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On a beautiful August afternoon, I was hungry and thirsty from working in the yard. I had a craving for a smoothie. The thought never crossed my mind to make the smoothie with anything other than the Pedal Powered Prime Mover. Here are the delicious results.

It's a short movie. Peeling the fruit and assembling the electronic parts took longer than generating the power needed to make the drink. It was another great task for pedal power!

Here is the setup I used:

  • PPPM (Naturally!) Show me the circuit!
  • Osterizer Contemporary Classic Beehive Blender Model: 4094, 500 Watts, 110 Volts AC
  • Xantrex 1000 Watt 12 Volt DC to 110 Volt AC Inverter
  • Maxwell 58 Farad 15 Volt Ultracapacitor

Before taking on the challenge of powering the blender, I measured how much power it used with no load - the pitcher was not on the base so the motor was just spinning in air. I used my Watts Up? Meter, and measured 160 Watts on low, and around 190 Watts on high. In other words, a terribly inefficient appliance! I then ran the little Ultracapacitor capacity calculation program I had written just for calculating this kind of power use - "joules" - and here are the results:

davidb@www:~ > joules
Voltage? 14.5 11.5
Capacity?  58
Capacity Unit: u = microfarads f = farads F
Joules: 2262.000
watts for 5 seconds:  452.4000000000
watts for 10 seconds: 226.2000000000
watts for 30 seconds: 75.4000000000
watts for 60 seconds: 37.7000000000
watts for 10 minutes: 3.7700000000
watts for 60 minutes: .6283333333
watts for 24 hours: .0261805555
Amp Hours at 14.5v: .0433333333
The joules program showed the Ultracapacitor could run the blender for about five seconds at full power draw, and the Voltage on the Ultracapacitor would start at 14.5 and end at 11.5 so the inverter would not cut out. Would that be enough to blend a smoothie with pedal power? There was only one way to find out!

After filling the pitcher with a mouth-watering recipe of smoothie ingredients, I was ready to ride. I started slowly to charge the Ultracapacitor, and at about 10.5 Volts I started the movie camera. With relaxed pedaling and a 75 Watt pace, I charged the Ultracapacitor to the target Voltage of 14.5 Volts - and switched on the blender!

In seconds, the ingredients were blended, and the Ultracapacitor was discharged to 10.5 Volts. I switched off the blender, then the inverter, and then I disconnected the Pedal Generator (I had not had time to add a diode, and I did not want the Ultracapacitor to "motor" the Pedal Generator). The WattsUp meter on the PPPM showed only two Watt-Hours used! I typically produce between 60 and 70 Watt-hours in my daily workout. This was about as much work as walking up two flights of stairs.

Conclusion: A Complete Success! Powering the blender to make a full liter (more than a quart) of smoothie was no effort at all!

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