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Clean Power Medis 24x7 PowerPack with Flashlight

Published on July 1st, 2008 | by Rod Adams

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Medis PowerPack for Stormy Days

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July 1st, 2008 by
 
Medis 24x7 PowerPack with FlashlightBack in late May, I shared some information about the Medis 24 x 7 PowerPack, a fuel cell that charge a variety of electronic devices through the use of interchangeable tips. Last night I noticed an story on CNET’s Crave (“the gadget blog”) about a new application for the cell. It described an LED flashlight with an adapter to plug into a PowerPack that can operate for as long as six weeks on a single fuel cell.

That would have been a great item to have in my storm kit a couple of weeks ago when we lost power for more than 24 hours because of a line of thunderstorms that knocked out power for us and a few hundred thousand fellow residents of the Washington DC metro area. I am looking forward to trying it out for my next backpacking trip; the cell weighs less than the half dozen AA batteries that I normally carry for a 4 day trek.

For those of you who wonder how to keep your iPhone or iTouch operating when not close to a wall plug, the company recommends using the 2 watt power management cable. Wait a minute – 2 watts – that sounds like it might work for a device like the Cherry Pal that Michelle Bennett wrote about yesterday. Wonder how long it would work in that kind of service? Hmmm.

Disclosure: I have been following Medis for several years and own stock in the company. A long time ago, I worked as the General Manager in a small factory making simple plastic products. The virtual Medis factory tour in their facility in Galway, Ireland fascinates me.

Photo credit – Medis Technologies

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Medis 24/7 fuel cell powered flashlight and charger kit on Ecofriend.org

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About the Author

loves and respects our common environment, but he has a fatal flaw in the eyes of many environmentalists -- he's a huge fan of atomic energy. Reduce, reuse, and recycle have been watchwords for Rod since his father taught him that raising rabbits is a great way to turn kitchen scraps into fertilizer for backyard fruit trees and vegetable gardens. They built a compost heap together in about 1967, when he was 8 and when Earth Day was a mere gleam in some people's eye. During his professional career, he has served in several assignments on nuclear submarines, including a 40-month tour as the Engineer Officer of the USS Von Steuben. In 1994, he was awarded US patent number 5309592 for the control system for a closed-cycle gas turbine. He founded Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. in 1993, started Atomic Insights in 1995, and began producing the Atomic Show Podcast in 2006. He is currently an active duty officer (O-5) in the US Navy. He looks forward to many interesting discussions.



  • Tilyou

    And update on how lousy and useless the Medis junk is

    http://dansdata.blogsome.com/2008/09/09/news-flash-fuel-cell-even-more-forgettable-than-i-thought/

    The other day, I concluded that the Medis 24-7 Power Pack fuel-cell gadget-charger wasn’t a very interesting product, based on its specifications. The spec sheet didn’t make it look as if the fuel cell could do anything you couldn’t do with much cheaper conventional batteries.

    I’m now indebted to blogger Techskeptic, a man after my own heart except less lazy. He, as he mentions in the comments for the original Medis post, actually bought some Medis power packs and tested them thoroughly.

    The results are explained in great detail in Techskeptic’s final testing report, replete with the kind of graphs that I only bother to make when I’m testing something completely hilarious.

    Techskeptic tested three Medis Power Packs, and found that they actually managed to deliver only about nine to 13 watt-hours into real loads. Medis claim twenty watt-hours in their literature, and it’s that figure on which I based my own unimpressed response.

    So these things actually appear to be even worse than they seemed.

    The lousy real-world performance could be due in part to Medis optimistically listing the amount of energy the fuel cell actually (sorta-kinda) delivers on the sticker, rather than the amount of energy that makes it out of the Power Pack, down the cable and into the device you’re charging. There’s a DC-to-DC converter, you see, that takes the very low output voltage of the fuel cell (less than one volt) and boosts it to a gadget-charging level. And that converter turned out to be only about 70% efficient at best. Into a one-watt load, it dropped to about 60%.

    So Techskeptic concluded that the Medis device didn’t even beat a pack of six alkaline AAs. Actually, you’d probably get better results than the fuel cell if you hooked a similar voltage-booster up to a single humble D battery.

    (Little kits to make that sort of converter, usually to allow you to replace low-capacity 9V batteries with beefier but lower-voltage cells, have been around for ages. Here’s one that’ll boost the output of two cells to 9V; I’m sure I’ve seen single-cell versions as well, but can’t find one right now.)

    So Medis’ numbers would appear to be, at best, sort of like the old gross horsepower measurements that told you how much power a nude engine – no transmission, no air filter, no exhaust system, no alternator, no nothin’ – on a test-stand once managed to deliver. This did not have very much to do with the amount of power that would make it to the rear wheels of a car powered by the same model of engine.

  • Tilyou

    And update on how lousy and useless the Medis junk is

    http://dansdata.blogsome.com/2008/09/09/news-flash-fuel-cell-even-more-forgettable-than-i-thought/

    The other day, I concluded that the Medis 24-7 Power Pack fuel-cell gadget-charger wasn’t a very interesting product, based on its specifications. The spec sheet didn’t make it look as if the fuel cell could do anything you couldn’t do with much cheaper conventional batteries.

    I’m now indebted to blogger Techskeptic, a man after my own heart except less lazy. He, as he mentions in the comments for the original Medis post, actually bought some Medis power packs and tested them thoroughly.

    The results are explained in great detail in Techskeptic’s final testing report, replete with the kind of graphs that I only bother to make when I’m testing something completely hilarious.

    Techskeptic tested three Medis Power Packs, and found that they actually managed to deliver only about nine to 13 watt-hours into real loads. Medis claim twenty watt-hours in their literature, and it’s that figure on which I based my own unimpressed response.

    So these things actually appear to be even worse than they seemed.

    The lousy real-world performance could be due in part to Medis optimistically listing the amount of energy the fuel cell actually (sorta-kinda) delivers on the sticker, rather than the amount of energy that makes it out of the Power Pack, down the cable and into the device you’re charging. There’s a DC-to-DC converter, you see, that takes the very low output voltage of the fuel cell (less than one volt) and boosts it to a gadget-charging level. And that converter turned out to be only about 70% efficient at best. Into a one-watt load, it dropped to about 60%.

    So Techskeptic concluded that the Medis device didn’t even beat a pack of six alkaline AAs. Actually, you’d probably get better results than the fuel cell if you hooked a similar voltage-booster up to a single humble D battery.

    (Little kits to make that sort of converter, usually to allow you to replace low-capacity 9V batteries with beefier but lower-voltage cells, have been around for ages. Here’s one that’ll boost the output of two cells to 9V; I’m sure I’ve seen single-cell versions as well, but can’t find one right now.)

    So Medis’ numbers would appear to be, at best, sort of like the old gross horsepower measurements that told you how much power a nude engine – no transmission, no air filter, no exhaust system, no alternator, no nothin’ – on a test-stand once managed to deliver. This did not have very much to do with the amount of power that would make it to the rear wheels of a car powered by the same model of engine.

  • Inept

    I too am eagerly awaiting the LED light – we’ve had two power-interrupting storms since Medis first disclosed their plans for this. I am also a shareholder. Regarding your comment about the 2-watt CherryPal, however, I don’t believe it would be applicable, for three reasons. The two-watt Power Management System due out in August is only meant to handle transitory peak demand at that level. You still need a monitor in addition to the CherryPal, a notorious energy hog. And to benefit from cloud computing, you need an internet connection, which has to be powered in some manner.

    Be all that as it may, the PowerPack should be hitting at least some Best Buy and other store shelves this month – it will be interesting to see how it is actually priced, vs. the company’s suggested retail prices. At the SRP, Best Buy’s gross margins would be huge.

    As you must also be aware, there is a huge short position in Medis; the stock price was driven way down of late in a futile attempt to block the company’s access to financing that will allow it to successfully move to commercial production and distribution. The company, however, recently raised $29MM in a stock and warrant sale, at a price above the current market price. The company now has approximately $55MM in cash, a partnership with Best Buy, and a prospective development partnership with HP in the works. Those who don’t buy at least a few shares at this price will be saying coulda, shoulda, woulda for years to come.

  • Inept

    I too am eagerly awaiting the LED light – we’ve had two power-interrupting storms since Medis first disclosed their plans for this. I am also a shareholder. Regarding your comment about the 2-watt CherryPal, however, I don’t believe it would be applicable, for three reasons. The two-watt Power Management System due out in August is only meant to handle transitory peak demand at that level. You still need a monitor in addition to the CherryPal, a notorious energy hog. And to benefit from cloud computing, you need an internet connection, which has to be powered in some manner.

    Be all that as it may, the PowerPack should be hitting at least some Best Buy and other store shelves this month – it will be interesting to see how it is actually priced, vs. the company’s suggested retail prices. At the SRP, Best Buy’s gross margins would be huge.

    As you must also be aware, there is a huge short position in Medis; the stock price was driven way down of late in a futile attempt to block the company’s access to financing that will allow it to successfully move to commercial production and distribution. The company, however, recently raised $29MM in a stock and warrant sale, at a price above the current market price. The company now has approximately $55MM in cash, a partnership with Best Buy, and a prospective development partnership with HP in the works. Those who don’t buy at least a few shares at this price will be saying coulda, shoulda, woulda for years to come.

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