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Old 12-15-12, 08:11 AM   #1
Daox
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Default Cool idea: gravity powered LED light

The wonders that are LEDs have allowed us to do some pretty cool things like make the shaker and crank flashlights. Well, a company has made another pretty cool LED light that uses gravity to power an LED lamp/light. You basically hang the lamp and then hang a weight off of it. The weight spins a generator and provides power to the lamp. To recharge the lamp, you simply lift the weight back up. Its only a few pounds, so its real easy to do. The gravity light can also be hooked up to other things to recharge them. Its pretty cheap too. Pretty cool idea IMO.

GravityLight: the low-cost lamp powered by sand and gravity | Art and design | guardian.co.uk


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Old 12-30-12, 03:13 PM   #2
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Looking at this, there has to be a somewhat simple way of calculating how much energy is stored in X weight at Y height. Anyone know what that might be?
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Old 12-30-12, 05:28 PM   #3
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Indeed it's quite simple: E = m * g * h
E = energy (measured in joules)
m = mass (in kilograms)
h = height (in meters)
g = gravity acceleration (about 9.81 m/s^2 (at sealevel), often rounded to 10m/s^2).

So a weigth of 0,1kg (3.53oz) dropping down 1m (3.28') gives you 1 joule of energy, which is 1 watt/h for the duration of 1 second.
If you take a weight of 4 pounds (1,8kg) and raise it 1 meter 10 times and store the energy from dropping it down you now have 18J stored, with that you can let a 0,5W lightbulb shine for 36 seconds (E = 1,8 * 10 * 1 = 18J).

This formula is the same for hydroelectric plants, that is why the dam needs to be high and there has to be a lot of water. 1 megawatt = 100m3/s * 10m *g = 5m3/s * 200m *g.
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Old 12-30-12, 06:26 PM   #4
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Haha, yes that is indeed a humbling formula! So much weight, or height is required to get so little power (compared to what we use daily). Its pretty crazy.
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Old 01-18-13, 02:27 PM   #5
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I missed this until today - the inventor was on Science Friday just now:

Inventors Design Lamp Powered Entirely by Gravity

They will be doing a crowd funding, where if you want one, you essentially pay for two, and they donate one to a deserving person in a place where they live off the grid.

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