DIY Bike Electricity Generator Workshop


As part of the Local Agenda 21 2017 funding, Cork City Council allocated funding to Gluaiseacht for the running of a DIY Bike Electricity Generator and Renewable Energy workshop. Over 3 X 2 hour workshops, the 2nd Year Technology students in Cork Educate Together Secondary School (CETSS) built a DIY bike generator.  The workshop was run by Eoin O Leidhin, with the help of CETSS Technology teacher Paula McNamara.

The Bike Generator building workshops were held on Thursdays on the 23rd November, 30th November and the 14th of December between 8:30am and 10:30am.

Initially the plan for the bike generator had been to build a design based on the Hugh Pigott designed alternators (, however due to time and budget constraints it was decided to go for a design based on a model called the Pedal Powered Prime Mover ( ).  It was also felt the lack of a chain in this design would make this design safer to use in a school setting.


We started each class with a brief introduction on some aspect of energy or renewable energy and also on what practical work we would be doing in the class. 


At the end of the workshops we had built a bike generator that was connected up to an inverter which could then power necessary appliances.  We found that we could generate up to 100W depending on the pressure placed on the tensioning band.   We also used a power display to show how much power (W), voltage (V) and current (I) that was being generated at any time by the bike generator.  An ultra-capacitor was used to ensure smooth power was delivered to the inverter.

Since being built the bike generator has been used to power sound system at the School Talent Show and also carry out a number of experiments with the Science classes in the school.


Advice for operating the Bike Generator:

·         If you wish to generate more power you can pull the elastic cable down further and clip the hung into a further down rung in order that more force is applied to the motor wheel.  This increased friction however will make cycling the bike generator slightly harder.

·         If a noise is coming from the motor touching the flywheel, the motor may have to be realigned.  This is done by loosening the 2 M10 bolt that hold the clamp which keeps the motor in place, the motor is then realigned and then the bolts are to be tightened again.

·         A battery could be added to the bike generator instead of the ultra-capacitor just by unclipping the 2 terminals of the ultra-capacitor and adding in the battery instead.  This would then allow power that has be generated to be used at a later time, whereas the power in the ultra-capacitor can only be used at the time of generation.

·         It is important that the voltage that can be viewed on the screen while cycling doesn’t go over 14V.  This can be liable to happen after a period of cycling while nothing is pulled into the inverter.