In planning the spring Earth Skills Semester Program, as well as how we’ll accomplish certain tasks at our new base camp in Masardis, the issue of a way to generate electricity to charge camera and video camera batteries and run a laptop has been in the back of my mind for a while. Since we started shooting video on trips, I’ve been interested in having a system where I could charge batteries on long, remote trips. Now it’s getting close to the time when I’ll be needing that system, so I’ve been doing some research. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
For trips, as well as for use at our basecamp, I’m going to get a Freeplay Weza and complement it with a PowerFilm rollable solar panel. The Weza is a small, portable unit with a foot treadle built in. With a little exercise in the form of pushing down on the treadle repeatedly you can charge the interior battery. You can also charge it by plugging it into a regular outlet or a vehicle’s cigarette lighter. It can also be charged through wind or solar, which is where the PowerFilm comes in. I figure I can charge the Weza with the PowerFilm on a regular basis, and on days where I can’t I always have the foot treadle as a backup.
Eventually I plan on getting a stationary bike power generator such as the Pedal-A-Watt that would stay at our base camp. People could bring their own bike and charge their own items. Looking way down the road we’ll probably put together a more substantial renewable system, but in the short term these solutions are simple and relatively inexpensive.