That's a shame, Cabe, but perhaps one day this idea will be workable because it sounds like a really good one. Although corruption historically is a problem in underdeveloped nations and doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, unfortunately.
When you need to take the stolen power to one's house a mile away... with no other choice, they will use the barbed wire. I would say using devices like the "bathook" for accessing strung lines is more safe, but where will they find a spool of 6 gauge wire (powerline gauge, USA).
The problem is infrastructure, corruption in the government, desperation. There is no hope, for now.
That's interesting, Cabe. It sounds like a worthwhile project if you could educate people there and show them how to get power efficiently and more legally. It's a shame it's such a desperate situation that they need to steal power off the lines with barbed wire! It can't be safe, either. I think they need the device the German student created to harvest energy from devices and power lines (that spurred such heated debate among our readers!): http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=260486
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.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.