OccupySF has been receiving notices of several violations from various authorities over the past several days, the biggest of which is the use of lead car batteries at the camp. The camp has been told by the fire department that by Monday, they'll need to be rid of their current power usage set-up, which consists of a car battery that's rigged "to an in-place bicycle as a way to keep laptops, cell phone, and other vital communications."
SFist commenter Fishfry elaborates:
the occupiers have a bicycle on a stand. The rear wheel turns a small generator that converts the mechanical energy of the bike wheel to electrical current. The generator's output charges the batteries, which are then used to charge laptops, cellphones, and the live-streaming equipment. It's very cool ... low-tech engineering. I can't believe it's illegal to use a car battery.
Considering that lead batteries -- car batteries -- are ubiquitous these days, OccupySF members speculate that this is an attempt by the powers-that-be to keep them from broadcasting to the outside world about attacks by authorities "that will take place in the near future and in the cover of night."
One immediate solution that they're working on is setting up camp-wide wi-fi so the camp can at least broadcast updates via smart phones. The camp is also looking for a donation of a laptop computer that can hold a charge for 2-3 hours or more and run Photoshop. Get in touch with OccupySF at [email protected], or follow them on Facebook.
Update II: Commenter sfsfsf posted an update on donations the camp is requesting:
I heard from several protesters that the city is treating occupySF under regulations for a street fair. They said no batteries, but also denied them a permit for a generator, to use (and I'm guessing pay for) power via city resources.
There is now camp wide wifi, donated by a neighboring business, but without a battery to power the antenna and router there's no internet. They desperately need sealed batteries, a heavy duty inverter, and some 'auto / airplane' power adapters to more efficiently charge electronics from batteries.