Browsing Posts published in March, 2010

The roller arrives!

24/03/10 Monday

Monday afternoon saw Nick & Dave visiting the engineering company to pick up the new rollers for the motors.  Previously, the toothed belt drive wheel had been covered in electricans tape, but this was unsatisfactory due to slippage between the that and the rear bike wheel, resulting in the tape being ‘shredded’.  Also, the side wall of the tire would rub against the motor housing -again, unsatisfactory.

So, armed with a roller made from some 25mm steel bar, with an 8mm hole down the centre and two M6 grub screws to secure the wheel, the result was this:-

roller assembly

The new roller in place.

Fitting the roller onto the shaft was very easy, and at this time no thread-locker was used.  It seems that whenever we use thread-lock, seemingly within minutes we realise that we need to get the assembly apart again.

If you look closely, you may just make out two holes in the baseboard.  These were the old holes used to mount the motor.

Nick changed the position such that now the motor is further back from the driving wheel -to prevent the side of the tire wearing on the motor housing.

With the bike securely fitted to the trainer and ready to go, it looks like this:-

With the bike fitted.

With the bike fitted.

You can see quite by chance that the centre of the tire is touching the roller in almost exactly the centre.  To be honest, this was more by luck than design!

You will also see two further holes in the shaft towards the left.  These will be used in the one for Dave as he will be joining the original roller that came with the trainer to the motor using the roller as a collet.  Of course, pictures will be available when this is done.


Electrically, little difference was noted, but the ‘ride’ appeared smoother with less noise and vibration.

More soon…

No work yesterday!


21/03/10 Sunday 1.34pm

No work on the plots yesterday as Nick & Diane attended a conference called ‘Feeding the 500,000 – The Future of Food for Sheffield’.

Basically, this was about “…bringing together as many of the people involved or interested in food related projects and organisations acroos Sheffield, creating opportunites to meet one another and learn about current developments around food in Sheffield.”

The conference was very well organised and run, and all in all, a very good event to attend.

What also helped and eased any possible feelings of guilt was that the weather was miserable the whole day, so not much could have been done plot-wise, and the fire would have been very difficult to light!

A second outing

21/03/10 Sunday 12.34pm

    Tomorrow evening marks the first official outing of the pedal-powered generator.

    It is due to be demonstrated at the AGM of Grow Sheffield -a voluntary organisation set up to promote the growing and eating local, home-grown food.  Several of their members were at our AGM the other week, and they were very impressed with the bike and hand-generator.

    There’s been some talk of us providing the power for an event they’re holding in Autum -powering a ‘cinema evening’, which if we get enough bikes built and tested could be a whole lot of fun, but that’s a few months down the line.

    Last Friday, Nick and Dave went to a Sheffield engineering company, and they’ve agreed to make us a couple of small wheels to fit on the output shaft of our motors.  This will mean the bikes can be properly tested without the wheels slipping and wearing out the electrician’s tape currently wound around the motor shaft.

    When they’re done, we’ll be sure to get some photos up.

    More soon…

First public demonstration

The first public demonstration to show the use of power generated by means other than plugging in and flicking a switch was Thursday 11th March 2010.

For this demonstration, two units were constructed.

The first was a hand-powered unit made from a battery driven hand drill.  This was to show that by turning a handle, a light could be lit, and that by turning further lights on, it was shown that the handle was harder to turn.

Then came the turn of the slightly modified bicycle.

This is a standard mountain bike with a ‘slick’ back tire fitted, sat in a ‘trainer’ sold by Halfords.

This is a photo of the unit before painting.

before paint

Before Painting.

When a coat of blackboard paint as applied, the result was this:-

with paint

With paint

Then, a shot of Nick pedalling only quite slowly, showing the lamps lit:-

lamps lit

It works!

Note that this was pedalling quite slowly -to prevent the camera overloading and also to prevent the lamps blowing!

These lamps were wired in series, each rated at 12 Volts with an output of 50 Watts.

This means that with only gentle cycling, over 150 Watts can be generated.  Of course, the big challenge will be to produce power that is in a suitable form to be of use to the batteries.

The first topic on conversation will be:-
“What do you want to see growing on the plots in 2010?”


Adding the lights.

To the previously finished baseboard with the motor on, Nick today added a slim piece of board at the back in which to fit three 12 Volt lamps in.

Well, here we are again!

Happy Mitzi

Happy with Humans

Even though I don’t look it, I’m very happy. I’ve just caught a mouse (…even though some think its a rat, but they’re wrong…), and Nick has just fed me.

Surveying my domain.

Looking thoughtful.

Pretty soon, the fire will be warm enough to sit by, and look at all the Big People arriving! Plenty of knees to sit on and fuss to be had here!

Today, I caught a mouse! Not a very big one, it has to be said, but it just proves I still have all my skills as ‘The Top Cat’ round here. Ha! Let’s see the Big People try to catch one!

While everyone was working, I went and sat on top of the pile of new woodchip that had been brought the other day.

It was really fun to watch them all work!

A photo of ME!

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Plot Soup.

A closely guarded secret, known only to the few ‘Illuminati’.

One day, these recipes may become common knowledge, but when that day happens, the world will end.

Baked Potatoes

Select small to medium sized potatoes, clean them, wrap fully in tin-foil, put them in an old metal biscuit tin or similar, then place in the fire.

To be sure they don’t burn, its best to keep the tins out of contact with open flames -near glowing coals/embers is the best way. Even better is to place a piece of heavy-duty wire meshing over the embers as level as you can get it so the tins are not in direct contact.

Cook for up to an hour, regularly making sure they are not burning and that they are cooking evenly.

A real ‘art’ to master!


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