Making Light from Magnetism: Electromagnetic Induction & the Bedini Machine

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Great discoveries are sometimes made by more than one person at the same time. Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction at much the same time. Faraday published the results of his work in 1831, before Henry, and so gets the credit. Strange to say, many scientists of Faraday's time did not accept his findings, chiefly because he had no mathematics to back it up (Faraday's laboratory work was empirical and intuitive, and belonged to an older school of scientific research usually called Natural Philosophy). Alessandro Volta had invented the electric pile, or battery, in 1800. By 1820, Hans Christian Oersted discovered the first half of the link between electricity and magnetism when he found charged wires affected a compass needle. It remained for Faraday to close the loop when he showed how magnetism could be used to generate electricity. This was called electromagnetic induction, and it was another step on a long road of scientific and technological achievement that led to all of us sitting in front of computers, reading on the Internet.

Electromagnetic induction is the creation of potential difference (voltage) through a conductor when it is exposed to a varying or moving magnetic field. Faraday discovered this in the course of several famous experiments I will not detail here. This effect can be demonstrated with a simple coil of fine copper wire and a magnet, but that's not nearly as interesting as building a device that will generate electricity, charge almost any type of battery, light up a bright LED, and look cool while doing it. So for this project of Making Light from Magnetism, let me next introduce the Bedini SSG device.
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baudeagle3 months ago

I think I spoke to you at the NC Maker Faire. Thanks for demonstrating these.

Mr. Apol (author)  baudeagle3 months ago
Thanks for coming by! I enjoyed the Faire a lot.

Eyvindr4 months ago

I was wondering... would it be possible to use a stepper motor to charge a capacitor to serve as the power supply, if you were able to create a generation of 12 V?

Mr. Apol (author)  Eyvindr4 months ago

The device will easily run on any DC power source up to 50 volts or so (which is the maximum rating of the transistor, as I recall). Best practice is to match the input with the output, though.

Eyvindr Mr. Apol4 months ago

Awesome, thanks! I think I'm now onto my next project.

Charly_ZA7 months ago

Hi, what were the measurements of our magnets?

Mr. Apol (author)  Charly_ZA7 months ago

I'm not sure what you mean, but the strontium-ferrite ceramic magnets listed are rated "C8," which I believe is the strongest rating in their category.

Thanks. I'd really like to do this for a high school science fair that I have in about 5 months. I live in a small country and the variety/choice of available tools isn't great. If I can't find a spindle it looks like I'm going to need to 3D print it.

Would these N35 magnets work? They are circular (I know you said that the shape isn't important) and a bit smaller and thinner. I asked the seller of these magnets and he said that they are N35 but doesn't the N mean that it's Neodymium. It says that they are ceramic ferrite magnets.

Would this Neon light be fine? I'd have to make some modifications to the circuit board because they're not quite the same.

All help is really appreciated

Mr. Apol (author)  Charly_ZA7 months ago

Those magnets ought to work. Make sure they they pass directly over the core of your bifilar coil. N35 is a strength rating for neodymium magnets, but the page clearly states they are ferrite.

The neon bulb is rather too fancy for your needs, though it will work. Try to find a bare Ne-2 bulb; they are about 10 cents (American) apiece.

Good luck with your project. Send me photos when you're done!


I will be sure to share some photos when I'm done. Thanks for all the help so far. I hope I don't bother you with all these questions. I'm going to use 21SWG and 25SWG cable. I hope that's fine.

Mr. Apol (author)  Charly_ZA7 months ago
No bother at all. If you have any problems, ask.

Mr. Apol (author)  Charly_ZA7 months ago

Or, if you mean how big are the magnets, they measure 1 7/8 (48) x 7/8 (22.5) x 3/8 (10) inches (mm).

Topteddy498 months ago
Go on! if I had four multi-meters there I would be measuring current voltage in and current voltage out. you're not telling me you're not giving it a try?
Mr. Apol (author)  Topteddy498 months ago

I've measured voltage in and voltage out, but it's not relevant to this build. The SSG's high voltage spikes, like most induction coils, trade amps for volts.

tealy9 months ago
Very good thanks for sharing that bud
audreyobscura9 months ago
So cool! I completely appreciate the history lesson associated with this Instructable, and am very inspired to make other cool stuff that incorporates aspects of this build! Thank you so much for the share.
Mr. Apol (author)  audreyobscura9 months ago
Thanks for the kind words. I'd like to hear about what variations, etc., you come up with!

cr8smthng9 months ago
Love your instructables, great way to teach my kids some scientific concepts. Got my vote!
Mr. Apol (author)  cr8smthng9 months ago
Thanks, I'm glad to hear that.

Kiteman9 months ago
So... you've built an electric motor to run a generator to power an LED?

You do realise you could have run banks of LEDs if you'd powered them directly from the batteries?
Mr. Apol (author)  Kiteman9 months ago
That's not the point. The point is to demonstrate electromagnetic induction. Also, the SSG recharges all sort of batteries usually considered un-rechargeable.
Kiteman Mr. Apol9 months ago
Hmmm, I'll withhold comment there.
Mr. Apol (author)  Kiteman9 months ago
Why? I've made it clear I do not endorse the claims made about the device. But in this form it powers the LED and charges batteries. That's all it's meant to do.
Kiteman Mr. Apol9 months ago
Which is why I withheld comment - now is not the time to argue about it.