Powering electronic devices with a bicycle generator hub

by Raymond Parker on June 27, 2011

in Cycling, Randonneuring, Technical, Touring

Long distance cyclists using dynamo hubs to power their lights were quick to imagine charging electronic accessories–mobile phones, GPS, PBS (personal broadcasting station)–with their own muscle.

Until recently, solar-chargers were the only option, used to top up external batteries.

Now, there are several aftermarket adapters to draw juice from a dynohub and supply it direct to popular devices, or via a buffer battery.

B&M E-Werk

German manufacturer Busch & Müller, well-known for its top-flight lighting systems, offers the E-Werk.

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Busch & Müller E-Werk charger

The heart of the system is a central processor with a dial to control voltage (2.8 to 13.3 V) and current (0.1 to 1,5 A). The unit comes with a wide range of connectors, suitable for just about any device.

It is very important to check voltage compatibility and current settings (see documentation below).

A handy-dandy Universal Cockpit Adapter is available to hold and cushion your precious electronic doodads.

Currently, so to speak, a buffer cache battery is required between the device and iPhone 3Gs (and iPhone 4?) to keep the voltage at a constant 5 volts.

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PedalPower+ charger & cables


Australian company PedalPower+ also offers a wide variety of adapters to run diverse electronics from their own or other dynohubs, such as those manufactured by Shimano or Schmidt Maschinenbau.

PedalPower+ cables convert, stabilize and regulate the dynamo current to a safe level regardless of speed.

Their latest “Super-i-Cable” assures compatibility with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 charging systems and also includes short iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod cable, Micro USB cable. Mini USB cable, standard female USB cable, Nokia 2mm and 3.5 adapters, led test cable and piggyback adapter set. A handlebar clip mount also comes standard.

Tout Terrain

Heavy-duty touring and utility bike specialists Tout Terrain has announced “The Plug II.”

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Tout Terrain The Plug II

This unobtrusive unit replaces the stock top cap with a USB plugin that will power “most mobile phones, mp3 and GPS devices.”

The inner workings of the plug are all contained in an ingenious, sealed headtube cartridge made to fit right into a 1 ⅛” steerer.

Internal installation leaves the bike entirely free of clutter and boasts these features:

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The Plug II powering iPhone
  • Power supply for USB-devices (GPS, MP3-Player or mobile phones) via dynamo hub
  • Full integration offers a clean bike design, easy to retrofit.
  • Good theft protection
  • Meets USB specification: The Plug converts power from an existing dynamo hub into USB 5V standard.
  • Rugged, repairable aluminum housing.
  • Corrosion-resistant 6061 aluminum alloy housing is totally enclosed with a sealing liquid and anodized.

With these units on board, the 21st century bicycle explorer can Tweet their position to the world and update their blog on the go (after they come to a full stop, of course).

E-Werk manual | E-Werk compatibility | The Plug II manualThe Plug II FAQ

PedalPower+ | B&M E-Werk | The Plug II

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