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WaterPod Bicycle Energy Generator

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Revision as of 23:52, 6 May 2009 by Brl15 (Talk | Contributions) (Background)

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Waterpod Engr215 Student Projects

WindPod Turbine - Pico in a Bucket - Rocket Stove - Coopatron 5000 - FBD Rainwater Purification - Bicycle Energy Generator - Hang Thyme - Tour de Volts - Filter Commander 9000 - Soil-less Growing System - Composting Toilet -


As the need for renewable energy has become more apparent to the concerned public, we have discovered ways to wean ourselves off our dependence of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Our team has designed an alternative way to convert kinetic energy to AC power by means of a bicycle energy generator. With this, the WaterPod as well as others can use our design to generate their own electricity. We chose the Direct Contact Roller but the pulley system will work as well. [1]

Figure 1: Completed bicycle generator. Picture taken by Team Easy Riders.


The Bicycle Energy Generator will use kinetic energy supplied through a mechanical system and return usable DC power by means of a direct current energy generator. Direct current will then run through an electrical circuit and eventually be stored in a bank of marine batteries. This battery bank will provide a source of usable energy for the Water Pod community.

Problem Analysis and Criteria

Criteria Weight Description
Safety 10 Must be designed to support a person up to 300lbs and allow the cyclist to ride without being harmed.
Functions for 5 months 10 Design must withstand daily use for 5 months.
Cost 9 Entire design must cost less than $300.
Ship ability 8 The System must be able to be shipped through mail from California to New York, considering the size, shape, and weight of the design.
Compatibility with other Bicycles 8 Design must be to incorporate different styles and sizes of bikes to run the system.
Power output generated 7 Design must be able to produce an adequate amount of energy for the WaterPod's daily use.
Aesthetically Pleasing 6 Design must look professional.
Educational value 5 Design must provide visitors with an educational experience.

Final Design

Figure 2: Close up of roller and generator. Picture taken by Team Easy Riders.

The name of the final design is “The Bicycle Energy Generator.” This design for the WaterPod project provides to be the solution to meet their criteria and electrical needs. This design is different from the alternative designs because it includes a prefabricated stand and a generator shaft with the bike wheel in the design. A prefabricated stand is a very practical component to this design because it safely holds the bicycle’s back wheel off the ground, allowing it to spin freely, and act as framework for other components of the system. The prefabricated stand is designed to attach at the axle of the back wheel. The axle extends out on either side of the bike wheel so that it rests inside a specially designed shaft of the stand and is locked into place.

The factory-made resistance roller was modified so that it would roll with the DC motor shaft. The resistance used for training was removed and replaced with the generator. The generator shaft is coupled with the roller shaft, so when the roller is spun by the bike tire, the generator shaft is also rotated.

The circuitry of the system runs direct current electricity from the generator to a bank of marine batteries which then can be used to power appliances. Before that happens, as soon as the electricity is exerted by the generator, the current passes through an amp meter so the user can view what they are producing. The current is then passed through a blocking diode in order to prevent the current from running in reverse. Then, it passes through a 13V voltage regulator so the voltage does not exceed the determined capacity of the battery. Finally, the current is sent directly into a battery bank where usable energy is stored for later consumption. In order to maintain a functioning electrical circuit, the current returns through the battery and back through a fuse. After the current passes through the voltage regulator again, the direct current passes through a final fuse and completes the circuit.

Possible Alternative Materials

Although we chose to use a prefabricated stand, with the direct contact roller method, there are other components that can work as well.


We chose the Direct Contact Roller but the pulley system will work as well. [2]


Instead of using a prefabricated stand one can choose to build a custom built stand.


Material What We Paid Retail Price
Bike Stand $50.00 $299.99
Shipping and Handling $24.00 $24.00
DC Motor $65.00 $404.99
Fuse $0.99 $0.99
Fuse holder $2.69 $2.69
12 gauge wire(15 ft) $4.99 $4.99
Voltmeter $9.99 $9.99
Diode Free $1.59
Voltage Regulator Free $19.99
Total $157.66 $769.22


To construct your own Bicycle Energy Generator you can follow these steps:

1. Gather Materials:

  • Bicycle: A road bike with small threads is preferred
  • Bicycle Stand: Look on or retail stores online
  • 12V DC motor: A convenient place to purchase is at Alternative Power, Inc in Arcata, CA
  • Inverter: any hardware store
  • 12 V marine battery: Look online for the most convenient buy
  • Two Fuses: can be purchased at RadioShack
  • Diode: Use a blocking diode found at any local hardware store
  • 7 amp regulator: purchase at a local hardware store
  • Wiring: use a 12 gauge or smaller, 12 feet long, purchase at local hardware store
  • Scrap metal: any scrap yard

2. Construct motor/roller

  • To connect your DC motor to your bicycle trainer you must examine the resistance roller to see if the motor shaft can be coupled with the roller
  • Deconstruct your roller so that the roller shaft can be coupled with the motor shaft
  • Couple the two shafts together, a rubber couple would be best if the two shafts are not in equal width
  • Investigate where the motor should be placed, so that you can mount it to the bicycle stand
  • Mount the motor by placing a piece of metal between the mounted roller and the spring loaded board.
  • Construct a mount that will hold motor in place, preferably two pieces slightly on either side of the motor as shown below. The motor may vary in size so there are no dimensions given, but the general idea is to mount the motor so that it will not move once coupled with the roller.

3. Build electrical circuit

  • Here is a diagram of what needs to included in the circuit
  • Use soldering gun to connect fuses, diode, voltage, regulator, battery, and inverter. Clamps are acceptable to connect pieces of circuit.
    • First slip a sleeve of shrink tape over one wire and slide it out of the way of the soldering gun.
    • Hold wires together(make sure you use proper protection) and solder the wire ends together.
    • Once wires are connected, slide shrink tape over exposed wires and used a flame to tighten the tape.
    • Repeat this step for any wires that need to be connected to complete the circuit to the diagram.

Easy Riders


Team Members

Jason Crowley

Denise Duncan

Benjamin Lopez

Victoria Stover


  1. Erickson, Ben. (2008) “Human Powered Energy Generator” February 20, 2009. [1]
  2. Erickson, Ben. (2008) “Human Powered Energy Generator” February 20, 1998. [2]


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