Bring Me Sunshine

By Saul Albert, 28 November 2002
Image: Sunset at Morcambe.

This summer’s Tech_2 in Lancaster included a Small Sustainable Energy Systems Workshop, led by Hugh Pigott. Techies, artists, activists and critical energy consumers spent three days of intensive study, learning to design, build and use wind, hydro, and photovoltaic systems to power anything from singing bus shelters to wireless network nodes. Saul Albert reports

> Tech_2 participants hard at study. The contents of the photocopies can be found on Hugh Piggott’s website []

> In direct Lancaster sunshine this 75W PV module produced 3.8A at 12V, enough to charge a battery quite effectively. Unfortunately in the UK we can only bank on 1.2 hours of direct sunshine per day (worst case scenario). This makes PV ridiculously expensive in our climate.

> You saw the Mac classic fishtank right? Here’s the IIls flowerpot, man.

> Note the audio / video out ports on this box. Although they’re not supported by ClosedBSD yet, the potential to use this box as a digital analogue media streaming relay makes it a very interesting prospect for unofficial radio / TV broadcasts, especially when equipped with renewable power supply (it would take about $1000 worth of PV modules and batteries to power this in the dismal UK sunlight).

> A working computer, nailed to the wall. Pure Ikea.

> During testing, this Sokris box (a small production run, rareish hand-made wireless router/AP) would run on very low power (5V) and took only about 4.5 A when idling and 8.5 when the processor was maxed out. Unfortunately, even this tiny power requirement would need a brick sized battery and a PV module the size of a hatchback to function reliably in the UK.

>How to wire up your house safely.

Tech_2 []

Hugh Pigott’s homepage []

Saul Albert <> writes, codes, teaches and talks in London, and makes art with the Twenteenth Century