Pedal-Power Your iPhone

California-based company Dahon has recently unveiled an innovative charging solution for portable gadgets, named ReeCharge. The new device utilizes bicycles’ pedal-power in order to power almost any electronic device, including iPods, iPhones, PDAs and GPS units.
 The ReeCharge System (Credit: Dohon Inc.)
The ReeCharge System
(Credit: Dahon Inc.)

Gadgets’ users who wish to maintain their battery charged at all times could find the ReeCharge extremely useful, since it saves them the hassle of connecting chargers into AC outlets; while they are ‘on the move’, their music player or cell-phone could be easily charged. Thus, both time and electricity is saved.

The ReeCharge transfers power from a bike’s generator hub to a high-capacity battery, which in turn supplies steady current to users’ devices. The ReeCharge supports almost all available devices, since it connects using USB connectors, which are very common. 

“There are millions of bicycles on the market with dynamo hubs that generate electricity while you ride,” stated Joshua Hon, Dahon vice president. “We consider it a shame that most of that electricity is wasted because LED lights are so efficient these days and you don’t need lights during the day anyway. So we came up with a way to capture and store that energy for use when you need it. It’s personal power on demand.”

According to its maker, the ReeCharge was made with devices such as GPS units or music players in mind, because these are in use during one’s bicycle travels. . “A lot of us here at Dahon use iPhones and there are some pretty neat GPS and cycling computer applications available,” stated Hon. “But the problem is battery life – 90 minutes into the ride and your phone is out of batteries.” So, the ReeCharger obviously solves the problem of long-distance travels. However, the charger isn’t limited for such usage, since technically every compatible device could be connected, even USB-powered chainsaw (covered by TFOT).

 ReeCharge (Credit: Dahon Inc.)
ReeCharge (Credit: Dahon Inc.)

The charger’s main unit is called BioLogic ReeCharge. Proprietary circuitry converts and regulates the intermittent power generated by the dynamo hub, for input into the ReeCharge’s high capacity lithium polymer battery. Then, the battery outputs a stable current that safely charges electronic devices. 
ReeCharge connects to all dynamo hubs on the market – as seen in this Youtube video. The BioLogic ReeCharge attaches to a bicycle by means of a wrap-around silicon case. The weatherproof silicon case even features sealed cable ports.

Originally Dahon manufacturers bicycles; according to plans, the BioLogic ReeCharge will come pre-installed on two Dahon bikes, the Ios*XL and Speed TR. Furthermore, as Hon said, the company’s employees are eager bikers themselves. “There were definitely selfish intentions when we began to develop this product,” he says.”[Now] we are keeping our phones charged with power that we’re generating.”

Dahon has announced that the ReeCharge will be available worldwide in March 2010. The suggested retail price will be $99, and at a later phase it will be marketed for non-Dahon bicycles as well.

TFOT has covered other innovative chargers, such as Freeloader, a solar-based multi-charger designed for hikers, aigo, a portable charger with collapsible trio solar panel, and YoGen, a small hand-powered generator for cell phones and small electronic devices. Another related TFOT story is the Aquaduct, a pedal-powered water transportation and filtration vehicle designed to aid families in developing countries.

For more information about Dahon’s ReeCharge, see the company’s press release.