Baygen Radio Power - Question : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

My husband and I purchased the Baygen AM/FM radio with short wave bands and we really like it. I'm not electrically minded, and I don't understand the technology that makes the wind-up battery operate... However...I'm wondering why this same technology isn't applied to other useful appliances and tools that require power. I understand that the demand for the amount of power varies depending on the type of tool or appliance. But for instance, I think it could be applied to food processors, grain mills, micro wave ovens, etc.

It seems that someone could capitalize very nicely with this concept in producing emergency and/or y2k products.

Another idea would be to produce a power pack that can be plugged into to operate a variety of tools or appliances.

Does anyone have any sources for products or supplies along these thoughts?

Thanks, Texas Terri

-- Texas Terri (, December 29, 1998


Contact c. Crane co.

They already have modified the BayGen radio to run a LED "flashlight" also. Plugs into a jack THEY INSTALLED on the BayGen.

They might have other stuff.

-- a (a@a.a), December 29, 1998.

Thanks...I forgot to mention that we bought the model with the light attachment. I don't recall other products utilizing this same technology on the Crane web site.

Texas Terri

-- Texas Terri (, December 29, 1998.


One kind of power pack that has been available to the ham community for a few years is a smallish lead-acid battery (commonly called a gell-cell) in a package with features on it such as, a battery level meter, different size sockets (jacks) to plug different types of radios into, and so on. You can see them advertised in the three ham radio magazines: CQ, 73 Amateur Radio, and QST.

I'm sorry I can't think of a brand name or vendor name at the moment, but you can find them in those magazines. Try your local library...they usually have them.

These are good for most radio applications, and similar applications that present a DC load similar to a radio. Of course, the power packs will have to be recharged, since they are batteries like the one in your car. But, they can power a radio or similar small DC appliance for quite some time before they must be recharged.

AC (kitchen-type) appliances are a different story. I know of no vendor that sells a power pack for AC appliances; indeed, I don't know that any exists. You could call a generator an AC power pack, although I don't think that's what you had in mind in your post. Sorry I can't help you there.

Hope this helps. If you would like more information, feel free to email me.


-- seasoned (, December 29, 1998.

Texas Terri,

Re: using wind-up batteries to power other appliances and tools

The Baygen radio and an LED flashlight both are very efficient and require very little electricity to produce a useful output. Unfortunately, the other appliances you mention inherently need much more power to operate than that radio or flashlight do.

(Baygen radios don't really have batteries; they have a wind-up spring clockwork.)

According to the Baygen site, their radio's power requirement is 0.030 amp @ 3 volts = 0.090 watt. A full wind of the spring clockwork operates it for 30 minutes, for a total energy consumption of 0.090 x 30 = 2.7 watt-minutes. It takes about 30 seconds of winding to store that 2.7 watt-minutes of energy in the spring.

So 60 seconds of winding (if the spring clockwork were twice as large) would store 5.4 watt-minutes of energy.

Let's compare that to a microwave oven.

A 900-watt microwave oven takes about five minutes to bake a potato, with a total energy consumption of 4,500 watt-minutes.

4500/5.4 = about 833. That is, it would take about 833 minutes (14 hours) of winding the spring clockwork to store enough energy to bake one potato.

I don't have the corresponding figures for food processors or grain mills, but if you look at the label on one, it should list the AC electrical requirements.

If it says something like "1.0 amp", then multiply that by 110 to get the watts. 1.0 amp x 110 volts = 110 watts. If you ran a 1-amp appliance for 1 minute, it would use 1 x 110 = 110 watt-minutes of energy. 110/5.4 = about 20, so it would take about 20 minutes of winding the spring clockwork on a Baygen-like device to store up the energy to run a 1-amp appliance for 1 minutes.

If the appliance required 4 amps, and you wanted to run that 4-amp appliance for 20 minutes, it would take 20 x 4 x 20 = 1600 minutes (almost 27 hours) of spring-winding to store enough energy.

So the Baygen type of power storage, using a wind-up clockwork mechanism to store energy for operation, is practical for only a few types of low-power devices, such as radios and flashlights.

-- No Spam Please (, December 29, 1998.

There is a Flashlight, The Sunburst, with a 4-way power system -- solar, hand-crank, AC/DC charging and AA batteries -- that also has an AM/FM radio, siren and flasher. Its manufactured by SunStar, 107 N. Coast Highway Dept# 111, Newport, OR 97365. Call 888-278-6782 for a catalog. They have other items too. (They do not have a web-site).


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 29, 1998.

There was a press release just very recently about an agreement between Apple Computer and the BayGen people. They're using a BayGen device to power one of their newest Macs. The way I found the article was by doing an AOL search (I'm sure Yahoo would work too) on BayGen. Of course, it might have been an AOL article -- I'll go back and check, and post the article if it was.

I feel the same way, that the BayGen is some "Just In Time" technology for a world about to see a shortage of easy energy and technology.



-- Dana Good (, December 29, 1998.

Here's the url for the Apple Computer info:

-- Dana Good (, December 29, 1998.

Terri, last one, I promise:

I think I've found the best url for keeping track of new uses of the BayGen device:

My impression is that Mr. Baylis' interests are directed almost exclusively to survival issues in developing/troubled countries. Hopefully, others will step forward to work with him on other types of applications as well.


-- Dana Good (, December 29, 1998.

BayGen & Apple Computer

Daily Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, South Africa Wednesday, July 30, 1997. 5.00PM.

A Clockwork Apple

WEDNESDAY, 5.00PM AN APPLE laptop is the star of a Botswana technology and education conference -- because it is powered by a clockwork generator. Trevor Baylis, British inventor of a clockwork radio manufactured in Cape Town, connected his radio to a low-powered Apple E-mate 300 computer on show at the conference. The radio, which includes a power jack in the back, produces enough current to power up and charge the laptop. Mark Floisand, general manager of Apple Computer in South Africa, says the discovery came as a surprise, and he will continue working with Baylis' firm, BayGen, to develop the use of the generator further. Winding the radio for 25 seconds can provide half an hour of electric power.

-- Diane J. Squire (, December 29, 1998.

Just a precautionary note regarding the Baygen wind-up radio:
In tests conducted by a solar energy magazine, the Baygen radio experienced a 100% failure rate in the generator spring in radios where the unit was wound up to the maximum stop point on a regular basis. Failures occurred within the first six months of use.
Possible options:
a) Don't expose the generator spring to as much stress. If you get a Baygen, don't wind it fully. Stop at some arbitrary point such as 50-75% of a full winding. I don't know that this will help, but by not stressing the spring as greatly, it would seem reasonable that it would reduce the likelihood of failure.
b) Minimize use of the generator spring. Purchase the solar panel accessory, some rechargeable batteries, and a solar charger. Use the radio on battery power as much as possible and only use the spring when absolutely necessary due to lack of light to recharge the batteries. If you must use the internal generator, see suggestion (a).

-- Dan (, December 30, 1998.

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