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Can I take my garage off the grid?

Posted by admin on Jul 1st, 2008
Jul 1

I can’t put up a windmill, solar is still too expensive, I don’t have a creek or a river flowing through my backyard so what else is left? I did what any sane enviro-pioneer does in such a situation – I’m building my own electricity generating stationary bike. Granted, it won’t be enough to sustain my garages independence, but it will help to suppliment what it is consuming, as well as help with my center of gravity (i.e. the middle-management waistline).

One thing I seem to have more than enough of is bicycles. It’s about a 2 to 1 ratio – three people in the house and (I think) six bikes. Some we ride and some are probably only good for parts. I do have the skeleton of a previous attempt at a stationary bike contraption using an automotive alternator, but that didn’t work out so well. Either I didn’t wire the regulator correctly or I wasn’t turning the alternator fast enough, but it never really seemed to generate much and there wasn’t any resistance, so I may as well have been sitting in a chair spinning my legs frantically – it would have looked just about as crazy. If I peddled as fast as I could then I *might* get the voltmeter up to around 10volts of output. Great exercise program, but very frustrating.

This time, with new inspiration and a new vigor, I went to my local electronics junk yard and picked up a 200 watt 12v motor. It is in excellent shape and I only paid $20 for it. I then went online to Tractor Supply and ordered a v-idler pulley and an 82″ v-belt (for a lawn tractor), along with an ammeter to view my real-time peddle progress. That all came to just under $29, so I’m up to about $50 total now. I suppose I didn’t need the ammeter…. I’m still waiting for those to be delivered, so in the mean time I have to build a “structure” to hold up and stabilize the back of the bike, like a training stand or something. I’m not quite sure what to do about that yet but I’ll get it figured out.

I’ll be back next week with an update and pictures of the progress.