PetaPixel

The FlameStower Lets You Charge Your Gear On the Go Using Fire

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Outdoor loving photographers who are often far away from power grids don’t have too many options when it comes to charging up their gear. Without a generator you’re pretty much left with batteries and solar chargers.

But the guys behind the FlameStower didn’t like either of those options, so they came up with a third. Instead of using batteries or the sun, they decided to use fire.

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Team FlameStower consists of grad school buddies Andy Bynes and Adam Kell, who came up with the idea in Bynes’ garage. Built to be ultra-portable, the little gadget turns heat from a flame into electricity that it can pump into any electronic device with a USB charger.

Obviously you won’t be powering any softboxes this way, but if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, any camera you can charge via USB can benefit from the FlameStower. And, of course, even if that’s not an option, there’s always your camera phone.

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Unlike solar chargers the FlameStower can work at any time of day or night. All you have to do is unfold it, set one end up over a flame, and fill the cup on the other with water. The heat from the fire transfers to the generator, the water bath keeps the other end of the generator cool, and the temp difference creates electricity. That’s it!

Here’s a quick video demo of the FlameStower in action:

It’s an ingenious idea that’s ready to get off the ground minus the funding required for mass manufacturing. And so, the duo have started a Kickstarter that reached its goal in just a few days time. With 22 days left, every early bird special is gone and Team FlameStower has raised almost $24,000 (with an original goal of just $15,000).

If you want to get your own, or learn more about the little fire-powered charger, head over to the group’s website or Kickstarter page by clicking the corresponding links. Getting a FlameStower will cost you a minimum pledge of $80, and Bynes and Kell promise to have it in your hands in time for Christmas.

(via Laughing Squid)


 
 
  • BrokenPencil

    Cool idea but not that useful when you think about it.

  • Aaro Keipi

    I thought about it and you’re right

  • BrokenPencil

    You got to admit though. It’s pretty awesome. Fire+water+metal and you get ELECTRICITY!!! I’d buy it just to be that guy at the party. lol

  • Mike

    Use a Peltier element to generate electricity! Ingenious!
    But not new at all. Even using it for USB voltage+current is not new, look up BioLite, PowerPot, and just google the darn stuff. It’s old.

    Why the “ingenious” hype this time?

  • McGraffix

    Never ever been that far away from an electrical outlet, am I right ;)?

  • Carl Meyer

    If you are going to carry around a camp stove, a bottle of water and that thing you sure can carry a portable AA powered USB charger and forget about setting the woods on fire.

  • 7LeagueBoots

    Or you could just get a BioLite stove, that you can cook on, uses wood, and also charges your gear instead of a single purpose unit that takes liquid fuel and you can’t cook on.

  • Eugene Chok

    there are already several versions on this commercially available, the best versions all eliminate try to reduce smoke

  • zeptom

    Like people already have said, nothing new but should maybe be a good thing anyway. Would be fun to watch when someone do a compare of all different kind of heat power charger.

  • Norshan Nusi

    Gonna be damn useful in an emergency.

    Or in Lost.

  • Aaro Keipi

    Actually I’ve been plenty far away, I just happen to have a camera and phone that allows for spare batteries. ;)

    I will admit though, this is an awesome idea and should work great for some people. But for me, there are better options than carrying around a stove and an extra canteen of fuel.

  • Genkakuzai

    My thought exactly. The BioLite stove beats this product in just about every possible way.

  • TadaoCern

    sun charger sounds like a better idea for me. And if you’ll think about the space that you would need to store this device… few extra usb batteries would take less.

  • Joey Duncan

    Hmmmm, This seems like it might be *ok* to have when there is no sun, like in snow climates. But there are better solutions. This is probably very slow, and will cost the same or more than a solar panel and solar wouldn’t require you to stop. It looks like a Peltier device, you heat one side and you have a giant cool heatsink (as possible) on the other side and the result is electricity. But these can 1: break, 2: cost a lot to get the proper MaH to charge quickly or efficiently. In the past few years a lot of tech people have tried to make use of Peltier devices and never really seem to get very far will with.

    Personally I think there is a lot better ideas out there like the piezo-electric generator in your shoe or static gatherer (I actually have no seen a production of this, just a concept) and if you are going to use a Peltier, there is a more efficient means than burning gas JUST to activate the Peltier and that’s the other Kickstarter from about 6 months ago where there was a Peltier inside a cooking element so you charged while you cooked, then you end up with less waste.

    And lastly, honestly if you are able to be able to carry around that much extra gas there are other means of converting energy (from gas) into electricity that’s more efficient, like using STEAM which is one of the MOST efficient means possible, or combustion (see:car)

    Also, and actual technical blah blah: Peltier devices are like 20-40% efficient, which is HORRIBLE you could get more electricity out of a hand crank. (3 phase electric motor are 60~80% efficient I believe)

  • Joey Duncan

    The whole thing is horrible inefficient lol.

    “ingenious” because they have a very small marketing dictionary to work with.

  • Joey Duncan

    agreed

  • Steve Grob

    It may not be efficient or practical enough to act as a staple energy source, but might be a life saver in a pinch. If they develop one that could be used with a campfire, that would be of more value. Still inefficient, but inexpensive and abundant fuel source in many areas.

  • Halfrack

    REI has the BioLite Wood Burning CampStove, so a wood based stove with USB charger.

  • Chris Carson

    I leave you a link to an actual product and you kill off my post. Cool I won’t do it again … ever.

  • Sarpent

    Besides being a little more compact, I’m not really sure how this is really different that the existing PowerPot (long ago completed Kickstarter project). I’d leave a link, but apparently that gets your comment deleted. You can guess it from the name powerpot by adding the w’s and the dot com. I own one of these and have been very happy with it when hiking in the backcountry.

  • Rabi Abonour

    An external battery just a couple times the size of an iPhone could easily last you a week. Props to them for taking their product photo in the middle of a bunch of dry brush, though. Needing to charge your phone is a great reason to start a wildfire.

  • BrokenPencil

    “there are better options than carrying around a stove and an extra canteen of fuel.” Exactly.

  • Matt Wheeler

    Don’t forget ‘The’ before PowerPot

  • dan110024

    Maybe it’s the Australian in me, but that seems like an extremely stupid place to setup a gas stove without any attempt of making a clearing. He’d be fined and possible jail time if that turned bad here in Australia.

  • Sarpent

    Yeah, well they can do their own branding. :-)

  • ScarlettFeverr

    I’m thinking fire + National Parks = not real good idea right now.