The new innovative way to charge your mobile…with a candle

3rd May 2013

A common issue that the majority of smartphone users experience is poor battery life.  Countless times many of us have been caught out when out all day with a waning power supply on our devices, and no available power point to recharge said device.

In the modern age of complete sophistication of smartphone devices, it is still baffling to many how batteries have not only failed to keep up with the pace, but have gone backwards in terms of capacity and capability.

Well the solution is finally here, and whilst not even remotely pocket-sized or ergonomic or aesthetically pleasing, it does offer a bizarre solution to the problem.

Inventor David Johansson, of massive online DIY community Instructables, has come up with a thermoelectric generator to charge your device.  Using a simple gas lamp/Bunsen burner style device with heat sink on top and a USB cable, Johansson has managed to charge a smartphone using what is known as a “Peltier element”.

A Peltier element will transfer heat from one side of an element to another when used as a cooler.  This particular device works by using the heat sink (i.e. setting it on fire with gas).  The heat then transfers from the “processor” to the other side – which is the heat sink.  When attached to a generator as Johansson has done, the heat sink is heated to a greater temperature than the processor side, which creates a voltage.  This is called the Seebeck effect.

The device that Johansson has created can be used with gas or alcohol burners, and some forms of candles, such as tea lights.  Whilst this may be a lot of science to get your head around, the device definitely does a job in those times of need, and is small enough to fit into your shoulder bag should you ever be in need of an emergency charge.

With the festival season nearly upon us in the UK, these would be hot property – that is if they were for sale.  Unsurprisingly, these devices are not available in shops or to order online.  If you want one, you will have to make it yourself, just like David did.

Thankfully though, all is not lost, as there are step-by-step instructions online.

Robin James

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