So I realized that when I talk to some people about my solar project (and to a lesser extent, my thermoelectric project) they tend to assume that I’m trying to be green, or concerned about the environment, or whatever. The truth is, I’m really not. Aside from the fact that so many things passed off as “green” these days couldn’t be less so, it’s just not my primary motivator. I’ll concede that maybe months, or years down the line, all my R&D might lead me to something that might have a real impact on environmental savings, but not right now; not from a solar cell phone charger that only just works. I could never delude myself into thinking I was making any kind of difference (even a small one). I think the whole notion of being “green” at the moment is too much of a trend and not much of an actual desire to do something real. I’m almost certain this is the case. Why? Because things that are passed off as “green” aren’t typically difficult, and being genuinely green is. It’s easy to say you’re doing this or that, but people never see things big picture. Major impacts require major action, and driving around in a prius packed to the hilt with rare earth metals isn’t going to cut it.
Anyway, right now, my biggest motivator is the love of the puzzle. I’m constantly thinking about the charger. What can I do to make it better? How can I make it more efficient? What could I change about it to make it work differently? All day long I’m thinking about this stuff. It’s a real challenge to build things. Then I might have a new idea, and I need to do some research on it. More things to do. It’s probably 95% the chase, and 5% the result. I think the result will evolve, and even more so than it already has. I had a good idea today to use a photoresister to regulate the charge voltage when I realized that I have to set it before I leave in the morning, literally guessing how strong the sun will be that day. I need to do some calculations on that, but I’m pretty sure it will work.