I'm eyeballing this pedal generator right now, and I'd love to hear some feedback from people that have tried it, or something similar.
We currently have a battery backup box setup in our living room - a big case with some deep cycle marine batteries in it, hooked up to a power inverter, charging off of the house. It's a great emergency power failure measure. We live an hour from town, in an area that sees about 110 inches of annual snowfall, so we like to make sure we have a way to keep the phones and internet up at the very least (we have propane heat).
My madness with this particular quest is, quite honestly, that I dream of the convenience of some kitchen appliances, but I feel too guilty to spend the money on buying and powering them - I just can't do it. I'd love to say to myself,
'Oh, well if I want to wake up to a pot of coffee already made for myself, I had better start pedaling.' or
'If I wanna use my food processor to make pie crusts, I had better charge up a battery tonight.'
I mean how cool is that - I get power, I don't burn up electricity from the grid, and I get a little exercise to boot. I don't know, but I'm kind of wild about the idea.
So has anyone ever used this device, or something similar? I hate that it's made out of plastic, but what can you do I guess.
at my youth movement, we had the 'dyno' and later 'dyno2'. This were pedal powered party machines. As long as 3 people kept pushing (or 2 pushing harder) the pedals, the music and the lights stayed on. It was not big festival size shit like Tomorowworld, but plenty for a street/garden party with the local dj or kids playing dj.
I have asked if it still exists, but mostly for plans of it because it's just cool to see
Some pics for now. If I get a reply, I'll keep you posted!
At a children's museum near where I grew up they had a pedal power generator hooked up to a series of light bulbs. From what I recall, if your REALLY pushed yourself you could get 4 of the 6 bulbs to light up. On the Survival Podcast, one of Jack Spirko's regular contributors did a pretty strong take take down of human powered electricity a few months ago (I think it was the guy that does all the 123 websites). The takeaway was that you would need to pedal for 48 hours, or something ridiculous like that, to equal the amount of energy you get from a single gallon of gasoline.
Ouch - I think that translated to 'pedal all day to run the blender for five minutes.
At $195 dollars, I'd be far more inclined to spend the money on a solar panel.
For powering kitchen appliances, I think I'd rather rig up something with an old bike that powered them direct.
That's kind of what I was wondering too - I live in an area with such limited solar energy though, only about 5 hours of direct sunlight half the year when they weather's decent. I'm wondering if just doing this on occasion and storing the charge in a battery would make it more worthwhile?
I built one, as a design exercise. A fit cyclist could produce well over 100 watts. Most people were obviously straining to get over 60 watts. I was pretty fit at the time, I could produce 60 watts for an hour and felt like I got a very good work out.
Just to visit the actual math for a minute, a gallon of gasoline is considered to have 33.7 kilowatthours of energy. You can never get all of it out due to conversion inefficiencies, but we're just doing back of the napkin math to understand the ratio.
So if you had amazing endurance and could maintain 60 watts output for 24 hours, that's 60 x 24 = 1,440 watthours.
OK, but we still have to divide by 1,000 to get kilowatthours, so 1,440 / 1000 = 1.44 kilowatthours for your marathon session on the pedal generator.
So it would take 33.7 kwh / 1.44 = 23.4 days of vigorous peddling to produce the equivalent energy of one gallon of gasoline.
And don't forget, the energy has to come from somewhere. Were talking a lot of hamburgers and milk shakes to power you on that bike for a whole day. So really, you're losing net energy when you account for the energy in the food.
So pedal generators are cool. They are an amazing tool to educate people to realize how much actual work (in the technical physics sense) it takes to light a single 60 watt light bulb.
They are not going to run your house. Or even a tiny part of your electrical load.
Troy Rhodes wrote:They are an amazing tool to educate people to realize how much actual work (in the technical physics sense) it takes to light a single 60 watt light bulb.
This is exactly my thinking with it - I like the idea of optional appliances requiring substantial input from me to power, so I can really feel what it actually costs to use it, and determine if it feels worth it. Is that lesson worth plunking down $200? Well, probably not
It's definitely not practical for large scale energy use reduction in the typical home, but I like the idea of saying to myself, "Hey, you wanna wake up to a hot pot of coffee instead of doing it all yourself? You gotta WORK lady.'
There's this phenomenon that happens with nursing mothers, where we're confined to a spot for so long with a feeding baby, that we start to shop for nonsensical things we likely don't need And they say breastfeeding saves money *scoff*