Alternative power source for server and other bits...

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Last seen: 12 years 7 months ago
Joined: Jan 28 2004 - 12:14
Posts: 112
Alternative power source for server and other bits...

So I had this idea the other day while at the gym. I was on the elipitical machine and noticed that there was a display option for how many volts I was generating. I thought how about running a server off a similar machine? I envinsioned more of a stationary bike hooked up to a shelf unit of batteries. Then from there into an outlet of some sort for the server. There are many bumps in the road and questions when I really started thinking about it.

-As with everything else in my to get the most power with the least effort.
-I'm sure that there is some sort of electrical stuff I'm not thinking about that might turn my basement into a chemical waste land or an inferno if I'm not careful.

When I mentioned it to my brother he said he had been thinking about something similar (he has a much more fancy pants set up than I do) with solar panels. But seeing as how I live in Portland Oregon the solar wouldn't work for several months out of the year (I assume...I haven't really researched solar). Any ideas?

moosemanmoo's picture
Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: Aug 17 2004 - 15:24
Posts: 686
That kind of generating power

That kind of generating power isn't very good for many things, I have heard. My advice to you is to put up some sort of solar panel/battery set up with a redundant power supply from the electrical grid. I hear new solar panels are fairly effective, even in clouds. However, what would be better is if you replaced the server components with lower-power devices. Using solid-state RAM drives, for example, would be a lot less power than a 10,000RPM HDD. The initial cost is also much higher, though. A 1.3GHz Pentium 3, for example, is a good processor for web servers that aren't getting a very intensive load. A RAM caching system would save a lot of HDD access.

Jon's picture
Last seen: 11 years 2 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
There was a discussion of thi

There was a discussion of this idea on the local KCLUG list. The gist of what I rememebr is that you aren't going to generate enough power toi do anything useful. Basically, if you ride the bike for 20 mins for 3 days a week, you only get an hour of power generation a week. Who would do the work to set it up and then get next to no use from it? It's a lerge investment of time and resources (even if your time is worth littel and you have most of the stuff on hand) for so very little in return.

Eudimorphodon's picture
Last seen: 7 hours 6 min ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1207
Some numbers on the subject

An "average" person can sustain about 1/6th of a horsepower, which works out to a 125 watts. A "reasonable" web server made of desktop components can get by on 50-100 watts, so... if you and two other people are willing to sit in a chair and pedal for eight hour shifts you could run your web server. There's not going to be enough left over to charge a battery, however.

Go with laptop components (something like a Mac Mini, perhaps) which could keep running on 15-30 watts, and then you'd only have to pedal ten, maybe even only six hours a day. (This allowing for losses in your battery charging circuit, which are going to be substantial.) Still seems a little steep.

Of course, you could go all out and build something like this:

At 3.1 watts you should be able to run it all day on about an hour and a half of pedaling. (Assuming 50-percent-ish efficiency of your charging circuit.) Go for it.


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