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Nokia's Bicycle Charger Kit a stroke of genius


June 4, 2010

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Cyclists are already doing their bit to help the environment by eschewing a fossil-fuel guzzling transport option. Now they can do a little bit more using Nokia’s newly unveiled Bicycle Charger Kit which lets cyclists charge their mobile phone using pedal power. The kit employs a bottle dynamo that is driven when in contact with the front wheel like those found on ye olde time bicycle lights.

Charging times will obviously vary depending on the phone and cycling speeds, but Nokia says cycling for 20 minutes at 20 kmh (12.4 mph) will power up a Nokia 1202 for around one hour of talk time, or 74 hours of standby time. Charging starts when the cyclist hits walking speed, or around 6 km/h (3.7 mph), and at 12 km/h (7.4 mph) it will charge your phone as efficiently as a mains charger. And there’s no need to worry about going to fast and sending a power spike to your phone as the charger will cut out if you somehow exceed 50 km/h (31 mph).

The kit consists of three components: a bottle dynamo, charger and a phone holder. The bottle dynamo fits to the front of the bike with a mounting bracket, while the charger and phone holder attach to the handlebars so you can see the charging progress and carry out a hands-free conversation or listen to music on your phone’s speakers.

The phone holder is rubberized to protect your phone from vibrations and comes with a transparent bag to protect your phone from dirt and weather. The charger also boasts an ultrasonically welded case and clear coating on the electronics. Both the charger and holder can be easily removed whenever you park your bike to prevent theft of the unit.

Nokia’s Bicycle Charger Kit is compatible with any Nokia phone with a 2 mm charging interface and is easy to install. I only hope that the bottle dynamos have improved in the couple of decades since I used one to power a light on my early morning paper route.

The idea of using pedal power to charge mobile devices isn’t new. There are other chargers such as the PedalPower+ we looked at last year that charge not only mobile phones, but also GPS units and MP3 players. But with Nokia still retaining top spot in terms of mobile phone sales there’s sure to be a market for a Nokia specific charging option such as this.

There’s no word from Nokia on pricing or a release date for the Bicycle Charger Kit as yet.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Gimme a break -- I had the exact same little generator on my Schwinn in 1949. It made it harder to pedal....


LOL! It reminds me of that episode of the Simpsons when Bart engages his bottle nose dynamo of his bike because it\'s getting dark and it all but stops him from moving! :-D


Demon, my sentiments What would be better is some type of generator in the axel, so as not to make it harder to pedal and less wear on the tire.


And this is a \".....stroke of genius\" why, exactly?

Genius would be if the generator was used to power an electric motor driving the bicycle. Now that would be clever..... Still, an \"over-unity\" bike can\'t be that far off...... ;)

Mike Hallett

Yeah...riding a bike for 20 minutes for 20 KMH (about 12.5 mph) is not really that tough... but with a dynamo attached? Yeah right...I\'m no Lance Armstrong!


Those dynamos had a bad reputation for wearing through the sidewall of the tire and causing blowouts. I\'d consider this more a stroke of ignorance than genius.


This is a gag article....

The worst part of the situation is that these generators were the WORST designed things to generate electricity ever invented - 100W of effort to generate 5W of light.

And all the idiots kept on manufacturing them \"just like that\".

If they had nice free running ball bearings, instead of the one long HUGE shitty and poorly lubricated plain bearing, if they had a decent permanent magnet and fine little field windings on soft iron poles, like a proper AC generator......

But nooooooo the stupids kept on doing the really crappy me too brain dead design and they all did cheap versions of it....

That is why SOME companies made little dynamos\'s from proper components and these things spun like one winged blow flies, and made heaps of power.

I really hate STUPID designs, I hate CHEAP designs and I hate BADLY made cheap and stupid designs..... and I hate the people that make them.

I had a few of these abortions on my bikes when I was a kid and I still resent the pox bottle generator and the people all along the supply chain who make and distribute them.

Allowing for losses etc., it should only take about 12W of power to make 10W of light - but these bottle generators make 5W of light for 100W of power.


Mr Stiffy

I wanna put it on my Buddy 50 :)

Ed Ruyter

To catch a rat digging a mountain -- more effort,less profit.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

There are good and bad dynamos, just as there were a few decades ago. In general dynamo hubs are more reliable and efficient than bottle dynamos, but they do add a little drag even with the lights off.

What has improved hugely is the performance of dynamo powered lights. A modern LED light is much much better than anything available decades ago - they\'ve been getting better and better even over the last few years.

Alan Braggins

I began looking for a similar product after reading this post. A few days later I found this.

My husband loves to ride, and he wanted to use stats apps and gps on his HTC incredible. But the phone battery would be dead in just45 minutes into the ride!

I checked out other similar products. Some of them were a little too complicate, other over budget.

I wanted to share my find because my husband is very happy with the kit; his friends bought some as well. I think it is a good product. Check it out if you want.


This was actually introduced specifically for the central African market where the biggest issue for communication is not the mobile phones or network infrastructure, but rather the lack of power!!! So, given that African conditions are slightly harder than most places around the world, and that these are fairly cheap, a basic bottle dynamo was the best option available to meet the requirements.

Hub dynamos are great, but they still produce additional resistance and are hellish expensive compared to something like this


@Alex Madison $80.00 for a bottle dynamo, friction driven from the side of the tyre? Surely these things went out of use when I was a kid 60 years ago? My current bike has a very efficient hub unit, which STILL needs a whole lot of effort to turn.....lift the wheel, spin it by hand, and then turn on the light! Incidentally, I haven\'t seen any comments about expensive hub-mounted disc brakes on cycles. Let\'s face it, disc brakes were invented for bikes, but were much more efficient with calipers operating on the rims! More completely unecessary \'progress\', still, it provides work for someone I suppose!



Something tells me you\'ve never actually tried disc brakes on bikes. Especially in inclement weather.


@Gadgeteer All cycle brakes operating on wheel rims ARE disc brakes! Something tells me you haven\'t realised this! I thought I\'d made it clear when I said that disc brakes were invented for cycles. Of course, the leverage at the rim is so much greater as well.


@Terotech,, not very smart.. Of course disk brakes were invented for bicycles and they are used on bicycles, the reason there are no stories about it is that is is too common and no longer \"tech\". Have you bought a Bike in the last 10 years... Well if you have it wouldn\'t have had cantilever rim (at least not on the front) and in the last 5 years not on the back either...

Probably since 2006 (and before but it was more expensive) all half cecent biles have had disk brakes....

This Generator, Must have been updated with some good internals (brushless alternator at least), rather than the poxy systems used in the 70s and before.... Im sure it is just meant to look retro....(could be wrong) BUT Get it off the tyre.... Best way to wreck a tyre is to press a rough steel cog against it....

In Africa they put these things up on blocks and just spin the wheel, to power the phone, no need to ride 12 miles....

Alternately, hook up a buffalo to a decent generator and you have true biopower.... (Buffalpower really)


I use a carriage return stepper motor out of a dead Epson printer. It mounts under my seat with a nut and bolt hinge and a spring that allows belt alignment. It is driven from the rearwheel via the toothed belt from the printer. I made up a plastic pulley from bits of old drainpipe that clamps to the rear axle. The output of the device is fed into a 5 volt regulator circuit and I use this to drive all of my lights and a USB socket. I can charge any USB device while I am riding and my lights are always fully charged, though I don't need any batteries in my lights because the output of the generator is enough to power the lights directly. The generator is engagaed all the time because there is virtually no drag on the wheel. The generator turns slowly but is still capable of delivering up to 12 volts at about 1/2 an amp. Total cost - about 1/2 a day of my time and an otherwise useless printer. I have been using it for about 3 years without any problems.

Mike Meerding

I had one of these when I was a young ladd. I would like to see them make one the same as a speedometer with the cable hooked to the hub instead as to protect the wheel from wearing out.

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