Car Batteries and LEDs in Mali

Matt Berg has put together a wonderful photo montage on how LEDs and 12v batteries are changing the face of connectivity and cheap lighting in Mali. Reproduced here with his permission are the images from the (large) PDF.

“The mass market solution (LED + small rechargeable battery + 1 W solar panel) that will really make a difference will be Chinese and at a price that will encourage extremely fast adoption rates.”




“Used car batteries you can see are the “power lines” in a lot of African villages that form the basis of distributed power distribution.”





Author: Erik Hersman

Erik is the owner of White African, a blog about technology and Africa. He is the co-founder of Zangu, a new web and mobile phone application that he hopes will change communication in Africa. AfriGadget is another web project of his, not that he doesn't have enough of those already...

8 thoughts on “Car Batteries and LEDs in Mali”

  1. LED are taking over lighting, and not just in the least developed countries. Compact fluorescent lighting looks ridiculous in comparison.

    The phone charging station is eminently practical, but I cringe at the DC/AC/DC conversion losses. But then again, maybe practical trumps efficient.

  2. Using automotive cell phone chargers would be more efficient, but Best Buy may as well be on the moon when your in rural africa. You use what you can get.

    My favorite part of this is unrelated. That motorcycle fuel is stored in beer bottles. When they are empty, they will be returned to the brewery and refilled with beer.

  3. very much is a useful practice of using these cell phones on batteries and using this for lighting in place where there is no way of light if we recyle what we use then we are saving the earth and the materials that we make every day we need a green earth to keep it healthy.

  4. What a power waste using an 12v DC to 230v AC inverter just to drop the voltage back to 5v DC again for charging mobile phones. These batteries must not last more than a year being deep discharged like this. Even so throwing out a car battery every few months might be cheaper than all the kerosene if wasted in a wick lamp, brilliant use of white LED’s. A good way to charge phones is to have store owners buy thousand lots of #7805 voltage regulators, these give a stable 5 volts from any power source from 6v up to 35 volts, add alligator clips and attach to batteries, vehicle power systems, or solar panels with compete safety.

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