About Fuel-less Generators

solar panel

Personal Electric Power Access

You do not have to be a card-carrying doomsday prepper to appreciate that the average American is dependent on electrical power. Chances are good that whatever device you are reading this article on is displaying text electronically. You probably have not had a land line in years, and look forward to upgrading your gadgets on an annual basis.

So what happens when it all goes dark? When we literally “fall of the grid”? Single-use batteries will only last for so long. Sometimes batteries lack the capacity or output to power a necessary device like a refrigerator or freezer. Generators – cumbersome, loud and noxious exhaust-emitting – are fuel-dependent, and will only produce power for as long as there is access to a fuel source.

In recent years, with catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, Americans are acknowledging a higher demand for personal electric power access when public utilities go down for days, or even weeks, at a time.

Experience shows that blackouts or brownouts occur along grids and that it is common, not just conceivable, that your residence or business may be out of power while a utility grid next door, like a cellular tower network, continues to operate. So if you are playing the odds, you will probably only need a reasonable amount of power to get you through a rough spot.

Going Green

Today, many people are turning to more “green” means of power generation. This type of power requires a power source as well as a battery to store the power for two reasons:

  • DC power input: Assume you are using solar panels or a hand crank generator to produce electrical power. The sun will likely come and go, and the speed at which you crank the handle will change as you tire and start back up. If you were to graphically represent the power output over time on a graph, you would see that it spikes and drops during periods of high and low power input, respectively. DC power tends to spike and fall as it flows out from the generator source. As such, it is called “dirty” power. Most sensitive electronics, including computers, smart phones, and other devices, do not like variances in power without something buffering those spikes and dips. A battery can help. As DC input is stored into a battery, it can be regulated and controlled better on its way out. In this way, you can get a smooth, constant power output from a DC generating source.
  • AC power output: On the other hand, AC power is steadier. If you were to represent the power output over time on a graph, you would see a steady sine wave. AC power is what we need to power most modern electronics. DC power can be converted to AC power with the use of an inverter, which is another way to achieve a smooth, constant power output from a DC source.

Silent Power

Obviously, the use of a battery simplifies matters when considering powering devices from an outside, low-power input. This way, a reserve is built up and more power is created.

Enter Humless, a California-based company and brainchild of entrepreneur Glen Jakins. While on a camping trip in March 2008, Jakins was camping with his family among the Northern California redwoods when a neighboring RV fired up a roaring generator. As the noise rattled on for hours, ingenuity struck: what about a silent, portable generator?

Six years later, Jakins’ company Humless is at the forefront of the commercial silent power industry. While some companies like Honda and Everlast distribute low-decibel gas and diesel generators, only Humless is in the business of manufacturing a way to generate genuine silent power.

The actual “silent” generation is accomplished by hand crank or solar panel, which is then stored in a battery and provides a decent emergency reserve.

A single charge on the Humless devices is enough to:

  • Power a 5W LED bulb from 20-100 hours
  • Power a connected laptop computer from 1.5-10 hours
  • Operate a 19” DC LCD/LED television from 4-20 hours
  • Power a 12” DV fan for 3-15 hours

Humless currently offers two products:

  • The Roadrunner: The Roadrunner is the smaller of the two devices and weighs in at 11lbs. It provides output through AC 110V plugs.
  • The Sentinel: The Sentinel offers the larger capacity of the two devices, providing the longer running times published above. The device is designed to charge via three methods and provide output through standard AC 120V plugs, high and low output USBs and 12V DC car charger-type outputs.

With the ability to generate power for output, the Humless is not just a glorified battery pack, but a step forward in green, clean and silent emergency power production.

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