Energy Options > Wind Power

Can someone build this for me? Where could I buy this?

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My new place has a field behind it. The wind always seems to be ripping through here. My neighbors' shop fan that sits outside is always turning (from the wind, not because it is on).
Here in Texas, a lot of people have "decorative (ie non-functioning)" windmills.
If I have a decorative windmill, lets say 10ft tall, does any company have a small generator that I could hook up/attach to the existing head?
If not, would anyone be willing to build one for me?
Input or info is appreciated.

Enough wind to drive a whirlygig is a lot different than enough wind to make electricity.
To give you some kind of idea- a modern car alternator needs something like 5 hp to produce it's power.
The human body on a bicycle can produce about .25 hp. You need a lot of wind to do that.
Sounds like you have a fair amount of wind but you really have to have something designed as a windmill.

If you are interested in harvesting wind energy, the first step is to find out how much wind is available.

You can buy a wind meter online that will tell you your local wind speed, and you can make a reasonable guess about how consistent the wind is by checking the speed several times over a period of a few weeks.

Or you can check out the wind maps on the internet for your area.

Your first wind turbine does not have to be the one that runs your whole house, farm,  & machine shop, while also recharging your electro-car. It just needs to produce enough energy to be worth the cost, time, & effort of building.

Start with a car alternator and charge one car battery, if you like. Then scale things up if it looks like the thing to do.

The big challenge will be to learn to DIY--mostly because the cost of custom work is always very high.

Look at the video on Youtube about making a vertical wind turbine from two 55-gallon barrels.

It's a good project, and the only place those guys went wrong was making fancy gears for the turbine when a fan belt would have done the job as well or better.

"Conventional" practice does not always apply. Don't assume you need a 30' tower to get good wind. "Enough" is what you need, rather than "the most there is".

Consider also that electricity is not the only possible output: don't ignore mechanical energy. That can pump water, run a washing machine directly, grind your grain, or run a saw. Do all sorts of things, actually.

Thanks for the reply. I know there is a large part of the year (half), when we hold windspeeds avg of 15-20 mph. Additionally, I'm figuring I'm going to get a decorative windmill anyways, so why not make use of it?
I am very interested in pumping water with the mechanical energy. I have been looking online for info on this (ok, I haven't been looking too hard). I would not be pulling water up from a well but rather would like to pump water from a small pond uphill about 6 ft so it will trickle back down an artificial creek bed.
Could you point me to a simple resource on how to do this? I am quite mechanically un-inclined.


--- Quote from: sprintermike on May 24, 2011, 07:54:47 PM ---....we hold windspeeds avg of 15-20 mph. Additionally, I'm figuring I'm going to get a decorative windmill anyways, so why not make use of it?
I am very interested in pumping water with the mechanical energy.....I ....would like to pump water from a small pond uphill about 6 ft so it will trickle back down an artificial creek bed.

--- End quote ---

Hey, sprintermike!  15-20mph winds are almost as good as it gets, and for such a light pumping operation the job should be pretty simple. Not knowing how many gpm you want, I'll just wing it from here.

Here's how I would do it:

I would go with a vertical axis windmill on a "people-plus" tall tower, and just run a shaft from the turbine to a water pump submerged in the pond. I'd run a piece of garden hose "uphill" to the creekbed, and (presto!) all done!

The easiest tower I can think of would be a 10'-15' metal pipe driven four feet or deeper into the floor of the pond. A piece of old wellpipe would be ideal--something 1" or so in diameter and nice and heavy.

Before you drive it in, though, attach the "bearing unit" to the upper end. That would be a junk electric motor with two shafts sticking out on opposite sides. It doesn't have to work, only to turn freely.

Have someone weld the motor body solidly to the pipe,  flush with the upper end. That would leave one shaft sticking up above the end of the pipe. The motor shafts should be aligned with the length of the pipe.

Note: The welds should be plenty strong enough to allow you to hammer the pipe into the ground. Just be careful not to bang on the motor body itself, lest you mess up the bearings. If the welds are strong enough for pile driving, they are strong enough to hold your turbine.

Once that's in place, you have tower & turbine head all done.

On to the pump:

Buy a ProPlumber Drill Pump from Lowe's ($7.00)

It's rated for 200 gph, and has garden hose connections at each end.

(You may not get the same rpms as an electric drill, but whatever you get will be more than nothing.)

Run a drive shaft from the lower shaft of the motor down below water level to the pump. Attach the drive shaft (which could be 3/4" EMT conduit, for example) at each end with a short length of radiator hose secured by hose clamps.

Then secure the body of the drill pump to the lower part of the tower (in alignment) by
whatever method looks convenient. Might be radiator hose clamps, might be JB Weld and a shelf bracket. Or some combo of all.

Now for the actual turbine:

Mount four large lightweight stainless-steel mixing bowls (the largest available from flea markets or yard sales) on the ends of two 6-foot pieces of 1" EMT (metal conduit) using 2 U-bolts (like muffler clamps) on each pan.

Cut a 12" diameter circle of 5/8"plywood, and drill the center with a "shaft-sized" hole. (The size hole that fits the top motor shaft.)

U-bolt the two pipes to it at 90 degrees to each other. Put one pipe on each side of the disk, and use 2 clamps per pipe.  Run the pipes exactly alongside the hole in the plywood.

Drill each pipe horizontally at the center hole for a U-bolt, and use two U-bolts to secure the pipes (and disc) to the top motor shaft.

Put a third U-bolt on the end of the shaft to prevent losing the turbine if the other two u-bolts ever work loose.

Voila! yer done.

The wind will turn the pans, the motor shaft will turn the drive shaft, the pump will get turned, and water will flow out of the pond and to your decorative creekbed.

If it turns out you need more rpm, you can always modify the design by adding a pair of pulleys and a fan belt to step up the pump speed.

Bearing in mind this is a quick&dirty design that mostly serves as a starting point, I think it might be well worth building.

There's no telling how long the pump will last, but at least immersed in water it will not overheat, and it'll probably be turning at a half to a third of design speed. So it should last a good while.

There are many variations possible with this design but, as I say, it's a starting point.


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