After months of trial and error, we have finally accomplished the goal that we had set for ourselves from the beginning of the project: we charged a cell phone by pedaling a bike. This goal seemed far fetched and possibly out of our reach from the time we started our project, but we persevered and learned through our mistakes that the road to innovation is a difficult and testing process.
From our last trial, we found out a few more pieces of information. The first thing that we learned that we could mount a generator into the wood. Using a one and three quarter inch fosterer bit and wrapping tape around the generator, we could attach it to the mounted generator. The other thing we learned was that our spindle was inadequate. Being naive, we thought that we could use the same method of a wooden spindle in the new trial to create something that was straighter and more durable. To our disappointment, this was not the case. Furthermore, we learned that we wanted an enclosed system to give our design a more professional look. Also, with the our prototype, Neil had to sacrifice two pencils to keep the wheel from destroying the generator because there was nothing holding the opposite side of the spindle. With all these adherences in mind, we executed the changes in the new design.
As the end of the semester arises so suddenly, we face a difficult question. “What is our next step in turning our ingenious ideas into effective realities?”
So far, we have found a generator and created a stand which could effectively be used to make energy from spinning a bicycle tire. Now, our goal is to use the energy being created to charge a cell phone. This process, however, involves a conversion of one type of electricity into another. Why can’t all energy just be the same?
Our new design will have both sides of the spindle stabilized because while testing with a single point of connection, the wood shot off after a few minutes of use.
We have found through our research that the energy being omitted from the generator is the same energy which car chargers use to charge cell phones. So, after the heat of finals dissipates, our first step is to take a car charger and connect it to our generator in order to see if we can charge a cellular device.
While our bike stand is crude, it worked to hold up the back wheel so we could pedal in place
Today was very good for the Green Guardians. With our previous plans compromised, we had to make a compromise ourselves. Ok, so today our group got good work in, and good results out. The geniuses Neil and James constructed a makeshift stand to suspend the bike in place above the ground. You would not believe what we did next! Actually, you probably wood;)
This is the evolution of our spindle from dowel to useful spindle. We use a disc sander to get the bottom 90 degrees with the side and used a drill press to get the hole perfectly straight also. The tape around the generator is used to make it bigger and thus fit tighter because the holes we drilled in the stand were slightly bigger than the generator itself.
We drilled some holes in some cylindrical pieces of wood (dowels) in order to increase the surface area of the spindle so tire could spin the generator more. Then, we drilled some larger holes in a piece of 2×4 that could hold the generator in place. Then we used more wood to create a t-shaped stand that could hold the generator against the bicycle tire.
This is a view from above to see the stand more clearly. We used simple trig instead of rulers to find the middle of the wood because we apply what we learn in school.
The holes here represent potential places for a generator. There are multiple so we would be able to test the most efficient place but due to human error, we were unable to test at this point in time.
This is the diagram of the stand I proposed today. I think that its simple design will allow us to build it quickly but also be able to quickly modify it when things go wrong.
Who said innovation was easy?
We found out that the bicycle generator wouldn’t work for the exercise bikes at gyms so we realized that we needed a traditional generator. Our next step was to find a design that would hold the generator next to the wheel so that spindle would be turning as the bike was. We ordered a 12 Volt DC generator and drew up blueprints for a stand.
We got together and decided that it would only take us one meeting to make our product a success. We were wrong. We started fiddling around with with this bike generator that Neil had in a forgotten box. We tried to hook it up to the bicycle as it was intended to be, but found that not reading instructions can lead to breaking products. We don’t know how we broke it, but at the end of our fiddling, the spinny wheel wasn’t so spinny. We tried to open the generator, but it was solid cast iron, and we didn’t know how to open it.
This is what we started our with. We unscrewed the gold part and tried to open completely up, but weren’t able to. When we tried to put it back on, it went on alright, but would no longer spin.
Our directions were MIA so we didn’t know that the generator was to go on the side of the bike’s tire and we thought it was to go on the treaded part so we bent the connector piece out of wack until it was unusable.
Chris, James, and I (Neil), all have the same chemistry teacher, Mr. Orme. One day he was talking to us about how the energy of the universe is constant and that it means the energy is either in the solar system or in its surroundings. We as people spend a lot of time and resources to take energy in the surroundings and put it into the system. For example, cooling our home with a fan. The problem is a lot of the energy used to turn the fan is being wasted and that got us thinking, “WHAT IF… we harnessed the energy that we were previously wasting through our previous technology. We did a brainstorm:
We settled on trying to harness energy in exercise equipment because we are not graduates of MIT (yet) and our engineering is only average.