Back in December I wrote about the opportunity a buddy and I had to purchase an XO laptop under the “Get one, Give One” program. Our plan was to send the one we got to a friend in the Peace Corp in Niger, Africa. Well after much time and a little ingenuity we accomplished our goal.
We were a little disappointed that the XO we received didn’t come with any of the cool alternative power sources we read about, hand crank, solar, foot pump, etc. Knowing the XO would be useless to our friend in Niger after the battery ran down, we decided to build our own alternative power supply. We purchased a “solar panel in a brief case”. This provided the correct amount of power if given the correct amount of sunlight, but we found in full Kentucky sun it would over power the XO. Knowing the Niger sun would be even more brutal we consulted a computer tech with an electrical engineering background and he pointed us to some simple parts we could put together to regulate the solar panel’s output. We now had a working solar panel for the XO. After a little showing off around Owensboro, we packed up the equipment and sent it to Niger.
It took almost 2 months for the box to arrive, but it arrived in great shape and our friend was able to immediately start using it. Almost as soon as she got it she found others in her area with XOs so they were able to share and help each other. As a bonus, we had shipped the solar panel with some miscellaneous connectors so she was able to also recharge her satellite phone.