On our River with Two Names expedition, we had many many things that were power-hungry such as our sat phone, Inreach, drone, cameras, GPS, and phones. Along with a few battery packs, we took our solar panel and the new 12 Volt WaterLily. In the picture above, you can see us trying to get a good placement of the WaterLily in one of the large waterfalls we camped near. I figured the water volume and flow rate would be turbo-charger possibility but we struggled to get a good placement because we didn’t have access to both sides of the current. Without being able to get the WaterLily perpendicular to the current, it tended to spin and roll out. What you can’t see in the picture above, however, is just how big the waterfall was-though we were working on a side chute. You can see the bigger picture below.
We had much more success in a smaller creek emptying a pond into the Labrador Sea. We were able to easily access both sides of the creek and had ample cord to get the WaterLily perpendicular to the current. Below you’ll see Mark and Darren finding the perfect place to maximize water flow through the WaterLily. Darren (in blue) is feeding out the cord anchoring the WaterLily and Mark (in grey) is holding the charging cable. In order to find the best placement, we needed to have a spot that allowed the WaterLily to be in the stiff current, be perpendicular to the flow, and that enabled the charging cable to reach the shore.
We used a rock to position the WaterLily just where we wanted it to be and voila-it started making power. We stored the battery we were charging in a plastic bag in behind the rock that we used to secure the charging cable.
Here is a diagram from the WaterLily support page on getting the most from your WaterLily representing the placement we were doing above. It diagrams using a rock to keep the anchor cord upstream of the WaterLily so that the WaterLily is perpendicular to the current. There are lots of diagrams on that page to help you know how best to place the WaterLily so it will produce energy well-I suggest you study them before attempting your first placement.
So, in our experience of using the WaterLily, here are some hints:
1) Practice placing the WaterLily near home so you can ask questions and get support if need be (you can see our practice session here)
2)Consult the support pages before you are in the field
3)Check all of your cables and batteries to ensure they work before leaving home
4) Seek placements that enable you to reach both sides of the flowing water
5) Have extra cord/rope along for making more complex placements handy
6) Bring your sense of adventure, patience, and MacGyver to getting a good placement
7) Don’t be afraid to reach out to the WaterLily folks if you have any difficulties getting your WaterLily to produce-they are awesome and love to help!
8) Bring redundant sources for generating power (i.e. WaterLily and Solar Panel)