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Publication numberUS20030073546 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/259,001
Publication dateApr 17, 2003
Filing dateSep 27, 2002
Priority dateSep 28, 2001
Also published asEP1430595A1, WO2003034584A1
Publication number10259001, 259001, US 2003/0073546 A1, US 2003/073546 A1, US 20030073546 A1, US 20030073546A1, US 2003073546 A1, US 2003073546A1, US-A1-20030073546, US-A1-2003073546, US2003/0073546A1, US2003/073546A1, US20030073546 A1, US20030073546A1, US2003073546 A1, US2003073546A1
InventorsTodd Lassanske, Ying Lee
Original AssigneeLassanske Todd W., Lee Ying Che
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Self-powered variable resistance bicycle trainer
US 20030073546 A1
Abstract
A bicycle trainer includes a resistance unit engageable with the driven wheel of the bicycle, and a control console mounted to the bicycle in a user accessible location. The resistance unit is in the form of an AC alternator which generates power in response to rotation of the bicycle wheel, to power the various components of the bicycle trainer, including the control console and a resistance adjustment arrangement. In one form, the resistance is adjusted in accordance with inputs provided either from an operator or from a computer interconnected with the control console, by selectively connecting a resistor in a circuit including the AC alternator so as to provide resistance to rotation of the rotor of the AC alternator, and thereby resistance to rotation of the bicycle wheel.
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Claims(37)
I claim:
1. A bicycle trainer adapted for use in combination with a bicycle having a frame and a set of pedals that are operable to drive a driven wheel, comprising:
a support adapted for engagement with the bicycle to maintain the bicycle stationary;
a variable resistance unit adapted for engagement with the driven wheel of the bicycle for imparting variable resistance to rotation of the driven wheel, wherein the resistance unit comprises a power generator configured to generate power and to function as a brake to provide resistance to rotation of the driven wheel; and
a control interconnected with the resistance unit, wherein the control is operable to vary the resistance provided by the resistance unit.
2. The bicycle trainer of claim 1, wherein the resistance unit is mounted to the support, and wherein the control is contained in a control housing separate from the resistance unit.
3. The bicycle trainer of claim 2, further comprising a releasable mounting arrangement interposed between the control housing and the bicycle for releasably mounting the control housing to the bicycle.
4. The bicycle trainer of claim 2, wherein the control includes an operator interface for enabling an operator to provide operator inputs to the control, wherein the operation of the resistance unit is responsive to the operator inputs.
5. The bicycle trainer of claim 4, wherein the power generator of the resistance unit includes a stator and a rotor adapted for rotation in response to rotation of the driven wheel of the bicycle, wherein the stator and the rotor cooperate to function as an AC power alternator that generates power for operation of the resistance unit.
6. The bicycle trainer of claim 5, wherein the resistance unit and the control are interconnected via a cable, and wherein power generated by the stator and the rotor is transferred via the cable to the control for powering the control.
7. The bicycle trainer of claim 6, wherein the resistance unit and the control are interconnected via a cable that is operable to supply power to the control from the resistance unit.
8. The bicycle trainer of claim 6, wherein the control includes an internal power supply for providing operation of the control independent of power supplied to the control from the resistance unit.
9. The bicycle trainer of claim 8, wherein the internal power supply comprises one or more batteries, wherein the one or more batteries are rechargeable via power supplied to the control from the resistance unit.
10. The bicycle trainer of claim 5, wherein the resistance unit includes an electronic circuit that selectively applies a resistive load on the AC power alternator to control the resistance to rotation of the driven wheel.
11. The bicycle trainer of claim 10, wherein the resistive load comprises one or more resistors and wherein the electronic circuit includes a switching arrangement for selectively coupling the one or more resistors to the AC power alternator.
12. The bicycle trainer of claim 11, wherein the switching arrangement comprises a pulse width modulating control responsive to operator inputs to control the duration of coupling of the one or more resistors to the AC power alternator for controlling the resistance to rotation of the driven wheel.
13. The bicycle trainer of claim 11, wherein the one or more resistors function to generate heat when coupled via the electronic circuit to the AC power alternator, and further comprising a heat dissipating arrangement for dissipating heat generated by the one or more resistors.
14. The bicycle trainer of claim 13, wherein the heat dissipating arrangement comprises a heat sink member to which the one or more resistors are mounted, wherein the heat sink member is operable to absorb heat from the one or more resistors and to dissipate the absorbed heat to the surrounding atmosphere.
15. The bicycle trainer of claim 14, further comprising a fan arrangement configured to move air past the heat sink member for facilitating the transfer of heat from the heat sink member to the ambient atmosphere.
16. The bicycle trainer of claim 15, wherein the fan arrangement is rotatable in response to rotation of the driven wheel of the bicycle.
17. The bicycle trainer of claim 5, wherein the resistance unit includes a roller adapted to engage the driven wheel of the bicycle for imparting rotation to the roller in response to rotation of the driven wheel, and wherein the rotor is connected to the roller so as to impart rotation to the rotor in response to rotation of the roller.
18. The bicycle trainer of claim 17, wherein the roller defines first and second ends, wherein the rotor and stator are located outwardly of the first end of the roller, and wherein the resistance unit includes a housing located outwardly of the second end of the roller, wherein the housing contains a load varying circuit arrangement responsive to the control for varying the load on the AC power alternator to vary the resistance imparted to the driven wheel upon rotation of the rotor.
19. The bicycle trainer of claim 18, wherein the housing further includes a power supply circuit arrangement interconnected with the AC power alternator, wherein the power supply circuit arrangement is operable to supply power to the load varying circuit arrangement.
20. The bicycle trainer of claim 19, wherein the control is interconnected with the power supply circuit arrangement for supplying power to the control in response to operation of the AC power alternator.
21. The bicycle trainer of claim 18, wherein the housing contains a circuit board to which the load varying circuit arrangement is mounted, and wherein the load varying circuit arrangement includes resistive elements that generate heat, and further comprising a heat sink member located within the housing to which the resistive elements are mounted.
22. The bicycle trainer of claim 21, further comprising a fan member interconnected with the rotor and rotatable in response to rotation of the rotor, wherein the fan member is located adjacent the heat sink member for circulating air in the vicinity of the heat sink member to assist in dissipating heat from the heat sink member to the atmosphere surrounding the heat sink member.
23. A method of applying resistance to rotation of the driven wheel of a bicycle, comprising the steps of:
engaging the driven wheel of the bicycle with a resistance unit interconnected with a support frame which is operable to maintain the bicycle stationary;
operating the bicycle to drive the driven wheel, wherein the resistance unit functions to provide resistance to rotation of the driven wheel and includes an electrical power generating arrangement that operates in response to rotation of the driven wheel to produce electrical power; and
varying the resistance provided by the resistance unit to rotation of the driven wheel by means of a resistance varying arrangement powered by the electrical power generating arrangement.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein the step of varying the resistance provided by the resistance unit is carried out by selectively applying a load to the electrical power generating arrangement, wherein the load is applied to the electrical power generating arrangement via a circuit powered by the electrical power generating arrangement.
25. The method of claim 24, wherein the electrical power generating arrangement comprises a stator and a rotor, wherein the step of operating the bicycle to drive the driven wheel is operable to impart rotation to the rotor, and wherein the stator and the rotor cooperate to output AC electrical power upon rotation of the rotor.
26. The method of claim 25, wherein the step of selectively applying a load to the electrical power generating arrangement is carried out by selectively connecting one or more resistive elements in the circuit.
27. The method of claim 26, wherein the one or more resistive elements are mounted to a heat sink member, wherein the heat sink member is operable to draw heat from the one or more resistive elements, and further comprising the step of moving air past the heat sink member to assist in dissipating heat from the heat sink member, by means of a rotatable fan arrangement which is rotated in response to rotation of the driven wheel of the bicycle.
28. The method of claim 23, further comprising a control arrangement for receiving operator inputs, wherein the control arrangement is contained within a housing separate from the resistance unit adapted for mounting to the bicycle in a location accessible by a user of the bicycle, and wherein the step of bearing the resistance provided by the resistance unit is carried out in response to inputs to the control arrangement by the user.
29. The method of claim 28, further comprising the step of supplying electrical power to the control arrangement from the electrical power generating arrangement included in the resistance unit.
30. In a bicycle trainer having a roller member adapted to engage the driven wheel of a bicycle, the improvement comprising an electrical power generating arrangement interconnected with the roller member for generating electrical power in response to rotation of the roller member caused by engagement of the roller member with the driven wheel of the bicycle, and a resistance varying arrangement interconnected with an powered by the electrical power generating arrangement, wherein the resistance varying arrangement interfaces with the electrical power generating arrangement to vary the resistance to rotation of the driven wheel through engagement of the driven wheel with the roller member.
31. The improvement of claim 30, wherein the resistance varying arrangement includes a control for receiving inputs that are operable to control operation of the resistance bearing arrangement.
32. The improvement of claim 31, wherein the electrical power generating arrangement comprises a stator mounted to the bicycle trainer and a rotor interconnected with the roller member, wherein the stator and the rotor cooperate to form an alternator for generating AC electrical power.
33. The improvement of claim 32, wherein the resistance varying arrangement comprises one or more resistive elements, and wherein the control is operable to selectively place the one or more resistive elements in a circuit including the alternator for varying the load on the alternator and thereby the resistance provided to the driven wheel of the bicycle through the roller member.
34. The improvement of claim 33, wherein the resistance varying arrangement includes a pulse width modulator that operates in response to the control for selectively connecting the one or more resistive elements to the alternator.
35. The improvement of claim 32, wherein the roller member defines first and second ends, wherein the rotor is interconnected with the first end of the roller member, and further comprising a housing located outwardly of the second end of the roller member, wherein the housing contains a power conversion circuit arrangement and wherein the resistance varying arrangement comprises one or more resistive elements located within the housing.
36. The improvement of claim 35, wherein the one or more resistive elements are mounted to a heat sink member for absorbing heat from the one or more resistive elements, and further comprising a fan arrangement interconnected with the roller member and located outwardly of the second end of the roller member, wherein rotation of the roller member causes rotation of the fan arrangement and wherein the fan arrangement is configured so as to move air relative to the heat sink member for dissipating heat from the heat sink member to the ambient atmosphere.
37. The improvement of claim 31, wherein the bicycle trainer includes a first housing containing circuitry incorporated in the electrical power generating arrangement and the resistance varying arrangement, and further comprising a second housing separate from the first housing and adapted for engagement with the bicycle in a user accessible location for enabling an operator to provide inputs to the control.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/325,934, filed Sep. 28, 2001.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to an exercise device, and more particularly to a bicycle trainer which is engageable with the driven wheel of a bicycle for providing resistance to operation of the bicycle.

[0003] A bicycle trainer is used to maintain a bicycle in an upright, stationary position, and includes a resistance unit that is engaged with the driven wheel of the bicycle so as to provide resistance to rotation of the wheel. Various types of resistance-providing arrangements have been developed for use in the resistance unit. Examples of such resistance-providing arrangements include air resistance, magnetic or eddy current resistance, and fluid resistance. While such resistance-providing arrangements function satisfactorily, most provide limited ability to adjust resistance. Magnetic resistance arrangements are capable of varying the degree of resistance by altering the position of one or more magnets, which is typically carried out with a mechanical arrangement involving a number of parts. This type of adjustment arrangement typically involves a lag time of several seconds before the adjustment in resistance level is implemented, due primarily to the nature of eddy current resistance. Further, the adjustment mechanism is imprecise, and involves the use of additional parts which must be manufactured and assembled, and which are subject to tolerance issues and failure. Adjustment of fluid-type resistance mechanisms is complicated by the fact that the adjustment is carried out by moving components contained within a fluid housing, which involves seal integrity issues.

[0004] Some attempts have been made to develop electronic resistance mechanisms for bicycle trainers, which have the potential to accurately and quickly adjust resistance. To date, such electronic trainer resistance units use an external power source, e.g. electrical power from a conventional electrical outlet, to supply power to the resistance unit. This presents a significant limitation in the environment in which the trainer can be used.

[0005] It is an object of the present invention to provide an electronic resistance unit for a bicycle trainer, in which the resistance unit does not require an external source of electrical power. It is a further object of the invention to provide such a resistance unit having the ability to closely control the amount of resistance applied to the driven wheel of the bicycle, as well as the ability to quickly effect changes in the amount of resistance applied. It is a further object of the invention to provide such a bicycle trainer having a control arrangement that can be accessed by a user so as to enable the user to provide inputs to the bicycle trainer during operation. It is a further object of the invention to provide such a bicycle trainer which can interface with a computer, to enable a control arrangement associated with the bicycle trainer to receive inputs from information stored in the computer or from a global information network. It is a further object of the invention to provide such a bicycle trainer which is constructed to provide reliable operation, and which provides quick and easy engagement with and disengagement from the bicycle.

[0006] In accordance with the present invention, a bicycle trainer generally includes a frame adapted to engage the bicycle and to maintain the bicycle stationary, and a variable resistance unit adapted for engagement with the driven wheel of the bicycle for imparting variable resistance to rotation of the driven wheel. The variable resistance unit is in the form of an electrical power generator which is configured to generate power and also to function as a brake to provide resistance to rotation of the driven wheel. A controller is interconnected with the resistance unit, and is operable to vary the resistance provided by the resistance unit to rotation of the driven wheel. The controller is contained in a control housing separate from the resistance unit. The control housing may be releasably engaged with the bicycle in an area of the bicycle that is accessible by a user, and is preferably interconnected with the resistance unit via a communication device such as a cable. The controller includes an operator interface for enabling the user to provide inputs to the control, and the resistance unit is responsive to the operator inputs so as to enable the resistance to be adjusted according to the operator inputs.

[0007] The electrical power generator of the resistance unit includes a stator and a rotor, which is interconnected with a roller engaged with the driven wheel of the bicycle, such that the stator is rotatable in response to rotation of the driven wheel. Rotation of the rotor relative to the stator thus functions to generate AC electrical power in response to rotation of the driven wheel. The stator and the rotor together make up an AC alternator for generating three phase AC electrical power, which is used to power the controller as well as to power a load varying circuit which controls the resistance applied to rotation of the rotor, and thereby the resistance to rotation of the driven wheel by the resistance unit. In the disclosed embodiment, the resistance unit includes an electronic circuit within which the AC alternator is connected. Adjustment in resistance is provided by selectively connecting a resistive load in the circuit, which functions to control the resistance applied by the resistance unit to rotation of the driven wheel. The resistive load may be in the form of one or more resistors, and the electronic circuit includes a switching arrangement for selectively coupling the one or more resistors to the AC power alternator. The switching arrangement may be in the form of a pulse width modulated control responsive to operator inputs, to control the duration or duty cycle during which the one or more resistors are coupled to the AC power alternator.

[0008] The rotor is interconnected with the roller of the resistance unit, and is located outwardly of a first end defined by the roller. The resistance unit preferably further includes a housing located outwardly of a second end defined by the roller, which is located opposite the first end. The housing contains electronic circuitry associated with the resistance unit, including a circuit board which contains the power supply circuitry as well as the resistance adjusting circuitry. The one or more resistors are also located within the housing, and are mounted to a heat sink member which absorbs heat developed in the one or more resistors when the resistors are coupled to the AC power alternator. The resistance unit further includes a fan arrangement located outwardly of the second end of the roller, which is operable to circulate air over and past the heat sink member to dissipate the heat absorbed by the heat sink member from the resistors.

[0009] The invention further contemplates a method of applying resistance to rotation of the driven wheel of a bicycle, as well as an improvement in a bicycle trainer, substantially in accordance with the foregoing summary.

[0010] Various other features, objects and advantages of the invention will be made apparent from the following description taken together with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The drawings illustrate the best mode presently contemplated of carrying out the invention.

[0012] In the drawings:

[0013]FIG. 1 is a schematic side elevation view showing the components of an electronic bicycle trainer system in accordance with the present invention;

[0014]FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating in block form the components of the bicycle trainer system of FIG. 1;

[0015]FIG. 3 is an elevation view showing the control module or console incorporated in the electronic bicycle trainer system shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0016]FIG. 4 is an end view of the control console of FIG. 3;

[0017]FIG. 5 is an elevation view illustrating a clamp-type mounting arrangement for securing the control console of FIG. 3 to a bicycle;

[0018]FIG. 6 is an exploded isometric view showing the components of the resistance unit incorporated in the electronic bicycle trainer system of FIG. 1;

[0019]FIG. 7 is an enlarged right hand portion of the exploded isometric view of FIG. 6;

[0020]FIG. 8 is an enlarged left hand portion of the exploded isometric view of FIG. 6;

[0021]FIG. 9 is a rear elevation view of the assembled resistance unit shown in FIGS. 6-8;

[0022]FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of the assembled resistance unit shown in FIG. 9;

[0023]FIG. 11 is an enlarged partial elevation view showing the construction of the lower controller portion of the resistance unit of FIGS. 9 and 10, with the cover removed;

[0024]FIG. 12 is an isometric view of the lower control portion of the resistance unit shown in FIG. 11;

[0025]FIG. 13 is an end elevation view showing a heat sink member incorporated in the lower control portion of the resistance unit shown in FIGS. 9-12;

[0026]FIG. 14 is a section view through the resistance unit of FIGS. 9-12;

[0027]FIG. 15 is a view illustrating a connector cable for interconnecting the control console and the resistance unit in the bicycle trainer system of FIG. 1;

[0028]FIG. 16 is a view of a connector cable for interconnecting a personal computer with the control console in the electronic bicycle trainer system of FIG. 1;

[0029]FIG. 17 is a block diagram illustrating the electronic components incorporated in the lower control portion of the resistance unit forming a part of the electronic bicycle trainer system of FIG. 1;

[0030]FIG. 18 is an electronic schematic diagram showing the electronic components making up the various portions of the block diagram of FIG. 17;

[0031]FIG. 19 is a block diagram showing the electronic components incorporated into the control console of FIG. 3, forming a part of the electronic bicycle trainer system of the present invention;

[0032]FIG. 20 is a power supply block diagram forming a part of the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0033]FIG. 21 is a circuit diagram showing connections between the sections of the circuit board incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0034]FIG. 22 is a circuit diagram showing connection of components to the central processing unit contained in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0035]FIG. 23 is a diagram illustrating an ADC circuit for controlling the supply of power to the central processing unit incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0036]FIG. 24 is a circuit diagram illustrating circuitry for controlling contrast and backlight in the display of the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0037]FIG. 25 is a circuit diagram showing battery actuation and charging regulator circuits incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0038]FIG. 26 is a circuit diagram showing components for connecting the cable that extends from the control console to the resistance unit of the bicycle exercise system of the present invention as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0039]FIG. 27 is a circuit diagram showing a voltage regulation circuit incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0040]FIG. 28 is a circuit diagram showing a voltage monitor circuit incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0041]FIG. 29 is a circuit diagram showing a DC coupled low-pass active filter incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0042]FIG. 30 is a circuit diagram illustrating a buzzer driver circuit incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0043]FIG. 31 is a circuit diagram showing an input signal filtering system incorporated in the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0044]FIG. 32 is a circuit diagram showing a heart rate input circuit incorporated into the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0045]FIG. 33 is a circuit diagram showing a computer interface circuit incorporated into the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19;

[0046]FIG. 34 is a circuit diagram of a memory bank incorporated into the control console represented in the block diagram of FIG. 19; and

[0047]FIG. 35 is a software instruction flow chart for providing user inputs to the control console represented in FIG. 19 for controlling operation of the resistance unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0048]FIG. 1 illustrates an electronic exercise system 100, which is illustrated for use in combination with a bicycle 102 having front and rear wheels 104, 106, respectively. Bicycle 102 further includes a pedal assembly 108 having a pair of crank arms 110, for powering rear wheel 106 through a conventional chain drive mechanism including a chain 112.

[0049] Exercise system 100 includes a stationary electronic bicycle trainer 114 which has a stand or frame 116 and a resistance unit 118. Frame 116 may be in any satisfactory form constructed to enable engagement with bicycle 102 so as to maintain bicycle 102 upright and rear wheel 106 off the ground. Representatively frame 116 may be in a form such as is available from the Cycle-Ops Division of Graber Products, Inc. of Madison, Wis., although it is understood that any other satisfactory type of frame arrangement may be employed. A riser block 120 may be positioned under front wheel 104, for elevating front wheel 104 during use.

[0050] In a manner to explained, resistance unit 118 is engaged with rear wheel 106 of bicycle 102 using a conventional roller-type member which rotates in response to rotation of rear wheel 106. Resistance unit 118 imparts resistance to rotation of rear wheel 106, to provide a stationary bicycle exercise in either an indoor or outdoor environment. Exercise system 100 includes a control unit or console 122 mounted to a user accessible area of bicycle 100, e.g. to the handlebars 124 of bicycle 102. A cable 126 extends between console 122 and resistance unit 118, for communicating power and data therebetween. Console 122 may also be connected to a processor, such as a personal computer 128, through a cable 130. In a manner as is known, personal computer 128 is capable of storing a variety of program information, and is also adapted for interconnection in a local network or in a global information network (i.e. the internet).

[0051] Exercise system 100 further includes a cadence sensor 132 for detecting the speed of rotation of pedal assembly 108. A cable 134 extends from cadence sensor 132, and is adapted for engagement with console 122 for supplying signals indicative of cadence to console 122.

[0052]FIG. 2 illustrates in block form the components of exercise system 100 and their interconnections with each other. As discussed in connection with FIG. 1, console 122 is mounted to a user accessible area of bicycle 102, e.g. the bicycle handlebars. Cadence sensor 132 is interconnected with console 122 via cable 134 for providing input signals to console 122 indicative of pedal cadence. Personal computer 128 is connected to console 122 via cable 130, which provides two-way communication between console 122 and computer 128. In addition, exercise system 100 may include a heart rate monitor 136 interconnected with console 122 via a cable 138, for providing input signals to console 122 indicative of the user's heart rate.

[0053] Resistance unit 118 includes a power generating device for generating electrical power in response to rotation of rear wheel 106 of bicycle 102. The power generating device is in the form of an AC power alternator 140 incorporated in resistance unit 118. A lower controller 142 is interconnected with alternator 140. In a manner to be explained, lower controller 142 is operable to control the resistance provided by resistance unit 118 to rotation of rear wheel 106. In addition, lower controller 142 includes power supply components interconnected with alternator 140 to self-power lower controller 142 and to provide power to console 122, including an AC to DC power conversion component 144 and a DC power conditioning component 146, through which power is supplied via cable 126 to console 122. Lower controller 142 further includes a pulse width modulator component 148 that receives power from DC power conditioning component 146 through a wire 150, and which also receives input signals from console 122 through cable 126 and an interconnected wire 152 contained within lower controller 142. PWM component 148 is interconnected with a power switch component 154, which in turn is interconnected with a resistive load 156 that is interconnected with alternator 140. In a manner to be explained, PWM components 148 function to control power switch component 154 to selectively switch resistive load 156 into and out of the circuit of alternator 140. The duty cycle during which load 156 is connected to alternator 140 controls the amount of resistance to rotation experienced by the rotor of alternator 140, which translates directly into resistance to rotation of rear wheel 106 of bicycle 102. In addition, lower controller 142 includes a speed signal component 158 that senses the speed of rotation of the rotor of alternator 142, and signals indicative of the speed of wheel 106 are supplied through cable 126 to console 122.

[0054] Console 122 includes a housing 160 connected to a mounting bracket 162. Console 122 further includes a display 164 and up/down buttons 166. An on/off power button 168 is located between up/down buttons 166, and an enter/select button 170 is located adjacent on/off power button 168 between up/down buttons 166. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, console 122 also includes a pair of connectors or receptacles 172, with which cables 126, 130 are adapted to be engaged.

[0055] As shown in FIG. 5, mounting bracket 162 includes a pivot connection 174 at its upper end, which allows console 122 to be positioned in various angular positions relative to mounting bracket 162. At its lower end, mounting bracket 162 includes a fixed jaw or engagement section 176 and a movable jaw or engagement section 178 which is pivotable via a pivot connection 180 relative to fixed jaw 176. Fixed jaw 176 and movable jaw 178 define arcuate facing inner surfaces which are configured to receive a portion of bicycle handlebars 124 therebetween. A thumb screw 182 has a threaded shank 184 that is rotatably secured at its outer end to a pin 186 pivotably mounted at the outer end of fixed jaw 176. The outer end of movable jaw 178 includes an open slot within which shank 184 of thumb screw 182 is adapted to be received, so as to enable a portion of bicycle handlebars 124 to be received between the facing arcuate surfaces defined by jaws 176, 178. Thumb screw 182 includes a head 188, which is adapted to be rotated by a user so as to clamp the portion of handle bars 124 between fixed jaw 176 and movable jaw 178, to releasably mount console 122 to handle bars 124.

[0056] It should be understood that mounting bracket 162 is representative of one way by which console 122 can be mounted to bicycle 102, and that other types of mounting arrangements may be employed to secure console 122 in a user accessible position on bicycle 102. Further, while console 122 is shown as being mounted to bicycle 102, it is also considered that console 122 may be mounted in any other location which is accessible by a user prior to, during or after use of exercise system 100, and that console 122 need not necessarily be mounted to bicycle 102.

[0057] FIGS. 6-15 illustrate a physical embodiment of resistance unit 118 incorporated in electronic exercise system 100. The individual components of resistance unit 118 are illustrated in FIGS. 6-8 in exploded form. Resistance unit 118 includes a yoke 190 adapted for pivotable engagement with frame 116 at its lower end 192, in a conventional manner. Yoke 190 includes a pair of upstanding mounting members 194, and a roller 196 is located between mounting members 194. A roller shaft 198 extends through an axial passage defined by roller 196, and is engaged with bearings 200, each of which is mounted within an opening defined by one of mounting members 194. This general construction of yoke 190, roller 196, roller shaft 198 and bearings 200 is in accordance with known technology.

[0058] Resistance unit 118 includes the components of lower controller 142 on one side of yoke 190, and the components of AC alternator 140 on the opposite side of yoke 190. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the components incorporated in lower controller 146 are supported via a mounting bracket 202 which is adapted to be secured to mounting member 194. Mounting bracket 202 includes a plate section 204 having a central opening 206 through which one end of roller shaft 198 extends. Further, mounting bracket 202 includes a series of mounting arms 208 extending outwardly from the outer edge of plate section 204. A fan member 210 is located outwardly of plate section 204 of mounting bracket 202. Fan member 210 includes a central hub 212, which defines a passage within which the end of roller shaft 198 is received. The end of roller shaft 198 is threaded, and extends through a washer 214 for engagement with a nut 216, to maintain fan member 210 in engagement with the end of roller shaft 198. The inner end of hub 212 extends through central opening 206 in mounting bracket plate section 204, and bears against the bearing 200 for maintaining fan member 210 in axial position relative to roller shaft 198. Fan member 210 further includes an outer ring 218 having a series of vanes 220 on its inner surface, and spokes 222 that extend outwardly from hub 212. Each spoke 222 is configured such that its outer end forms a vane between a pair of vanes 220 located on opposite sides of the spoke 222. Hub 212, ring 218 and spokes 222 function to define an open interior of fan member 210.

[0059] A heat sink member 226 is secured to mounting bracket 202 outwardly of fan member 210, and a circuit board 228 is mounted to heat sink member 226. These components are contained within an internal cavity defined by an outer cover 230.

[0060] On the opposite side of yoke 190, resistance unit 118 includes a stator support member 232 fixed to yoke mounting member 194, which includes a central stator mounting section 234. A stator 236 is engaged with stator mounting section 234 of stator support member 232, for stationarily supporting stator 236 outwardly of stator support member 232. Stator 236 includes a series of radially spaced outwardly extending members 238, about which stator wire coils are formed in accordance with conventional stator construction. Stator 236 is received within the interior of a flywheel or rotor 240 having embedded magnets, which is in the form of a drum having an annular side wall 242 and an outer wall 244 which cooperate to define an internal cavity within which rotor 236 is received. Side wall 242 defines a central opening 246, and a rotor hub member 248 is engaged with rotor 240. Rotor hub member 248 includes an outer plate 250 that is secured to rotor side wall 244. A hub section 252 extends inwardly from plate 250 through opening 246 in rotor member side wall 244. Hub section 252 defines an internal passage within which the end of roller shaft 198 is received, such that rotor 240 and roller shaft 198 rotate together. A rotor cover 254 is engaged with rotor side wall 244 over plate 250 of rotor hub member 248.

[0061]FIG. 9 illustrates the assembled components of resistance unit 218 as shown in FIGS. 6-8. Roller 198 is located between yoke mounting members 194. Rotor 240 is located outwardly of one of yoke mounting members 194, and outer cover 230, which contains lower controller circuit board 228, is located outwardly of the opposite yoke mounting member 194. A cable 256 is secured to yoke 190, and extends between and interconnects stator 236 and circuit board 228 for carrying power from alternator 140 to circuit board 228 and for connecting alternator 140 to a resistive load in a manner to be explained.

[0062] Cover 230 defines an internal cavity within which heat sink member 226 and circuit board 228 are received. The internal cavity of cover 230 is defined by an end wall 260 and a side wall 262 terminating in an inner edge 264. Cover 230 is secured to mounting arms 208 of mounting bracket 202 via fasteners 266 that extend through openings in cover side wall 262 and into engagement with threaded receivers associated with heat sink member 226 and mounting arms 208. Cover 230 is configured such that, when cover 230 is engaged with mounting arms 208, inner edge 264 of side wall 262 is spaced outwardly from plate section 204 of mounting bracket 202, to define an open area therebetween within which fan member 210 is located. In this manner, an outwardly open space is defined between plate section 204 of mounting bracket 202 and inner edge 264 of cover side wall 262. Fan member 210 is located adjacent the outer surface of plate section 204, and is configured such that ring 218 is approximately flush with cover inner edge 264. Fan member vanes 220 are exposed in the space between mounting bracket plate section 204 and cover side wall edge 264. With this construction, rotation of fan member 210, caused by rotation of roller 196, functions to move air outwardly from the interior of cover 230 through the space between mounting bracket plate section 204 and edge 264 of cover side wall 262. Cover 230 includes air inlet openings formed in cover end wall 260, through which air is drawn into the interior of cover 230 upon rotation of fan member 210.

[0063] Cover 230 includes a receptacle 266, which is adapted to receive a jack connected to the end of cadence sensor cable 134, to provide cadence inputs to lower controller circuit board 228.

[0064]FIG. 10 shows the opposite side of resistance unit 118, including generally the same features as are shown and described with respect to FIG. 9. In addition, FIG. 10 illustrates a connector or receptacle 268 that is exposed through an opening in cover side wall 262 for providing engagement of cable 126 with resistance unit 118.

[0065]FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate the assembled lower controller components, as shown in FIG. 7, with cover 230 removed. Heat sink member 226 is secured to mounting arms 206 of mounting bracket 202 via fasteners, such as screws 270, each of which extends through an opening located toward the outer end of selected ones of mounting arms 208 and into engagement with a threaded receiver associated with heat sink member 226. Fasteners 266, which secure cover 230 in place, extend through the openings in the mounting arms 208 which do not have a fastener 270, to provide the dual function of securing cover 230 in place and engaging heat sink member 226 with mounting arms 208.

[0066] Lower control circuit board 228 is mounted to heat sink member 226. A series of spacers 272 are located between the outer surface of heat sink member 226 and circuit board 228, and fasteners such as screws 274 extend through openings in circuit board 228 and through the passages of spacers 272, into engagement with threaded receiver passages formed in heat sink member 226, to rigidly mount circuit board 228 to heat sink member 226.

[0067] The resistive load 156, which is selectively placed into the circuit including AC alternator 140 to vary resistance to rotation of roller 196, is in the form of a series of resistors, such as shown in FIG. 11 at 156 a, which are mounted to heat sink member 226. Each resistor, such as 156 a, functions to generate heat when connected in the circuit including AC alternator 140, which is transferred to and absorbed by heat sink member 226 for dissipation to the surrounding atmosphere.

[0068]FIG. 13 is an end elevation view that illustrates the construction of heat sink member 226 with circuit board 228 removed. Heat sink member 226 is preferably formed of a material that readily conducts and dissipates heat, e.g. aluminum, although it is understood that any other satisfactory material may be employed. Heat sink member 226 may be cast or may be formed in an extrusion process, although again it is understood that any other type of satisfactory forming method may be employed.

[0069] Heat sink member 226 includes outer mounting areas 278 to which the resistors that make up resistive load 156 are mounted. Such resistors are shown in FIG. 13 at 156 a, 156 b, 156 c and 156 d, which are secured to resistor mounting areas 278 of heat sink member 226. Heat dissipating sections 280 are located between resistor mounting areas 278, and are capable of receiving resistors or functioning simply as areas to which heat is transferred for dissipation. A series of fins 282 extend inwardly from resistor mounting areas 278 and dissipating sections 280. Fins 282 are spaced apart from each other, and are designed to maximize the exposed interior surface area of heat sink member 226. A series of radially spaced apart mounting sections 284 are located about the periphery of heat sink member 226, and are utilized to mount heat sink member 226 and to connect cover 230, as described previously.

[0070] In operation, rotation of fan member 210 caused by rotation of roller 196 is operable to move air in an inward-to-outward direction from the interior of cover 230. Such operation of fan member 210 functions to draw air into the inlet openings in cover 230, and continued operation of fan member 210 circulates such intake air about circuit board 228 and into the space between circuit board 228 and the outer surface of heat sink member 226. Such air is then moved past fins 282, which function to transfer heat from fins 282 to the air as it is drawn past fins 282. The warmed air is then discharged through the space between cover edge 264 and plate section 204 of mounting bracket 202, and fresh intake air continues to be drawn in to the interior of cover 230 for continuously cooling circuit board 228 and dissipating heat from heat sink member 226 to the surrounding atmosphere.

[0071]FIG. 14 is a cross sectional view showing the assembled components of resistance unit 118.

[0072]FIG. 15 shows the construction of cable 126 that extends between resistance unit 118 and console 122. Cable 126 is a conventional cable capable of transferring power as well as electronic signals. Cable 126 includes a console connector 288 that is engageable with one of console receptacles 172, and a connector 290 at its opposite end that is engageable with resistance unit receptacle 268, for establishing communication between circuit board 226 and the control circuitry incorporated in console 122. In a similar manner, FIG. 16 illustrates cable 130 that extends between personal computer 128 and console 122. Cable 130 includes a connector 292 at one end that is engageable with a mating port on PC 128, and a connector 294 at the opposite end adapted to engage the other one of console receptacles 172 for establishing communication between personal computer 128 and the control circuitry incorporated in console 172.

[0073]FIG. 17 is a block diagram of the components incorporated in resistance unit 118, which are mounted to circuit board 228 and which comprise lower controller 142. Alternator 140 generates three phase AC electrical power, which is supplied to a three phase rectifier 298, which corresponds to power conversion component 144 shown in FIG. 2, to output DC power to a DC filter 300, from which power is supplied to a DC/DC converter 302, which corresponds to DC power conditioning component 146 in FIG. 2. Converter 302 is interconnected via cable 126 with console 122, which supplies regulated 5 volt power to console 122. Power from DC filter 300 is supplied to PWM control 304, which corresponds to pulse width modulator component 148 of FIG. 2. PWM control 304 receives output signals from console 122 through cable 126 and a V/I converter 306. PWM control 304, which includes power switches 154 (FIG. 2), in turn is connected to resistive load 156, which in turn is connected in a circuit that includes AC alternator 140. With this construction, AC power generated by alternator 140 is used to power lower controller 142 and console 122. PWM control 304 functions to adjust the duty cycle for interconnection of resistive load 156 with AC alternator 140, to adjust or vary the resistance that AC alternator 140 applies to rotation of rotor 240, and to thereby adjust the resistance that is transferred to rear wheel 106 of bicycle 102 through engagement with roller 196.

[0074]FIG. 18 is a schematic diagram illustrating the components comprising the block diagram of FIG. 17 and which are mounted to circuit board 228. Power from AC alternator 140 is input to connector CN-1, and is supplied to three phase rectifier circuit 298, for converting input AC power to output DC power, which is supplied from rectifier circuit 298 to DC filter circuit 300. DC/DC converter circuit 302 is interconnected with console 122, through connector CN-3, for supplying regulated 5 volt power to console 122. In addition, the power output from DC filter circuit 300 is supplied to PWM control circuit 304. An input from cadence sensor 132 is provided through cable 134 through connector CN-7, which is interconnected with cadence input jack 266, for providing a cadence input signal to console 122 through connector CN-3.

[0075] Capacitor C1 functions as DC filter 300, and DC/DC converter 302 generally consists of controller U1 in combination with transformer T1. Switching controller U1 may be a UC3843 controller, which is a fixed frequency current mode PWM controller. Transformer T1 is a flyback-type transformer that provides output power to console 122. DC/DC converter 302 generally comprises the various components as shown which are interconnected with controller U1 and transformer T1, for supplying regulated power to console 122 through connector CN-3.

[0076] The resistive load 156 is interconnected at connector CN-2, and is switched in and out of the circuit of AC alternator 140 via MOSFET switches connected to connectors CN-5 and CN-6 via operation of controller U3, which may be a TL494 switch mode PWM control circuit. Controller U3 is a fixed frequency PWM control circuit for switch mode power supply control, and is responsive to signals received from console 122 through V/I converter circuit 306 to control the duty cycle for connection of resistive load 156.

[0077]FIG. 19 is an overall schematic diagram showing the various components incorporated in the controller forming a part of console 122, including the power supply from lower controller 142 and inputs from cable connectors 288 and 294 for providing respective wheel speed and pedal cadence inputs and inputs from personal computer 128. A low pass RC active filter and a voltage interface circuit are interposed between connector 288 and the controller. Heart rate inputs are provided through a voltage interface circuit and a constant voltage source and control. The controller further controls operation of an LCD module, which is powered through a voltage interface circuit and a DC coupled low pass RC active filter and a DC-DC converter. A buzzer circuit is interconnected with the controller, as is a crystal timer circuit and an EPROM circuit.

[0078]FIG. 20 shows the power supply control circuit incorporated in the controller circuit of FIG. 19, for controlling the supply of power to console 122 from either AC generator 140 or from rechargeable batteries contained within console 122. FIG. 21 illustrates the CPU and the interconnected processor boards incorporated in the controller of FIG. 19, including connections for the various board sections incorporated in the controller, and are self explanatory. FIG. 22 is a circuit diagram for the CPU controller, including connections to the key pad as well as the various LCD control connections. FIG. 23 is a representative circuit that shows the analog to digital conversion circuit for controlling the supply of power to the CPU from either internal batteries or from power generated by AC alternator 140. FIG. 24 shows a circuit for powering the LCD display of console 122, and for controlling contrast and backlight of the LCD display. FIG. 25 is a circuit diagram showing a battery turn-on circuit and a battery charging regulator circuit for powering and charging the batteries contained within console 122. FIG. 26 is a circuit diagram showing connection of cable 126 to console 122. FIG. 27 shows a power regulator circuit which regulates voltage in console 122 for contrast. FIG. 28 is a circuit diagram showing a voltage monitoring circuit for ascertaining the supply of power from AC alternator 140 and to switch from alternator power to battery power in the event power from AC alternator 140 falls below a certain threshold. The circuit of FIG. 28 also functions to provide a reset signal if voltage drops below a certain threshold. FIG. 28 shows a DC coupled low pass RC active filter incorporated in the controller. FIG. 30 is a circuit diagram showing a buzzer control circuit incorporated in the controller. FIG. 31 shows a circuit for filtering and supplying input speed and cadence signals from the speed and cadence sensors for supply to the controller. FIG. 32 shows a circuit for enabling and providing inputs from a heart rate monitor to the controller. FIG. 33 shows a computer interface circuit for interconnecting personal computer 128 to the controller, and FIG. 34 illustrates a memory circuit incorporated in the controller.

[0079]FIG. 35 generally illustrates a flow chart for software incorporated into exercise system 100, typically in console 122. As can be appreciated, a variety of exercise programs can be employed, including fitness tests and various standard or custom courses. The custom courses may be programmed or downloaded from bicycle race course software which is commercially available, or may be in the form of a user's own pre-recorded ride, which can be saved and downloaded using software such as is available from Graber Products, Inc. or its predecessor, Tune Corporation, under the designation POWERTAP.

[0080] Computer 128 may be used for various functions in combination with exercise system 100. For example, computer 128 may be used to download various ride information into console 122, from standard computer software or from of download received from an off-site location, such as through the internet, from a software vendor or other person who has uploaded an individual ride from a remote location. Computer 128 may also be used to analyze ride or performance information, to share rides, etc.

[0081] Exercise system 100 can be used in either a stand-alone mode without computer 128, and or in a PC mode in which computer 128 is connected to console 122. In either mode, it is not necessary to supply power to resistance unit 118 or to console 122, since the various components are battery powered upon start-up and are thereafter powered by operation of resistance unit 118.

[0082] The construction of resistance unit 118 as an AC alternator provides very quick reaction in adjusting resistance levels, on the order of 3-5 milliseconds. This is in marked contrast to changes in resistance levels in an eddy current type brake resistance mechanism, which typically involve a 3-5 second lag time before resistance levels are changed in response to any input command from an operator. With the AC generator resistance system, resistance unit 118 can be used in combination with graphics which may be in the form of visual outputs appearing on the monitor screen of computer 128 or on an associated television or other type of display device. This provides a highly realistic ride simulation when exercise system 100 is used in the PC mode.

[0083] The ability to utilize exercise system 100 in a stand-alone mode, by using AC alternator 140 as both the resistance mechanism and the power supply, enables a user to take exercise system 100, without computer 128, to a race and to use exercise system 100 to warm up on site. The user can customize one or more warm-up routines and download them into console 122, for use in warming up prior to a race.

[0084] While the invention has been shown and described with respect to an exemplary embodiment, it is understood that numerous variations and alterations are possible and contemplated as being within the scope of the invention. For example, the various circuits are illustrative of various types of circuits which may be utilized to accomplish the desired function.

[0085] Various alternatives and embodiments are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter regarded as the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7442152Apr 14, 2005Oct 28, 2008Lewis Dale PetersonCyclist training system
US7585258Oct 31, 2007Sep 8, 2009Saris Cycling Group, Inc.Power sensing eddy current resistance unit for an exercise device
US7608015May 22, 2006Oct 27, 2009Radow Scott BExercise device and method for simulating physical activity
US7766798Sep 8, 2008Aug 3, 2010Hamilton Brian HBicycle trainer with variable resistance to pedaling
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US20100090475 *Sep 30, 2009Apr 15, 2010Wen-Bin TsaiExercise Device Capable Of Generating Electricity
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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/63, 482/61
International ClassificationA63B21/005, A63B69/16, A63B24/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/16, A63B21/0053, A63B24/00
European ClassificationA63B21/005C, A63B69/16, A63B24/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 9, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: GRABER PRODUCTS, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LASSANSKE, TODD W.;LEE, YING CHE;REEL/FRAME:013557/0192;SIGNING DATES FROM 20021123 TO 20021126