50W 6Amp Alternator for Bicycles that WORKS!

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Flattracker, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member

    :idea: I guess my last posts got deleted in the server change over so here are the photos again of the Chinese made 50 watt permanent magnet mini alternator model YAF-54 and the mounts that I designed and built for holding the alternator and the rear tail/brake light and turn signals.

    I wanted a self charging lighting system so I bought two 12V 2.2 ah SLA batteries wired them in parallel, and strapped them to the main downtube with black duct tape to hold the connections and to try to camoflague the electronics. You can see them in the photos they're black right under the front signal lights.

    My bike features a 12V electrical system with a 25/18 watt chrome plated visor hi/lo headlight, a 12V motorcycle horn, a chrome plated brake/tail light, and four chrome plated "cateye" amber colored turn signals with clear lens, and last of all a 50 watt 6 amp alternator to keep the batteries charged. There is no master on/off switch on my electrical, or charging system. It is not required. The batteries route directly to the regulator and power flow is fixed by the regulators inner diodes so there is no power drain on the batteries. It also has a modified chain idler using a #41 steel idler sprocket attached to the upper chainstay using a manual transmission clutch return spring. This setup allows me to use the dual suspension frame without the chain jumping off the sprocket when I hit bumps. This bike rides surprisingly smooth on its 2x2.125 Kustom Kruiser Fireball tires. Almost as smooth as a real motorcycle with no noticeable vibrations! Its an actual pleasure to ride!

    No more batteries to deal with! No more riding home in the dark because of dead batteries. If the SLA's ever need recharging they are charged by disconnecting the red and black DC output wires from the regulator and connecting them to a charger (they're connected directly to the batteries). I use a 15w solar panel.

    A common scooter voltage regulator/rectifier regulates the alternator output, and is seen strapped to the lower main downtube next to the alternator

    I wired in a main fuse for the lighting system and one for the alternator.

    The tire drives the alternator at a 10.4:1 ratio and it will produce 6 amps at 3000 rpm! You wont get this ratio using pulleys unless the pulley is as large in diameter as the wheel!

    This system is independent of the engine, and only generates power when the wheel is turning. This means that it can be applied to ANY bicycle motorized or not! Well, at least if the bicycle has room between the seat post and rear tire. I can see all those custom lowriders now with an alternator!

    There is very little drag from the alternator. The engine has WAY MORE drag on your bike than this alternator, and you probably wont even notice it while pedaling your machine.

    At a wheel rotation of 350 rpm, the alternator rotates at 3640 rpm. 350 rpm translates to about 10 mph in actual ground speed on a 26 inch bicycle.

    Thats PLENTY of power to wire just about anything you want to your bike. At motorized bicycle speeds the alternator gets hot, depending on how fast you ride, your alternator may reach speeds of 9000 rpm or more! I was surprised at the heat generated by my alternator during my first full speed test run! This is normal.

    The alternator has a pulley at one end but it is cast or machined into the uni-body case/housing and does not rotate independently. The whole outer case/body rotates around a center shaft. This one piece body construction allowed me to devise a superior method of driving it which is against the tire as opposed to the pulley system. My system allows the alternator to reach its highest maximum possible speed

    There is a small rubber R/C car tire stretched over the alternators body to help grip the tire and to protect the case from contact damage.

    Now you can get the benefits of a full fleged motorcycle lighting system! I included the links to the alternators manufacturers specifications. Check out my mounting system.

    As before, my system is unique. This is my idea, I thought of these mounting systems for my alternator, and tail/brake light. First conceived by me, designed by me, built by me, and tested by me.

    I bought the alternator on ebay from the seller "motorzhao"

    Here is a link to the manufacturer with the alternators specifications.

    The alternator is 3 inches in diameter and a mounting bracket is cut from a .25 inch piece steel plate 3x5-6 inches long, and is "L" shaped (see drawing). You'll need to heat the metal bright orange hot to bend it (propane torch). A bench vise works for the holding and hammering.

    A pencil tracing of the alternators base mounting holes is transfered to the metal strip you cut, taped on, then drilled. Drill the center hole for the power leads large enough to run a wire loom through it. This will help secure, and protect the wires from damage.

    The side of the bracket that faces the tire must be notched to keep the tire from rubbing the metal lip of the bracket and to get a tighter contact with the tire.







    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010

  2. HseLoMein

    HseLoMein Member

    Bummer about the posts being lost, but that happens with every move. How many things have you lost with every move :) Well anyways I have some of the previous email i can try to resurrect, but i will need both you and Aussiesteve's help to reconstruct this thread.
  3. HseLoMein

    HseLoMein Member

    Flattracker - Great minds think alike, both you, Aussiesteve and I are doing the same thing. I have the same alternator as you but i decided not to use it. Instead i am using a 24v 250w electric scooter motor to power a full MC lighting setup. In addition to using the motor as a generator, it will also be used to start the engine and it could conceivably power the bike itself, but that's more if a side effect than what i am trying to do.

    Here is a video of the motor starting the engine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLIQL-bIlng

    I do like your disclaimer, but i have one concern, seeing that the three of us came up with this idea around the same time (lets say the past year). How do we protect our IP while still being able to finish our plans. for example my buddy and i want to do this as a commercial endeavor, i do know there is demand for this setup. Its always tough to prove in court who came up with the idea first.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  4. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member

    IP Rights

    It shouldn't be too hard to prove who came up with what first.

    I have dated receipts for my materials, and my prototype couldn't have existed before the materials were received, and the idea is recorded here for whatever thats worth.

    Then I do have the dated pictures on my computer and hundreds of witnesses thus hundreds of potential signed affidavits in town. I'm the only guy in my town of 6242 people that has a motorized bicycle and they'll vouch for when it was invented. Theres only one supermarket in town and sooner or later we all meet there.

    Besides, getting the proper legal rights to an idea is much better than losing everything you have in court and I'm looking to get PAID. Anyone that thinks that I wont litigate, is sadly mistaken. I have some legal experience and dont need an attorney to file a lawsuit. So if any one wants to steal my idea(s) they'll be spending a whole lot of money traveling to Texas to this small little town to answer in a court of law. FREQUENTLY. Small town judges take care of their own, and dont care much for big city folks or outsiders and will take a mighty dim view of such abuse.

    I know that there is a HUGE demand for a more powerful bicycle lighting system than is currently available commercially.

    If anyone wants to develop my idea into a commericial venture, money talks and I would agree to a percentage of the profits. Or I can negotiate a buy out for control of the idea.
  5. HseLoMein

    HseLoMein Member

    not trying to start anything, you do have to right to defend your idea. But i believe we all have dated receipts and pictures. I know i do, i also have form posts talking about the idea and dated email and IM conversations as proof. Also im not sure what you are using as a rectifier/regulator, but just like Aussiesteve has done, i have designed it from the ground up.

    What i am asking is how do we both continue on our endeavors without legal repercussions. Who really wants the spend time in court.
  6. AussieSteve

    AussieSteve Active Member

    Shame we can't come up with a system that runs directly off the crankshaft, rather than after the clutch.
    If I had the equipment.....
    Still, we're doing OK considering what we have to work with.

    Flattracker, I saw your headlight post before it disappeared during the move. If that's a chromed plastic headlight, be careful with bulb wattages and don't go too much above the standard ones.
    Someone else bought one a few months ago, fitted a larger, (35W, I think), bulb and the casing melted. I suspect that mine would do the same.

    HseLoMein, I've got my new computer on the way, so I can check out your vid in a couple of days. Thanks for re-posting the link.

    Regarding protection of property, I'm not concerned. I don't plan to go commercial and, besides that, the only real 'proprietary' part of my design will be the buck/boost regulator. (I'll be happy to produce them commercially, if there's enough demand.)
    Aside from that, go for it.

    Technically, my posts on this subject date back furthest, I think, but only specific to a shift-kit-driven system.
  7. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member

    No offence taken. I just dont want greedy, lazy people to capitalize on my idea. But I mean what I say. I gave the information freely to help others with their electric lighting supply problems, not help some freeloader get rich or make a buck. I could have marketed it myself if I wanted.

    This is a really simple setup that anybody could have thought of first, and may in fact have. The difference is I constructed it first. I am using an off the shelf chinese scooter rectifier/regulator for charging the batteries. I'm not versed on the exact regulator/rectifiers specs, but my alternator operates within the same parameters as a scooter alternator so it should do fine for me in my application, and has done fine so far.

    What I wanted to do with this idea is give other riders the ability to build a lighting system using existing off the shelf items that is FAR superior to the clamp on/duct taped flashlights, the rinky-dink 3 watt tire generators, and the $$$.$$ high level name brand lighting systems that are not too much better than the duct taped fhashlight..

    I did pay for what I wanted though, and my cost list for what I used may be considered high for some but mine is automobile type, maintenance free.

    I agree, courts are where bad things happen, and the wise and honest avoid them at all cost, lest ye be "broken off big time" and I would rather ride motorized! I do have a lot of time to spend in the court house these days if I have to though.:whistling:
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  8. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member

    Visor headlight

    Yep, Aussiesteve you are correct.

    It is one of those plastic shell jobs. I knew right out of the box there wasn't going to be any 55 watt halogen bulbs going in that boy! I'm using a 25/18watt bulb now.

    I've been riding motorcycles over 36 years now. Been there, done that with the higher wattage bulb thing.:dunce:

    If I wasn't so darn cheap I'd spring 150.00 for a real chromed steel unit that I CAN put a 55 watt halogen in.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  9. HseLoMein

    HseLoMein Member

    True, the "regulator/rectifier" portion is really the only proprietary part of my systems as well. So there may be no IP issues.

    Flat you make your system, ill make my regulator we will combine forces :) I also have no problems will just selling the regulator. The goal for my system is to provide a DOT Approved lighting setup for people in states that require it or they just want to be safer (me). As for my head light i used a aftermarket MC headlight with H4 Bulb, H4 bulbs are not DOT approved in the US, but there is a derivation that is physically compatible bulb that will fit in the housing and socket its the HB2/9003 bulbs they're nice a bright with wattages of 55w low and 60 w high. All other lights are DOT Approved either bulb or LED
  10. AussieSteve

    AussieSteve Active Member

    I think it's identical to the one a couple of months ago, so be careful even with a 35W.

    Yeah, I wanted a nice metal one too, but took the cheap way out.
    Mine theoretically goes to 72W, (4 x 18W filaments), but it gets pretty hot even with 36W. I think it might melt with 72W unless I was moving, (for air-cooling).

    I f'd up yesterday - found a nice old off/low/high handlebar switch from a '70s Montesa Enduro at a bike wreckers, but while cleaning it I dropped one of the tiny contacts and can't find it. I stripped and searched the whole room. Maybe one of the dogs ate it???
    Anyway, I had to order a normal LHS combo switch to replace it. Not happy, but that's life. (Of course, in a couple of months, when it no longer matters, I'll find the contact.)

    I've re-posted a pic of my headlight below. When the new computer arrives, I can post pics of it and the battery box mounted on the bike.
    Just saw your post HseLoMein. Not sure if this is DOT approved. It's from a 110cc ATV. It mounts solidly to the headstem and doesn't move with the handlebars, but throws a wide beam and is easy to see where you're going while turning. Also bright enough to be seen in daytime, especially on 'high', (36W) and gives good 'side-lighting' for visibility:-

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  11. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member


    WOW! Live and learn. I never knew H4's weren't DOT legal!
  12. HseLoMein

    HseLoMein Member

    Yeah i didn't learn that will well after i purchased the light, but the good thing about it being ECE (European) approved is that it has a nifty 5 w parking light built in as to their specs. Great for a night bike show.
  13. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member

    I dropped one of the tiny contacts and can't find it. I stripped and searched the wh

    You Know what? I sometimes think I'm going crazy because I'll drop a screw, washer or something and it DISAPPEARS. I heard something about how alternate realities or dimensions somehow get close and things can get "bumped" across the boundary. I think thats where things go when they're dropped.

    I'll tell you man, I dropped a small bolt and got down on the floor at eye level to try to spot it. Didnt work. So I rearranged my work area. Didn't find it. So FINALLY, I field-dayed (very thorough cleaning to non military) the whole place. Still didn't find it. So it must have gone missing to the "other side":jester:
  14. HseLoMein

    HseLoMein Member

    im pretty sure, if i float a magnet over my garage and basement floor i would find everything that has been "lost"
  15. AussieSteve

    AussieSteve Active Member

    Yeah, when I say I stripped the room, I really mean stripped, down to a bare floor, then even vacuumed the corners with tissue paper over the vacuum hose, all to no avail.
    This thing really did disappear. I did the eye-level thing, with a torch even - no go.
    The contact was brass, so magnets are no good. If only I had a metal detector.....
    That was the perfect switch and now I'm stuck with a combo switch. I'll have to use the indicators for on/off and the high/low for high/low, instead of one simple 3-position switch doing both.
    Life wasn't meant to be too easy.
  16. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member

    now I'm stuck with a combo switch.

    I know how you feel. I bought one of those left handlebar mount switch pods. One with the built in choke lever found on , (drum roll) ebay!

    Its one of those "euro" style units.

    I had such a hard time wiring it properly! Then I discovered the master on off switch was defective, which was marked Hi/Lo.

    I retrieved a micro sized slide switch from my stash of electrical parts goodies, and replaced the defective one.

    It wasn't an exact fit, but a little JB Weld neatly applied and you'de have to be eyeball close to see it rigged.

    This is the one that I bought.

    That little custom made red button was very poorly made and had to be replaced before being used on the road.

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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  17. AussieSteve

    AussieSteve Active Member

    I saw the ones with built-in choke and almost bought one because I'm considering buying a carb with cable choke, but ended up buying the one below, from eBay, for $23AU delivered, (about $20US).

    I checked out a local motorbike shop and they wanted $75 for a Yamaha one and $100 for a Kwaka switch unit. That's when I hit the wreckers and got the Montesa switch, for $5. (By coincidence, I had a 250cc Montesa Enduro, back in the days, and recognised the switch instantly. I think they were also on Bultacos. I had a couple of them too, way back, a 360 Sherpa T and a 250 Pursang.)

    For anyone using a similar switch to light one filament for 'low' beam or two filaments for 'high' beam, the following switch wiring with a 'steering' diode might be useful. (Of course, the LED high beam indicator is optional.):-


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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  18. Flattracker

    Flattracker Member

    and almost bought one

    Be glad you didn't. While performing my new builds pre ride checklist, and making adjustments on my chain idler sprocket, my bike almost tipped over. It was against the wall in the picture and only moved a few inches and bumped the wall. Next thing I know there are parts hitting the ground! My brand new CHINESE plastic choke lever was no more:veryangry: So, I installed my new "Spooky Tooth" choke cable that came with the CNS carb kit. Which I must say is worth it for the performance increase.
  19. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

    H4 bulbs are not DOT legal? They have been used in motorcycles for at least 20 years in factory headlight assemblies. I know, I have sold hundreds of bulbs to customers, and installed nearly a hundred servicing motorcycles. My Toyota truck takes H4's.
    The bulb I have in my hand right now has etched into it's base "DOT 9003" which is a factory certification of compliance.
    Where did you hear that they were illegal?
  20. HseLoMein

    HseLoMein Member

    Wikipedia, the US equivalent of an H4 is HB2/9003. It is the exact same plug and socket. just differences in filament placement and internal reflector and differences in wattage and intensity. you are correct tho if you looked at the original bulbs for your toyota truck, i bet it had DOT 9003 on the side.

    here is the wiki quote
    The first dual-filament halogen bulb (to produce a low and a high beam with only one bulb), the H4, was released in 1971. The U.S. prohibited halogen headlamps until 1978, when halogen sealed beams were released. To this day, the H4 is still not legal for automotive use in the United States. Instead, the Americans created their own very similar standard (HB2/9003). The primary differences are that the HB2 sets more strict requirements on filament positioning, and that the HB2 are required to meet the lower maximum output standards set forth by the United States government.