Losing charge on your phone is inconvenient at the best of times, but sometimes it can mean the difference between life and death, or at least it can cause serious inconvenience.
If you work out in the wilderness, or you’re a keen hiker who relies on a GPS device for navigation or a mobile phone for emergency communication, losing charge on any of your devices could prove distinctly problematic for your safety or the efficiency of your work.
[Read also: How to Protect and Extend your Gadget’s Battery Life]
Where is the energy going to come from?
Using the same well known, but undervalued and underused natural phenomenon that produces lightning you can harvest energy from the atmosphere and funnel it into your handheld device. With the right, easy-to-get-your-hands-on kit, you can build an emergency battery charger for those desperate moments when you have run out of charge.
The phenomenon is a static charge that builds up on antennae and long wires in open air. The charges that build up on these wires are often considered a nuisance, and can interfere with radio equipment if the wires are not grounded properly.
We can, however, take advantage of this nuisance and use it to our advantage during blackouts, power cuts and when we’re stranded away from a conventional power source.
[Read also: How To Take Care Of Your Laptop Battery]
What you’ll need to build your emergency charger
The home-made kit will consist of a marine battery – generally used in boats and marine transport as a starter motor; a spark plug found in most, if not all road vehicles; approximately 200 ft of insulated wire such as old phone lines or a television cable – it is important that it is totally insulated both for safety and charge retention purpose and finally any 12-volt automotive coil: salvaged or new.
The set-up, once you’ve acquired all of the kit, is so simple you could assemble it out in the field or in heavy weather conditions.
Begin by hooking up the spark plug tip to the end of your antennae wire which will work better the higher you have hoisted it. Once the wire is connected, attach the ground end of your spark plug to into the top cap of your automotive coil.
Finally connect the end of your automotive coil that normally connects to the points in your car to the positive side of the marine battery. Connect the negative end to a ground pole which should be safely cordoned off and the only part of the circuit which is touching the ground to prevent unintended loss of charge.
200 ft of wiring should fully charge the battery in a day or two, which is more than enough charge to fuel a phone to make a phone call or triangulate your location. All you need is an adapter from a car battery to a conventional socket in which you would charge the device that has run flat. These are easily purchased online.
Implementing this process into your travels or your day-to-day work equipment may be the difference between a serious problem and no problem at all.
At the moment, it appears that creating this contraption yourself is the most feasible way of acquiring such a piece of kit
It will be interesting to see in this age of green energy how the technology industry responds to the idea of using atmospheric static to harness power. Will we all have portable atmospheric power harvesters in a few years? What other possibilities for emergency power sources will atmospheric static present?
[Read also: Don’t Trust Your iPad Battery Indicator]