A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

Apr 14, 2014 by Cécilia Carron
A homemade solar lamp for developing countries
Credit: EPFL

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people in the world. An integral part of this young start-up from Lausanne is an educational three-day workshop organized locally and led by globetrotters trained by the start-up to educate and train the beneficiaries.

To overcome the many problems posed by kerosene lamps used by 1.6 billion people across the globe, LEDsafari has developed an for a do it yourself lamp made from equipment available on site, such as electrical wire, a mobile phone battery and empty bottles. More than 200 people in India, Kenya and Tanzania who attended the workshop are already receiving the economic and of this ingenious system and are enjoying daily light through this process.

Using kerosene poses many problems. Financial problems are first: the $2–$3 per week spent on fuel often represents 20% of a family's budget. Health is of equal concern: kerosene is extremely toxic when burned, and daily use equals the inhalation of smoke from 40 cigarettes, often increasing the risk of serious lung diseases, according to a recent study by the University of Berkeley. At the global level, this releases 265 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Added to this is the danger of the device itself, which causes severe burns on millions of people each year.

The development of a new light source for third world countries faces two recurring problems: cost and long-term integration into everyday life. Govinda Upadhyay, PhD student in the Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory, had the bright idea to develop this bare-bones but effective lamp. Designed to be made by anyone, these lamps require nothing more than locally-found equipment. Only the solar panels are ordered from abroad. Five to six hours of charging in the sun is enough to give four to five hours of light.

There is no patent to impede the widespread use of the system developed by the researcher. Only an electric cable, battery, an on / off switch and LED are needed. The shade can be customized, made with empty bottles or boxes of various shapes. The design has already been field tested since the founder of the start-up and his team – Elisa Wepfer, Vincenzo Capogna, Naomi Savioz and Parag Rastogi – have already visited several regions in India, Tanzania and Kenya to disseminate their knowledge. The young doctoral candidate relies on these globetrotters to spread the word.

The materials needed for making 100 lamps weighs 1kg – easy to fit in a carry-on. "Globetrotters who like to mix business with pleasure can attend a day of training with the start-up in Switzerland," he says. "They then go share this new knowledge with a village in a developing country for three days before going on vacation. It adds a humanitarian touch that fans of traveling off the beaten track appreciate."

To best address the concept of sustainable development among beneficiaries and thereby foster their understanding of the importance of solar energy, Govinda has developed a lesson plan centered on the lamp. Using concrete examples, it starts by creating an awareness of the negative affects of the on health and the environment, so that people understand why it is important to change this part of daily life. It also addresses the recycling of waste related to lamps. The second day of the workshop is devoted to learning lamp assembly. Each person will then be able to teach this new method to other members of the community. "It is important that the know-how also comes from the people themselves, that they take ownership of the system so that it is not simply an element imported from rich countries that they soon forget. Three days is all it takes to train a village to manufacture these lamps."

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Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2014
Only an electric cable, mobile phone battery, an on / off switch and LED are needed.


Good thing they didn't publish any sort of circuit diagram to show how they deal with overcharging and setting fire to the phone battery, or preventing the LED from burning up from overcurrent.

From the parts list alone it sounds like they aren't, and this "ingenious" solution is just garbage. No current limiting with just a switch and a wire to a battery will destroy a LED in a couple hours, and likewise the battery will be destroyed if the lamp is left outside to charge beyond its capacity because lithium phone batteries can't take an overcharge.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2014
On the LEDsafari instruction video they claim they're using "optimized components, no control system needed", which is just plain wrong.

They're connecting what looks like a Nokia BL-5C battery that has a nominal voltage of 3.7 Volts, to a plain superbright white (blue-yellow) LED which has a treshold voltage of 3.7 Volts. Looks like it should work...

...except the battery can give out anything between 2.6 - 4.2 Volts depending on how full it is, and so connecting the LED to a well-charged battery will pass tremendous amounts of current through it, overheat, and gradually destroy it.

I can't believe a PhD student in the field of solar energy would make such an elementary error. Have they absolutely no EE in their curriculum? What sort of school is this?
JohnGee
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2014
Eikka, LEDs with built in current limiting resistors are fairly common. Also, virtually all consumer grade lithium batteries have protection circuits built into them.

Omission of information is not proof of ignorance.
bearly
3 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2014
I had no idea solar cells were locally-found equipment, oh, "ordered from abroad", I'm sure that is cheap. Does UPS deliver "out there"? What a joke.
"Globetrotters share this new knowledge with a village in a developing country for three days before going on vacation."
Sounds like gimmick to get rich folks to sign up for a travel agency.

Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2014
Eikka, LEDs with built in current limiting resistors are fairly common.


No they aren't. Perhaps for small signal LEDs, but not in bright lighting LEDs.

Also, virtually all consumer grade lithium batteries have protection circuits built into them.


The protection circuit is a fuse. It bricks the battery and then it is no more. Especially in cellphone batteries that aren't expected to be removed from the cellphone for charging.

The people who build these cannot rely on specific components being available, so you can't design such a circuit on some special LED that has current limiting resistors built in for exactly the voltages they're using.
Bob_Wallace
5 / 5 (2) Apr 14, 2014
Micro-solar is becoming huge in places where the grid doesn't reach. This is simply a home-brewed version of one of the many systems available to people.

The cost of a basic micro-solar system is low enough that people can pay one off with their kerosene/candle savings in less than a year.

Hundreds of millions of people are likely to leap-frog conventional utilities and go straight to personal energy systems just like much of the developing world leap-frogged land line phones and went straight to cell phones.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
Hundreds of millions of people are likely to leap-frog conventional utilities and go straight to personal energy systems just like much of the developing world leap-frogged land line phones and went straight to cell phones.


And when they develop a bit further, they'll jump back to landlines because they offer something that cellular doesn't - capacity and reliability. The sole reason why we still have wired internet.

Same goes with the power grid. It's one thing to power a few LEDs and a television with a rooftop solar panel and a pile old car batteries, but suppose you live in a developing town or village and you want to set up a business that does something requiring proper power and energy. Where do you get that?

Bob_Wallace
4.7 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2014
I really doubt there will be a jump-back to land lines. I'm basing that on the number of people in the US that are dropping their land lines.

And I have high speed internet that is not wired.

We are seeing towns and villages, local grids, replacing their diesel generators with wind and solar. It's simply happening.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2014
Omission of information is not proof of ignorance.


http://ledsafari....lar-lamp

It is made up of 4 components: (1) LED bulb (2) switch (3) cellphone battery rechargeable in any cellphone (4) solar PV (5) locally available materials such as empty transparent bottles


Caution:Making lamp without the training

If everyone starts making the lamp without going through the teaching/training, the lamp last only for 3 months, it will lead to massive supply for mobile battery and solar PV which is harmful for the nature and also people will loose trust on solar technology, so instead of making them aware , it will destroy whole solar market. Also, without proper training of knowing components specification and taking safety precautions, this might be dangerous for the people, as battery and LED can explode.


Q: How long lamp can last?
A: It is expected to last three months.


It is designed to break.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
I really doubt there will be a jump-back to land lines. I'm basing that on the number of people in the US that are dropping their land lines.

And I have high speed internet that is not wired.


People are dropping telephone landlines, but replacing them with fiberoptics and coaxial cable where available.

Wireless high speed internet doesn't work well in populated areas because every user shares the same bandwidth, and the mobile spectrum is limited so once your cell has enough users, your high speeds become theoretical "up to" speeds.

Of course it's possible to increase bandwidth by splitting the cells into smaller and smaller areas, but then you have a cell tower practically for every street and you might as well pull a cable to every home.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2014
http://ledsafari.com/training

What I gather from the available documentation is that this is a publicity and sales campaign where the LEDsafari people go around setting up workshops where they teach about basic electric theory and have the people assemble simple throwaway lamps built out of trash.

The aim is to get people to buy electric lamps instead of kerosene lamps. These DIY lamps were never meant to replace the kerosene lamps.

Although their understanding of EE is still poor:

as the battery voltage approaches 4 Volts, solar PV current decreases to 10-20 mA. This leads to trickle charging of the battery, which is good for increasing the life cycle.


Lithium batteries do not tolerate trickle charging. They bulge out and catch fire.

we use LED for lighting as it operates between 3.2-4 Volts, hence it stops working when the battery voltage is under 3.2 Volts (...) prevents the battery from deep discharge


It doesn't. It just happens slower.

Eikka
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 14, 2014
no additional resistors are used to avoid the losses. (...) LED works around 3.2-4 Volts and 20-30 mA which is provided by the battery.


LED current increases exponentially beyond its treshold voltage. A 3.2 Volt white LED may draw hundreds of milliamps at 4 Volts without current limiting.

(ref: http://www.maximi...id/3256)

I can only hope that the actual training is of higher quality than their website materials.

They have a solar cell that produces a maximum of 4.5 V while charging. A single germanium diode in-line would limit that to 4.2 Volts and prevent the destruction of the battery, and eliminate the DPDT switch to stop the battery from discharging backwards through the cell. Likewise, a 100 ohm resistor in line with the LED would increase its lifespan to years. Very simple design changes could make it into an actual usable lamp.

Of course that would not be suitable for the actual purpose of advertizing and selling $10 D.Light lamps.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2014
@Eikka: Looks like you have found many bugs in the design. Here are some explanations regarding your concern. The LED works at range of 10mA-50mA (depending on the size of LEDs). With mobile batteries, we observed 100mA going to higher power LED and 50 mA to low power LED without using any current limiting. This was okie. LEDs stopped working when the voltage drops below 2.7 Volts. These were tested for various LEDs and batteries. Regarding charging, solar PV used have specification 0.5 W, 4.5 Vmp and 150 Imp. This way, charging curve was maintained within the range of 10mA-1000mA ( http://batteryuni...y.com/). Charging was maintained at 3.8-4 Volts below 100% which is better for Li Ion battery and also to prevent from overheating. Mobile battery charging is much more aggressive charging, they control by temperature sensor in the cell phone ( third pin). This lamp is easy to assembled ( 200 people trained, no casualities and they are using it).
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2014
LEDsafari is about teaching people basic energy, electrical and sustainability issue using a lamp which they build themselves and use it. Also the working on the lamp has been questioned by many. Lamp was verified by engineers from Schneider electric and recently we had training session in Lausanne where retired electronic scientist from CERN also attended and appreciated simplicity. we can debate more by email. This is great. We want more people to critise this so that we keep improving. We are already working on better design where people could assemble the lamp themselves without training and its more durable. Right now the lamp is meant for giving people 1st hand experience in making solar lamp.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2014
The lamp is not about just joining circuit and glow the LEDs. Its about capacity building. People make lamp body using bottle and garbage (http://ledsafari....lery-2). We initially made lamp with all controllers and realised that it was not so effective as the cost was very high and it was hard(impossible) for the people to understand. People understand why this lamp works, why we choose these components, how does a solar work, what is meant by charging , discharging etc. It not only make them understand technical details but also brings out creativity by making lamps ( study lamps, torch, flash light, lantern). We are in the initial phase and updating our website. Hopefully, we will have more professional version. Do read the story behind LEDsafari on the website.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2014
Also Thank you for suggestion Eikka :
"They have a solar cell that produces a maximum of 4.5 V while charging. A single germanium diode in-line would limit that to 4.2 Volts and prevent the destruction of the battery, and eliminate the DPDT switch to stop the battery from discharging backwards through the cell. Likewise, a 100 ohm resistor in line with the LED would increase its lifespan to years. Very simple design changes could make it into an actual usable lamp."

The design has gone through lot of iteration before, it was fixed to this. We had all controllers etc , we found it was adding more complication for the people and for life span was not improved. Hence, the design was chosen. BTW we do have a diode in the solar PV. Now days, solar PV ( many) comes with inbuilt diode so diode was not a concern.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2014
The LED works at range of 10mA-50mA (depending on the size of LEDs). With mobile batteries, we observed 100mA going to higher power LED and 50 mA to low power LED without using any current limiting. This was okie.


That really dependes on the LED in question.

4 V and 100 mA is already 0.4W which is way too much for regular 5-10 mm clear plastic LEDs. They overheat internally and are permanently damaged after a few minutes. The hotter they run, the less light they put out.

LEDs stopped working when the voltage drops below 2.7 Volts.


The light may go out, but did the current as well?

solar PV used have specification 0.5 W, 4.5 Vmp and 150 Imp.


The PV output approaches zero amps as voltage approaches 4.5V. If left outside in the sun with a fully charged battery, the voltage will slowly creep up past 4.2 V and destroy it.

A germanium diode in series with the PV would drop maximum output by 0.3 V to 4.2 V
PPihkala
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
LEDs stopped working when the voltage drops below 2.7 Volts. These were tested for various LEDs and batteries.

Cell phone batteries do have an internal circuitry that does cut off the current to external load when cell voltage drops below 2.7V. This is to protect the cells from destruction, because lithium cells should never be discharged past that voltage. Automotive lead batteries behave the same way, get degraded past repair, but they do not have any internal protections against such a deep discharge.

I have to agree with Eikka that the system would benefit from the diode and resistor he mentioned. They are cheap too, so adding them does increase the price of the lamp almost at all.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
Cell phone batteries do have an internal circuitry that does cut off the current to external load when cell voltage drops below 2.7V.


Depending on the battery, it may refuse to recharge again after tripping the low voltage safety limit. The absolute minimum is 2.5 Volts.
Lex Talonis
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2014
In my village, we ask Jesus, the baby lamb of Nazareth, to appear in the sky above the town and he turns our prayers into day light, during the day.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 15, 2014
light is off .. current goes at 1-2 mA ( Tested). This was the case after 7 hours. You can test it if you want. 4 V at 100 mA= 0.4 Watt thats right. You are right, even I was bit afraid but apparently, LED works at this value without any damage. This is a Big LED which is 0.5 Watt so it was okie to operate it at this extreme condition.

Regarding charging, due to diode used ( I dont know why you felt, we dont have diode) , we have drop of 0.3-0.7 V which leads to 3.7-4 Volts max in the Battery. Seems like it is working and battery is getting charge but not fully, which is good for Li-ion type. Which also makes it work for LED as 4.2 is a bit higher for LED.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
And when they develop a bit further, they'll jump back to landlines because they offer something that cellular doesn't - capacity and reliability.

I think you don't have an appreciation how large (and sparsely populated) these regions are.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 15, 2014

And when they develop a bit further, they'll jump back to landlines because they offer something that cellular doesn't - capacity and reliability.


I totally agree, mobile revolution in developing country is just because it is wireless. You should visit villages in India, Africa or S.America to see how difficult it is to put wired power.

Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 15, 2014
You are right, even I was bit afraid but apparently, LED works at this value without any damage. This is a Big LED which is 0.5 Watt so it was okie to operate it at this extreme condition.


LED manufacturers cheat.

The maximum ratings for the LED should never be followed - they apply only at 25 C temperature and the LED has to be de-rated beyond that. That includes enclosing the device in a bottle where it will warm its own surroundings.

The lifetime and efficiency of the LED is usually measured at 1/3 the rated maximum current.

Plus, these high power plastic case LEDs are meant to be soldered onto a PCB with the PCB copper traces acting as the heatsink. A shielded wire won't.

I think you don't have an appreciation how large (and sparsely populated) these regions are.


Large - yes. Sparsely populated - no. People tend to gather together into villages and towns, and the more they want to do business with each other the more so they will increase in density.

Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 15, 2014
I totally agree, mobile revolution in developing country is just because it is wireless. You should visit villages in India, Africa or S.America to see how difficult it is to put wired power.


I've seen copper thieves in Britain cut up and steal power lines, I can only imagine what the problem is like where there's actual poverty, for one thing.

Anyways, back to the LEDs:

A typical example: http://www.lc-led...w4d.html

As you can see, these too are 0.5W units rated for up to 150 mA. You can calculate that 3.3 V and 150 mA is 0.495 Watts which seems to match up - but - the small print says that the 150 mA rating is with a condition that the LED be used at 10% duty cycle at 10 ms maximum continuous on time.

This would suggest that the maximum lifespan safe current would be as low as 15 mA because the packaging is really designed to dissapate just 50 mW (at 25 C) without overheating.

One has to read the datasheets of LEDs like the devil reads the bible.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 15, 2014
Here's a paper describing the behaviour of high brightness LEDs in regards to lifespan, current and temperature:

http://www.electr...SPIE.pdf

Basically, plastic cased small LED bulbs have an exponential decay with increasing current, whereas high power metal or ceramic cased LEDs respond more to changes in surrounding temperatures than the drive current. That's because the plastic case is thermally insulating.

That's why, with regular small plastic cased diodes, it's apt to consider the practical maximum rating something around 2/3 the specified maximum current, and a safe rating at 1/3 of the max, and design the circuit to operate somewhere between them.

It's not useful to try to force more light out of the LED because the efficiency drops as the internal temperature goes up - it's better to use two LEDs at half the current than one LED at full current. You get more light out that way.

Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 15, 2014
And here's an example of temperature derating of LEDs.

http://www.markte...leds.cfm

As you can see, actually designing LED lighting circuits can be a bit of a pickle. There's so many variables to consider. I wouldn't be surprised if some academician evaluating these circuits wouldn't know half of what the real world requirements and conditions are, and how they affect the end product.

Regarding charging, due to diode used ( I dont know why you felt, we dont have diode) , we have drop of 0.3-0.7 V which leads to 3.7-4 Volts max in the Battery.


Because you kept saying you have a panel with 4.5 V output regardless. One can only assume that's what you get out of the wire.

light is off .. current goes at 1-2 mA ( Tested). This was the case after 7 hours.


It is discharging at a rate of 20-50 mAh, or about 3% of capacity a day. That is still enough to deep-discharge the battery after 1-2 days without recharging.
tscati
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Evening settinga side the issues raised about voltages etc, it all sounds a bit complicated - even though it's meant to be simple. Users will need to get hold of solar panels (and the bulbs and batteries ) from outside. There are a number of companies making complete solar-powered LED lights for use in just this situation, and they can retail them for $20 or so. So why not just go for that - arrange easy payment and the users are on to a winner, without faffing around with wires and dodgy batteries.

Another interesting option that has been developed is fitting water-filled coke bottles in the roof of a dark building which focus the sunlight during the day and act as light bulbs (while an LED battery is charging)
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Thank you for the feeback. Now I understood, what you are actually referring to. The lamp is designed to be made by people who have no knowledge ( no literacy ) in a simple way. People after training do understand the constraints like no to keep it ON etc. This is included in teaching. We dont promise to give a lamp for life, we promise to give them basic education. So your arguments are correct, if we want to design a lamp and compete with existing lamp comapnies which is not our aim. Now regarding the explanation, I did mention this in previous comments. Kindly look above (My third comment, i guess) . I am sorry if it was not clear.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Regarding LEDs, the main issue we were dealing that how one led can satisfy lighting criteria which is better than kerosene but ofcourse not as good as professional lamp. It was simple, we needed to put more current to increase luminance which is good till 3 hours. regarding your explaination 15 mA cannt meet our requiremnet and we had to connect more LEDs, which is cumbersome for people in Village. Indeed these things are told to the people in village and some of them understood, and try to design putting multiple LEDs. Our main aim was to get as much light as much from a single LED possible without exploding it and we were successful to get this after exploding couple of LEDs testing with different amount of current. Its not a rocket science for s system as simple as small Lamp. The points you are telling is meant for more sophisticated lamp (village standard).
govi_upadhyay
4 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
If you think, this cannt work , I can send you the specifications and you also test it. We would be very happy if this thing doesn't work and we can try to improve the design. You are saying all these things which are very good but more complicated at village. It doesn't mean we would give them something explosive but safe enough and usable.

Its simple .... use a white LED ( 3-3.7 V) , a mobile battery ( 3.7 Volts, any company battery ). Mobile battery has three terminal, one terminal is a temp sensor, we dont use it in our design. a SPDT switch ( use toggle switch, rocker switch etc), a solar PV may be (4.5V-5 V). 5 V is generally available with 150 mA, a diode ( IN4007 cheap one) series with Solar PV. Join it and test it. We would be very glad if you could verify and let us know the issue. Thank you.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Also, when we put FAQ about the lamp on our website, it because we dont want people to join the connection and use it but better understand basic electronics, energy, sustainability. I invite you to one of the workshop in Switzerland and would be happy to hear your concerns and we can improve it.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
We dont promise to give a lamp for life, we promise to give them basic education.


Then the problem I have is not with the project, but the Phys.org article that misrepresents the project.

If you think, this cannt work , I can send you the specifications and you also test it.


I've already built a similiar circuit for testing purposes. In the interest of DIY, I also figured out a way to manufacture a 50-150 ohm resistor out of cardboard, paper, tinfoil and two small bolts which act as no-solder terminals. This allows one to use higher battery/PV voltages and strings of LEDs.

http://www.dumpt....p6sv.jpg

This could make for a good teaching tool to explain electric resistance. The principle of construction is to color a piece of paper with a graphite pencil to create a conductive resistive layer of carbon, then folding the paper and compressing it between stiff cardboard with small screws to ensure proper contact with the tinfoil.

Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 15, 2014
Here are the building instructions for the papercraft LED current limiting resistor: http://www.dumpt....xpr6.jpg

Varying the dimensions gets you different resistance values. It tends to change a few percents over time with differences in temperature and humidity, but overall one can achieve pretty much any resistance value desired.

govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Eikka : This is factastic, I really loved your idea of this DIY resistance. I think we will incorporate this. The people there dont have Aluminium/tin foil generally in village but I am sure we can find something to replace it. Thank you.

I agree with you that the article gives wrong impression and it was emphasied more into lamp rather than teaching, which was indeed mentioned at the end. We work on open design and we need people like you to contribute with low cost solutions. Lighting is our 1st way but soon we will go into bio diesel, housing, clean water. This is super fun to teach DIY things to people which can impact their lives. Our website mention all these things. Also, we choose mobile battery ( which is bad for lighting purpose), because it is readily available everywhere and people dont have to hunt for the batteries. Anyway, the lamp system works well, there has been no problem till now and it will depend only on the testing and usage.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Do let us know if you want to contribute to the ledsafari work and show some DIY things which can be useful for the people. I am sure if DIY people collaborate with each other, we would be able to solve many problem at low price.
rockwolf1000
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 15, 2014
@Govinda Upadhyay

I think this is a noble and worthy project and I commend you for attempting to improve people's lives. Not only can this system reduce a person's dependency on an expensive, toxic and dangerous commodity (at least for a while), it also increases their knowledge of basic electrical circuits and the issues with power generation, storage, efficiency, and usage.

Please try to ignore the professional contrarians (Eikka) you find posting on this site. The only thing that brings them joy in life is to mock and shoot down other people's attempts at creating a better world.

Wishing you the best of luck!
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Please try to ignore the professional contrarians (Eikka) you find posting on this site.


I really do resent that statement.

Then again, one cannot walk through a crowd with the flame of truth without burning a few beards.

govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Thank you. But its good to have criticism so that we can improve.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 15, 2014
The people there dont have Aluminium/tin foil generally in village but I am sure we can find something to replace it. Thank you.


You're welcome. Observe that the small gap between the foils is important. That is the main factor that affects the resistance. With a distance of 1.5 cm between the bolts and 5-7 mm gap between the foils, resistances of 100-200 Ohms are possible. Softer pencils also contain more carbon and less clay, and give lower resistance, whereas harder pencil will give higher resistance.

Dipping the paper and cardboard in molten candle wax before drawing on the pencil and assembly will make the device stand better against humidity.
rockwolf1000
1 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Please try to ignore the professional contrarians (Eikka) you find posting on this site.


I really do resent that statement.

Then again, one cannot walk through a crowd with the flame of truth without burning a few beards.



In the future I suggest you gather all the facts before making statements such as;

"I can't believe a PhD student in the field of solar energy would make such an elementary error. Have they absolutely no EE in their curriculum? What sort of school is this?"

Given the nature of this project, wouldn't it be better for experts such as yourself to offer assistance and advice as opposed to negativity and criticism?

Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 15, 2014
Given the nature of this project, wouldn't it be better for experts such as yourself to offer assistance and advice as opposed to negativity and criticism?


Didn't I?

Much of the criticism was actually due to the poor journalism by Phys.org that tried to present this project and the people behind it as something they are not.
rockwolf1000
1 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Given the nature of this project, wouldn't it be better for experts such as yourself to offer assistance and advice as opposed to negativity and criticism?


Didn't I?

Much of the criticism was actually due to the poor journalism by Phys.org that tried to present this project and the people behind it as something they are not.


Your comments did seem to move in that direction once govi_upadhyay got involved in the thread. Can you point out any of your early posts that suggested support for the project?

IMHO you seem to be quite knowledgeable on the subject. Why don't you offer your support to his project and possibly help thousands of people? It seems you have all the answers.

Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Can you point out any of your early posts that suggested support for the project?


For what project exactly? The mispresented one?

From the article it seemed like a bunch of naive students were handing out useless lamps in excuse for a holiday abroad. How could I support something like that?

Why don't you offer your support to his project and possibly help thousands of people? It seems you have all the answers.


With what they're doing, they don't need me. There's no point in trying to develop a perfect solar lamp when the idea is to provide basic education to people. The techniques required to make a truly well functioning lamp would be too advanced to explain to people with no understanding of electricity and no access to the required parts.

What they need is basic educational tools for electronics, and I plan to contact them if I come up with something else.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 15, 2014
@Eikka: Thank you for the comments. Lot of people could understand the article, including researchers. It was clear that it was a teaching module. if we want to make a perfect lamp, then lot of companies are doing that which is not the aim and it is clear from the article and more from the website. I am sorry if the article was misinterpreted by you. We have been doing this for last three years now and we are not naive. We know what we are doing. Your previous comments were very discouraging but I can understand that we need strong criticism to improve ourself.

From the article it seemed like a bunch of naive students were handing out useless lamps in excuse for a holiday abroad. How could I support something like that?


I think this article doesn't sound like that. We have been putting our holidays and money to teach people in Africa and India so that they can understand basics.

The way you approached the article was very aggressive.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2014
Useless lamp comment is pretty bad. We feel that lamp is not useless and its been used by many people including kids now and they are quite happy. I still feel, you should attend our workshop once and then you will realise what we are trying to do. I really took your comments positively and I learnt also few things which I had ignored in the work but those comments were not so useful anyway because we have different aim but it was good discussion.
bluehigh
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 15, 2014
The way you approached the article was very aggressive.


You think that was aggressive? Cop this you egotistical pretenders.

The lamp is a toy. Fit for nothing except to make you feel good. Clearly you have little understanding of basic electronics with your ommission of a current limiting resistor and a diode. Leds, toggle switches and batteries are available but not tin foil? A village in your imagination perhaps. You have been given good advice to make it work more reliably, you should be thankful.

kerosene lamps used by 1.6 billion people across the globe

More than 200 people in India, Kenya and Tanzania .... are enjoying daily light through this process.


That's a pathetic impact and certainly not 'many' as you say.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
Clearly you have little understanding of basic electronics with your ommission of a current limiting resistor and a diode.


Kindly read above and check. We have diode in our circuit. Current limiting resistance, we dont need it as getting max light is the aim and it is not harming the circuit till now. If you want just make this simple circuit and check your self. we didn't hide anything. The aim is different for our circuit. You clearly misunderstood. I don't know how much you have travelled to villages to check these about aluminium foil. We have been doing this for sometime now and we know it. I did appreciate the comments , if you see above. Critisism is the part of the game.

That's a pathetic impact and certainly not 'many' as you say.


please read the article again before commenting. we just started it. We are still working on the design, supply chain etc. Its not so easy in these country.
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
atleast the comment above were nice because it was based on facts which are right. Eikka gave examples, explaination and links which is really helpful. but what you doing is plain criticism without facts. This is not so cool.
Captain Stumpy
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
but what you doing is plain criticism without facts. This is not so cool.
@govi_upadhyay
the best way to deal with negative remarks that are not pertinent to your work is to ignore them, especially here.
you will find many commenters just offering negative remarks for trolling purposes (to elicit a negative response or start a fight, etc)

There are many people that will not understand what you are doing because of the disparity between the cultures... how many first world countries have large population bases living with the feeble light of a kerosene lamp or fat burning wick? there is also the financial gap. and how many travelled to developing nations to see the poverty?

don't forget, you can use soda cans to reflect light as well by polishing the aluminum (bottom), or some other metals if available (I've also used brass as a reflector).

Eikka
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
If you want just make this simple circuit and check your self. we didn't hide anything.


There is still the caveat that different cellphone batteries will give different amount of current because of varying internal resistance between models. Have you tested it with various batteries from different phones?

Useless lamp comment is pretty bad. We feel that lamp is not useless and its been used by many people including kids now and they are quite happy. I still feel, you should attend our workshop once and then you will realise what we are trying to do.


You yourself admit that it is expected to last only three months in use, and that without the training and education it would just give a bad name to solar lamps.

The problem of the article is that it puts too much emphasis on how "ingenious" the lamp is, when it's really a crude design meant for education purposes rather than being an actual replacement for kerosene lamps.

It's a tech demo, not an actual product.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
The other problem is that the article says you only provide them with the solar panel and the rest is made out of locally sourced materials

Designed to be made by anyone, these lamps require nothing more than locally-found equipment. Only the solar panels are ordered from abroad.


But in actual reality you give them all the electrical components. Your words:

Trainees get empty trash (transparent bottles) and we provide the other components (LEDs, wire, battery, solar PV, soldering iron).


So the two pieces of information are in conflict. One claims that these lamps can be made with locally available parts, yet you don't expect the locals to even have access to tin foil - why then would they have local access to LEDs and switches and batteries?

It is not truly repairable in this context either, is it?

... about aluminium foil.


You are already providing them with everything else - why not a piece of foil?
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
Aluminium Soda cans? Not in this village. No tin foil and no aluminium foil. If they got cans then foil is not hard. Maybe you can take a roll of foil along with your bag full of solar cells.You can afford mobile phones and kerosene any maybe even cans of soda but can't buy tin foil.

Facts?
For the cost of the flight and travel by these 'globetrotters' the whole village could have a solar array and backup batteries. For the cost of the flight the whole village could have fresh water or nutritious food for a year. For the cost of a flight the whole village could be vaccinated and have dental treatment.

To the bleeding hearts that believe that teaching incorrect techniques to make a toy helps in anyway, it's not about starting an argument or being contrary, it's about being realistic.The whole premise stinks of futility and farce.

Please publish the names of these villages.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
You are already providing them with everything else - why not a piece of foil?
- Eikka

Apologies for the repeated question, you beat me to it.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
To the bleeding hearts that believe that teaching incorrect techniques to make a toy helps in anyway, it's not about starting an argument or being contrary, it's about being realistic.The whole premise stinks of futility and farce.


Now now - if they are teaching Ohm's law and all the basics, then they can simply teach that the battery has internal resistance which makes the circuit work.

This is equivalent to having a child in shop class turn out a blinking light or a door bell circuit for the purpose of teaching basic skills in electronics. It's to go with the teaching instead of being an end to itself.

If people are going to replace kerosene lamps with LED lamps, they will need the information on how to mend them and keep them working, and for that end they need a hands-on example. With the understanding they can then improve on the design should they want to.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
Thank you all. My apologies if the information was not correct. I dont want to argue. All views are respected. Our aim to teach people and not give them how to make a lamp. So it is clear that we need to have a simple circuit which enables them to make a lamp and also to work more to improve it. e.g make it more diffusive LED being point source), ergonomy need to be repscted etc. As far as components are used. LED: they use it for toys,singles, etc which is available, SPDT switch: it is used in Radio,TV etc,battery: mobile battery mainly nokia which is wide spread. Only thing was not available was PV as demand of mini PV is not there in these market. As far as diode is concern, PV manufacturer sometime provided diode inbuilt, we talked to the manufacturers in China and they do. Still getting cheap diode is not so difficult becuase thse used in many electronic components. Aluminium foil is not widespread,that why I said it MIGHT be diffuclt but indeed cans are available thanks to coke
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
Please let us know your concern and helps us to improve it so that we can provide better hands-on experience. People are already doing that. Like Eikka gave idea about resistance (thats pretty cool), captain stumpy talked about reflector using coke. People also mentioned about putting coke bottle filled with chlorine water which can provide light during day time. We are working on that. Check our training http://ledsafari.com/training. During day 2, they really come up with their ideas which give them sense of ownership. http://ledsafari.com/gallery-2 . For me its fun to teach about basic low tech, we are making sure that we dont give wrong information thats where we need check from people like you all. Thanks
bluehigh
3 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2014
Wow. These nameless imaginary villages have electric Toys, Radios,, TV, Nokia cellphones, cans of soda, petrolchemicals (kerosene) and rich westerners 'globetrotting'.

Seems these village inhabitants don't need much of your inept teaching because somehow they make a living without popping LED's in glass jars with nearly clapped out batteries.

This idea is a pointless ego trip to salve the conscience of well off westerners. The 'globetrotting' heroes can go home and tell friends how they helped the poor villagers. It makes me feel sick.

Show you are genuine and tell us the names and locations of these villages then we can check for ourselves.

govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
here you go https://www.faceb...Dsafari/ just join the group which is open and you can see yourself the villages or people. Let me know if someone answers it or else I wil provide you with the email address. Names and locations, I dont know how much it will help us. but just for your information. 1. Nairobi: CAPSAY center: http://capsay.org/, 2. Arusha: http://www.kiitec.ac.tz/ 3. Mombasa , Shanzu (search on google for the location), 4. Mount Kenya region (Embu). Here is our page https://www.faceb...Dsafari. Let me know you need more info.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
The best way to follow our work is through https://www.faceb...Dsafari. If you want to contribute or suggestion drop us email.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
1. Nairobi: Climate Action Program. Post office box.
2. Based in Arusha, Tanzania, KIITEC is a leading technical education centre preparing skilled and competent technicians for the workforce.
3. Shanzu is a suburb of Mombasa, Kenya. Shanzu beach has a number of popular hotels, bars and restaurants and is within easy reach of Mombasa, Bamburi, Nyali and Mtwapa.

None are villages. None use or require your services or product.

Now I believe that your organisation is a simple fraud.

govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
Thank you for making us realise that. I hope you happy now and will do more productive work than just trying to prove to yourself what is right.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
Also, try to visit these place and then do enlighten us with your experience about lighting situation.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
You are one of these people " 'se noyer dans un verre d'eau' (French expression). I feel like wasted time to explain you these stuff. Atleast above critics were fun to argue.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
I am a bit worried for Cécilia Carron. Perhaps you have kidnapped her or blackmailing her into promoting your scam. Perhaps she was on holiday in your country and after a foot massage on the beach you convinced her to come and talk to your criminal cohorts. Then at risk of harm to herself she agreed to a press release promoting you such that you could further prey on wealthy westerners.

Cécilia Carron are you okay? Should I ask Interpol to check on your safety? Or are you in so much danger that nothing said is best? Where is the NSA when you need them?

Eikka
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
None are villages. None use or require your services or product


Did you not read the mission statement?

The point is to educate people to spread the information to the illiterate parts of the country. It's no use going straight to the villages where there is absolutely no supply chain for parts and the people don't know how to read or count.

The people they teach go on to spread the same knowledge to the local people in the local languages where they don't have electricity, and they supply the required materials using sources within the country.

That indirectly creates a market, which also helps in economic growth and development.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
I'd also like to stress again, that running an LED in elevated temperatures at or near the maximum rated current will lower its light output significantly while also causing long term dimming of the lamp. You are not getting more light out, you are simply wasting power and harming the device.

At first the light will be brighter, but once it warms up it will dim down. Unfortunately, for people who are looking directly at the light, the difference is not noticeable because the eye adapts to the light. They will notice it days or weeks later when the damage is already done.

That's why the current limiting resistor is necessary. In this circuit the value has to be low, between 1-10 Ohms because the voltage difference is so small. The energy loss will be on the order of 15-20% but without the resistor the brightness of the lamp would quickly drop by the same amount and more.
bluehigh
3 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2014
Eikka,
Check the link as provided. http://www.kiitec.ac.tz/
A tech college would easily know of your valid technical criticism.

The point is to educate people to spread the information to the illiterate parts of the country.
- Eikka

Fine. All I ask is where? What parts of the country, the names of the villages where this project actually was implemented?

Something they need to hide?

Teaching Ohms Law to illerterate people !

Eikka
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
A tech college would easily know of your valid technical criticism.


A student of technical college might not.

The school is concerned with the generic theory, whereas their application is concerned with the particular components they have. This is the difference between school and the real world, and why people don't come out of schools ready professionals.

My only criticism at this point is that they don't seem to be taking the real world variance in component properties into consideration.

What parts of the country, the names of the villages where this project actually was implemented?


The workshops are held in larger towns and cities already mentioned, and the people who attend them go back to their own villages to provide information about the lamps, and help people construct and maintain them.

Go ask them where they live. That's your answer.

Teaching Ohms Law to illerterate people !


The people who attend the workshops are not
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
Eikka thanks you for the comments. Yes, I am already testing the resistance. We had this issue but I was not sure how to get the resistance . And without resistance, it was serving the purpose . but now with your idea, we should be able to increase the life of the system. @bluehigh: please visit the place (i mentioned) and enlighten us more. If you have some good ideas then its good or else please dont spam. If you feel, its fraud then kindly go ahead and start posting it in various places. Also, if you feel, I do invite you to our workshop and let you experience how fun it is.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
we should be able to increase the life of the system.


Have you considered trying to develop a simple galvanometer from a fridge magnet and enameled wire?

A multimeter is needed to measure the resistance and make sure the correct current is going through the LED, but one costs $5-10. A galvanometer could be constructed from parts obtained from a cellphone charger (very thin enameled wire) and a decorative magnet. This can then be used to measure the current and tune the circuit.

Example: http://motivation...ss/?p=97

The ability to measure current and voltage will greatly enhance the people's ability to troubleshoot a circuit and make sure it is working correctly.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
@bluehigh: I invite you over a beer to discuss this. I don't know where do you live so I can't pay for your flight being a student but definitely we can talk this out if you are in switzerland. I am sure you have better ideas where we can improve the teaching and the lamp.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
Thats sounds good. I will look into it. It was hard for me to explain them multimeter but I think if we can get something cheap, they should be able to do. I was using different intensity of light to explain the effect of current. They could see if the current is high, light was able to reach to certain point. Also, using Solar PV connected to LED, I was able to demonstrate why its is important to put solar in Sun and its good practise to remove dust . These simple demonstrations made them more aware. This was the 1st iteration, we keep on thinking more ideas on to explain charging, discharging, sustainability etc.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
I was using different intensity of light to explain the effect of current. They could see if the current is high, light was able to reach to certain point.


Indeed, but as you see the light intensity put out by the LED is highly non-linear and the comparison by eye is highly unreliable, so using it as a measure of system performance is difficult.

The galvanometer might be better because it directly measures the strenght of the current. It's easy to explain that the loop of wire turns electricity into magnetic force and the magnetic force turns the magnet in proportion. All the parts are visible, unlike with a digital multimeter.

It ties in nicely with the basic Ohm's law because then people can observe with clarity how different size resistors affect the current, and how putting the solar panel in and out of light affects it.

The galvanometer also gives indication of current flowing in and out of the battery by the needle swinging in two different directions.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
Yup. We do teach them how electrcity is created like physical ( magnet) and chemical ( battery) . I think galvanometer will bring more clarity and its fun to build.
Now the problem for the design is we dont have anything to see if the battery is charged. Kind of some indicator. I was again thinking of LED light intensity way to get an idea about the charging but I am sure there should be some smart way to verify that battery is charging. Atleast for discharging, they understand that battery is down as light intensity is low but charging indication is an issue.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2014
Well, the galvanometer is both volt and amp meter. It can be used to check the voltage in a battery by connecting a known resistance in series with the meter and measuring the current. Then by Ohm's law one can deduce what the voltage in the battery is, provided that the galvo is sensitive enough.

The student can then draw a line on the dial to indicate "battery full", or "battery empty".

Passing the charging current through the galvanometer will measure how much current is going into the battery, so that too will indicate that charging is happening, or that discharging is happening when the needle goes the other direction. One can switch between the LED and the PV and observe that current is first going in, then going out, or remaining zero if neither is connected.

With the device itself, there's no easy way to indicate a full battery. That's why it's better to design the circuit so that the battery cannot get overfilled and simply allow it to charge for a long time.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2014
For a proof of concept, it's entirely possible to make a galvo of very simple construction sensitive in the 100 - 200 mA range with low enough internal resistance that it doesn't interfere with the measurement too much.

http://www.dumpt....55lk.jpg

Few notes:
1. Enameled wire is not necessary. Regular thin wire is sufficient and preferable for lower resistance. About 8 meters were used here, giving 1.2 Ohms internal resistance.

2. Broken CD-ROM drives contain several small but powerful magnets.

3. A smaller coil would make the device more sensitive, require less wire.

4. More work is needed on the needle suspension to keep the spring tension constant and prevent slip. Perhaps replace the thin thread with a sowing needle or a pin suspended with a spiral spring fashioned out of wire.

5. Ideally, the needle and spring unit could be made separately and simply slide in through the coil to ease assembly.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2014
A couple limitations apply here.

A galvanometer constructed for accurate voltage measurement would be built very sensitive to operate in the microamp range or less, because the input impedance must be very high in order to not interfere with the circuit being measured. Current measurement with such a meter would then use a very low value precision resistor in parallel with the meter to shunt larger currents past the meter with a known small portion entering the meter itself.

Since we can't produce precision resistances or an extremely sensitive meter, we must instead aim to make the input impedance of the meter as low as possible to not restrict current flow in the circuit being measured and that means giving up the ability to accurately measure voltages.

One can still say "this battery is full" from the fact that it's giving out more current than an empty one, but one battery will give more or less than another.
bluehigh
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2014
These techno missionaries can't teach villagers how to make lamps without providing solar cells, so they may as well toss a resistor in the kit.

If they really cared to replace kerosene lamps with a clean light source then simply supply a complete kit. Better still, supply complete lamps.

Thats not the mission though is it? They want to teach these illiterate village peasants something utterly useless in relation to their daily lives, so as to be feel good heroes.

Making resistors and galvanometers is at best misguided. Much better they concentrate on teaching farming techniques, literacy, health care and sanitation.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
These techno missionaries can't teach villagers how to make lamps without providing solar cells, so they may as well toss a resistor in the kit.

If they really cared to replace kerosene lamps with a clean light source then simply supply a complete kit. Better still, supply complete lamps.

Thats not the mission though is it? They want to teach these illiterate village peasants something utterly useless in relation to their daily lives, so as to be feel good heroes.

Making resistors and galvanometers is at best misguided. Much better they concentrate on teaching farming techniques, literacy, health care and sanitation.

I couldn't disagree more. All those things you mentioned, farming, literacy, health, sanitation, can be improved with electricity. Making simple lamps could be the first steps toward a better future. Many NGO's are already involved in these things. It seems this guy has a passion for teaching people about electricity and the benefits it provides. Let him do it.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
Con't
Class 2 could be about making micro hydro-electric stations out of spare equipment. Or windmills. Or any other potential technological advancements that are scalable and suitable for the region and will provide benefits to developing worlds in a sustainable manner.
Whether or not they are literate is besides the point. I'm sure there are lots of iliterate professionals here in North America who can perform their duties with little issue.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
@bluehigh: Check out this video: https://www.youtu...OicPFZY. I know why you have HIGH in your name.

@ Eikka : I will try to do myself. I will try with speakers magnet. These I have seen readily available in Town in these places.

@rockwolf: Thank you for the comment.
bluehigh
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2014
It seems this guy has a passion for teaching people about electricity and the benefits it provides


You may have misunderstood the article. He is teaching rich western globe trotters. These globetrotters then go visit a village and show how to make toy lamps. These globetrotters then feel good. The globetrotters pay him.

Read the last two paragraphs in the article.

It's a scam because, as supplied, the lamps are almost useless. As it stands he can't name one village, for verification, that has his toy lamps. He may have lied about the state of the project. Perhaps if he were more honest in explaining that he is a student with an idea for his thesis then I might give him credit for effort. Presently it's a selfish act to line his pockets and gain undue recognition.

govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2014
@bluehigh: Stop spaming and do some useful work. This is what you are doing. https://www.youtu...9hXC98pI .
govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2014
will u stop spamming if I say, it is a toy lamp and doing this I will become bill gates? Really dude, I dont know what you want. May be you are frustrated with your job or research or family issue and you feel trolling on Phy.org can help you get some confidence, then its okie. I really dont know the village name, may be I didnt even go to Africa or india. It was all cooked up idea and i was dreaming. Are you happy now.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2014
It's about you making money from vulnerable villagers and having fun.

"... we have some business models where it can help us to get some money. e.g. people ( local entrepeneur with our help) can start rent the lamp business where we get some part of the profit."- Govinda

You raised almost $3000 and visited 4 locations in Kenya and nearby villages and you can't remember any village names. I guess you had fun spending the money on a holiday.

You say that the funds were to only be used for lamp components and not expenses. Your own cost of lamp parts is about $3, so I guess you distributed 1000 lamps. Yet you say only 200 have been distributed. Did you give back the remaining funds or is the money in a Swiss bank account?

Or perhaps you have 800 of these almost useless toys in stock.

I gotta laugh at some of your holiday photos, what with the electricity and cable TV wiring into the so called village buildings. Oh, look at all those fluorescent lights!

Scam.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2014
If they really cared to replace kerosene lamps with a clean light source then simply supply a complete kit. Better still, supply complete lamps
@bluehigh
1-this would drive the cost up and put it out of league for some of the poverty stricken people this is intended for
2-part of the project appears to be the fact of MAKING something functional with their own two hands that they can "own"
as for your "no aluminum" comment... I've travelled all over the world and I've found aluminum cans there no matter what, from new to garbage. they are all over the place.

you are all indignant over this project. why? because you assume that someone is going to get rich off of it? let me ask you this question: would you be just as pissed off if this were Heifer international posting this or teaching this? This is a project right up their alley and useful for those targeted by Heifer as well as any poverty stricken area in need of functional light sources.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2014
You may have misunderstood the article. He is teaching rich western globe trotters. These globetrotters then go visit a village and show how to make toy lamps. These globetrotters then feel good. The globetrotters pay him
@bluehigh
last time I checked Heifer does pretty much the same thing....Heifer also uses other people's money to purchase stock to give away to poor folk. I don't see you getting up in arms about that... or the fact that they have paid employee's... they also allow "globetrotters" to help teach too, & last time I checked, those globetrotters used their own money to do it as well... no one calls Heifer a scam (or maybe you do... idk)

point: what you are calling a "scam" is the same basic method used by many other non-profit organizations for spreading their word/teaching/name/etc
the LED light is better than kerosene, so it is useful. Toy or not. try reading by kerosene.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
The people there dont have Aluminium/tin foil generally in village - Govinda

.. you can use soda cans ... - Captain Stumpy

If they got cans then foil is not hard. - bluehigh

Perhaps I phrased my comment poorly. If they have cans then its not very difficult to cut a small strip or two from the can to use in making the described resistor.

Indignation?

They don't have a viable lamp. It's barley functional in its present form.

By their own admission they are primarily seeking ways to make money. First they thought to sell the lamp. Then thought to rent the lamp. Now they propose to charge 'globe trotters' for training and lamps as part of a feel good romp.

Replacing the use of kerosene for lighting is just a smoke screen. This is a bunch of students with no viable product seeking profit.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
last time I checked Heifer does pretty much the same thing
- CS

I don't know who or what Heifer is or do. I'm barely interested in this bunch of buffoons. If this Heifer distributes faulty barely functional products or services with profit as its principal aim while pretending altruism - then yes it's a scam.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 17, 2014
last time I checked Heifer does pretty much the same thing
- CS

I don't know who or what Heifer is or do. blah blah blah If this Heifer distributes faulty barely functional products or services with profit as its principal aim while pretending altruism - then yes it's a scam.
is your search engine broke?

http://www.heifer.org/
Replacing the use of kerosene for lighting is just a smoke screen. This is a bunch of students with no viable product seeking profit
1-this is your assumption. you have no proof. also... have you ever used kerosene as a light source?

just because you don't like it doesn't mean it will not work, nor that they are anything other than what they claim.
By their own admission they are primarily seeking ways to make money
so? what's your point? are you saying Gates was altruistic?

IOW - it's not important. what IS important is the cheap functional light that can be made with scrap/etc

just chill
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
It's been demonstrated earlier in the comments that as it stands this lamp has a very limited lifetime. It's not a viable product. Hardly an assumption.

It cannot be made with just scrap.

My search engine works fine. That's how I find stuff like the following comment from Govinda Upadhyay.

"We are still thinking on money making part. We have some ideas but not yet concrete thats why we need some expert advise. We are sure that our training and lamp wont generate income directly but we have some business models where it can help us to get some money. e.g. people ( local entrepeneur with our help) can start rent the lamp business where we get some part of the profit and since the lamps can be locally made, repairing and replacement of damaged lamps will be at village level itself which is the main issue in renting lamp business models all over the world. Also by selling the lamp the profit margin will be very less."

I will now go chill as you commanded.

govi_upadhyay
5 / 5 (1) Apr 17, 2014
Thank god. Please Chill. Let people give some ideas where improvement can be made. Thank you for googling me. The comment you posted was for business competition where we wanted to make it financially sustainable. https://innovate4...t/36248. Now if i become super rich with this and I will throw a big party and I will invite you. As you see, we are on our way to become next Zuckerberg.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2014
@bluehigh
I should point out some things
We are still thinking on money making part
even a 501(c)3 needs a business model that makes money. if it does not, it cannot do what it needs to do. money makes everything happen
following comment from Govinda Upadhyay
read more about Heifer international. they take other peoples money, then give it away in the form of stock (animals). then other people pay to (or paid employee's get to) travel to locations and teach others how to raise/take care of stock, and the requirement to receive stock is to GIVE AWAY your first litter to someone who needs it, and train them how to raise/care for it
this is simplified, true, but it is essentially something that GU seems to be shooting for (from what I see). and YES, it needs to make money to perpetuate the system. this allows it to continue to spread to other places... he is NOT going to be the next Gates/Trump with this plan, but it will be sustainable if done correctly
bluehigh
3 / 5 (2) Apr 17, 2014
I should know better but ...

in the form of stock (animals).
-CS

Sure but they are not supplying crippled or sick animals. This lamp is ...

Oh, enough indignation from me. I concede. Live and let live. Thanks for the interesting link to Heifer.
Eikka
5 / 5 (4) Apr 17, 2014
This lamp is ...


This lamp works perfectly well for what it is - which is a teaching tool.

If you read the workshop curriculum, they first teach basic theory, then build the lamp to proof the theory with hands-on practice, then discuss about the limitations of the design and ways of improving the lamp based on the theory. If it was a good design to start with, none of that would have a point because improving it would be beyond the students' means and the educational value would be lost.

Then the students practice teaching other people to help them build similiar lamps and understand what their features and limitations are. Then the students move on to their own villages to teach independently.

At that point, it's beyond the project. The people will know how the technology works and what is involved, and will figure out ways to obtain parts and build lamps on their own. That is the most important lesson - to know what to buy, what to do with it, and why.
Lex Talonis
3 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2014
The way you approached the article was very aggressive.


Clearly you have little understanding of basic electronics with your ommission of a current limiting resistor and a diode.


Well I am an LED genius, and since electronics tends to induce mental illness in me, along with People who write really shitty instructions and a total lack of what the symbols mean etc..

I figured that on a STABLE and dropping voltage - LED's, if they are run at about 80-85% of their nominal voltage, where they are just slightly dimmer than on max power, they can be run without current limiting circuitry - as their own internal resistance /s limit the power running through them. i.e. 12V DC supply - 3.5V white LED x .85 = 2.8 - 2.9 V :: 12V / 2.8V = 5 white LED's in series.

It all comes apart when you put it on a 14.5V battery charger though...

But in Bumfuck Nowhere - SMALL lighting units can make a HUGE difference - like for reading, seeing, cooking, night time repairs etc...
Lex Talonis
3 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2014
For those who don't "get it" - think permanent camping - with only one small rechargable torch....

Having something like that, is a HUGE help.

You have to think, not in terms of your position, but theirs....

govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 19, 2014
@Lex Talonis: Thank you for comment. We are using mobile batteries ( 3.7 nominal charge, 4.2 V max). We are using mobile batteries because it is readily available most of the places in these countries. Now if we want to operate LEDs at 2.8 Volts, we need to put resistor ( 50 ohms-60ohms). Operating without any resistor might create quick discharge also. Do you have any smart way to operate LEDs with mobile batteries?Thanks
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2014
Run 3 batteries in series and add 4 or 5 white LED's in series.

It's a good solution.

Plenty of battery life, nice light output.

Also it becomes compatible with 12V systems - solar panels and lead acid batteries and one central panel in the town, one battery bank, and a group of chargers....

Simple.

One 50W panel ought to keep 50 - 100 homes lit...

One 200W panel ought to keep 50 - 100 homes lit, with small battery operated radios, one basic laptop for an hour or two a day.......

One 200w panel, MPPT charge controller, 2 or 4 deep cycle lead acid batteries, and a bunch of small chargers for lights, AA batteries, etc......

And have people charging up during the day.....

If EVERYONE contributed to the cost of the solar power station - then the units can be then uprated to run small 240V transmission lines....

To several shops or huts, and people can sell the power for a small profit and pay for the building of the next power station....

One new one every year or two.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 19, 2014
Run 3 batteries in series and add 4 or 5 white LED's in series.


You'll create a cell balancing problem with lithium cells in series. Charging them will fill or drain one before the others unless a balancing circuit is being used or the cells are well matched, and even with matched cells you have to mind your charge levels so as to not fully charge or discharge them.

It just requires too much "intelligence" to work. If this was lead acid or nickel cells, it would be no problem because they tolerate overcharging, but not with lithium.

t_garr
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2014
"...Health is of equal concern: kerosene is extremely toxic when burned..."

Whew! Good thing we only use it for airborne mass transit!
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 19, 2014

"...Health is of equal concern: kerosene is extremely toxic when burned..."

Whew! Good thing we only use it for airborne mass transit!


It's not - any more than any other hydrocarbon when properly burned. The real point is that kerosene produces carsinogenic substances when burned in a lamp which does a rather poor job of it.

This is why Phys.org is frankly a terrible source of information. None of the editors have any expertise or competence, or interest in their subjects and will happily parrot whatever false information that might get them the most page views to maximize advertisement income.

It's called "click whoring", which describes the phenomenon perfectly.
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
"...Health is of equal concern: kerosene is extremely toxic when burned..."

Whew! Good thing we only use it for airborne mass transit!


Well jet engines, which are the gay mans solution to thrusting pistons, have proper mixing and combustion... So the jets burning kerosene, only have plutonium and hexavalent chromium as their output.

But burning it in a lamp - many of the lamps are basic tin can - home made wick types - with LONG yellow smokey flames, that have poor efficiency - fuel to lumens; sort of like torch light parades of the 1930's - and the smoke is acrid, sooty and thick - as well as the unburned kerosene fumes...

Even the NICER hurricane lamp is way better - but they are still hard to get / afford / keep going.

https://www.youtu...Xzi7c3F4]https://www.youtu...Xzi7c3F4[/url]

https://www.youtu...roE1uQdg

https://www.youtu...Xzi7c3F4]https://www.youtu...Xzi7c3F4[/url]

https://www.youtu...IogMtU9o

https://www.youtu...50E1QZTY
Lex Talonis
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2014
These videos are very good....

I like them all.

This is my favourite.

https://www.youtu...50E1QZTY
bluehigh
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
@Lex - outstanding video link.
https://www.youtu...50E1QZTY

Sadly, I will use the following quote from your most recent link to highlight one reason for my indignation. Especially as LEDsafari seems to focus on business models, whatever the ethics.

"When the target is the poorest of the poor earning less than fifty cents a day, it is inhuman and insensitive to talk about business models ..."

Purchase, rent, charge globetrotters, blah blah. The video suggests an alternative.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
"When the target is the poorest of the poor earning less than fifty cents a day, it is inhuman and insensitive to talk about business models ..."


And yet their business model is that the villages pay a monthly $3-5 per solar system, which is further subsidized by state, and they don't teach the people anything about electronics or physics, they simply train them to assemble specific devices and install them as if they were sweatshop workers.

So from one perspective, they're using the women as free labor to assemble the devices, then rent the systems to the villages and collect money from the state. If that were to happen in the west, it would be called corruption and a market failure.

The difference to the LEDsafari is, that the people own the LEDsafari lamps they build, and they have the proper knowledge to make more of them, so they aren't dependent on the state and a particular parts supplier and aid organization to have them.
Lex Talonis
5 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2014
They LED lamps are FREE to the poorest of the poor....

AND the women electrical engineers, get FREE training and people pay them for setting up solar systems in their homes....

No one is getting fucked in the arse over this...

It's a good system.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
They LED lamps are FREE to the poorest of the poor....


But not to the states that subsidize them.

AND the women electrical engineers, get FREE training and people pay them for setting up solar systems in their homes...


They're not electrical engineers. The video says they aren't taught any actual electronics or physics - they are taught to assemble the devices to color codes and rote memory with no understanding about what they're actually doing.

No one is getting fucked in the arse over this...


Not directly, but the people remain dependent on the state subsidies, and the company that provides the product. If they attempted to substitute the system with something cheaper from some other provider, the "trained" women would be unable to build and install them because they lack actual Electrical Engineering skills and knowledge.

That's called "vendor lock-in".

It's like when you have to keep buying Windows because your workers know only MS Office.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
It's a good system.


It does what it does effectively.

But it's no paragon of charity. It's still a business model aimed to cashing in on undeveloped countries by using the ignorance of the people to secure a monopoly in a market for photovoltaic power systems.

Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2014
Frankly, any company that says "It's not ethical to talk about business models" is really saying they don't want people to look too deeply into theirs.
PsycheOne
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
This is the most interesting thread I have EVER read. Thank you. And I say this seriously: this should be made into a movie. We have the villain (Hello, bluehigh!), the idealistic hero (cheers, govi!), and the super intelligent love interest (Erikka, I am assuming here you are female. If not, sorry, we're going to have to make you one)

I would pay to see this movie. The profits could be used to buy lamps and other things for villages. Everyone wins.
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Apr 20, 2014
Solar panels last for what? 40 - 50 years before they conk out?

The guy who started it - has made more than 14,000 LED lamps and given them all away for free.

I have not been observant enough to register if there are one or several or quite a number of schemes....

But given the choice, I have yet to see one person complain about switching from kerosene lamps to solar powered LED lighting.

Everyone is happy.

Clean air, clean lighting and clean electricity.

Erikka is obviously a lesbian vampire, who kills guys in the park at night and drinks their blood.

That is why she is so down on lights at night.

Creature of the dark that she is.

govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
Thank you for the comments. Looks like really intresting information. Barefoot is from india and I met the founder (Bunker Roy) this during my studies. He is a great guy. His work is different than what we plan to do. I guess nothing wrong in that. We just teach people using the lamp. Now after the teaching, it all depends on them if they want use Kerosene, LEDsafari lamp or buy something better. We are also against subsidy which is killing developing nation. The issue is with Barefoot that they really on subsidy which is good as their system is expensive and people wont be able to buy the equipment but in long run, its not a good idea. I wont say their system is better or LEDsafari, its just two different approach. @bluewin: empty vessel makes the most noise. @ Eikka: Thank you for the comment.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
@Lex Talonis: Thank for the suggestions. It will be difficult to bring more battery and LED in one system, as this will complicate the process for them. ( I tried to before ptting more LEDs and Battery and it was difficult for them) But definitely, I should start thinking if the system can be scalable. Also, regarding the lamp, there are many companies/NGO working on Solar lamp and we dont want to compete also, as everyone is doing good. We have our approach and also we are learning from barefoot how to get people interested. Gramin bank (Md. Yunus, nobel laurete), did apprciate our approach. We just started this and we wil see how it will go. Also, we are against subsidy so we plan to give people what it cost and see if they are willing to take it. Thanks again for information, specially LED working on 80% V rating, I didnt know that.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
@PyscheOne: Good to bring some spices in the discussion and giving different perpective to the discussion unlike some HIGH people.
bluehigh
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
If we set aside the educational aspects and focus for one moment on the reduction of kerosene use to create health benefits, then let me shine a little light.

I visited my local Bunnings Warehouse today to purchase a blueberry bush. As I wandered this giant store (one of hundreds in Australia), I noticed a Lytworx solar spot light. Complete with PV, battery and LED's this device would seem, to me, an ideal substitute for kerosene lamps. The package says up to 8 hours use. I will go get one tomorrow and test it, just for fun.

http://www.bunnin...p4351396

The retail price is just $5 AUD. Wholesale quantity price would be less. I expect these lights are manufactured outside Australia so shipping costs are included. Five Dollars.

If Bill Gates would reach into his petty cash then everyone in need could have one. Oh, and I want Jack Nicholson to play my villainous part.

govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
Well, this is 1st time you said something which makes sense. Here is another one for you. https://www.youtu...pPMijEVo ... The problem with selling is the distribution and maintenance. There are light available which cost 3-4 USD. The problem is who will repair it when it is bad.

Knowledge propagate faster than the product. Thats why we are more focus on teaching so that people could handle it themselves (atleast a low tech). The problem is still with the supply of PV panels with us, which we are working on that. All the components used in our teaching, we try to get it from local market ( nearest town or city).
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
The main issue with kerosne lamp is that, they could make it and repair it or make a new one. Even if kerosene is getting expensive, people stick to these lamps. They use it for less hour to save money. The know-how is the main issue. This is my observation. We talked to people in the village, this was the main issue.
bluehigh
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
This product has no user serviceable parts. It's has a 3 year warranty.

The problem with selling ...
- Scammer

The problem is you want to sell them. Principally by your own admissions elsewhere to make a profit. When you further considered the business model, you decided that renting these lamps would be more profitable. For you to profit from these poor villagers is abhorrent to me.

It's quite clear for me why you Govi, reject subsidies or philanthropy. You want to line your own pockets. LEDsafari is an immoral, unethical scam.
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
@ Bluehigh....

Well the money to pay for things has to come from somewhere?

Little solar panels, LED's, batteries, and a switch....

I mean if I had the choice between that and a bit of rag, wrapped in sheet metal, as the wick, put into a tin can of kerosene, I'd take the LED lighting any day.

Yeah - you gotta pay for the kerosene dude - so where is the problem in paying for the LED lighting?

The LED lighting is a once off purchase with a new switch and batteries every 3 to 5 years or so.

I don't know what the average consumption is, but the once off purchase of a LED solar light with on going replacement of some parts every 3 to 5 years - is, off the back of my sketch pad, something like for every $1 spent on LED lighting, something like $500 is NOT spent on fuel.

So what do you want?

Parts for nothing? Delivery for nothing? Education for nothing? Spares for nothing? Periodic ongoing maintenance for nothing?

Everyone has to eat.

Eikka
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
It's quite clear for me why you Govi, reject subsidies or philanthropy.


It's because subsidies and philantropy are not reliable as a means of sustaining the people.

Suppose your state is overrun by corruption or war, or they simply run out of money? Well sucks to be you then, because you're utterly reliant on them just giving you stuff.

Just giving people free stuff prevents them from ever developing their own market because nobody else except the one state supported company can make any profit. You can't compete with what's given for free, so there's no competition, which leads to corruption.

The common example is that giving people food aid for free undercuts the prices of local farmers who can no longer make money, who then stop farming and start to subside on the free food, and the next year the famine is twice as bad.

Eikka
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
In that situation, the more ethical choice would be to sell the people the food at market price and use the proceedings to set up a system of granaries and stockpiles against future famine.
bluehigh
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
It's because subsidies and philantropy are not reliable as a means of sustaining the people.
-Eikka

I'm not clear how this is an issue about sustaining people but as Lex said "something like for every $1 spent on LED lighting, something like $500 is NOT spent on fuel." So these villagers have more disposable income to spend on food, shelter and education. For the state, this could be a reasonable investment that returns benefits to the economy.
bluehigh
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
Suppose your state is overrun by corruption or war, or they simply run out of money? Well sucks to be you then, because you're utterly reliant on them just giving you stuff.
- Eikka

Except that petrochemical availability would be among the first energy sources to become unavailable. The sun will still shine for those people that have solar lamps. Whether its the LEDsafari supplied PV cells or a complete Lytworx lamp that becomes unavailable is moot.

So, the states can fund all the villagers solar lamps with finance from the taxes levied on the petrolchemical companies. Just a hint for any responsible state leader ... Watch out for the cruise missiles with regime change writ large, coming your way.
bluehigh
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
If we set aside the educational aspects and focus for one moment on the reduction of kerosene, use to create health benefits, then let me shine a little light.
- me

My comment was in regard to a competitive lower cost reliable device that is professionally engineered that addresses the issue of environmental concerns. After all, the health concerns were an initial justification in the article.

The problem is how to finance a viable solution. The education is just a front to give these scammers some credibility.
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
Ekkia-

In that situation, the more ethical choice would be to sell the people the food at market price and use the proceedings to set up a system of granaries and stockpiles against future famine.


Giving is good... and SMALL donations, can make HUGE differences...

I call them the "see-saw" moments - that once the tipping point is reached... HUGE changes can be made.

Efficient, Effective and Affordable lighting is now available to all.

"I got a light - it's on the table" and this is all that matters.

Basically SOME education on electrical devices, is a good thing....

Especially if you have none.

How to swap out the batteries, replace a switch etc....

Use a soddering iron....

Getting rid of much of the nasty kerosene.

Of course Mr Rascal - King of Nigeria's Barrister, who wants to put your money in the bank volt, will always surface.....

But most people, most of the time, are sincere.

I have lived in remote places, lights are good.

Jolly Good Eh What!
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Apr 21, 2014
Please try to ignore the professional contrarians (Eikka) you find posting on this site.


I really do resent that statement.

Then again, one cannot walk through a crowd with the flame of truth without burning a few beards.



Ekkia - get an LED light, so your kerosene lamp won't be burning your face any more.
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 22, 2014
@ Lex

Ekkia - get an LED light, so your kerosene lamp won't be burning your face any more.


That was a long back comment. Its kinda irrelevant now after 128 comments. I feel you guys saying the same things now. Lets discuss subsidy issue.

@ All

We all live in countries where subsidies doesnt influence our lives. These people live on subsidies just because they act like vote bank for the ruling party (government).

India is doing pretty well compared to African countries just because people are not so it is relying on aid or I call it FREE MONEY. Africa is facing lot of problem because aid money is flowing so people getting free food which makes them not to work for it or work minimum. I think this is just human attitude. In Sweden, the minimum salary is almost equivalent to unemployment salary which really discourages people to work for lower job (My observation). Giving full LED lamps, this is perfect like us getting full car but here we get after sale service
govi_upadhyay
not rated yet Apr 28, 2014
do send us an email on ledsafari@gmail.com , if you would like to help us or have some great DIY idea which can be included in our training. Thank you all.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) May 01, 2014
Except that petrochemical availability would be among the first energy sources to become unavailable. The sun will still shine for those people that have solar lamps.


For as long as they don't break down in use.

The lamps themselves are not indestructible. The batteries wear down, the panels get damaged, the LEDs burn up - and soon you have no lamps because the people don't know how to make and maintain them, because they've simply been given them for free. They don't know where else they could get them because the government has been their only supply, and with the government out of the question they're back to burning kerosene in oil lamps because at least that they can trade for by themselves.