Research Report

The iPod is the best selling mp3 player in the world. As of April 2009, Apple has sold 100 million iPods to costumers just like you and me. It seems like everywhere you look, someone has an iPod. The iPod was first released on October 23, 2001 with the slogan, “1,000 songs in your pocket.” Today Apple has achieved much more that 1,000 songs and is still moving forward. Since this is the most popular brand of music playing devices in the world, I chose iPod, and not one of its competitors such as Zoon.

                Originally with Firewire®, a serial bus interface that transferred both songs and battery life to your iPod at once, the iPod changed to USB. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus that can establish communication with devices and a host controller. With the 30 pin iPod cable and USB end, an iPod needs 5 volts to charge. From the AC, USB needs about 12.5 volts to charge.

                The idea of solar power came from A. E. Becquerel in 1739 when he discovered the photovoltaic effect, which is the physics behind solar cells. The photovoltaic effect was an electrode in a conductive solution exposed to sunlight. Solar energy eventually came by combining cells into one large solar panel, which acted as a battery. Solar power is renewable, meaning that it is generated from natural resources. Also, solar power is sustainable energy, which means that it lasts for a long amount of time benefiting us and the environment usually. Solar chargers are very popular now days, and are great for the environment. The USB solar charger gives off five volts and was designed for mp3 players at only a cost of $10.

                The Dynamo Hand Crank charger uses electromagnetism to charge an iPod. When you crank, a magnet is spinning in copper wire, which produces electricity. This was discovered in 1831 by Michael Faraday, a British scientist. He insisted that if a conductor were to move through a magnetic field electric current would flow to it. This would create mechanical energy into electrical energy.

                The lemon battery is two dissimilar metals suspended into an electrolyte. In this situation, we have copper and zinc suspended in citric acid. The copper serves as the positive cathode and the zinc serves as the negative anode. An electrochemical change occurs in the metals. The zinc losses electrons while the copper gains electrons. This creates an electrical voltage of about 1.4 volts.

                The Voltaic pile is based on the same principal as the lemon battery. This is a form of wet cells combined in one as a battery. Invented by Alessandro Volta after a fight with Galvani’s electrical experiment, Volta created the first electric battery. Also with two dissimilar metals separated by soaked cloth soaked in an electrolyte. The copper and zinc electrodes when in contact with an electrolyte, they created electricity by oxidation.

                Wind power is also a renewable energy source and is sustainable. The Hymini was the first mini wind generator to be created. When the small propellers turn, it turns a turbine which then turns a machine that turns kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in a lithium battery. Crate by Prof. Haung, a Harvard graduate, the Hymini was designed for small electronic devices. It needs about 14mph to turn the turbine to charge the battery. About 20 of wind charging will give you about 1 hour of audio payback time is claimed by miniWiz, Hymini’s creator.

                Steve Jobs, the CEO of iPod always introduces the new models and such. He also introduced how iPods are more environmentally friendly made with no mercury and how they can be recycled. Charging iPods with renewable, clean power is our next step to greening our small lifestyle.

                A seventh grader last year in Watauga County did a similar project as mine, she did “Green Ways to Charge an iPod!” when mine is more focused on a solution, hers were mainly citric acid and two dissimilar metals. There were no results on the internet of her project nor could I come in contact with her, but she did receive 1st place.