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Solar power

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  • Mark Garvey
    As most of you know, I am one of those heretics who like to combine human with Electric power on my bicycle. for me it works (others do i too so I am not the
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 28, 2007
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      As most of you know, I am one of those heretics who like to combine human with Electric power on my bicycle.  for me it works (others do i too so I am not the only "pervert" here.  Or would that be...."e-vert!")

      Anyway, a year or two ago, I built a solar charger for my e-assist that was often towed behind my Trike or my mountain bike.  It carried the battery pack, and a pair of 10w Solar power panels that fed directly into the battery pack all the time.  It was not really a self sustaining premise, just a proving stand really.  On the positive side, I could ride to work, park the bike in the sun and by lunch time the battery pack was topped up!  I could stop on a longish ride and take a nap, eat lunch, do something I wanted to do, or work at my part time business, and the batteries would gain power rather than simply sit!    PRACTICAL range with moderate  hills was over 35 miles. Much depends on how much you really want to pedal.  I tend to be a bicycle rider who has an electric system to HELP me, not an electric bike that needs help!

      I have since acquired a couple more solar electric panels.  Well, one 12 V panel at present and a couple more bids.  I also have a second 24V battery pack.   The project is this.  I am thinking of adding some VERY bright automotive type  12V lights for headlights or simply A headlight (small driving lights?  LEDs?)  and a few, RED  LEDs for tail / clearance lights.  the red LEDs are easy. I can probably snag a couple from work with no trouble.  Round lights are in bins at work, I just need a way to mount them.   Or I can look into accessory lights at Autozone or O-Rileys or something.

      All I need to do is find an adequate 12v power source.  I will probably find a smallish sealed Gel cell and power it with the 12V  solar panel which may well end up sitting on my snapdeck and the battery pack tucked somewhere on the frame ( I plan on getting a SMALL battery, 3-4 Ah, probably under a pound)

      I am curious about how this will work.  Oh, I could power it with a battery charger too I suppose if I really wanted to, but the idea of a solar power panel is so much FUN!  Maybe I am stupid, or foolish, or even unrealistic  (Gods forbid!) but the whole idea of a means of amplifying your own personal strength so that your bicycle becomes THE transportation solution is simply too much for my mind to reject!

      This is not to say that the X is inadequate. It is absolutely NOT!  but the addition of this heretical power option gives ME (at least) flexibility!

      unfortunately, it also makes the bike heavy!  (BOOO!)  which is my only real objection!  By the way, in the recent discussion of hauling kids around, I have news for you!  a e-assist makes that task WAY easier!   My power assist is nothing special, it will allow me to get up to 15-18 mph at best, but It allows me to do it with a full load of groceries AND a trailer with two small children aboard hitched on behind!

      Anyway, just some random thoughts!

      mark

      --
      Putting the fun in dysfunctional for over 50 years!


      Mark  Garvey
      Cedar Rapids, Iowa free state!

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    • Morgan Giddings
      Hi Mark, ... It s actually more efficient than human power alone! Electric power is transported and converted more efficiently than food that powers the human
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 29, 2007
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        Hi Mark,

        As most of you know, I am one of those heretics who like to combine human
        with Electric power on my bicycle. for me it works (others do i too so I am
        not the only "pervert" here. Or would that be...."e-vert! ")

        It's actually more efficient than human power alone!  Electric power is transported and converted more efficiently than food that powers the human part of your drivetrain.  So for anyone who calls you a heretic, just let them know the facts... Besides, with an electric assist, I tend to ride about twice as much as I would otherwise, and find the bike to be a much more practical replacement for the car.

        All I need to do is find an adequate 12v power source. I will probably find
        a smallish sealed Gel cell and power it with the 12V solar panel which may
        well end up sitting on my snapdeck and the battery pack tucked somewhere on
        the frame ( I plan on getting a SMALL battery, 3-4 Ah, probably under a
        pound)

        Regarding the light project, why not just use a DC-DC converter to step down from your 24V pack to the 12V necessary for you headlights?  There are some here: http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=406


        unfortunately, it also makes the bike heavy! (BOOO!) which is my only real
        objection! By the way, in the recent discussion of hauling kids around, I
        have news for you! a e-assist makes that task WAY easier! My power assist
        is nothing special, it will allow me to get up to 15-18 mph at best, but It
        allows me to do it with a full load of groceries AND a trailer with two
        small children aboard hitched on behind!

        Mark, you need to try out some *modern* battery technology!  I have a LiFePO4 battery on my bike now, and I will never go back to lead acid.  Just the weight alone makes up for its high cost!  However, it's not just weight - over their lifespan, these batteries cost only about half the price of lead acids to operate, because they last so much longer (see http://cycle9.com/FAQ-new/FAQ-new.html#What_are_the_different_battery_).  I'm not trying to sell you something - if you want to go the "cheap" route just buy some DeWalt 36V packs - see http://www.slkelectronics.com/DeWalt/packs.htm for an example.

        Anyway, just some random responses!

        Morgan G
      • Mark Garvey
        ... This is my point. I waffled a lot about the e-assist. And in truth some people DO NOT like the idea. and I can understand why. But for what I use the
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 29, 2007
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          On Dec 29, 2007 8:07 AM, Morgan Giddings <mcgurme@...> wrote:
          Hi Mark,

           with an electric assist, I tend to ride about twice as much as I would otherwise, and find the bike to be a much more practical replacement for the car.

          This is my point.  I waffled a lot about the e-assist.  And in truth some people DO NOT like the idea.  and I can understand why.  But for what I use the bike for, which is basic transportation the majority of the time, it is simply the BEST practical solution.  I ride a lot more with the e-assist than I would without it.



          Regarding the light project, why not just use a DC-DC converter to step down from your 24V pack to the 12V necessary for you headlights?  There are some here:  http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=406
           
          NOT a bad idea, but I am thinking of two points here, cost and simplicity.  A battery would cost me a few dollars (under $10) and hooks up directly to the charger, which is my MAIN experiment anyway. 



          Mark, you need to try out some *modern* battery technology!  I have a LiFePO4 battery on my bike now, and I will never go back to lead acid.  

          Uh HUH!  I do.  I WANT to, but making the nut of a couple hundred dollars worth of batteries will be a bit difficult for a while, so sticking with cheap and easy (like me!) for teh present is  the choice that I am taking by necessity.  And you are right of course.   There are some really intersting battery ideas out there!

          The DeWalt A123 packs are a huge idea, I run a 24V setup right now and the DW 28 V would work I think IF I can afford them!

          Oh, and the Heretic thing!??  I was joking! I KNOW that others on this list use e-assist.  So there is some sympathy there.  and for the Human Power only folks, I AM tinkering on a super simple MAN-Bike for "other duties" in my stable of stuff.  Just as soon as the damned SNOW clears off a bit!  Darn!  I have about run my snowblower ragged this week! 

          got up and ran the darn thing at 6 AM last Sunday!   I think I woke up my neighbor!  HA!

          Anyway, just some random responses!

          Morgan G



          --
          Putting the fun in dysfunctional for over 50 years!


          Mark  Garvey
          Cedar Rapids, Iowa free state!

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        • David Chase
          Regarding lights, and conversions, and efficiency. If you go with LEDs, the main rule is to regulate the current, not the voltage. ledsupply.com sells a part
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 29, 2007
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            Regarding lights, and conversions, and efficiency. If you go with LEDs,
            the main rule is to regulate the current, not the voltage.
            ledsupply.com
            sells a part called the BuckPuck that runs on anything from 5 to 32
            volts,
            so if you are feeding LEDs, there's no need to down-regulate.

            The main rule is that the power supply voltage must be two more than the
            sum of the forward voltages of the LEDs (in series). So if you have
            a 24
            volt supply, you could run 22 volts worth of LEDs. That's about 5 of
            the
            white-green family, or 7 of the amber-red family.

            You can also wire LEDs in parallel, provided that you pair compatible
            families.
            By running lower current through each individual part, you get
            slightly more
            light per watt, reduce their operating temperature (which further
            increases
            light output) and also extend the already ridiculous lifetime of the
            LEDs.
            However, that costs more, because high-power LEDs are about $6 apiece.

            David
          • phaedrus
            ... For what sound like great lights with less power draw, these look like a great solution for DIYers:
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 31, 2007
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              > I have since acquired a couple more solar electric panels. Well, one 12 V
              > panel at present and a couple more bids. I also have a second 24V battery
              > pack. The project is this. I am thinking of adding some VERY bright
              > automotive type 12V lights for headlights or simply A headlight (small
              > driving lights? LEDs?) and a few, RED LEDs for tail / clearance lights.
              > the red LEDs are easy. I can probably snag a couple from work with no
              > trouble. Round lights are in bins at work, I just need a way to mount them.
              > Or I can look into accessory lights at Autozone or O-Rileys or something.

              For what sound like great lights with less power draw, these look like
              a great solution for DIYers:
              http://joegross.net/2007/08/14/schmidt-hub-dual-cree-xr-e-led-light/

              Someday when I get the workspace, time, energy, parts and focus, I'd
              like to build a couple of those along with an LED turn signal and
              brake light system.

              I'm a 12 month rider in Minneapolis Minnesota and taking my hands off
              the handlebars to signal while bombing through icy chunky crud is
              problematic. I've seen a few designs out there for turn signals and
              brake lights. Its all doable, its just a matter of doing it (or
              paying someone else to do it).

              I think a full lighting system with dual headlight, tail light, brake
              light and front and rear turn signals would take more juice than can
              be pulled from a dyno hub, but with chargeable batteries, I think one
              could have a workable system.

              - phaedrus
            • Mark Garvey
              ... A buddy I work with has a TAIL light that has a magnet on the wheel. when the mag passes the light, it flashes on, so that as the wheel rotates the rear
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 31, 2007
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                On Dec 31, 2007 11:52 AM, phaedrus <rphaedrus@...> wrote:


                For what sound like great lights with less power draw, these look like
                a great solution for DIYers:
                http://joegross.net/2007/08/14/schmidt-hub-dual-cree-xr-e-led-light/

                A buddy I work with has a TAIL light that has a magnet on the wheel. when the mag passes the light, it flashes on, so that as the wheel rotates the rear facing light flashes with no input other than the wheel. It simply always works.  I don't know what the silly thing is called or where he got it, but he has had it for a few years. Don't know if it is available still or not!  But I like the circut of that.  I have a friend who might be induced to build me one!

                mark
              • Devian Gilbert
                I ve been amazed to think that light companies out there have not tapped into the realm of full lighting systems for bicycles. turn signals, et al. currently
                Message 7 of 9 , Dec 31, 2007
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                  I've been amazed to think that light companies out there have not tapped into the realm of full lighting systems for bicycles.  turn signals, et al.
                  currently i use a Light and Motion Vega, and now that im back in Monterey, i'm back to using my HID Arc Li-Ion Ultra.  with 5hrs of burn time at 13w, i often dream of a nice modular design with LED side markers,  turn signals, etc.
                  that alone probably has a huge marketing potential.  reliable, integrated full lighting system.

                  ramble...

                  peace...d

                  On Dec 31, 2007, at 9:52 AM, phaedrus wrote:

                  > I have since acquired a couple more solar electric panels. Well, one 12 V
                  > panel at present and a couple more bids. I also have a second 24V battery
                  > pack. The project is this. I am thinking of adding some VERY bright
                  > automotive type 12V lights for headlights or simply A headlight (small
                  > driving lights? LEDs?) and a few, RED LEDs for tail / clearance lights.
                  > the red LEDs are easy. I can probably snag a couple from work with no
                  > trouble. Round lights are in bins at work, I just need a way to mount them.
                  > Or I can look into accessory lights at Autozone or O-Rileys or something.

                  For what sound like great lights with less power draw, these look like
                  a great solution for DIYers:
                  http://joegross. net/2007/ 08/14/schmidt- hub-dual- cree-xr-e- led-light/

                  Someday when I get the workspace, time, energy, parts and focus, I'd
                  like to build a couple of those along with an LED turn signal and
                  brake light system.

                  I'm a 12 month rider in Minneapolis Minnesota and taking my hands off
                  the handlebars to signal while bombing through icy chunky crud is
                  problematic. I've seen a few designs out there for turn signals and
                  brake lights. Its all doable, its just a matter of doing it (or
                  paying someone else to do it).

                  I think a full lighting system with dual headlight, tail light, brake
                  light and front and rear turn signals would take more juice than can
                  be pulled from a dyno hub, but with chargeable batteries, I think one
                  could have a workable system.

                  - phaedrus


                • Jeff Youngstrom
                  ... One brand is called Reelights http://www.reelight.com/ from Denmark (of course). There is a US distributor. A quick google showed them running about $50
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 31, 2007
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                    Mark wrote:
                    > A buddy I work with has a TAIL light that has a magnet on the wheel. when
                    > the mag passes the light, it flashes on, so that as the wheel rotates the

                    One brand is called Reelights http://www.reelight.com/ from Denmark
                    (of course). There is a US distributor. A quick google showed them
                    running about $50 for a front-white/rear-red set.

                    I haven't tried them. It seems like they wouldn't work too well with
                    the enclosed wheel of an Xtracycle...

                    j.
                  • Mark Garvey
                    Those are cool! But you are right, modifying them night be fairly simple though. It wouldn t take a genius to leave the exciter on the wheel and move the
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 1, 2008
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                      Those are cool!   But you are right, modifying them night be fairly simple though.  It wouldn't take a genius to leave the exciter on the wheel and move the light back to the rear.  but then it might not work and you would be out teh $50 or whatever...
                       But that is not the one he has, it appeared to be some sort of USA made (china probably) thing.  No problem.  I nicked a 12v truck running light from our spares drawer in the shop and plan to rig a test bed with the 12v solar collector...maybe today if I can find a few alligator clips and some wire.  I set the thing in the window the other day and hooked up a DVM to it and it showed 14-16 v more or less.  The variation was probably the crummy connection between the pins and the DVM.  (not a good angle)  I am lazy today.  Might go over and do some woodworking at my friends house.  I worked last night at a new years eve party for kids.  FUN!

                      mark

                      On Dec 31, 2007 9:57 PM, Jeff Youngstrom <jeffy@...> wrote:
                      Mark wrote:
                      > A buddy I work with has a TAIL light that has a magnet on the wheel. when
                      > the mag passes the light, it flashes on, so that as the wheel rotates the

                      One brand is called Reelights http://www.reelight.com/ from Denmark
                      (of course). There is a US distributor. A quick google showed them
                      running about $50 for a front-white/rear-red set.

                      I haven't tried them. It seems like they wouldn't work too well with
                      the enclosed wheel of an Xtracycle...

                      j.


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                      --
                      Putting the fun in dysfunctional for over 50 years!


                      Mark  Garvey
                      Cedar Rapids, Iowa free state!

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