Decision time? Check out our latest product comparisons

The Pedal-A-Watt Stationary Bike Power Generator: create energy and get fit

By

November 24, 2009

The Pedal-A-Watt and, inset, connected to a bike and voltmeter to show how much power is b...

The Pedal-A-Watt and, inset, connected to a bike and voltmeter to show how much power is being generated

As people the world over continue to search for renewable energy sources, innovative and interesting ideas for generating power are constantly being devised. Those interested in keeping fit and producing power at the same time might be interested in this unique product – the Pedal-A-Watt. It converts your bicycle into a stationary bike and uses your pedal power to generate energy that can be stored in a power pack. An average rider can produce up to 200 watts – ride for an hour and you'll generate enough to power a 25 watt fluorescent light bulb for eight hours.

So how does it work? It’s not unlike the River gym concept - you simply attach your bicycle to the Pedal-A-Watt stand and start pedaling. The stand contains a generator which is spun by the movement of the bicycle’s back wheel. The generator is made of a spinning magnet within a coil of wire, as the magnet spins, electricity flows through the coil. The energy you generate can be used straight away or can be stored in a battery in the power pack for use later. The bicycle can be clipped into the stand in less than 30 seconds without having to remove the rear tire, and if you want to do some road riding you simply pop your bike out of the stand. Too easy.

How much pedaling will you need to do to charge average household appliances? If you pedal for two hours then you should produce around 400 watt-hours of power. That's enough to power a 200 watt television for two hours, or a 100 watt light bulb for four hours. A 20 watt laptop PC could be charged for 20 hours and a 15 watt fluorescent bulb for almost 27 hours.

An average adult rider could produce from 100 to 320 watts of power depending on their physical strength, stronger and fitter adults could create between 225 to 320 watts or more. The stand is best suited to bicycles in reasonable condition with 26 or 27 inch wheels, but can also work with wheels greater than 10 inches. It weighs 23 lbs and optional extras such as the cigarette lighter plug and 12 foot cable are also available.

The Pedal-A-Watt package has a lifetime warranty and can be purchased for US$399. That includes the bicycle stand, generator, 20 amp blocking diode, adjustment knob and instructions. The power pack is sold separately for US$365.95 and is suitable for household appliances up to 400 watts.

Via Convergence Tech

8 Comments

Funny that, we built a similar set-up for our college open day. :D

Same frame and everything!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/energylabdcu/4130568629/

Shiny
25th November, 2009 @ 02:49 am PST

Who comes up with this stuff?

@ $399 for the unit, I would have to pedal 2 hours a day for 30 YEARS for this to make financial sense.

Bicycling magazine did an interesting write-up of how similar units actually make sense for gyms, where they are in use for many hours each day, but for a normal person, this is absolutely useless.

Shang
25th November, 2009 @ 04:57 pm PST

@shang:

Consider those that pay over a thousand for a non-electricity-generating stationary bike, and this thing makes all kinds of sense.

Dan K

Dan K
2nd December, 2009 @ 03:02 pm PST

strip it down from a wheel stand to a self contained pedal to gen unit. take 10 units, mount them on a chassis and have 10 cyclists onbord. enclose. commute..whoever supplied the least power to the bommute gets to buy drinks after work.

waltinseattle
14th February, 2010 @ 05:37 pm PST

waltinseattle, I like your idea. I had a similar one, using your system as a public transport machine. The more you pedal, the cheaper the fare. By the way, don't bother with the generator and motor. Just connect directly to the drive wheels, using a suitable link up between each pedaller. May be a flywheel could be employed, although that would be extra weight. Regarding the original article, I think criminals in prison should be made to generate electicity, if only to power the prison, and save taxpayers money. By the way, did you hear the news the other day? Prisoners complained that they were being charged £1 per week each, to rent TVs in their cells. They won their case, and now only pay £1 per cell if they share with others. It's good, isn't it?

windykites1
15th February, 2010 @ 08:35 am PST

Actually this idea is being implemented in a City Jail here in the Philippines where the prisoners have mandatory time on a stationary bike to recharge a battery that will power their light bulbs at night. They take turns in doing this, that story can be found here http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/metro/view/20100619-276504/Jail-guards-invention-saves-on-power and it has some photos if you want to see ;)

Anyway, they are using an ordinary outdoor bicycle, I think it won't last in the long run. Wouldn't it be a greater idea if they purchased used stationary bikes instead to cut down on the cost (as some are complaining here) instead of buying a new one? I wonder which stationary bike will have a better output, the recumbent one or the stationary bikes (for those who doesn't know the difference visit this site http://www.dogengine.com/used-stationary-bikes.php they have pictures there of different types of stationary bikes), since the recumbent is more relaxed, I personally believe people would have more time using it than the upright ones.

Let us not also forget that the actual equipment is a "fitness" equipment. The power it produces using this method is just something we don't want to waste, we are just maximizing its use ;)

shockware
12th August, 2010 @ 12:46 am PDT

Delightfully Seussian, 10 bommuting Seattlites. Like power-generating turnstiles, revolving doors, and sidewalks. Brilliant. Has anyone come up with a way to collect the energy from a spinning clothes dryer to power a washer? or the lights...Do you know?

Liz Kirchner
6th December, 2013 @ 02:50 pm PST

I purchased this unit and must say that the buyer should beware.

The unit works rather nicely, but only after some significant reassembly and research. I considered the unit to be sloppily assembled and slightly incomplete.

I paid the surcharge for a "new" unit, but my generator motor certainly didn't look new, nor did the mounting plate to which it was attached. The sticker which would have identified the origins and specs of the generator motor clearly had been hastily ripped off the unit. The shipping box itself looked like it had been opened by an overeager ten-year old on Christmas Day, and then repaired with packing tape. Support blamed this on the FedEx shipper. I find that easy to disbelieve.

The generator motor was mounted on the wrong side of the plate. There were three photos in the instruction manual (clearly not reversed because they have text content which is not mirror image) which show the motor mounted on one side, but the website shows the generator mounted on the other side. The way it arrived, the generator was delivering positive through the black wire, and negative through the red wire. This color reversal is enough to drive anyone used to wiring components crazy. Worse, the black wire was connected to the negative terminal of the voltage regulator, inviting me to reverse the polarity delivered to the regulator the first time I might use it -- potentially damaging it.

I surmised that unmounting the generator, flipping the plate over, and remounting the generator on the rider's right side would match the instruction manual's photo, and also change the direction of rotation of the motor, thus correcting the polarity.

Support claimed that the generator should be mounted as it was delivered because the mounting screw might eventually become loose. I will take that risk.

There were only two screws to mount the generator to the plate, but four holes were drilled. Considering the cost ratio of a couple of screws and nuts to the cost of the unit, this seems a bit sleazy to leave these parts out. They should ship SPARE hardware, not a SHORTAGE of it. Support claimed "Two bolts are plenty to hold the unit firmly in place – we have done hundreds of hours of testing and sold many, many units and all this empirical data show that there is no need for 4 bolts. As an environmentally friendly company we attempt to reduce the footprint of our products as much as possible. The savings to us in 2 vs. 4 bolts is so negligible as not to matter to us." My point is, if you drill four holes, and there are four holes on the generator, ship at least four screws if it "doesn't matter". If four screws were not shipped because they do not match the geometry of the generator's mounting holes, then the plate was sloppily drilled. So this makes me think the company is either into sleazy cost savings or trying to hide their sloppy workmanship.

The tension adjuster has to hit the floor for the generator to make contact with the bicycle wheel. I fail to understand why the unit could not be configured (as delivered) to have the tension screw pointing into its reserved position on the base of the bicycle stand, just like the original Bell Motivator bicycle stand's magnetic resistance unit would mount. I had to mount the screw into a piece of plastic to keep it from wearing a hole into the floor.

Clearly this was a modified Bell Motivator bicycle stand. I fail to understand why the magnetic resistance unit that would normally ship with the original Bell Motivator was not included with this unit. The generator provides some resistance, but not a lot. It's not much of a workout to charge the 35Ah battery we are using.

There was no users' manual shipped with the voltage regulator. It would have been impossible to figure out the regulator without this crucial piece of instruction. Luckily I found the manual via Google. I also found that I could have purchased the identical regulator for half the price I paid to the company that supplied Pedal-A-Watt.

Overall, I am happy that I have a working unit. But I think the company's delivery was sloppy and unprofessional.

Charles May
4th September, 2014 @ 08:00 pm PDT
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 29,042 articles