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Hourglass powered light, gravity power, gravity batteries, etc

Posts: 21123
Location: Pacific Northwest
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A few weeks ago, my 7-year old son was talking with my husband about how he's like to make a light that's powered by an hourglass. You turn the hourglass over, and the falling sand power the light.

Cool idea, but how do you do it!?

Apparently, people have done it before. This article talks about this hourglass

Using the kinetic energy of the falling sand as a source of power, he is able to illuminate small, local areas with an LED lamp. It’s not only a terrific off-grid solution to provide lighting just about anywhere, it’s also a smart way to reduce the amount of energy being consumed by lamps.

The person who made it seems to have moved on to making light fixtures out of mushrooms. On her website she has a small snippet about the light

Converting kinetic energy into visible light is no easy feat. We’ve spent years in R&D learning about and testing strategies for off-the-grid lighting solutions. Join our mailing list to be the first to know when this product is ready to launch!

Inhabithas an article about her work, too, with another picture...but of course, no information about HOW to make one of these things

This article has another picture, but no more info, either.

My brain does not lend itself to building and wireing and electricity, but I'm trying. Does anyone with more knowledge have an idea of how to build one of these?

This whole thing reminded me of the original gravity made by Deciwatt, and cost only like $10, and you just filled a bag with sand and hoisted the bag up and it worked. 1st Indigogo Campain2nd Indigogo campain

Here's a video about it in action, with some explainations as to how it works:

Sadly, they stopped making those nice, affordable gravity lights, and now only have NowLights, which cost $129, because

The nowlight kit includes:

1 x NowLight
1 x SatLight (SL03)
1 x 3W Solar Panel
1 x DC charging cable

I don't need or want a solar panel! Solar panels come to my hometead to die, because we don't have enough sun during half of the year. They always die. Every. Single. One. I see no reason to pay for more of them and the resources used to make them just to generate more trash. I just want a gravity light!

Here's a video on how to make fast, loud gravity light:

Anyone know how to make one of these so they aren't loud and last a bit longer?

Going down the gravity power rabbit hole further, here's a gravity powered fan, which I think is super cool (pun intended!)

gravity powered fan

And another one


and yet another

And a gravity powered ventilation system

And a gravity assisted cradle

And a gravity generator

And for fun, Johnny Cash's record powered by gravity

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Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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I don't have time to watch all the videos, but gravity is a very weak attraction (compared to the energy in a sunbeam for example) so this sort of thing only works due to how little electricity an LED requires.

I'd also suggest that the hourglass shape acts as a governor - like the tick-tock of a grandfather clock that allows control of how fast the weight falls.

What they've got inside there that actually acts as the generator is anyone's guess. Something has to turn the energy of falling sand into electricity.

Have fun figuring it all out! If you give up on that - making a little Pelton wheel with a generator to run off water in your downspouts might appeal also? This could be a rainy winter!
Posts: 885
Location: Central Ontario
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For the sand light I would turn a small turbine in the area between the two glass reservoirs. The turbine turns and is connected to two small magnets which rotate inside of a copper coil. Current is generated and flows through some diodes to control direction. The power then is stored in a capacitor. All small generators work the same way electrically. The lamp is an interesting twist I'll admit. I don't know how long the mechanical elements would survive in a sand environment though.
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