Tag Archives: pedal electricity generator

The Pedal Powered Prime Mover

Ever since the notion of pedaling my own power struck me, David Butcher’s Pedal Powered Prime Mover has always appealed.

The PPPM has many advantages over the Turbike. Namely:

  • comparatively small footprint: the Turbike takes up two pallets worth of floor-space; the PPPM might consume (based on a visual guess) slightly under one pallets worth.
  • easier to make: you won’t need to… weld… wind coils of copper… attach dangerously-jumpy, powerful magnets to rotors… use clever engineering tricks to prevent the two rotors permanently sticking together as you align and space them on either side of the stator… mix and pour fibreglass… align the turbine frame with the bike stand… I could go on and on…
  • cheaper to make: magnets… steel discs (2 x 10mm thick, laser-cut into perfect circles)… 2-3m of angle iron… 2-3m box iron… welding rods… bike chain… bike training stand… and you’re suddenly well over €500 (whereas the PPPM plans cost $50 and materials maybe $250).
  • flexibility: the PPPM’s design allows it be more readily adjusted to mechanically power drills, saws, hammers… and perhaps more. Adapting the Turbike to do the same would be far more complex.

So, about the only way in which the Turbike might trump the PPPM is in power output – and clearly, given the time and money costs involved in constructing it, the Turbike would need to put out a LOT more power than the PPPM to make it worth the finances and time invested.

The Turbike’s power output potential is something I hope to share here once I’m sufficiently recovered from Follicular Lymphoma to get things up and running again. However this make take me several months. So, if you’re eager to get pedaling your own power, I suggest you consider David’s PPPM in the meantime.


How to tension a chain

Would have liked to wait for the right bike to show up at the recycling centre, but time was slipping by. So I bought a lighter chain wheel to replace the one used to test the concept.

Might be placebo, the power of suggestion, or perhaps I’m getting fitter… but I was able to pedal so hard that the alternator generated 17.9 volts. A new personal best! 🙂

If you want the details, this pic shows the chain wheel specs.

The Breathing Bike

Trying to find a way of coping with the polluted Beijing air, Matt Hope has come up with ‘The Breathing Bike’. The notion that his setup produces 5,000v makes me green with envy! The video was produced by the “Cool-Sparks” team of Xiao Li Tan & O Zhang – whose aim is to “profile cool people doing inspiring work”.

Chain tensioning

Spotting my chain problems, one kind visitor took the trouble to make contact and give me this tip. It’s made a big difference to my confidence while pedaling. So I’m sharing it in case it helps others.

The chainwheel inserted here is from a kid’s bike dumped at the local authority recycling yard. It is a bit heavy and you can see the effect on the chain. Mountain bikes and racers would have lighter pedal sprockets. So I’ll be checking the recycling centre often. Sure, I could probably buy one. But I prefer the idea of rescuing / re-using parts from bikes others think are only worth throwing out.

Meanwhile I can relax while pedalling and make electricity in comfort 🙂