I spoke to a few non-profits in Africa about distribution. They essentially said, there are too many bikes there.
They also said that people just steal electricity off the suspended power-lines. They will even use barbed wire as their connection. They said I have to tackle that problem before they would use my generator. In other words, I have to teach the users what to do.
It has been a back burner project of mine ever since the talk.
Good point, Cabe, that could be one reason the bike idea didn't fly (or ride, so to speak). But I would have to ask the project founders about that. It's true the conditions there could be difficult, as they are difficult even for cars. I have a friend working in Africa at the moment and one of the first things he noted was the treacherous state of the roads.
I wanted to make a bike-generator for 3rd world use. It was based on a generator I made for another project. However, the harsh environment of those places, the bumpy roads, often destroys such devices. Perhaps that is why they didn't go that route?
I will, TJ. I have to say, I didn't expect such a lively discussion about this. And people have brought up a lot of points I didn't even think about myself, as they always do (because our readers are a class act!). I definitely am curious to fill in the blanks myself now.
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.
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