How to Use a Car Alternator for a Wind Generator

Written by doug leenhouts
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How to Use a Car Alternator for a Wind Generator
Wind turbines can be built in your back yard with an automotive alternator. (wind power image by pdtnc from

An automotive alternator can be used to produce small amounts of electricity when it is used in conjunction with a windmill. As the blades of the windmill spin when they face a breeze, a driveshaft is also spun, which in turn spins the alternator pulley by means of a drive belt. The alternator then functions just like it does in an automobile, producing an electric current that can be stored in a battery for future consumption.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Alternator
  • Drive belt
  • Driveshaft
  • Aluminium mounting plate
  • Mounting bolts
  • Locking nuts
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Wiring kit
  • Battery

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  1. 1

    Assemble the windmill, using short blades with a small surface area to generate a high rotational speed. A car alternator will not produce any energy if the rotational speed is slow.

  2. 2

    Loop the drive belt over the windmill's rotor or driveshaft and the alternator pulley. Pull the alternator pulley so that the belt is snug around both fittings.

  3. 3

    Adjust the angle of the alternator so that the drive belt is not rubbing on the edge of the driveshaft or the alternator pulley. Mount the alternator to the aluminium mounting plate by drilling holes in the plate to match the alternator's mounting bolt pattern and threading bolts through. Secure them with locking nuts.

  4. 4

    Attach three insulated wires to the output posts of the alternator. Use red for the positive post, black for the negative and white for the ground post.

  5. 5

    Connect the black and red wires to the negative and positive terminals of the battery, respectively. Attach the white wire to a grounding post. Unlike using an AC or DC motor to generate electricity, automotive alternators have voltage regulators built into them so that the battery will not be supplied with more voltage than it is rated for.

Tips and warnings

  • Rewind the alternator's coils with thinner wire to give it more turns to increase its output.

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