Pedal Power

After many, many questions concerning the feasibility of using a stationary bike to charge a battery with one of our PMA’s we decided to give it a try.  I’m delighted to report that it was a success!  I was elected to be the one to pedal.  Not because I’m in such great shape, just the opposite.  I was chosen because I’m old and out of shape.  If I can do it anyone can.


We decided to try a gear ratio of 7.5 : 1.  As I’m sure you know, the higher the ratio the more torque required, which means more work for these old legs.  I had no problem  with the gearing.  If someone was in better shape than me (which is almost everyone), they could probably up the ratio if they wanted.  The fact the it is an elliptical with upper body function probably made it somewhat easier but like I said, I’m old.

We used a DC-520 PMA on a Confidence Fitness Elliptical.  I  was able to produce  5 amps with a minimum amount of effort.  Since it is easy to keep an eye on the battery state with a meter we do not recommend a charge controller.  It is an unnecessary expense. We did not measure the rpm, just used the LCD meter.  We also tried the DC-540, our lower rpm model.  It worked also but with no more effort I could produce more amps with the DC-520.

As you can see from the pictures we removed the large front wheel from the bike since it is for show rather than function.  It was just a large piece of plastic.  If it was an actual fly wheel we would have utilized it.

So if you’re considering making use of that stationary bike go right ahead.  I have had customers make them for their kids:  they would have to charge a battery in order to watch TV or play their video games.  It’s also nice to have as an emergency charger in case your power is out due to storms.

Thanks for reading, you can see more pictures of this project on our site,, generator ideas.

Think green, go blue!