Friday, September 19, 2014

Thermoelectric Gear for Off-Grid Situations

Thanks for your blog and book, I really enjoy them and have found lots of fantastic information.
I would like to share these two innovations with you.
I am a European and have no affiliation with the company that makes them.
The first is the Ecofan

Ecofans for Woodstoves  generate their own electricity from the surface heat of your wood stove and circulate warm air throughout the room, increasing your comfort.
It is a fan that turns by the heat that the woodstove produces. Instead of letting the heat go up to the ceiling it directs it in the room and lets you have a feeling of warmth a lot faster.
I got one from a friend to try out, I put it on the stove and directed it to my wife, without her knowing it. Suddenly she felt something was different, looked at the stove and said without hesitation: "What is that, I want it!" My wife couldn't live without one.
If you have a woodstove it is a very good upgrade.
The other item is the Joi light

You can have electric light without using batteries. The Joi Light uses the heat produced by a tea light candle to let several LED shine. The light burns as long as the candle burns. It shines brightest in a room with a cool temperature. If used in a heated room the light is strong enough to read by if used as a desklight.
Please don't use my name and emailadress.

Hello J,
I’ve seen some of these before and I think its very interesting how they turn heat to electricity.
To be completely honest, I don’t think the Joi light makes much sense at all. To use a candle to get a bit of LED light sounds awfully impractical, even more so at such a high price. For something like that, (small scale) long term off-grid illumination, I’d go for something like the WakaWaka Lamp that uses solar power, has good battery capacity and works nicely as a lantern. All at 1/5 of the cost of the JOI and it doesnt need candles to work. So far, I’ve been using a Waka Waka Power unit and it still works as advertised, which is rare with most of these products.
The fan for the wood stove does look nice. I see how it might help send hot air in a specific direction and help increase the heating radius. That it uses power generated from the same stove is a nice solution for off-grid situations.
These products remind me of the BioLite Wood Burning Campstove.

The Biolite stove uses the same heat of the stove to power a fan for the stove and recharge electronic gadgets. I’m not fully sold on the idea though. Again, a more simple solar panel like the Waka Waka Power seem like a better, more simple and light weight solution but reviews seem to be pretty favorable for the BioLite. Then again, the WWPower is a lanter/charger while the Biolite is a Stove/charger. Two different creatures.


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Anonymous said...

I’m writing to ask for you and the ppl help, for 3 years me and 55 familys have been raising chickens in a small town in up state ny. now the village where we live wants us to kill our chickens cause they don’t think we should have them. what is going on is not right to us and our familys. I ask that you and the ppl are able to help us to stand up for were rigths. thank you for your time

Anonymous said...

FerFal, thanks for writing. Your perspective has shaped my own views and plans.

The devices that use heat to generate electricity are generally called "thermo-electric" and use the Peltier Principle. Which as I understand it is that there are certain types of semi-conductor junctions (similar to transistors) that will generate heat on one side when electricity is applied with a certain polarity, and the other side gets cold. When the polarity is reversed, the sides change function - hot to cool.

Also, when you apply heat, the opposite happens in that electricity is generated.

This is commonly used in high end computer CPU coolers, and most commonly in 12v "refrigerators" or coolers designed for camping and car use. Electricity is applied, one side gets cool, and the other gets hot, moving heat out of the cooler.

You can find "pelts" or "peltier coolers" available surplus on the web, and they are fun to play with. Or look for the coolers at yard sales/etc and scavenge the parts.

Building a small generator from salvage parts is on my prep list, but very low priority.

Please keep up the hard work of writing, and stay safe.