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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Upside Down Bike as Phone Charger

"Donor Vehicle" for the pike project, a bike which had been damaged from a front-on crash

And the result, a Pike, Upside down bike used for exercise and charging USB devices such as mobile phones.

There have been generators on bikes for decades, but until recently the only purpose of the generators was to light the way at night.  In the last year or so, however, the output from bike dynamos has been used to charge Mobile phones and other gizmos such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS). 

This makes an application for a bike dynamo to be used on a stationary bike.  For me its not a necessary system but I'm sure there would be other "more necessary" applications of the technology, ie at 2-3 day music festivals or in developing countries where  mobile phones are used in areas that don't have reliable electricity. (Refer this article)  A more sophisticated version is the aim of a New York Kickstarter program.

An array of devices is coming on the market which provide a USB socket for charging and I decided to dip my toe in the water.

Initially my plan was to make a generator using a rotor from a permanent - magnet motor, and to make a device to "stage" and test the machine which was not a bike. (Imagine using a voltmeter to assess a generator while you're riding around) 

Somewhere along the way I shortcutted the whole process by buying a cheap and cheerful bike dynamo to USB charger device.  Here is the ebay address for Australia.  A day or so after the part arrived it was installed and working to charge my phone. So the Pike was born.  Here is the video

So why the Pike?  Well, if an ekib is a backwards bike, then a Pike is, obviously, an upside down bike.  (If you spell "upside down bike" in capitals you get the slightly useless name of BIKE.) This could also be a Pik, a slightly abbreviated upside down bike.

Making the Pike

Obtain donor vehicle
Strip all parts from donor vehicle
Clean Donor vehicle frame
Cut the top tube about 20cm from the seatpost tube.
Cut the down tube right near the bottom bracket
Clean, grease and reinstall the bottom bracket.
Fit oversize (28mm) steerer and handlebars to seatpost.
Fit Rubber cap to docked top tube.
Clean and refit transmission.  Mine is a fixed gear Pike.
Fit Generator of choice with usb output.
Charge phone or other gizmo.
Have a beer, you deserve it.

Using it.
Pedal this Pike using your hands or feet.  It might be possible to run a rod down from the cranks and drive the Pike with a treadle motion.  I am still working on this one.


Steve Nurse

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