BAMF2010: SolarPump Charging Station

Amidst the noise of a bazillion robots and Tesla coils at the 2010 Bay Area Maker Faire, we located a bubble of usable WiFi, and got a nearby power charge to boot. If nothing else here, we want this:

The SolarPump Charging Station is a self-contained oasis of free power for laptops, cel phones and even electric bikes. This charging station is one of several designs created by Sol Design Labs of sunny Austin, Texas. No bigger than a bus stop (and way cooler looking), it’s like the ultimate case mod, repurposing a vintage Citgo gas pump and recycled metals for more modern needs. Three large Sanyo solar panels provide power for devices and shade for users, while topping off the internal 24V 100AH battery for nighttime use (with LED lighting) or cloudy days. The end result transcends “green” — the SolarPump is simply appealing at a visceral level, managing to be simultaneously fun, attractive and practical. Did we mention wanting one? We totally want one.

18 thoughts on “BAMF2010: SolarPump Charging Station

  1. BAMF! it is a BAMF. Every city should have one for every park, bus station, sidewalk cafe, etc. They could just add free wifi and it would be one of the greatest inventions ever!

  2. Neat idea. Around here I could see something like this making it’s way around to county fairs and other events. I know where there are some ’60s era pumps, I need to see if the owner would sell them to me at reasonable cost. He could keep the guts and everything else associated with liquid fuel delivery as they still may have some value yet. All I’d want is the base, armature and the cabinet. I’d paint green with yellow pagan Sun symbols. My guess yellow was chosen here to represent the Sun.

  3. Wow, a bunch of solar panels to sit under. The only difference between this and, say, regular solar panels is that these guys get to parade about how “environmentally concious” they are. Annoying.

  4. @bait, too true and every 6 months or so I see a ‘solar power breakthrough’ story on SlashDot about how some ‘boffins’ have managed to develop solar panels with a higher efficiency and/or lower $ per W.

    Just a shame solar panels still cost a small fortune and all these ‘breakthroughs’ have yet to be implimented in commercial panels, so decreasing the $ per W to the average consumer.

  5. That is just the kind of idea that is what is wrong with the country. Charge someone for sitting in the sun, because there was some government grant, that bought the hardware, to stimulate the economy, to better the country, so that someone could screw someone else over in the end, by charging them for sunlight. While we are at it, why don’t we put parking meters under shade trees in parks, and charge people for protection from skin cancer. That would be about appropriate wouldn’t it, given the current state of things in Wahsington.

  6. Well, if you do not charge for the SERVICE of converting sunlight to electricity, or at least to pay for the solar panels, where would the money come from to put up the station? Would you pay 25 cents for the CONVENIENCE of not letting your cell phones battery die while far from your car or home charger? YOU might not but someone might.

  7. @brsnow:

    Jose is absolutely right… these item, in unassembled fashion, are not free. The labor, to assemble them, is not free. Things are bought, and time is paid for. These two concepts are neccesary in a consumer society. If you do not want to pay for electricity, go to McDonalds or Starbucks and hippy it up there. If you do not want to pay to sit in shade, EVERY park/city has trees you can sit under for free. If you want to utilize the service provided by this product, then quit whining and pay whatever small fee its creators deem appropriate.

  8. McD’s et al. don’t charge because they realize the benefits providing a public service. It’s not like this setup and service provision is inherently free for them, either.

    It’s up to the producer to decide a service charge, but to presume that it should (or shouldn’t) mandate one is ridiculous. I personally would think a donation box (with a lock) would be appropriate, but to see a toll on the thing would be as awkward as seeing one on a water fountain.

    (If you’re not willing to consider it as a corporate public service, perhaps presuming the government would install it would be OK –let your hard-earned tax dollars take care of it.)

  9. I agree that the unit could be turned into a sun powered charging kiosk to create a marketable product. The people who don’t understand why people would want to pay to have a cell phone charged, don’t understand the local market. Even at the Maker Faire people were paying to park at $17 a car when the free lot was less than a 10 min walk and had signs all over telling cars how to get there. I can see “free” power selling for $3 an hour under this thing if is placed in the right location.

    At the MF I tried to buy a picture taken by the arial kite photography, and someone at the booth said they weren’t available for sale. They had hundreds of pictures in stacks on the counters, they weren’t giving them away, they weren’t selling them. I would of paid $5 for a print unframed to support his hobby and he wouldn’t budge. I don’t urderstand the makers at the event who are unaware of how to turn their hobby into something that would be profitable.

  10. Although this is really cool, and I would love one too(if not just for the $$$ solar panels), looking at the title photo, this seem to be a failure in the “shade” department… :)

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