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The PowerPot


Aaron Zagrodnick

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Ran across an interesting new Kickstarter project today (Thanks to Jeepingetowah) - A 1.4 liter pot that can power / charge USB devices via thermoelectric energy (No moving parts) while you're cooking or hanging around camp:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1203647021/the-powerpot

http://youtu.be/0oGXYLuCbiI

post-3-143508712144_thumb.jpg

Edited by Aaron
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jeepingetowah

I saw this today and Aaron and I spoke about it... So I emailed Russ and Rand from Traildesigns.com. Rand replied and stated that he had seen it also, and would be happy to make a caldera cone for this one. I seriously thought about dropping the $125 for the pot myself. But I am honestly in savings mode to build the house. So I will pass on being an early adopter. However, I really really hope that this comes to life and we have them soon. I think this is a seriously lightweight alternative to the Biolite stove that I had interest in a few months ago. But I don't think wood burning is remotely practical in TX where there are burn bans most of the time. I mean hey, look what happened to Bastrop, TX last year. They lost nearly 400+ homes just due to drought and high temperatures, that made conditions ripe. Not to mention there are no real trees, like the AT, that make firewood available. I mean there IS no firewood here.

I love this concept, and once it comes to market and maybe gets cheaper and I am ready to spend the dollars... I will jump on it. But for now... I am standing back and admiring... A LOT!

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tmountainnut

ha, those are the same thermocouple connections we use in our lab. we use them to measure voltage gradient for finding exhaust temps and whatnot.

its interesting, but i don't see myself using it. i like the idea of a goal zero nomad 3.5 and a guide 10 power pack for charging my electronics. i don't think it would be possible to charge stuff without the pot having water in it because the temperature would be too high, however you could potentially have unlimited energy if you were near a large water source with lots of wood or other biomass.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Most of the time, the electronic items that we're using only amount to a camera and our headlamps, so even for a 2 week backpacking trip just throwing in a spare camera battery and perhaps a spare set for the headlamp will get us through. However, if we were using a GPS or some other item often and every day...Or the trip amounted to something along the lines of several weeks without a resupply stop where you could recharge, all the spare batteries would start to add up and I think something like this or a solar charger could be very convenient. One thing I like about this concept is that while it's listed at 12oz, it obviously does double duty as your cookpot, so it's not all additional weight. But then again, with solar you could potentially charge all day, not just when you have the stove / fire lit.

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But then again, with solar you could potentially charge all day, not just when you have the stove / fire lit.

This is what I was wondering, does it only charge when there is actually a flame beneath it? If this is the case, then it seems like it would be somewhat limited, unless it makes a lot out of a little. Fuel can be a precious thing, and while it would be good to take additional advantage of it when you needed to use the fuel to boil water I can't see how it would get a lot of actual use. I know that some people do cook, but I only boil water, and with a canister stove, that won't take but a few minutes...say 5-7 (at most) minutes in the morning and 5-7 at night. So if I only use the stove for 10-14 (again, at the very most)minutes a day, will the accumulated power be enough to offset the total weight? Right now, my entire kitchen set-up weighs 4 oz lighter than just the cook pot and my extra batteries weigh 1.2 oz (0.5 oz for 1 AA for headlamp and 0.7 oz for 1 extra battery camera). Even if I added in another extra battery for each, I will still be almost 1.5 oz lighter than just the cookpot and have plenty of battery for a long time...

I will admit though, my set-up is not so traditional and I do tend to focus on getting my gear light (but still 100% effective). As well, I don't require a lot of power while on the trail, however, I can imagine that some do carry a variety of electronics and would imagine that this may start to balance out at some point.

Regardless, it is pretty cool and I hope that the project gets off the ground. It would be interesting to see where it could go...however, at $125 that is quite a bit more I myself am willing to spend.

Edited by Stick
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Stick,

It looks like it does only charge with a flame underneath, or at least some type of heat source. (In one of their videos they use a hot spring) Apparently the greater the temperature difference between what's in the pot and the heat underneath the more electricity it will generate (Melting snow or ice would generate the most electricity) but according to the documentation it still continues to produce enough power to charge via USB even when the water is at a rolling boil. They say it charges devices at the same rate you would get at home, so I guess charging during a normal cooking routine in the morning and at night like you described would only result in a slight boost to whatever you're charging. But then again if you had a fire to set it on throughout the night (Or were lucky enough to camp by a hot spring as in their video...) you would have quite a bit of charging potential I would think...

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I was reading in another forum about this pot too. One of the posters mentioned using a tea light candle under the pot. It would be better than nothing, but not sure how much better.

Anyway, with my cooking style (just boiling water) I am not so sure that this would be something for me, but like I said, I would be interested to see what others think of them and what kind of results they get with them, so I hope that the project gets funded...

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Aaron Zagrodnick

That's a good idea. With a cone from Trail Designs, (As investigated by jeepingetowah) that could make for a nice setup. (The Powercone?)

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tmountainnut

i think a small solar setup like the goal zero nomad 3.5 + guide 10 pack would be far more useful to charge batteries and other small electronics that accept a USB type plug, but thats just me. i really like goal zero stuff, so im kinda biased.

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