Finally, we have a bike generator that allows customers to simply plug in regular devices with no intermediate box or circuit. You pedal, the device turns on. Direct, immediate, simple.
But not all devices are compatible. The Off the Wall Generator will only power devices that have a switching power supply.
How do I tell if my device has a switching power supply? If you look at the back it will read “INPUT: 100 – 240V” on the back of the device, as seen below. If the device reads anything differently it will not be compatible.
Once you’ve figured out if your device is compatible with the Off the Wall Generator. Here are some next steps to follow:
1. Once you’re set up and ready to pedal, DON’T plug in any device that is irreplaceable. A perfect example would be a vintage guitar amplifier. Why risk it?
2. DO plug-in devices with a Switching Power supply. You will know if your device has a Switching Power supply if you see “Input 100-240V” written on the power supply. Examples include most newer chargers and power cords for laptops, cell phones, tablets, and many other devices.
3. Pedal Power should be an attended activity. We do not recommend leaving your Off The Wall unattended for several reasons. 1) People could plug in the wrong kind of devices, ruining them and possibly risking electrical fire. 2) Any time people get on and off a bike there’s a chance your help will be needed to make that safe and easy. 3) Any time a bike is unattended there’s a higher chance people will get on and pedal really fast, which can cause damage to some devices. See #5 below.
4. Gearing matters. DO choose a bike with gears. Do put the bike in a medium-hard gear, probably not the hardest gear on the bike. If your bike has 3 speeds in the front, you probably want to be in the middle group, and then choose the hardest or 2nd hardest gear in the back. Once you determine what the best gear is for pedaling, DO NOT let your pedalers change the gear. You may want to tape the shifter or use the limit screws of the derailleur to lock the gear. You will know you need to be in a harder gear if your device turns off even when you are consistently pedaling. You will know you need to be in an easier gear if it feels too hard! You will know you are in the right gear IF, when you plug in a 60 Watt device, such as a laptop computer, pedaling feels like biking around town. You can use a watt meter of voltage tester (see below) to help with this test. Keep in mind a laptop that is fully charged already will consume no power. Best to allow your laptop to drop to 50% charge or lower before trying the test.
5. This product has no over-voltage protection. Some devices can be damaged by pedaling really fast, and this is more likely to happen if the bike is in too hard of a gear. In our experience, pedaling too fast is not something you will ever do by accident. It only happens when a pedaler gets on and wants to see what happens when they pedal like crazy. So as long as you don’t allow that to happen you will not have to worry.
6.DO use a watt meter or voltage tester rated for more than 240v or more. The a watt meter is a power measuring device intended for homeowners. We sell one and you can also buy it at hardware stores. When set to Voltage mode, it helps you set your gear. Voltage range should be around 120-200. When set to Wattage mode it shows you exactly how much power you are providing. Highly educational!
Given all these warnings, you may be wondering what ideal usage is. Here are some examples:
- Charging a laptop. All recently made laptops have Switching Power Supplies. This is a 50-60W effort, perfect for learning about how much effort it takes to power up this common item. Great for getting a workout and using your energy.
- Powering a USB hub that charges 10 cell phones (or iPads, etc). We have a USB brick available for $100.
- Doing a lightbulb comparison station (LED vs. Incandescent). For maximum effect, we recommend using 2 60W incandescent lightbulbs vs. 2 equivalent LED lightbulbs. Use 2 power strips or switched sockets to go between the two modes. If you use too few incandescent bulbs they will burn out by being overpowered. Some LED and Fluorescent bulbs have circuitry that is not compatible and will burn out.
- Loudspeakers. Many newer powered speakers have a switching power supply. You can look at the writing near the plug to know for sure. Use the volume and a watt meter to demonstrate that louder music requires more power. Feel the difference in your legs. Careful blasting people with loud music! Not every speaker is compatible. To prevent damaging speakers, we recommend using one we’ve tested. We’ve tested and love the Mackie DRM series including the DRM215. And we’ve also tested and approve the less expensive EV ZLX series.