Solar Powered Wii: Go Outside and Play
Gaming consoles use a lot of power; another reason to tell the kids to go play outside. Here is a way to kill a couple of birds with one stone: Send them outside with a solar powered Wii.
The kids at Tom's Hardware Guide built this prototype; Rob Wright says "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."
It only has a 20 watt panel while the Wii and Monitor together draw 180 watts, so it needs a lot of time in the sun before the action begins. They also run the power through an inverter to get it to 120 AC which then goes through power bricks to go back to low voltage DC, which wastes a lot of juice; it is not hard to find 12 volt displays and sound systems. Fully charged, the battery will run the works for eight hours; with a bigger solar panel, perhaps a pop-up wind turbine, and a microwave oven for popcorn, they could go all night. ::TwitchGuru and ::Toms Hardware via ::Trendhunter