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A pedal powered electric generator?

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A pedal powered electric generator?

Old 12-02-05, 11:21 PM
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A pedal powered electric generator?

I've searched these threads and in the past Googled for a decent pedal powered electric generator and have, at best, found Rube Goldberg-like contraptions strapped together with crap components in someone's barn.

It amazes me that cyclists (like me) will train on $300- $1500 Minoura/Cyclops/Tunturi etc trainer or a Spinning bike that measures output in watts but for all the technology, resources and energy that goes into manufacturing and using one of these things any energy produced is wasted. Doesn't anyone else feel even the least bit guilty when indoor training and watching all that energy go to waste? And what about health clubs where you see dozens of people running on treadmills and riding stationary bikes only to use precious resources for a hot shower, a jacuzzi and then get in their car and drive home.

I admit to some hypocrisy here- I belong to a "Y", which I at least I walk to but when the snow is flying and I can't ride my bike I'll spin or ride a stationary bike or train in their heated pool.

Anybody know of a well designed trainer that actual converts the energy for battery storage?
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Old 12-02-05, 11:28 PM
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The problem you run into is that you don't produce all that much power. A couple hundred watts sustained is pretty good. When you consider the inefficiency of converting and storing that power, you'd be lucky to be getting a penny's worth of electricity per hour. It would take a long time to pay for a generator at that rate.
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Old 12-02-05, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DCCommuter
The problem you run into is that you don't produce all that much power. A couple hundred watts sustained is pretty good. When you consider the inefficiency of converting and storing that power, you'd be lucky to be getting a penny's worth of electricity per hour. It would take a long time to pay for a generator at that rate.
A couple of light bulbs. That's depressing.
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Old 12-02-05, 11:44 PM
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I'd be happy if an hour or two of training could recharge my cell phone, my laptop and my cygo-light.

and if I'm paying big bucks for a trainer anyway why not get even those few cents worth of power. I have a wind up Grundig radio that runs for about 15 minutes on a hundred turns of a crank and I love that thing.
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Old 12-05-05, 01:46 PM
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There are plenty of pedal-powered generators around. Here's one:

http://www.windstreampower.com/humanpower/ppg.html

Do a google search for others. There are even more sites with plans for making your own.

It's true, pedal generators don't provide a lot of electricity compared to gas-powered generators, but what else would you expect? If humans could provide power comparable to an internal combustion engine we'd have more bikes and fewer cars. Still, these pedal generators provide a *lot* more power than solar panels comparable in price. You certainly could use one to recharge batteries.
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Old 12-05-05, 06:14 PM
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There are plenty of pedal-powered generators around. Here's one:

http://www.windstreampower.com/humanpower/ppg.html
Now that's what I'm talking about- thanks for link.

and thanks for seeing the wisdom in a cycle trainer as an electric power source.

I'll take 300 watts of power- I haven't used a 100 watt light bulb in 10 years so 2-300 watts would light up my whole house since I light with energy saver bulbs that average about 15 watts each.
I hope to use this in my cottage in the woods where I have very little in the way of electric appliances and already use LED, Solar, Energy saver lights.
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Old 12-05-05, 09:06 PM
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I have considered hooking a generator or alternator up to my trainer, but have not had the time to design one. Look out Giligan's Island, no vines are going to be used in this one.
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Old 12-05-05, 09:25 PM
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That gave me the idea for a hybrid bike similar to hybrid cars. Where basically you pedal to charge a battery and the bike runs off the battery. Downhill the bike would also charge the battery.

Anyone know if this has been tried?
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Old 12-06-05, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas
That gave me the idea for a hybrid bike similar to hybrid cars. Where basically you pedal to charge a battery and the bike runs off the battery. Downhill the bike would also charge the battery.

Anyone know if this has been tried?
there are dyno hubs, you can power a headlight w/ your crazy insane power output.
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Old 12-06-05, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas
That gave me the idea for a hybrid bike similar to hybrid cars. Where basically you pedal to charge a battery and the bike runs off the battery. Downhill the bike would also charge the battery.

Anyone know if this has been tried?
The energy the hybrid cars get from the brakes comes form the car being propelled by the motor or the engine. In either case gasoline provide the push or the electricity that provides the push. Going down hill requires going uphill first or after, no benefit at all from hills.

It's been around for ages, the zap motors do that. The human effort compared to the amount of electricity is just not even close to being worth it. After you own one you tend to realize it's better to just have a bicycle without all the weight of that stuff on it. The longer the ride the better off you are with just a bike.
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Old 12-06-05, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzman
A pedal powered electric generator?
Just talk to the professor....he makes them all the time. Gilligan uses them to cool the Howells or make hot water for Ginger or Marianne to bathe in.
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Old 12-06-05, 06:32 PM
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I don't know the energy requirements, but I have thought a motivator for getting on a trainer or similar contraption was to have a TV (maybe just black and white) connected to it for power so that the only way you could watch TV would be to be exercizing!

In other words, the focus would not be so much on electricity, but on a motivator to exercize. If possible, it would be nice to be able to charge up a battery faster than you are using the power to run the TV - just so you could exercize for maybe 30 minutes, but the TV would still run for an additional 30.

This could apply to a radio, or other device as well.
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Old 12-06-05, 07:02 PM
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NO peddling, no TV, simple as that!
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Old 12-06-05, 10:28 PM
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Unless you're a dedicated couch potato, I'd wager the energy used to manufacture the generator is more than the energy produced by it.

One of my friends built one is his dad's shop with a spare alternator when we were probably 13 or 14. It never got used for anything besides showing off with a 100 W bulb wired up with bare contacts (safety was never one of our priorities...we knew what not to touch). We were surprised to learn the importance of momentum in cycling. As each leg came around to the top of the stroke, you had to contort your knees to a painful angle to bring the pedal over the top. It desperately needed a flywheel.
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Old 12-07-05, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by KingTermite
Just talk to the professor....he makes them all the time. Gilligan uses them to cool the Howells or make hot water for Ginger or Marianne to bathe in.


Pedal faster little buddy ! I think I hear something!
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