Here’s a little howto on building a low-RPM generator from scratch. I assume that not all of you have extra hamsters lying around to power your night lights, but a similar design could be used for creating a small generator for wind or other energy sources.

Though it’s hard for the hamster to make higher voltages with his low-rpm wheel, he has torque to spare. 2 LEDs are barely taxing him……we are drawing only about 30 milliamps into the LEDs at Skippy’s top speed. If we add more electrical load to the circuit, he could make more power, with a resulting increase in physical resistance on the wheel—like running uphill. We have yet to try small incandescent flashlight bulbs in the circuit–something that draws more power and makes more physical resistance against the wheel spinning. We did try more LEDs — he had no trouble lighting up 6 of them. Next we plan to try an array of low-voltage incandescent flashlight bulbs to get optimum power output without tiring Skippy out too much. DanF is guessing that Skippy is good for 200 milliamps without tiring…

One cool thing is that the author uses a bicycle computer to track the hamster wheel’s average and top speeds over time. This is a nice tool to have if you’re trying to monitor and optimize the environment for your generator setup.

Hamster-Powered Night Light – Link

6 thoughts on “Hamster-powered night light

  1. Just on pure potential, I gotta say the iPhone. Apple’s token effort to keep the phone locked are just for show; the fact that it’s been so thoroughly jailbroken after what, less than 5 months? shows not only how exciting the product is but also how amazingly customizable it is.

  2. I’d recommend the Nokia N95-3. It’s got a 3.5G internet connection on at&t where available, WiFi, GPS, and a 5MP camera that can also take video. As for programming, check out Most Symbian S60 fones like the N95 can be programmed in five or more languages, and the SDKs are available and well documented. Nokia has also released a personal webserver or a full LAMP stack for web hosting. As for hackable fones available now, this feature set trumps the competition.

  3. Im in Canada and I have the HTC P4000 from Telus — I have to say with the wide range of 3rd party software for windows mobile it does everything I want (RealVNC, SSH, Opera Browser).
    The only draw back is that Windows Mobile can be sluggish at times… I’m hoping that I can upgrade it to Google’s Android in the spring.

  4. I picked up a Nokia N95-3 this past weekend, and so far, I love it. It’s got native support for posting photos to flickr, it takes great photos and video (here’s something I shot today), plays video and audio well, and as norcalbarney said, it’s very hackable.

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