by Tony Sirna

Today there is  a blogathon happening at Dancing Rabbit. Its a fundraiser so please consider donating to Dancing Rabbit.

We’ve been promoting the blog as being Pedal Powered but the company that was supposed to ship us the pedal powered generator never shipped the product! Annoying…

So last night I went into McGyver mode to see if I could come up with some way to power the blog with a bicycle. I had less than 24 hours, so I had to use what was on site or could maybe go to an auto parts store (in the end I didn’t have to). Here’s what I came up with:

First I found an old training stand and mounted my bike on it.

Bike on Training Stand

Bike Mounted on Training Stand

Then I found an old cordless drill that I hadn’t used in years because it wouldn’t go in reverse. I hooked up some wires to where the battery would connect and then connected it to the training stand.

Cordless Drill For Bike Generator

Cordless Drill For Bike Generator

Then I found a pocket inverter that would convert 12 Volt Dc to 120 Volt AC and hooked that up to the wires coming from the drill.

Pocket Inverter

Pocket Inverter

Using a volt meter, I could adjust the speed of my pedaling to keep the voltage around 11 to 14 Volts. We then turned on the inverter and powered a lightbulb as a test.

Pedal Powered Generator Made from a Cordless Drill

Pedal Powered Generator Made from a Cordless Drill

Later today we’ll be hooking this up to a computer. I don’t know if we’ll be able to keep the computer powered the whole 24 hours like we had hoped but its at least something and not too shabby given 24 hours and all the parts were already on site.

Update: When we tried to plug in the computer the higher current draw made the voltage drop below the inverter’s cut off point, and we couldn’t bike fast enough to keep up. I went and found a small 12 Volt solar charge controller and a tiny 12 Volt battery and now the generator charges the battery as it is powering the computer.

I’ll be posting more during the Blogathon and don’t forget to Donate to Dancing Rabbit.

9 Responses to “DIY Bicycle Generator From Cordless Drill”

  1. You are the smartest, most sexy person in the universe! I can’t believe you pulled it off! Congratulations.

  2. [...] Rabbit’s founders, Tony Sirna, went into engineering mode last night, and hacked together a DIY pedal-power generator with a bike stand, a cordless drill, and a pocket inverter. It’s pretty cool (though [...]

  3. Would a ‘corded’ drill work?

  4. A corded drill might work but it would definitely produce AC power rather than DC, since that is what it runs on.

  5. Harry E. Schumacher
    19:01, 08.09.2010

    Hmm… would the bicycle generator assembly like this simply charge the original battery of the cordless drill, after which it could be then utilized on the drill or where ever (using DIY adapter)?

  6. Harry E. Schumacher
    19:22, 08.09.2010

    …and hmm, I think that the cordless drill produces AC really. An electric motor using the DC from the battery commutates the voltage correctly as the rotor turns. Thus, in reverse order the output should be rectified in order to charge the original battery, am I right? This scraps my idea.

    When INVERTING power from a DC battery to mains power, the AC sine wave is produced in the inverter unit electronically. The higher voltage is produced by chopper and/or coil assy. You can get higher voltages or higher current, but not both (meaning no wattage boost), by my understanding.

  7. Interesting read , I am going to spend more time reading about this topic

  8. I’m a new visitor (I found your blog through another blog. I appreciate what I’ve seen thus far, and I trust you keep submitting articles of this nature! I bookmarked your blog, so I hope you keep posting articles like this. I hope to be reading and commenting on your future articles. Keep up the great work. Best wishes!

  9. Most AC drills do not have permanent magnets so they would not work as a generator.

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