerranFury, Feb 05 2004


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