Ypsi Cycle-Powered Cinema update, volunteer meeting April 1

On Thursday, April 1 we’ll be meeting at the Corner Brewery in Ypsi at 6:00 PM to discuss the future of the Cycle Powered Cinema project. If you think you might be interested, please come out, have a beer, and meet the rest of the team. And feel free to encourage anyone else you know who might have an interest in bringing free, off-grid, people-powered movies to Ypsi’s Riverside Park to come out and join us.

Right now, it’s mostly money that’s holding us back. So far, we’ve taken in $193.10 (and one weird Canadian coin) in donations. We have, however, spent quite a bit more than that, having bought motors, generators, DC-AC converters and the like. At the moment, we’re probably about $500 in the hole, but we don’t intend to stop. We’re committed to find a way to make this work.

The next step is to have a real test of the concept, with a few bikes. We could either do this indoors, at the Brewery, or outside, behind the new VG Kids world headquarters, on the banks of the Huron River. The idea would be to have two bikes, equipped with generators, feeding into a deep-cycle marine battery. People, under this scenario, would begin peddling several hours prior to the movie(s) being shown, in order to store up the power necessary to project the film. In order to pull this off, in addition to what we already have, we would need the following:

One more bike stand and generator, at a cost of $399.

A 25 amp fuse and holder, at a cost of about $5.

A Blocking Rectifier Diode, at a cost of $49.

A 12 vdc Regulator/Converter, at a cost of $235.

Another DC to AC Inverter, at a cost of $100.39.

TOTAL: $788.39

pedalbest.JPGWe would need five more generators to pull off a big show, where people are peddling to power a film in real-time, but this would take care of most of the infrastructure that we’d need.

[These numbers are based on a few assumptions: 1) that we can find at least two bikes, 2) that we can borrow a digital projector, 3) that we can borrow deep-cycle marine battery.]

We recently submitted a grant proposal to the Ann Arbor Arts Alliance. If it comes though, this beta test could take place as early as April. If not, though, we’re going to have to initiate fundraising activities. It’s something that we can discuss at the meeting, but I’m thinking that we could ask local businesses to contribute $150 or $200 a piece toward the project, which we’re convinced would, when up and running, draw several hundred people downtown (which would be good for their businesses). There are also plans afoot to add a “donate” button to our Cycle Powered Cinema website, so that individuals can contribute online, but it’s probably still a few weeks away.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Donald Harrison and the folks at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, who have been incredibly supportive of this project to the point of allowing us to present the idea at next week’s festival, where our friend Michael Flynn, a professional builder of science museum exhibits, will be debuting his own bike-powered projector under the Cycle Powered Cinema banner… If you’re in Ann Arbor next week, be sure to check it out.

For those of you not familiar with the Cycle Powered Cinema initiative, you can find background information here and video of our first test run here.

[note: That’s an image of Michael’s Ann Arbor Film Festival exhibit accompanying this post.]

This entry was posted in Alternative Energy, Art and Culture, cycle powered cinema, Education, energy, Environment, Global Warming, Other, Special Projects, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted March 21, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    If you’re planning to come, please leave a comment, or send me an email so that I’ll know how many tables to push together.

  2. Kim
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Will you be showing Triumph of the Will for the teabaggers?

  3. Alice
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    $800 shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can find 8 businesses that will contribute $100 each, you’ve got more than enough. I don’t know the finances of each of these, but here’s a list to get you started.

    Elbow Room
    Cafe Luwak
    The Energy Outlet store
    Dos Hermanos
    Materials Unlimited
    The Rocket
    Ugly Mug
    Corner Brewery
    Food Co-op
    Tap Room

  4. Linda
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Count the Sidetrack in.

  5. Posted March 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Linda. That’s awesome. I’ll be in touch soon with details.

    And, no, I don’t think we’ll be showing much Nazi propaganda. Sorry. We’ll probably be showing some old cartoons, though. The tea baggers might like those.

  6. Posted March 23, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Exciting :) Marked it in my calendar – I’ll be there.

  7. Festifool
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    You got a mention at the Ann Arbor Chronicle.


  8. Posted October 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    The pedal powered cinema system in London uses 10 bikes and 20 legs to power 600W of audio visual equipment for screening films or projections.

  9. Gerald Presley
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    Mark Maynard is a prototype robot under the power of a villain who controls him with a magic vintage engagement ring.

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