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A tourer with power needs: dynamos, solar, lights, batteries, and circuits.

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A tourer with power needs: dynamos, solar, lights, batteries, and circuits.

Old 02-13-16, 04:38 AM
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bikeforlife123
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Lightbulb A tourer with power needs: dynamos, solar, lights, batteries, and circuits.

Hello,

This is my first time in this forum but it seems to be the right place for expert advice.

(I will try to be brief but detailed)
I am building a long-term touring bicycle that I will possibly be living on for years. (a whole other story). The long and short of it is, I need to charge electronics, like professional camera batteries, devices, phones, laptops, etc. while being out in the sticks far from reliable power sources. I don't plan on being able to fully keep up with charging, i.e. an equal input to output ratio of power, but rather decrease the need for power outlets and increase the amount of time I can be away from civilisation, if needed.

I want to build a power pack that regulates and links together all my lights, ports, etc. I have limited knowledge of circuits but enough to grapple with concepts and I built a few basic circuits years ago in college courses. So, I have an idea of what I need but cannot connect the dots to build the actual circuit.

I will have two power sources, solar and dynamo, but by nature they are fluctuating in output. Therefore, I want some power storage in the form of a substantial battery pack to charge devices with in the evening as well as redistribute my power to multiple devices at once.(I don't want to be stopping all the time to check if something is charged off a single port and can be swapped out for another device)

I am not fully opposed to building my set-up around a trailer, like a Bob Bike Trailers | BOBgear So I could utilise a larger solar panel and additional dynamo. Like this sweet rig But it is not ideal.

I'll attach a drawing of the system I am envisioning.


Thanks everyone. I hope I can make this concept into more of a reality.
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Old 02-14-16, 08:04 AM
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Nice idea, but let me make a few points, possibly improvements.

If you switch off the lighting during the daytime, you can use SON power to recharge the power pack. But it outputs an AC voltage, nominally 6.3 arms at a load about 500 ma rms. The Venture only takes power from USB (5 volts dc at some current, 350 ma for the small iPhone charger, for example). You would need a DC output power converter that satisfies USB specifications and can accept AC voltages from about 5 volts rms to perhaps up to 10 volts rms (per the testing Jan Heine published). With this capability you could capture all the available mechanically generated electricity to keep your power pack charged and to run your devices.

If in a campground, it would be nice to be able to charge the Venture from a fellow camper's 12 volt or 28 volt RV power take-off, or their 120 volt inverter output, or motel wall power. So ideally you'd want to handle SON AC power, 12 to 28 volt DC, and 120 volt facility or inverter-generated AC power.

Except for solar array price, solar is free power. It looks like the Venture kit comes with the Nomad 7 solar array. But you could soak up more free sunlight, or make more of partial sun conditions, with a larger solar array. If you could max out the Nomad series within the budget and the Venture power pack could handle it, you'd just have more power, perhaps even be ok to go without unfurling the solar sails for a day.
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Old 02-14-16, 10:55 AM
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Do you really want a custom system that centralizes the power? if your on the road for such a long time stuff is going to fail due to use, exposure and time. The solar system comes with a battery to charge, don't you just need another one for the dyno? As for the side lights, can you just have extra tail lights on the side too? then if the tail light fails you can move one of the side lights to the tail. I'm just thinking off the shelf with some redundancy gives more flexibility. I've been curious, is it possible to have dyno's on both front and rear wheels?
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Old 02-14-16, 11:55 AM
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A rear dyno would have to be a bottle dyno, a BB dyno, or a rim dyno. Not an issue, but not as much power as a SON or an SP. They can all be easily disengaged, on the plus side.
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Old 02-14-16, 02:55 PM
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Some have put a dyno in the trailer wheel.
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Old 02-14-16, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by treebound View Post
Some have put a dyno in the trailer wheel.
does the smaller diameter give it more power production? i know the drag will increase too but its supposed to be negligible anyway. otherwise, it would be cool if it could be made smart enough to disengage when going up hill. The trailer photo OP posted looks like it has a dyno on the trailer. Maybe the dog has one too....
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Old 02-14-16, 03:03 PM
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there are still some shimano rear dynos out there. They made an auto-shifting comfort bike that was dyno powered.

I would probably keep things parallel instead of hooking it all together. Dynos really aren't getting more powerful because lights are drawing less current with each passing generation. So if you have solar power, it probably is better using that separately. I have heard of a couple of stolen solar panels, so it probably makes sense to worry about that. I probably still would find a way to charge things with the dyno. From my experience as a slow person, it's probably best to charge a battery with the dyno and use that to power other things.
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Old 02-14-16, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kennj123 View Post
does the smaller diameter give it more power production? i know the drag will increase too but its supposed to be negligible anyway. otherwise, it would be cool if it could be made smart enough to disengage when going up hill. The trailer photo OP posted looks like it has a dyno on the trailer. Maybe the dog has one too....
I haven't done it (yet) but have read some reports on the site here by people who have done it.
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Old 02-15-16, 10:37 AM
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I have an Extrawheel trailer with a dynamo hub.
Its setup mirrors my bikes front wheel and its Son28/E-werk and cache battery.

My trailer wheel is 700c and the drag appears no more than a trailer without dynohub.

My guess for your question about a small wheel trailer, having previously owned a small wheeled bike with the same setup, is that you won't notice any more drag than a non dyno wheel in hauling the trailer. When I owned a Moulton APB, I could discern no drag from the hub when riding.

Due to the faster rotational speed of a small wheel, there will be a performance boost. What little small amount of drag exists will likely be ever slightly increased. An incremental increase over almost nothing is still almost nothing and I believe you'll notice a heavily loaded trailer more than any potential drag of the dynamo.

Some people add vanes to their trailer wheels so they can place their trailers inside down when camped and catch the wind to keep the wheel turning and charging whilst they rest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwGv...ature=youtu.be

Just to be clear, its not mine, but one I spotted online.

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Old 02-15-16, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
[snip]

Some people add vanes to their trailer wheels so they can place their trailers inside down when camped and catch the wind to keep the wheel turning and charging whilst they rest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwGv...ature=youtu.be

Just to be clear, its not mine, but one I spotted online.
That is very clever.
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Old 02-16-16, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by kennj123 View Post
does the smaller diameter give it more power production? i know the drag will increase too but its supposed to be negligible anyway. otherwise, it would be cool if it could be made smart enough to disengage when going up hill. The trailer photo OP posted looks like it has a dyno on the trailer. Maybe the dog has one too....
Check out this offering: t2 single wheel bicycle trailer | Free Parable Design ltd..
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Old 02-17-16, 12:24 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I am in the predicament that most tourers face in planing, go light and simple or heavy and complicated. The less I take, ie no trailer, the easier it is to hop on buses, planes, etc. Trailers, while nice for hauling and easier for setting up a charging platform, just add that extra layer of complication to the process.

Thanks for the input on the dyno systems being separated from the solar and Road Fan, I appreciate the technical data I needed. I am going to monitor the ever improving solar technology scene before diving in with a decision that will complicate my tour too much. If I can tweak these ideas enough to get near self-sufficient, power speaking, it could radically change where I could go and what I could do, since I will be relying heavily on cameras.

Speaking of trailers and dynamos, I have also scene several people install SONs on their trailer for doubled output in conjunction with their front hubs. Question: Does anyone know of trailers on the market other than extra wheel that could run a full sized 26"? I like redundancy and feel hesitant with something like a Bob that runs a very unique wheel set-up.
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Old 02-17-16, 12:51 AM
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You might want to have a look at kLite.com.au Dynamo Lighting Systems for some ideas on charging and dynos. I think his best solution gives a 800mA USB output.

I think I could keep my iPad mini, cellphone, and a usb torch easily charged with 6 hrs on the bike every day. Low power devices are key.
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Old 02-20-16, 08:44 PM
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I have a Supernova E3, there are better lights on the market. The Supernova's beam shape is poor esp compared to some of the newer lights on the market.
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Old 02-23-16, 06:34 PM
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Thanks, I'll look into those. The Supernova is nice looking but I know the technology is booming and new products are coming out left and right. I am not super concerned for the light beam, as long as it works well, because I will not primarily be doing night riding. My focus is more on durably and knowing it will always work when I do need it.

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Old 02-27-16, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeforlife123 View Post
Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I am in the predicament that most tourers face in planing, go light and simple or heavy and complicated. The less I take, ie no trailer, the easier it is to hop on buses, planes, etc. Trailers, while nice for hauling and easier for setting up a charging platform, just add that extra layer of complication to the process.

Thanks for the input on the dyno systems being separated from the solar and Road Fan, I appreciate the technical data I needed. I am going to monitor the ever improving solar technology scene before diving in with a decision that will complicate my tour too much. If I can tweak these ideas enough to get near self-sufficient, power speaking, it could radically change where I could go and what I could do, since I will be relying heavily on cameras.

.....
I'll second Znomit in regards to recommending the Sinewave Cycles dynamo-to-usb chargers (as sold by ktronic and other sources). I've talked to one of their folks at a bike show and they seem to have done their homework when developing the device.

A good practice when putting together a system like this is to figure out how much energy you need to power your devices, figure how much power each power source will generate and for how long, and then fun the numbers to see if the energy generated is enough to provide the energy required.
Handy reminder: energy = power x time

You'll probably want to estimate that each conversion of power will be between 80% and 90% efficient.

As suggested by others, keeping things simple and letting the dynamo and solar panel charge their own battery seems like a good idea.

good luck,
Steve in Peoria
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Old 02-28-16, 02:08 PM
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I do understand well, a bigger surface does = more power in a solar panel .

and Ideally the panel angle changes to be as much of a right angle to the sun as it transits across the sky as posible.


Does anyone know of trailers on the market other than extra wheel that could run a full sized 26"? I like redundancy and feel hesitant with something like a Bob that runs a very unique wheel set-up.
you can always Hire one custom made. I think Goran Kropp did that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6ran_Kropp

[picture] .https://data:image/jpeg;base64,/9j/4A...9MPfuSo1wf/9k=

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Old 03-01-16, 08:29 AM
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A Busch & Muller Luxos headlight would kill two birds with one stone. In addition to a very bright headlight, you can also charge accessories with it if the light is turned off.
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Old 03-01-16, 04:22 PM
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I would agree with the comments of some previous posters to keep it simple.

I tried doing just what the op is describing. I used various connectors to divert hub and solar to a single battery. It barely lasted out the driveway.

Now I have my dyno hub running through my Biologic Reecharge Dyno Kit (rectifier) to a Biologic Reecharge Power Pack (pass-through cache battery) which keeps my phone charged during the day. At night I turn off the charger to run the dyno lights at full power. I also have a 3.5 watt Voltaic Solar Panel feeding a 4000 mah Voltaic cache battery to provide power for the evening.

Though the only thing I'm trying to keep charged is my cell phone.
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