AID foundation, Auke IdzengaAuke Idzenga is a Dutch ships engineer who works working for AID Foundation, Bacolod city, Negros, Philippines as a development worker. In July 1998, he bought the firefly manual. When he was in Holland in May 1999, we met and I gave him the charger that was built by a group of high school students as their physics project (see also with "Gouda group" in par. 1.2 of the building manual).
In June 2001, he mailed that the first, locally build firefly charger had been installed in a village where people already used car batteries that were charged in a town 14 km away over a rough road. A second charger was due to be installed soon. This one was designed for a head of only 3.5 m and has a V-belt drive. Things had been delayed because AID had focussed on introducing o.a. hydraulic ram pumps, apparently with quite some success. Also a local electronics workshop failed to produce the switchboard. To make maintenance and repair easier, AID decided to build switchboards exactly like the charging system of a car, so with the usual voltage meter, current meter, voltage regulator plus some switches and fuses. Apparently, local people were a bit suspicious about the firefly: On order of the provincial government, ANEC people (see also ANEX's experiences) had installed a firefly charger that had never worked...
In May 2003, he mailed that by then, AID had 4 chargers installed and operational. Two of them were working at a head of only 3 meter and still charged batteries with some 3 A. The prototype with the V-belt drive mentioned above, was meant to also drive a modified, small hand grinder for grinding corn. But the turbine did not produce enough power for this so they went back to the normal firefly design with the runner fixed directly on the alternator shaft.
In August 2003, Auke mailed pictures of one of their chargers. Originally, it was used for charging batteries but carrying the batteries was found too much trouble. As an experiment, they wired inverter straight to the switchboard (an inverter is a device that transforms 12 V DC into 230 V AC electricity). Then a 150 m long cable to a house that now can be lighted with ordinary 230 V lamps and there is a wall socket to connect other appliances. According to Auke, this unit works perfect.
|The charger installed in Cauayan, Negros.|
|The switchboard. Right under the roof, there is the inverter. It is powered directly from the switchboard, so no battery to act as a buffer that keeps voltage constant.|