Spent Saturday of this weekend at the Silk Mill in Derby, an industrial museum. I was taking part in a workshop to create 4 pedal powered generators for the city to use in future community events, after hearing about it on twitter. The workshop was a collaboration between three groups – Sustrans, Electric pedals and Charity Shop DJ. Electric pedals has been going since 2007, and since then they have been using their generators for some really interesting projects, including conservation efforts in Uganda, where the native gorillas are at risk. The generators have been used to power a portable mini-cinema using a projector consisting of a low powered iPhone-based LED and guitar amp to show footage to local people, many of whom have never seen moving pictures or what a gorilla even looks like. They were also responsible for the human power station project on BBC’s ‘bang goes the theory’ program, where 80 of the generators were used in an experiment to power a family home of 4 people.
Over the course of the day, we built 4 generators, and a circuit board, to combine the power from them and convert from DC to AC.
We then tested the system with a PA brought in by Charity Shop DJ who were putting on a free party on Sunday night. Electric pedals had also brought along a beefed-up version of the control circuit, housed in a plastic wheelie bin! Looking like something from Ghostbusters, this can handle the power from up to 25 bikes, and is a serious piece of kit – I want one!
We also had a demo of the cinema system used for educational purposes in developing countries, and in schools throughout the country.
I found out about the workshop after doing some research into pedal power generators after being set the task of creating a mobile solar/bike generator to take to festivals with the National Trust. I had a lot of fun on the day, and learned lots of useful info to put into my own project, so after I have sourced some parts, I’ll start assembling my own model, and let you know how it goes!