Bike Generator Patio Furniture Made from Recycled Materials w/ Voltage Regulated Battery Charging System

Picture of Bike Generator Patio Furniture Made from Recycled Materials w/ Voltage Regulated Battery Charging System
For this project I refined some of the lessons I've learned building (or trying to build) bike generators in the past in an attempt to build one that was quiet, less obtrusive in our living space, and capable of being used by a bicycle without any modifications or additions to the bicycle. The Table is flipped over onto its side when you need to use the generator and functions as a front wheel rest to stabilize and balance the bike. I built the pedal generator and the table cover from scrap wood and a treadmill that I found in the trash out on the street. For power storage and use I used a Deep Cycle Marine Battery and a 400 Watt Inverter I purchased from Harbor Freight. I also built a voltage regulator using some electrical components from scraps and  I realize that painting it wasn't quite as green as leaving it au naturale, but I figured the paint would help prevent the wood from rotting and having to build another one. While the generator stand is made from scrap materials I found I did buy the battery and the inverter, as well as some of the components for the Voltage Regulator I couldn't find in E-Waste. I connected the generator input voltage to a Deep Cycle Marine Battery and Inverter through a diode and Voltage Regulator that I made.

I attached the Voltmeter where the Battery typically would be. I did the little backwards pedal hiccup halfway through to show why a heavy flywheel sort of thing is great to have an a pedal powered generator, it helps get the spinning smooth. The reason the Voltage stays up after I finish pedalling is the inverter holding a bit of the charge in a capacitor somewhere I guess. The beep at the end is me turning the inverter on so it drains the little bit of residual it had in its system. Normally the plastic tub with the battery and electronics is inside the house, I just moved it out so the video would be easier to shoot, the cord goes in a slot under the door usually. 
Finding The treadmill a while back was definitely the impetus for this project. While they aren't something one sees everyday out in the trash, they aren't too hard to come by if you keep your eyes open(and watch craigslist too).I have built bike generators before with broken cordless drills and they are very noisy(best case scenario as loud as a drill), also the drill can't support or balance the weight of a bicycle and that required a stand of some sort to rest bicycle pegs in. I fixed both those problems in this iteration.

I hope in the future to build a charge controller to add to the system so I can add some solar panels and/or a wind turbine generator to power the battery(or in future batteries). I'm currently working an a charge controller design I found at http://mdpub.com/555Controller/ . My electrical work is pretty novice so if you notice any ways you feel the voltage regulator could run better please feel free to let me know.
DarrenY29 months ago

is the wattage output dependent on the inverter or the wattage rating of the motor?

24T2 years ago
Great project. Last time we had a Hurricane, we lost power for a week. Looks like I've got another project to add to the Que. I like the dino watering can in the last photo, too!
mykiscool 24T1 year ago

If you've got a car alternator, that can work also and it has a built in regulator.

trackzero2 years ago
hmm. I've been wanting to mod one of my old bikes to work as a stationary trainer...Wife says if I want a stationary bike, I have to get rid of the treadmill first....Pretty sure she means "craigslist it for a couple hundred bucks...." but she didn't specifically *say* I couldn't break it down and modify it (in the process, killing roughly three birds with one stone).

...Isn't your voltage regulator about the size of a (square) nickel, tho? That's a pretty big heat sink if so...I guess you need to go big to mount that fan on it...I'd be curious whether you could do it with a smaller sink & no fan.

I have an old Triton charger in my toolbox (looks like this one http://www.rctech.net/forum/r-c-items-sale-trade/497824-fs-triton-battery-charger-nimh-nicd-lipo-pb.html) from when I had time to build RC planes...wonder if I could replace the whole breadboard contraption with something like that...Although, if I recall, if power drops out to the Triton, it forgets the active configuration...

Anyway...you've got me thinking about tearing things apart, so nice project. :)
KlockworkKevin (author)  trackzero2 years ago
Thanks! Yea the heat sink is pretty large for the voltage regulator, but I was concerned with heat dissipation from the smaller ones I've dumpster dived( dumpster dove?) so I went to the next bigger one I had, and figured the fan would be a plus. perhaps I'll pick up another regulator next time I'm at the store and try charging it with a small heat sink and see if it pops it or not, because as I learned when my cat attacked a prototype was i charging and knocked the sink off, it definitely needs some form of heat dissipation. and also to be properly shielded from feline interference!
KlockworkKevin (author) 2 years ago
So after building this I realized there are some other adjustable voltage regulators that maybe better for this project than the LM317 because they allow for a higher current flow out to the battery. While they aren't as easy to get as the LM317, they can still be orderd online. I'll have to try getting my hands on one and switching it out at some point in the future and report how that affects performance.
ianmcmill2 years ago
Plus fav for the colors. This build will come in handy for the next blackout or ehh zombie apocalypse :D
wow! This is really too cool!
vincent75202 years ago
I know my comment will seem pointless but I love the colors you you used for this project.

Thanks for posting.
KlockworkKevin (author)  vincent75202 years ago
Not pointless at all! thanks!