Latest Pedal-Power System Comes with Online Monitoring

Students pedal-power our most advanced system yet.  © E.J. Rublev

Students pedal-power our most advanced system yet. © E.J. Rublev

 

This April we premiered our latest pedal-powered system at Locke Elementary School in the Montclare neighborhood on the Northwest Side. While similar to our previous pedal-powered systems, this one comes with several informative and user-friendly improvements. Over several months, Executive Director Joey Feinstein, together with Locke’s IB Coordinator Brad Parker, worked with Oakland, California-based Rock the Bike to bring this latest iteration to fruition.

First, LED lights glow green (for green energy!) when a cyclist is producing power. The system uses two regular bicycles on trainers which have been modified to include generators (aka Roll Up Generators), which then take the power produced by pedaling, and transmit it as DC current to a storage battery.

The glowing green LED lights indicate when a cyclist is producing energy. Here, a regular bicycle is connected to a trainer that has been modified to include a generator.  © E.J. Rublev

The glowing green LED lights indicate when a cyclist is producing energy. Here, a regular bicycle is connected to a trainer that has been modified to include a generator.  © E.J. Rublev

 

Second, while the two cyclists pedal, we can also see LED indicator lights in the control center box, which indicate that power is successfully reaching the battery.

From left: battery, control center (no energy is being put into the system, so the lights are off), and 600W inverter. © E.J. Rublev

From left: battery, control center (no energy is being put into the system, so the lights are off), and 600W inverter. © E.J. Rublev

Lastly, what will set a new standard, when it is up and running, will be the online visibility of what is happening, via an online monitoring dashboard, much like those connected to our solar panel arrays.

Demo of online dashboard of Locke's pedal-powered system.

Demo of online dashboard of Locke’s pedal-powered system.

Students will be able to see how much power they are putting into storage in the battery, how much power remains in the battery, and how much power is being used when they plug electronic devices into the inverter (which converts the DC power into AC).