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Cycling for electricity

Discussion in 'Earth and Environmental Science' started by amusicsite, 2 Nov 2011.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    I know some of you are cycling geeks to so any of you know anything about generating electricity from cycling?

    I've seen them at a few festivals and recently I've been hanging around with the local occupiers. Which if you don't know are complaining about things like our leaders lending money they did not have to banks that did not really need it and now we have to pay off the debt. I guess it must seem strange unless you have a million pound bonus and are to busy working out what to spend it on.

    Anyway back to the point. The group in Brighton are set up in a park, surrounded by two lanes of traffic in the populated centre. Prime real estate :)

    Water is easy you go to the shop and buy it. But every drop of electricity is hard work. Most of the torches are wind-up kind along with candles for light and there is plenty of ambient street lights.

    Now they have an amazing guy who has set up a computer tent and is itching to do video and social stuff on multiple machines. So the power needs will go through the roof. Being that half them are Eco people the idea of a noisy generator polluting the air and causing a disturbance offends them.

    Apparently they may be getting some solar coming sometime but there has been a lot of talk of cycle power generation. Keeps you warm and fit as well as being on demand and the potential to possibly store it too. You can pick up old bikes for next to nothing in town. Could probably pick up a motor/generator too cheap.

    I guess all you need then is some sort of smoothing/limiting and you are good to go.

    Mainly I've seen them run analogue stuff like lights and PA's which ramp up and down with supply. For DC equipment you need a more steady stream. Ideally you would want a steady stream of DC with extra power going to charge a battery/UPSU which kicks in when the power drops.

    I have no idea though on the gearing or generator setup to optimise the output you would get from the average human or how much realistic energy you could get.

    Considering how much some people pay to go into a building and ride a bike, there could well even be good passing trade of free help.

    So anyone fancy helping me spec out a good system to run 6-12 bikes and a realistic storage system for the potential energy you are likely to get?

    Bonus points for using items that can be begged and borrowed like old camera,mobile or laptop batteries, car batteries, generator from household equipment and electronics hybrids.
     
  2. Yellow Fang

    Yellow Fang Veteran Geek

    Location:
    Reading
    Can't really help you, although I used to know someone who built cycle powered amplifiers and took them to free festivals. They're quite hard work to pedal. My best tip is keep kids off them. They're crap - they get bored easily and they have no stamina.
     
    amusicsite likes this.
  3. beanz

    beanz Staff Member Staff Member

    No experience of building one, but I've seen a couple in use. I'd hazard a guess that Shaun will know someone over on the CC forum who has dabbled in this.
     
  4. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Yep I've even used one at a festival, lasted about 5 minutes.

    Maybe I should track down whoever does the festivals...
     
  5. classic33

    classic33 Veteran Geek

  6. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Sweet, thanks for that. I could charge all my crap and get fit at the same time. Must get one someday.