For most riders, bicycle lighting consists of an array of LED lamps and flashing gizmos, usually powered by lithium-ion batteries, or coin cells for the smaller ones. Some people though prefer to dispense with batteries and generate their own power, and that’s what [Thomas D] has done by fitting his bike with an alternator. But this is no off the shelf unit that rubs the tire or sits in a wheel hub. Instead, he’s built his own planar alternator that attaches to the spokes.
The design is inspired by those used in some wind generators, a central disk holding a set of planar coils sits between two rotating disks holding magnets. The stator holding the coils is made from laser-cut acrylic, and the rotors holding the magnets are sheet steel. One rotor is attached to the rear wheel spokes of the bicycle in close proximity to the stator which is attached to the rear frame. The second rotor sits on the other side of the stator while attached to the first rotor by its edge.
The coils are wired as two parallel groups in series in a ring with a single-phase output that feeds a rectifier and DC to DC converter. It would be interesting to see the effect of the same alternator with different winding arrangements or multiple phases.
This is the first time we’ve seen one of these on a bicycle, but this type of alternator has appeared here in more than one wind generator.