If you want a fun way to reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption of fossil fuels when using gadgets, it is now possible to buy a range of gizmos and gadgets that are powered by winding them up. All incorporate a winding handle and an effective dynamo that allows you to store up a good quantity of electrical power to listen to the radio, power lights or a torch or even charge up your mobile phone.
Wind Up Torches
There is now a wide range of wind up torches available to buy in high street shops, from specialist suppliers and on many Internet shopping sites. They come in all shapes and sizes, including LED powered torches, which can be very bright. By winding the handle, you can get immediate light and then light for a variable amount of time, depending on the efficiency of the dynamo. As with most things, the more you pay for a wind up torch, the longer it is likely to last on a single winding session.
Wind Up Mobile Phone Chargers
Most of the wind up mobile phone chargers on the market are very cheap but are intended only as an emergency backup for your mobile phone. One model is tiny and costs only £5 with the connectors extra – it apparently fits 99% of all models of mobile phones and you can also recharge a PDA or an iPod if you have the correct adapter. It fits easily into a handbag, rucksack or pocket and can be carried anywhere. If your mobile battery runs down, you can get enough power through the wind up charger to make a call or to send a few texts. One reviewer made a good point that it could be very usefully kept in a glove compartment in a car – if you break down and your phone is out of charge, it could be a life saver.
Wind Up Bike Lights
These, of course, are not wound by hand – it is the action of the wheels going round that powers the lights. Those of us old enough will have had these when we were teenagers but the modern movement powered lights don’t go off when you stop. They retain enough electrical power to keep the lights on when you are stationary for a while – light at a junction when you definitely still need to be visible.
Wind Up Radios
These have been around for quite a while now and were originally designed for use in the developing world. Now that many of us in the developed world are keen to reduce their carbon footprint, they are a great way of listening to the radio without using up fossil fuels. There only seem to be wind up radios that receive AM and FM though – we haven’t been able to find a wind up radio that receives digital signals as yet.
Combination Wind Up Gadgets
One of the most exciting developments in the last couple of years is the production of combination gadgets or multi function gizmos, as they are sometimes called. These combine several different functions into one wind up device. One example that we found for sale on the Internet at the moment is a pocket sized auto-scan radio that picks up AM and FM signals, combined with an LED torch and that incorporates a charger for your mobile phone, as long as it’s a Nokia, a Motorola or a Sony Ericsson.
Some combination gadgets combine two different possible power options rather than several different functions. One model of torch is available that can be powered by winding up but also has an integral solar panel. This can be charged up by leaving it in a sunny window – and it will store the electrical charge to power the torch later, when it is dark. On dull days, you can just wind it up for an extra power boost. Two minutes of winding can provide around 15 minutes of light in the torch. Again featuring very bright LEDs that never need replacing and with no batteries ever to replace, this is a good environmental option.