Makezine_COTM_October-PowerSupplyHaving witnessed the effects of Superstorm Sandy on the New York power grid, Hackett built this easy bike generator to stave off the next power outage. It consists of a permanent-magnet DC motor with its spindle positioned against the wheel of a stationary bike–his is propped up on a metal framework he built himself. The motor is hooked up to a deep-cycle marine battery. He built a charging circuit based off Mike Davis’ 555 Charge Controller and put it in a 3D-printed enclosure with an Adafruit voltage meter. Finally, a voltage inverter converts the DC output by the generator into 110VAC that your household appliances use.

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

  • Gloria Trujillo


  • Dax

    An ordinary car battery contains about 700 Watt-hours of energy. An ordinary person can sustain about 50 Watts of output without getting too tired.

    Do the math.

  • Mike King

    Dean Ing wrote about this YEARS ago in his dystopian novel Pulling Through published in 1983, bicycle lights used to be powered by little generators and his idea was to fabricate stands to support the bikes, use a battery from a car and the light bulbs from a car as well.

  • GregS

    This is clever!