The integral piece of a wind turbine is the wind turbine motor, also known as the generator. This is the piece that is turned by the windmill blades to generate power. Although building a motor piece by piece is beyond the scope of most home energy projects, by recycling objects with similar functions, you can create a motor that can power your wind turbine. Different guides suggest using used DC (direct current) motors, a treadmill motor or a washing machine motor, among other possibilities. The key is to find a DC motor and convert it for use on the turbine.
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Things you need
- DC motor
- Motor housing
- Motor protection
- Motor mount
- Wire cutters
Purchase your chosen motor or remove it from the appliance from which it will be taken. Remove any extra pieces that are specific to the appliance from which the motor came.
If the motor you have chosen puts out more volts than you can work with, rewire the motor. Determine how many volts the generator can produce and unlink some of coils in the engine. For example, since most green power systems run on 12 or 24 volts, a motor that produces 1 volt per electrical coil and has 15 coils will need to have three of the coils unlinked from the system.
Create guards and mounts for the motor. Depending on the size of the system, this may be a single system built out of wood or sheet metal or a guard made out of some protective material, such as hard plastic, and a mount made out of another piece, such as a square metal tube.
Prepare the motor for mounting blades. This can be accomplished by detaching a hub on the end of the motor if it is attached or by creating your own system out of a saw blade, a hub found at the hardware store or any other circular attachment. The hub must connect to both the motor and the blades.
Measure an electrical wire that is long enough to reach the ground from the location of the mount. Connect that wire extending from the motor to the wire that will run down the length of the windmill.
Tips and warnings
- Sizing the motor is key. A small wind turbine that is appropriate for most home installations should produce at least 260 volts at 5 amps.
- Many DC motors can be found online at auction sites or other online sales sites. Buying a pre-made DC motor saves the trouble of rewiring.
- Consider the site for your turbine before building a motor for it. Motor specifications depend on how much wind you will receive.
- Check how many rotations per minute (rpms) are needed to produce power from a specific motor before choosing it. If you are installing in a medium wind area or using a small turbine, you will need a motor that produces power at lower rpms.
- The process of rewiring a DC motor is sometimes portrayed as relatively easy. This is a very challenging process; if you do this, you should be familiar with electrical work or become familiar with this process.
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