OK. Is this charging idea experiment crazy? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-12-2017, 06:37 AM   #1
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OK. Is this charging idea experiment crazy?

I am sitting drinking my morning tea whilst shaking off the night time cobwebs and I have this crazy thought. Can you use a solar panel and a campfire to make electricity? Campfires sure give off a lot of radiation, though mostly at the infared end of the spectrum. Are solar panels able to convert this long wave radiation into the goodly juice that we crave?

I don't have a portable panel and laying my Scamp on its side to facilitate a good angle to a campfire might be problematic so I have a request. If anyone has a portable panel and a blazing campfire would you try an experiment? Try exposing your panel to a campfire's radiation (at a safe distance please) and see if any charging results. At least one enquiring (and perhaps silly) mind wants to know.

I suppose there are turgid scientific reports showing graphs and tables of solar cell response to various wavelengths of light where I could find the answer, but what fun would that be?

John, always pushing the frontiers of science and camping forward.

Pic of the DW walking a Pacific Northwest Beach on a bad day for solar energy.
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Old 12-12-2017, 06:47 AM   #2
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The current crop of PV panels don't convert infrared(heat) to electricity but they are working on it:

https://www.engadget.com/2015/07/28/...nfrared-light/

I suppose there could be some electricity produced by a campfire since visible light is produced.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:19 AM   #3
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Alex you are amazing. This board is full of folks with all kinds of info at their fingertips.

But, what frustration! I was hoping for dozens of intrepid experimenters testing under various conditions like varying altitude, time of night, size of fire, type of firewood, KOA vs. Boondocking, annual rainfall, clarity of air, blood alcohol concentration, etc. I wonder if your reference is "FAKE" news and folks should verify this on their own. After all, what could the University of California know?

I challenge all solar fans to kindle their campfires and validate/disprove the UC's claim.

John
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:29 AM   #4
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I have to admit, I am curious to try it anyway. if it weren't for the fact that all my stuff is now in storage for the winter I would give it a try. Oh well, maybe this spring.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:37 AM   #5
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Think of the sun as a big campfire and you will know it will work....
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by widgetwizard View Post
Think of the sun as a big campfire and you will know it will work....
Speaking of big campfires. Back last century in boy scouts we passed down a saying.

"Indian builds small fire and keeps warm by leaning close. White man builds big fire and keeps warm chopping wood."
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:11 AM   #7
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Try boiling water on the campfire. Then run a steam turbine. Ha!

If you web Search Miniature Steam Turbine Generator, they do exist.
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:18 AM   #8
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I think you'd have to have a really, really big fire to get enough photons excited enough to mate and produce electrons.
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:19 AM   #9
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Interesting idea! While photo panels can produce electricity from a wider range of light than the eye will detect, I don’t think it includes the infrared. The firelight in the visible range ought to give you some charge however. I have a panel I can move around so will try it for fun next camping season!
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:21 AM   #10
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I think you are looking for one of these:
https://www.bioliteenergy.com/?gclid...SAAEgLjUvD_BwE
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:45 AM   #11
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I learned just how much energy there is in sunlight when I designed lights for a production inside a church. We thought it would be a great idea to "light up" the stained glass window as part of the show.

I hung 6 1000 watt PARs (a narrow beam, fairly efficient light source) in a tree about 20' from the window. That night at a tech rehearsal, when the time came we lit up the PARs expecting a brightly glowing window. Nope, just a dull glimmer in the middle.

Sunlight is pretty powerful stuff, compared to a campfire or 6000 watts worth of lights!
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:45 PM   #12
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If you have $3000 to spare Look at the Efoy hydrogen generator.
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Old 12-12-2017, 06:02 PM   #13
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At Christmas time they sell a carousel that is powered by a candle. The rising heat turns a fanblade at the top and you get rotation. Just build a really big one out of steel and connect an alternator to it and build a reLly big fire. Be sure to have a second vehicle to haul the contraption.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:28 PM   #14
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I'm pretty curious about how much power that would produce as well. Not much, obviously, but maybe not zero. My panels are permanently mounted on the roof, though, so I'll have to figure out either how to suspend a fire above the trailer or roll the trailer on its side to test. Hrm..
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