H2O water-powered shower radio
Pump out the volume
Review Produced by Vivian Blick, a man who helped launch the wind-up radio, this shower-powered version is due to become the new must-have amongst ‘eco-trendies’ everywhere. The fact that shower-radios probably make you spend more time in the shower – thereby using more clean water and power – is an eco-flaw we’ll just have to ignore for the moment.
Plumb and play: the H2O water powered radio
The concept of the H2O is gloriously simple – water flows through a patented micro-turbine and generator that, in turn, charges a Nickel-metal hydride battery and thus powers the radio. The minimalist, retro design incorporates just a few buttons for radio tuning and volume; a mono speaker dishes out the perfectly acceptable, if a little tinny, audio.
Barring a few leaks – fixed with the bundled washers – installation was stress-free; the H2O screws between your shower unit and hose with a neat little plastic bracket and, handily, the only tools required are fingers.
The H2O will continue to pump out sound after you’ve turned the water off – handy for that mid-wash lather or post-shower towel session. The pressure of your hose dictates the amount of charge retained by the battery; yet after just a few showers there was enough juice for a good hour of listening without shower power.
As long as you don’t completely drain the cell, it will also remember volume level and radio station between uses – nigh on essential for the quick and convenient blast of a morning shower.
The Ni-Mh battery slips in under a metal screw-cap and will need replacing over time
What’s great about the H2O radio is the way its ecological credentials positively enhance its usefulness. No expensive, water-corroded batteries to change; no plugging it in for a charge. In fact, it’s so self-reliant it should happily keep you singing in the shower ad infinitum although you will need to change the rechargeable battery every few years. Oh, and do give it a good wipe-down once in a while.
Next page: Piped music
Fill your house with more junk to save the world.
Green? WTF? So the power shower isn't using energy to run it at all, then? That's probably why it didn't work on the tap-shower-thing because there's only base water pressure through it and, thus, no power.
And how is it green? It has a rechargeable battery and sits there stealing power from the water pressure that someone, somewhere has had to pay and use energy to be pressurised. And it has a rechargeable battery in it too! Energy-saving (on the order of pence per decade) if you have high enough water pressure already, maybe, but green? Er, no.
This is yet-another "green" invention that actually makes things worse but helps lazy people think they are doing something for the environment while they stand in a pressurised, heated spray of water sourced from reservoirs miles away. Let's get this straight - the Trevor Bayliss clockwork radio is orders of magnitude more green than this tacky piece of ill-thought-out junk. And then look at the price! I could buy several dozens battery powered radios for that, or a handul of wind-up ones, or even just one and a shed-load of normal batteries (and still, strangely, be more green!).
This isn't green. It isn't even an application WORTH saving energy on (it's 80mW of output, ffs, and radio circuits take virtually nothing which is why crystal sets used to be "unpowered"). And certainly not one worth pushing your plumbing through a cheap bit of plastic for. I bet it even invalidates any warranty on your shower, too. It's a stupid idea. Stupid people will buy it. But, Reg, ffs, can we please moderate this kind of junk off the front page at least?
I'm wondering how much the electric bills would go down if I figured out how to hook up several of these little turbines to the cold water inlet and a wall socket and then just kept the taps running...
So many comments, so little understanding of physics...
As I understand it, the power comes from the energy released when the water flows from an area of higher pressure (the pipe) to an area of lower pressure (your shower). The net result of this will be a slightly reduced pressure at the shower head, meaning a slight reduction in the flow of water through your shower. You probably won't notice this.
The pressure in the pipe will originate from one of two sources; either 'head pressure' in a tank, or from a pump in a power shower, in which case, either you are utilising potential energy which you would otherwise be throwing away when the water falls out of your shower head and drains away, or you are slightly increasing the load on the pump which drives the shower, at your own cost. At no point are you stealing power from the water company, as far as I am aware, these utilities pump the water through a water tower already to maintain a constant pressure, if anything, by slowing the flow of water through the shower, you are reducing the amount of water pumped into such storage in the first place.
All that said, the radio is nasty and gimmicky.
You'd need to install a turbine between the Elan Valley and Birmingham to generate enough power to run a DAB set.