Just before Christmas, we travelled over to Bristol with Matt Little to run a very special workshop with members from Spoke ‘n’ Chain, APE Project, Cube Cinema and Bristol County Council. The aim was to build a series of bicycle generator system that could be used independently but also linked together to create an larger system capable of powering cinema setups and sound systems.
The series of 2-bike DC generators (up to 200W) could be linked together to form an 8-bike generator capable of producing up to 800W. The generator kits fitted nicely into these army surplus ammo cases I found. The bad yellow paint job is because we got overexcited and bought some flourescent paint from RS but then realised that we didn’t have an primer.
We tested the individual kits on various appliances, including a 12V heating element that Kevin from Spoke n’ Chain brought round – 15 minutes pedalling with 2 cyclists to boil a cup of water. It never ceases to amaze me how much energy heating consumes.
The grand finale was a screening of Metropolis (1927) at the Cube Cinema. We hooked all the bicycles generators together and then put the power through our big blue Maxwell 58 Farad Ultra-capacitor and then the 1kW Studer Inverter to help smooth the voltage and convert the DC to AC power. The film was a mammoth 2 and half hours long and we were running a 750W projector borrowed from the Cube. We decided to connect a 150Ah battery to the setup as well to avoid any voltage drops to the AV equipment.
2-Bike Generator Parts List
250W 24v Unite Motors MY1016 x 2
Minoura Training Stand x 2
Custom Motor Rollers x 2
Custom Aluminium Plates x 2
Autoleads 0.5 Farad Capacitor x 1
Block DC / DC Step-down Converter x 1
15A Circuit Breaker x 2
Bridge Rectifier x 1
Maplin 12V Cigar Socket x 1
Speakon 2-pole Sockets x 2
Speakon 2-pole Plugs x 2
We’d like to give a big thankyou to everyone that participated and especially Guy for taking such great photos and Spoke ‘n’ Chain, the Bristol Bicycle Festival and Chris from Shambala Festival for helping to making this project happen.