On a roll(er)

An update on the pedal power project – the generator is now up and running thanks to a friend of mine who generously helped me out with some metal fabrication, using the metal workshop at his workplace. These parts are namely the roller that connects to the shaft of the motor on which the rear wheel rests, and a metal bracket to connect the motor to the frame.

Close up of generator

The generator is held against the wheel by two springs that I salvaged from a washing machine – this could do with refining slightly, but it will do for now. Component with the three prongs is a Schottky diode, which controls the flow of current in one direction only – to the battery. If this were not present, the charge in the battery would reverse the current flow and cause the motor to turn as in it’s normal operation. In my excitement at getting the system running I neglected to allow for the heating effect of the diode and melted two of them! The diode is now connected to the metal mounting plate, which acts as a heat sink and dissipates the heat energy to the air.

Stripping down and checking the motor (hammer wasn’t required!)

So far I have used the system to charge my phone, inflate an airbed using 12v pump and tested it using 12v halogen bulbs:

http://youtu.be/ZWgL240AY7M

I have also bought an inverter (converts 12v DC to 240v AC). This seems to be slightly faulty, but I have managed to use it to power a radio. The system now needs a bit of refinement to improve the quality but it is showing a lot of promise. I hope to rig up a small solar panel at home and combine it with this system to provide a trickle feed to the battery, then my garage will be off the grid!

 

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