David writes – “Every morning, I pedal to generate electricity. The Pedal Generator charges batteries, that run an inverter, that produces 110v AC, that powers LED lights, the monitor on my computer, and many other small battery-powered things. It is the most inspiring workout you can imagine. “ [via] – Link. There are plans available for purchase on the site for $50 – if anyone built one of these post on up in the comments.
14 thoughts on “Build a pedal powered generator”
What a crock, he charges $50 for “plans!” Ok, I’m bitter because this guy got posted on Make before I could finish and submit the similar “Human-to-DC converter” I’m building out of an old ten-speed bike. ;)
I predict people generating their own “green” power in ways like this will soon be a huge thing. Therefore I beleive the info on how to build such things should be public domain.
But yeah, his use of a “flywheel” is key. Between looking at the pictures on his site, and a study of otherpower.com, one could come up with a pretty good design of their own, based on one’s fabricating skills and parts on hand.
i have a house 8 feet up from the river , on the river bank.do you think a similar machine will help me to pump water from the river?
If your house it 8 feet up-hill from the river it will make it much harder. I’ve allways wated to build a hydro genorator. You could do two things: Fist you could make a small vertion of a real hydro dam, you would have to redirect the river a bit so you could ahave a bit of a drop-off to locate the turbine; the other option it to make a water wheel, which is much easier but won’t go very fast. I guess you could genorate electricity, then power a pump, or figure out a way to power the pump directly.
I am putting together something like this from various flea markets and junk stores here in portland. I got a 12v motor (big bronze fan motor, doesnt spin smoothly) with a skateboard wheel jbwelded onto the shaft and mounted it in a wood base.
I found out that if you pedal slower it puts out less, so im thinking about trying to hook up a second one, unless thats problematic. Without much effort I could get 2v, 8-10 was steady, 12-16 in a total sprint. my multimeter doesn’t measure amps :( so im getting a cheap one off ebay. David butcher’s article reccomends the “watts up” but it’s spendy (at least to me).
I’m having trouble finding a cheap 12v regulator though, david just adjusts his speed to get the voltage he wants, but some research on ask.mefi and wikipedia leads me to think a `buck boost step up step down’ power converter which will turn 5v-30v into steady 12v, along with a kill switch, and reverse current blocker (mentioned on david’s site) would be a basic setup. You could add a dc-dc converter to run a new laptop, or capacitor/inverter to run ac appliances but they aren’t efficient.
I have to do more research on how to make a good regulator. I obtained some free samples (a 12v regulator and a all-in-one recharger for chaging nimh, li-on, nicd, or sla) and they were little 5mm chips with tiny leads, I’m not sure how to solder it or what. So I’m going to try getting a second motor or another one thats 24v-36v depending on how much they are.
I wish someone would make good DIY plans for a 12v regulator and also a battery recharger.
about the water pump, why not create a pump tube with an archimedes screw powered by a bike chain? as long as the bottom of the screw is submerged, it should do the trick. Here, look at the Wikipedia site for more detailson the physics. I think that witha long axle, you wouldn’t need a very long screw.
Now, where to get the screw itself? i’m interested. anyone know?
ya know, i keep looking at the photos of the bike witht the flywheel, and though irespect the desire to push hard, and be a work horse, i just can’t help thinking that there must be a more efficient way to make this work, likehave a bike frame on a stand with your three chain-rings on the bottom bracket with a longframe bracewith the fly-wheel behind, applying the full-range of gear ratio from a tne-speed to a smaller, weighted fly-wheel. Not knowing the real mechanics of the generator, I don’t know that this would work, but i am lazy, and therefore on the eternal quest for efficiency.
Just an idea here, don’t turn the flywheel with the pedals (the slowest moving point on a bike). Use the chain to turn the rear tire at a much higher rate of speed than you can pedal and use the rear tire (or mount a flywheel if you just want to make the purdy wooden wheel) to turn the generator (car alternator). Seems to me to be a more logical way of doing this.
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