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William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
William K.   4/10/2013 4:53:58 PM
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I was going to ask the same questions, which arose since no place in the article did it mention how the power gets to the phone from the charging box. One very big question is how did they avoid the problem of so many different connectors to the phones? I have a stack of 15 old phones using 15 different charging connectors. Of course they are from the era when phone makers wanted to force folks to purchase their vastly overpriced charging cables. That is one area that would have been far better if the government had mandated one single connector type and polarity for each of the three basic charging voltages, and not allowed any exceptions. Now USB charging is sort of like that except for those connectors with the fifth pin and that secret resistor.

What is so very complex about a charging system for a phone? A small generator/ PM alternator and a simple control circuit would do the job and if the gears and bearings were plastic the retail price could be under $10 USD. Of course they would probably have a 1000% markup if they were to be sold elsewhere in the world. Gred does seem to work that way.

rick.curl
User Rank
Iron
Hoax!
rick.curl   4/10/2013 1:21:47 PM
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Interesting concept, and it has triggered a good discussion, but this one smells like a hoax to me.  The image seems to be photoshopped too........

Pubudu
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Peddling His Wares
Pubudu   4/10/2013 1:20:01 PM
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Exactly Cabe, We all missed it,  it's like searching a way to use a pen in space when we are having a pencils. 

TedT
User Rank
Iron
Re: How it works
TedT   4/10/2013 12:50:49 PM
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Yes, a good point.  Your phone has to be working before you can charge it. Wouldn't work for me as I usually don't remember to charge it until it has died on me!

The text message is redundant if the fellow on the bike is there to operate it and monitor who is plugged in but it does offer the possibility of running as an unattended faciity.

P.S. it is not MY idea...I was just trying to figure out how it works from looking it up on their (BuffaloGrid's that is) web site.

prontomonto
User Rank
Iron
Re: How it works
prontomonto   4/10/2013 12:33:29 PM
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The opportunity already exists for an entrepeneur to but a generator (be it hand, solar, pedal) and charge people to use it. The only innovation I see here is to give the cell phone companies a cut by requiring SMS payment. One way of attracting investment for your idea I suppose, but surely better to keep the cash in the local economy? Also, cell phone reception is needed before charging can begin.

TedT
User Rank
Iron
How it works
TedT   4/10/2013 10:58:56 AM
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After clicking on the link to the BuffaloGrid project it seems that their project is to make available charging boxes and solar panels.

- The man on the bike as an entrepreneur is selling cellphone charges

- the charger is in the white box on the handlebars and has a battery and 8 separate USB ports for plugging in cellphone charge cables

- the gizmo over the back wheel seems to be simply advertising for the service

- the orange frame is indeed a bike stand

- it appears that the charger box is itself charged by solar panel that the entrpreneur receives as part of the package

So when the fellow arrives in a village everyone gathers round to plug in and charge their phones after first sending a text message to pay and unlock a charging port.

A clever and useful small business enterprise.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
TJ McDermott   4/10/2013 10:04:14 AM
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I will stay tuned Elizabeth; it's an interesting subject!

ishi
User Rank
Silver
Re: Peddling His Wares
ishi   4/10/2013 9:28:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Good point.  In the photo, the orange structure attached to the rear of the bike appears to be a stand that can be rotated under the rear tire to lift it off the ground.  In fact, such a stand is typically used for transforming a bike into a stationary exercise bike (not likely!) or a generator.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   4/10/2013 4:58:00 AM
NO RATINGS
That's a good idea, Cabe. Probably a bit less cumbersome than dragging around the generator on a bicycle. Wonder if the project founders thought of that? I can ask.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
Elizabeth M   4/10/2013 4:21:14 AM
NO RATINGS
I'll have to get back to you guys on this, TJ. I didn't get a chance to talk to the founder of the project for the story. He did contact me a week or so later, so I can follow up and get a more detailed description. Stay tuned.

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