Wind generators use naturally occurring flows of air to spin a rotor that converts kinetic energy into electrical current, usually by way of an induction motor. While commercial-grade wind generators often require expensive, custom-engineered components, it is possible to create a small wind generator from ubiquitous materials common to any scrapyard. Such a generator will likely be insufficient to power your family's home, but they are nevertheless useful as a supplement to grid power, or as a technical proof of concept.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Scrapped dishwasher, washing machine or dryer
- Scrapped ceiling fan
- Small metal pole
- Large metal pole
- Sheet metal
- Copper wiring
- Metalworking connectors of your choice
Open up the scrapped dishwasher, washing machine or dryer. There should be screws or bolts that you can remove in order to disassemble the appliance, beginning with the exterior panelling. Alternatively, you can smash open the appliance, but this could damage desired components. Look for a small, dense metal cylinder with wires coming out of it connected to the moving parts of the appliance. This is an induction motor. Note how the motor is connected to both the moving apparatus and the electrical system, then remove it and set it aside.
Position your ceiling fan such that the small metal pole passes through its central hub. Secure the hub to the pole with your chosen metalworking connectors. Rotating the fan should rotate the pole without slippage. This allows the pole to serve as a drive train for your generator.
Connect the drive train to the induction motor in the same way that the moving apparatus from the appliance was connected. Secure it in place with your metalworking connectors. Affix the copper wiring to the motor in the same way it was wired while in the appliance. The generator will be high in the air, so be sure to attach a good length of wire -- at least as long as your long metal pole.
Using the sheet metal, construct a housing for the drive train-induction motor apparatus. Using your metalworking connectors, mount the entire apparatus on top of the large metal pole. Plant the pole in the ground at the desired location for your wind generator.
Connect the dangling copper wire to the power storage or distribution system of your choice.
Tips and warnings
- Consider keeping a variety of small metal poles on hand, as not every size pole will fit every induction motor.
- When selecting a location for your wind generator in Step 4, try to find a high place with robust, gusty winds. Also, make sure to note what direction the wind predominantly comes from and angle the generator so the wind spins the fan as easily as possible.
- In Step 1, make sure the appliance is unplugged and has been unplugged for at least a week before opening it in order to minimise the risk of a potentially dangerous shock.
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