What do you do with an old, broken treadmill that's taking up space? Hack it up and convert it to a Bicycle Dynamometer! What, you may ask, is a dynamometer? Well, simply put its a machine used to measure power output- usually of an engine, but in this case, its measuring the power output of YOU! How much horsepower do you put out?!
This project has given my students a lot of enjoyment- they love competing against each other to see who is the "fastest" or "strongest"... and then they discover that they are only putting out maybe 1/3 of a horsepower!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
Get all your stuff together. The big thing, obviously, is the treadmill. You don't need it to be complete, but you should at least have:
Electric motor & drive parts
Covers come in handy later, but not necessary.
***NOTE*** You must make sure the motor in the treadmill will work as a generator!!! Hook up a volt meter to the wires coming from the motor and spin it BACKWARDS. If you can measure a voltage, it will work as a generator.
I was lucky enough that our school was throwing out a pretty nice one that wasn't working- something wrong in the control panel. Everything else was fine!
You will also need a large assortment of tools for this project which will depend on your treadmill. At the minimum you will need:
Layout tools- square, tape measure, ruler, scratch awl, markers, pencils, etc.
Welder and welding gear (hood, gloves, etc)
Cutter of some sort- plasma, torch, or even a hacksaw.
Duct tape. You never know, right?!
Other Supplies you will need:
2 digital multimeters (cheap ones run about $3.00)
A light or something else that requires about 120v to act as a load
Wire connectors and maybe some wire