How to charge USB devices by pedaling your bicycle

You might know “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form of energy to another”. We human beings are dependent on energy for almost every activity we intend to do. Natural energy is available through various resources like the wind, tidal, solar, hydro, bio-energy, etc. However, the process of transforming the available natural energy into the energy that could be utilized by our domestic appliances is a little difficult and it is also a time consuming process. That is why most of the energy we use at our home are produced in large scale either by the government or by private concerns. But it is possible to convert one form of energy into another form, right from our homes.

We may even use this energy to charge up our domestic devices like the laptop, mobile phones, music players, etc. Sometimes, even big devices could be powered but with the use of right equipments. A simple example would be generating electricity from your bicycle. Riding your bicycle could produce electricity. This electricity could be used to recharge your batteries in your electronic devices. USB devices requires a voltage of 5 units which is possible to generate by means of pedaling your bicycle. All that you need is a few basic essential parts, knowledge on how to build them and most importantly patience, because the building process takes some time for making it reliable and successful. In this process, the mechanical energy provided by you, by means of pedaling your bicycle is converted into electrical energy that would be used to charge your USB devices. Though it sounds simple, the process might be arduous for certain users. But, it is absolutely possible to do this work with your bicycle and some essential components.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Time required: Depends on the individual user’s knowledge and ability to work. So, it varies from person to person. However, an average person could complete this process in a few hours.

Resources required

A motor with a capacity of around 6 volts, a USB charger device, connecting wires, a rubber wheel to mount over the motor, a voltage regulator that can step down 6 volts to 2.5 volts, two capacitors with a capacity of around 2200 micro Farad and 140 Farad respectively, covering box, holding clamps, pasting tapes and other necessary items.

Estimated cost

The cost of installing this technology in your bicycle completely depends on the parts you choose to buy.


Once you have the required items in your hand, you may begin the installation process. The first step is to install the electric motor. As your rear wheel of your bicycle will be the driving wheel, let us extract power from it. Secure the electric motor to the frame by means of holding clamps such that your motor’s round rubber wheel would be in touch with your wheel’s rim from the side. You need to use connecting wires to circuit the power from motor to the voltage regulator through the 2200 micro Farad capacitor. The voltage regulator steps down the motor’s 6 volts to 2.5 volts. After this reduction, the power should be transferred to the 140 Farad capacitor. Connect the voltage regulator to this ultra-capacitor. This 140 Farad capacitor stores energy required to charge your USB devices. Once this capacitor attains a voltage of about 1.2 volts, it has the capacity to charge up your USB device. The next step is to connect this ultra-capacitor to the USB charger device. The final step would be plugging in your USB compatible devices to this charging device. If all these parts are connected correctly, then you can charge your USB portable devices from this USB charger itself.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is there any danger involved in this process?

Ans: The danger level involved in this process is very less. Without the necessary components, it is not possible to generate electricity. This process is very similar to the dynamo technology used earlier in bicycles lights.

Quick tips

Do prepare a list about the items required and then buy them as per your convenience and budget. However, choosing the motor would be a very critical part. Even if it costs more, try to buy a motor of good quality so they are durable and reliable. You may also use second-hand items but check them thoroughly before you buy.

Things to watch out for

Check that your motor’s rubber wheel is in contact with the wheel’s rim. Else you won’t be able to generate electricity. Create a housing to enclose the voltage regulator, capacitors along with the USB charger device in order to prevent them from abnormal weather effects. Tape the wires along with the bicycle’s frames so as to prevent them from hanging. Don’t forget to take care about the things around you.

Source: ecofriend

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