looking for hand crank technologies

Hi there,
I'm working towards a gridless existence in a PV powered RV, and was looking around for more devices that would help me retain a few of the finer things of grid life (like smoothies) that may topple my meager PV electrical budget.

We started off by locating a hand crank coffee grinder, and though it now takes about an hour to get a fresh, and I mean fresh cup of coffee, we really want more of our life to be hand crankable.

So, does anyone know of any other appliances, I.E. blenders, chargers, dynamo or treadle driven devices on the market?

Also, has anyone heard of or tested this weza, treadle-driven battery charger? we are considering this one...


Metering Technologies w/Opportunity for Load Management and Choice


  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,501 admin
    Re: looking for hand crank technologies

    If you have extra time and fat (to burn off)--use the pedal powered appliances... But be prepared for hard work. Cycling hard and you can produce (very roughly) between 100watts and 500watts (and how many hours can you pedal per day?).

    Now compare that to spending $1,000 (retail) for 200 watt solar panel (and maybe another couple hundred for the charge controller) that will run for ~5 hours per day, every day, in the summer with no sweat from you.

    For little appliances (AM/FM radio)... I prefer the ones with the solar panel and spring winding crank over those that have a little hand cranked generator + rechargeable battery... I find that if they have been stored for a few years (emergency pack), the rechargeable batteries are usually dead and can't be recharged (at least by hand).

    If you can find a hand crank unit that takes regular AA NiCADS/NiMH batteries--that is a bit better--at least you can easily use your fresh AA rechargeables to bring life back to the radio/hand light.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: looking for hand crank technologies

    A couple of weeks ago I bought 2 hand cranked L.E.D. lanterns for $20 each. They have 20 clear L.E.D.s and 5 red L.E.D.s. They were marked down almost half the original price. They also have a raio that works very well. I usually get about 30 minutes of light out of about 3 minutes cranking. They also have adaptors that will charge batteries off of A.C. or D.C. Will be off grid for app. 3 months and have been using them every night to see how they hold up. So far so good. I was supprised at the amount these little lanterns give off.
  • Ralph Day
    Ralph Day Solar Expert Posts: 1,019 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: looking for hand crank technologies


    Link, link link? Or where did you find lanterns?


  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: looking for hand crank technologies

    Try Lehmans in Kindron Ohio. They make and sell all kinds of stuff for the Amish, including hand washing machines, wringers, all kinds of cool stuff if you want to work.


    PS I think it is www.lehmanshardware.com. If not do a search an you will find them.
  • Telco
    Telco Solar Expert Posts: 201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: looking for hand crank technologies

    Wow, don't buy your refrigerators from there, they are selling 18 cu ft 3000-5000 dollar fridges with energy usage of 472-505 KWH/year when a Kenmore 20 cu ft for 500 bucks will use 407KWH/yr. With that price difference you could buy enough extra solar panels to run the Kenmore year round, and have more cold storage to boot.