Open source Kimono Lanterns to the rescue

The devastation in Japan is heart rending and compels each of one of us to contribute to help improve the situation. Similar thoughts have been running through developers at Freaklabs . At the hackerspace they are involved with, a solar rechargeable lantern was designed for garden and patio use. Called the Kimono Lantern, today they are able to put it to better use. Donating the complete design to the open source hardware community, they are indeed standing true to the commitments of the Open Source community.


Quake disrupts power resources

The Richter 8 earthquake in the northern parts of Japan has truly ravaged the island nation and left behind a rubble and broken hearts. Adding to that the frightening darkness as all the power grids are down are a constant source of worry to those going through the ordeal as well as the Japanese government as it grapples with the magnitude of the problem. Japan as of today, has no power and almost all victims are spending dark black nights compounding their misery. With Tokyo itself facing a major power crisis, waiting for the grid to get back to normalcy is going to take a very long time. Adding to the poor power resources the breakdown of the nuclear power plant is indeed worrisome. Considering the gravity of the situation Kimono Lanterns will surely help rescue the thousands of Northern Japanese spending miserable nights.

Kimono lanterns are basically designed for small output but with long battery life. Running on solar cells that are recharged due to exposure to sunlight will glow for 8 hours providing the quake victims much needed night light. As flashlights, and the other standard and regular artificial light sources area premium and essential for critical situations as in makeshift hospital rooms, a Kimono lantern should do the desired needful. Light the pathway and generally offer a comforting glow amid all the darkness.

Design of the Kimono Lantern

The design of the Kimono Lantern is now available with the open source hardware community to use and make their own contribution to the disaster. The entire package consists of an updated v1.1, BOM and the complete gerbers. Offered as a turnkey project, the PCB is all that needs to be fabricated to make the lantern. The PCB mask is all that’s required and the PCB fabricator is not allowing the use of the original mask files made by the maker of the lantern to be enabled for all those who want to contribute. Hence, the PCB masks will need to be ordered for all the consignments.

It lantern runs on ~18mA consumes 1.2 V NiMH batteries are ideal. The solar cell is a 2V 80mA from the Futurlec, model NO. SZGDDIA58 is the present configuration being used. Good quality sunlight of 3 to 4 hours will help yield 200 hrs or about 10 hrs. Additional features include the ability of the solar cell to sense sunlight and shut off automatically. There is switch too for auto off and on.

Donors who want to contribute should ctc Tokyo hackerspace with contributions etc.

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