Introduction: Contactless Dynamo Powering Bike Safety Lights
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Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest
As you will see, the electric circuit is really simple and contains only 3 bright red leds and a 4700uF capacitor. The capacitor is used just to keep one of the leds steady while you are driving. The other two leds will be blinking as the magnets pass by the coil. To have all three leds blinking you can remove the capacitor if you want. If you decide to place some more capacitors in parallel, the steady led should keep on even when you're stopped.
On part two we have more 2 coils installed for powering 5 white bright leds for the front light. The circuit is completely independent from part one's.
For more information about how to improve this kind of system, just look around the site, there are several instructables on the subject. You will find different kinds of generators and other circuit ideas.
Step 1: The Coil
To avoid spending time building your own coil, just look around for an old relay. I got this board from an old telephone central station.
The second picture shows the coil disassembled from the relay. On the bottom part you may notice that the magnetic circuit is open. In fact that's where the relay's moving parts were attached. I didn't noticed much difference closing the magnetic circuit with a peace of metal, so I just left it as it is. But theorically it should improve efficiency.
For a simple system like this, you should try to keep the coil's resistance between 100 and 200 ohms. This one has 200 ohms. With more than that you will generate more energy but efficiency drops because you also have more losses in the coil.
Step 2: Hard Drive Magnets
Now you will need to find some neodymium hard drive magnets. I used 3 of them on my rear wheel, you could use how many you want as long as you are able to firmly attach them.
Step 3: Coil Tests and Circuit
On the scope you can have a clue of what you're generating with your coil. If you are able to save the waveform, you may import it on a circuit simulator and try to model your project.
Unfortunately I could not get Led3 to have a continuous conduction in simulations although it happened always on the real circuit. Maybe it is because I have not used any inductors on my coil model.
Notice that the circuit is not symmetric due to the coil's generated voltage waveform having it's energy concentrated on positive values. This is all dependent on the magnet construction and the magnetic circuit you used around your coil.
Step 4: Rear Light
Now take a cheap rear led light so that you can install your new system into.
Step 5: Part 2 - Front Light
Now on the second part of this project we add 2 relay coils and a front light, with a circuit completely independent from the first part of the project.
Step 6: The Circuit
The following circuit shows a way of powering 5 bright leds with two coils that are not generating energy simultaneously. If you just connect them in series, one will absorb part of the other's energy. This does not happens here.
I have not used any capacitor since I wanted to have all leds blinking a lot! Anyway the only place you could really place one is in parallel with led3 since it never gets negative voltage. So you will have one steady led and the other 4 blinking...
It seems that the coils' resistances should be kept around 100 or200 ohms but I used two 600 ohms coil and it worked fine.
Step 7: Closing Up
The hard part might be to attach all those coils to you bike. Try to use as less ferromagnetic materials as you can to avoid it to be pulled by the magnets.
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