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GlowBox <- gonna work?

  1. Oct 30, 2005 #1
    "GlowBox" <- gonna work?

    ok, heres the deal.... I was watching my little bro play with a relatively small RC car and he was constantly having to rumage through the "junk drawer" for AA batteries, and he would find a few here and a few there and they would only run for 5-10 min (we didn't have any new batteries on hand).... and I was thinking to myself of alternative way of powering small devices like that, and this idea came to me:
    I will be using a glowstick similar to this (https://www.sureglow.com/sg-store/catalog/images/yellow-glowstick-6.jpg)
    Here's an explanation incase forgot something in the drawing:
    - Basically you have a box with 5 whole solar cells, such as this one: (http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G15236&variation=&aitem=16&mitem=31) or (5 and a partial cell at the top of the box near the tube opening)
    - Next you have a small clear (glass\plastic) tube suspended from the top of the box and stays about 1-2cm from the bottom cell.
    - Then, you line the seems between each solar cell with a thin white strip of some sort (to reflect as much light as possible) and have a reflective cap at the top of the tube to reflect as much light back into the chamber.
    Then... when you place a chemical glowstick into the clear tube it will shine light onto the solar cells... pretty simple eh? ok, so what I'm wondering is whether the glowstick will provide enough power to the cells produce a significant amount of energy, I know that the solar cell in the above link cannot absorb blue & green light so I'm going to use pale yellow/orange ones. I don't have any definite demensions for the glowsticks, or solar cells I will be using, but I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts...?
    So, basically this wouldn't really offer any power increases over traditional batteries, but rather address some issues with using them...
    - Glowsticks themselves have an almost indefinite shelf life so no worring about how old they are
    - Continuous operation for as long as the glowstick's chemicals are reacting and producing light (standard is about 8 hours.... 6 to be safe)
    - Glowsticks are relativly cheap when bought in bulk so for people who don't want to wait for their RC batteries to charge they can just pop in a 6-hour power supply.
    - Once the glowstick dies... it's dead :\
    - You cant stop the glowstick from glowing, so even when your not using it, it will continue to produce light and eventually die
    - Unless you cover the cells in a hard cover (probly aluminum or thin plastic) they will be extremely vulnarable.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2005 #2
    I just thought of this... maybe I could use multiple glowsticks spread out to pruduce more power... I would like to build one of these and test it out if you guys don't see any potential obstacles :smile:
  4. Oct 31, 2005 #3


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    Your biggest obstacle will be energy density, as in how much weight/size do you need to add to the RC car to get the same energy output as a battery.

    Sounds like a good time for little brother to learn about charging batteries (which is cheap after initial purchase) and there are now plenty of choices for NiMH batteries in the AA size since digital camers have become so popular.

    If you look at the mAh rating, which stands for milli-Amp-hour, you get a basic idea of how much capacity that battery has to deliver power. Higher numbers are better assuming the manufacturer used a common rating system to keep the numbers on a consistent scale.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2005
  5. Oct 31, 2005 #4
    lol, yes, he knows about rechargable batteries but none were on hand at the time, and as I said, this wouldn't be something to completely replace batteries.. it would just be something cool to show your friends "yeah... my RC car is powered by glowsticks " :tongue2:
  6. Oct 31, 2005 #5
    A little diesel 2 stroke or 4 stroke RC engine would make your RCing a Blast.

    Hit higher end RPM's, Listen to the Scream across the ground, Some can do freeway speeds.

    Safer than Gasoline.
  7. Nov 1, 2005 #6


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    A few comments about the glowstick idea, aside from the energy density issue which Cliff mentioned. You seem to have got most covered though.

    Glow sticks (at least where I come from) are expensive, I bet if you calculated some kind of cost-specific energy output, batteries of any kind would be orders of magnitude more favourable. Also, the last time I checked, they did have a shelf-life, - I remember seeing a use-by date stamped onto the packet.

    Keep the ideas coming though joseph!
  8. Nov 1, 2005 #7
    I see... I don't really think the enegy density will be that big of an issue seeing as how it will basically be an empty box (for the most part) :P
    And I'm sure glowsticks are made pretty much the same way anywhere you go and I don't doubt you've seen a "use by date" stamp on them, but I never have :\
    Nevertheless, I will build a prototype and post some info on how it all fairs just as a future reference for others, thanks everyone for the input :smile:
  9. Nov 1, 2005 #8

    If a radium dial watch had its own solar panel built in with specific tuning of absorbion to light you could power the solar cell with the radium already on the dial. there's still no good energy density.
  10. Nov 2, 2005 #9


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    I second that. Perhaps in pursuing this device, you could attempt to come up with more efficient photochemical reactions. Don't blow yourself up in the process though.
  11. Nov 2, 2005 #10


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    That and he'll learn far more by doing stuff himself than he can from us telling him it won't work. I remember as a kid trying to drive dynamos from motors, and use the electricity from that to power a bulb, the light from which falls on a solar panel, the electricity from which goes back to the motor... It definitely didn't work, but I soon understood why. Let's face it, all us blokes learn by playing!
  12. Nov 2, 2005 #11
    Yeah, good point... But I'm not really expecting a major breakthrough in power supplies, I'm just looking for potential unique ways of providing power to small devices.
  13. Mar 10, 2007 #12
    how were you thinking of mounting the solar cells on the car becuase if you were putting them in the battery box you would probably need demensions of about 3cm thick, 1cm high, and prbably 10cm long if you have 4 batteries lined up like this
    l l
    l l
  14. Mar 10, 2007 #13


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    I think after 2 years, joseph had probably got some kind of solution to this one.
  15. Mar 10, 2007 #14
    yes your probably right there
  16. Mar 10, 2007 #15


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    On the other hand, he hasn't been heard from since. Maybe he did blow himself up. :uhh:
  17. Mar 10, 2007 #16


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    Another case of thread necromancy.
  18. Mar 10, 2007 #17
    R.I.P ieces lol
  19. Mar 22, 2007 #18
    Meh... This is kind of funny here... about a week after I posted this little idea I had completely forgotten about it, and yazzo here just contacted me on msn wondering how it went... never progressed past the drawing board, not really that important.

    Most of my focus is on my AI and Fusor research.

    Now that I have had a reminder that these forums exist, I might start posting a little more often

    BTW: I love the "maybe he blew himself up" commentary, good thing Wal-Mart glow sticks don't detonate very often :tongue:
  20. Apr 11, 2007 #19
    lol it is very lucky they dont detonate often, think of if they did. Hey mummy mummy... crack ...booom
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