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.