How To Build A Bicycle Generator

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Eco village, Ecologia

The intention of this project is to build a straight forward human powered generator from a used bicycle and to use it to power light bulbs, blenders, cell phones, laptops, and other small appliances. This project will help one develop engineering skills while learning about a clean way of generating electricity. 

The project was created as part of Infrastructure Academy’s environmental technology curriculum for high school students, so it is intended to be both achievable and affordable.

Before continuing with the actual bicycle generator, one should understand how it works, and the components that make it up. View the PowerPoint presentation before moving on to the next step.

Parts Tools

– 2″ X 4″ Wood                                      – Wrench
– V-belt                                                   – Saw
– Diode                                                  – Wood screws or nails
– Battery                                                 – Hammer or Screwdriver
– Inverter                                                – Tape Measure
– Wire                                                     – Screwdriver
– Motor                                                   – Perforated plumbers steel
(12-V or higher)                                   (if motor does not have mounting bracket)

Note: The bicycle generator could be accomplished by skipping steps 5, 6, 7, and 8, to save money, but connecting anything other than a halogen lamp directly to the motor is not recommended due to the varying voltages.


How To Build A Bicycle Generator


  • bike generator 5 (with laptop)-whitebg.png
  • DSC02923.JPG
  • bike generator 3 (light bulb)-whitebg.png



step 1Obtain a bicycle and remove the back tire.

You will need to unscrew the back rim to remove the tire and tube. Since the only part of the bicycle that needs to work is the chain and pedals, a junk bike or an old used bike would work just fine.

Obtain a bicycle and remove the back tire.



step 2Build a stand to elevate the bicycle off the ground.

The design of the stand is completely up to you. A few examples are shown below. Just be sure that the stand keeps the bike elevated and secure. If your bike has pegs attached to it, make sure your stand accommodates that feature.

The stand should be built so that the rear wheel of the bike is about 5-7 inches off the ground. The dimensions of your stand will be specific to your bike.

Before beginning construction of the stand, be sure to draft a design with appropriate dimensions. A design on paper will save time and prevent mistakes.

step 4Attach the motor to the stand.

A 12-volt DC motor or higher is recommended. The wattage of the motor depends on what you want to power. The motor should be securely mounted to the stand. Mount the motor at a distance that will tightly secure the drive belt on the motor shaft. The belt and motor shaft should spin concurrently – make sure there is no slipping between them.

step 6Connect battery to the diode.

The battery should be connected in series with the motor and diode. The negative lead form the motor should attach to the negative terminal of the battery. The positive lead from the motor should be attached to the diode, and the diode to the positive terminal of the battery.



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