Author Topic: POWER GENERATION  (Read 3599 times)

Offline DIM TIM

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« on: January 25, 2009, 06:08:20 PM »
I have seen and heard a lot of folks talking on the subject of power generation in the event of a grid down situation. Some have an emergency back-up generator, others have wind, solar, or hydro types pf power systems, depending upon their circumstance.
These are some fine examples of power generation, but there also a group of others that I would like to cover in this post. Namely...manual generation of power.

Power can come in many different forms, and the two that concern preparedness minded folks and survivalists are electrical power, and physical power generation.
So lets examine both, and what is required for them to be of practicle use to folks that need them.

First of all, lets assume that the power grids have been crippled to the point that they will be un-useable for a time untill they can be repaired or replaced whichever the case may be.
This also means that unless you have a solar, or dependable wind or hydro system, that you will have to stockpile a great deal of fossil fuels to power a generator system, and this is beyond the scope of reality for all but a few.

So what is a person to do, to try to make their life as bearable and as comfortable as possible ?

The mere act of walking is a form of power generation. By placing one foot in front of the other repetedly, we do what is called bipedal locomotion....or walking.
By doing this at a more rapid rate or pace, we are running, trotting, jogging, etc, etc;
By using this basic form of power in conjunction with a host of mechanical appliences, we can generate electrical power, or mechanical power to do what we are trying to accomplish.
To give you a better idea of what I mean, picture this image in you mind. You need to get from Washington D.C. to New York City. If you were to walk or run all the way, it would take you a good amount of time to get there. Now, add a mechanical advantage in the form of a bicycle, and add to that, a multiple set of gearing to allow you to adjust for the terrain, and you will get ther a lot quicker, and in a much more efficient manner.  ;D
And even if you didn't have the gearing, you would still get there quicker and in a much more efficient manner than walking or running. This adds to the comfort factor as well.   ;)

Mechanical devices can be rigged up, to allow for a host of other applications as well. Just about anything can be human powered. The most extreme form of this can be seen in the fact that although Bryan Allan flew the human powered Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel from England to France on June 12th 1979. A distance of 35.82 KM, in 2hr. 49min., On December 10th, 1989 the first human powered helicopter, the California Polytechnic State University  DaVinci  III,
flew for 7.1 seconds and reached a height of 20 cm. While this is not a GREAT amount of height or time, the facts still remain, that it was A HUMAN POWERED HELICOPTER, IT DID GET OFF THE GROUND, AND DID SO FOR 7.1 SECONDS !!!   :o
So grinding wheat to flour, powering a fan for cooling, cutting grass, etc, etc, etc, can all be done with simple mechanical devices that are human powered.

The need for a certain speed, can be accomplished through the use of gears or pullys with belt or chain drives.
This site  can be helpful in determining the needed size of pullys or belts for gaining the required size needed for a particular application.
If a pully is required, but one of a certain size can not be found, then it can be fabricated by means of cutting out various different sized circles of thin plywood, or similar material, and building up the required profile by sandwiching the circles together and screwing, bolting, or glue to make the needed pully stay together.
Chain drives can be used, however the need for repair links and tools to mend a broken chain must be kept, in order to make needed repairs. Drive belts can be fabricated, but suitable materials are often hard to come by, so once a size is determined, the best bet is to get a good supply of replacements for the device being used.

The physical power supplied for many of the human powered devices often comes in the form of pedal power from a bicycle type of mechanism, but it can also be applied from hand cranks, treadmills, and treadle type devices.
I was very fortunate to have come across an old treadle base from an old White Sewing Machine, that some one was puting out for trash last year during our towns annual "junk week". I could not believe my luck. The scrap metal scroungers would have junked it for the cast iron, and the wonderful mechanical treadle would have been lost forever.
Now it is safe inside our storage shed, just waiting for me to put it to use, which I have already decided upon, and am in the process of gathering the remaining parts needed to turn this old piece of mechanical equipment into a workhorse for various mechanical devices that can be powered from it when needed, and with a series of intercgangeable units that will use it as the base unit to power them all.

Electrical power can be made using the set-up mentioned in the page here on the Podcast forum thread started by TexSquirrel in the D.I.Y.section.
His link to the site he mentions  I have had in my favorites file for about a year or more.
There have been some questions raised as to why someone would build a system that only produces 12 volts. The answer to this is, so that it can be used to charge a bank of 12 volt deep cycle batteries for storage, and later use in a 12 volt system, or run thru an inverter set-up to produce 120 volts of A.C. power if required. The fact that this system runs off of a small lawnmower engine is irrelivent. It could just as easily have been a small diesel motor, steam engine, Lister Engine, Sterling Engine, or even a human powered
mechanical device. For further information about possible power plants to run this device, I have added a few links that I have to the end of this post.
One very important thing to remember about all of this use of mechanical and electrical power is, it can be done. you only have to have a need, a way to supply that need, and the means and materials.
In order to keep this thread as short as I could, there will of coarse be some things that I left out or forgot to mention. That's Ok. This thread, like the preps we put aside, and the survival subjects that we study and learn, is a constant and on-going process, and there a lot of other folks out there that have not added what they know to the mix.
So ask those questions, add what you know, and remember....... the reason that we are here, is to help one another.

Additional links:

One additional note: The use of animal power has been used for centuries to do a number of tasks to make
peoples lives better. I once saw an old lithograph print that showed a large dog on a treadmill type device that was powering a small grain mill back around the 17th century.  ;D