Powering Your Devices Without Power

What do you do when there’s no power?


Fast Co. recently highlighted this pretty awesome hand-crank cell phone charger called the “BoostTurbine.” While hand-crank devices have been around for some time, this one actually looks slick, and has both USB and micro USB ports (presumably to charger the charger?). In the wake of Sandy and no power, this could come in quite handy in a disaster.

Fast and efficient, in one minute the hand  turbine power generator can produce enough  power for a 30-second call or a few critical  texts. When fully charged, BoostTurbine2000 fully charges most smartphones.

Imagine if you’re sitting around bored, watching things float by, and crank this thing for a few hours! Why, you’d have enough juice to power a whole game of Words With Friends. Of course, solar chargers are pretty swell too (when the sun comes back out), but they’re plagued by inefficiency. Consider the Revovle XeMini Plus, which can take up to 13 hours for a full charge! As the review points out, hot sun is bad for any phone, so you have to find a way to get direct sunlight, for a long time, without heat. Those Alaskans could benefit…

So what’s a disaster-prone, eco-conscious citizen to do? Well, if you’re willing to shell out $200 you can build up a charge just by doing, that is, walking, running, biking, or just moving around. The nPower PEG (Personal Energy Generator) claims to build up battery life by just hanging out in your backpack and converting the small kinetic energy shifts that occur from every day life into straight-up cell phone juice.

The nPower PEG. (From Fast Co.)


This YouTube review claims that after three days of heavy walking and bumping around in the car, the PEG could only deliver about 40% of the juice for a full iPhone battery. Wired echoed these sentiments in their review. Not very impressive. But, what if you took it jogging? Or cycling (in the jersey pocket)? Or attached it to the bottom of a drum head? Washing machine, outside of a blender, trampoline antics…the possibilities are endless! We waste energy constantly, and if you were able to salvage some of it for free, that’d be nice. With a $200 price tag (not to mention the adapter for your specific phone), I’m not sure it’s worth it, but I’d love to hear some stories from users.

  • Cameron

    I was able to think ahead when the 2011 floods hit Brisbane, and purchased a power monkey solar recharger to use when the power went off.

    Charge it during the day in sunlight and charge the phone overnight.

    Worked a treat.

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