miércoles, abril 04, 2007

TECH : Nintendo Wii with solar power

Is amazing. I found this interestint articule about Nintendo Wii. This boys made a station that works with solar energy to play with the Nintendo Wii.

Yo can read all their articule, theare some pictures and a video, if you wanna understand the keys to made your own station.

Inside the Solar Powered Wii

by Rob Wright

Tom's Hardware Guide recently built a mobile Wii station, complete with an HD monitor, that's powered in part by a solar energy (check out the Tom's Workshop video of the project). It's a simple invention on many levels. For one, it didn't cost much at all to find a battery, power converter and appropriately-sized solar power panel. And the station itself is just wood with a couple of wheels and a coat of blue paint slapped on. For this purposes of this experiment, we decided to keep the costs low and create a repeatable formula in case anyone else wanted to try something similar. THG video editor Ben Meyer and lab manager Shelton Rohmanyi procured the parts, while Shelton and THG camera man Max Wilson put the actual station together. I left for Wondercon and GDC and by the time I got back a week later, the entire thing was completed. Here are the various parts with their respective prices (not including taxes or shipping fees):

How it works: basically, we slapped an HD monitor on a cart with wheels and threw a Wii and a battery inside. The cherry on top of the sundae, of course, is the solar panel, which draws around 20 watts of electricity. The electricity is stored in the battery and then sent through the power inverter to both the Wii and the HD monitor and speakers. Unfortunately, because we required a small form factor, the solar panel only supplies about one tenth of the total power draw. Oddly enough, the Wii itself draws only 40 to 45 watts, while the monitor and speakers draw 130 watts at maximum use. Still, the panel contributes a (mostly) continuous flow of power to the battery, which is an integral part of prolonging the play time. Plus, all that's needed to recharge the battery is leaving the cart out in direct sunlight.


We constructed the wood frame for the Wii, power unit, and solar panel fairly quickly. The monitor was mounted at an angle on the front of the frame so that players would be able to view the screen comfortably. Underneath the monitor a small platform was built for the Wii itself; we used Velcro stickers to hold the console in place. The battery was situated on the base of the cart and held in place with a fastening strap.

Surprisingly, it wasn't very hard to find an affordable solar electric panel. The PowerUp BSP 20-12 panel was inexpensive and also had a size (16.7" x 19.8" x 0.63") and weight (approximately 6.5 lbs) that comfortable fit our blueprint for the contraption. The hardest part, actually, was building a platform that would hold the extremely heavy deep cycle battery. We decided to go with a larger core battery because it would theoretically give us 8 hours of continuous use. While the solar panel only contributed a little more than 10 percent of the electricity needed to power the Wii and monitor, we were encouraged by the plethora of solar panels available for our needs (special thanks to the Alternative Energy Store). And the most expensive part for the whole scheme was none other than the HD display.

Why we built it: there are a few reasons. First, we were bored. Second, we hadn't built anything in a while. Third, we had been discussing applications for solar power for some time and this just seemed like a natural fit. And finally, a mobile Wii seemed like an interesting toy that we could bring to social events, conferences and conventions and play around with. Nintendo itself had fancy Segways rigged with monitors running Wii during the console launch in L.A. last November. Sadly, we didn't really have $4,000 to spend on a Segway.

Why we chose the Wii: it seemed like the best option of the three next-generation consoles. Not only is it the smallest and lightest of the three, but it consumes less power. Plus, the Wii seemed ideally suited for a mobile station because of its motion sensor controllers. Wii sports needs to be played standing up instead of sitting down anyway. And we threw in Excite Truck because we're all fans of the game here at THG.

Why we chose solar power: Ben and I have an ongoing debate about who came up with this idea first, and since Ben actually got the ball rolling and purchased the parts, I've decided to concede. But the issue of solar power and consoles has been broached before by THG. Last year I wrote a rather controversial column on TwitchGuru about energy consumption of game consoles and the possibility of using solar power to reduce gamers' electric bills. That column was sparked by an excellent review on the game blog DX Gaming that discerned how much energy "leaked" from some of the major consoles while they were in stand by mode. Overall, we at THG were interested in alternative energy technology and felt like now was a good time to play around with it.

What's next: besides playing with our new creation and taking it to different locations in the greater Los Angeles area, we'll continue to look at the energy consumption of the next generation consoles, as well as top shelf gaming PCs, and also analyze the cost effectiveness (or lack thereof in some cases) of investing in solar power technology to help offload some of the energy bill. Stay tuned for more from Toms Hardware Guide.

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