Electronic – Hand crank DC generator – a simple dumthe load that won’t burn out


I'm working on a project that allows a user to crank a hand generator while current and voltage sensors measure the output. After the user finishes cranking, software displays information about how much power was output.

This is the generator we're using: http://windstreampower.com/Human_Power_Generator.php

It seems like it should be a simple problem. However, in the current setup, I've been using the provided 12V voltage regulator and feeding power into 12V incandescent bulbs, and once the rig gets under heavy use, the voltage regulator burns out, and the bulbs blow.

The setup is like this:

Hand Crank => 12V Voltage Regulator => 12V Incandescent Light Bulb (50W)

So, I'm wondering if there is an alternative approach to this configuration (we don't need light bulbs or anything visible). Maybe feeding the crank directly into a 12V battery with some type of charge regulator and a constant drain? Maybe connecting the generator to several bulbs in series?

What is the simplest, most inexpensive dummy load we can attach to the generator, just so we can get current and voltage readings of the user's output while they crank?

Best Answer

You need power resistors (e.g. from Ohmite). Simple, not that expensive (~$5 US).

I wouldn't mess around with the regulator.

EDIT: As @Alan Christopher Thomas pointed out, this will get hot. For extended use (more than a few seconds) consider an additional heat sink.