With billions of smartphones, action cameras, tablets, smart watches, flashlights, trackers, e-books, and speakers in use throughout the world, all needing a constant supply of energy, what do people do when they go off the grid? Recently there have been a number of reports on unique and innovative ways to charge smartphones. For example, HandEnergy charges smartphones using human body energy.
An Innovative Way to Charge Devices Off Grid Using Fire & Heat
Joohansson at instructables.com is a camper. He doesn’t camp in nearby neighborhood camping areas but goes on several day treks of hiking and backpacking in wilderness areas.
This puts him far from electricity sources he would normally use to charge his smartphone device upon which he relies for communication and GPS. Most campers get by with carrying extra batteries or using small solar panels to generate electricity. However, for Joohansson, who lives in Sweden, regular sunshine isn’t reliable, and even when it shines, it takes hours to charge a battery.
As a result, Joohansson decided to create a portable, compact, and adjustable thermoelectric emergency generator. A thermoelectric generator runs on heat that can be generated by an alcohol or gas burner typically used by hikers. In addition, while camping, there are always plenty of logs and sticks to make fires to generate heat.
Joohansson decided he needed a small light and portable device that would produce the needed electricity, have an adjustable voltage to use with a broad range of products, at least 5V/02.A (1W) to charge an iPhone, and be compatible with alcohol/gas burners, campfires, and candles.
Here’s the specs:
- Adjustable voltage (2.7-5.5V)
- Adjustable cooling fan
- Adjustable temperature monitor
- Adjustable voltage limiter
- Adjustable height
- 2x voltage regulators
- Tested at 1.8W output power (excluding cooling fan of 0.7W)
For more on how to build this device, visit the instructables.com page on Smartphone Charger Powered by Fire.
The following video shows the use of any heat source to produce electricity for USB-gadgets, chargers, or lights.