Review of the PedalPower+ Hub Dynamo & V4 battery pack – by Chris Leakey
Before setting off on our cycling trip I was keen to be as self-sufficient as possible, not only by taking a tent for accommodation and a stove to cook food, but also for electricity to power all the electrical devices that we would be carrying. After some research we approached PedalPower+ and they were kind enough to give us a discount on their hub dynamo and V4 battery pack. These combined, allow us to keep our ipod, phone, rechargeable batteries and any other small electronic device charged and working wherever we are. I have since found other companies that are doing similar things. However I have no direct experience of these so my review will concentrate around the PedalPower+ products.
Bicycle dynamos have two main forms, the hub dynamo and bottle nose. Both work in a similar way by transferring some of the kinetic (moving) energy you create when cycling, into electrical energy that can be used to power something small, usually about 5 volts. Traditionally this electrical energy has been used immediately, powering bike lights, but with the Pedal power system you can store this energy in a battery pack and use it later when you actually need it.
- Rating 6v3w, Output DC 5v to 600mA
- Standard 36 spoke configuration 14 gauge
- Super free running, Weight 750g, Sealed bearings
- Flange to Flange 92mm, Axel 92mm or 3/8″
The dynamo is built in to a hub, to fit this you can either replace your current hub or get a new wheel built. It looks the same as a normal hub and I hardly notice any resistance with the dynamo. I was surprised as this as many people were very doom and gloom about all the energy I would be wasting with a dynamo. From the hub dynamo you attach a cable that converts the AC power into DC power (that most small electronic devices need). The PedalPower+ universal cable can be attached to other dynamos to use with the V4 battery pack, or can charge small electrical items directly.
V4 battery pack
- Capacity 5600mA
- Input 5V 2000mA
- Output 5V
- Voltage 3.7V
This is a small unit, about the size of two cassette tapes, that stores all the energy. It takes about 10 hours of cycling to fully charge the V4 or less than 2 hours with the mains fast charger. The battery pack has four output points, one usb and three others that you connect cables to. The cables have interchangeable tips e.g. ipod or Nokia phone, allowing you to charge most small electrical devices.
We have used the dynamos and battery packs for 14 months now and have cycled 8000km with them. It is lasting well and I am hard on kit use. I did break one of the cables early on but this was due to it being inadvertently bent in my bar bag. It was easily replaced and I have rearranged my bar bag to stop this happening again.
- Can charge small electrical devices anywhere, no need to find mains power.
- Don’t need to be an electrician to get it to work.
- Charge directly from the dynamo.
- V4 PedalPower+ cable works with most hub dynamos.
- Works in the rain and when there is no sun.
- The initial set up with the connecting cable is fiddly but you only have to do this once.
- Does not power bigger devices such as laptop, netbook or DSLR batteries.
If you have experience of other systems for powering electricals when cycling then please comment below. Check out some of the other gadgets we use here.
Learn more about Chris and Liz’s trip here.
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This post first appeared on the Bicycle Travel Network.