Riding Off The Grid

 

By Jeff Alan

Maybe you've wondered how much energy your tech equipment uses. I did, so I did some Kill-A-Watt readings of a few computers I have access to:

-        A Core 2 E6300 desktop with a low-end video card and a couple hard drives idling at ~105W

-        A laptop with an i3 2310m processor charging using ~64W

-        An 8-core AMD 8120 idling at ~70W... that jumps to 180+ at full tilt

Performance-wise, they're all perfectly usable, but the laptop holds the distinct potential advantage that you can fairly easily provide your own power. The concept has been realized in various stationary forms as you can see by the countless sites and videos out there1. It's great and easily do-able for most of us, but even better would be on-the-go. There are commercial bike-mounted chargers now for cell phones and MP3 players2, but at least one wise guy has been successfully charging his computer while he rolls down the street:

http://www.tiredofit.ca/2011/03/19/pedal-powered-electronics-charging-system/

As his comment from October said, 10,000 kilometers and still going!

Okay, so maybe it won't work for everyone, but a home workout with a stationary generator could take care of your gut and your gadget. Racers, bike couriers with netbooks or anyone who rides many hours a day can practically ride their computing right off the grid.

1 - http://www.johnlivingston.com/bicycle_laptop_charger.htm

2 - http://www.geekwithlaptop.com/nokia-launching-phone-charger-powered-by-a-bicycle

            

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