Many electronic components are available on spools that can be used by machines for counting them out or placing them on boards. These capacitors were once on such a spool, but since we didn’t need quite enough for a full spool, they were counted out, rolled up and shipped out to us. They exhibit the opposite spirals of phyllotaxis that are probably most familiar from the face of a sunflower. Who knew capacitors could be so lovely?
We had a lot of fantastic entries in our supercapacitor contest! We now have a Grand Prize winner, two Second Prize winners, and a number of honorable mentions. A big thank you to everyone that submitted entries!
The Grand Prize (ten supercapacitors) goes to Stephen Kupiec, for his winning entry, “Supercap Project Luxeon V Throwie”:
A Luxeon V LED driven off of a LuxDrives 3021 buckpuck has been sporadically putting out a very short bright flash every 15-30 min on my desk startling coworkers. But it hasn’t been connected to power in over a month. The buckpuck has been harvesting power from 220 microfarad electrolytic capacitor which is in the circuit as a power line conditioner. Given a 1 farad supercap coupled with a very low (10000:1) duty cycle flasher circuit, a very distracting flasher could be made.
We selected this entry both for its originality, as well as for taking advantage of the low internal resistance of the supercaps.
Two second prize winners will get five caps each:
Chad Norman‘s entry is funny enough that it’s hard to read with a straight face:
Dress them up, adding little tiny bits of plasticine/playdough and dress them all up real purdy like. Then, using stop motion techniques, animate an epic saga of romance, death, intrigue and action with the supercapacitors as the actors.
From Mike Saz comes another very practical idea for using supercaps:
Mod your wireless mouse. They’ll soak up a day’s worth of juice in seconds, and you can stop buying AA’s, or worse, nicads.
Read on for the (long) list of honorable mentions!
Continue reading Supercapacitor Contest: We Have Winners!
The Supercapacitor Contest ends at midnight on Monday night, July 31. The end is near! This is not eBay; there is no advantage in waiting until the last minute. It’s your last chance to submit an entry and possibly win fame and/or fortune, in the form of ten sweet supercapacitors. To recap: submit your best idea for what to do with a bunch of 2.5 V, 1.5 F carbon aerogel capacitors with ultra low equivalent series resistance. To enter, leave your entry as a comment here or E-mail it to us. Keep reading to see some of the cool ideas that we’ve already received. Can you do better?
Continue reading Supercapacitor Contest: The End Is Near.
Besides the eight project ideas that have been listed as comments to the original contest announcement, I’ve received 39 pieces of contest-entry E-mail, some of which contain more than one project idea.
I’m counting each entry that I’ve received as a separate entry. One piece of email contains a list of thirteen (but number 13 reads “i couldn’t think of anything else, i just like the number thirteen”).
Some of these ideas are just great! Keep ’em coming!
What can you do with a lot of supercapacitors? This is no idle question. I picked up a bag of 100 on eBay. These are sweet: Cooper PowerStor Series A carbon aerogel capactitors with ultra-low resistance. Specifications: 2.5 V, 1.5 F, with nominal equivalent series resistance of 60 milliohms at 1 kHz. I recently saw these at Digi-Key for $9.60 each. These aren’t the wimpy memory backup caps that aren’t rated for enough current to drive an LED. These are power caps, meant for high current charge and discharge.
Obviously, these are meant for great things. It only leaves one question: What great things should I do with them? To help answer that, I’m holding a contest: Come up with the best use for a pile of supercaps, and you’ll get ten of them to play with.
Continue reading Supercapacitor Contest!