$100 laptop and power requirements


100_laptopI was reading about the $100 laptop on MobileMagazine and, in deference to those who are wiser than me, I have a question regarding the power. To keep the costs down and the laptop light, not to mention to combat the lack of power sources in some areas, this laptop has a string that can be pulled to generate electricity. Originally, the word from the OLPC folks was that there would be a crank; the concept is similar but slightly changed in the implementation with the string.

Here’s the thing: the laptop reportedly has a 500 MHz CPU, 500 MB of flash memory, wireless connectivity and a 7.5-inch screen. That’s all well and good, but apparently the power requirement is to generate 20 Watts of power every 10 minutes. Something doesn’t sound right, so here’s where you come in to help me understand the power needs.

My Samsung Q1 has a 29 Watt/hour battery. According to the Notebook Hardware Control application, the Q1 eats up about 9 to 11 Watts per hour and it has greater specs, which I generally equate into a higher power requirement. If this info is correct, how is that the $100 notebook basically needs 120 Watts per hour? Better yet, can I recharge my Q1 to 66% capacity with one of these string-rechargers? I must be missing something, so please tell me what it is….



Lars Juhl Jensen

It would seem that the information has been slowly degrading by blogs citing blogs. If you go back to the original article from Technology Review, it states:

“To reach the project’s goal of one minute of power generation for every ten minutes of laptop use, the generator would need to produce 20 watts (the laptop will require less than two watts in a primary application as an electronic textbook replacement).”

The generator can thus produce 20 watts if used continuously. The computer itself uses only 2 watts as compared to the 9 to 11 watts for the Q1.

So to answer your question: yes, you could charge your Q1 battery to 66% with one of these string chargers. However, it would require that you keep pulling the string for a full hour. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me … yet it might be better than having to watch the in-flight entertainment ;-)

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