Many new things have been developing here in our humble enclave over the last few weeks! First we adjusted the solar panels from an 8 degree pitch flush with the roof, to 40.5 degree pitch for ideal solar gain in this latitude. This has helped increase the efficiency of our photovoltaic charging system. But the panels, at best, only produce a total of 75 watts. Meanwhile our consumption of electricity here has increased with us camping here regularly now. Charging the laptop, cellphones, mobile wifi hotspot device, not to mention lights and fans have effectively overwhelmed this modest, experimental, independent, renewable, electrical grid.
The Savonius wind turbine has been languishing, our location just not being as well suited for wind power as I had hoped. So borrowing the powerplant from that project, we made a short trip to Lowes, and two or three hours later my Father and I assembled a working bicycle turbine! This is something I have wanted to build for some time now, even before we began construction off the ARK prototypes. I also believe it has potential to be a decent supplemental power source alternative to the solar panels. It works great and I'm in the process of uploading some video of it in action. Maximum power output recorded during tests so far: 8.4 amps @ 14.5 volts or 121.8 watts. Much more electricity pumping with each turn of the pedals than our PV system can produce on its best day. Plus its portable, universally adapts to any bike, relatively quiet, is great exercise with a fantastic motivating incentive! Some good old fashioned positive reinforcement mixed with 21st century free-energy principles. I've personally put in about two hours riding so far, producing approximately 604,800 Joules or 168 Watt-Hours of clean electricity and a cardiovascular workout comparable to a 25+ mile ride.