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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was at spin class last night and watching my meager power numbers. I got to thinking about the amount of energy that was being created in that room at that very moment. Probably a few thousand watts for an hour.
That got me to thinking. If I could somehow harness the power I create on a stationary bike/trainer/rollers and charge some batteries. I could easily save a huge chunk on my electric bill.
I'm not a very smart man.So I'm sure someone much smarter than me figured this out 50 years ago. Is anyone else doing this? Are there companies that you guys have used for a product similar to this?
 

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An attractive notion. Renewable, eco-friendly human power.

Convicted criminals can be required to do their daily kW-hour. As can people found guilty of excessive car (SUV) usage.

Quite soon generators on all bikes at all times will start looking like a good idea with stuff like LED, HID, GPS, Di2 , MP3 - what next ? in-helmet head-up-display, rearview cameras, antilock braking, electronic CVT, black boxes, transponders.. ???
 

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tommyrhodes said:
So I'm sure someone much smarter than me figured this out 50 years ago. Is anyone else doing this? Are there companies that you guys have used for a product similar to this?
Don't know of a product, but there are people thinking about this. Just for starters, here's a quick calculation from someone in Germany interested in this. This assumes riders who can hold 120 Watt for a long time.

120 Watt mechanical power nets about 100 Watt electrical power,

so 10 people riding 5 hours daily on a spin trainer would produce:

10 x 5 x 100 Watt /1000 = 5 kWh (kilowatt hours) per day.

5 kWh x 365 = 1825 kWh per year.

(The average yearly electricity consumption of all German households is 3,900 kWh; of all U.S. households 11,400 kWh.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmm. I hate math but I'll have to do the math and see how much I could save by coming up with a system.
I think if I could hook an automotive alternator up to some batteries I could store power. I rarely watch tv and stuff. Most of my day to day electric usage is for hot water and charging my blackberry lol.
The batteries would easily power some lights and probably a tv. Be an interesting project. Still open to ideas though so keep them coming.
 

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Here you go:

http://www.windstreampower.com/Bike_Power_Generator.php

Dancer
tommyrhodes said:
Hmm. I hate math but I'll have to do the math and see how much I could save by coming up with a system.
I think if I could hook an automotive alternator up to some batteries I could store power. I rarely watch tv and stuff. Most of my day to day electric usage is for hot water and charging my blackberry lol.
The batteries would easily power some lights and probably a tv. Be an interesting project. Still open to ideas though so keep them coming.
 

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I read about a gym somewhere that is or was being built where all of the equipment supplied power for the building.

If I remember correctly though it was a pet project of the owner and the cost of all the equipment and wiring and such was way up there. He said that at the present it wasn't a wise financial choice but he was hoping to spread the idea.
 

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Math hate

tommyrhodes said:
Hmm. I hate math but I'll have to do the math and see how much I could save by coming up with a system.
I think if I could hook an automotive alternator up to some batteries I could store power. I rarely watch tv and stuff. Most of my day to day electric usage is for hot water and charging my blackberry lol.
The batteries would easily power some lights and probably a tv. Be an interesting project. Still open to ideas though so keep them coming.
You'd better learn to love math PDQ. If you could ride at 200w for 5 hours (!), you could generate 160 watts from a generator (80% efficiency) and that would be enough to heat 5.5 gallons from 60F to 120 F. You'd better take pretty short showers!

However, if you're a wimp and only put in an hour a day on your generator bike, then it's one gallon of water heated, or 2 hours on a small TV, or 2 hours on a dim light bulb. Those who can't do math are doomed! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I realize it would be unrealistic to get all my power from my feeble legs. But, I'm not a bit energy hog at my house in the first place. I rarely watch tv or shower at home. (I shower at the gym or the fire station most days). Most of my electricity goes into 1 or 2 lights. Usually the light in my bedroom and bathroom. And in the winter I spend 10+ hours a week on the trainer. Just thinking maybe I could put my legs to good use for once lol.

Also. What's with the Barbara Walters hate? Seems totally uncalled for. I know sox fans have it rough but jeez. Chill out dude.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
You'd better learn to love math PDQ. If you could ride at 200w for 5 hours (!), you could generate 160 watts from a generator (80% efficiency) and that would be enough to heat 5.5 gallons from 60F to 120 F. You'd better take pretty short showers!

However, if you're a wimp and only put in an hour a day on your generator bike, then it's one gallon of water heated, or 2 hours on a small TV, or 2 hours on a dim light bulb. Those who can't do math are doomed! :)
A Navy Shower conserves enough water:
  1. Turn on the water
  2. Immediately wet the body
  3. Turn off the water
  4. Soap up and scrub
  5. Turn the water back on and rinse off the soap
  6. Turn off the water

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_shower
 

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Generating power during your gym work out is a great idea. Ellipticals, rowing machines, and stair machines could be used too. All these machines that provide motion resistance are just generating waste heat which when the weather is mild to warm that heat needs to be pumped out by the air conditioner which consumes a lot of energy. So the energy saved is more than what is generated when the weather is mild to warm.

I could be a game: The gym member would be compensated for the energy that was generated which pays down his monthly dues. The goal is maximize the energy generation to minimize the gym bill. High score would be tracked and people would compete for the top spot.

Treadmills are stupid gym machines in terms of energy use. Even though you are breaking a sweat, tread mills are sucking down a lot of power just to keep you running like a hamster on a wheel. Run outside.
 

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that electricity generator made for bikes cost $600. How many miles will i have to pedal at low/regular resistance to generate enough electricity to save me $600? I'm guessing over 50,000 miles?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The one they sell on that site is incredibly expensive. I found plans using an old car alternator and some basic wiring that will do exactly the same thing using all recycled products. Not sure how long it will take to pay for itself but money is only 80% of the reason I'm doing it.
 

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tommyrhodes said:
The one they sell on that site is incredibly expensive. I found plans using an old car alternator and some basic wiring that will do exactly the same thing using all recycled products. Not sure how long it will take to pay for itself but money is only 80% of the reason I'm doing it.

don't take on this project

there's a couple of reasons

1. You'll never make and store enough electricity to account for much of anything

2. BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT POINT
your home is connected to an electrical grid, you can't just hook a battery to your electrical panel. If for some strange reason you actually were able to create and store a decent amount of energy, that power could feed back to the grid and harm power workers who were under the impression that they'd shut the power off. (that's why people with back up home generators have to install a cut off switch that removes their home from the grid when the generator is running)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Lol. I appreciate your concern rosco. My legs are feeble but they're strong enough to creat juice to run a few light bulbs or a radio. Not gonna be heating hot water or running the fridge off my legs but it sure beats not making any electricity at all.
Not sure what makes you think I'd be hooking my car battery up to the grid. But that would be silly.
I did apreciate your list. (I always enjoy a good list) but I regret to inform you that my project continues on! I must persevere in the face of adversity (you)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey op.
Too lazy to read previous posts but your not gonna create enough electricity to power the city. and your crazy for tying into the grid. That's how gary coleman died.

1.Do not tie into the grid.
2. Your not gonna create enough power to create the massive amounts of juice to light a bulb.
 
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