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Bill Bianchi
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The only windup technology I see on the market are in toys and in small hand generators designed to charge small electronics.
The reason for this is probably that human power isn't enough for much larger power production.
Still, the thought of winding springs to store power seems pretty darn clean and green, if it could be made to work. I want to go over the problems I see with it, pose a possible solution, then see what you all think. I'd also like to know how something like what I've got in mind might be used---what applications do you all see for it, assuming you see a possibility here?

The type of spring I have in mind is the kind found in toys, like those cars you wind up and release or toy mice for cats that you wind up and release. The car or mouse takes off and goes till the spring is unwound.

First problem---it takes more energy to wind the spring than you can get out of it when it unwinds.
Second problem---a really powerful spring capable of doing useful work is going to require a lot of energy to wind, probably more than a person can reasonably supply. Using a machine to wind the spring would be wasteful because of energy losses when converting energy from one form to another.

Before anyone poopoos this line of thought or gets a pad of paper to do some quick calculations to show it can't store enough energy for useful work, read the rest.

What about using a nitinol spring or springs? It would require a source of cold to deactivate the spring so it can be easily wound. And it would require a source of heat to activate it once it is wound so it can do useful work. (Nitinol goes limp like a noodle when exposed to cold. It goes back to its original shape with a lot of force when heated)

During the winter months, it might be possible to just expose it to the frigid air to deactivate it. A rocket stove or solar concentrator could provide the heat to activate it once it's wound.

I was thinking of a spring the size of a vehicle. A spring like that after it is wound and reheated would go absolutely batcrap once released. I think it might be able to be wound by hand if it's noodle-limp. To deactivate it so you can wind it, maybe hose it down with ice water. To re-activate it once it's wound, maybe spray it with hot water.
If it were geared properly, it might unwind for a long time with a lot of force.

Smaller things might be run with a smaller windup unit that could fit in the freezer, then be put under the hot water faucet.

This is not something from nothing or overunity. Ideally, natural sources would be used to provide the heat and cold needed; water cooled by the outside air or heated via solar concentrator. And, human power would be needed to wind it, even if it doesn't take as much energy as normal to do so. Though it would function like a spring, it would really fall into the catagory of a heat engine.

Nitinol comes in different grades, I guess you would call it. Some of it takes subzero temperatures to deactivate or fairly high temperatures to activate. But, there are grades that don't need temperatures quite so extreme, which is what would be needed.

All right, if you see this as feasible, what in the world could it be used for? Generating electricity doesn't seem realistic due to the amount of time a generator needs to run to charge batteries. I doubt the spring could unwind for 4-6 hours while batteries charge. Maybe it could charge capacitors, but not batteries.

A strange thought I had was to run small kitchen appliances with it, like mixers & blenders; stuff that goes round and round. If there were a shaft coming off the spring with a universal connector at the end, then maybe an appliance could be attached and run.

What would you all do with a spring like this?
 
Aaron Garrison
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Hi, bill
I actually have recently had the same idea of wind-up power, i had the idea of hooking up a large spring to something like a windmill or watermill (something that constantly turns with little/sustainable resources). I had been thinking about using it for electrical but came up with the same problems as you have stated above. Another problem is that to create the electricity via the large spring it would still have to run through a generator or turbine. Having a windmill with a turbine on it would be just as efficient, but i think hooking up a water mill (potentially made from lumber only) could turn/wind the spring. The application of this that originally caught my eye was using it for stored mechanical power. Using a series of gears you can have different ratios of speeds for mechanical energy. I'm watching this thread so pm or reply if you would like to continue a discussion or if you have any other ideas about the "wind-up" stored power.

--Soos
 
Rick Roman
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Cool and interesting idea. I still have a wind-up clock. Just recently an off grid permie asked how they could vent indoor cooking odors from the non-electric homestead kitchen. Someone suggested a hand pump bellow, but a wind-up exhaust fan would be ideal.



 
Rory Rivers
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I wouldn't discount the value of a weight-driven wind-up mechanism. It would require some height (less the heavier the weight is), but the force required to lift the weight and the force produced would be more consistent (mass x 9.8 m/s/s). I think that would eliminate problem 2 since you could reliably gear down the lifting so that a windmill could do the work. I'm not sure how it compares to springs in terms of efficiency/max energy storage.
 
David Livingston
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I used to see a lot of wind up radios and I know the inventor ( trevor Bayliss I think )was looking at a wind up computor

David
 
Bill Bianchi
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What about the kitchen appliance idea? Is that workable? Spring powered blenders, can openers, potato peelers, coffee grinders, mixers, choppers, ect... Could mount the spring to the wall and use a flexable PTO shaft to hook up whichever appliance you want to run, I guess.

I still think it would take a large stationary spring that kitchen devices could hook into for it to be convienient and cost effective, but it seems like a neat little niche item for off-gridders or RV/camping.

As for the use of nitinol springs, I'm not sure of the application. I'm pretty sure it would work, allowing little mechanical energy to wind it up and quite a bit of energy released as it unwinds, but it would depend on one's ability to supply hot and cold on demand.

The idea of a windmill to wind up a spring or springs is intriguing. If the springs were used to power a water pump, then a windy Monday could power water pumping on a still Tuesday. The springs would act as batteries. If wind turbine/mill could wind springs along a shaft one at a time and those springs could be released all at once to spin that shaft, a more power-intensive machine could be run intermittently off realitively light winds. Deep well pump, grain grinder, log splitter, small generator, ect...

As for electricity, if the release is geared down, maybe the spring would take longer to unwind, long enough to run a small generator long enough to charge batteries. Even if using an engine to initially wind the springs, the engine would not need to run very long, so maybe the engine's power would more efficiently be harnessed than running a generator for hours on end.

In my feeble little head I see a PTO shaft hooked to a very large spring. Turn the shaft one way and it winds the spring. Release the spring and the shaft Spins the other way. Gearing appropriate to the power output of the device used to wind it up would allow the spring to be wound either bit by bit over time, as with a wind turbine, or very quickly from a more powerful device, as with an engine.

The thing that gets me with using an engine to wind up the spring, which will turn a generator as it unwinds, is this. Logically, it should take more gasoline to power the engine as the spring winds up in a matter of minutes than a standard generator should consume over the 4-6 hours it takes to charge batteries. But, if the engine is powerful enough to wind that spring up in 5 minutes, it doesn't seem right that that more powerful engine would consume several gallons of gas during that brief period of high HP output. Just seems like the winding of the spring will run the engine, with all it's innefficiencies, for a shorter period of time, which means the innefficiency is for a shorter duration of time. I know physics says the generator is more efficient, but it's one of those cases where physics conflicts with the way things seem like they should work. LOL

Even if it is less efficient, there would still be benefits. The spring should unwind more quietly than an engine runs, making for happier neighbors. Also, 5 minutes running an engine in return for several hours of battery charging seems like an easier and quicker job for the operator. Set it and forget it. Overheating the engine wouldn't be an issue, either, if it is enclosed for noise reduction.

Maybe the spring would need to be so incredibly huge that the whole concept is unworkable.

So, in short, it seems like a good idea, but I don't know enough about the mechanics to properly evaluate it.
 
Bill Bianchi
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Storing mechanical energy with a windmill can be done by winding a spring, lifting a weight, pumping water, or compressing air. Air compressing is covered in another thread. The size of the air tank required and the inefficiency through heat loss made that idea pretty expensive for enough stored energy to make a useful amount of electricity, if I remember correctly.

With pumping water, the amount of water, freezing temperatures, and the size of the holding tanks presented a problem for most folks in terms of available land, reliability, cost, and access to that much water.

I read that if you lifted your car to the height of your roof, then released it to fall, it wouldn't give that much energy, either. Don't know if they took into consideration gearing so the vehicle falls more slowly or not. Wound springs would suffer from this same problem, if gearing can't overcome it.

Springs seem like a nice compromise to keep from having to lift heavy objects high in the air, but may not be practical either for the same reason just mentioned. I'm really not sure what it would take to make a big enough spring, or enough more manageable size springs, to do some useful work.

Still, it's an intriguing idea to store mechanical energy for on-demand use at a later time. It does away with batteries or liquid/gaseous fuel storage for a number of applications. It also seems like an energy storage system that will outlast batteries, assuming repair & maintenance are done regularly. Best of all, hooking up different sources of power to wind up the springs or lift the weights seems like a more simple proposition than altering an engine to accept multiple fuels.

For smaller devices, like charging personal electronics or a single battery, it might work, though. Depends on how big the spring needs to be in order to charge these items. It is in this area I think nitinol springs could shine, since most people have a freezer & a way to heat or cook, supplying the heat and cold necessary to deactivate and activate the spring.

I can feel something useful in all this, but I do not have the mechanical engineering knowledge to identify which applications would be best suited.
 
Bill Bianchi
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Oh, and when I say spring, I haven't been talking about springs you stretch out, then release so it pulls something back. I've been talking about the type of spring that is a flat spiral. The kind in windup toys that use an inserted "key" to wind up. Looks sort of like a big flat pancake, then, when wound up, looks like a smaller flat pancake.

I'd want to use nitinol that was cast straight, cool it so it gets limp, wind it up in this fashion, then apply heat. Winding it up after cooling it would be much like winding up wet noodles. After heating it, stand back because it should unwind with a lot of force as it tries to straighten itself out in an instant.
Several of these working together could not only power something as they unwind, but could wind up a second set of cold springs as well. As long as you could switch hot and cold from one set to another, back and forth, one set or the other would either be unwinding or getting wound. There would be a lag time in between runs as each set either heats up or cools down, but the process would repeat, if the mechanical means to switch hot & cold onto the springs could be done.

Just trying to be clear about this muddy idea.
 
Bill Bianchi
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With nitinol springs, power tools could also be run at construction sites. A stove could supply the necessary heat to activate the springs so they can unwind. A big insulated jug of ice water could supply the cold necessary to deactivate the spring for easy winding.

Lathes, drills, grinders, impact wrenches, ect... Linear motion tools, like saws, could run off a cam easily enough.

Dual springs where one unwinding spring winds the other spring would make running the tool more convienient. (Remember, a cold nitinol spring would take very little energy to wind up and a hot spring would unwind with much more force than it took to wind it up when it was cold, so this isn't like asking one unwinding spring to wind up a second spring of equal strength with left over energy to do useful work)

Nitinol springs may have the potential to eliminate electrical consumption in small tools/appliances and reduce the need for batteries in portable tools and kitchen appliances, if it can be made to work.
 
Aaron Garrison
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Location: vermont
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hey im just following up on the post. The problem with using the nitinol springs (using the hot and cold) is that it probably takes more energy to burn wood in a wood stove and the jug of water may not be cold enough to activate the springs tension. I think using a wood stove/steam generator would be more efficient than burning the wood to release the spring. Also i see that a lot of the posts have been focused on the windmill idea (which is great) but the obvious problem with windmills is that its not always windy XP. I was thinking of a more constant source like a water wheel in a non-freezing stream. You could use the water wheel to continually "charge" or wind up one spring (whichever material you like) then due to tension it would shift over to a new spring (this setup would take more than just one spring but im sure you get my point) this would allow you to use power from the spring(s) constantly and wind them all year round. I do believe that if you were to hook up a large spring that gives off a lot of force you would be able to gear it to run like a blender, but you would have to design in counter appliances so that you have a stable hook-up to your belts.

As for running an engine (even just for electricity) off of the wind-up power to charge batteries, you would have a few feats to overcome. Of course the engine would need constant oil and lubricant just so your metal moving parts dont wear out. You also have to look at how an engine at full speed will decay over time because of all the moving components. Another problem with using an engine is just that an engine's alternator is just crappy comparatively to turbines. a reg alternator is made to run at above 2000 rpm with this low tension on the alternator you get very little actual electricity. You would be better off removing 4 alternators from different engines and then mounting them so that they can be chained together to generate electricity. This leads to me saying just hook up a windmill turbine or something that is geared for generating lots of electricity at slow rpms.

I still see a bright future for this type of power especially in permaculture, but i think the applications of this might be a little more limited than what you and I originally thought. As for me i am no engineer or have any real background in this section so please do not take my statements as fact. If i'm wrong, i'm wrong. lol. Oh also about the air compression and water pumping that is totally a plausible idea and to get around your water freezing from and in ground pump (hooked to a spring or windmill) you need to have all the water lines and pumping station underneath the permafrost line which mean you need to run turning shafts down to the pump from the very tall windmill. Air compression i could see being a real asset especially in running compression power tools like nail guns. Though you would need to have pipe lines that can handle the excessive amount of psi that a compressor needs to run these tools effectively.

I really look forward to hearing peoples posts!

-Soos
 
Ryan Workman
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Hi I'm new, been lurking for a little while. This thread struck a chord with me since I am fascinated by mechanical clocks and such. I've been toying with the idea of mechanical energy storage for electricity but the numbers aren't very encouraging. I ran some quick calculations once about generating power from a weight that would drop a few feet over a week. The required weight came out to be a couple tons.
I had not heard of nitinol yet but it seems like a good idea.
For the large scale application of electrical generation I worry about the cost. But I really like the idea of a smaller generator. I'm picturing a box that contains the spring in a well insulated container. A peltier could possibly provide the necessary cold/heat for the spring? Efficiency of a peltier device is low but the portability is high. The spring could then be used with a flex shaft like suggested or to generate electricity.
 
Aaron Garrison
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Hello and welcome to the very small post for wind-up power, lol. Anyways, using the peltier effect would give you the hot/cold but i don't think it would generate enough heating/cooling that you would need to spring the nitinol. I believe that the power of wind-up storage lies within the mechanical aspects, using the stored "energy" from a sustainable source (watermill/windmill) to "power" other rotary objects. Using wind-up power to generate electricity would be fairly inefficient seeing as a windmill/watermill can just have a generator on the unit itself. Also the scale at which a spring would be useful it would have to be pretty big so portability is minimal. Most wind-up systems would have to be stationary, but i really like the idea of using wind-up to run a drill press or table saw but i don't know if you could generate enough RPMs and torque on the machines themselves (so that the blades don't stop when there is resistance) I always check up on posts so please if you have any info, post it.
 
Ryan Workman
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The nitinol idea is still intriguing but to get a significant amount of power out of it you would need a significantly large spring. The elastic modulus for nitinol according to nitinol.com varies from around 41 GPa (transitions about at body temperature) to 75 GPa (much higher transition temperature). Compare this to high quality spring steel at 210 GPa.

I agree that it would be much more efficient to use it directly at mechanical power rather then run it through a generator to batteries and then from batteries through an inverter to get back to mechanical.

Lets look at the case of trying to power a cordless drill. From what I was able to find a cordless drill will run in the area of 500 W for about 5 min, or about 150 kJ. Ignoring inefficiencies for now this adds up to about 18' of steel spring. So you are right. A system like this would only be practical in a stationary application and run some small machinery.

I wonder if a nitinol engine (similar to this) could be used with solar energy to pump water?

Calcs: The potential energy in a torsional spring is u=1/2*r*theta^2 (r is the spring rate in N-m/rad) (theta is the angle of deflection). Looking through the torsion spring catalog from Century Spring the highest spring rate I could find was 14.8 N-m/rad. Solving the potential energy equation for theta I get about 23 revolutions. The spring I'm looking at is 1.11" long and the max deflection is 42 degrees. So you would need to stack up 18' worth of springs to get 23 revolutions.
 
Aaron Garrison
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I agree that a spring would be useful to pump water here is how i think of it:

Using a windmill you could mount a spring or multiple springs. Nitinol or steel, though i would agree that using ninitol would be more effective because you can use the hot/cold natural temperature of wherever a person lives to loosen/tighten, respectively, the ninitol spring thus ((about)) halving the amount of energy needed to input into the spring itself.

You gear the windmill down to the springs which would wind up then detach then when there is no wind you could pump water from a well or spring. You wouldn't need any electricity to have a fairly good water system depending on your wind situations.

This was just the thought that i had when i was thinking about wind-up technology. There are other useful applications like this with wheat grinding and general food processing, it depends on how much it would really cost to make or buy the springs and gearing mechanisms.
 
James Post
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I was thinking that this concept could be used to build a wind-up motor (like that found in a Victrola) only on a large scale.
This could be used as a supplement to the battery in hybrid cars or all electric cars like the Telsa Model S.
Essentially, the same concept as a hybrid only using a wind-up motor instead of a gasoline engine.
The wind-up motor would turn an electrical generator that would feed into the fully charged battery.
As current is drawn from the battery by the induction motor, it would be replaced by current generated by the wind-up motor/generator.
This would extend the range of the electric car.

Yes, there would be energy loss in the windup process and I don't know how efficient it would be. But, that is true of anything.
More electrical energy is used to charge a battery than it can return. All machines and physical processes are less than 100% efficient.

I just thought that this is a mechanical (non-chemical) way of storing electrical energy. It would have the advantage of being "quickly charged" compared to the 10 hours the Telsa battery
takes.

My problem is, I am mechanical engineer with a masters degree so I like to do calculations. I'm trying to find/develop equations to calculate the potential mechanical energy that can be store by wind-up "clock type" springs. That way I can get an idea of how feasible it is in terms of size/weight/power... For example, the Tesla Model S battery is 85KW-hr. That's 306 MILLION Joules of energy or 290,032 BTUs. That is a lot of energy (enough to power a 12,000 BTU/hr air conditioner for nearly 24 hours), but gives me an idea of the energy storage requirements for a mid size car that preforms very well. The Telsa model S has a 400 hp induction motor and goes 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds.

I've had the idea of storing electrical energy using windup springs for years, but just never worked on it. It's nice to find a forum of like minded people.
Hope this makes some sense to you all.

I plan to post updates as I get closer to mathematical understanding of the windup motor problem.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Would simple human-powered wind-up be sufficient to track a solar PV array for a day? You could wind it up every morning when you turn it towards the east.

We used to have a gravity-powered (well, actually human powered) clockwork mechanism to make our solar cookers track the sun. When you turned it to the east in the morning, a stone tied in a cable went up, and then all day the stone pulled down, and the speed was controlled by a pendulum and a bike chain. It was a Swiss guy who installed it and brought the designs. Swiss clock technology, you know.
 
Brad Hughes
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Hi

I am new to the forum, greetings from melbourne australia. I find this concept interesting. It's something I have thought about for a long time.

In regards to the two problems you have posed, I don't see them as problems. Let me explain why.

Yes, it will require more energy to wind the spring than will be released when it unwinds. And yes, a human is not going to be able to wind a spring that would be capable of generating any significant amount of power.

But we are not looking for perpetual motion here or free energy, just a way to store the energy we already have.

The way I see it, we have a MASSIVE excess supply of free solar energy. I read somewhere recenty that there is enough useable solar energy availabe to power the world 50 trillion times over. In fact the solar panels on the roof of my house generate three times more power than I need. The problem of course is, that the sun is not always shining. So the problem becomes how to store that solar energy for times when the sun isn't shining, so we can harness it then. Batteries have the obvious issues. I do really think the idea of using springs to store energy has potential, no pun intended.

So in regards to the first problem you presented, we can solve that with solar. It doesn't matter that it takes more energy to wind the spring than it will release, because we have a massive excess supply of energy when the sun is shining. Energy isn't the problem, we have plenty of it, storing it is the problem. So that problem is solved by solar.

The second problem you presented, in regards to a human not being able to wind a spring big enough that could store any significant amount of power, can also be solved with solar. We use solar powered electric motors to wind the springs when the sun is shining. And then at night time, we use the energy stored from releasing the spring, to power a generator which produces the power we need at night time.

When the sun comes out the next day, the solar powered motors compress the spring again, and rinse repeat.

I've been fascinated with this concept for a while. I've also experimented with the idea of using solar polar to hoist/winch up a large weight during the day, and then release that weight at night through a series of pulleys/gears that drive a generator motor. Just thought I would chip in my 20 cents


 
James Post
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Brad Hughes, my thoughts exactly!

Basically, we need an alternative STORAGE mechanism for storing electrical energy other than the chemical battery solutions we have had for years.
I know that torsional springs and twisted steel shafts can store a tremendous amount of energy. I was thinking, as you were, that one would use an electric motor to "windup" this Mechanical battery. Yes, there would be some loss of energy involved, but that is true of any physical process -- it's the second law of thermodynamics.

I have a trial version of software that supposedly uses Finite Element Modeling to predict the behavior of clock-like windup springs. It is limited because it is a trial version, but if it shows promise, I will investigate it further. Basically, the questions that I want to answer are (1) How much energy [KJoules] can this type of spring hold realistically and (2) what power are we talking about for such a windup motor to be used to generate mechanical energy back to electrical energy [KWatts]. Just want to get a sense of what is achievable.

For example Gasohol E10 (10% ethanol 90% gasoline by volume) has an Energy Density of 15.08 MJoules per gallon. So, a 10 gallon gas tank in an average automobile stores roughly 150.8 MJoules of energy. That's a lot of energy. Can any spring/shaft combination come close to that amount of Energy? That's what I'm interested in answering.

Just wanted to say that we are thinking of this the same way.
Don't know if it will come to anything, but wanted to give some validation.

Regards,
 
George Meljon
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A quick google search shows that MIT has been working on a carbon nanotube spring that is 1000 more powerful than its weight in steel.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/super-springs-0921.html

Claims are that it can be as effective as a lithium ion battery with no loss over time (think a mouse trap that sits idle for years).

 
James Post
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Very interesting and informative article. Thanks for the post.
 
Brad Hughes
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Here is an interesting albeit old concept

A hydraulic accumulator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_accumulator

The section about using a raised weight is similar to what I was thinking
 
Rob Irish
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Although not wind up as such, it is a related principle - the gravity light: http://vimeo.com/53588182

Basically, you lift up a weighted bag, and as it slowly falls over 30 minutes it provides power for the light. I'm sure on a bigger scale quite a few of these weights could be lifted to a higher point, perhaps from a tree, or the top of a house, and provide quite a cool amount of power for even a longer time.
 
Gerald O'Hara
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I have been thinking about this for several years. I have no degree in engineering or physics, so I probably don't know what I am talking about, but here goes.

Several of you have explored the concept of the falling weight and that has been my thought as well . Big Ben worked on that principle. They got it wound ok. What about something the size Of a chimney with a mechanism of an 8 day cuckoo clock? As the weight falls torque is created producing electricity from a suitable size generator. Going up as the weight comes down is a bucket which is filled by a toilet flush mechanism that fills to bring the weight back up. A small electric motor pumps the water back up to the top for the next flush. Or how about a properly geared mechanism that a five year old can wind? Who cares how much human energy is needed? If you want some lift, you do a little work!

Most of you are looking to power much larger items, but suppose we just stick to some simpler but critical uses?
My thinking is that rather than try to power big items, why not just stick to two or three basic items: light and radio for instance. I've been thinking about a variation on the windup radio I bought some years ago. The truth is that LED's can produce a tremendous amount of Light and consume very little power. A two way radio and even a small commercial radio doesn't require THAT much power.

What I envision is a box that can be installed in every room in a house between the studs which are 16" on center (usually). A windup box for each room would provide those basic necessities( particularly in an emergency) and not need to be on for more than an Hour or so. Make it with gears that a five year old could wind or an 85 year old and just that alone would keep anyone (particularly one who wishes to be"off-grid") in the 20th century.

The radio I Have uses a ribbon spring and even has its own solar panel which is minuscule in size but produces enough to do the job. With just the right engineering this could be a viable first step to energy self-sufficiency for all of us!
JMHO
Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni
Trim sends
//BT//
 
Brad Hughes
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Here is another similar idea to what has already been proposed.

Suspend an empty water tank from a tower, and hang it from the tower with a spring. During sunlight hours, use solar power to pump water up into the tank. As the weight of the tank increases, the spring will stretch significantly.

When you need that energy, you release a valve on the bottom of tank, and as the water exits the tank under pressure of the head above it, pipe that through a hydro electric generator and generate power from the exiting water. And as the weight of the tank decreases as the water exits, the spring compresses back up, pulling the tank back up the tower, driving a generator that generates power as it climbs back up.
 
Victor Johanson
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There are engine starters that are spring powered:

http://www.springstarter.com/

In The Windup Girl, a sci-fi novel by Paolo Bacigalupi, "kink springs" are used to store energy that was provided by "megodonts," which were some kind of genetically engineered mastodon creature.
 
Len Ovens
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An interesting idea for sure. I think there are a few things to watch on this.

1) Don't try to make a "one spring powers the whole ranch" kind of thing. Use springs in places where they are the best kind of motor. They are used in clock work for that reason. But a big ice block would serve keeping food cool over a long time than a spring/generator/compressor/chiller. I think Batteries are over used for storage right now in off grid applications. They are not always the best storage device either. I am also not sure that even when they are the right storage medium that one battery bank is better than a number of smaller batteries where they will be used. There seems to still be a grid mentality in the off grid world. Sort of a mini grid thing.

2) speed regulation would have to be developed. Clock work is good for timing things, not just to keep time but also to follow the sun with solar collectors. This has been used with 12 foot solar cooking concentrator mirrors. Clockwork is great for making the springs energy last a long time. However, it will not work for applications where constant speed is required.

3) some things do not need to be automated, the manual way works just fine. Time is money if you are working for someone else, but for many jobs a brace or a hand saw are almost faster than their powered equivalents anyway. I think someone even mentioned a "potato peeler"?

4) some times the workload can be lightened by doing things differently. "No knead" bread for example, uses higher hydration so it is easier to mix by hand and then uses a long ferment to lessen the need for kneading as well. It removes any idea that "it sure would be nice to have a machine do this." Best of all the actual time required to be working on the bread is probably less than if a powered mixer was used. Was for me anyway. I now make 6 or 7 loaves in less time than I could spend on 2 loaves... cause my mixer could only handle 2

I think there is a use for springs for powering rotary applications. I do think it may be limited, but I think we may discover more than clockworks and mouse traps. a spring powered drill would be really nice. How about linear springs?
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Any machine can be worked by a wind up spring. Springs put out the same energy as taken in. Springs can unwind quicker or slower than the speed they were wound up. For big spring winding one uses a long lever, for ginormous spring winding one uses a longer lever.
 
Hor Boonv Hhor
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Hi, I am new to this forum and find many of you are keen on making an idea works in as simple and efficient way as possible which is good. Some of you have the expectations of going Hugh on performance on the same small spring when it can only provide limited working ability. I am a technical person with many years of research works on inventing new ideas and knows that it is not the same as adding up size and weight that will make the idea works. In my many years of building prototypes and getting them to works I learn to do things with a different approach. Combination of the technical know-how on how various things work will help you put them together to get the best out of the idea. When you work with spring to generate the power you need you do not use one Hugh spring to create the force. To wind-up a Hugh spring you will need big forces to push or pull. Instead of using one big spring I will use many smaller springs where I can get easily. It is something like using many goats to pull the cart instead of a cow. I had many types of energy's generating prototypes and some of them are the type many of you are interested. At the moment, the cost of producing them are too high. What I do to make the idea to works is to join the many elements we had to create a counter force to the forces that require stronger forces to drive. Some of the element can drive other element without any strong requirements. Like lifting water up to the top of the tank using air power. When you use gear power, you need more energy and more parts to drive them. With air, a ready stored compressed air can works more efficiently. Anyway, I hope to be able to help more if I can have more times. Let me knows if any of you have the same method as I had.
 
V Coblentz
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So why couldn't an air compressor be powered by said springs? I haven't made a very in-depth study of energy requirements for a compressor, but I do know that there are many household appliances that have been converted to air power. A pressure switch could be added to activate a shaft brake to engage our release as needed, therefore conserving spring energy. Just some rambling thoughts.
 
allen lumley
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- a quick Google Search for ''gravity powered led lights'' or ''Wind up LED light''s get you to several WWW sites like this ! //// See link below :


http://gravitylight.org

For the good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
Troy Rhodes
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V Coblentz wrote:So why couldn't an air compressor be powered by said springs? I haven't made a very in-depth study of energy requirements for a compressor, but I do know that there are many household appliances that have been converted to air power. A pressure switch could be added to activate a shaft brake to engage our release as needed, therefore conserving spring energy. Just some rambling thoughts.


An air compressor -could- be powered by a spring. But the spring or springs would be somewhere in size between a refrigerator and a car. Springs are made of high quality steel, so this would not be an inexpensive method of storing energy.

The second issue is that springs only store the energy. The energy must be supplied to the spring. A one horsepower compressor is fairly small as far as compressors go. In round figures, one horsepower is about 750 watts. Let's say you're going to run the compressor for one hour. That's 750 watthours, or 0.75 kilowatthours.

A fit person can produce between 80 and 100 watts, like on a generator bicycle. To produce 750 watthours, a person would have to cycle vigorously for ten hours, to run the compressor for one hour, assuming zero losses for energy conversion efficiencies to wind a spring. In real life, I would expect to lose 1/3 to 1/2 of the input energy due to friction, heating and other inefficiencies. So in real life, (just as an example) a person would have to cycle vigorously for 20 hours, to wind the giant spring that could run a compressor for one hour.


This is not meant as a criticism of springs as an energy storage medium, just as an example with real life numbers to get a feel for what is possible, and how much energy/work that involves.
 
Len Ovens
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Troy Rhodes wrote:
An air compressor -could- be powered by a spring. But the spring or springs would be somewhere in size between a refrigerator and a car. Springs are made of high quality steel, so this would not be an inexpensive method of storing energy.


Just goes to show how little energy a watch uses to do it's job.
 
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