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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Pedal-Powered Home & Farm

Pedal-Powered Home & Farm

Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 1,855
Anyone playing with pedal-powering stuff? Washing machine? Grain mill?

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 194
I really like the R2B2 concept...looks like it could fit under cabinet in the kitchen very well. Besides grinders and blenders what else would be nice to power in the kitchen? I'd love to see it include a burner module to boil water for really nice during a power loss, though you could use it all the time if it's built well. On another power loss related subject, I'd love to have a human powered pump to recharge the pressure in my water tank...anyone doing this or have a recommendation for a well built pump that isn't too expensive? There are stainless steel hand pumps made in Maine that look nice, kind of expensive though. Also love to have a pump like that as a center piece in my garden, but can't be too expensive or I'll just keep hiking with my watering can to the stream nearby.
A former member
Post #: 6
That pedal powered wood splitter looks awfully inefficient. I think you could split way more wood with a maul. I've been wanting to build a power center for my grain mill everytime I crank it by hand. I snatched a nice bike from the dump recently for this purpose. The crank is going to be used to power my grain mill and I want to use the tires to build a combination garden cart / bicycle trailer. I'm just finishing a project building a wheeled cultivator / plow from parts found in my garage.
Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 3
I don't know if this counts but ... my plan is to get a bicycle trainer for my road bike and make a mount for my permanent magnet alternator. The alternator does 12volts and 15 amps at 250 rpm's.

A twenty minute workout might power my house for a few hours?
user 9298467
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Post #: 51
I don't know if this counts but ... my plan is to get a bicycle trainer for my road bike and make a mount for my permanent magnet alternator. The alternator does 12volts and 15 amps at 250 rpm's.

A twenty minute workout might power my house for a few hours?

Derek - It depends on how much electricity you use in your home. A twenty minute workout would generate about 60 watt hours.

My family uses about 13 kilowatt hours per day, which translates to an average 541 watt hours each hour of the day. If each of my family members pedaled for twenty minutes each day, we'd generate about 2/3 of the electricity we use in an hour (or 300 watt hours).

That said, you could generate enough power for certain appliances - like a laptop computer - and with a twenty minute workout, you could power your laptop for an hour and a half (the average laptop uses 40 watts).

When my two, now adult children, were teens, my husband and I always joked that we were going to get a bicycle generator and make them pedal whenever they wanted to watch television. They could watch as much as they wanted, as long as they generated the necessary electricity. We had a 19" CRT television at the time, which uses about 80 watts. If they each pedaled for a half hour, they could watch television for two hours :).

We're still intending to get a bicycle generator as part of our overall system (we also plan to have a small solar and a small - 400 watt - windmill), but with the understanding that its contribution is going to be relatively small.
Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 4
Yes, Thanks Wendy,

That's about what we are doing here, a little from maybe a bicycle, but we also have a wind generator - check out Wind Blue if you haven't already, and of course I am working on a steam generator and hydropower out back - its the five year plan! Ha!
Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 48
We all have imagined various pedal powered devices and it is really cool to see some people really bring it to the production phase. I like how they point out the desire to get people to realize how precious energy is and to really connect people to the energy they use. I would like to build a kitchen table with a pedal driven shaft that can power interchangeable devices, like a food mill, juicer, grain mill, butter churner, etc. Also a similar set up in the greenhouse that can power interchangeable devices like a compost sifter, soil mixer, etc. Nice to use your leg muscles instead of your arms, only drawback I see is that humans are inefficient at converting food calories to mechanical energy when compared to some other mammals.
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 987
I can see that blender device on my counter now. lol. I thought an exercise bike on a tv was a good idea back in the 70s. It would be cool if the barristas at coffee bars used pedal power to grind the coffee.
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