Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Experiencing technical difficulties since 1999

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Rotation Outlet

Wall socket to make things rotate
  (+28, -1)(+28, -1)(+28, -1)
(+28, -1)
  [vote for,

Wind power is cheap and plentiful. Much of our electricity is used to make things rotate - blenders, washing machines, etc. Why not cut out the middle man?

Houses (or apartment buildings), would have a windmill on the roof. A rotating shaft would run down the building core. Every room would have a rotation-socket, which, through a system of gears, could be made to rotate at the desired speed. Various rotating appliances could be plugged into such a socket.

sdevet, Apr 27 2002

Aughra's Observatory http://bassthink.tr..._floor_with_box.JPG
Not the clearest image, but if you remember The Dark Crystal, it'll do... [MrWrong, Apr 27 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Lippitt Mill http://www.riverpoi...tt_mill_history.htm
[phoenix, Apr 29 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Loranger Gristmill http://www.henryfor...age/farm/grist.html
[phoenix, Apr 29 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Bearware's link http://www.halfbake...ew_20power_20source
[yamahito, May 23 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Please log in.
If you're not logged in, you can see what this page looks like, but you will not be able to add anything.
Short name, e.g., Bob's Coffee
Destination URL. E.g., https://www.coffee.com/
Description (displayed with the short name and URL.)

       Hah! Truly half-baked and a nice idea.
bristolz, Apr 27 2002

       in-spiralational - croissant.
po, Apr 27 2002

       I can just see little spinning driveshafts on poles next to the power lines. A bird tries to land... AWK!!!
magnificat, Apr 27 2002

       I'm picturing my living room suddenly tranformed into Aughra's observatory -- and liking it! (See link.)
MrWrong, Apr 27 2002

       Each device hooked into the rotation system would draw energy from the system and reduce the overall torque available to every other device. You would have to be sure and only use one thing at a time. Even given a system where the windpower was constant, if you should happen to plug the blender in while the dryer was going, there would be less energy available to drive the blender than if it was alone on the system -- unless you had a flywheel or other energy storage device inbetween the devices and the drive that was capable of providing energy on demand to all areas of the system. But this defeats one of the purposes of the idea -- to "cut out the middle man". Middle men, with respect to energy, are good. They provide for distribution, they reduce waste, and they provide an element of consistency regarding energy availability. Do not remove the middle men from systems -- they were invented out of necessity.   

       Now I'm no EE, far from it (just look at my "Earth Rotation..." idea for supporting evidence of that), but because of these things I'm leaning toward fishbone here, though the adorable Terry-Gilliam-slash-Rube-Goldberg quality of this idea may provide enough incentive for me for a croissant, given adequate refutation of the concerns I raise above.   

       EE's present, am I not correct here? Isn't any system that transfers the energy directly from the source to the device woefully inefficient? Isn't that why we use transformers, capacitors and the like?
globaltourniquet, Apr 27 2002

       Wait a minute.... Perhaps these specialized devices could be designed to return lost energy back into the system. That would help the inefficiency problem, plus add to the pleasantly mad-scientisty wackiness of its overall look. Both good things.   

       The dryer, by being _between_ rotating shafts (intake and outflow) wouldn't waste the energy so badly. Then you connect your blender post-dryer and voila!   

       OK, now it's approaching croissant....
globaltourniquet, Apr 27 2002

       Now if we could only get that giant spool to the moon so as to start the whole Earth Rotational yoyo thingamajig we'd be all set ; )
thumbwax, Apr 29 2002

       This is tremendous. Mines and mills in the 'age of steam' were often powered like this, with one engine providing power for several machines, via drive belts and shafts.
angel, Apr 29 2002

       [globaltourniquet ]: If the (mechanical or electrical) resistance of the load is well-matched to the source at all times, then all "middle-men" are detrimental to efficiency. However, if the load doesn't match source, then energy gets wasted. The use of appropriate "middle men" can actually bring a net improvement in the overall efficiency.   

       Voltage and current are somewhat analagous to torque and speed. Transformers allow tradeoffs between voltage and current so that electrical sources can be better matched to the resistances of electrical loads. Gear boxes allow tradeoffs between torque and speed so that mechanical sources can be better matched to the resistances of mechanical loads. Both types of systems are subject to transmission losses and sags/spikes in output when loads are added/removed.   

       To overcome the sags and spikes when loads change, a system needs to have an energy storage device attached somewhere. Such devices act as loads (absorbing and storing energy) when there is a spike and then act as sources (releasing stored energy) when there is a sag. Electrical systems can use capacitors and inductors to store energy. Mechanical systems can use springs and flywheels to store energy.   

       The biggest losses come into play when converting from electrical to mechanical energy or vice versa. Only a small fraction of the original energy actually gets converted to useful work. The rest is lost to the environment and can not be recovered. Multiple conversions reduce efficiency even further.   

       Unless other constraints intervene (which they usually do), the best solution is to have the transmission system of the same type as the source and load. A water wheel driving a mill stone should use a mechanical transmission system. A battery driving a computer chip should use an electrical transmission system.
BigBrother, Apr 30 2002

       On the other hand, it turns out that mechanical conversions (gears, belts, etc.) are surprisingly inefficient. If you have to go around a few corners, for example, it may well be moe efficient to use a motor, some nice bendy wire, and a generator. (Also, if you have a *variable* impedance mismatch, that can be dealt with much more efficiently in electrical form than in mechanical. The disadvantage is it's heavier. This is why diesel-electric systems are common on locomotives, ships, etc., even some cars.)   

       Not that this prevents me from giving this idea a croissant. Even if the Rotation Outlet just had a motor in the wall --- shared among all appliances --- I'd still like it.
wiml, May 01 2002

       I made a had a simala idea to this noted at the link below (Clockwork the new power source). But on a smaller scale. and from a spring. I think most of the disadvantages dont apply. unless some one knows better.   

bearware, May 23 2002

       Bearware - use the link link to link links.
yamahito, May 23 2002

       i think we are being too mechanical becuase unused energy can not be returnd to the "pool" for later use very easily   

       the idea with windmills on the roof etc has been around and this is leaning towards a self suficant home kind of thing where you need a facility to store energy for late use becasue u cant always besure of producing the requred energy right at the point where u need it   

       and then u may as well build one of those homes we have seen on tv with the natonal grid as a back up or main means of power and use your other means like windmill and solar panels as a way to make thigs a little cheaper orrun the place   


       that sorta ran away from what i wanted to convey so the main parts were just me thinking as i typed
halitus, Dec 25 2002

       The amazing Unimog truck frequently has a Power TakeOff ("PTO"), which is basically rotating shaft at the front, side, and back of the truck tied to the transmission. Thus, for example, you attack the snowblower fans to the front, link into the front PTO, and the fans turn. Also there is a winch and a pump that can be run from the PTO.   

       I always thought a small PTO-driven sawmill (like a big chainsaw) would be a great Mog attachment - for all those times you're out in the woods and see that perfect downed hardwood at the bottom of the hill (the old joke goes "why are all the best fallen trees at the bottom of the hill?") - winch it up, rough-saw it on the sawmill, throw it in the back and truck it on home.
philthechill, Dec 25 2002

       Yeah, it was called 'The Industrial Revoltion' back in school.   

       If you're worried about torque, wind would probably not be the way to do it. Water would, because it's many times more dense than air.
mlfnet, Apr 25 2003

       (Shorter Edited version) Here is the thing... this is a superb idea, as it was back when it was invented... (first used).   

       Here is why it is no longer used... electricity is cheap, and money is rather plentiful... You want to spend $10,000 to save $1,000 in bills... but in turn, save $9,000 in potential environmental damage, that is what the FREE ENERGY is about. This is not about LAZY ENERGY, getting $10,000 of energy from $1,000. The gain we desire to acheive is for the MANUFACTURES to not spend another 10% MORE on oil and nuclear plant peak operation, so that we may live here one more year (10% of 90 years)   

       In the end... 10% is still 10%... no matter the cost, $100 or $100,000,000. If you create another 10% people will use 20% more, because now there is FREE ABUNDANCE. They will feel justified using it to watch thier REALITY SHOW one hour longer, thinking they are cleaning the earth by PROMOTING / USING this free energy.   

       If you want to save the environment, and and save money, STOP SPENDING IT... Turn off your TV, RADIO, COMPUTER, GAS GUZZLER (Mall shopping for useless things). If you create an abundance of electricity, existing facilities will automatically become up to 50% more efficient. (Currently they run near maximum, and are severly inefficient) That creates less demand, higher prices, less pollution, and increases your 10% from wind, into 50% gain from conventional methods. Guess what? They will make it better, faster, and charge 10 times more. Like they already do. Thier 30 foot blades already run 10% of the global grid, 80% in Germany and Japan.
Error_205, May 11 2003

       Wecome to the halfbakery, [Error_205]. A warning: I don't think anyone is going to read that annotation unless you cut it down to about a tenth of its current length.
hippo, May 11 2003

       Kids will lose their limbs in the cogs and you will be taken to court, kinda like Steve Martin and the opti-grab.
Zorcon, May 17 2003

       In this alternative world where electricity was never invented, The US would adopt the rotating socket, and the Europeans, led by the French, would adopt the reciprocating socket. Travelers would have to buy a transmission to convert one to the other. The transmission would be huge and heavy and would have to be shipped by barge. But it would be essential for winding up the spring in their Babbage laptops.
ldischler, Oct 14 2003

       Darn, these outlets are clockwise and my laptop needs counter-clockwise! (WTAGIPBAN)
krelnik, Oct 14 2003

       Would rotating shafts (say, with a motor/generator at each end, each of which, btw, are about 95% efficient) transmit power more efficiently over large distances than power lines, which have resistance losses?
TerranFury, Feb 05 2004

       You'd have to have some sort of bearings on the shafts at some point, so you'd undoubtedly lose energy to friction.
krelnik, Feb 05 2004

       How would it reach to all outlets? and what about power strips? Appliances would have to use rigid conections between the outlet and appliance.
-----, Feb 25 2004

       removing the middle man. exciting   

       storing the redundancy, mere detail.
peter2, Nov 29 2006


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle