How I built an electricity producing wind turbine

Picture of How I built an electricity producing wind turbine
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.

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Step 1: Acquiring a generator

Picture of 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/

Step 2: Making the blades

Picture of Making the blades
Blades and a hub to connect them to were the next order of business. More online research ensued. A lot of people made their own blades by carving them out of wood. That looked like an outrageous amount of work to me. I found that other people were making blades by cutting sections out of PVC pipe and shaping them into airfoils. That looked a lot more promising to me. This web site tells you how to make a set of blades for a small wind turbine using PVC pipe.


I followed their general recipe. I did things a little differently though. I used black ABS pipe since my local homecenter store just happened to have pre-cut lengths of it. I used 6 inch pipe instead of 4 inch and 24 inches long instead of 19 5/8. I started by quartering a 24 inch long piece of pipe around its circumference and cutting it lengthwise into four pieces. Then I cut out one blade, and used it as a template for cutting out the others. That left me with 4 blades (3 plus one spare).

I then did a little extra smoothing and shaping using my belt sander and palm sander on the cut edges to try to make them into better airfoils. I don't know if it's really much of an improvement, but it didn't seem to hurt, and the blades look really good (if I do say so myself).

Step 3: Building the hub

Picture of Building the hub
Next I needed a hub to bolt the blades to and attach to the motor. Rummaging around in my workshop, I found a toothed pulley that fit on the motor shaft, but was a little too small in diameter to bolt the blades onto. I also found a scrap disk of Aluminum 5 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick that I could bolt the blades onto, but wouldn't attach to the motor shaft. The simple solution of course was to bolt these two pieces together to make the hub. Much drilling, tapping and bolting later, I had a hub.

Step 4: Building the turbine mounting

Picture of Building the turbine mounting
Next I needed a mounting for the turbine. Keeping it simple, I opted to just strap the motor to a piece of 2 X 4 wood. The correct length of the wood was computed by the highly scientific method of picking the best looking piece of scrap 2 X 4 off my scrap wood pile and going with however long it was. I also cut a piece of 4 inch diameter PVC pipe to make a shield to go over the motor and protect it from the weather. For a tail to keep it turned into the wind, I again just used a piece of heavy sheet Aluminum I happened to have laying around. I was worried that it wouldn't be a big enough tail, but it seems to work just fine. The turbine snaps right around into the wind every time it changes direction. I have added a few dimensions to the picture. I doubt any of these measurements is critical though.

Next I had to begin thinking about some sort of tower and some sort of bearing that would allow the head to freely turn into the wind. I spent a lot of time in my local homecenter stores (Lowes and Home Depot) brainstorming. Finally, I came up with a solution that seems to work well. While brainstorming, I noticed that 1 inch diameter iron pipe is a good slip-fit inside 1 1/4 inch diameter steel EMT electrical conduit. I could use a long piece of 1 1/4 inch conduit as my tower and 1 inch pipe fittings at either end. For the head unit I attached a 1 inch iron floor flange centered 7 1/2 inches back from the generator end of the 2X4, and screwed a 10 inch long iron pipe nipple into it. The nipple would slip into the top of the piece of conduit I'd use as a tower and form a nice bearing. Wires from the generator would pass through a hole drilled in the 2X4 down the center of the pipe/conduit unit and exit at the base of the tower. Brilliant! (if I do say so myself)

Step 5: Build the tower base

Picture of Build the tower base
For the tower base, I started by cutting a 2 foot diameter disk out of plywood. I made a U shaped assembly out of 1 inch pipe fittings. In the middle of that assembly I put a 1 1/4 inch Tee. The Tee is free to turn around the 1 inch pipe and forms a hinge that allows me to raise and lower the tower. I then added a close nipple, a 1 1/4 to 1 reducing fitting, and a 12 inch nipple. Later I added a 1 inch Tee between the reducer and the 12 inch nipple so there would be a place for the wires to exit the pipe. This is shown in a photo further down the page. I also later drilled holes in the wooden disk to allow me to use steel stakes to lock it in place on the ground.

The second photo shows the head and base together. You can begin to see how it will go together. Imagine a 10 foot long piece of steel conduit connecting the two pieces. Since I was building this thing in Florida, but was going to use it in Arizona, I decided to hold off on purchasing the 10 foot piece of conduit until I got to Arizona. That meant the wind turbine would never be fully assembled and not get a proper test until I was ready to put it up in the field. That was a little scary because I wouldn't know if the thing actually worked until I tried it in Arizona.

Step 6: Paint all the wood parts

Picture of Paint all the wood parts
Next, I painted all the wooden parts with a couple of coats of white latex paint I had leftover from another project. I wanted to protect the wood from the weather. This photo also shows the lead counterweight I added to the left side of the 2X4 under the tail to balance the head.

Step 7: The finished head of the wind turbine

Picture of The finished head of the wind turbine
This photo shows the finished head unit with the blades attached. Is that a thing of beauty or what? It almost looks like I know what I'm doing.

I never got a chance to properly test the unit before heading to Arizona. One windy day though, I did take the head outside and hold it high up in the air above my head into the wind just to see if the blades would spin it as well as I had hoped. Spin it they did. In a matter of a few seconds it spun up to a truly scary speed (no load on the generator), and I found myself holding onto a giant, spinning, whirligig of death, with no idea how to put it down without getting myself chopped to bits. Fortunately, I did eventually manage to turn it out of the wind and slow it down to a non-lethal speed. I won't make that mistake again.

Step 8: Build the charge controller

Picture of Build the charge controller
Now That I had all the mechanical parts sorted out, it was time to turn toward the electronic end of the project. A wind power system consists of the wind turbine, one or more batteries to store power produced by the turbine, a blocking diode to prevent power from the batteries being wasted spinning the motor/generator, a secondary load to dump power from the turbine into when the batteries are fully charged, and a charge controller to run everything.

There are lots of controllers for solar and wind power systems. Anyplace that sells alternative energy stuff will have them. There are also always lots of them for sale on Ebay . I decided to try building my own though. So it was back to Googling for information on wind turbine charge controllers. I found a lot of information, including some complete schematics, which was quite nice, and made building my own unit very easy. I based my unit on the schematic of the one found on this web site:


That web site goes into a lot of detail about the controller, so I'm only going to talk about it in fairly general terms here. Again, while I followed their general recipe, I did do some things differently. Being an avid electronics tinkerer from an early age, I have a huge stock of electronic components already on hand, so I had to buy very little to complete the controller. I substituted different components for some parts and reworked the circuit a little just so I could use parts I already had on hand. That way I had to buy almost nothing to build the controller. The only part I had to buy was the relay. I built my prototype charge controller by bolting all the pieces to a piece of plywood, as seen in the first photo below. I would rebuild it in a weatherproof enclosure later.

Whether you build your own, or buy one, you will need some sort of controller for your wind turbine. The general principal behind the controller is that it monitors the voltage of the battery(s) in your system and either sends power from the turbine into the batteries to recharge them, or dumps the power from the turbine into a secondary load if the batteries are fully charged (to prevent over-charging and destroying the batteries). The schematic and write-up on the above web page does a good job of explaining it. Much more information on building the charge controller, including larger and easier to read schematics, can be found on my web site at http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/index.html

In operation, the wind turbine is connected to the controller. Lines then run from the controller to the battery. All loads are taken directly from the battery. If the battery voltage drops below 11.9 volts, the controller switches the turbine power to charging the battery. If the battery voltage rises to 14 volts, the controller switches to dumping the turbine power into the dummy load. There are trimpots to adjust the voltage levels at which the controller toggles back and forth between the two states. I chose 11.9V for the discharge point and 14V for the fully charged point based on advice from lots of different web sites on the subject of properly charging lead acid batteries. The sites all recommended slightly different voltages. I sort of averaged them and came up with my numbers. When the battery voltage is between 11.9V and 14.8V, the system can be switched between either charging or dumping. A pair of push buttons allow me to switch between states anytime, for testing purposes. Normally the system runs automatically. When charging the battery, the yellow LED is lit. When the battery is charged and power is being dumped to the the dummy load, the green LED is lit. This gives me some minimal feedback on what is going on with the system. I also use my multimeter to measure both battery voltage, and turbine output voltage. I will probably eventually add either panel meters, or automotive-style voltage and charge/discharge meters to the system. I'll do that once I have it in some sort of enclosure.

I used my variable voltage bench power supply to simulate a battery in various states of charge and discharge to test and tune the controller. I could set the voltage of the power supply to 11.9V and set the trimpot for the low voltage trip point. Then I could crank the voltage up to 14V and set the trimpot for the high voltage trimpot. I had to get it set before I took it into the field because I'd have no way to tune it up out there.

I have found out the hard way that it is important with this controller design to connect the battery first, then connect the wind turbine and/or solar panels. If you connect the wind turbine first, the wild voltage swings coming from the turbine won't be smoothed out by the load of the battery, the controller will behave erratically, the relay will click away wildly, and voltage spikes could destroy the ICs. So always connect to the battery(s) first, then connect the wind turbine. Also, make sure you disconnect the wind turbine first when taking the system apart. Disconnect the battery(s) last.

Step 9: Erect the tower

Picture of Erect the tower
At last, all parts of the project were complete. It was all done only a week before my vacation arrived. That was cutting it close. I disassembled the turbine and carefully packed the parts and the tools I'd need to assemble it for their trip across the country. Then I once again I drove out to my remote property in Arizona for a week of off-grid relaxation, but this time with hopes of having some actual electricity on the site.

The first order of business was setting up and bracing the tower. After arriving at my property and unloading my van, I drove to the nearest Home Depot (about 60 miles one way) and bought the 10 foot long piece of 1 1/4 inch conduit I needed for the tower. Once I had it, assembly went quickly. I used nylon rope to anchor the pole to four big wooden stakes driven in the ground. Turnbuckles on the lower ends of each guy-line allowed my to plumb up the tower. By releasing the line from either stake in line with the hinge at the base, I could raise and lower the tower easily. Eventually the nylon line and wooden stakes will be replaced with steel stakes and steel cables. For testing though, this arrangement worked fine.

The second photo shows a closeup of how the guy-lines attach near the top of the tower. I used chain-link fence brackets as tie points for my guy-lines. The fence brackets don't quite clamp down tightly on the conduit which is smaller in diameter than the fence posts they are normally used with. So there is a steel hose clamp at either end of the stack of brackets to keep them in place.

The third photo shows the base of the tower, staked to the ground, and with the wire from the wind turbine exiting from the Tee below the conduit tower. I used an old orange extension cord with a broken plug to connect between the turbine and the controller. I simply cut both ends off and put on spade lugs. Threading the wire through the tower turned out to be easy. It was a cold morning and the cord was very stiff. I was able to just push it through the length of the conduit tower. on a warmer day I probably would have had to use a fishtape or string line to pull the cord through the conduit. I got lucky.

Step 10: Erect the wind turbine

Picture of Erect the wind turbine
The first photo shows the turbine head installed on top of the tower. I greased up the pipe on the bottom of the head and slid it into the top of the conduit. It made a great bearing, just as I'd planned. Sometimes I even amaze myself.

Too bad there was nobody around to get an Iwo Jima Flag Raising type picture of me raising the tower up with the head installed.

The second photo shows the wind turbine fully assembled. Now I'm just waiting for the wind to blow. Wouldn't you know it, it was dead calm that morning. It was the first calm day I had ever seen out there. The wind had always been blowing every other time I had been there. Well, nothing to do but wait.

Finally! The wind was up and the turbine was spinning, and the lovely electricity is is starting to be produced.

Step 11: Connect the electronics

Picture of Connect the electronics
The first photo below shows the electronics setup. The battery, inverter, meter and prototype charge controller are all sitting on a plywood board on top of a blue plastic tub. I plug a long extension cord into the inverter and run power back to my campsite. Lots more information of the electronics set-up can be found on my web site at http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/

Once the wind starts blowing, the turbine head snaps around into it and begins spinning up. It spins up quickly until the output voltage exceeds the battery voltage plus the blocking diode drop (around 13.2 volts, depending on the state of the battery charge). it is really running without a load until that point. Once the that voltage is exceeded, the turbine suddenly has a load as it begins dumping power into the battery. Once under load, the RPMs only slightly increase as the wind speed increases. More wind means more current into the battery which means more load on the generator. So the system is pretty much self-governing. I saw no signs of over-reving. Of course in storm-force winds, all bets are off.

Switching the controller to dump power into the dummy load did a good job of braking the turbine and slowing it way down even in stronger gusts. Actually shorting the turbine output is an even better brake. It brings the turbine to a halt right now, even in strong winds. Shorting the output is how I made the turbine safe to raise and lower, so I wouldn't get sliced and diced by the spinning blades. Warning though, the whole head assembly can still swing around and crack you hard on the noggin if the wind changes direction while you are working on these things. So be careful out there.

Step 12: Enjoy having power in the middle of nowhere

Picture of Enjoy having power in the middle of nowhere
How sweet it is! I have electricity! Here I have my laptop computer set up and plugged into the power provided by the inverter, which in turn is powered by the wind turbine. I normally only have about two hours of battery life on my laptop. So I don't get to use it much while I'm camping. It comes in handy though for downloading photos out of my camera when its memory card gets full, making notes on projects like this one, working on the next great American novel, or just watching DVD movies. Now I have no battery life problems, at least as long as the wind blows. Besides the laptop, I can also now recharge all my other battery powered equipment like my cell phone, my camera, my electric shaver, my air mattress pump, etc. Life used to get real primitive on previous camping trips when the batteries in all my electronic stuff ran down.

I used the wind turbine to power my new popup trailer on a later vacation. The strong spring winds kept the wind turbine spinning all day every day and most of the nights too while I was in Arizona. The turbine provided enough power for the interior 12V lighting and enough 120V AC at the power outlets to keep my battery charger, electric shaver, and mini vacuum cleaner (camping is messy) all charged up and running. My girlfriend complained about it not having enough power to run her blow-dryer though.

Step 13: How much did it cost?

Picture of How much did it cost?
So how much did all this cost to build? Well, I saved all the receipts for everything I bought related to this project.
Part                         Origin 	                  Cost

Motor/Generator 	     Ebay 	                  $26.00
Misc. pipe fittings 	     Homecenter Store 	          $41.49
Pipe for blades 	     Homecenter Store 	          $12.84
Misc hardware 	             Homecenter Store 	          $8.00
Conduit 	             Homecenter Store 	          $19.95
Wood & Aluminum 	     Scrap Pile 	          $0.00
Power Cable 	             Old extension cord 	  $0.00
Rope & Turnbuckles 	     Homecenter Store 	          $18.47
Electronic Parts             Already on hand 	          $0.00
Relay 	                     Auto Parts Store 	          $13.87
Battery 	             Borrowed from my UPS   	  $0.00
Inverter 	             Already on hand 	          $0.00
Paint 	                     Already on hand 	          $0.00

Total 	                                                  $140.62
Not too bad. I doubt I could buy a commercially made turbine with a comparable power output, plus a commercially made charge controller, plus a commercially made tower for less than $750-$1000.

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 14: Update

Picture of Update
I have completed the rebuild of the charge controller. It is now in a semi-weatherproof enclosure and I have also added a built in voltage meter. Both were bought cheap on Ebay. I have also added a few new features. The unit now has provisions for power inputs from multiple sources. It also has built-in fused 12V power distribution for three external loads.

The second photo shows the inside of the charge controller. I basically just transferred everything that I originally had bolted onto the plywood board in the prototype into this box. I added an automotive illuminated voltage gage and fuses for 3 external 12V loads. I used heavy gage wire to try to reduce losses due to wire resistance. Every watt counts when you are living off-grid.

The third image is the schematic for the new charge controller. It is pretty much the same as the old one above, except for the addition of the Volt meter and extra fuse blocks for the external loads. A larger, easier to read version of the schematic, and more information on the new charge controller can be found on my web site at http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/

The fourth photo is a block diagram of the whole power system. Note that I only have one solar panel built right now. I just haven't had the time to complete the second one. Please visit my home-built solar panel page at http://www.mdpub.com/SolarPanel/ for more information on home-built solar panels.

Step 15: Update 2

Picture of Update 2
Once again I stayed on my remote property during my recent vacation in Arizona. This time I had both my home-built wind turbine and my home-built solar panel with me. Working together, they provided plenty of power for my (admittedly minimal) electricity needs.

The second photo shows the the new charge controller unit. The wires on the left side are coming from the wind turbine and solar panel. The wires on the right side are going to the battery bank and dummy load. I cut up an old heavy-duty 100 ft. extension cord to make cables to connect wind turbine and solar panel to the charge controller. The cable to the wind turbine is about 75 feet long and the cable to the solar panel is about 25 feet long. The battery bank I am currently using consists of 11 sealed lead-acid 12V batteries of 8 Amp-Hour capacity connected in parallel. That gives me 88 Amp-Hours of storage capacity, which is plenty for camping. As long as it is sunny and windy, (nearly every day is sunny and windy on my property), the wind turbine and solar panel keep the batteries well charged.

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.
Kweek4 months ago

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

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
shknbks jlund5 months ago
is gonna a new word?
Dr.Bill shknbks4 months ago

Yuppers. And so is 'Ustacould' an 'Ta' an 'DaKine' an 'Jus' an 'Opala'...lol

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.

brief synopsis:


add a diode here

( 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

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
LesterY5 months ago

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.

ericinvent6 months ago

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 & 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.

turbo man 7 months ago
can we upgrade a small capacity dc motor by by wounding more no. of turns to stator. please reply...
espdp21 year ago

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?

Nobody responded to your question, so ill help a bit. Research "Slip Ring" 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...
aeszok2 years ago
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?
Fantastic instructable though, very in-depth and easy to understand.
mcogan aeszok8 months ago

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.

george178 months ago

at a 25 mph wind how many kilo watts per hour would this produce

DIY Dave made it!10 months ago

Thanks for the instructable! Here's mine


saadj11 months ago

can 12 volt DC motor produce at least 60 watt ?

evone1 year ago
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?
AmateurGus2 years ago
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.
1.- What total resistance and wattage should use for dummy load. whats a minimum safe, supposing i'm using a generator just like yours?
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?

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).

AnAnalyst2 years ago
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.
robb915 years ago
can we buil the wind turbine without the charge controller
That depends. Can we destroy whatever we connecct the turbine to?
acicalla3 years ago
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.
will this work better?

Well if you were to do the math, 180/4000=12/266.

Yes. That will make a fantastic wind generator.

Seriously people, the algebra's not that hard.
Thanks, I was just in a rush.
jlund4 years ago
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)
 More accurately electric motors require "magnetic fields" to operate. Prior to the advent of modern Permanent Magnets ,DC motors used electromagnets to provide the stationary field. Light weight 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" motors, meaning the can operate off AC or DC of the same voltage, UNLESS they have a variable speed control, then using them with DC generally 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.


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
oanderson jlund4 years ago
Your just a kid who doesn't have 1000000000000 dollars, but you still have money to burn on an Ipad :)
resinpsa13 years ago
do it yourself - http://www.umeluieruki.ru/
mcronnie3 years ago
For an extra power source during calm weather, could you cover the blades/tail in solar panels?? :)
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.
TheGreatS3 years ago
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).
MOMJE93 years ago
i can used motro ca,?
LIS101143443 years ago
hi i can get hold of a pillar drill easily, it is rated 1420 rpm and 240 volts,
so 1420 divided by 240 =5.92 rpm - per volt
would this be a good motor/generator for a wind turbine?
LIS101143443 years ago
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?
mdavis19 (author)  LIS101143443 years ago

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.

Although, a little idea popped into my head, if you could make turbines with inbuilt solar panels, would that increase the power available.

Her`s a great `ible for DIY scrap solar panels.

harveylo3 years ago
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.
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
shadow683 years ago
want know get more information on this hope help me OK?
nbwriter3 years ago
The Mdavis WindTubine Tutorial is by far the best practical build I've seen online. Thankyou for posting!

Finding a solution for blade propellers that's both durable and efficient amounts to a fascinating engineering challenge. From my research, PVC blades (while cheap and easy to make) do not have the basic strength necessary to survive high wind speeds. (As Mdavis discovered).

Curiously, commericially made blades (for HAWT turbines) do feature connecting "tabs" that are placed centrally, rather than at the sides. Two main differences are apparent:

1. Carbon fibre is favoured over PVC as the blade material
2. A lamination process is used during blade manufacture (possibly strengthening the finished blade propellers and tabs).

Aerodynamically, the blades need to bulge at one side, then taper at the other. (A basic aerofoil). This reduces drag, as does a cambered blade. Since lift is produced once your aerofoil blade is in operation, this must be a contributory factor leading to blade failure (because the turbine is literally trying to "take off"!)

Personally, I think this "take off" factor amounts to a design flaw in HAWT turbines, since the primary objective is to capture wind energy and transfer it to the DC motor. I'd like to do testing on VAWT systems (Savonius) to see if the "lift" problem is minimized.

It's unlikely any comparison data (between HAWT propeller and VAWT savonius efficiency) exists. But you never know, the Internet is a big place... Any feedback welcomed.

pantaz3 years ago
The charge controller has been redesigned by the original designer. Reduced part count, and easier to find components! 


 He also has kits and assembled units available (see link on his website). 
sbob13 years ago
why not choose dynamo?
Barrettkg3 years ago
I have the chance to buy a 1/2 hp motor. The specs are: Voltage is 115/230. rpm 1725. I am waiting to hear back on the amperage. Would this be a decent motor to use?
I know the rpm is really high but I was wondering if the high Voltage would make up for it.
Thanks for the help
I have a 1000 watt generator and the engine leaks oil when it is started or running. I was thinking of removing the generator portion and using it with some sort of a turbine setup.

I have not thoroughly inspected the current setup on this generator and do not know if it is a DC or AC generator although it has ports for accessing DC along with the AC outlets.

How hard would it be to utilize everything already included in the parts on this generator?
spylock4 years ago
I have a question,I was going to try to make one with a 12 volt power wheels motor,I plan to use a charge control,but whats going to keep my battery from running the moter,the control?How will I solve that problem ?Ive herd reverseing the motor wires,but dont understand.
Read the first paragraph on step 8. The blocking diode.
Wil that be true if I happen to get hold of one of the old computer moters,I forget the name of them at the moment but Im sure you know the one Im talking about,Ive seen other sites that says the diode isnt needed with those.Thanks and Im sorry to keep bothering you.
Tobita spylock3 years ago
CRT monitor?
rtaznita3 years ago
can i use 60 v ametek motor?
itri453 years ago
could i use an old 6 inch fan motor as a generator.
great job on the generator.
jchowarth5 years ago
won't the wires twist up inside the tower over time?
Well your vacuum cleaner cord winds up over time and you have to pull it out and unwind it. It's not that hard to unplug your long extension cord from the charger end and give it a few twists in the needed direction. I live in an area where the wind blows180 degrees from morning to evening; about 30 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. This is something I will keep an eye on,
You can pu a stop on the turbine so it wont spin all the way around,it will go as far as the stop both ways though still allowing the turbine the full 180.
Ole bally4 years ago
HI There, I live in a country where we cannot just send funds outta the country...(a dictatorship) so very sadly I can't become a Pro Member!
Have you or would you please have a look at the Henry Moray website and the Tesla website. Both these guys were pioneers in the energy field and a Tesla generator offers FREE electricity! Apparently from the 'cosmic' energy field!
I'd love one of the members to get one of the kits offered, build it and then give us all the heads up as to it's reality!
Great videos there. It is very informative and persuasive. Thats a great way to build a wind turbine. It could give you a lot of benefits and advantages.
Keep it up. Great post too.
Tushar Max4 years ago
When i see the picture showing the the aluminum plate, toothed pulley and the blades assembly, it set me thinking "could one not use a similar looking ceiling fan assembly"?
Sciniro4 years ago
Great work, compliment. Bravo
vignesh12304 years ago
Dosent he wires get tangles by turning around and around and arund by the wind? I know a slip ring works but, any easier methods?
vignesh12304 years ago
can i use a 250Watt scooter motor?
Dear Friend I read your article and imediatly went to my old motors box. I knew I had a couple of those AMETEK motors, they came from I don't know what I save from the trash I saw on the street, I hooked up a 12volt led bulb to it and just with a hand spin with the shaft , it almost burned the bulb, so I decided to do your project, I will post pictures as soon as I have something done
Great Project
Diogo Monteiro
From: Sassoeiros, Portugal
kilofeenix4 years ago
Will any DC motor work as a generator? I'm not even trying to build something that can power my house, I'm just ding this as a weekend project type of thing. Small Small scale.
I have an old DC motor out of an electric airsoft gun hook it up to a rectifier and nothing happens, on the other hand i took an old 80mm computer fan hooked it up to the rectifier gave it a nice spin and it lights an LED, so why isn't the bigger DC motor producing any electricity?
very cool project you had a great idea your the best person on instructables
ryandean984 years ago
What happens to the dumped power???
Andruha11236 years ago
why would u dump electricity? just connect a bulb and have a light or something.
over charging batteries ruins them, although there could be a better use for the excess.
Couldn't you just add more batteries instead of throwing the rest away?
 You kids never took Calculus, did you?

Let me break it down for you in simple terms...

if battery X takes 10 hours to charge fully
and turbine Y runs non-stop for generously...250 out of 365 days out of the year.

That's 5090 hours worth of electricity that one has to use. (to put it in simple terms, it's much more complicated than that...but you get the idea.)

I don't know about you....but I can't afford 509 batteries. Can you?

That being said, the smart thing to do would be to run it thru a sinewave transformer and sell it back to the powercompany, but not everyone is set up to do that. Ergo, you have to do something with the excess electricity that would otherwise burn up your batteries....the only other option is to use it, either in the form of actual appliance usage, or change it to another form of energy that is easily "wasted"....the easiest is of course, heat.

Light is another alternative, but nobody said you couldn't use a hot-water heater as a dummy load. (think outside the box, a lil')
Yes, but recall the application. This site is way, way off the grid and selling it back to the power company would not be an option. Also, the whole reason he's out there is because of the darkness, so channeling extra power into lights is not a good use of it. But a heater might be a welcome addition on those cold Arizona winter nights.
Not to mention heating the water to possibly use in a small greenhouse. Recirculate the warmer water through the growing beds and he has a nice source of food during those cold months as well.
Yes you can add more batteries
zezoo224 years ago
انه ممتاز جدا وانا عربى واشكرك
Ninja15074 years ago
How much (About) would a 24v (DC) Electric Scooter motor produce? I don't have the scooter anymore cause the battery went out, however I kept the motor.
All good and well, I really like the step by step easy instructions, there is though just one thing bothering me, I know the power cable coming from the generator motor goes down the pipe and out again, dont you think there willo be a chance that the turbine goes round and round and round till the cable gets tangled inside the pipe, or did you have something in place to prevent this?

Kind regards
He said his doesn't get tangled because the wind blows from west and south consistently (1/4 of a circle) , and if it does he could just manually untwist it. Although in the future he said he may install slip ring connections, if you think your cord will twist you can try using slip rings.
I have read on many sites that show the construction of small generators like this, most of them just have the cable coming straight down from the generator, either on the inside of the pole, or the outside. By the law of averages, any twists in the cable, around the pole tends to untwist over a period of time. Certainly on my small mill that i had running for about 18 months, i only had to untwist the cable from around the pole about 3 times, and this was only because it annoyed me, rather then necessity.
I put a weatherproof plug and socket at the bottom of the pole to allow this.
read instructable well
how many watts would this motor produce with steady 60mile winds http://www.amazon.com/Dayton-3KW43-Motor-10-Phase/dp/B001QRIXCS/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=industrial&qid=1279667661&sr=8-11
probably would depend on the angle of attack of the blades, depending on the rpms of them
Sun Gear4 years ago
does it matter if its an AC or DC genorator?
You'd probably want a dc generator because that will provide constant voltage rather than an alternating one.
altenburgpj5 years ago
I looked at the website you suggested for the Ametek motor specifications and the chart on page http://www.tlgwindpower.com/Ametek99data.htm shows: Ametek 99VDC 010300F6 rpm's Open Volts Shorted Amps Breaks 1 kW 950 35.5V 29.3 Amps 1.1 kW 1000 37.2 30.8 Amps 1.2 kW 1050 39.0 31.2 Amps But that is not 1kW of actual output. Since power is voltage x amperage, and the chart clearly states the current is produced when the output is shorted, then the output voltage is zero or very close to zero. With one foot of 12AWG wire (.00187 ohms per foot) you would have a voltage drop on the wire of .055 volts (29.3 Amps x .00187 ohms). Power output would be 1.605 Watts (P=E * I) (.055 Volts * 29.3 Amps). That is watts, barely enough to light a bulb. Of course in real life we would never short the output of our generator, but the information in this chart can not be relied upon to build a 1kW generator. Something smaller certainly. Do you have data in voltage and current to establish the actual output of your generator?
He says on his site he got 14.5v "in a stiff wind."

"The turbine provided enough power for the interior 12V lighting and enough 120V AC at the power outlets to keep my battery charger, electric shaver, and mini vacuum cleaner " not enough for a hairdryer though he said.
this is the power loss. not the power output
-max-5 years ago
what about water resistance?
ARJOON -max-4 years ago
Would the blades from an electric fan work for the turbine? Could I reverse engineer an electric fan into a small wind turbine? Thanks.
yes you can use blade of fans, there must be only 3 of them,. the new kind in orange. you can't use the motor from the fan as a generator unless you put some magnets in it
I dont really know about aeronautics involver, I study mechanics engeneering, and I love planes since I'm 3 years old. When I was little I realized that the blades used in boats are not the same as the blades used in planes. he blades of an electric fan are "boat type" blades, and ? think they are designed to move a large quantity of air(large area). On the other hand, thin blades move less air, so they oppose less force to the engine (turbine, motor, whatever that makes them spin). I think its in a sense like the relation between small and big gears, and their velocity/force relation. So, "boat" blades need lots of air to move, while thin ones need less air. If you want the air to move the turbine, use thin ones, as the planes. If your turbine is small, there was somewhere in the internet a tutorial for doing your own blades, depending on the angle of attack you want them to have and all of that..
Fredggp juanvi4 years ago
It´s not interessing to use "Boat type" blades (as you write) in wind turbine. Why? Because the area occuped by the blades becomes a obstacle to the wind. If the speed of the wind is V1 (around the area), the speed of the wind before the blades its a value that is a little bit smaller V2 (where V1>V2). Same ocours with the speed after blades, decreses a littele more . When you need more force to pump water for exemple, you can use more blades becouse each blade contributes with the total force in motor shaft. This is the diference between the farm wind millls and power plants wind turbines.
Sun Gear4 years ago
i want to connect this to my house. do i still need the batteirs? or is there a simpler way to hook it up. and how would i hook it up?
ARJOON Sun Gear4 years ago
no you should charge batteries. then buy an inverter depending of you power usage. never connect it in paralell with mains electricity unless if mentioned that it can synchronize. if you hook it directly to your inverter without passing through batteries the following will occur:

1. Uneven wind give uneven power. therefore sometimes low performance off appliances.
2. This wind turbine gives to low power for direct use.
3, uneven voltage will ruin the inverter.

i suggest you that you charge batteries then use the stored power
ARJOON4 years ago
is this your project or did you copy it from another site
how to read the watts your getting from a generator. all the multimeters I see are just volts and amps and I cant figure out how to read them, isn't there just a watt meter that's not for wall sockets?
measure both volts and amps then multiply volts by amps to get watts
bingo1912 Derin4 years ago
Here is the way to calculate and a chart as well. Once you learn how to us it it will help you solve any problem you have.

mac11irl5 years ago
Im currently building my first turbine. Its only small, using as 30Watt motor from an old washing machine. i have also used some drain pipe for my blades, and housed the the unit snugly inside inside plastic piping. I have a major aerodynamic problem tho... everytime the wind blows, my turbine rotates so that it is faced out of the wind! i have attached 3 tail fins, and tried turning the blades around, but nothing seems to work! when i hold it into the wind, it will spin wonderfully, giving out about 15volts, but when left to its own it turns out. Any advice??? please ? btw, love your set up in this instructable!!
motor to far out , tail to close to pivet point , pivot loose & tilts heavy end down when the wind blows, you'r balance is off.
The Tail needs to be four times as long from the pivot point, as the front where the blade is to make sure that it keeps the blades into the wind. Flip it end for end and try it. If that doesn't work keep increasing.
juanvi mac11irl5 years ago
maybe the problem is that the part that holds the turbine with the tail is too small. Or maybe that the tail fins are small, look at the one used in this instructable, its pretty big, considering the size of the whole thing. I don't really know, but i'll think about it
Q1 should be substituted with a 2N7000. An IRF540 is total overkill for switching a relay coil. The IRF540 is powerful enough that it might be used instead of a relay. Check the milliamp draw of the relay coil and use an appropriate transistor.  You could save like $5 that way.
tubajoey16 years ago
about how long did it take you to complete this step? i am going to try to make a wind turbine, based on your instructions, and hopefully be able to run everything in my room. thanks
mdavis19 (author)  tubajoey16 years ago
It took about a month of my spare time to build it.
mabufo mdavis194 years ago
Do you know of any controllers that I could purchase that would work with this turbine design? I don't know anything about electronics, nor do I have the tools for the job if I decided to attempt building my own.

How expensive do they run?
jharuni4 years ago
Very nicely written article. Thank you.

Are there stops preventing the head from turning too far out of the prevailing wind direction? Or is it free to turn infinitely in either direction? If so, how did you run the wires from the head to the tower so that they won't twist up?
robb915 years ago
can we use a 12 volt DC motor
Fredggp robb914 years ago
Yes, you can. Any DC motor can be used like a generator.
grabbit4 years ago
nice project and excellent explanation complimented with both photos and video. thanks!
profpat4 years ago
great idea! very good project!
wgreenfield5 years ago
Good day. Could you tell me if a small motor from an electric hairdryer would work. thank you in advance.
AC motors usually won't work unless you modify the motor to have magnets
eagle20105 years ago

What type of generator and technical specifications are needed to build a wind turbine that will satisfy a household energy comsuption of 500 kwh per month
maclinfuehr6 years ago
its been a while since u posted this, did you use that motor? looks like a nice cheap way to go
Could this controller design be modified for 48v systems?
ghans_005 years ago
Good day sir, Pls enlighten me a bit I found a motor near our place and it's almost the same as the one you have, It say's 30volts but it doesn't have the current specs. Do you have any idea how much current can this motor produce @ 26volts?  Thanks alot! good day!
The only way to know that is to drive the motor with a drill, drill press, or some other motor, and start to load it down with something like light bulbs of a clothing iron. You will need to measure the voltage and the current and the drill speed. Make a spreadsheet with your data. Then you can see the capacity of your future generator.
wildman296 years ago
what about an automotive alternator it can put out up to 100 amp's on the average vechicle . might simplify charge controlling. you would just have to convert voltage . note the alt needs voltage to entice its charge circuit . im gonna build one of these i'll let ya's know how it goes !!
The alternator isn't going to put out 100s of amps unless you spin it with the same speed and torque a car engine puts out.
yeah, about 1000rpm/min...
shortw xetero5 years ago
1200 engine rpm for full power ( watt ) output. It still will have about 13.5 volts at lower rpm, but less amps (engine idle at 800 rpm). But you have to look at the pulley between car engine and alternator,usual pulley on the engine is bigger than the one on the alternator, therefore the alternator has a higher rpm than the engine. And not to forget, the alternator consumes about 40 watt or more to excite the field.
Have you tried using your alternator already? i also heard about their current output. But when i opened the hood in my car, the alternator has to go fast to output that kind of current and voltage.
daripper2435 years ago
 Fantastic instructable, one question: if I wanted to hook up more than one battery, would I need any higher impedance parts like parts that can take more amperage?  Or will the setup now be fine?  And if I was doing that would I hook them up in series or parallel?  TIA
ghans_005 years ago
good day sir would you mind me asking how much current can you put out w/ this motor @ 26volts, i found a motor almost alike with the ones you have and the only specs it has is the 30v dc output and i measured it with  tester, I just wanted to have a hint If I'll buy in case. Hoping for your kind response.
Possenti5 years ago
The most usable, available motors I've found so far are treadmill motors.  Drive around your neighborhood on garbage pickup day, and you're almost sure to score a discarded treadmill.  I've acquired a couple so far, and I' used one to build a bicycle generator to charge deep-cycle batteries. 
twhaley5 years ago
How about this? Instead of "dumping" execess electric current, use it to seperated water into Oxygen and Hydrogen, then use the gasses to fuel your homemade fuel cells!!!
twhaley5 years ago
Nice! Great web-site too, i just added it to my favorites.
jamer1236 years ago
it would of been easyer to use a ball bearing to move it around to face the wind
 Please explain?
Nice job but I have a question for all of the people who have made one. What happens when the whole blade motor unit keeps turning in the direction of the wind and the wires twist and twist inside the pole? Does it get to a point where the wires might break or bind up enough to cause it not to rotate any more? I really want one bad but can't afford a commercial one and don't have the electrical know how to build one. But I might give it a try. Another project that will piss off the wife.
I just posted this link in a reply to another user, but here:

I think the risk of a twisted wire is a wee bit overstated, especially in this setup where it's taken apart between uses, however unlikely it is that the top will turn in only one direction, it's definitely possible it could happen - especially if it's in place for years. In that case, just a few more 360° turns in one direction than in the other would eventually lead to a knackered wire over time.

I believe the slip ring idea is what slivernight1944 was describing, and that would do the job.
The possibility of the windmill changing the direction it faces is just as likely in both directions. Meaning, that it could change directions clockwise or counter-clockwise just as easily. This is all determined by the wind. One time it may wind up the cord and the next time it may unwind the cord.
Is there an electrical connector that works like a Gyro on a bmx bike?
Where your motor and system pivot on the top of the pole you use a circular disc with separate tracks for each wire from the motor/generator. On the motor/generator section you mount spring loaded bolts that will make contact with each track to pass the charging current through and attach the wires from the generator to them. That way you have no wires that can be twisted up and the whole top unit can turn 360 degrees safely and still pass the current thru the bolts and subsequent tracks on the mating panel below or you can invert them and have the panel on the generator side.
BigShotUK5 years ago
If you've not already done so, try getting your girlfriend to use a travel hair drier. Lower demands on the power so it might work with your setup.

Lovely job by the way. :D
ax895 years ago
I presume you take the controller and battery with you when you aren't at your site, but that must mean you lock your turbine so it can't rotate.  Do you just lay it down on the ground or do you have a way of locking it?
cherwa5 years ago
you are using a  lm 7808 to get 8 volts to power a 4001 quad nor gate. i dont own CMOS, but i do have TTL chips.
would it be alright if i used a 5V voltage regulator and a TTL 7404 quad nor gate?
If i can does anyone know what the LM1458 CMOS chip is in TTL?
lucek5 years ago
step 1 is a cop out. making a stator is easy. wind the coils put them in a plywood frame and then pore in fiberglass resin.

nickb8005 years ago
Great instructable! Well written with the right amount of detail. Im inspired!
tundrawolf5 years ago
 I think you should devise a bearing solution, in the right wind it can pick up your generator assembly and throw it, breaking it. Also, as has been mentioned, a way to prevent the wiring from being twisted up. 
 As has been mentioned, car alternators are fine - but need to be turned fast which is often an issue.  If you separate the regulator from the diode pack and connect the rotor winding to a variable voltage source, you can persuade the DC output of the diode pack to spit out pretty much any voltage you like.
In general, connecting the armature to 12v will generate 120v at the field windings when the Alternator is spinning at about 3000 rpm.  

For lower speed turbines, DC motors from electric scooters work well.  Generally they are in the 200w to 1kw range at about 1500rpm.  Still pretty fast.

A cheaper alternative is to use the motor from an engine cooling fan.  Very similar performance and speed requirements to scooter motors.  A fan from a large car can produce 500w as a generator.

For slow speed turbines, use a stepper motor.  These have 200 or more poles compared to typically 4 on a DC motor.  To generate power they only need to spin at 1/50th the speed.  The motors have 4 wires connecting to 2 coils.  Connect each coil to a diode bridge rectifier and the output of the two rectifiers together to give DC.  They will generate a useful amount of power as slow as 60 rpm!  I've seen suitable steppers up to about 1kw.

Very nice 'able! One question comes to mind though. Have you had any problem with the wire in the tower chafing on the metal of the tower or twisting up?
 I was wondering about that as well.
gettnerman6 years ago
Could you use a motor from an car window?
I have never seen one, but you can use any type of electric motor
The generator must be a DC brush motor. -they will output an AC current.

I co not think a car window motor will work because they have a built in gear box
just to make it more clear:
--DC brushed motor used as a generator will produce DC (at the two wires)
--Brushless motor used as a generator will produce three-phase AC (at the three wires)

You need to see how fast the blades are going to spin; then buy a motor that spins at the same speed if connected to a 15Volt source.
Make sure the motor is not so big since the blades must be able to spin its shaft!
The window motor shaft is a worm gear, the head contains the working parts, and can be removed quite easily.
razzor1116 years ago
where can I get plans to build a inverter and how do I keep the voltage down to 14.5 VDC my generator will put out 35VDC at low RPM
The diode trio used by GM in their alternators back in the 80's would work wonderfully.  "Standard" ignition parts still supplies them, and they were used to convert pretty much the exact same numbers as you describe. Find an automotive electrical repair shop, or a GOOD automotive parts man. Cost should be around $12 U.S.
cowen razzor1115 years ago
Voltage regulator

There was a project in Poplular science or something like that back in the 90s called

Tin Lizzy

It was a crude inverter.  The plans use a few resistors, a transistor, and the basics of stepping up power from 12 V DC to AC using transformers.

I built that and worked great in my car before the transisor versions.  I am loking for the plans again.  The parts were all from Radio Shack and if you touched out puts would give you a nasty shock.

Wattage was low as I remember.

I would like to see a build on here using transformers instead of transistors.  Any one?

One Idea I have used was an OLD APC battery backup wire the battery leads to your supply.  these are from 12 V, 24 V or 48 V models so look at how the batteries are setup and what the voltage of those packs are.
What type of generator do you have? Maybe You could use a massive voltage regulator
Im useing a 99 vt dc 650 rpm motor
where did you find that motor!
on e-bay
ccarl razzor1115 years ago
 can you pls. hepl me ...im a newbie can i used the 12v automotive regulator to charge my battery..my motor s 24v 300 rpm 
krish176 years ago
will a 3500rpm , 180 V treadmill motor work ??
Treadmill motors are now the most desired due to availability. Take a look at the tag on the motor itself, it will designate D/C or A/C, and most I am familiar with convert to D/C due to easily controlled speeds.
If it has a fixed magnet it will
Raydoom krish175 years ago
i would think so,i am currently in the prosses of using a drill motor +gearing system hopefuly it will work .
Would this one work?

Also if it does work would this controller work?

And how do you connect it to the batteries?
Can Some one find a list of the parts needed for the charge controller? That would be AMAZING!
This is where I got my charge controller for my little turbine:


If you have a DC turbine, all you will need to get in addition is a stud diode (at least 20 amp rating) and a dump load. I also got the dump load from these guys


 Anyways, if you need any help with putting your turbine together let me know. I finished mine about 9 months ago and I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience along the way. Once yours is up and running you are going to love it!
Hi devadawia,

     My name is Mohan from India. I am new to this thing and in India, harnessing wind for domestic purpose is not at all common. So I need your help in doing this. Is there any standard Numbers for the discharge controller just like IC numbers. If so can you let me know.
OK never mind found the parts list for the charge controller but I cant seem to find a 4001 quad 2 input NOR Gate. Can you point me in the right direction. I'm getting most my stuff from AlliedElectronics.com Thanks for your help!
expidition5 years ago
can a dish washer motor be used? please reply
No, it must be a DC motor
xetero5 years ago
can I use washing machine motor or ceiling fan or electric fan motor?
gkern6 years ago
Nice simple to build design for the turbine. I'm a little intimidated by the electrical is there some kind of off store built system you can use in it's stead. I was also wondering also if it isn't too intrusive were abouts in Arizona do you have your property, just a general area nothing too specific for your peace of mind. I have been looking at property in Arizona for the same reasons, got my scope and want a place to go, and I wondering what area's are good. Thanks, for a Really Useful project. Gordon Kern
mdavis19 (author)  gkern6 years ago
There are commercially available charge controller units. I just preferred to build my own. But you could buy an off the shelf unit. If you take a map of Arizona and draw a line between St. Johns and Snowflake, my property is almost dead center between those two towns.
hey..can i use the motor of a blender?
gkern mdavis195 years ago
I'm going to be in Arizona in June, and was going to look for property is there a reputable agency that you could recomend for me. I'm looking for desert property need no utilitites, water of any kind just need the space to do camping and star gazing.


Gordon Kern
ccarl5 years ago
 can anybody help me here is my email add: ccarl@eudoramail.com
ccarl5 years ago
 pls help me with my first wind generator ..i just want to ask if i can use the 12v car regulator to charge my battery my motor is 24v ametek .
knektek5 years ago
dude invest in a whole bunch of these and put them on your land. get your own mini power station, sell it to the government there! earn cash. but recalling the fact that you were only on vacation scrap that idea.
LCsDad5 years ago
Could you use gear reduction to speed up the generator?
xpanda5 years ago
HI, we live out in South Africa on a farm where we do not always have power. My son wants to built a wind turbine as a schoolproject and we need to ask a few questions. Would you be so kind as to email us your email contact.
Peter & Rotann (rpcolyn@telkomsa.net)
wcsdoors5 years ago

A slip ring is just an electrical connection used for rotation (like some self retracting extension cords have). I'm sure you've figured it out by now but here you go http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slip_ring . I still liike your idea of mounting the motor in the pole.

brunoruano5 years ago
it´s 90% chance of being because of the unbalance in weight... try, like in this project, adding a counterweight at the end by the tail!
Hatty5 years ago
This is a very critical part of the build that if not done correctly could result in serious injury to someone standing near the turbine.  Much thought needs to go into the blades and blade retention components to make sure a thrown blade is impossible.  Good idea for pvc though.  Just a bit concerned about the attachment.
tubajoey16 years ago
i just thought of a way you could mount the generator to the blades, without ever having the wires kink up...but im not sure it would be practical. have the motor face shaft up from the mounting pole, and attach a long spring to it. then feed it through the bottom of the spinning assembly on the top of the pole, and then to the shaft of the blade assembly. im not sure how much of that was undersandable, so i tried to make a picture... while making the picture, i also thought that a series of gears would work well too, just as long as the motor is mounted inside the tube that holds up the main turbine structure. but again, im not too sure of how well the power transfer would be from the blades to the motor at that point. i might give it a try and see how well it works.
this is similar to a weed eater where the drive shaft is actually a flexible rod (stiff spring)
With this setup if a load is placed on the generator it would create a yaw in the blades and decrease the efficiency of the blades. You could make a slip ring connection for this very easily and you wouldn't need the gears or the spring (which eat energy).
fatboy1066 years ago
would a washing machine motor possibly work?
mdavis19 (author)  fatboy1066 years ago
Most washing machines use AC motors, which really don't work as generators. There is an Australian model of washing machine made by Fisher & Paykel that uses a motor that can be converted to a generator, but they are hard to find here in the States.
There are some turbines that uses this motor for wind turbines which works quite well. BTW Fisher & Paykel is New Zealand's
poppintool5 years ago
I agree with cornchild! It's been impossible to find plans as thoughtfully and thoroughly laid out as these. Thanks for taking the time to share it with all of us!
helvetica6 years ago
Hi, would this pulley be something like a lathe hub? I imagine the hub could be quite heavy, but maybe that doesn't matter when rotating?
jrsy856 years ago
I have a motor out of an 18v cordless drill, will that work enough to charge a phone?
rooboy16 years ago
just wondering if a german Kaeser compressor motor would work? 980 RPM, 1.1kw or any high voltage compressor motor?
helloworld16 years ago
hey, if the wind keeps changing direction wont the power cable twist and break? or did i mes read the 'ible
maclinfuehr6 years ago
No! OK So I try to find a motor with a low RPM and a high voltage. I figure out if it is a good generator by finding the voltage per revolution. To find this dividing the voltage of the motor by the RPM of the motor. This motor has .006 V per RPM. The motor that this guy used is .092 V per RPM which is pretty good.
akinich6 years ago
hey nice inscrutable 5 out of 5 stars
chaydgb6 years ago
I love the idea of using poly-pipe for the blades. the amount of time i've spent trying to carve airfoils out of wood (unsuccessfully), this will be much easier.
cornchild6 years ago
maclinfuehr6 years ago
DzynGuy6 years ago
HaHaHaHa...That sounds like something I would have done! Wish I could have been there to see it.
Kilsmer6 years ago
i just finished building mine today, its a bit smaller than yours and used a much lower voltage generator. i only had a 6V motor on hand which is quite high rpm so this is more of a prototype for future builds. spinning in about 10-15 mph winds it only produces 1V at 3A :( hopefully my next one will produce more :) thanks for all the help your instructable gave me. p.s. the same happened to me, the day i put it up, not a breath of wind, and i live in Scotland, usually pretty windy!
Does anyone have a charge controller in a pcb program?
spurgco6 years ago
Is there any reason a Volkswagon generator couldn't be used? The air-cooled 1600 engines had a 12v30A generator.
what if you use a car alternator
Well, with a few alterations you can. See the following YouTube videos for instructions on how. I'm in the process right now.

getknown niv6 years ago
Car alternators have a high cut in speed before they start producing electricity. However, you can lower the cut in speed by rewiring the status with thinner wire and it will lower the cut in speed. When I built my generator in high school, the turbine could spin fast enough to power up. Using bicycle gears we had a ratio of 2:1 or something. I guess in low wind it just wont tick over at all. But once it cuts in it really produces alot of power. We chose it over a generator which will start producing once it moves but we wanted to go for max power gen, so the car alternator was the way to go. An auto electrician helped me with rewiring the alternator and even gave me an old alternator free. I think I made it for about $20.
An alternator's magnet is an electromagnet, so, you'd have to power it for it to generate power. (I'm pretty sure, at least.)
askjerry JuCo6 years ago
Actually not.

The difference between a DC motor (or DC generator) and an alternator is a commutator. An alternator will produce a rising pulse as the motor is turned through 180 degrees, then it will produce a negative pulse through the next 180 degrees... the pulse ALTERNATES (hence the name) each 180 degrees.

A commutator is a set of leads that reverses every 180 degrees... so the output is a series of positive only pulses. If you take an alternator and run the outputs through a full wave bridge rectifier you will accomplish the same thing... only at a 1.4 vdc loss typical. (Diodes have a 0.7 voltage drop... and there are always two in the path of the bridge.)


(Yeah... I know... other diodes only have a 0.3 v drop... that's another lesson!)
JuCo askjerry6 years ago
nice. so, with the right gearing, an alternator could be hooked to a turbine as a generator?
askjerry JuCo6 years ago
Yup... in fact, they work rather well. Several will produce 100 volts or so... this means that at slower RPM they are still putting out a good amount of voltage. Additionally, since they are AC, they can be run through a transformer... but generally that just wastes power. It depends on your application.
JuCo askjerry6 years ago
wait... AC? are we both talking about alternators from a car? those aren't DC?
askjerry JuCo6 years ago
The alternator is actually AC... it then passes through diodes which convert it to DC.
JuCo askjerry6 years ago
right, right... because diodes are like one way roads, right? that's how it can go into a battery?
askjerry JuCo6 years ago
Yes... this should clarify it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diode_bridge
JuCo askjerry6 years ago
cool, thanks
JuCo JuCo6 years ago
P.S.- sorry about so many questions... i've no real training when it comes to any of this stuff and only know what i've picked up here 'n' there
static askjerry6 years ago
True an automotive alternator is capable of producing up to 120 volts to operate hand power tools that use universal motors, but there are caveats. The full battery voltage has to be applied to the field, the battery isn't being charged in this mode of operation will eventually run down. The alternator has to be turned at a higher speed yet. I have known folks done this on a near daily basis, and this is hard on alternators. As for using transformers, where this use is no where near 60 cycle AC, of the shelf transformers may over heat.
Be careful, the amount of voltage may be misleading. Alternators are designed to charge at pretty high RPMs... A lower RPM axial flux alternator is optimal for this application. However, alternators are easy to find and do still produce some power.
static JuCo6 years ago
If you have a source of mother earth news back issues you can access, search for their "Red Baron" project or was that the Blue baron? Nope it's the Blue Max http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/1985-05-01/The-Blue-Max-Affordable-Wind-Power.aspx a 350watt power wind plant. A fairly involved project, one that I don't believe that could stand up to the High Plains wind I'd be subjecting it to.
static askjerry6 years ago
Actually yes :) like an automotive generator, an automotive Alternator uses an electromagnetic field, that requires power. As others mention the drawback of an automotive alternator is it require a high speed to work well.
askjerry static6 years ago
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternator

I'll give you that an alternator can have power applied until it gets up to rotational speed, but it is not required if you use a relay to switch the load once it has enough output. The current then will come from the alternator it's self.

Quote: Modern automotive alternators have a voltage regulator built into them. The voltage regulator operates by modulating the small field current in order to produce a constant voltage at the stator output. The field current is much smaller than the output current of the alternator; for example, a 70-amp alternator may need only 2 amps of field current. The field current is supplied to the rotor windings by slip rings and brushes. The low current and relatively smooth slip rings ensure greater reliability and longer life than that obtained by a DC generator with its commutator and higher current being passed through its brushes.

This is covered here...

Quote: The field windings are initially supplied via the ignition switch and charge warning light, which is why the light glows when the ignition is on but the engine is not running. Once the engine is running and the alternator is generating, a diode feeds the field current from the alternator main output, thus equalizing the voltage across the warning light which goes out. The wire supplying the field current is often referred to as the "exciter" wire. The drawback of this arrangement is that if the warning light fails or the "exciter" wire is disconnected, no excitation current reaches the alternator field windings and so the alternator, due to low residual magnetism in the rotor will not generate any power. However, some alternators will self-excite when the engine is revved to a certain speed. The driver may check for a faulty exciter-circuit by ensuring that the warning light is glowing with the engine stopped.

I hope this clarifies it a bit.
mdavis19 (author)  titsanonymous6 years ago
Car alternators need to be turned at pretty high RPMs to produce a useful amount of power. Most wind turbines just don't spin fast enough.
Youll need to get HIGH RPM to get it to generate power.
What about rain? What do you do when it rains, if it rains. water proof motor, dry it off after the rain, take it in before the rain.
I just made a turbine with a small 2 by 2 by 1 inch motor. it looks awesome and produced allot for it's size. For each pin I had to direct it with diodes.
junojo6 years ago
i have a question what about the generator that has been used in the Car to charge the battery can we used that on
Jodex6 years ago
I already have those blades made. Now I just need to make the other parts..
chevy796 years ago
Nice rig you built there, looks like the blades are backwards. It will work, but much less efficiently. Turn them around and maybe you'll have enough power to run a bigger inverter to power up your GF's Hair Dryer.
chrisspicey6 years ago
hi, im thinking about building a turbine but i don't really have a clue what kind of motor i would need.... help?
citrus6 years ago
hahahahaha. oh man... a friend and i made our own turbine to bring to Burning Man for that year's "The Green Man" theme, and we made the EXACT same mistake of holding it up to the wind in curiosity with no load. suffice to say we learned our lesson about holding onto very heavy objects with sharp bits that spin at high speeds :D
Charles IV6 years ago
I know this may seem like a dumb question, but, on the charge controller PCB board where does ground actually go?
"Ground" is negative.
Sun Gear6 years ago
i have a motor that i think is ac (the motor plugs directly into the wall) could i use it? and could i hook up the wind turbine to my house?
"i have a motor that i think is ac (the motor plugs directly into the wall) could i use it? and could i hook up the wind turbine to my house?" A/C motors have an electromagnetic field winding, and that means they are not usable for generating electricity. You will want a D/C motor, or a D/C generator.
oh k thanks
Demented6 years ago
I've been asking around the net but no one seems to want to answer me. Can you connect a motor to a dynamo and the dynamo to the motor which will give you an unlimited supply of electricity? Assuming that there is no such thing as wear and tear. Of course maybe you'll need to spin the dynamo yourself first but after that, could that circuit give you an endless supply of electricity?
ccandb Demented6 years ago
Tesla, who was a genius at AC and DC Voltages and how to control them. He Designed a way to take DC to incredible Voltages and then run them thru a spark gap and then trap or quench them in such a way to stop the electrons and let pure energy thru. This energy he called "radiant" and he said it was the very wheel work of nature and considered it better than AC/DC. Once "radiant" energy is released, the more load you give it the more it provides and becomes self sustaining. Hope this helps.
"This energy he called "radiant" and he said it was the very wheel work of nature and considered it better than AC/DC."

Yeah, and he was wrong. *SHRUG!* He even knew better, since Maxwell's equations explained why it doesn't work, but he tried it any way and failed.
Dude. No. Read a physics book. The conservation of energy applies everywhere.
KeithB Demented6 years ago
What you are dreaming of is "perpetual motion"!! The energy losses in the system will always result in the system winding down and stopping. you will have to add more energy to the system in order for it to do "work". Hope this helps you in your quest !!!
Renagade KeithB6 years ago
well actually scientists have thought of a way to get infinite conductivity, its a theory. This theory states that if a certain plastic was to freeze to absolute zero then the conductivity would be infinite. Such as if you have a loop of this frozen plastic and send a pulse of elec. into it it will continue forever. but its a theory so who knows.
To get anything to the temperature known as "absolute zero" or 0 kelvin, it will require an infinite amount of energy, which defeats the purpose of making a perfect conductor. It would be a very cool thing, but more of a baking soda + vinegar experiment, with no real practicality
absolute zero is impossible to reach (except maybe in space)
well actually it wouldn't require infinite, but yes it would need a lot, you know people are almost there already? so yeah maybe not infinite but a great deal
0 Kelvin is a theoretical temperature, in which there is actually no heat, or no movement, however you would like to interpret it. It was established essentially to be the beginning of the scale, since you have to start somewhere. It is theoretical because it is the temperature at which electrons stop moving around the nucleus.

However, what you were saying before is correct about superconductivity. Some materials do show this unusual property at very low temperatures, things like 1/1,000,000,000th of a degree over 0 Kelvin.

Quoted from Wikipedia:
"Though it is not theoretically possible to cool any substance to 0 K,[2] scientists have made great advancements in achieving temperatures close to absolute zero, where matter exhibits quantum effects such as superconductivity and superfluidity. In 2000 the Helsinki University of Technology reported reaching temperatures of 100 pK (1×10−10K), which is the coldest temperature ever produced in a lab."

Very cool (get it?) stuff indeed though!
intresting...ok well, if 0 kelvin isnt THEORETICALLY possible then at least we've got the next best thing right? :)
absolutely not. resonance is the closest thing and still absolutely not.
You can never do that on our earth. There's way too many forces acting on the machines when you're not looking. For example, your machine may encounter air friction, disturbing the energy equilibrium. Even if you , in a hypothetical scenario, manage to get it running for at least a minute, even the energy of photons deflected from it will be enough to send it into chaos. Of course, in outer space, find a place without gravity and newton's first law ensures perpetual motion, even without a dynamo and a motor.
mdavis19 (author)  Demented6 years ago
No. What you are envisioning is a perpetual motion machine. They are impossible. They violate several laws of physics. You can never get as much energy back out of a system as you put in, let alone an endless amount.
ipodgeek6 years ago
Aloha, This is a great instructable! I read through the whole thing and really enjoyed reading it very much. I would like to do something like this sometime. I have a car alternator and was wondering if that would work for making a wind turbine charging my 12 volt car battery I have. I also have a 350 watt DC 12V to AC 120V inverter. How many watts is your inverter? I have already tested my desktop computer and LCD monitor on it and ran it for about 10 minutes and it worked great. I think it should be able to run for over an hour but I haven't been able to test it yet. I also want to run lights on it too when the power goes out.
"I have a car alternator and was wondering if that would work for making a wind turbine charging my 12 volt car battery I have." The alternator must be regulated before it will charge a 12vDC system (actually, a 13.8 system or a 14.4 system, depending on battery type). Most automotive alternators come with a regulator on them; you will also want some kind of charge controller to keep the batteries from over-charging. Also, an alternator must have its field coil connected to a battery or it will not produce electricity.
steksken6 years ago
Hey mdavis, Your and faroun's project about the construction of a proper wind turbine ispired me a lot. This projects drives me crazy and i'm looking hours and hours on the internet finding appropriate material. This is my situation: I'm living in a windy environment in Belgium and i would like to install a double savonious wind turbine. My goal is to create between 5 and 6 Kwh annual. This to cover my personal electricity bill. These are the steps that i would make: 1) Bought on ebay wind analysis program to evaluate exactly to wind pace, length, ... 2) Construction of the cylinders and structure 3) Testing rpm with or without wind deflection 4) Inverter (windy boy 6000, xantrex Xw, ...) 5) Charge controller 6000 Watt 6) Dummy load 7) Installation of generators 8) If necessary installation of additional cogwheels to increase RPM 9) Testing-Measuring-Testing-Measuring-... 10) Improvement, Improvement... For the moment i'm stuck on step 5 and 6 (Charge Controller and dummy load) Is there anyone who can help me for this kind of job? Step 5 and/or 6? Of course i put all the steps on instructables.com Kind Regards, Wim-Belgium
karlazz836 years ago
How much give or take would you say it will cost to build this turbine? I've also heard that you can't have some of these in city limits? Any ideas? Thanks!!
Would it work to convert or reverse a model air plane motor? Since technically they use a DC motor...
It should work, but the power produced wouldn't be very much. You can think of it this way (even though it's not totally accurate): If you have a model plane motor, the power it puts out in generator form would be equivalent to the power it consumed as a motor. Also, you would only get a good return if you spun it at the several thousand RPMs that it would normally spin if a propeller was attached.
hazzadobo6 years ago
i was thinking of making a small, experimental wind turbine out of a few computer fans, i am planning to use about 5 or 6 inline, would they generate much electricity? In science at school my teacher said that any motor could be a generator, but it just might not be a very efficient one.
they are horrible generators just one fan spinning SUPER-FAST barley light up a dim LED and i speak from experience
Most computer fans use brushless DC motors, and unless I'm mistaken, I don't think brushless motors will act as generators. Someone feel free to correct me if I'm incorrect.
they won't
Thank you. I do wonder what the next best small scale alternative is?
I tried it with 2" abs 10" long it works great
hcold6 years ago
It seems you'd increase efficency by wiring the laptop directly into the 12-volt, instead of inverting to to 120 volt and then having the laptops own inverter convert back to 12 volt.
mdavis19 (author)  hcold6 years ago
The laptop doesn't run on 12 Volts. It requires 20 Volts. The external powersupply/charger unit converts 120 VAC to 20 VDC. I suppose I could use a high efficiency 12 to 20 Volt DC-DC converter and improve efficiency somewhat. But I'm not sure where I would find one.
actually laptops AC connector run off of 10 volts to 19 mine is 18 and the battery runs at 5 volts to 19
hcold mdavis196 years ago
http://www.powerstream.com/dc2.htm seems to have a fairly comphrehensive list of DC-DC adapters for laptops. The prices are around $80 though, so you'd have to work out whether or not it's saving money in long-term over DC-AC-DC system you have going.
snake2106036 years ago
hi,i want to know something,what does the charge and dump button do?
snake2106036 years ago
hi friend,your design and idea is very interesting.in fact i am building a wind generator too with gearing system due to the high rpm of the motor.i needed a charge controller,so i tried to build it from your schematic but i am having great difficulty in mounting the electronic components.can you please help me out.thanks
CPUnltd6 years ago
All in all, how much would a project like this cost? looking to put this project into action for myself and would like an idea on a rough estimate total cost.
vailo CPUnltd6 years ago
That's in step 13, "How much would it cost?"
DeanC993 vailo6 years ago
sorry better look next time
DeanC9936 years ago
Hi that turbine is great, OUTSTANDING you must be very smart i am starting to make one that will power 3 volts not much but ok for me i saw this one on mdpub.com does it power 30 volts? How much did the generator cost? Best Regards, Dean
Vinzz6 years ago
Nice work friends!!!
walksleeper6 years ago
i am just wondering how much energy it puts out
bike folder6 years ago
With our economy I'm looking at some land in central Oregon. This would be a good article to submit to Mother Earth News.
mattccc6 years ago
nice job
cd416 years ago
i wish you had taped that that would have made my day
oddie12126 years ago
I would like to know what are some alternative generators (/motors) that can be used for this project instead of something that may be hard to find. I understand it takes a certain type of generator to accomplish this but additional list of devices would be nice instead of just the Ametek motors. Does any one have other motors to be able to use for this type of project?
mdavis19 (author)  oddie12126 years ago
The type of Ametek motor I used isn't really all that hard to find, but they have gotten very expensive as people have come to realize they make great generators for wind turbines. There are other alternatives. Just about any permanent magnet DC motor rated for relatively high voltage and relatively low RPMs would make a decent generator. Motors from battery powered electric lawn mowers, battery powered floor buffers and lots of types of servo motors would work too. Also lots of other industrial DC motors.
how bout a vacuum?
jmgasser6 years ago
i like your design. but can you tell me where to find a good used dc motor?
ranga333eie6 years ago
can you tell me why cannot we measure current at nutral point
jomaro6 years ago
Well done mdavis 19! Nice web page also.
For those of you wanting to know more about slip rings try this ,link.
If you don't find the two photos of a red plastic stuff on top of a tower, let me know.
As you can see, there are tree ring and tree double brushes.

Good luck!

osamaawadi6 years ago
very very very verygood wind turbine
PeaceRabit6 years ago
that's really cool!
Kudos on a great project, and also on your 60 watt PV panels. Great to see Yankee enginunity work.
Bigbloosky6 years ago
I'm no physicist, but would adding blades increase your efficiency, or diminish it? Great Job! I like it!
mdavis19 (author)  Bigbloosky6 years ago
From what I understand, turbines with even numbers of blades tend to suffer badly from vibration. So you have to add blades two at a time. More blades means more torque, but also more drag and slower speeds. Eventually you wind up with turbines like the water pumping mills you see on farms and ranches that have lots of blades and turn slowly, but have tremendous torque. Generators like to turn fast, so most electricity generating wind turbines don't have more than 5 blades. Three is more normal.
Marsh6 years ago
Eventually the wire coming down from the generator could possibly twist until it breaks. Have you investigated some means of connecting the generator through brushes or something?
hernanai Marsh6 years ago
have you seen the brakes that are used for BMX bikes? something like that would be great to prevent breakage...
nngreen6 years ago
Any info or contacts for building bicycle driven electric generator? You know like the one the Professor on Gilligan's Island had to run the transitor radio.
wolfy_90056 years ago
I forgot the site, but it tells you how to convert an alternator to produce 110V...
That's really good| I've seen your other 'ible when you were talking about your property in Arizona, i thought there was like a small shack, but it's really in the middle of nowhere!
mdavis19 (author)  lordofthedonuts6 years ago
Yes, my property is raw, unimproved land. No structures at all. No water, power, sewer, phone or anything. The road in is barely worthy of being called a road. It is really just a set of parallel ruts. I do get cell phone reception on the property, but it is weak and I have to stand in just the right spot, or it fades out entirely. I have been camping on the property for years now. I eventually want to put a small cabin on it and power it with wind and solar.
polo99a96 years ago
the tabs will brake because you cut them wrong. I suggest that you should make the cut round, because the tension is building up in the corner. when rounded up, the tension is spread more evenly, so there is a better chance that they won't brake.
mdavis19 (author)  polo99a96 years ago
I found that the tabs aren't necessary at all. My web site at http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/ shows how the turbine blades work now without tabs after they eventually broke.
Excellent, very well made and good instructable, 5*'s

gardnerp6 years ago
Very cool! Your instructions really seem show that wind power within reach for many of us. Thanks! PS: Also, I appreciate your updates!
tubajoey16 years ago
how might one go about making this slip ring? im really into this stuff, and im good at making things, but im undereducated on part names...lol
nutjob6 years ago
Looks like a lot of work. You use an external automotive voltage regulator, or even a alternator with built in regulator? As far as your tower. You could have gone a larger 10 foot pole and put a reducer and a smaller and shorter length for a more effective stop on your guy wires. Just the same it looks like it does the job well.
AWESOME!! very cool thanks for sharing.
DanAdamKOF6 years ago
This is absolutely amazing work. With my electricity bill being as high as it is (you live in Florida, so you know it can get just as hot as Texas), I have to wonder what it would take to power the air conditioning unit...
bmake6 years ago
How would you build a tower with two sections of 10' pipe? Do you think a threaded coupling and another tier of guy wires would be strong enough?
I absolutely love this project mike, I am a true disciple. I hope you don't mind I used some of it in my truly free electricity post here on Instructables. I use alcohol evaporation to drive a tesla turbine attached to your wind turbine design without the prop ofcourse. the charge controller is a true masterpiece. oh by the way you got mail..
woah, I think I have three of those motors in my junk box....hmmmmm....
rimar20006 years ago
Very good work! I like the hinges to lift the tower, and the strong blades attachment. You knows to work. Seems to me that a 8 more long inches tail would be beneficial, unless the winds be very stable. Pardon my English, I live in Argentina.
Very thorough and well documented. Thanks for sharing.
Plasmana6 years ago
This is a great instructable! I will build one soon! 5 stars!
PKM6 years ago
Awesome! This is probably the simplest DIY wind turbine build I've seen to date, and the fact that it cost you $140 is making me more tempted to try one (or perhaps persuade friends with more land to try one :D ) If you want a simple way to add a regulator, I would suggest using an anemometer that switches a relay (replacing your dump switch) to dump the turbine output through your dummy load when wind speeds pick up to storm force. This could be as simple as attaching an anemometer head to a smaller DC motor mounted on the tower, and when the voltage produced by that hits a certain level that you have calibrated to excessive winds it switches the relay on.
steveharr6 years ago
Looks nice and simple but.... how do you stop the cable eventually getting twisted and breaking?
UrYa6 years ago
Hi this is really cool. Here in Israel the weather seems to be like your weather :-) Thanks for sharing
capricorn6 years ago
Respect the man. I'm showing this to the co owners in the condo and see what we can come out with :)
STF6 years ago
Thats cool man, It would be great for camping if you got enough wind. What speed wind do you need to produce a decent amount of power?
great! simple, easy, pretty! I'm jealous of your property, as I currently own none. Have you measured the actual output? or just ballparking it off of basic comnsumption
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
I remember seeing this on your site. Great project. I'll probably build one in a few months