Power Bike

Photo of Javier Alarcia-Mencia, Domenico Matteo Ghiotto, Luis Alfonso Moreno Students: Javier Alarcia-Mencia, Domenico Matteo Ghiotto, Luis Alfonso Moreno

Sponsor: Dr. Phil Schmidt

Date: Fall 2007


The device must teach the concepts related to energy and power using a familiar experience. It must accomplish this by converting human energy into standard voltage/frequency AC and DC power capable of running a variety of household appliances. The device has an educational requirement which demands the output of certain data by instrumentation. Finally, the device must be able to be produced and marketed to schools and museums at an affordable price.


Design and prototype a hands-on tool that can be used to effectively teach the concepts of energy and power to students.


The design was divided by its major systems: Platform, Drivetrain, Electrical System, and Instrumentation. The team concluded that a stationary recumbent bicycle would be the ideal platform for this device. The platform was designed such that it can fold and be transported in the manner of a dolly. Carbon Steel was selected for material; a conjunction of bolts and welds were used to join different members. The remainders of the components such as the seat and adjustment knobs were purchased from a supplier. The drivetrain consist of a two speed bicycle chain assembly coupled to a generator with an integrated gearbox. The combined gear ratio of the drive train is adjustable between 41.8:1 to 53.8:1, which is calculated to create a balance between ease of user input and maximum power output. The electrical system consists of a 12 V Permanent Magnet DC generator, in series with a regulator, 12 Volt seal lead acid battery, and 300 W inverter. The electrical system canout put 60 Hz 120V AC power as well as 12 V DC power. The electrical system is designed to incorporate instrumentation and includes necessary components to optimize the user-friendliness of the device. The instrumentation consists of sensors, a data acquisition device, and software used in a CPU to display data regarding energy, power, torque, and speed.

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