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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 02-17-07, 11:28 PM   #1
donrhummy
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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?
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Old 02-18-07, 12:09 AM   #2
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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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Old 02-18-07, 04:20 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 02-19-07, 05:03 AM   #4
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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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Old 02-19-07, 05:29 AM   #5
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Yeah, just google "Bike Generator", you get plenty of results.
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Old 02-19-07, 06:30 AM   #6
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Here's one driven off of the rear tire:

http://www.scienceshareware.com/buil...iner-stand.htm
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Old 02-19-07, 12:01 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 02-26-07, 12:22 AM   #8
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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!
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Old 02-26-07, 01:24 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 02-27-07, 01:26 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 03-01-07, 05:39 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:50 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:37 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 03-04-07, 12:06 PM   #14
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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?
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Old 03-04-07, 12:50 PM   #15
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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.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:58 AM   #16
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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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Old 03-05-07, 01:56 PM   #17
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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.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:36 PM   #18
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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.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:19 PM   #19
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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.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:32 PM   #20
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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.
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Old 03-06-07, 11:15 PM   #21
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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.
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Old 03-08-07, 11:26 PM   #22
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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?
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Old 03-16-10, 10:32 AM   #23
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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.
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Old 03-16-10, 04:03 PM   #24
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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.
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Old 03-18-10, 03:02 PM   #25
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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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