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  1. #1
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Anyone converted their bike trainer/stand to generate power?

    Has anyone here converted a bike stand/trainer to be able to generate electricity? How did you do it? What did it cost? How much energy/output are you able to geenrate?

  2. #2
    one word, not two braingel's Avatar
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    Don't try to convert a trainer, just get a permanent magnet DC motor ($10 online, I forget where...I'll find it for you later) and bolt a chainring to the flywheel. Then you just run the standard system you'd use on any kind of generator to charge a battery. I'm busy now, but I'll get you some info tomorrow. It's not hard to do, and the only expensive part is the battery pack.

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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by braingel
    Don't try to convert a trainer, just get a permanent magnet DC motor ($10 online, I forget where...I'll find it for you later) and bolt a chainring to the flywheel. Then you just run the standard system you'd use on any kind of generator to charge a battery. I'm busy now, but I'll get you some info tomorrow. It's not hard to do, and the only expensive part is the battery pack.
    Thanks! I can't wait.

  4. #4
    Micro Gameboyist
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    the Zombie Survival Guide mentioned bicycle generators, so I imagine you can buy them prebuilt. Check eBay?

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    Micro Gameboyist
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    Yeah, just google "Bike Generator", you get plenty of results.

  6. #6
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Here's one driven off of the rear tire:

    http://www.scienceshareware.com/buil...iner-stand.htm
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  7. #7
    one word, not two braingel's Avatar
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    You'll have a much greater power output with a motor that is driven directly by the chain(cog bolted to the flywheel) than you will with something being spun by friction with the rear tire. I've been super busy, but I promise I'll get you full details soon.

  8. #8
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by braingel
    Don't try to convert a trainer, just get a permanent magnet DC motor ($10 online, I forget where...I'll find it for you later) and bolt a chainring to the flywheel. Then you just run the standard system you'd use on any kind of generator to charge a battery. I'm busy now, but I'll get you some info tomorrow. It's not hard to do, and the only expensive part is the battery pack.
    Any chance I could get the info? Thanks!

  9. #9
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    If you are lucky, you can generate about 100 Watts average while sitting on your trainer at home for a hour or so. But, let's say you can stick it out and pedal the trainer for 10 hours. If so, you will generate 100- Watt-hours, or 1 Kw-Hr. How much do you pay for a KW-Hr? I'll bet it's less than 25 cents, but let's assume you get a really bad deal and pay $1 for it. 10 hours of work to save $1 (or less) is pretty poor return on your investment. It also shows just how much of a bargain electricity is given the amount of work it can perform.

    So, unless you live in the third world, or suffer from rolling blackouts, driving a generator off a bike is a waste of time.

  10. #10
    one word, not two braingel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    Any chance I could get the info? Thanks!
    Argh! I totally forgot. PM me so it sends me an email, I check that much more often than this forum. The above post is correct about the fact that the price per kilowatt hour versus your time invested pedalling yields a poor return, especially on your $ investment, but I wouldn't call it a waste of time if it's something you'd like to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by redneckwes
    Road bikes seem to live in packs. Even if they don't have riders, they do gather in groups. They spend a lot of time standing around, looking for $$ to be thrown at them

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    If you are lucky, you can generate about 100 Watts average while sitting on your trainer at home for a hour or so. But, let's say you can stick it out and pedal the trainer for 10 hours. If so, you will generate 100- Watt-hours, or 1 Kw-Hr. How much do you pay for a KW-Hr? I'll bet it's less than 25 cents, but let's assume you get a really bad deal and pay $1 for it. 10 hours of work to save $1 (or less) is pretty poor return on your investment. It also shows just how much of a bargain electricity is given the amount of work it can perform.

    So, unless you live in the third world, or suffer from rolling blackouts, driving a generator off a bike is a waste of time.
    Not if you were going to ride your trainer anyway. It'll probably come in handy during blackouts.

  12. #12
    Senior Member brevig's Avatar
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    I'd see this very practical for people planning on making long trips on their bikes--like touring. For myself, I'm thinking of taking a trip from Chattanooga down to the Florida Keys towards the summer and this would solve the problem of how I would power my laptop during the trip. I had been considering solar power (they have a card you can plug up to your laptop) but this would be much better overall, it seems.
    Richard Brevig
    By consuming less, I work less...

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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brevig
    I'd see this very practical for people planning on making long trips on their bikes--like touring. For myself, I'm thinking of taking a trip from Chattanooga down to the Florida Keys towards the summer and this would solve the problem of how I would power my laptop during the trip. I had been considering solar power (they have a card you can plug up to your laptop) but this would be much better overall, it seems.
    Yeah except then you have to carry a trainer with you.

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feba
    the Zombie Survival Guide mentioned bicycle generators, so I imagine you can buy them prebuilt. Check eBay?
    You didn't believe like...everything you read in the Zombie Survival Guide, did you?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  15. #15
    Senior Member brevig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    Yeah except then you have to carry a trainer with you.
    This is the first time I've heard of this, really. Isn't there just something I could attach to my bike and then have a battery in my bike trailer? I'd think it would be fairly small.
    Richard Brevig
    By consuming less, I work less...

  16. #16
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brevig
    This is the first time I've heard of this, really. Isn't there just something I could attach to my bike and then have a battery in my bike trailer? I'd think it would be fairly small.
    You could get a generator hub but they only output 3 watts. It'd be so much simpler to just look for an outlet for your laptop power supply. Campgrounds, restaurants, libraries, and certainly motels, all will have outlets scattered about. It's not hard to find one if you look around.

    Better still, is to leave the laptop at home.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    You could get a generator hub but they only output 3 watts. It'd be so much simpler to just look for an outlet for your laptop power supply. Campgrounds, restaurants, libraries, and certainly motels, all will have outlets scattered about. It's not hard to find one if you look around.

    Better still, is to leave the laptop at home
    .
    That's right. You can check E-mail or blog from just about any public library--free.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  18. #18
    Senior Member brevig's Avatar
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    Again, thanks guys. The library does sound like the best option...as I rarely actually need my laptop to create things. And anything I want to do on my site, I could probably just edit directly on the server.
    Richard Brevig
    By consuming less, I work less...

  19. #19
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    http://www.scienceshareware.com/how-...DC-current.htm

    http://www.scienceshareware.com/bike_gen.htm

    Realisticly, you could pedal all day and only generate ten cents worth of power.

    But it would come in handy in a blackout.

    Some deep disharge batteries, a 12 volt to 120 volt inverter, and some photovoltaics (solar panels) would be first on my list.

    I would use solar panels to charge my electric moped. I use the grid to charge my electric bike now. The electric bicycle has a generator mode, but I have yet to make the 5 LED power display move up a notch by pedalling.

  20. #20
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike
    http://www.scienceshareware.com/how-...DC-current.htm

    http://www.scienceshareware.com/bike_gen.htm

    Realisticly, you could pedal all day and only generate ten cents worth of power.

    But it would come in handy in a blackout.

    Some deep disharge batteries, a 12 volt to 120 volt inverter, and some photovoltaics (solar panels) would be first on my list.

    I would use solar panels to charge my electric moped. I use the grid to charge my electric bike now. The electric bicycle has a generator mode, but I have yet to make the 5 LED power display move up a notch by pedalling.
    So how many square feet of solar panels does it take to charge your moped in between uses? Keep in mind that you can't use it during the day if it's charging.

    Also, keep in mind that charging a lead acid battery is only about 70% efficient, meaning that it requires about 142 watt-hours for every 100 watt-hours you store in the battery. Then there are is the inefficiency of the inverter. At best, you will lose 10% of your stored power in the inverter. So, for 142 watt-hours on the bike, you'll get less than 90 watt-hours delivered to a load. That's not going to be very useful.

    For lighting and to power radios, you would be better served using small battery operated LED flashlights and a walkman-type of radio with a couple sets of batteries kept aside for emergency use. If you have need for more power, then consider keeping a marine battery or two on a trickle charger so it will be fully charged when you need it. A typical deep discharge battery holds about a kilowatt-hour of power. It would realistically take you days to generate that much power on a bike. By then, the lights should be back on.

  21. #21
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brevig
    Again, thanks guys. The library does sound like the best option...as I rarely actually need my laptop to create things. And anything I want to do on my site, I could probably just edit directly on the server.
    Uh, yes/no. Don;t send ANYTHING that you want to keep secure/secret from a public computer. And if you're logging on to a network that you don't control, be very careful about data you send/receive. Likely they're able to listen in on it, so you better trust them.

  22. #22
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Trying to understand watt output and storing it in a battery here...

    So, let's say I could put out 1000 watts for 5 seconds (as a pro cyclist ), would that fill the battery as much as putting out 200 watts for 25 seconds straight?

    Is there some limit as to how much can go across the line to the battery?

    Is the percentage of watts actually transferred to the battery static across all watt ranges?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by brevig View Post
    I'd see this very practical for people planning on making long trips on their bikes--like touring. For myself, I'm thinking of taking a trip from Chattanooga down to the Florida Keys towards the summer and this would solve the problem of how I would power my laptop during the trip. I had been considering solar power (they have a card you can plug up to your laptop) but this would be much better overall, it seems.
    Was wondering how your road trip worked out. Did you add a charger system and battery. A couple years late but some positives if you skipped adding charger system
    1) Most Laptops use only 20 watts
    2) Battery you are charging on long road trip is when laptop not being used.
    3) Downhill easy charging :-)

    Solar Power would probably be easier if you are towing a bike trailer.
    Put the panel on top of trailer.

  24. #24
    Que CERA, CERA jefferee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy View Post
    Trying to understand watt output and storing it in a battery here...

    So, let's say I could put out 1000 watts for 5 seconds (as a pro cyclist ), would that fill the battery as much as putting out 200 watts for 25 seconds straight?

    Is there some limit as to how much can go across the line to the battery?

    Is the percentage of watts actually transferred to the battery static across all watt ranges?
    A good approximate model for a battery is a voltage source in series with the internal resistance of the battery. As current flows through the battery, the internal resistance dissipates power and generates heat. The maximum current is limited by how much power the battery can dissipate without exploding or otherwise being damaged.

    Power supplied by (or to) the battery is approximately proportional to the current, while dissipation is proportional to the square of the current. Because of this, low currents tend to result in less energy being lost to power dissipation--practicing your sprinting on the trainer is probably not quite as efficient as a slower, steady charge if you do the same amount of work in both cases.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

  25. #25
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom View Post
    You could get a generator hub but they only output 3 watts. It'd be so much simpler to just look for an outlet for your laptop power supply. Campgrounds, restaurants, libraries, and certainly motels, all will have outlets scattered about. It's not hard to find one if you look around.

    Better still, is to leave the laptop at home.
    I think its still nice to be able to generate some electricity whether through a hub or solar panel while on tour. There's also recharging a cell phone battery, and recharging a digital camera battery. If you are camping and not eating in restaurants, its difficult to get to recharge these items. I'm not going to leave a digital camera plugged into a publicly accessible washroom outlet for a few hours. If I'm not in a campground at all...

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