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How Many Solar Powered Devices Do You Own?

Displaying poll results.
  15401 votes / 49%
  3103 votes / 9%
  452 votes / 1%
147 votes / 0%
  385 votes / 1%
Do plants count?
  11800 votes / 37%
31288 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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How Many Solar Powered Devices Do You Own?

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  • n/t

    • Selenium Light Meter (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Iskender (1040286) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @02:43PM (#35260884)

      Like apparently pretty much everyone else who has anything solar powered I have just one thing: a Russian Leningrad-4 selenium light meter. Old age has made it less functional, but give it solar or just any light and the dial will still move, and might even be consistently wrong so that it still could be useful. No batteries needed, ever.

      I wish I had more portable things that didn't need batteries. I try to keep things "mechanical" whenever I can. Currently I'm having no luck finding one of those mechanical distance meters for my bicycle - I find the idea of using an electronic meter that eats single-use batteries somewhat disgusting, particularily since I don't need the added accuracy.

      • you don't own a calculator?
        • by pookemon (909195)
          The calculator I use is one of two:

          (a) Built into Windows (I even have a button on my keyboard dedicated to loading it...)
          (b) Built into my Android phone

          Neither of these are solar powered.
      • I'm having no luck finding one of those mechanical distance meters for my bicycle - I find the idea of using an electronic meter that eats single-use batteries somewhat disgusting, particularily since I don't need the added accuracy.

        I'm not trying to be a smart ass here, but what is your definition of "eats batteries"? My wife has a battery powered distance computer on her bike. She rides over 100 miles a week, 9 months a year, and she has yet to replace the battery even once in the last two years.

        The mechanical version DOES sound pretty cool though.


      • I wish I had more portable things that didn't need batteries. I try to keep things "mechanical" whenever I can. Currently I'm having no luck finding one of those mechanical distance meters for my bicycle - I find the idea of using an electronic meter that eats single-use batteries somewhat disgusting, particularily since I don't need the added accuracy.

        I find the idea of giving school children calculators that waste not only battery power, but energy and chemical resources to build all those complex ICs and plastic cases disturbing and wasteful. We should use a renewable resource: trees. Trees can be farmed, logged and replanted, or trimmed (branches), depending on application. For this application, mostly the generation of extremely small beads, some dense oak or walnut would work extremely well. You could power the manufacturing plant in the usual

    • by toddestan (632714)

      That's called a TI-36. The 35 and 36 are the same thing except for the power source.

      • by bidule (173941)

        That's called a TI-36. The 35 and 36 are the same thing except for the power source.

        Not when it's an antique [].

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:57PM (#35260582)
    The only one I have was a gift. It is a combination radio and light with both a hand crank generator and photovoltaic cell. It has not been used, but if the apocalypse comes I can enjoy listening to static with a grim sliver of light.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:59PM (#35260592)
    What about my plants that are powered from the mains?
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Those are more accurately called "kindling".

      • by hedwards (940851)

        This "Kindling" thing is that what they're calling the new ebook from Amazon?

        • by idontgno (624372)


          They're plant-based, and they're almost completely made out of renewable materials. They generate no greenhouse gases in the course of consumer use or storage. They require no power to read, if you have adequate ambient lighting. They're completely DRM-free. And, yes, if you are desperate, you can kindle a fire with these.

          "e-less ebooks" are the wave of the future.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2011 @02:43PM (#35260878)

      What about my plants that are powered from the mains?

      You mean the grow lights you have in the basement?

    • by magarity (164372)

      What about the solar plants that power the mains? In my state the voters fell for a proposition requiring increased energy prices thanks to mandating a percentage of power come from solar. Therefore all of my devices are solar powered.

  • 12+ (Score:5, Funny)

    by eln (21727) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @02:00PM (#35260596) Homepage
    Technically, everything I own uses energy that came from the Sun at some point. There were a few intermediate steps involved in storing that solar energy in my gasoline, of course.

    I keep telling the environmentalists that my 2-gallons-to-the-mile Hummer LH (Ludicrously Huge) is technically solar powered, but they just give me dirty looks.
    • by geogob (569250)

      That is, of course, if you have no electricity at all coming from nuclear power plants...

      • by Phat_Tony (661117)
        Or geothermal.

        Solar, wind, wave, coal, oil, natural gas, garbage burning, that's all indirectly solar.

        Tidal is an exception too. If it weren't for the sun, the oceans would be frozen solid and there wouldn't be tides, but the tides themselves are driven from the kinetic energy from the moon, not from the sun.

        Human and animal powered generators are all driven by calories coming from the sun directly or indirectly.

        Is there anything being used at all aside from nuclear, tidal, and geothermal that isn't
    • Yeah, and the Sun is "gravity powered"... there's a reason we don't make these distinctions.
    • the looks would be less dirty if your LH emissions weren't all up in their faces.
    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Last time I heard, the Earth has a molten core and is spinning.

      I bet this generates a lot of energy.
  • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @02:32PM (#35260790) Journal

    Got me a Voltaic Backpack. []
    An older model, with three non-detachable plates - but with a bit more juice as it has 3 x 1.5 Watt plates instead of 2 x 2 Watt plates like the new, detachable model.

  • My whole house is solar powered... how many devices is that?
  • My solar is in the cloud. Or rather, behind the clouds, most of the time. I'm guessing it wouldn't be worth it economically for me to purchase solar panels for my house given that it rains so much. I'd love to have some way to heat my pool economically, though (right now the sun does that, but the swimming season is too short because of this).

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I think solar thermal panels are economical even in more extreme latitudes. They're cheap compared to PV systems. UK websites tell me it would take 7-10 years for the investment to pay off for a normal house, presumably it would be quicker if you have a pool, or if you live somewhere less cloudy.

  • We have 8 garden paths lights in the front garden, so I suppose that counts as "8". Not sure I would classify a simple light as a "device" for the purposes of Slashdot, but there you go.

  • I submitted this poll, and was sure most people would be in the 12+ range, and very few in the 0-1 range (hell, everyone owns at least 1 solar calc, after all). I have over a dozen solar powered lights for my walkways at the house, several solar calculators (always keep one in the car, briefcase, office), and some other misc devices (12v charging panel) etc., and I am one of those dirty Libertarian types. (consider myself a conservationist)

    I figured with all the tree hugging and global warming discussions

    • by godrik (1287354)

      Well, I live in a appartment. So I do not have a walkway to put lights in. I do not have use for solar calculator provided I have a mobile phone. I walk or ride a bike to work. So even by think of what I own that could be solar powered, I don't really see what could be. I guess the appartment complex could be solar powered...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nocuous (1567933)
      Tree hugging and global warming discussions? I think you're misapprehending the priorities of this community. I believe they are:

      Railing against evil Micro$oft
      Gushing about Apple
      Decrying copyright and patents as inherently evil (but in a different way than Micro$oft is evil)
      Correcting each others' grammar
      Complaining about people who correct others' grammar
      Making trivial corrections in others' posts that don't affect the content or meaning in any way
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Making trivial corrections in others' posts that don't affect the content or meaning in any way

        I believe that at the end of a list, you're supposed to use a period.

  • Solar powered yellow LED dock lights.  Have 15 of them for $3.   Works well in the summertime (this season will be 5 years).  I'm in MN.
  • by tsa (15680)

    I have a small plastic flower from China that moves its leaves when the sun shines on it.

  • The lights for my bike are a pair of Blackburn Flea Solar [] lights (one front, one rear, I charge them at work in the window, which, even on a cloudy day, is enough to charge them to run for two days commute both ways.)

    I have a ThinkGeek Sun-in-a-jar [] that was given to me as a gag gift for Christmas last year.

    I also have a couple ancient generic solar calculators.

    Plus, of course, all the gag answers...

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @05:42PM (#35262080)

    The food you eat and the gasoline/diesel you burn is stored solar power. Coal is stored solar power. We're burning up the savings at a prodigious rate.

    Ultimately every element that exists above the level of hydrogen was formed in a sun somewhere so nuclear power is stellar power.

    • In a strange twist of irony, the ancients who worshiped the Sun as a deity were not far off the mark. That ball of fiery fusion is the immediate source of all life on earth.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      The early universe was 75% hydrogen, 25% helium, and a trace of lithium.

  • I forgot about calculators when I answered the poll, but I do have a solar powered torch (sunlight charges its battery for use later).
  • I voted "Do Plants Count?" Then I remembered I don't have any of those either. :-(

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      I voted the same, but only because plants deserve a lot more credit than they get.

      Sure, it's the token "funny" answer, but plants are indeed devices that we use every day. That large shade tree on the southwest corner of your house costs very little in maintenance (once established) to provide significant cooling the summer.

      It takes solar energy and effectively converts it to a cooler home. It's pretty tough to beat that in terms of efficiency.

  • From the responses, it appears most solar devices suck. I've bought several solar-powered night lights, all of which sucked because of partial shade during the day, and, I suspect, sucky rechargeable batteries. I've gone to LCD lights.
    • ...those insensitive clods!

      Hell, they should have been more specific in their definition of solar powered also... The sun is technically a "nuclear reaction" (and other things) so technically I have many nuclear powered devices.

      Also those damn sidewalk solar powered lights do suck... LCD is much better, you're right.

  • My family robot team made an ROV for the National Underwater Robotics Challenge. It runs on solar power, as we got extra points for that and I had a 75 Watt panel purchased for Burning Man. []

    And our house has 4kW of solar power, so sometimes it powers all our stuff.
  • My watch is solar powered and, because it synchronizes to WWV every night, is accurate to within a couple of seconds over 32 million years. It never needs winding or setting. It just sits there, giving atomic-clock-perfect time. A horologist's dream.
  • I said 2. I think there's a couple of old solar powered calculators in a drawer downstairs somewhere. They're probably over 10 years old. How's that for cutting edge? I'm also trying to grow things in the yard but the damn deer are eating it all. I guess the deer are solar powered, but they're not really mine. So I can't count them.
    • I'm just going to put this out there....Those deer eating your things tend to be mighty tasty. They also don't like the scent of another dead dear lingering around what they once considered their food source. And, since it's your property and you don't have to drive around with a dead deer in the back of your pickup, permitting issues are...well...somewhat hard to enforce.

      Just some food for thought.
    • by shawb (16347)
      There are many ways to reduce damage from grazing deer:

      Fencing: this is usually the first line. The fences have to be fairly tall, but not necessarily all that sturdy. Often times using less visible fencing is the most effective, as the deer run into it and get startled rather than approaching cautiously. Remember, deer eyesight is focused more to the sides and they rely heavily on scent and hearing, so this isn't as ridiculous as it seems. Fencing really depends on the property, neighborhood, what y
  • I've a 300 litre tank on my roof, attached to a fair-sized panel. Been getting free hot water all summer. :) Of course that's when you need it least, but the thought was there ....
    • All the others are electrically powered, with the electricity coming from photovoltaic cells. This seems to be the only device in the list that actually uses solar power directly.
  • I have the usual collection of small toys - calculator, garden lights, so forth...

    And I have around 1200W in solar panels on the roof. One 135W panel supplies my ham radio bench w/ 12V AGM battery. A (cheap, junky, but still functioning) Harbor Freight 45W panel set is used to charge random 12V batteries or maintain the car in the garage. The rest (8 x 135W) are tied to a battery bank and inverter that feeds a dedicated set of circuits in the house. I can in theory run almost anything in the house off t

  • Does a digital sundial [] count?

  • For the fourteenhundredth time, please use a log scale. Something like
    0 (=Cowboyneal)

  • ...because we have a bunch of solar powered garden lights. Then a few calculators. My son has a solar powered reading light in his room. We have a few solar powered toys which we built from kits. One of them is configured as an air boat at the moment. Some times we use it in a pond in a local park. Easily more than 12.

  • More than half the ./ polls that involve a numerical scale, have some problem with the range choices.

  • My Casio watch is solar powered.
    If the ROI on PV for my home exceeds my utility co there would be more for me to share.

  • Most of my outdoor lighting is solar. Handy to be able to see the keyhole in the dark.

    I run a SheevaPlug based server from solar with mains backup. 90% of the time it is solar powered (with battery for overnight, charged from solar). Max power draw is ~2.5W, not hard to get from a couple of panels.

    My next goal is to make a radio powered clock. A radio antenna produces a small amount of current, which is how crystal radio sets work without a battery. Given a large enough antenna and a powerful enough signal

  • One might argue *everything* on earth is solar-powered. No sun = No life on earth.
  • After they've been buried underground for a few million years?

  • ...A calculator I don't even use anymore.

    I've tried to move my PDAs to solar-only a few times in the last few years, but every time I shop around, the solar chargers just can't justify their cost and inconvenience. I almost went for it last time, I'll probably make the switch this year or the next since I should be able to find a solar charger with a li-po backup battery built in. I think the presence of the small, light and high-capacity li-po is why I went with a usb battery backup without solar - all of

  • All life is solar powered, including my family, and the vast number of bacteria we carry.
  • Everything in my house is "solar" powered in the sense that I have elected a solar provider as my power supplier. (Through de-regulation, supply and delivery are de-coupled in NY and can be purchased separately).

The disks are getting full; purge a file today.


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