Human-Powered electricity generating..? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 07-09-2012 Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Human-Powered electricity generating..?

Going off on a tangent from another thread
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Originally Posted by windnrock View Post
...but thanks to you folks I may just get my wife an exercise bike for her birthday!
ha ha ha ha!

I have been thinking about manual charging options more and more recently, mainly due to the fact that the terms "bright, warm and sunny day" and the word "England" are not used in the same sentence as often as they might me elsewhere...

I think that if you are the type who works out regularly then surely that expended energy could be put to productive use by using it to charge the house batteries right?

So far I have only come up with a few imaginative ways and (have just this moment) decided to start another thread (this one) to see what ideas the community throws up...
_________________________________________

Just for laughs and to see what the collective intelligence of the community throws up...

Has anybody given any thought to manual electricity generation on-board?

I think that if you are the type who works out regularly then sure that expended energy could be put to productive use by using it to charge the house batteries right?

So far I have only come up with a 2 ways this could be done, but would love to get some input on these ideas...

1) The exercise bike:
Rather than expending energy to spin a flywheel attached to a brake for varying resistance (thats how most of them work to my knowledge). Why not rig the pedals up to a small generator and get your workout whilst charging the batteries!
2) The Rowing machine:
Pretty much the same principal (in theory) you pull on a cord to spin a flywheel/fan type affair. Rather than expending energy to spin a flywheel. Why not rig the cable to a ratchet gear and then to a small generator (or even the same one if you were really clever and get your workout whilst charging the batteries! The slidey seat thing could be accomplished with just a towel under your bum or just make a panel that could fold out of the way when not required and use non-slip matting on the bottom of the panel to prevent it slipping about.

Last edited by DavidB.UK; 07-09-2012 at 01:49 PM.
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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

when i was young and full of pee&vinegar i had a passing idea about that but i got over it
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post #3 of 20 Old 07-09-2012
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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

Yes Cammas. On his big trimaran solo sailed on the Route du Rhum he had on the back of the boat a kind of racing bicycle set up. He was seen pedaling furiously in diverse occasions.

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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

Nice idea David ...... thankfully I am not the type who regularlly exercises ...

Paulo .... I do remember seeing some pics or video of him pedalling away. I guess more practical on a big tri than a monohull eh ?

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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

1) The exercise bike:
Rather than expending energy to spin a flywheel attached to a brake for varying resistance (thats how most of them work to my knowledge). Why not rig the pedals up to a small generator and get your workout whilst charging the batteries!
A study was done on this somewhere (aren't they always) IIRC the output of the average human via this method of energy production is in the milliwatts range, for the exercise value by all means anything that keeps the joints moving is good, crikey would have to pedal hard to get a car alternator up to speed, lol you might need some speed or other performance enhancer to do it

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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

fun idea, but I think the real time HP requirement to charge 12 volt batteries is more then most of us, even the most athletic could muster. Even if we could do low wattage charging with pedal power the hours would kill most of us I think.
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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

The numbers I have seen indicate that a human on a bike can generate 150-300 watts. Start on the small side for duration pedaling, and a human should be able to generate say 12amps at 12 volts, for the duration of the ride.

It won't power an AC, but it could certainly run the lights, maybe an autopilot, ect.

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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

I have not put any time or energy into investigating the realities yet, but in principal if you are going to exercise (average 45-60 minutes per day)anyway, surely that expended energy could be used towards creating electricity...

from those who have chimed in (thank you btw) it appears as though the amount of electricity that could be produced is not huge, but even if it charges an iphone or iPad each day...

As an aside...
Did you know that human being can fly under their own power?

This video, shows the amazing flight of a human powered helicopter...

but to illustrate the principal of "how much power can a human being generate" I am yet to find a better demonstration.

On a serious note, if producing enough juice to supply any useable power to a 12v system would be challenging, perhaps a shimano gear system would need to be part of the arrangement to allow you to change up the gears (just as you would when accelerating on the road) to help you build up momentum.

Another way to look at it perhaps is to imagine an example in which you were able to (in an emergency) put enough charge in the system to start the engine, because somebody accidentally flattened the batteries.

or you really fancied a home baked pizza or some chips (fries) either of which would require electricity to run the oven or deep fat fryer. I think that there is an almost poetic balance in the concept of 'having' to do 30 minutes on a bike to make enough electricity to cook a pizza!

I wonder what the equation would be for: Calories burnt vs. Electricity made

Last edited by DavidB.UK; 07-10-2012 at 02:49 AM.
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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

lots of calories required. Peddle radio was first used in Australia in about 1929. If you are interested check out this web sit for a bit of history.
Pedal wireless
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post #10 of 20 Old 07-10-2012
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Re: Human-Powered electricity generating..?

You wrap one leg in zinc, wrap the other in copper, immerse the poor bugger in a tub of warm (ahem) and watch the power come out.

WW2 emergency radio sets routinely had crank power, the problem is that the human being usually consumes more energy than it produces.
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