Open Charge Regulator

These articles all relate to the open-source charge controller project. We cover the hardware and the software and give a full design for a 12/24V DC 20A charge controller which can be used for solar, wind, hydro or pedal power applications. … more

Renewable Energy Kits for Schools

We were asked by Nottingham City Council to design and produce a selection of renewable energy demonstration kits for use with school groups of various ages. They needed equipment which could be easily assembled and taken apart, but were still configurable to a number of different designs. These are to be used as part of … more

8-Bike Pedal Powered Scalextric

Every so often a project comes along that would have been the envy of my childhood self. This was one of those projects –  I was asked to build a 8 lane pedal powered Scalextric. This meant putting together Scalextric track designs and testing Scalextric cars. I was really pleased with the end result, which … more

Jo Fairfax Studio – Motor controller

I’ve been working with light artist, maker and NESTA fellow Jo Fairfax, (of Jo Fairfax Studio) on an interactive wall prototype. He needed to have control over loads of motors which all move circular disks a set distance. I designed a stepper motor controller unit to control up to 12 motors. These can be repeated … more

Derby Silk Mill – Maker in Residence

From November 2014 until May 2015, I have been one of four “Makers in Residence” at Derby Silk Mill, in the UK. This has been a slight change of activity for me, as I usually focus on renewable energy systems, but has been a great opportunity to encourage Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). … more

RPM sensor

Monitoring the rotational speed of the wind turbine blades can help with power performance measurements. This post shows various techniques to measure the rotational speed of a ‘wild AC’ output small wind turbine. In this system, the wild AC is rectified into DC and either delivered to a battery or to a grid-connected inverter. The … more

Battery Monitor Units

We have recently been working with Product Health to develop some hardware for monitoring battery banks in off-grid systems. Product Health are working on remote monitoring of systems to ensure they are working and pre-empt any maintenance or repair which might be required. The product specification was to build a low-cost, reprogrammable and accurate unit … more

Datalogger Overview

We have been working with Wind Empowerment to specify the features of an open-source data logger unit for members of Wind Empowerment to use with grid-connected and stand-alone small wind turbine installations. After discussion at a week long hack camp in Toulouse, France the following data logger system overview was suggested. We are working, along … more

Renewable Energy Resource Monitor

Following on from the work done for the Wind Datalogger and the Latrine Logger, we are bringing these ideas together to create a Renewable Energy Resource Monitor. This is a Arduino-based data-logger which has a range of sensors which can measure different weather resources which relate to renewable energy generators. The end result is low-cost … more

The Prediction Machine

The Prediction Machine is an interactive artwork which aims to engage the public with climate change issues via a fortune telling machine. Created by the artist Rachel Jacobs in collaboration with myself, Ian Jones (Sherwood Wood), Matthew Gates, Robin Shackford, Juliet Robson, Dr Candice Howarth and Dr Carlo Buontempo. I designed, built and tested the … more

Cuppa-meter

Its very difficult to explain the concepts of power and energy. People often ask me “Can I power my kettle with that?”. So to try and put the energy in a cup of tea into perspective I built the ‘Cuppa-meter’. The ‘Cuppa-meter’ shows a cup of tea which lights up as the energy required for … more