The most turn key option for portable human power is to connect to a 12V Portable Power Pack. You could take this anywhere.
If you need a stable voltage and don't want to get involved with wiring and voltage regulation to power 12V appliances or charge phones, this is the way to go.
- 2 AC, 12V and USB outlets
- 10ft custom connecting cable included
- 120V DC/AC inverter built in
- easy to carry
- built in jumper cables
- can also be charged from wall outlet
- many other uses beyond human power
A portable power pack is usually recharged by plugging into a wall socket overnight or using the 12V cigarette lighter connector in your car or truck. In the case of Human Power, you charge the battery by pedaling. The output of the Human Power Generator is low enough - 3A to 5A - that there is no danger of overcharging the battery. The power pack has a level of charge indicator and if the battery is full, stop pedaling.
In order to do this in a practical and workable way, it's important to keep the battery more or less, topped up. If you let the battery go flat, it will take about 4 hours of pedaling to charge it up to full again, which is a long and tedious process. The way to manage this is to pedal for 20 minutes, here and there, on days when you use the power pack to run small appliances. It's a lot easier to pedal for short periods of time with a good rpm, than it is to pedal for long periods of time slowly.
It's important to appreciate the realistic scope of human power. We are limited by the device we are using, but we are also limited by our own energy. For example, the average person pedaling will produce around 50 watts. It's best to run appliances that take about the same amount of power or less.
Here are some typical run times for AC appliances using a power pack that has in the range of 18AH to 22 AH (indicates battery capacity). The maximum draw must be 5 A or less.
AC Appliance Run Time
|Laptop||25 Watts||6 Hours|
|LED light||5 Watts||25 Hours|
|Toaster||1500 Watts||0 – it won’t work, it draws too much power.|
Note: The battery in this and all power packs will self-discharge 10 % to 20% a month if just left sitting. If the battery drains and sits without recharge, the battery life will be dramatically reduced over time and it will become less likely to be able to hold a new charge. It's very important to keep the battery topped up - either by Human Power or by plugging it into the wall overnight to recharge.
The Power Pack can operate one 12VDC appliance that draws 5 amperes or less from the 12VDC power outlet. The maximum DC load is 144 watts.
Here are some typical run times for DC appliances:
DC Appliance Run Time
|Cell Phone||6 Watts||30 Hours|
|Small Portable Cooler||30 Watts||4 Hours|
The power pack can also be plugged into the AC wall socket and left to trickle charge overnight when needed. This is a good idea every couple of months and this will keep the battery in good health.