Two and a half years ago, I had a "one of those days" moment. While pulling our boat up to the dock, I fell out of the boat. I never watch the show, but I think of it as an "America's stupidest home video" moment - feet on the deck while stretching out to reach for a piling - and doing a belly flop into the saltwater lagoon. The only really bad part of that, the only thing that really cost me, was that I had my iPhone 4s in my pocket at the time, and the saltwater bath killed it.
Since then, I've become a little sensitive about waterproof electronics, so I was interested to note that Kyocera introduced a waterproof/water resistant phone that they advertise being washed with soap and water. It's not an earth-moving event, but it sure has its advantages. The phone, which hasn't yet been announced as coming to America, will cost about $450. Better yet, they filmed a commercial, which comes across as a kitschy '60s type vibe to me. It's 100% in Japanese, but it's not a waste of your 55 seconds to watch it.
The video depicts a nice looking home, say American upper-middle-class, and that hides the fact that for most of the world the cell phone is becoming (or already is) an indispensable piece of technology. If a new nation wants to bring phones to everyone in their hinterlands, they don't need to worry about building out quite as much infrastructure. They don't need to worry about wiring "the last mile", they need to wire towers into a phone network. Power companies, though, do need to bring that wire all the way to the last outlet, because wireless power is impractical. There are ways to wirelessly beam power around at levels that can power infrastructure, but that much energy is dangerous no matter how you get it there; that is, the AC power line can kill you and so can the same energy in a radio field.
Consider "wireless power charging". There has been a lot of buzz over wireless charging stations for phones, but the technology hasn't really taken off. Yeah, they allow you to put your phone on a mat, or a special pad like the Samsung charger pictured, but the bottom line is that it doesn't buy you much. Your phone isn't very usable while it's charging - at least, not as a phone. How different is leaving your phone on a pad overnight from leaving it plugged in overnight?
$13 billion strikeout. Bear in mind he's the CEO of company that has a "better mousetrap" to compete with it: portable hydrogen fuel cells that the believes will solve energy problems for good.
Within the next five years, with developments in embedded hydrogen fuel cell and solar and wind technologies, energy freedom will become mainstream. These new ways of delivering power have the potential to alleviate dead battery conditions, eliminate charging-station clutter, and remove infrastructure problems. Unseating entrenched conventional technologies and infrastructure will take time, and while it presents a challenge, it is an equally significant opportunity that will be instrumental in bringing the next 1 billion people online.I'm not sure I buy into that stuff about solar and wind being much better in five years. 15 years, maybe, and solar, maybe, but not what he's saying. On the other hand, I've heard Ray Kurzweil say that solar cells will continue to decrease in cost and increase in efficiency, until they become ubiquitous, so there's some collaboration.
We believe in the long-term that, in the future, all consumer electronics could be powered by embedded hydrogen fuel cells, freeing customers from the grid entirely. Similarly to the Wi-Fi revolution, the next revolution in electronics is energy freedom and we’ve already proven it can work. It’s time to challenge the limitations of today’s power limitations. Just imagine the possibilities…
I've been watching solar PV prices since 1987, and the cost per watt has been coming down for some time. You can now buy quality solar panels for less than a dollar a watt. Inverters are improving, as well as micro-inverters on the panels themselves, which can simplify things and reduce costs, besides not losing your power in the case of a failure of the one and only inverter in a "standard" PV system.ReplyDelete
It is still expensive, and the "payback" of a system is still a long term item. But - in the light of a possible crash of the economy or other scenario (solar or nuclear EMP destroying grid power?), it has become a viable way for an individual to maintain the ability to pump water from a deep well (the only kind in my rural neck of the woods), refrigerate/freeze food, run radios and lights, and - very important to me - keep an engineered septic system running (sand-filtered system where the ground won't "perk"). Beats the old 5 gallon bucket alternative.
There is a lot of very interesting emerging technology on the horizon. Don't know if the "center" will hold long enough to see much of it, although I certainly hope it does.
Personally been aggravated wireless charging is so unpopular.ReplyDelete
In a first-world problems sort of deal, when I get home I lay my phone on the pad. When I go to bed, I set it on the wireless charging stand, and voila, alarm clock I can see with out lifting it or my head. And each time it is a one handed task, not futzing with a cable and whatever the current fad the connector is.
It is more expensive to buy, until I start counting the number of USB cables I've gone through for the car and on the road locations.
If'n you ain't one of dem Steve Jobs fanbois, youse mights wants ta get ya a Samsung Galaxy S5:ReplyDelete
Unless dat Injun River where youse goes is much over t'ree feet deep. Or if'n youse kin stay underwater longer that 30 minutes...
Their S6, unfortunately, does not seem to claim to be waterproof, however...
Adn Reg T, I would not count on a PV system working after any significant EMP. Maybe they have hardened significantly recently, but if not, they are at least as susceptible as computer-controlled vehicles.ReplyDelete
By the way, Mark, do you have any references or data on that (solar cells being blown by an EMP)?Delete
I've been keeping an eye out for info but haven't hit the IEEE pubs. AFAIK, a solar cell is a giant diode, the simplest kind of device there is. With a junction area measured in square inches instead of millionths of a sq.in., my guess is it could survive the surge. (If millionths of a square inch handle surges in thousands of amps, and they do, how much could 40 square inches take?)
The real issue about their survivability, SiGb, is what voltage they can handle without breaking down. Would you put a diode rated for 12V in a 480V system? And recognize that the voltages an EMP will generate are orders of magnitude beyond that.Delete
I would say, "not exactly". Diodes are used as surge suppressors for lightning all the time, and are used to clamp the surge at that forward voltage. Think how zener diodes regulate. They're plenty fast enough for an EMP in a surface mount device (lower inductance than leaded part), although lightning is lower in frequency than EMP. Lightning strokes have energy into the mid HF range (2 to 30 MHz), while EMP is pretty much below 300 MHz.Delete
A surge is not the same as an applied DC voltage and you shouldn't think of surge suppression diodes that way. They're rated for an energy in Joules that they can clamp without breaking down, and are typically in shunt. Since heating is one of the effects that damages them, that's why I think junction size matters.
This is way too deep a subject to get into here, but try searching for transient protection diodes, and TVS diodes.
Haven't found anything specific to solar panels, but this:ReplyDelete
includes a rather extensive section on damages to space systems, starting around page 158.
Some articles note that solar panels typically operate at low voltage, and that generated voltage by an EMP would drive panel voltage FAR above its normal value. Nobody seems to have done any specific testing for that, however.
Sorry - meant to tell you I have that report, then forgot to reply.Delete
I know that, as a group, we tend to have a "two is one, one is none" or double redundancy mindset. I think that in the wake of an EMP, there will be an odd mixture of things that work and things that don't. It's not going to "fry everything". Planes will not fall out of the sky - for several reasons. In tests I've seen, some cars get their ignition upset and stall, but they start again when the key is turned. And who isn't going to turn the key as a reflex?
The only big problem is going to be the power grid and phone systems are going away, and I don't mean to understate that. That's very, very bad. That alone is enough to put us into the 18th century.
I just view EMP as another manageable problem. It's just an Electromagnetic Field thing. Pickup area is the single most important thing. I think VHF/UHF ham radios or FRS radios will be just fine and will help with communication. Bandpass filters are extremely effective protection.
If you haven't seen it, you may find Electromagnetic Pulse-From Chaos To A Manageable Solution rather interesting. It's from a Marine Corps study in 1988.
Solar or PV panels is a big disappointment. I got my first solar cell sometime in the mid 50's and have been hooked on solar power ever since. But the one thing that has been true over these last 60 years is that the next breakthrough was just around the corner. Prices would drop and efficiency would improve. Well the prices ARE modestly lower and efficiency is modestly higher but in general the promises of dramatically better performance at dramatically lower prices just never happened and I'm guessing unless the laws of physics change or the laws of economics get turned upside down there will never be a dramatic breakthrough in PV.ReplyDelete
Having said that I want to quickly add that there is a dramatic monetary breakthrough in PV. It is the government subsidy. If you want to become a multi-millionaire or maybe even a billionaire start a PV company and buy a congressman or two and they will make sure you get millions in subsidies.