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building a treadle generator? Answered

I was wondering if anyone knew how to build a treadle-powered generator, either from scratch or using an old treadle sewing machine as a base. If so, you're help would be much appreciated


Okay, what do I do now? I also have an inverter. (400 W that usually hooks up to the car battery). How do I connect the black brown and orange wires to a regulator? Can someone walk me through this? I'm not electrically inclined.

Best, Michael

Treadle 2.jpgTreadle 1.jpgMotor Wires.jpgMotor Label.jpgAC Motor.jpg

1) You probably want to charge a battery, or at least use a battery to smooth out the voltage/current fluctuations.

2) There are generators that attach to bicycles for powering lights. Some rub against a wheel, and some replace the front wheel (hub) entirely.

3) Just about any DC electric motor can generate power if you spin it. It's just a question of finding a motor that spins easily enough and also generates roughly the right voltage at the right speed (see point 1 above).

After figuring out the pulley (belt) to generator ratio, one "should" place a voltage regulator in between the charger (or if it runs directly OFF the generator) and the "device. The lapton would probably be VERY unhappy with varying voltages due to treadle speed cyhanges.

The regulator would smooth out these variances and give a constant current.  

Have you got the sewing machine base ?

A nice 12V DC motor, like a windshield wiper motor


yes, yes I do :) I actually collect vintage sewing machines and recently came across one that is (unfortunately) damaged beyond repair, so I thought I'd put what's left of it to good use.

You need to hunt around for a suitable DC motor.
A fan motor from a car might be suitable.

forgot to add this: ideally I'd like it to charge a laptop and/or cellphone/mp3/other USB device

The treadle action on a sewing machine is usually hooked up to a drive belt of some sort so you can mate that up to the driveshaft of a small generator. The hard part is sourcing some kind of generator/dynamo like that potemco hand-held generator powerful enough to run a laptop. I think most configurations would charge a battery since the output of a small human cranked generator has a low output. Good luck.