How to attach a 120v popcorn machine to a bike?
October 30, 2004 9:07 PM   Subscribe

I want to attach a popcorn machine to a bike like this. The machine takes 120 Volts, any idea how I could power it?
posted by TurkishGolds to Technology (9 answers total)
those machines are very high current (20 amps!!!) That's 20 * 120V = 2,400 watts. I've seen reports of people generating 200 or so watts in a bicycle pedalling pretty fast, so 'natural power' is out. Batteries, solar etc are more or less out too, heat generation does not have many portable electrical solutions.

I think you'd be better of burning fuel directly to hear the air for the popper. This will require you to make your own device. Perhaps use the bicycle power to blow fresh air into some closed box that is heated by an external fuel source? That's my best guess.
posted by neustile at 9:41 PM on October 30, 2004

"better off," and "heat the air," and it should go without saying that DON'T HURT ANYONE. The more I think about it the more disaster scenarios show up in my mind.
posted by neustile at 9:43 PM on October 30, 2004

That's not so hard. But I would look at getting a less power-hungry, consumer-grade popper.

If you don't want to do that, get the 1050W popper, and get a 1500W inverter. Power it off a deep cycle battery. Get a 115 amp-hour deep cycle from Sears for $60.

115 amp-hours / (1050W / 12V) = 1.3 hours *at most*

At the very most, you want 80% discharge, so that's one hour per battery. Get multiple batteries if needed. They are very heavy, but last a long time if taken care of properly. Don't tip the deep-cycle, or you pay twice as much for a sealed battery.

An alternative is to get a generator. The Honda EU1000 is really quiet (for a genny) and costs $650, but it's only 900W continuous, and the starting surge current would probably trip its inverter.

The EU2000 is also quiet, and costs a $1000.
That popper sure does take a lot of power...
posted by rajbot at 10:14 PM on October 30, 2004

If you just want a mobile popcorn machine, and aren't trying to make it human-powered, have you considered using tanked gas instead? Generating or storing electricity just to produce heat seems rather roundabout compared to just burning stuff.
posted by majick at 11:30 PM on October 30, 2004

Response by poster: I would totally used tanked gas, I just didn't realize that I could get a machine that would do that. This isn't really a well thought out plan, at this point. I'm still just kinda dreaming about it .... I just want to be able to make large amounts of popcorn on the back of a bike, any way that happens is fine with me.
posted by TurkishGolds at 6:42 AM on October 31, 2004

Turkish, I've seen guys riding bikes with attached wagons to the back that could hold a tanked gas solution easy. These guys will custom-build you just about any food vendor cart you could imagine. If you just want to build your own solution, you'll need to fabricate something to attach a wagon to your bike. I've seen bikes with toddler-attachments that ride in the back, maybe you could start there. It'd have to be big enough to hold the machine and any power source (likely a big, heavy battery).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:15 AM on October 31, 2004

Tanked gas seems like the best solution, since what you need all this energy for is heat anyway. Maybe tanked gas for heat, with a (much smaller) battery to run blowers, igniters, and whatnot.

If you want to go the electric-heat route, you could maybe use a fuel cell. Spendy though.
posted by hattifattener at 1:55 PM on October 31, 2004

have you looked through gold medal's catalog? i think i remember seeing something in there like that--i could be wrong though. you can request a catalog to be priority mailed to you for free by the way, on their site.
posted by lotsofno at 1:57 PM on October 31, 2004

After googling longer than I care to admit - it's a fun idea - I found this popper. It's too big and too expensive for your purpose, I think - you won't need to make 240 1-oz. servings of popcorn per hour - but it would fit in your bike cart. It runs on a 12V for the drive motor and propane gas for the heat.

If I were you, I might just find some of these popcorn machine retailers and hit them with an email explaining your particular needs. (Wouldn't mind hearing more about them myself - are you planning to become the neighborhood Popcorn Fairy, riding around delivering popcorn to all and sundry, or have you a more specific idea?)
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:39 PM on October 31, 2004

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