Outdoors

Giga takes campsite device-charging for a spin

The Giga portable wind turbine is presently on Kickstarter
The Giga portable wind turbine is presently on Kickstarter
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The amount of power that the Giga produces will depend on how windy it is, although it's claimed to kick out up to 5 watts
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The amount of power that the Giga produces will depend on how windy it is, although it's claimed to kick out up to 5 watts
The Giga measures 325 mm across (12.7 in) and tips the scales at 1 kg (2.2 lb)
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The Giga measures 325 mm across (12.7 in) and tips the scales at 1 kg (2.2 lb)
The Giga portable wind turbine is presently on Kickstarter
3/3
The Giga portable wind turbine is presently on Kickstarter

While some people might say that electronic devices have no business being on camping trips, the fact is that items such as LED lanterns, GPS units, two-way radios and cameras all have batteries that need charging. The Giga is designed to meet that need, using the power of the wind.

Created by British inventor Robert Kettlety, the Giga is basically a small wind turbine that's enclosed within a protective UV-resistant thermoplastic body. Measuring 325 mm across (12.7 in) and tipping the scales at 1 kg (2.2 lb), it can be wedged between rocks, propped up in trees, or staked to the ground – the latter is accomplished using included lengths of 4-mm marine-grade rope, and three fixing pegs.

Once the Giga's set up at the campsite, its blades spin in the wind throughout the day or night. Unlike a solar panel, it doesn't require any sunlight, plus unlike a portable water turbine (yes, they do exist) it doesn't need to be put in a stream or river. That said, rain shouldn't be a problem, as all of its electronics are waterproof.

The Giga measures 325 mm across (12.7 in) and tips the scales at 1 kg (2.2 lb)
The Giga measures 325 mm across (12.7 in) and tips the scales at 1 kg (2.2 lb)

The amount of power that it produces will depend on how windy it is, although it's claimed to kick out up to 5 watts. That power is delivered to devices via an included USB charging cable.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this isn't the first portable wind turbine we've seen, although its form is relatively unique. Other examples have included the folding Trinity, along with the collapsible Micro Wind Turbine and WindPax. The Waterlily, however, is somewhat similar.

Should you be interested, the Giga is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of £99 (about US$129) will get you one, when and if it reaches production. The planned retail price is £149 ($195).

Source: Kickstarter

9 comments
sugamari
i love it. good job building the obvious! now i have a few stipulations before i buy it. will it mount to my windsuit? or to my motorcycle? i suppose i don't need to put it on my jet car. but my canoe maybe.
Mr T
Devices like this are pointless. Unless it is blowing a gale, you get virtually no power out of them, and if it's that windy, the last thing you are worried about is charging your phone. If you need portable power, a 10W folding solar panel is cheaper and simpler and more reliable than this thing, will last longer, and provide a lot more power. Of course, people will say "what if you are camped in the shade?" If that's the case, then you are under trees and you won't get much wind anyway, and if it's that windy, you won't be camped under trees due to the risk of falling branches anyway. Just use a solar panel with an extension cord (DC extension cords are cheap and readily available, or make one up, it's dead simple) and put the solar panel in the sun.
BeinThayer
"... it's claimed to kick out up to 5 watts. ..." . Up to? Given that stamdard non-rapid charging USB rates of charge are double this 5 watt claimed maximum, the idea that this might end up being something you are glad you packed is dubious. . Also, why have this sitting on a log or in the dirt, why not a lightweight folding tripod to get it up to better wind and out of the grass blades?
paul314
Useful for places with wind but no sun? 5-watt solar chargers are easily available, and you could buy a bunch of them for this price.
Pupp1
As a general rule, the output is rated for ideal conditions. But chances are that your camp is not in a high-wind area, and likely to be surrounded by trees that will reduce wind. So, the real world usefulness is likely to be EXTREMELY limited. The local Amish all want to stay off-grid, but don't bother with wind energy, except to pump water out in the field. And those are on fairly tall towers, and surrounded with farm land rather than trees. Instead, for electricity, they use solar to charge batteries.
Booleanboy
Alongside performance issues the mounting 'system' looks profoundly Heath Robinson. Positioning a wind turbine on the ground can't possbly be optimal unless on a cliff edge and expecting it to perform well in the weeds - as the photo in the article illustrates - is... optimistic.
owlbeyou
A Li-ion battery pack is smaller, lighter and cheaper, and always rechargeable through a USB port. No worries about cloudy, windless days and even if the situation is optimal, up to 5 watts ain't gonna cut it. Besides, if you're going camping in the wild for a little adventure, bring a mirror, compass, led flashlight, matches or a flint, and if you have to use your cell phone/camera my battery pack will charge it several times. Of course, If you're out in the real wilderness, your cell phone may not get a signal anyway. FAIL.
Daishi
You could build a solar panel into the back of a phone case that would generate more power. You can buy wholesale solar panels at almost 50 cents/watt now. There are tons of compact fold out solar chargers on the market that would be a better choice. There are external batteries with solar panels that would also work well.
ljaques
Methinks it might charge a phone in 3 days in, um, Chicago. 16w folding solar for a bit less https://is.gd/bKvXMb It would probably charge a phone on a cloudy day.