Atom USB bike generator hits funding target on Kickstarter + video

Generator features removeable battery pack and retrofits to any bike

by Dave Atkinson   May 15, 2013  

Atom generator

If you're the kind of person that likes to use their smartphone as a bike computer, or simply wants to keep it charged during a cycling day, then this might be of interest: the Siva Atom USB generator, designed by US duo of Aaron Latzke & David Delcourt, is currently getting a lot of love on Kickstarter, with its $85,000 funding goal already well surpassed.

There's a number of ways of getting USB power to your devices on the bike, and most of them invlove a hub dynamo and some external gubbins to turn that rather variable energy source into something more usable. This is what the Atom does too, but instead of using a hub system it simply attaches to your existing rear wheel with the quick release clamping it in place. The internal electronics smooth out the power signal allowing you to plug in your phone while you're riding; obviously you'll need to run a USB cable to wherever you've put it and the Atom comes with a 3ft extension cord to run an under-seat USB port. Alternatively the Atom has a removeable battery pack which charges up while you're pedalling; you can take that with you to charge your device at your leisure once you've stopped.

It's pretty cheap, too: the Kickstarter campiagn allows you to get an Atom for $95 (plus $20 international shipping) but even at the full retail price of $105 it's cheaper than many hub dynamos, and you don't need to get a new wheel built or buy any external electronics. Inside there's only three moving parts to transmit wheel drive to the generator; it's shown in the video attached to a range of cycles and looks designed to work with a standard quick-release wheel, although from the video and description it's unclear exactly how it engages with the hub. "The Atom is designed to fit on the rear wheel of rim-brake bicycles with just two prerequisites: 1) a minimum of 20mm of space between the rear dropout and hub flange (where the spokes mount), and 2) the hub flange must be less than 3.0” diameter", the Kickstarter page explains. "We’ve tested a large number of traditional, urban, performance, and touring bikes (it works with panniers and fenders!) and nearly all have met these requirements. Bicycles outfitted with disc brakes may have the option of installing the Atom on the non-disc side of the front wheel, provided that there is 20mm of space between the front dropout and the hub flange"

Funding currently stands at just over $110,000 with eight days to go; that means that one stretch goal has been reached: integrating status lights into the unit. If the Atom makes it past $130,000 then Latzke and Delcourt have committed to enhance the electronics, doubling the output for faster charging times. They're also partnering with charities in the developing world and have pledged to donate one Atom for every ten sold.

For more info on the Atom, see the Kickstarter page.

 

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

That battery is pretty weedy. 1300mAh? I've been using a 4400mAh usb rechargeable on tours for several years, and it was only £30. Mind you I think the Reecharge Biologic battery is also pretty small.

Good price for a dynamo though. I think that if they'd had this out a while back... I might not have got my 2nd SON hub.

posted by bazzargh [144 posts]
15th May 2013 - 13:41

7 Likes

bazzargh wrote:
That battery is pretty weedy. 1300mAh? I've been using a 4400mAh usb rechargeable on tours for several years, and it was only £30. Mind you I think the Reecharge Biologic battery is also pretty small.

it might be something to do with the charging current needed to fill up bigger batteries. i have a 5000mAh battery i take on long rides, and a USB charger, but i can't charge the battery pack from the dynamo driven usb port below about 20mph. the phone starts charging at about 6mph.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7425 posts]
15th May 2013 - 14:04

4 Likes

They used the phrase 'bad boy' in the video, for that reason I'm out Big Grin

posted by Ducci [61 posts]
15th May 2013 - 15:10

7 Likes

Very simple, very clever and I wish them luck but I wonder with the location of the device if it would stand up to the hazards of British/European bad weather (dirt, rain, oil, grit etc)?

posted by Roberj4 [197 posts]
15th May 2013 - 15:47

6 Likes

Do Rapha make one? If not, I'm not interested.... Big Grin

posted by Tom Amos [245 posts]
15th May 2013 - 18:44

7 Likes