Would it be possible to build a generator system that would keep itself running and produce excess electricity?

I'm wondering if it would be possible to have an electricity-producing system that would run on it's own power? I'm guessing that there would have to be multiple steps of energy conversion in order for it to work, such as using electricity to produce mechanical energy and converting it back to electrical, not just all electric. I'm also curious to know if anyone has actually attempted building a system like that before and if anyone has come close to making it work, or even got something like that to work.

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Erm... technically no.  The first law (of thermodynamics) says that you cannot magically summon energy into existence, nor make it disappear. The second law says that you cannot command the random thermal energy around you to stop being random.

However you really shouldn't let those two facts discourage you, because there's energy all around you, and a lot of it is even thermodynamically suitable for doing useful things, including work.

Moreover if the amount of energy you want is modest, and you also don't really care where the input energy comes from, or it comes from a source that's free, like sunlight, then you can achieve something that appears to be a boon, that appears to be something for nothing.  For example if you put up a solar panel, or a windmill, then you get energy whenever energy shows up.

However, pursuing a bona fide perpetual motion machine...  this is much like a man on a boat praying for rain, in an attempt to solve his  
not-enough-water problems, except that praying for rain might actually work on occasion!

Suppose there is a way for this man to obtain the water he wanted from the enormous body of water in which the boat is floating.  I mean a way to, reach this water, supposing the water was somehow out of reach.  I mean a way to, purify this water, supposing the water was too salty, or too dirty.

But then why does this man want water?  Presumably because he is thirsty.

Why do you want energy?  Because you've got literal work to do?  Maybe you want to sell energy to people, for money, or conversely you want to save money, by not buying energy from someone else?

If the goal is money-related, you might consider studying finance instead of physics, because it just so happens that it is possible to create money out of nothing.
BucketBasher (author)  Jack A Lopez6 years ago
I understand the laws of thermodynamics enough to know it's technically impossible. But, as a counter point, I understand in the past decades/century many people thought wrist watches with built in was purely science fiction and will never exist. And that of course, was fueled by people's knowledge of scientific laws at the time. Since then technology has improved and our races' knowledge of scientific principals and it's possibilities. Just within the last week I seen some NOVA show on PBS called Making Stuff Smaller. One of the things they were talking about was the development of "Nano Bees", basically programmable material(not mechanical) constructs. They could carry an anti caner tumor drug right to the infected cells itself and kill off the cancer without any negative side effect. This is proof that something that's considered scientifically impossible can and will eventually exist . Technology is limitless, what we can achieve is only limited by our imaginations.
If you're sincerely looking for a few good watts, you could do a lot worse than PESWiki.  They've got a good overview of the alternative (some might say "fringe") energy scene.

punkhead587 years ago
I have actually designed a power grid that I plan on building for my house. It consists of twenty car batteries, 10 in series, 10 parallel, wired together. They will be connected to a hefty DC/AC power inverter. Then, also hooked up to the battery bank will be a charging station. This station consists of two 24VDC truck alternators (wired in parallel) chained to fairly large 12VDC motors. The motors will be hooked up to solar cells/ solar batteries. I think that using solar power indirectly is much more practical than being completely reliant on it.

This project will cost me about $2000 USD and an additional 1200 every two years to replace the batteries after they run out of charging cycles.

However, considering that I pay about 1500 to 2000 dollars a year on electricity bills, I think that it's well worth it. Plus, if I buy an electric stove and furnace, I'll save about another $600 a year.
(And I'll be going green, but who cares about the Earth, anyway?)

Perhaps I will write an Instructable on it after I build it.

Even though it's been nearly two months, I just noticed a typo in this post. None of the batteries are wired in series, all twenty are wired in parallel. And the alternators are 12VDC car alternators, not 24VDC truck alternators. I don't know what I was thinking when I typed that, I must have been tired at the time. Well, it appears as though all of that rambling was in vain, considering that none of these posts will never be read.
From the looks of it, it appears as though I am the only one who fully understood your question. You simply asked if there was a way to build a self-sufficient energy source that had multiple steps of energy conversion. (Such as my design above.) However, the others must have thought that you were asking if you could build a machine that would make energy, and used that as an excuse to express their knowledge of thermodynamics.

We all learned the laws of physics in grade school; being condescending doesn't help anybody. If you can't contribute to the question being asked, don't even bother replying.
mosherj87 years ago
All you need to do is make a machine that can travel faster then light. This will cause the machine to travel back in time. Your past self can harvest energy from it some how lets say via an extra battery pack... and repeat.
lemonie7 years ago

But people have for a very long time and still (like yourself) thought of these "energy from nowhere" systems.
Getting something to just keep moving is a job in it's self.
A lot of machines on this page, good reading and pictures:

Thank you for that outstanding link!
It's quite a nice collection, I haven't bookmarked it, but maybe I will.

Re-design7 years ago
Not in this universe.

Every system known to man or beast takes more power to generate less power.  There are no over producers.  Except in some wacko theories.

Every conversion is less than 100% efficient and loose some power in the transformation.

But some day some one will stumble on a new form that will rewrite the laws of physics.
Please see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overunity#Use_of_the_term_.22impossible.22_and_perpetual_motion, as well as the more technical article on Noether's Theorem, relating conserved quantities with continuous symmetries.  Energy conservation is a mathematical (proof-based, not empirical) consequence of the time-invariance of physical laws (what we did yesterday applies today).
mathematical (proof-based, not empirical)

....well yes, but, in the spirit of sheer bloody-mindedness.
Yes, of course.  Not every true (or false) proposition is provable algorithmically (I just had this discussion over on the Science Forums).  Nevertheless, provable theorems, such as Noether's, Pythagoras', or Fermat's, do not suddenly lose either their truth-value nor their provenness as a result of Godel's refutation of Hilbert's program.
I think that's something YECs (Young Earth creationists) and others need to understand too. That, and their failure to understand entrophy
P.S.  Please don't call them "theories."  That devalues the word.
Sorry as well.  It's all too easy to forget that tone of voice and expression don't carry in printed text.  I had meant that somewhat ironically, and not about you.
dawp7 years ago
Nikola Tesla thought he had the answer; there was a device called the "Tesla Switch". Try googling the Bodini (or perhaps Badini) Energy machine for a variation on this.

Two powerful magnets approaching each other can exert a strong, unfortunately static, attraction. Imagination can come up with all sorts of things like magnets rotating into non magnetic zones, weights that flip over, etc. etc. The closest thing to perpetual motion is the rotation of planets around the sun. That's only perpetual because we won't be around to see it end.

I once ran my standby DC to AC inverter to power a battery charger to charge the batteries running the DC to AC inverter. Alas; the battery eventually ran down.

Kiteman7 years ago


He's serious?

blkhawk7 years ago
There is a name for the idea is called a perpetuum mobile or perpetual motion machine. It has been proposed by different people using different contraptions throughout time.

onrust7 years ago
If it was known, it would be exploited.
kelseymh7 years ago