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AC Wind Turbine project

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Kiko ninau:
EE types or EE hobbyists will be interested in the Jan 2010 issue of Nuts And Volts magazine (www.nutsvolts.com).

Sixth in their series of "Experiments with Alternative Energy" articles, they present an 3-phase AC alternator constructed out of a commonly available roof ventilator (the Whirlybird model from a national diy chain). This is a brilliantly simple approach, given the ventilator's relatively low price, immediate availability, and most importantly, its efficient bearings.

The series of experiments is archived at http://www.learnonline.com/experimenter%20kit.htm.

Additionally, http://www.learnonline.com/parallax%20experimenter%20kit.htm hosts lesson plans and experiments for alternate energy.

I dabble in EE and while these are certainly not "alternative energy for dummies," I would highly recommend the articles to anybody interested in home energy production. Great conceptual introductions and relatively inexpensive ways to learn the basics.

AtADeadRun:
Oooh... that looks like fun.  And 3-phase rectifiers are more efficient than single-phase ones.  And you could pretty easily keep the fact that you have a wind turbine on your roof on the down-low (for those with HOAs that look poorly on people putting weird stuff on their houses) though that kinda depends on how they've got it set up.  Can't find the online version of the article; might have to go pick up the paper mag, since I do, in fact, have one of those HOAs, which has limited my alternative energy to some small, poorly placed solar cells.

Kiko ninau:
Oops. I forgot to mention that the experiment site has posted the archived pdfs about a month after the original articles are off the stands. This is a neat project and worth playing with. I've occasionally mused about what we could power with those ventilators.

You're in northern Virginia, right? That place is HOA central! That would be funny to have some generators put in right under the old biddies' noses.

Stein:
What wattage are they talking?  My fan doesn't look like it can scoop much wind.

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