Alternative Energy Experiments kit – from Data Harvest

This collection of kits offer practical illustrations of wind power, solar electricity (photovoltaic cell) and solar heating.
The wind power unit has a useful clamp and two wires from a motor on the ‘mill’ can be fed to a voltmeter, LED unit or motor unit. The solar panel is an 20cm square piece of metal attached to a short length of copper plumbing tube. Filled with water, a digital thermometer relays the temperature. If you’ve sensors you can use them to monitor voltage or temperature over time. By the time you’ve done that you’ll have lost more time than generate electricity or heat.

Ironically the result is that you end up monitoring the weather – i.e. I’m still thinking about what I can actually learn from this. The accompanying worksheets aren’t helping this – they are more to do with geography and D&T than science.

Despite words like ‘robust’ in the product description, most parts of the kits appear to be made from scrap – and it’s quite fragile stuff too… which would be fine were this all to cost about £20. In fact it costs well over the £200 mark. Verdict: try this before you buy.