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EcoXPower powers bicycle lights and charges mobile devices simultaneously

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August 25, 2012

EcoXPower converts pedal-power into electricity for both headlights and a smartphone

EcoXPower converts pedal-power into electricity for both headlights and a smartphone

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EcoXPower by EcoXGear is another take on a concept which most Gizmag readers will be familiar with: harnessing the kinetic energy produced while one pedals a bicycle in order to convert it into electricity and charge a smartphone or similar device. Though we’ve covered several products of this nature in the past, such as Nokia's Bicycle Charger Kit, Dahon's BioLogic ReeCharge, and the PedalPower+, the EcoXPower sets itself apart by charging your smartphone or GPS and providing electricity to front and rear lights at the same time.

EcoXPower comprises two principle components: a handlebar-mounted, touchscreen-compatible and water-resistant case which will house iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry smartphones, MP3 devices and the majority of GPS models and, attached to the bike's front wheel hub, the main unit itself: a dynamo device that uses a clutch to engage the wheel's moving spokes and then convert kinetic energy into electricity. The two components are linked via a cable.

The main unit integrates a headlight and taillight into the casing, each of which are lit with LED's and controlled via a wired on/off remote switch located on the handlebars or, alternatively, a switch situated on the main unit itself.

EcoXPower's wheel-hub based power-plant contains a lithium-ion battery to ensure the light...

EcoXPower's main unit packs a 700 mAh lithium-ion battery, which will power the lights and charger for up to 1.5 hours without pedaling, ensuring your lights won't falter when you stop for traffic. It measures roughly 6 x 3 x 3 inches (15 x 7 x 7 cm) and weighs 1.3 lbs (0.5 kg). The company states that its universal hub-mounting bracket will fit most standard and oversized wheel hubs, and it can be adjusted with an included Allen key.

The primary drawback of dynamo devices like the EcoXPower is that they can cause a significant hit to performance when cycling, and some products can make even a short ride feel like hard work. However, just how well the EcoXPower fares in this area won't be clear without a test ride.

The EcoXPower is available now from EcoXGear at a price of US$99.99.

Source: EcoXGear, via Engadget

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales. When not working, you’ll usually find Adam tinkering with old Macintosh computers, reading history books, or exploring the countryside with his dog Finley.   All articles by Adam Williams
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6 Comments

They need to make a generator that engages only when you squeeze the brake handle but before the pads engage.

Pikeman
25th August, 2012 @ 09:50 pm PDT

@Pikeman, I like it! regenerative braking on a bike, for lights and brake lights. But could it be done feasibly?

kellory
26th August, 2012 @ 08:40 am PDT

Wasteful. A hub-mounted generator means low angular and tangential velocity, so it will need some kind of step-up gearing, which will increase energy loss. And what's with the handlebar-mounted headlight switch? Considering how rarely the switch needs to be used (once at the beginning of a ride, once at the end, and only at night), just put the switch on the light and eliminate the vulnerable cord.

Gadgeteer
26th August, 2012 @ 08:41 am PDT

re; Gadgeteer

I comes down to a choice between weight and wind resistance, and the drag of step-up gearing, unless you think that wearing through the sidewall of a tire like the old bottle generators did is a good idea.

Pikeman
26th August, 2012 @ 11:56 pm PDT

A good way is to harness the wasted kinetic energy generated during the time when the rider is not pedalling. When the pedal is in zero motion , there are a lot of flux line generated by the motion of the stationary part of the bike and any parts that's in rotation eg. during downhill, back pedalling , cruising or any moment when the pedal is not driving forward. All the energy would then be generated by momentum, assisted by gravity.

Any wiseman out there, I hope you can work on this concept. It's definitely possible. Just that I got no time to work on that.

(15 years more to retirement - then probably I'll be free to create this and many more things.)

Jimmy Chew
27th August, 2012 @ 07:51 am PDT

@Pikeman,

There are alternatives other than sidewall-driven generators. Even decades ago, there were generators that mounted behind the bottom bracket. An even better alternative would be mounting a large diameter ring containing magnets on the spokes and a stator coil on the fork blade. No additional bearings or moving parts, completely maintenance-free, high tangential speed without gearing.

FYI, regenerative braking would be nearly worthless on a bicycle, whether pedal-driven or electric. It would take a large generator to create any significant deceleration force. Electric cars have motors big enough to do that. Seeing as how you seem to be worried about weight, lugging a few pounds of generator on a bike wouldn't be a good option.

Gadgeteer
27th August, 2012 @ 06:21 pm PDT
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