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Old 10-09-2016, 07:28 AM   #1
DingoSoulEater
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Default [AtE] Hand-Held Power Generator / Hand Crank

Hi all!

First post; tried my google skills and couldn't find this brought up elsewhere, so I apologise if someone has enquired about this before.

I'm currently running a heavily Metro 2033 themed campaign, and while almost everything is covered quite well in AtE; there's one piece of technology I couldn't determined either the viability of - or how you would put it to use in the world.


For context; the campaign style is very much a cinematic, survival horror. Close calls, harsh time-constraints, and a perpetual struggle to survive. The sheer time outlay of sitting down to charge something you desperately need powered to escape, survive, or simply progress I think will be useful for this.

In Metro 2033; our main protagonist has a 'Universal Charger'. Insofar as I can find - it's a simple machine for converting muscle power to electrical power.

How would you implement this into a campaign as a piece of equipment? What limits would you put on it? Would those limits be relative to the user, or to time, or to both? How much would it weigh / cost? Would it require skills or calibration?

Any help on this would be wonderfully appreciated!

-Dingo.
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:08 AM   #2
Purple Haze
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: [AtE] Hand-Held Power Generator / Hand Crank

I have a hand-cranked LED flashlight+AM/FM radio. It will manage two or three minutes of use of one of its functions from one minute's cranking. It saved me once when I got caught in ten day blackout. But I still walked the mile up to the main street to sit in the library and charge my cell phone. One would have to be very desperate to crank out a significant amount of power.
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:46 AM   #3
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [AtE] Hand-Held Power Generator / Hand Crank

The book The Mechanics of Pre-industrial Technology has a table of power output for human muscular effort in various forms, including treadmills (horrid drudgery!). You could probably get a close estimate of power output from a suitably geared generator from that; generators aren't 100% efficient, of course, but their power losses in operation are small. I think that sustained human work output runs around 20 watts, but I would have to research that to verify.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:24 AM   #4
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: [AtE] Hand-Held Power Generator / Hand Crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
The book The Mechanics of Pre-industrial Technology has a table of power output for human muscular effort in various forms, including treadmills (horrid drudgery!). You could probably get a close estimate of power output from a suitably geared generator from that; generators aren't 100% efficient, of course, but their power losses in operation are small. I think that sustained human work output runs around 20 watts, but I would have to research that to verify.
Pedal-powered generators actually get used a lot in poor nations in sub-Saharan Africa. I'd just use something like that:

http://pedalpowergenerator.com/
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:55 AM   #5
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Re: [AtE] Hand-Held Power Generator / Hand Crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Pedal-powered generators actually get used a lot in poor nations in sub-Saharan Africa.
Yup, you can get a lot more power out of a human with pedals than a hand-crank. Those pedalpower.com figures look optimistic, though. A trained cyclist can apparently sustain 400W of mechanical power, less conversion inefficiency.

I have a catalogue of espionage equipment produced by the Special Operations Executive during WWII, with a few generators, which are probably TL6. The hand-cranked one, which needs clamping to a rigid support, is good for 15-20W electrical power (We), the pedal one is good for 18-42We, depending on how hard you work, and one that adds onto a bicycle claims it's good for 18-60We. It seems to have a somewhat larger generator and exploits the bicycle's drivetrain.
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Old 10-09-2016, 12:51 PM   #6
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [AtE] Hand-Held Power Generator / Hand Crank

For my Vehicles conversion, I have muscle powered generators produce BL/60 kW, costing the character 1 FP every 15 minutes. That's probably appropriate for a pedal system; BL/75 may be more appropriate for a hand crank (80% of leg power). Weight depends on the TL of the design and its maximum output - TL 4 is 100 lb/kW, TL 5 is 50 lb/kW, TL 6 is 20 lb/kW, and TL 7+ is 10 lb/kW. Nominal cost is $5/lb, but expect that to be much higher in an AtE setting. I'll also note that the normal rule for increasing price by TL doesn't quite work out here, as a 1 kW TL 7 hand crank would cost $400 (x8) and weigh 10 lb, while a TL 4 one would cost $500 and weigh 100 lb. It might be better to price it by kW instead - $100 per kW ($0.10 per W) at TL 4 might work (making the 100 lb generator cost $100, and the 10 lb one cost $800).

If you need a hand crank that's fully usable by an ST 16 (BL 51.2) character, that calls for 680 W. A TL 4 design is $68 and 68 lb, while a TL 7 one (left over from before the End) is $544 and 6.8 lb. If an ST 10 character tries to use it, it'll work*, but will only produce around 267 W.


*This assumes the thing is designed to be able to shift gears or similar so that a weaker character can use it. You might be able to drop that part of the design to shave off some cost and weight, but I'd suggest against it.
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Old 10-09-2016, 01:03 PM   #7
Bruno
 
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Default Re: [AtE] Hand-Held Power Generator / Hand Crank

You can put some dogs on a treadmill and as long as you stay there and keep them company like a nice person, they'll be happy to keep jogging. The bigger and leggier the dog, the more effective this is[1], but overall canines are well built for endurance. Dogs, donkeys, and horses have all been used for treadmill power for direct drive milling equipment when people don't want to - hooking them up to a generator is really just the TL 6 version of the same idea.

[1] running a dog on a powered treadmill to get them exercise is another equation - it works better with small dogs simply because you need big treadmills for big dogs :P
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