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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondered if anyone has their own pedal power system to supplement their energy use or for emergency use? Also just wondered if anyone has a hand crank for power other than those already built into some appliances like torches, wind-up radios etc?

I have been reading Anita Evangelista's book "How to live without electricity and like it". It's a great read and has given me a few ideas.

The main thing I need to do to become self sufficient, not rely on power companies, and to fully enter the 1% is to cut down my energy use and adapt to be able to use the energy I am able to produce myself if necessary and in a SHTF situation.

Besides solar I am looking at a Pedal Power system. You can get product's that are already pre-built and buy these online but like solar panels versus cells, they are very expensive. You can get the parts yourself and build your own system for a quarter of the price you'd pay to a company online. I think it's worth doing.

According to this book I have been reading, human power can generate about 60 watts of power with continuous pedalling at a medium speed (5 amps at 12.5 volts) and more energetic types can generate up to 200 watts for minutes at a time. If you use an exercise bike anyway, why not use it to create electricity?

You can get used bike's pretty cheap, a used alternator and flywheel which would stabilize the output from your peddling. The alternator will convert the rotary motion from the flywheel to DC current.

Anyone have a pedal power system already that they built themselves or bought?
 

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Just wondered if anyone has their own pedal power system to supplement their energy use or for emergency use? Also just wondered if anyone has a hand crank for power other than those already built into some appliances like torches, wind-up radios etc?

I have been reading Anita Evangelista's book "How to live without electricity and like it". It's a great read and has given me a few ideas.

The main thing I need to do to become self sufficient, not rely on power companies, and to fully enter the 1% is to cut down my energy use and adapt to be able to use the energy I am able to produce myself if necessary and in a SHTF situation.

Besides solar I am looking at a Pedal Power system. You can get product's that are already pre-built and buy these online but like solar panels versus cells, they are very expensive. You can get the parts yourself and build your own system for a quarter of the price you'd pay to a company online. I think it's worth doing.

According to this book I have been reading, human power can generate about 60 watts of power with continuous pedalling at a medium speed (5 amps at 12.5 volts) and more energetic types can generate up to 200 watts for minutes at a time. If you use an exercise bike anyway, why not use it to create electricity?

You can get used bike's pretty cheap, a used alternator and flywheel which would stabilize the output from your peddling. The alternator will convert the rotary motion from the flywheel to DC current.

Anyone have a pedal power system already that they built themselves or bought?
The only flaw to pedal power is that it's an active system. It takes up time that you could be doing other things (hunting, gathering, water, firewood, recon, defensive planning, fishing, etc). In a SHTF situation, your daily life will become exercise. Building, farming, hiking, etc all burn calories. You probably won't need as much structured exercise as you do now.... though it might be helpful to train for evacuation procedures or something like that...

I just think you'd be better off going solar or wind. Once you build or install them, they are passive and you can do countless other things while they produce electricity for you.
 

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If you want to learn to live without electricity then why generate it?
My plan is that there will be no power and I won't be generating any either. I will go without electrical power. I may make an alcohol fueled steam engine for my lathe and other tools but no electricity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was thinking of pedal power as a means to supplement the power when needed for example there is no sun or wind. Also for those living in urban locations in some type of economic collapse when the power goes down and there's a lot of chaos and the crime rate goes skywards, I am thinking that you are going to be going out a lot less and you're definitely not going to be letting your children out as it will just not be safe to do so by this point. For the times when you're at home indoors, doing stuff with family etc, you have some pedals under your chair you're turning while at home, listening to radio, reading a book or whatever, I think could be very useful?
 

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Just wondered if anyone has their own pedal power system to supplement their energy use or for emergency use? Also just wondered if anyone has a hand crank for power other than those already built into some appliances like torches, wind-up radios etc?

I have been reading Anita Evangelista's book "How to live without electricity and like it". It's a great read and has given me a few ideas.

The main thing I need to do to become self sufficient, not rely on power companies, and to fully enter the 1% is to cut down my energy use and adapt to be able to use the energy I am able to produce myself if necessary and in a SHTF situation.

Besides solar I am looking at a Pedal Power system. You can get product's that are already pre-built and buy these online but like solar panels versus cells, they are very expensive. You can get the parts yourself and build your own system for a quarter of the price you'd pay to a company online. I think it's worth doing.

According to this book I have been reading, human power can generate about 60 watts of power with continuous pedalling at a medium speed (5 amps at 12.5 volts) and more energetic types can generate up to 200 watts for minutes at a time. If you use an exercise bike anyway, why not use it to create electricity?

You can get used bike's pretty cheap, a used alternator and flywheel which would stabilize the output from your peddling. The alternator will convert the rotary motion from the flywheel to DC current.

Anyone have a pedal power system already that they built themselves or bought?
I don't know much about pedal power but if I was going to use pedal power for generating power I would have a battery to store it in. Solar panels have came way down in price in the last few years. You can get a complete kit for about $150 that will charge a car battery in a day and if you get the right lights you can have light all night on one charged up car battery and listen to a radio. Maybe I'm just to lazy to pedal
 

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If the power is out and you have lights it is akin to a neon target. You are advertising that you have something that everyone else wants. Somebody will come to take it from you.
 

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Keep in mind most alternators require at least 2000RPM to generate output voltage. Most also require a 12 volt signal to excite the clutch to begin generating.
 

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If, and that is a big IF, you could pedal for an hour and generate 1/4 hp for the entire hour (which is not unheard of but difficult) you would be able to light 3 each 60 watt bulbs for that hour.
That is 15 amp-hours or roughly 1/4 charge on a deep cycle battery - leaving out the 20% losses that occur from the alternator to the battery. (assuming a 12 volt alternator directly connected to the load) You will have consumed your full days supply of calories (2850) to do that one hours worth of work.
That seems like a poor way to generate power unless you needed to use some emergency gear for a very short period of time and had no other war to do it.
 

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I was thinking of pedal power as a means to supplement the power when needed for example there is no sun or wind. Also for those living in urban locations in some type of economic collapse when the power goes down and there's a lot of chaos and the crime rate goes skywards, I am thinking that you are going to be going out a lot less and you're definitely not going to be letting your children out as it will just not be safe to do so by this point. For the times when you're at home indoors, doing stuff with family etc, you have some pedals under your chair you're turning while at home, listening to radio, reading a book or whatever, I think could be very useful?
If SHTF and you're in an urban environment, the only thing I would advise is to BUG OUT!!! Car, donkey, dog, cat, or on foot, I'd want no part of the city in an economic/societal collapse... But that's just me.

There are problems in the city much bigger than power. Food is scarce. If the grid is down, it won't take long for water and sewage to follow.
 

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And I think you're going to have to learn how to live again. In society today, we have all kinds of health problems simply BECAUSE of electricity. Do you think we would need all the sleeping meds we do if we stopped fighting nature and slept when it was dark and worked when it was light?

Granted, it comes with its positives. We can do more with less when it comes to building, etc, but I for one refuse to worship it and donate extreme amounts of time to it. That's why I would favor a passive system. If you run both solar and wind, chances are good you can have 1 running at least. Add in water if you are situated near a running source, and you are virtually golden.

I could just see someone sitting at an exercise bike for 8 hours to run lights or a power tool for 20 minutes. At some point, it becomes a silly investment of time. You can build cheap windmills for pocket change... Probably with many of the same components as your pedal system. I've seen ones so simple on youtube that they're just bike wheel with saran wrap wrapped around some of the spokes.

Do yourself a favor and check out youtube, kickstarter, and instructables.... But I'd rather invest time in building a syngas generator (produces combustible vapors from wood) than waste time pedaling a bike to power a battery. Unfortunately there's just not enough time in the day...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If the power is out and you have lights it is akin to a neon target. You are advertising that you have something that everyone else wants. Somebody will come to take it from you.
I'm sure there are ways to avoid advertising this. In the war in Britain we had black out curtains that went up at night time to prevent the Nazis getting a fix on our towns and cities to bomb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Keep in mind most alternators require at least 2000RPM to generate output voltage. Most also require a 12 volt signal to excite the clutch to begin generating.
Good points. Though you can just excite the alternator for a few secs then flip switch, cut the battery to the alternator once you have gotten going. Or alternatively a PM DC Motor instead.

In regards the amount of RPMs needed, you could either have it on roller or to some sort of belt. Attach that to 26, 27 or 29" bike wheel, and you will get many turns of the alternator/PM DC Motor for just one turn of the pedals/ bike wheel. The RPM needed may seem like a lot but not so much when you factor this in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If SHTF and you're in an urban environment, the only thing I would advise is to BUG OUT!!! Car, donkey, dog, cat, or on foot, I'd want no part of the city in an economic/societal collapse... But that's just me.

There are problems in the city much bigger than power. Food is scarce. If the grid is down, it won't take long for water and sewage to follow.
It may not necessarily be better to Bug Out in such a scenario, but could be a lot worse and even fatal. The story of Esteban Morales and what he describes during Argentina's Economic Collapse hit this point home for me. Unless you have some sort of cast iron guarantee for your own self sufficiency and survival by taking this option it may be better to stay put in this type of scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And I think you're going to have to learn how to live again. In society today, we have all kinds of health problems simply BECAUSE of electricity. Do you think we would need all the sleeping meds we do if we stopped fighting nature and slept when it was dark and worked when it was light?

Granted, it comes with its positives. We can do more with less when it comes to building, etc, but I for one refuse to worship it and donate extreme amounts of time to it. That's why I would favor a passive system. If you run both solar and wind, chances are good you can have 1 running at least. Add in water if you are situated near a running source, and you are virtually golden.

I could just see someone sitting at an exercise bike for 8 hours to run lights or a power tool for 20 minutes. At some point, it becomes a silly investment of time. You can build cheap windmills for pocket change... Probably with many of the same components as your pedal system. I've seen ones so simple on youtube that they're just bike wheel with saran wrap wrapped around some of the spokes.

Do yourself a favor and check out youtube, kickstarter, and instructables.... But I'd rather invest time in building a syngas generator (produces combustible vapors from wood) than waste time pedaling a bike to power a battery. Unfortunately there's just not enough time in the day...
Thanks! Great points well made! It does seem that a passive system is the best advice.
 

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Wow...some good info in here. We didn't realize that solar could be so inexpensive. And to think we were looking at a hand crank generator for about $500.
 

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Good points. Though you can just excite the alternator for a few secs then flip switch, cut the battery to the alternator once you have gotten going. Or alternatively a PM DC Motor instead.

In regards the amount of RPMs needed, you could either have it on roller or to some sort of belt. Attach that to 26, 27 or 29" bike wheel, and you will get many turns of the alternator/PM DC Motor for just one turn of the pedals/ bike wheel. The RPM needed may seem like a lot but not so much when you factor this in?
There are one wire self energizing alternators available. Most are sold for hot rods or engine swaps. J C Whitney, among others have them listed.
 

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Yes, there are two types of "one wire" alternators. The most common uses a rotor with a rare earth magnet to supply the field strength the other uses a tap of the battery, through the regulator that energizes the rotor coil to provide the field strength. (the only generators that use clutches are commercial units in the multi-kilowatt ranges powered by large engines)
Whether you drive an alternator by hand or with a bicycle wheel you can only produce an average of around 1/4 hp for more than a few minutes unless you are training to be a world class cycler and then you can almost double that amount of power. Burning up a full days calories to put 1/4 charge on an average battery is not a worthwhile endeavor. If you need power that badly the get a PV setup or a wind turbine that will broadcast your location to anyone within a few miles of you.
 

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OK, there is one alternative energy source that has not been brought up yet. It might be viable to generate power on a limited basis or indirectly run a machine.
It is called a sterling engine and if you have access to a good heat source and a way to sink that heat then you could run a sterling engine. NO FUEL REQUIRED.
You would need a fairly large one but it has been done in the past.
Personally I will use a steam engine to directly, or indirectly, power the machines that I need when I need them. I will use alcohol for the fuel so there is no smoke and run it only when required for a specific purpose. 5 acres of Jeruselem Arichokes will produce around 10000 gallons of fuel each year.

(yes I know I could use an internal combustion engine more efficiently but it is noisier and requires other consumables that will not be readily available - like oil and antifreeze. A steam engine is easy for me to make and require only minimal lubrication to stay in working order. (utilizing a closed loop heat exchanger I can even use the heat to heat my home )
 

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If you want to learn to live without electricity then why generate it?
My plan is that there will be no power and I won't be generating any either. I will go without electrical power. I may make an alcohol fueled steam engine for my lathe and other tools but no electricity.
It has been my approach to learn to live with out Electric or battery power. I just see no sense in spending time and energy on resource that that will run out anyway. However Technology has changed the world we live in.
Things that were not very efficient in the past can be now. My second son a hard core mountain biker is convinced that some pedal power is worth while.
As all my children have done he will likely teach me a thing or two as he investigates the options.
I do see pedal power in a direct form being used to pump water up to gravity tanks our water system will work much like a current City system does now.
 
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