Author Topic: DIY wind power  (Read 5791 times)

Offline DIM TIM

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DIY wind power
« on: January 08, 2009, 08:49:01 AM »
I have been thinking of trying to make a small homemade wind generator for a while now, and have been doing a few Google searches lately to see what I could find on simple to build designs. I recently came across this gentleman's YouTube videos, and they are some of the most simple instructional videos that I have found.  :)
They do not give a great amount of detail, but there is enough for you to get and understand the basics. He even gives you an Email address, so I am sure if you have any other questions, he would probably be able to answer most, if not all that someone might have.
The design for the blades, was what impressed me the most. Anyone with even a basic understanding of hand and power tools could do this. Kudos to him for sure.   8)
Here are the links to his videos, and the link to the web site that he mentions for some of the parts that he used to construct these wonderful little devices.
I hope to be able to get all the parts needed to build one, and maybe have one up and running before the end of this year. I would love to be able to power up my small shop the same way that he was able to do his. I have no real power to mine at this moment.
The way I do mine right now, is to plug a 50' heavy duty extention cord into an outdoor GFCI outlet at the back of my house, run it over to the shop, and into a six outlet power strip for distribution.   ::)
Not very practicle, but it works for the moment.   ;D

One of these little beauties and a small battery bank and inverter like he used would be perfect for my little shop.

Hope this helps some of you as much as it has me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHB4zxWd3Ls

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0YxYDnmaO0&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s75-lCKKK8g&feature=related

And here is the site he mentions for some of the parts he used to make this wind generator.

http://www.windbluepower.com/Default.asp?Redirected=Y

Offline Dan

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 01:52:16 PM »
+1 Great post. Some good info for a DIY project and what do you know I just happen to have a couple of those alternators laying around.  ;D

tash

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 07:14:59 AM »
That is some great info! I'd love to make one for sure.

Some questions I ended up with were:
1. how does he mount the alternator in the front of the 6" cap while keeping it weather-proof (if anything really can be)
2. he stated that he also replaced the shaft with the magnets. I don't see a replacement on the website, just the rectifier and stators. I guess maybe he purchased the entire assembly, either the 'low wind' or 'high wind'.
3. what happens if you have a really bad wind storm. Is there any way to safely stop the blade so you can strap it down and not cause damage to your parts? I guess if you were brave you could grab the tail and point the tail towards the wind and causing the blades to slow down because the wind is now pushing on the convex side, not the concave side, maybe slow enough for you to grab it with some gloves on. Hell, an even better idea is to have it on one of those poles the hold in half. It has a pivot point in the middle, kinda like a very large teter-totter. I can not for the life of me find an image of what I was talking about. It would make it easy to service and very easy for one person to erect a large mast.

Offline Dan

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2009, 10:46:50 AM »
1. how does he mount the alternator in the front of the 6" cap while keeping it weather-proof (if anything really can be)

I think he mentioned using silicone on the screws that holds the cap to the front of the alternator but didn’t say anything about the shaft. I don’t think you could do much with the shaft since anything you do to seal it is likely to reduce the efficiency of the finished product. Alternators are pretty tuff so if you drill a small hole in the bottom of the cap for anything that makes it inside around the shaft to seep out through you will probably be fine.

3. what happens if you have a really bad wind storm. Is there any way to safely stop the blade so you can strap it down and not cause damage to your parts? I guess if you were brave you could grab the tail and point the tail towards the wind and causing the blades to slow down because the wind is now pushing on the convex side, not the concave side, maybe slow enough for you to grab it with some gloves on. Hell, an even better idea is to have it on one of those poles the hold in half. It has a pivot point in the middle, kinda like a very large teter-totter. I can not for the life of me find an image of what I was talking about. It would make it easy to service and very easy for one person to erect a large mast.

Turning it around would work to stop it just need to be careful you don’t get wacked by a blade when you do it. Gloves, you probably wouldn’t need them if you wait for it to stop before grabbing it. If you wanted to get a little creative something like a bicycle brake could be attached to the rotating assembly and be used to stop it. You may even figure out a way to lock it sort of like a parking brake in a car. I like that idea for a pole that pivots in the middle so you can access the unit without having to clime way up on a ladder. I have a couple ideas brewing that could work for this as well.

My big questions are
1. What are they doing to keep the wires from twisting as the unit goes around a few times with the changing wind direction? Are there contacts someplace like in a cars steering column?
2. What is the idea behind changing the guts of the alternator? It’s doing the same job it’s just being driven by a different force so what gives?


Offline DIM TIM

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009, 11:26:43 PM »
Good cuestions for sure there guys, Click on his Email link and ask, I'm sure he has thought of these. But then again, maybe he didn't, and he should be made aware of the flaws in the slaw.  ;D
As far as the mast thing goes, I had planned on making the mast either a hinged mast where the hinge part is at ground level like some ham radio folks do, or a telescopic one like is mentioned by Tash on page two here on the DIY boards. Either would work fine for this application.
The hinged one can be a large commercial gate hinge welded to the mast, and bolted to the base ( a reinforced sonotube full of concrete ), or if you have the ability and the shop to do it, a custom machined hinge set.  8)
Which one you choose is up to you.
If you plan to make this a permenant install, then I would go with the hinged, and the telescopic one for mobility in the case of a G.O.O.D.  when TSHTF need for electrical power.

Offline Dan

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2009, 12:35:38 AM »
I found an answer to my second question by poking around on the WindBlue site, the reason for swapping out all those parts is that (A) you no longer have brushes to maintain and (B) the system using magnets is supposed to be more efficient than using a electromagnetic field coil. Knowing that, it makes more sense to spend the money if you plan to use one of these long term. However if you plan to experiment with it just for fun you probably wouldn't need to do this not right away at least.

tash

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2009, 08:06:22 AM »
Something else that seemed to make sense to me for replacing the parts is that a standard alternator produces the juice at much higher rpm's than I believe a windmill would ever reach. I guess their design allows for it to produce the juice at low rpm's.

So that makes sense I suppose. it would almost seem practical to buy their alternator unit for ~230 bucks and be done with it. Finding an old shell, ripping the old parts out, ordering new parts and replacing them once they arrived. Plus, if there is any problem it might be as easier to get the website to work with you since you bought a complete unit.

Also, one of my thoughts for one of the other questions was... if you build an L shaped adapter and added it to the mast where it intersected the tail of the windmill would make sure that it doesn't spin 360+ degree. It could only spin one way to the other. I guess it makes sense in my head lol.

Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2009, 06:49:50 AM »
Awesome project!!!

The PVC pipe blades are brilliant!

« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 06:51:29 AM by Tactical Badger »

Offline Dan

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2009, 11:44:56 AM »
I believe you are correct on the rpm required to generate power with an unmodified alternator. I hadn't considered that yet.

While your bracket would keep it from going all the way around and twisting the wires that is also potentially a problem as you want the unit to be able to freely follow the changing wind direction. If the direction changes several degrees past the point at which your stop is engaged you will lose efficiency because it would no longer be pointed directly in to the wind but off at an angle and pinned against the stop. This is the reason I like the vertical axis wind generators but unfortunately they are not as efficient in steady winds.

Offline craftsman

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Re: DIY wind power
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2009, 11:01:43 AM »
Another good source for DIY wind devices are:

www.velacreations.com

also try www.instructionables.com and search for wind generators. I've got some of htese projects on my ever growing list.