We built a 1000 watt wind turbine to help charge the battery bank that powers our offgrid home. It's a permanent magnet alternator, generating 3 phase ac, rectified to dc, and fed to a charge controller. The magnets spin with the wind, the coils are fixed, so no brushes or slip rings necessary.

Update: DIY Amp Hour meter for monitoring charge!

All about homebrew wind and offgrid power systems, the complete reference!
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Build the magnet disks

We had 12" steel disks hydro cut. We cut a template for mounting the magnets. Then we mounted 12 grade n50 magnets around the outside edge. We then built a form, and poured the resin with hardner.

Step 2: Build the coil disk

We wound the nine individual coils, soldered them in a 3 phase wye configuration, and encased them in resin. We used 35 turns of 2 parallel strands of 14 gauge enameled (magnet) wire for 12 volts. Use 70 turns of single strand for 24 volts. # 3 phase diagram shown here shows 3 stator coils. each of those coils is actually 3 coils in series. coils 1,4, and 7 are series together, 2,5, and 8 are series together, and 3,6, and 9 are series together.

more details, see the following page 15 for the series star, 1-y diagram.


Step 3: Build the bearing assembly

Picture of Build the bearing assembly
Two Harley Davidson wheel bearings are inserted into the pipe, with a smaller pipe locked between them to keep them in place.

Step 4: Construct the blades

The blades are 2" x 6" pine, cut at 10 degrees on a table saw, and sanded into a rough airfoil. Not perfect, but close enough.

More can be found at

Step 5: Further Reading

1-40 of 1502Next »
birddseedd8 months ago
Ya know. this kinda stuff sounds great, but, it really isnt all that piratical if you live on grid. average it out i spend 100 bucks or so a month. for me to buy a grid tie inverter or a battery bank/inverter/charge controller is going to cost me 3 grand. thats a 100 dollar a month loan, and i don't even have power yet. Even building my own solar panels will still cost me around 8 grand total. Thats over 150 dollar loan. I would be paying more money.

But how long would your loan last? and long will you the power company? No Brainer.... I would rather pay for own for 5 years instead a lifetime for power companies crap

You can get grid tie inverters on ebay for $100-$500. About $250 for a 3k watt which should cover a lot of your power.

sspence (author)  mykiscool3 months ago
They don't work with this wind turbine. Please limit your comments to the topic of the instructable.
mykiscool sspence3 months ago

If grid-tie inverters don't work with this wind turbine, please tell me why. I'm in the process of building this turbine and would like to connect it to my grid-tie inverter. How can I make this turbine compatible.

It does work with grid tie inverters. I don't know why he would think it wouldn't
sspence (author)  birddseedd3 months ago

No, it does not. Why do I think that? Maybe because I'm a wind and solar power designer, installer, and 30+ year electronics veteran. This unit must be used with a battery bank and a diversion load controller.

mykiscool sspence3 months ago

Oh, ok thanks. That clears it up. So it should still work if I connect this to a charge controller and then to batteries and then to an inverter as I'd planned. At first, I thought you meant it won't work at all.

sspence (author)  mykiscool3 months ago

There were a number of posts referring to the inexpensive PV mounted direct to grid inverters. Those will not work. A battery type grid tie inverter (Outback GTFX) will work.

If it works with a load controller, it will work in an inverter. A wind turbine still outputs 12v dc, which can be used by an inverter, or battery charger.

sspence (author)  birddseedd3 months ago

micro grid tie inverters don't typically run on 12vdc. still need a battery to keep wind turbine from self destructing, as micro grid tie inverters turn off when grid goes down, and wind turbine will freewheel without a load.

^^^ what he said

What doesnt work with it?

sspence (author)  birddseedd3 months ago

solar type Grid tie Inverters do not work with this wind turbine. This unit is designed to charge batteries for off grid applications. Some inverters can take battery power and sell back to grid, but not the units that were being discussed which are designed to connect a solar panel directly to line power.

The turbine is just the source, you can do whatever you want with the energy.

sspence (author)  birddseedd3 months ago

You might think that, but this source has particular parameters that need to be met to keep it from self destructing. You might want to take the word from the guy that built it :-)

In michigan i would have to have 10k watt. for a grid tie inverter i cant find one on ebay. if i wanted to go off grid, im still looking at 10 to 15k
sspence (author)  birddseedd8 months ago
So don't live on grid. I spent $20k on my power system (complete), and immediately saved the $30k the power company wanted to extend the lines to my property.
you must live waaaaay out in the boonies, must be nice.
The issue is i don't have to spend any money getting electric to my house. its already there, all i have to do is buy the electricity. so, 100 bucks a month on electricity, or 20 grand on my own power system.
sspence (author)  birddseedd8 months ago
So why are you even bothering to comment on this instructable. This is for offgridders and diy tech heads. I don't comment on knitting instructables and tell them how they should buy their clothes at walmart ......
because i am trying to find someone who can show me an affordable way of doing it. and on grid vs off grid is not really an issue. its going to cost about the same, if not more.
sspence (author)  birddseedd8 months ago
Good luck. It's not about saving money in most cases, it's about independence. being able to build beyond the grid.
I want to save money. just not sure if its worth the 5 year investment till im in my last home
sspence (author)  birddseedd8 months ago
This is for tinkerers. you have to be handy, and love to build stuff. you probably won't save money. it's a good back up for a solar power system to keep the batteries charged when the sun isn't shining.
If i had 10 of them. Although i don't have space for 10 of them. unless i line them up on my roof. hmm. how much did this cost to build?

roof? screw that put them on yr out side walls. less snow to cover them. plus is the fire department in yr town trained to handle the solar problems from a house fire. go put the m on yr walls instead.

sspence (author)  birddseedd8 months ago
It will cost about $1k to build. You can't put them on your roof. They need to be 30' higher than any obstruction within 300'.

well more u learn the better the choices. also think abjut wat u use in yr home as well. swap to led lighting 4 example can? save u another 20 bucks or so in power. dont go to CFL(s). theyill hurt u even more.

again its how much u can afford to pay up front. if u go biuld it it yr own self yes learning an mistakes aside uill be better off in the long run.

dflamm birddseedd8 months ago
Hi Birdseedd,

There's some points that many people are missing with the whole "alternative energy systems". You seem to understand averaging the cost, but one major over-site you made is the fact that in the US, there are many tax deductions, tax credits, or incentives available to people to buy the manufactured products. So that $30,k system you speak of is not really costing "$30,k".

But wait there's more....

Another benefit to installing many of these products is the fact that in "Real Estate" terms, anything "improvement" a property owner makes to his/her property adds to the value.

Anything product that is attached to a home or it's land, by law, becomes "real property". Meaning it becomes part of the assets value of that home. So if you install a $30,k system, take the tax deductions, plus the monthly utility savings, and then sell the property within a reasonable amount of time, you should get back much of your investment at the time of resale.

So now you helped the environment, had a reliable source of energy, and made your money back. Compared to paying the utility companies $1,200 a year, which, other than energy, you don't get anything in return. I don't know where you live, but many people live in areas where their power goes out if a Squirrel drops his nuts too close to a power-line. Making your own energy is a great way to have reliable power wether you are in the middle of BFE or the middle of your block in the Big City.

It's all about finding all the information before you choose a system. There's pro's and con's to each product out there, but I feel there's a way for everyone to get what they need.

Anyway, hope this helped and you don't take it as me attacking your thinking.

Have a wonderful day!
birddseedd dflamm3 months ago
I don't want more value on my house, that means more taxes....

even with tax incentives, my monthly payment for solar, would be twice that of my electric bill. its just not a good investment from a monetary stand point. i think i did lose electric for a couple days once. wife says we did.
birddseedd dflamm8 months ago
As far as the grid goes, here we use nuclear power. Relatively low emissions, and the by products are used for cancer treatment. So i'm not so worried about being "green" in Michigan. we are as green as you can get. They have also been building wind plants. although i think that is just because of government regulation which will eventually lead to higher costs. Although we should be prepared for running out of nuclear materials.

Its been mentioned my house value will go up. I do not see this as much of a benefit. My taxes will go up. So i won't be telling my local government of the improvements. Sure it would help if i sold the house, but not as much as renting the house out.

I am aware of rebates and tax credits (although i have no clue where to apply for them) but a tax credit doesn't really help me come up with 10 grand. I was also wanting to come up with a business doing installs for free, although, again, 10 grand is too long for a return on investment. If i am only making $100 a month, it will be an 8 year investment. The only way this could be made to work is if i go to a manufacturer and get a bulk discount. Would take a huge investment.

Would this be worth the investment for myself, sure, I can take it with me to the next house, but i run into the problem of not having a 10k check up front.

I do plan on doing it, its just a matter of waiting until I have money. for the moment ill start pumping cold water from the ground to cool my house. that should save me 100 bucks a month in the summer.
SA_TX birddseedd6 months ago

actually the byproduct of nuclear plants are used to produce cancer. Unless you are saying that nuclear waste and plutonium is used to cure the cancer it produced in the first place.

This is a comment borne of ignorance.

not really

birddseedd SA_TX5 months ago

"used to produce cancer" yes, EXACTLY. actually, that reminds me, i need to head down to the plant right now for my weekly dose of radiation, cant live life without my cancer.

sspence (author)  birddseedd5 months ago

Ask the folks in Japan .....

Let's get back to discussing how to build this wind turbine, shall we?

etkoehn SA_TX5 months ago

maybe the radiation to kill the cancer and the person. I don't know but that just sounds... well stupid

Good Day Birddseedd, If I may, let me give you some more information to mull over on the practicality of making your own power. Our power grid system is far more complicated then you may know. I worked at a Powerplant for 10yrs. I was an assistant unit operator and an operator on a 1335 Mega Watt power units. Basically at first I assisted a unit operator and then became an operator in starting, shutting down and running the power plant that produced the power that comes to our homes and businesses. You asked a simple question, why do I want to spend thousands of dollars to make power when all you pay is 100 a month average. Its already at the house, all I have to do is turn a switch and I have power. I guess the short answer is, it is not worth it. But part of what I read from what you wrote, you are not weighing everything in your decision. Now someone made a good point on how you can get your money back sooner from tax breaks and home valuations. Those are good points but you still feel the cost of time and money is greater then just paying you bill every month. And again the very short answer is you are correct. But what you are really saying is you do not want to put any effort in getting your power, or you want to see immediate results. But the reality is it takes effort and time to make back your original investment of making your own power. Time learning, time making money to spend on product, and time keeping it going. and on a $20K system cost, saving you $100 a month it will take 200 months to make back your investment. excluding tax incentives and home valuations.
Now having said all that we get to the meat of information I want to add to your decision making. Power Plants are destructive to our lives. This is a basic statement. There are several forms of power plants out there, Coal burning, Nuclear, CT's, Hydro, solar, wind, and a new one where they use mirrors that will track the sun and heat up salt to make molten salt. Each of these types of power plants has an impact to our planet. Some more then others. It may help you to find the nearest power plant in your area and go take a look. in order to get you your 100 a month electricity, we consume a portion of this earth. we pollute our air, water and ground on a daily basis 24/7 just so you can have power. Now building or buying a wind generator or a solar unit does also leave a footprint on this world. but that print is a lot smaller then larger power producers. Also you can build a unit with renewable resources such as wood, or reuseable items like motors from treadmills or making your own generator like the one demonstrated in this instructable. Now I believe I read where you said you will be moving in like 5 yrs from your current residence. So I would agree spending the time and money on a place you will not live long enough to benefit from your work, but if you plan on settling down one day, maybe you can revisit this.
Every year the cost to make power on these scales increase. Over that 200 months your cost will more then double to use the same power off the grid. I know where I live, My bill charges me around $60 a month just to have my home hooked up to the grid and not use one watt. I have to pay a monthly membership fee and an adjustable fuel cost fee that goes up and down depending on our price per barrel of oil ( this is what that $60 consist of not including taxes). Lets assume you are a single young man and you use 100 per month power usage. What happens when you find someone to add to your home. That monthly amount will increase. and say you decide to increase you family with a child or two, again that monthly will increase.
Can you see how much more complicated it can get? Your basic question leaves all of that out. Each of us, as individuals, need to make an effort to help lower our use of this planet if we ever want to leave our children a place to live. I know that sounds ominous but it is a reality. is $50 a month more worth a ton of coal in the air? a nuclear rod? modifying ecosystems to run hydro or wind? once you pay off the initial investment you will then be saving that 150 a month every month.
I guess each of us have to decide .
Sorry to ramble, I think you are on the right path to question everything and make an informed decision.
Have a great day
1-40 of 1502Next »