Several years ago I bought some remote property in Arizona. I am an astronomer and wanted a place to practice my hobby far away from the terrible light pollution found near cities of any real size. I found a great piece of property. The problem is, it's so remote that there is no electric service available. That's not really a problem. No electricity equals no light pollution. However, it would be nice to have at least a little electricity, since so much of life in the 21st century is dependent on it.

One thing I noticed right away about my property is that most of the time, the wind is blowing. Almost from the moment I bought it, I had the idea of putting up a wind turbine and making some electricity, and later adding some solar panels. This is the story of how I did it. Not with an expensive, store-bought turbine, but with a home-built one that cost hardly anything. If you have some fabricating skills and some electronic know-how, you can build one too.

More details on this project and my other alternative energy projects including my home-built solar panels, and my home-built biomass gasifier can be found on my web site.

Step 1: Acquiring a generator

I started by Googling for information on home-built wind turbines. There are a lot of them out there in an amazing variety of designs and complexities. All of them had five things in common though:

1. A generator
2. Blades
3. A mounting that keeps it turned into the wind
4. A tower to get it up into the wind
5. Batteries and an electronic control system

I reduced the project to just five little systems. If attacked one at a time, the project didn't seem too terribly difficult. I decided to start with the generator. My online research showed that a lot of people were building their own generators. That seemed a bit too complicated, at least for a first effort. Others were using surplus permanent magnet DC motors as generators in their projects. This looked like a simpler way to go. So I began looking into what motors were best for the job.

A lot of people seemed to like to use old computer tape drive motors (surplus relics from the days when computers had big reel to reel tape drives). The best apparently are a couple of models of motor made by Ametek. The best motor made by Ametek is a 99 volt DC motor that works great as a generator. Unfortunately, they are almost impossible to locate these days. There are a lot of other Ametek motors around though. A couple of their other models make decent generators and can still be found on places like Ebay. This web site talks about the virtues and vices of various Ametek motors when used as generators. http://www.tlgwindpower.com/ametek.htm

I managed to score one of the good 30 volt Ametek motors off of Ebay for only $26. They don't go that cheap these days. People are catching on to the fact that they make great wind generators. Other brands will work, so don't fret about the price Ameteks are going for. Shop wisely. Anyway, The motor I got was in good shape and worked great. Even just giving the shaft a quick turn with my fingers would light a 12 volt bulb quite brightly. I gave it a real test by chucking it up in my drill press and connecting it to a dummy load. It works great as a generator, putting out easily a couple hundred Watts with this setup. I knew then that if I could make a decent set of blades to drive it, it would produce plenty of power.

There is more information on how to choose a motor for use as a generator on my web site at http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/
Very well done, sir, and chock full of useful information! I had an idea. If you could somehow incorporate a bicycle brake arpund the axle of the fan, you could possibly stop those blades with little to no injury to yourself or to them. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful designs! Your work is very inspiring. I am in the process of cobbling together a much smaller turbine to charge my cell phone, and you listed all of the basics for me beautifully!Thamks ?
<p>Hi, <br>great build. I'm working on my own turbine at the moment. I would love to build my own charge controller using this design but don't have the luxury of time to do so (kids to raise). any suggestions on what cheap charge controller I can buy that will work with the treadmill motor generator? <br>Thanks, <br>Scott</p>
<p>Your 40 acres of property in AZ look nice and lush! Is it in a desert?</p>
<p>Hi there, I need some help, I have a 30v ametek motor that delivers 12/24VDC, and a charge controller to handle 12/24v and 20amp, the controller input is only negative and positive, originally made for solar panel, no dummy connector, the question is if I could use it installing a dumm load between the ametek and the controller, I will also install a blocking diode. Could someone confirm this please ? regards, Juan</p>
Hi there, <br>Quick remark on shorting out the motor to brake. Although this method can be used, it is not very good for the motor. When shorting out a motor you dissipate the power (100 Watt and more) over the resistance of the internal windings. This energy is dissipated purely by heat, so the windings get very hot and can damage the insulation. Damaged winding insulation makes the motor useless, so be careful. If you only do this very seldom, I think it wont hurt, especially when the motor runs much below the nominal speed.
im planning on building a tree hiouse. and i think htis would be perfect for suplieing electricity for it. is there any way i could convert the electricity coming fromt he turbine into an electric outlet? if anyone oculd hlep that would be sweet.
I'm not really shure you can turn it in to ac from what I've read I think its only gona be dc o and to let you know for the future you spelled supplying wrong <br>
is gonna a new word?
<p>yah i know - you could spend an eternity correcting bad spelling and grammer - you might as well hold back the tide with a spoon.</p>
<p>Yuppers. And so is 'Ustacould' an 'Ta' an 'DaKine' an 'Jus' an 'Opala'...lol</p>
by using a battery, inverter, and transformer, you could make an uninterruptible power supply of sorts, witch would be charged by the turbine when not in use- then convert (or invert) the dc power from the battery into ac, then through a 1:10 step-up transformer (assuming you are using a 12 v car battery) to the load when needed. hope that helps.<br><br>brief synopsis:<br><br>turbine====battery====inverter====transformer=====load
* <br><br> add a diode here<br> /<br>turbine====battery====inverter====transformer=====load<br><br>( so that the battery does not turn the turbine backwards)
even easier, car battery and car power inverter to invert 12 vdc into 120vac plus it already has the wall outlets for you, the only other thing you'll need is a cigarette outlet for a car and hook it up to the battery<br><br>turbine==rectifier==charge controller==battery==cigarette outlet==inverter==playstation 3 and Flat screen LED TV + friends and beer!!!
I'm sorry I don't really understand
<p>Since the swept area of the blade is what does all the work, you could get a lot more force out of these blades with a slight change in orientation. It seems like a lot of the blade is perpendicular to the wind direction which means it's not doing anything. Also how do the blades bend or twist when under load? Because if the leading edge were to twist back ever so slightly they would be creating drag in the wrong direction. I think that would be the advantage of attaching the blade by the leading edge, any twist would be to your advantage</p>
<p>ok i'm building a solar power and wind turbine set up.go on amazon and get a 10 dollar charge controller hook a dc motor to the charge controller(wind mill) it has a diode and voltage limit built in.then from the charge contoller to a 12v battery.then hook a 12volt to 120volt inverter.to the battery the charge controller protects the battery from over charge.when the sun shines or the wind blows the battery gets charged.so you will have power at all times.also on amazon for cheap you can get a slip ring to keep the windmill wires from twisting up.hope this helps.</p>
<p>Hi Guy's I am on with building a wind Generator to power my Garage from a Battery Bank, I have a Permanent Magnet Motor which came from a exercise machine, it works from 100V &amp; is Rated at 200W, when I turn it with my battery drill it is throwing out around 36 to 40 volts, will this do to charge my battery bank?? Cheers.</p>
can we upgrade a small capacity dc motor by by wounding more no. of turns to stator. please reply...
<p>Mr. Davis, I have a question about changing wind direction. How many times could your turbine twist around before it damages the wire going down the inside of the tower? Think of a flag that has been wrapped around a flagpole by changing wind direction. If this tower is set up and taken down with your campsite, then this may not be a major problem, but if it's a more permanent installation, then it could potentially start a fire, I think. Don't commercial turbines have some sort of swashplate arrangement that lets them rotate freely without this concern?</p>
Nobody responded to your question, so ill help a bit. Research &quot;Slip Ring&quot; and you might be able to solve your problem. You might be able to engineer one out of conductive materials and insulate the exterior to keep from damage, short circuit, electrical shock...
Just a quick question, it didn't look to me like you had any sort of battery on there. I don't know a lot about this stuff, but as consistent as the wind is, wouldn't you have issues with not having any power being fed to your laptop and other stuff when the wind isn't blowing? Even with the controller, did it still make lights and things flicker and have periods of no power? <br>Fantastic instructable though, very in-depth and easy to understand.
<p>i imagine a solution to the inconsistent power coming from the turbine would be vehicle batteries, they would receive the power from the turbine inconsistently, much like an alternator in a car, and then the power would be distributed with a steady flow from the batteries to the laptop or lights. if you want a higher voltage than the typical 12 volt car battery, you could simply join several batteries together and/or use a transformer to receive the desired voltage.</p>
<p>at a 25 mph wind how many kilo watts per hour would this produce </p>
<p>Thanks for the instructable! Here's mine</p><p> <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Wind-Turbine-2/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Wind-Turbine-2...</a></p>
<p>can 12 volt DC motor produce at least 60 watt ? </p>
wow thank you so much you just might be a genius lol. I need enough electricity to power a medium size lighting system, and pumps for a hydroponic garden do you think this will do the job and if not what do you think I will need to do to make it work?
Fisrt, I take my hat off, your project is amazing. I'm building one right now, i'm done with the main part of the charge controller. Have 2 questions for you. <br>1.- What total resistance and wattage should use for dummy load. whats a minimum safe, supposing i'm using a generator just like yours? <br>2.- i want to connect a wind turbine and 2 solar panels, how many amps should have the blocking diodes to be on the safe side? <br> <br>Hope you have the the time to answer and i appreciate that you share these things, hopefully we can make this kind of energy affordable for more people (i live in a third world country, buying this stuff new costs a literally a fortune). <br> <br>
While your charge controller will charge batteries, it has no topping charge circuitry. Because of that, your batteries will not last as long as they could. Given that they are a major expense, it may be worth while to buy a commercial one or add the necessary circuity.
can we buil the wind turbine without the charge controller
That depends. Can we destroy whatever we connecct the turbine to?
I have a question regarding the 99v ametek motor and charge controllers. So far I have only been able to find charge controllers that accept 12, 24 and 48v dc as input from either a wind turbine or solar panel. So what if anything needs to be done to step down the voltage from 99v to 48v dc to the charge controller? Or do I even need to change anything? Can I just wire the 99v ametek dc output to the 48v charge controller?
Unless you gear it up, your 99v Ametek will only be producing 30v MAX at wind turbine speeds. A 12v charge controller will handle this easily.,
I have a 180v 4000rpm dc motor from a treadmill. <br>will this work better? <br> <br>Thanks.
K so I'm just a kid with out a 1,000,000,000,000 dollars and what to run an old fan motor as a wind turbine attached to my roof with power cables coming through my window to power my clock and charg my iPad I have it drawn out in my head I just need some help of how I get it rotating and producing power I have no clue how to set this up to make power plz help
You really can't use a fan motor because it has no magnets in it.
does it now? (all electric motors require magnets to work)
&nbsp;More accurately&nbsp;electric&nbsp;motors require &quot;magnetic fields&quot; to operate. Prior to the advent of modern Permanent Magnets ,DC motors used electromagnets to provide the stationary field. Light&nbsp;weight&nbsp;DC motors where an exception to that. There where AC motors of similar construction, you will still see those in corded power tools, often these are 'universal&quot; motors, meaning the can operate&nbsp;off&nbsp;AC or DC of the same voltage, <strong>UNLESS </strong>they have a variable speed control, then using them with DC&nbsp;generally&nbsp;fries the speed control.
AC motors dont have magnets, pull apart an old box fan and see if it is magnetic, it isn't. What you could do kid, is go to radio shack and buy some magnet wire also called enameled wire and make your own DC motor, take apart an old 80mm computer fan and look inside, that is basically what you will be building. The only other thing is to get your parents to buy you some neodymium magnets off ebay. then look at this instructable on how to put it all together.<br><br>https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-1000-watt-wind-turbine/<br><br>It's not as hard as it looks and you dont need all that resin to hold everything in place, especially if you get the counter sunk neodymium magnets that you and screw onto a piece of wood, obviously your not trying to power your house but this instructable will tell you how it works and how to build one from scratch. hope this helps<br>
do it yourself - http://www.umeluieruki.ru/
For an extra power source during calm weather, could you cover the blades/tail in solar panels?? :) <br>
You probably could, but they wouldn't really be worth it. For one thing, most cheap solar panels are flat, which doesn't work for catching the wind. For another, if you put leads on the solar panels, they would become tangled and cut really fast. Also, when they are placed vertically (such as on a blade), they catch sunlight for only a short period of time. In fact, the extra weight on the blades would probably lessen the power produced. You would be much better off by putting them on a flat surface or in a panel.
Here is an easy yes or no question. Will the char controller work for any motor of any voltage rating? Mine is a 120 volt DC motor salvaged from a blender (If that helps any).
i can used motro ca,?
hi i can get hold of a pillar drill easily, it is rated 1420 rpm and 240 volts,<br>so 1420 divided by 240 =5.92 rpm - per volt <br>would this be a good motor/generator for a wind turbine? <br>
hi just wondering, if a motor is producing a DC current to charge a battery then is there any need for a rectifier/bridge rectifier to stop the charge from the battery reverting to powering the motor?<br>thanks.
Hello,<br><br>If you look closely at the captions in the photo of the charge controller, there is a blocking diode to prevent the battery from back-feeding the motor. There are also rectifier diodes in the schematic of the charge controller.
Great idea, great project, great description, great everything.<br><br>Although, a little idea popped into my head, if you could make turbines with inbuilt solar panels, would that increase the power available.<br><br>Her`s a great `ible for DIY scrap solar panels.<br><br>https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Solar-Panel/
The drive (propeller) is an important part of this project. I made a two bladed prop of mahogany, light and easily worked. I was on my sailboat at the time so shaping the airfoil was less than exact. I could balance it statically but not dynamically very well. The airfoil shape is a must if you want to have it work. The airfoil pulls the propellar around. The outer third of the blade produces 2/3rds of the power so I've read. Also there are companies that make blades but that's no fun. I have a car generator which if I don't decide to play some more will be available.<br>I used a diode to prevent the battery from driving the blade. Because of the inaccesability to reach it on the boat, I bypassed it to start the blade turning in light breezes and it would then continue to generate. When at anchor on a boat the boat usually heads into the wind unless you have strong tides.
hi! how are you want can get information this you build me hear or at wolfthunder68@yahoo.com or espiritwild09@aol.com
want know get more information on this hope help me OK?

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