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  • Start Your Car With a Rope (Dead Battery Life Hack)

    I hope you'll explain that. It's just a way of making the motor turn over, which is what the starter motor does. I don't see how this threatens the catalytic converter any more than a normal start, particularly if the normal start isn't going well.

    I'm almost certain that I've push or hill started my Honda Fit at one time or another. It's a 2007.

    That trick was very handy when my Ford Fiesta's clutch cable broke 100 feet from my driveway. As it happens, I was able to get the engine running and just turned off the ignition and hit the brake when it was where I wanted it. A trip to the hardware store provided some odds and ends with which I fixed the cable. I ran it that way for several months until I got the correct part.

    Let's see. Volare (ugh!), Fiesta, BMW 2002 (with rust, of course), Honda wagon, Saturn (used, drove it for 18 years), and now a Honda Fit. Thirty one years of cars, all manual transmission. I learned to deal with the clutch on an International Farmall tractor. Then there was my Dad's very nice Puegot that I sometimes drove. My cars were all in the vicinity of Boston, MA, but I learned to drive in Vermont. I was considering a Prius, but I really didn't like the ones I tried.

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  • Bicycle Cell Phone Charger (Wind Turbine with build in Battery)

    I'm guessing that for you, weight is critical. I suggest you make a generator using a brushless model airplane motor. They can handle quite a bit of power with not much weight, particularly if they get a lot of air cooling. They're fairly cheap, too, at least in the size that you'd need to charge little stuff. Maybe one like this: http://www.bphobbies.com/view.asp?id=V450327&pid=I...Note that the weight is under 2 ounces and the price is under $20! Also, the "kv" is relatively low, which means you can use a slower spinning, larger prop that can catch energy from more air. Even this one will go 5580 rpm to get 6 volts, no load. Hmm... I guess if you use a voltage booster, you can use a bigger, slower turbine and still get decent voltage. Or use a geared motor. Less effi...see more »I'm guessing that for you, weight is critical. I suggest you make a generator using a brushless model airplane motor. They can handle quite a bit of power with not much weight, particularly if they get a lot of air cooling. They're fairly cheap, too, at least in the size that you'd need to charge little stuff. Maybe one like this: http://www.bphobbies.com/view.asp?id=V450327&pid=I...Note that the weight is under 2 ounces and the price is under $20! Also, the "kv" is relatively low, which means you can use a slower spinning, larger prop that can catch energy from more air. Even this one will go 5580 rpm to get 6 volts, no load. Hmm... I guess if you use a voltage booster, you can use a bigger, slower turbine and still get decent voltage. Or use a geared motor. Less efficient, but maybe easier. But they're getting harder to find.Furthermore, I suggest you use a hand carved wood prop, er, turbine with two blades. Easy to make and light. Just remember that, for a turbine, the flat (or concave) and convex faces on the prop are reversed. That is, the flat side faces the wind. http://www.gryffinaero.com/models/ffpages/tips/pro...I'm pretty sure that I've seen a fairly simple circuit to rectify three phase power, which means you could use all three of the motor leads and, therefore, all the motor's coils.Another way to boost power is to put the device on a pole to get it away from obstacles. Even just getting it higher off flat ground will get it into stronger winds. Up to a very high point, the wind increases the further it gets away from the ground, though at the peak of a cliff, dune, or ridge it's also quite strong, as you've probably noticed.You could carry two or more sizes of turbine to adjust for different wind strengths.I wouldn't know how to optimize this without a lot of investigating and futzing around. For instance, you can control voltage vs current by wiring the coils in different ways. (Rewinding not necessary but may be helpful if you're really into it. But I'm sure if you did optimize things, you could get a lot more power for less weight.Wind power hobbyists have probably got this all figured out. They even make their own generators, though most are too big and heavy for you. BTW, I forget what it's called, but there is a low current generator that someone in the third world invented which uses the oscillations of a tight ribbon in the wind to move a magnet over a coil to generate electricity. Maybe that would be simpler and lighter, and less likely to bruise your finger if you grabbed it. Much less efficient, though. OTOH, you can probably carry a larger one rolled up.

    A good source might be Digikey.

    For someone who needs a generator in a hurry, your solution seems excellent.For something more efficient, perhaps extract the motor, put an o-ring on the case, and mount so that the o-ring rides on the tire or rim. But that's much more work!I've thought of mounting magnets somewhere on the wheel and a coil on the frame next to them. Come to think of it, maybe you could have a toothed wheel that interacted with the spokes. It would have to be soft and you'd probably want to put something on the spokes where the wheel hits them. But it would work a lot better in the rain than a friction-based drive.If you continue to develop this, you might check out some of the cheaper brushless model airplane motors. Better magnets and lighter weight. You could also put some rare earth magnets in a CD-...see more »For someone who needs a generator in a hurry, your solution seems excellent.For something more efficient, perhaps extract the motor, put an o-ring on the case, and mount so that the o-ring rides on the tire or rim. But that's much more work!I've thought of mounting magnets somewhere on the wheel and a coil on the frame next to them. Come to think of it, maybe you could have a toothed wheel that interacted with the spokes. It would have to be soft and you'd probably want to put something on the spokes where the wheel hits them. But it would work a lot better in the rain than a friction-based drive.If you continue to develop this, you might check out some of the cheaper brushless model airplane motors. Better magnets and lighter weight. You could also put some rare earth magnets in a CD-ROM or similar motor. That's how the brushless model airplane motors got started. Amazing amounts of power for very light weight. Props are fun to carve, too. http://www.gryffinaero.com/models/ffpages/tips/pro...It may not take as long as you think, and it gives you a lot of flexibility. I guess with the cooling fan, the parts are already matched up. Some interesting types of generators seem to be coming onto the market:http://bicyclehobo.com/dynamo-chargers-outside-of-...You might have to rob a bank first. ;-)

    Actually, I think it might increase air resistance on the order of 2 or 3 percent, VERY roughly. An cyclist and his bike might have 5 square feet of frontal area, which of course is a very crude way of estimating air drag, but is probably not horribly far off for lousy shapes like people, wheels, and tubes. If the fan has a frontal area of 20 square inches, that's close to 3 percent. The actual situation is much more complicated, but this gives us an idea of the magnitude. Keep in mind that, at least at slow speeds, there are other significant sources of drag besides the air.

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