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Pringles Wind Turbine (Pleech) - Version One

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Picture of Pringles Wind Turbine (Pleech) - Version One
The Pringles Wind Turbine (a.k.a. Power Leech or Pleech) is an attempt to turn simple items found at the hardware store and elsewhere into a working low-voltage power supply. The Pleech is designed to take wind or other air currents (such as from A/C ducts, dryer vents, etc.) and convert that energy into electrical energy using magnets and copper coils.

It was created as part of my final project for the Design and Technology Major Studio class at Parsons The New School for Design.
 
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Step 1: Collect Materials

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You will need:
Pringles Can
Two CDs
Paper towel holder (preferably metal)
12 Aluminum bobbins (NOT steel)
Magnet Wire (lots of it, the thinner the gauge the better -- try for 36 gauge)
8 strong magnets (rare earth preferred)
a wine cork
hot glue
and these electronics:
  • 6 schottky diodes (1N5822)
  • Large capacitor, pref, super cap
  • wire
  • solder

Step 2: Cut the Pringles Can

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You'll need to cut the can into two halves lengthwise. Be sure to mark it carefully. Uneven halves will create an unbalanced turbine. Metal snips help -- easier than scissors, less ragged than a saw.

Step 3: Mark out the CDs

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In order to make sure all the different parts of the turbine get put into the right place, it helps to write guides onto the CDs with a sharpie. Lucky for you, though, that you can also use the templates I made after my build was done. Just check out those PDF files. They have all you need to know for placing the can halves, magnets, coils, electronics, and they include a helpful wiring guide.

If you choose to mark you own guides, I found the transparent "CD" that comes with some CD-R spindles was helpful to use as a template.
Can you tell me what was the benifit of your creativity???????????????
jhd043 years ago
 www.mouser.com

If it bleeps, bloops, blinks, or conducts, they're the source.  If they don't have it, it's probably not made anywhere.  Just gotta know EXACTLY what you're looking for.
emdarcher4 years ago
Would plastic bobbins break in the coil winding process if I used a drill on them? And how should I make the cut on the pringles can straight?
They shouldn't break.  I believe this because One String Willie used plastic ones in the article for his electromagnetic pickup in Make: Vol. 22 Remote Control Everything.  But he used a sewing machine's bobbin wrapper to make his coils.  I would recommend you do that instead of using a drill because it would give you a better coil and automatically lays the wire out evenly.  For the cutting of the Pringles can, I recommend using another trick from Make:.  This trick was used in Episode 7 of Make: Television, Urban Projections & Wind Power Generator, to cut turbine blades, PDF of Project, Video of Project, and a link to the Make: Television Episode Guide with links to each episode and PDFs of all the projects.  But for the can I would use a piece of cardboard or heavy paper folded at a 45-degree angle to draw the cut lines.  Hope I helped.
This is a great project. Last quarter I taught a class called Alternative Energy Design/Build at Portland State University, and one of my students used this instructable as the groundwork for his project. 

After the class was over he decided to continue the project by creating a website for it. Check it out: windpowerproject.atspace.com/main.html
sew15 years ago
Hi Mike, you seem to be the brains behind this outfit!! I have collected most of the bits needed but am having problems finding a SUPER CAP. What is the British name for this. I'm assuming its an American term as most electrical people keep telling me to get the ratings and power etc. Could you help, cheers fella.
mikejedw (author)  sew14 years ago
Mouser has a bunch of them, as will similar on-line electronics stores.  Keep an eye on the farad and voltage ratings when you decide which kind you want.
static sew14 years ago
 I'm not Mike, nor the brains. A super cap is a capacitor with a high Farad value. Actually expressed in Farad, not microfarad or picofarad. In that 6 volts was the highest voltage mention in the article, any capacitor should be rated for six volts or more. I believe Mike mention a  value of .6 Farad. In this low power application a power value isn't relative.While mike insist on a supercap, I'm sure a common 470 micro farad capacitor with a voltage rating of 6 V. or more wold result in a functional turbine. UNLESS you seriously have a micro power application where you want to use it, it that case using a battery in place of the capacitor.
Killa-X4 years ago
where can one get 12 Aluminum bobbins?
mikejedw (author)  Killa-X4 years ago
I was able to find them at a sewing supply shop here in NYC.
SG1Oniell4 years ago
how much electricity would it be able to generate if you hooked it up to say... one of the tesla turbines here on instructables(15000rpm)?
frelo4 years ago
I almost done my project but i can`t finish it because I don't know anything about capacitors. Could anyone help me? Any parameter`s?
clint1145 years ago
Could you put a clear CD between them to keep the magnets from bumping onto the coils?
U CAN,WITH A LITTLE CHANGE IN PERMEABILITY......CANT SAY HOW MUCH IT WILL AFFECT CURRENT GENERATION.
mhelo754 years ago
Sir may i ask whats the rating in terms of microfarad and voltage is your capacitor? thanks for the instructibles. im going to build this design of yours so i would have an idea of the basic and build a bigger one.
jshowell4 years ago
how about instead of a pringles can you use a squirrel cage like this one:
http://www.sciplus.com/recommend.cfm/recommendid/9940
and glue the magnets to the bottom and top of the cage. Gain electricity from both ends. Also there might be no need for a towel dispenser so airflow might be increased.
strmrnnr4 years ago
Couple of suggestions you have likely seen by now.

Levitation bearing magnets could likely be used and thinner coils with more wraps. I was throwing figures in an inductance calculator this Winter and found that the length of the coil really didn't make a difference most of the time except to use more wire, and make the coil more stable. If the coil is glued on a flat surface then stability is not a factor to worry about.

Also, other experiments I have seen use 4 magnets / 3 coils, but the wiring was a little different. That is what makes it tough for me as you guys all have new ideas and do this=ngs a little different. I guess when I finally get around to throwing one together mine while be different again.

Nice job!
ok i know you must have done ALOT of Turns on these bobbins... ALOT! haha can you round a number in telling me?
et3344 years ago
wouldn't it double the efficiency is you add coils and magnets on the other end as well? maybe just reverse them bcuz of reversed direction? this could probably be powered by falling water as well like a drain pipe or the down pipe of some building's gutters when it rains.
markomiz4 years ago
10 magnets######
markomiz4 years ago
i made a similar design using 15 coils on steel bobbins with 36 awg wire and 15 magnets, unfotunately i made my propellery spinny bit too heavy (mainly made from MDF ((the magnets snapped the cd's in half because they needed to be too close together)), i realise now how stupid that was) so the wind didnt want to turn it but using my hands to spin it i got 22 volts, however i believe if i had used plastic bobbins i could have got an even higher voltage, steel bobbins created a resistance and made it harder to turn, also because of the strong attraction to the magnets i couldnt set it up for the magnets to spin less than about 4cm above the coils, with plastic bobbins you could probably get the gap to few mm. any questions: markomizdrak@hotmail.co.uk
stevenhowk5 years ago
dude your instructions are so complicated man i can't understand every steps what you want us to do
Xedrius5 years ago
How many Gausses should they have? and how many amp produce it? i want to make one of 5 watt aprox i dont know if this is possible with your design
DrJekyl5 years ago
Actually, just try this out: Does this thing generate more power when the AC is venting out hot air? The higher temperature the air is at, the more energy its particles possess. This would mean that when these air particles collide with the surface of the turbine blades, they would be getting more work done while losing some heat, and hopefully you'd get a higher RPM.
Actually NO. Hot air is less dense and thus pushes the turbine with less force.
Right. Air temperature is also an important factor in wind power generation. Cold air is more dense than hot air. Thus, wind turbines are able to generate about 5% more power at any given wind speed in the winter than they are during the hot days of summer.
qballcat5 years ago
love the ible, but one thing the rectifying thing can someone post it as a schematic where its a bunch of lines like http://faculty.frostburg.edu/phys/latta/ee/6cl6xmtr/6cl6schematic655.gif
nevermind, i figured it out. but can i use a plastic bobbin?
are the grouped simply for organization during the wiring? or is there a difference between the groups in material or manufacturing methods
just for simplicity's sake, there is no point to the groups but its easier to wire
DrJekyl5 years ago
Looks neat. Didn't those magnets attract/repel each other, while being fitted so close? Did you have to hold them in place till they stuck to the CD?
wheatstone5 years ago
To join the wires together I used a quick method...telecom connectors from all tronics 10 for $2.00 . Just insert the wires and snap the button with a pair of plyers. DONE! Or see your local telephone man butter him or her up and maybe they would have extras to lend. These connectors even have a sealing silicone to wheather proof the wires! Hey they work on your land lines so why not here.
markomiz5 years ago
im currently building a similar design for a school project instead of using 12 coils and 8 magnets would 15 coils and 10 magnets be better? also what is the best way to maximise voltage? ( not too interested in current) thanks :)
create3605 years ago
ok. i love the concept, but i have a thought... doesn't placing the turbine near the opening of a dryer vent, etc. add drag/resistance to the dryer vent itself; making the dryer have to work somewhat more to ventilate? meaning the power you capture is actually adding more work to another device. thus, negating the overall effect. maybe i'm building a poor visual model in my head and PLEASE correct me if i'm wrong here. i could very well be wrong! :) in fact, it kinda reminds me of putting your hand in front of a garden hose spray...and in my mind, that DOES NOT add resistance to the flow of water IN the hose. now i'm confusing myself.. systems that capture lost energy from drain pipes (gravity powered) seem to make more sense to me. capturing this source of power is capturing something that is lost anyway. j
mahmood135 years ago
Could any one tell me how much uF and volts that the capacitor should be ?? Thanks
emdarcher5 years ago
could you make a video of this working
emdarcher5 years ago
are those rare earth magnets you used? where did you get those magnets and the bobbins?
Do pardon all the dumb questions from me, but I was wondering: do you have any advice on how to securely fasten 8 rare earth magnets to a CD in a circle? The pull they exert on each other is so strong that it wrecks every glue and tape job that I've tried, including gorilla tape and epoxy. How did you do it?
From my experience the ONLY way to use rare earth magnets is with some type of steel/iron backing. Like you I found this out the hard way. Without steel to grip the magnets they will fly everywhere, no matter what you do. Plastic is therefore useless in this situation. Hope this helps.
Your comment helped immensely. Thank you very much =). Now I just gotta find me some of those...
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