When I first calculated out how many I would need for my application, it was some ridiculous number like 6,000 or 60,000. I can’t remember which. But I daydreamed a little about growing them near the surface and dropping probes in. After a while you move your probes to the next field while you regrow the old dead one. Like crop rotation. Probe rotation. I was also wondering if you were gentle enough about it and only drew a little current etc., could you keep the potatoes at a healthy enough level that they wouldn’t die from the whole experience. God forbid plants actually feel pain.
Anyway, after all that daydreaming I got a little more realistic about it. I mean I need 5 volts at 500ma. But that’s peak. So my first calculations were maximum needed. The other thing was that I only need it between about 9am and 5pm. So that’s less power used again. With a low power sleep circuit attached I could save power outside business hours. Of course with the potatoes naturally decaying, if you don’t use it you’re going to loose a certain amount of it anyway. So I thought about working out where the optimal usage and decay points were and offloading the excess power somewhere fresh for later. Again I got a little silly and came up with a few potato capacitor models that I could use like capacitor/battery banks.
In the end I had a spare night babysitting my 3d printer and decided “carpe solanum tuberosum” and started assembling a hack model. I should stop here to briefly admit that I am a practitioner of planned stupidity. I’ve found that often enough, something that may seem silly or, even the exact opposite, appears to be perfectly reasonable may in fact be the opposite. So every now and then I like to do a quick sanity test I call, “Hold my beer and watch this.” Obviously when doing this you want to plan ahead and plan your safety and bail out should things get all flashy and noisy, then smells like bacon. Besides, you can actually get to a point where cost/benefit of planning falls too much in the costly side and ruins the whole thing.
So on this one, when I got a spare moment I pulled the trigger on some silliness when I was sitting there bored and here we are. I’m pretty damn close to scoring a goal on this one.
Okay, all that story aside you’re going to want to continue on to the next blog post straight away for some numbers and serious stupidity seeing as I know what I’m doing is damn wrong…