How to Make Your Own Wind Turbine

Arminius
By Arminius May 7, 2018 00:04

How to Make Your Own Wind Turbine

A home-made wind turbine is a great addition to anyone’s home. It’s a simple build that also gives you electricity. Of course, the one we will build today won’t generate as much as a big wind turbine, but I’m sure that it will inspire many to build their own with their very own twist on the project.

Let’s start with the things I’ll be using:

  • A drill
  • 3 PVC T pieces
  • 4 PVC corner pieces
  • Some straight PVC piping (I used water piping.)
  • A Phillips screwdriver
  • A soldering gun
  • A heat gun
  • Electrical tape

First, I grabbed the PVC piping, the corners, and the T pipes and made this little base for my wind turbine. I used a PVC cutter to cut the pieces, but you can also use a saw or anything else that can cut in a straight line.

Related: How to Make Your Own Rocket Stoves (Tin Can & Long Burner Rocket Stoves)

Next, I grabbed the trigger of the drill and freed up the motor by heating up the solder that held the wiring in place.

When the wire was free, I grabbed a piece of toilet piping that was able to fit with my water pipes that I was using already.

Then I grabbed a sheet of plastic and a metal sheet and cut them into different shapes. This will be the fin of the wind turbine that will make it always face toward the wind.

First, I wrapped the metal sheet around the shorter end of the toilet pipe, making sure the thicker end of the metal sheet was facing backward.

I drilled a hole into both straps and connected them with a bolt. I then put both the metal sheet and the plastic sheet into place and drilled two holes through them at the same level. I used a bolt and a nut to connect the two.

I grabbed one of the leftover pieces of PVC piping and cut it lengthwise into three equal pieces.

I drew this shape onto them and cut them all out.

After that, I ground them down into a smoother design and drilled a hole at the bottom of each one.

When I took apart the drill, I found a little piece of gear in the motor that fit perfectly onto the spinning part of the motor. (As you can see, I’m not an expert on this subject.)

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I prepared two plastic jar lids so that one of them could fit into the other. I put them together and prepared the gear piece. Then I put the gear piece onto a metal sheet and heated it up with a heat gun. While it was still hot, I pushed the plastic lids through it, pushing the cog’s shape into it so it could be turned by the motor.

I didn’t push it all the way through of course, just until the top part of the gear piece was through, the actual part that resembled a gear.

I connected the gear piece to the motor and put the plastic lids on top.

I then drilled three holes into the plastic jar lid and secured the wind turbine’s blades onto the jar lids. I painted the propeller with gray spray paint.

And I did the same with the toilet pipe.

I grabbed some wiring and connected it together with the motor’s wires since they weren’t long enough. I twisted together the wiring and covered it with electrical tape.

The motor was smaller than the toilet piping, so I needed some way to make it fit tightly. The best way to do that was to cover it with electrical tape until it was a tight fit.

I pushed it in tightly and went to the next step. The tighter, the better since it needs to be able to survive all weather conditions.

I needed some way to rotate the wind turbine 180 degrees. The easiest thing was to take the tip of the drill, the part that spins.

I screwed a screw into the bottom of the drill tip so it wouldn’t spin unnecessarily. If yours doesn’t fit tight enough, you can grind the screw head down.

The drill tip was a little bit too big for the toilet piping, so I ground it down.

I made a hole in the side of the toilet pipe, where I led out the wiring.

I did the same at the top and bottom of the PVC piping. I wanted as much of the wire to be inside as I could get.

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After this, all I did was add two screws to stop the wind turbine from rotating too much and ruining the wiring. One went into the toilet pipe horizontally, and one went into the PVC pipe vertically.

All I needed to do now was try it out, so I connected it to the small light bulb, grabbed my fan, and started it up. 

If you connect this to a battery, you will get a small amount of electricity. Of course, this can be improved in many ways that could make it even better. For now, a strong wind and a long time spent outside will give you some energy.

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Arminius
By Arminius May 7, 2018 00:04
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30 Comments

  1. Hoosier Homesteader May 7, 12:03

    I’m bookmarking this idea and putting it on my LONG ToDo list. And, if I’m still on God’s good humor, I’ll get a good sized unit built to supplement my solar.
    Interesting.

    Reply to this comment
  2. left coast chuck May 7, 14:51

    Why not use a fan blade from an automobile or truck and a generator from a car? You can buy those parts from a junk yard. That was you will generate 12 volts and I would suppose more amperage.

    I would buy the biggest fan I could get, perhaps from a F-350 or larger.

    Reply to this comment
    • Pissed Off Patriot May 7, 17:39

      Great Question.
      I was wondering the Same thing. I don’t live in a Very Windy area – but want to Screw the Electric Company Any Way Possible.

      Reply to this comment
    • Old Bull May 8, 13:13

      Left Coast Chuck, In the 1960’s my dad took me to visit a friend of his that worked as an aeronautical designer for the Lockheed Skunk-works. He was building blades with fiberglass cloth, electrical tubing, and resin. He had many set up on his property. He was using a car generator. The blades were about 8 feet in diameter.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Mike May 7, 15:53

    The holes in the motor case are for ventilation cooling. Blocking them with tape will cause heat buildup and premature magnet failure.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis May 11, 18:37

      You’re right about the purpose of the holes, but I don’t think the rotation speed and loads the motor will experience in this role come anywhere near what it would be put through in a drill. Overheating probably isn’t going to be a major issue.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Bill May 7, 16:03

    This is a neat little project, but really more for the skills you can gain and what you can learn from it, than actually getting any real long term usable power.

    Generally speaking, drill motors are not 100% duty cycle, meaning they’re designed to run for short periods of time and then rest for long periods of time.

    Also, PVC is not really made to be UV resistant and in time, it will get brittle and break, and of course that will be when you’re getting good wind to recharge batteries or whatever.

    If you do any outdoor projects with PVC, make sure it is FURNITURE GRADE PVC as that’s rated to hold up to direct sunlight.

    Back in 1996 or 97, I put a 48vdc 3,000 watt Whisper wind generator on a hill about 500 feet from the farm house. The tower was 84 feet. I had 24 6v batteries that were 415 AH and a Trace SW5548 power panel, and a T240 I believe it was called for a step up transformer to run my well pump which was 240vac.

    This system lowered my electric bill by an average of $50 a month.

    For me, it was a waste of around $20,000 and wind is some thing I would never do again.

    It did keep the lights on when the power went out though, but I also had a 33kw diesel generator and 3,500 gallons of fuel. That was in case I needed real power to get through a winter to run electric heat, electric water heater, and dryer.

    How I wish I had done it now, would be to install the SW554 power panel, and have the grid keep it in a float state, but it could switch over to the batteries if the power goes out, and when the batteries are low, the invertor would start up the diesel automatically, and run the home and charge the batteries, and FORGET the wind genny altogether. Then in the future, add solar as time went on.

    Now, I’m doing things VERY differently since I moved from Wisconsin to Louisiana. I learned my lessons, and like they say, lessons cost money and good ones cost LOTS.

    Reply to this comment
    • Andy May 7, 16:50

      Bill,

      You learned the expensive way that wind just isn’t a viable resource for a lot of people. You live where a flag stands straight out much of the time, you might have a wind source. But most people confuse a breeze with the ability to generate power. For most, solar is a much better return on investment.

      Reply to this comment
    • Hoosier Homesteader May 8, 11:38

      Thank you, Bill, for presenting your first hand experience. It puts a different light on this project, and more to think about before starting on this project.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bill May 8, 20:29

        Hi Hoosier Homesteader,

        Yes. I have learned a lot about making your own power, and made A LOT of mistakes that I would not want anyone else to make.

        I started learning about wind power back in 1991 at, of all places, the South Pole in Antarctica. I spent 367 long cold days at the pole babysitting scientists, and let me tell you, that is really a survival situation every day, because NO ONE is ever coming to your rescue starting in Feb until around Oct. Even in perfect weather it’s a week or so to get to you.

        The USA has many very tiny sub stations that took various readings of weather and what not, and they were all powered by a several wind generators.

        My mistake was thinking that I could bring what I learned there, back home to Wisconsin, but the winds at the bottom of the planet are FAR greater and happening almost every second of the day. We used to joke and say the prevailing winds are ALWAYS in your face, and it sure seemed to be the truth because no matter which way you walked, it seemed like wind was blowing HARD right into your hood and down your coat, and it was COLD.

        Anyway, back to wind generators, and making your own.

        Like I said before, this is a fun project to be used as a learning curve and maybe placed on a kids “FORT” with a small battery and some LED lights, and maybe spark their interest and get them thinking about renewable power, but in reality, most places do not get near the wind that is needed to power more than a dim LED, but every place has sun and USABLE amounts of it almost daily…………..unless you’re at the South Pole and it is winter. Then you have COMPLETE DARKNESS for half a year, and when I say COMPLETE darkness, I mean it’s like being in a basement closet at midnight with the nearest light 20 miles away….that kind of dark for half a year.

        If you’re going to winter over, I see now why they send you to Bethesda Navy hospital for a 3 FULL day of a complete psychological exam, because I will say after a few months of not seeing a HINT of daylight, it does wear on you.

        Another reason or some thing to think about if you plan on building your own wind genny, is most of these types of motors and even generators, all have simple bronze bushings, and not heavy duty roller bearings.

        Adding the weight of a fan blade to the end of a shaft, without roller bearings is just setting yourself up for a failure pretty quickly.

        Most purpose built gen heads for wind power, have 2 or 3 bearings on BOTH the front and rear of the generator head to support and ensure long term running without placing heavy strain on just one roller bearing.

        The other thing is, you will have wind blowing AGAINST the prop and that force is transferred to the generator/motor shaft and wanting to PUSH the shaft out the back side of the housing. Don’t hold my feet to the fire here, but if I recall correctly, I remember reading that my Whisper 3000 would have around 1,100 pounds of force pushing against the blades in high winds. This has more to do with explaining tower construction needs, than gen head construction, because they already took care of the bearing design when they built the gen head.

        Bushings and roller bearings are NOT designed to take that lateral pushing force. They are designed to take downward force or to support the weight of a shaft that is spinning HORIZONTALLY, but not PUSHING on that horizontal shaft in either the forward or rearward direction.

        For that, you need one set on each end of the gen head, to be TAPERED roller bearings. These types of bearings can handle both downward and pushing force against them.

        The same as you have on your vehicle. When you turn your vehicle, one side wants to pull the axle out of the wheel assembly, and the other side wants to push the axle into the wheel assembly. Turn the vehicle in the other direction and the force changes for each wheel. So to address this, they designed tapered roller bearings.

        I have seen so many people take motors and turn them on end to run a blow system or whatever, but they needed the shaft to be pointing up or down and they think they can just do that and it will be fine, but the weight of that shaft is trying to fall out the bottom and if you don’t have the correct type of bearings to support that type of force, you will ruin that motor in short order.

        I have also seen many people take vehicle alternators and generators and build wind turbines, but just take a step back and ask yourself, when an alternator is mounted to an engine in your vehicle, are the forces applied to it, the same forces it will experience if I take it an repurpose it and make a wind generator and the answer is NO NO NO.

        An alternator is designed for a force that a fan belt will provide and that is a downward force, but in a wind generator set up, it will get a downward force from the weight of a prop AND the lateral or pushing force from the wind, and that it is not designed to take because it has roller bearings and not tapered roller bearings.

        Wind is a very powerful thing, but it’s so sporadic in most cases, that it really can not be relied on for serious survival needs….in “MY” opinion. We either have way too much as in tornado’s or too little as in dead calm.

        Since we’re in the tornado season, to give you an idea of how powerful an EF-5 is with a 300 mph wind, that wind puts out a force of 404 pounds per square foot or 2.8 psi over pressure. Now take that figure and apply it to the side of your home with a wall that’s 30 feet long and 8 feet tall, and you now have a force of 96,960 pounds or over 48 TONS of force pushing on your home, and you can see why they are no match for a real wind.

        This is also why I learned to build Monolithic domes, because they’re engineered to withstand 2,000 pounds of force per square foot or 5 TIMES the force of an EF-5 tornado. Plus the full force of the wind can never be realized against a curved surface. For my family, I felt that a REAL survival shelter had to be a concrete monolithic dome with a few feet of earth on it to protect against storms and in the VERY unlikely event of radiation or fallout. I doubt either will happen, but I’m not willing to risk my families lives on that bet.

        I could go on and on when it comes to this sort of thing, but you get the idea.

        Reply to this comment
  5. Dupin May 7, 16:18

    I’d be curious to see what the output voltage and amperage coming out of the fan at 10 and 20mph winds to see how useful this is at such a small size. An automotive alternator would provide better power, I’m sure, with a scaled-up fan. One of the electric motor/generators from a hybrid vehicle would probably work even better, though not sure what the cost would be versus the alternator. The base would need to be beefier, probably with iron pipe instead of a PVC stand. Just some thoughts.

    Reply to this comment
    • Bill May 7, 16:51

      An alternator would be better, but then you would have to excite it before it would start charging. Now you have some power running to it all the time or have some way to send power to it when it senses any spinning from the wind.

      A generator is great, but if the wind it not blowing, it now sucks power from the batteries and becomes an electric motor and not a generator. This means you’ll need diodes to keep it from sucking power from your batteries.

      Plus, both of these will require REAL wind to produce anything, and that means waaaay above the tree line, and if it’s a generator at 12vdc, the cable you will need to run to cover these long distances will be massive.

      If you could get a military alternator off of ebay from say a HUMMER, that’s 24vdc and you can run smaller cable because it’s higher voltage, but keep in mind, those are usually putting out around 60 to 100 amps and as high as 200 amps on the ambulances, so you’ll still need pretty heavy cable, but you’re getting 1,500 to 2,500 to as high as 5,000 watts of power and they’re sealed up very well since it’s military.

      Most wind gens are 3 phase DC with permanent magnet alternators, so they do not need the rotor to be excited with some outside source of power, and then the power gets rectified through a diode trio. They use 3 phase power to get the max power out of every single spin the genny makes. There is no time where you have a small dead spot where power is not being produced, unlike single phase. It is the most efficient way to make and use power.

      The other thing is most vehicle alternators are not really set up to be completely exposed to the weather. The rotor and stator are not dripped as well, to completely seal them off from rain and water.

      Reply to this comment
    • Bill May 7, 17:15

      Hi Andy,

      You have that right. Wind is a very poor source of real power UNLESS you get up to at least 250 feet or more…..A LOT more.

      If you hit 300 feet up, then you can start to make some real usable long term power, but then you’re not going to put a tiny 3kw gen head on there either. You’ll put a 50kw head on there and pretty soon the cost makes the whole thing pointless for the average person.

      Plus once you start going up that high, the FAA has regs on that I believe and it’s much more involved than what it’s worth.

      It would be cheaper and more functional to just get a 100kw nickel iron battery bank, 10kw solar set up, 20kw invertor, 55kw diesel, and 10,000 gallons of fuel and call it good.

      Call me lazy, but I’d rather take a knee and service a diesel engine, than climb a 300 foot tower to service a wind generator.

      Reply to this comment
  6. left coast chuck May 7, 17:21

    Bill: Thanks for the posts from someone who has been there and done that. You certainly answered some questions I had about wind power.

    How feasible do you think hydropower is for small scale electrical power?

    I know back in the 60s there was some talk about using tidal flow to generate electrical power but to the best of my knowledge, nothing came of it. Japan uses large scale hydropower to generate a major portion of their electricity but they have lots of mountain streams to draw from.

    It has always seemed to me that if one were located by a stream that had sufficient flow one could build a race and use a waterwheel to generate sufficient electricity to run a home, but as I indicated in earlier posts my knowledge of electricity is fairly limited. I know if you stick a paper clip in a wall socket and get a shock that means the socket is hot.

    Reply to this comment
    • Bill May 7, 18:27

      Hi Chuck,

      Hydro has always been my dream to do. It’s so much easier to produce non stop constant power at a pretty cheap price tag as well, not to mention super easy to maintain and repair.

      Back in Wisconsin we had a nice creek running through our farm, that was maybe 2 foot deep, and around 10 to 15 feet across with a few very nice drop offs.

      I started checking into hydro power back in the early 80’s and VERY quickly found out that the DNR will NEVER allow you to touch water ways without a ton of money being spent on every type of feasibility study, impact study, and any other study they can dream up, just to tell you NO at the end.

      Trout streams are considered flowing gold to the state and they want them to produce good fishing, not power. Fishing equals money to the state spent on licenses and revenue.

      What they were concerned about was changing the water temp and impacting the trout. I’m not sure how much warmer the creek would be with me tapping off a few hundred gallons a minute considering the flow it had.

      It did make me start to read about this type of impact and I read that in Yellowstone, they were having a large amount of fish dying off in streams, and after a long study, they found it was due to the lack of wolves in the parks and surrounding areas.

      The study said that since there were no wolves, the deer and elk population climbed very high, and they were eating all the grass along the banks of the creeks, and trampling down the stream edges, and causing the streams to get wider and shallower, thus causing more surface area for the sun to shine on and heat up the water and kill the fish.

      Who’da thunk it.

      Then I started thinking about winters and shutting it down, and just how much time I would actually get out of it, and once again, it was really some thing where the juice just wasn’t worth the squeeze.

      So before you get too carried away with hydro, check with the DNR, because I’m sure they will have some thing to say about it.

      If they do give you the go ahead, then a 48vdc gen head is the way to go. The higher the voltage, the lower the amps and the smaller the wire needed for long runs. Personally I would NEVER do anything that was less than 48vdc, because of the size of wire needed and the loss of power over longer runs.

      My wind genny was almost 500 feet from the farm house, and I needed 3 conductor wire that was 2 awg. I believe it was. The empty wire spool was later used as a shooting bench, so that gives you an idea how big things get when you’re talking power and long runs.

      Really, for “ME” it’s solar with diesel back up. Solar is easy to add to when you have extra cash, you don’t need to beg for permission, and you won’t impact the sun and use it all up.

      Again, this is me, get a small diesel that runs at 1,800 RPM, NOT 3,600 RPM, around 300 gallons of PRI-D treated fuel, small GOOD nickel iron battery bank that you can expand on as time goes by, and a true sine wave inverter that’s at least 5kw, then add solar as time and money allow.

      Here’s a good diesel.

      http://www.centralmainediesel.com/order/Slow-Turning-Kohler-5kW-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=yanmar_4kw

      The battery bank and invertor will give you power and the grid will keep it float charged, and when the grid goes down, the inverter will start the gen set and recharge it and then shut off all automatically.

      Then you can add in solar and start reducing the need for the diesel gen set.

      The nickel iron batteries will last forever. They’re rated for 11,000 cycles at 80% DOD. That over 30 years of draining the batteries 80% EVERYDAY.

      I went through 2 battery banks of lead acid and NEVER again will I buy lead acid. It’s just a waste of MORE money. Each bank was 24 batteries that were 6vdc and 415 amp.

      I will be getting my new battery bank next month from China, the ONLY place that makes nickel iron batteries any more, and those are 1.2vdc @ 1,200 amps. So each battery is 1.44kwh and I bought 320 of them. A whole 40 foot shipping container full, and each battery weights 168 pounds. This will give me a total of 460kwh and at 80% DOD that is 370kwh of usable power everyday for over 30 years.

      Here’s where I bought my batteries.

      http://www.ciyibattery.com/index/products/id/238

      I have 3 homes on my property and I’m building my new home starting this year and I hope to be in it by Christmas 2019, and this system will run everything the way I want it, along with 35kw of solar and a 150kw JD diesel, and 20,000 gallons of treated stored fuel.

      Reply to this comment
  7. safeathome May 7, 18:17

    So in principal, any electric motor can be used as a generator? Don’t know much about this

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 7, 18:33

      But as Bill pointed out, some motors are designed for continuous use and others are designed for intermittent use, so while a battery powered drill motor might be used to generate a small amount of electricity, you would be better off with an industrial motor designed for continuous use such as a motor from a printing press or a motor designed to run continuously pumping water.

      Or go right to the source and get an old style car generator from a junk yard, designed for continuous use, especially if it comes from a diesel truck and it generates electricity based on its design. Why experiment with oblong wheels when round wheels work so well?

      If you are going to use a windmill, why not hook it to a generator designed for continuous use that will generate some usable amount of electricity?

      Reply to this comment
    • Infidel May 8, 02:40

      Not every motor is a generator. Most any DC motor, will produce electricity. But, AC motors are a not going to produce power. A true generator, produces DC. The generator, that you buy for your home, is actually a misnomer, and is an alternator.
      An alternator is actually producing AC. Usually in 3 phase. The one in your car, produces AC, that is run through a bridge rectifier, to create DC, that is useable for automotive applications.
      Tesla figured out, that AC can be run over long distances, with minimal current loss. Edison, scumbag that he was, was promoting DC. However, the current losses for DC are terrible when you are running it for any distance. Under his plan, we would have to have a power plant, about every 2 miles.
      So, you can see why AC is the way to fly, if you are covering any distance. Plus a you can increase of decrease the voltage, by running it through a transformer. For DC, you have to convert it to AC, run it through a transformer, then rectify it back to DC.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Gunner May 7, 18:27

    Another way to do this is to use an old car alternator for the generator. Depending on how far you need to run your wires, as DC current suffers from loss over distance more than AC current, if you need to go a long distance wih your wires, greater than 100 feet, you can remove the rectifier from the alternator, making it an ac generator, and wire in the rectifier before your battery to convert it back to DC.

    Reply to this comment
    • Bill May 7, 18:55

      Gunner,

      If it was “ME” and I decided to build one of these small wind generators, I would not use a drill motor or anything from a vehicles charging system.

      The drill motor is not 100% duty cycle, and generators and alternators will not produce power unless they’re in some SERIOUS wind.

      So with all that being said, and I still wanted to build one of these small set ups, I would get a hold of a windshield wiper motor.

      It’s 100% duty cycle and built to last.

      Most are rated around 150 watts or so which is more than that drill motor, but not so big that you need giant blades and 100 feet off the ground for it to do anything.

      You will still need to put in a diode to stop the flow of electricity back into the motor from your battery bank when it is not turning.

      Also, do not mount anything to your home, because if it does turn and produce power, it might create a vibration or hum that will drive you crazy in your home.

      Reply to this comment
  9. left coast chuck May 7, 20:42

    Bill: When I was considering a water wheel generating electricity, I was contemplating that the DNR would be long gone along with most other bureaucratic functionaries. Personally, I don’t see how a mill race and a waterwheel can raise the temperature of a flowing creek any measurable degree but then I am not an hydrologist.

    Unless we are talking about deep winter states, I think in most of the U.S. a mill race would remain ice free all winter. I grew up in southeastern PA. We had a creek about a quarter mile form our house. Although the memory is from 60 plus years ago, I never remember the creek freezing over, even though in some places it was only about 8 inches deep. There might be ice along the bank where the water was quite still and out of the current but never more than patches of ice here and there.

    I agree with your statement about the DNR, especially here in the PDRK where it would be easier to get a license to shoot the governor than it would be to get a permit to install a water wheel. I can remember all the trouble a quarry operator got in for blasting a rock that had “historical significance.” It was supposed to have historic native american significance although I am sure there is not a native american alive who can factually state what that historic significance was. It was, “My grandfather told me that his grandfather told him that the ancients said that . . .” kind of historic nonsense. Every time I read about some new “save the earth legislation” I say a prayer, “Thank you Lord for making the pterodactyls extinct.” I can’t imagine the kind of preserve we would have to have if they hadn’t died out.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Wannabe May 7, 23:59

    I want to build one but to pump water. Would be a great article posted soon after the water conservation article last week. Wasn’t there one a few months back? I. Not sure

    Reply to this comment
  11. PB- dave May 8, 01:58

    Neat article for two reasons, 1). shows the possibilities of making project parts from common(and sometimes unlikely) materials, and 2). this stand-alone generator is a learning opportunity for a school kid or an old codger to foster further uses and improvement.

    Reply to this comment
    • Pam May 9, 23:12

      I have enjoyed reading this thread so much. A big thanks to Arminius for sharing his project and to Bill and others who have imparted their wisdom.

      Here is something I have thought on a long time. I’ve wondered why you can’t put small wind turbines on a car. Use a hybrid engine, like a Prius engine, but instead of regenerating the battery with a gas engine, recharge it with wind power as the car is driven.
      .

      I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has thought of this, so there must be a reason why this isn’t done. Can anyone enlighten me? Thanks so much.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bill May 10, 06:37

        This is a fair question when you’re learning about producing power and vehicles in general.

        Without getting too deep into the physics and things like gravity, friction, moving INTO the wind as opposed to wind blowing against the generator so you now have the towers resistance as well as the vehicle and blades, and not being 100% efficient, we’ll start with energy can neither be created nor destroyed, the energy the turbine is creating is coming from somewhere, namely the electric motor moving the car.

        Those motors are not that small, and usually well over 75 to 80 horse power at least and run on MUCH higher voltages than you see in a typical wind generator. Now one horse power is slightly under 750 watts, so that means we will need 56,000 to 60,000 watts to run this motor.

        Yes, once it’s moving it might be less, but now we’re getting into a lot of the deeper math, so let’s just keep it simple……in fact let’s drop the demand down to just 20,000 watts from 60,000 watts which is being waaaay too generous, but let’s just say that.

        I posted earlier that my 3,000 watt wind generator, when producing max power, has around 1,100 pounds of force pushing against it and all it is producing is 4 horse power, FOUR HORSE POWER for 1,100 pounds of force pushing against it. That prop is also 15 feet in diameter. A 15 foot prop is needed to produce 3,000 watts or 4 horse power.

        We won’t even factor in the wind resistance of the tower that would be needed to with stand that type of force, but just stick your arm out the window at 60mph and feel what that is like. Now think about trying to hold on to, not a 15 foot parachute, but just a 5 foot in diameter parachute at 60mph and you can get an idea of the forces we’re dealing with here, and the strength needed to secure a wind generator at normal driving speeds. I mean just look at how massively thick those giant wind turbine towers are that you see. They’re huge because the force against them is huge. Imagine wind resistance pushing those thick towers through the air at 60mph.

        We were generous and said the vehicle needs only 20,000 watts or 27 horse power to keep it moving down the road.

        Now if we have 1,100 pounds of force and a 15 foot prop to make 3,000 watts, how much more force will we have to over come and how much larger of a prop will we need to produce 27 horse power?

        Now if we try to make 27 HP, the forces just keep increasing and so does the prop size, even if it was a vertical turbine. Try going under a bridge and stop lights and a bank or McDonald’s drive thru. Yes, I still go to the bank and refuse to do banking online or buy anything online. I don’t even have a smart phone. I joke and say I’m waiting for the “GENIUS” phones to come out. haha

        Anyway, the forces increase many times more than what we get out of them.

        I used to be a certified auto mechanic, and it would surprise people to know that only a small fraction of the gasoline they burn, actually goes to moving the vehicle. Most of it gets wasted in the form of heat out the exhaust as well as the cooling system.

        If we could get 100% efficiency out of a gallon of gas, we’d get 200 MPG or more, as the best engines get maybe 15 to 25% efficiency. This crappy efficiency is still better than what you can get out of an electric vehicle when you start factoring in other things when it comes to range, producing power to recharge the batteries and the down time to do so.

        It would also surprise people to know that the most efficient engines are actually racing engines. The reason being they want the car moving and not stopping for fuel too often. You might ask why don’t we have engines like that in all vehicles, well then a car would cost $200,000. So it’s a trade off between MPG and cost. The cost is not worth the little extra MPG, but it matters on a race track where big money is involved.

        I’m getting a little off track here, but something else I see people do, is they buy “HIGH OCTANE” fuel or gas. That’s that number 86 to maybe 92 on pumps at the gas station.

        Most people really don’t know what octane even means, and most think it means it’s some sort of magical higher powered gasoline for racing that will give you more power…….and you’d dead wrong.

        Octane put in its simplest terms, is the resistance to burn. Meaning the higher the octane, the harder it is for that fuel to burn or be ignited.

        Yeah, I know, it sounds backwards, but generally speaking, the power comes from engine modifications that have it make more power. Things like high compression pistons compress the air fuel mixture much higher than normal, so when it’s ignited, the power it creates is MUCH greater.

        When you compress air, it gets HOT, and if you have gasoline in that air, it can ignite all by itself and that’s called detonation. Meaning the air fuel mixture ignited BEFORE the spark plug ignited it at the right time. Now you have two flame fronts that are burning inside the cylinder and when they come together or collide, you hear a knock or ping in your engine.

        To stop this, they run higher octane fuel so it is harder for the fuel to ignite by itself. The thing is, if you do not have a higher performance engine, much of that fuel goes unburned and out the exhaust. Now you still need a certain amount of gasoline to run the engine and power it, so the engine compensates and pumps MORE fuel into the cylinders to get the needed power to run the vehicle. That means you’re losing MPG.

        You should run the cheapest fuel you can, where your engine does not ping or knock when running it under a HARD load like stomping on it from a dead stop or passing another vehicle.

        I hope this helps answer your question and gives you a little more to think about when it comes to power and vehicles. If not, feel free to ask where I need to do a better job explaining things.

        Well, I want to go watch these three Americans coming home from NOKO.

        Reply to this comment
  12. IvyMike May 8, 02:22

    In 1980 I spent a few months as caretaker for a beach house owned by a crazy English woman on Cay Aguilar, one of the barrier islands off Belize. This before Belize was popular, in ten miles of beach there was a family that did nothing but fish and drink rum and 2 other gringos taking care of houses. The houses of bamboo and thatch, no power, no water or sewer, just reef, jungle, and skeeters. The gringo who’d been there the longest had made a wind ginny out of a truck generator and with the constant onshore wind it worked fine on a four foot platform beside the house. He ran a small dorm type fridge, some lights, and a fan. He spearfished the reef, had a twenty foot hand dug well, and a small garden just inside the treeline of the jungle. I guess the SHTF for him one day and he bugged out ahead of everybody else. That ginny was nothing to build and made life a lot better for him, sometimes you just do stuff and it doesn’t have to be even a little bit technical to work

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  13. Bill May 8, 02:28

    Hi Chuck,

    Oh okay, now I see your logic with the hydro plant, and yes I agree with you, they’re well worth the effort to put one in. The thing is, building it, is not the hard part, finding the right location is the hard part.

    What I was going to do with my creek was similar to what you’re talking about.

    I’ll do my best to try and explain what I was wanting to do, so please bear with me.

    I was thinking that I could take concrete cinder blocks, fill them with concrete and rebar and make them into sort of building blocks that would interconnect and I could build sections in my pole barn and use the 4wd tractor and end loader to place them in the creek.

    I thought if I started with a single row of block that was held together with concrete and rebar bent in a “U” shape, and then some stainless steel milk line pipe that was concreted into the block as well, I could drive down into the creek bed a few feet or so.

    Then build another row of cinder block, but this time build them TWO high and place them on the UP stream side of the first single row of cinder block.

    So basically I would be building a tapered damn, but doing so slowly so down stream would never be starving for water.

    The last 2 rows would have say 3 or 4 blocks removed in the middle, so it created an opening at the top in the middle that was 3 to 4 feet wide and close to 1.5 feet high and would create a funnel effect that was the same width as my paddle wheel.

    Now I have some head pressure and velocity that would spin my paddle wheel backwards from what you would normal see in a water wheel type mill.

    Then the water would hit the cinder blocks and start flowing down stream and not hit the base of my damn and start eroding the stream bed and cause a failure pretty quickly. I even thought that I would lay a single layer for maybe 3 or 4 blocks just to make sure the falling water would never be able to erode the stream bed at the base of my mini damn.

    I also thought that I would add rocks on those blocks as well to force the water to start flowing around and spread out again and slow down before flowing back onto the creek bed so large amounts of water were not hitting in the same spot all the time or as little as possible.

    The top opening would be equal to the flow of the creek but focused all towards my hydro wheel. I’m sure some would over flow, but who cares as it would hit the blocks and rocks and break up and go down stream.

    This is the “JUST” of what I was thinking, and there’s more as far as the bank goes and where the blocks meet there, and how I had planned the wheel set up part, but all that is too hard to explain here, but it is simple really.

    I also agree with you about increasing the water temp to a point that would hurt the fish. I sure don’t see it, but what do I know. I mean IF I was removing half the flow of the creek and diverting it to my hydro plant and working the water to where it increased in temp and then dumped it back into the creek down stream, then maybe yes, I could see it, but here it’s just flowing faster in one location and with more force, and then back onto it’s normal path.

    Even up stream for miles and miles, raising the water level to some degree would not hurt a thing because the whole creek sat down around 10 or 12 feet, kind of like the Colorado river does in the grand canyon. Where there are crossings, for cattle and tractors, they would fill with water some, but still nothing more than a good rain would do and raise the creek level.

    I fished that whole creek, and walked it for miles and miles in both directions and raising the level anywhere from a foot to a foot and a half to focus the water to flow onto my water wheel, wouldn’t make that big of a difference anywhere up or down stream.

    Then again if they let me do it, then someone else would want to do it and more and more and bigger and bigger damns and who knows what would happen at that point.

    Like you said though, come bad times, it would be VERY nice to have a plan and all the supplies to put that plan into action because you’d probably be the only one doing it.

    I also made great trout holes all along that creek. At almost every turn where there was a small hole, I would hang pigeons that I shot in the silos and hay barn and stripped them of all their feathers and put them in chicken wire cages and hung them from trees, just above the water line and slightly up stream.

    The flies would be buzzing all around those dead birds, and the trout would be jumping for them all the time, and soon the maggots would be falling in the water and boy, the BIG trout would swim up stream to find that food source and park in those holes.

    I would go out and and NEVER come back without my limit of trout that were all 16 inches or more. I never kept anything smaller.

    I did not like to kill the pigeons, but they would crap on the silage and hay bails and the cows would not eat that feed, so it went for bedding and then into the barn cleaner gutter and into the spreader and back out onto the fields and all a complete waste, so the birds had to go, but were put to good use in doing so.

    Now I live in Louisiana and while I don’t have a creek, I do have 80 acres with a beautiful and clean 10 acre pond and it has all the fish I could ever want. It’s old and well established with old growth cypress trees in it, and bass that are 6 and 7 pounds or more and cat fish that are even bigger, as well as a crap ton of bluegill.

    It doesn’t provide me power, but I own and control it and I can do what I want with it, and it will help feed my family and friends if and when bad times come.

    I’m going to have LSU come out this summer or fall and actually do a complete study of how many fish are in it, and the total condition of the pond and make any suggestions on how to make it better. I won’t get carried away, because after who knows how many years its been there, mother nature has it pretty well worked out, but I’m always open to learning and info and see if some thing is happening that will become an issue in the future.

    I moved here because I just felt that if bad times come, and I believe they will, it will be VERY hard to keep my family warm in the winter as well as provide or them when there’s snow and it’s not removed. I grew up in an old HAUNTED farm house and that thing heated like a dang corn crib, and it was hard enough to keep it warm in good times, so I could not imagine keeping it remotely warm in a Wisconsin winter in bad times.

    I just want to stack the deck in my favor as much as possible when it comes to surviving bad times.

    I build monolithic domes and I built my family and friends a large monolithic dome shelter on the property and since it’s above ground and actually built UP a few feet, it’s well above any known flood plain by at least 15 feet and that even includes the “NEW” FEMA flood plain which says EVERYTHING is in a flood zone now and EVERYONE will have flood insurance.

    Then I covered the dome with a few feet of earth that I got from when I had the pool and lazy river built and there was A LOT of dirt.

    Like you said, you cringe when the gooberment starts talking about regulations and with the hurricanes and storms and flooding, they are in their glory with regs. By the grace of God, we are in a beautiful area and well above any low ground. I made sure of that when I was looking for land here.

    I have a few more things to do, but we’re sitting pretty good even now.

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    • F.R.N...005 May 16, 19:27

      Bill
      Try a shop fan with a 1/3 horsepower belt drive motor running backwards. The bearings are right but you’ve got to change the pullys. A one to one might do it. Just reversing them probably wouldn’t give enough speed to do any good.

      Reply to this comment
    • F.R.N...005 May 16, 20:29

      Bill,
      When I lived in western Washington, there was a small creek running across the back of my property. There was about a 6ft. drop from side to side. A 4″ sewer pipe submerged, with a rabbit wire screen, supplied enough water to opperate the generator at the downhill side.
      The key is “torque”. The wheel was 8′ wide by 4′ high.The industrial roller bearings were the most expensive item in the build. The old used generator ($30) supplied 2,000 watts year around. Kept the lights and fridg on during our many power outages during ice and snow storms (wood heat). I’m sure it could have handled a bigger generator but I was young and poor. You do what you can. Replaced the bearings in tho generator and it worked great.

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