Tuesday, 26 January 2010


We are so excited about our new knowledge! This weekend we went on a course to learn how to build a bicycle powered generator, with Magnificent Revolution. Our generator is going to power our wool mill during our residency at Louder Than Bombs.
Magnificent Revolution are brilliant. They are passionate people, explain things clearly and make wonderful bike powered cinemas and parties.
This is what we did;

We screwed a motor onto a metal plate, screwed onto a training stand. Making an exception, we wired the +ve to the -ve because the roller on the side of the motor, which is in friction with the bike wheel was a screw in roller, which if it was rolling the wrong way, would have popped off, so we turned the motor around the other way and wired it backwards! Cool!
Motors can be generators. If power goes in, they turn, and if they are made to turn, they make power. This motor makes DC power.The capacitor holds the voltage we create by pedaling the bike. The numbers show the volts we were making. The inverter converts the DC voltage into AC, so we can plug in a household appliance. The inverter takes between 10v and 14v, so we had to regulate the power as we were cycling by keeping an eye on the numbers, otherwise the inverter cut out. It didn't like powering bass woofers, the power kept surging and it was hard to pedal smoothly.

Then we learned how to power a battery. We put a fuse between the battery and the inverter, to stop appliances blowing up. We powered a light off the battery, while we connected...
the diode, which is like a one way valve, and stops the electricity going back to the motor.Then we wired up a DC to DC converter, which regulates the flow, so that we could pedal at any speed we wanted without sending surges to the invertor. This circuit board sends out a constant voltage which you can change by turning a little screw.
We are now designing our mill and will enjoy all the souldering and crimping and stripping of wires. We look forward to showing you when it is up and running.
Don't listen to what I've just written, I might have got it wrong, but it was helpful to write and remember what I'd done! I'd recommend this course to anyone. It's reassuring to know that if there is ever a time when we have no power, we can make it ourselves, with a few bits and pieces, make power and continue to be partying craftsmen.