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

Picture of Collect Materials
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

Picture of Cut the Pringles Can
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

Picture of Mark out the CDs
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.
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Skateboard bearings would work nicely, but I think you'd do a fair bit better hitting up an Ace hardware and picking through the multitude of bearings they it have for sale. Personally, I think you'd do very nicely with a set of cartridge bearings - think of the front wheel on a tricycle. It would be nice and cheap, and if you want to go cheaper, visit a small engine repair shop and I guarantee they will have a plethora just lying around and in equipment deemed not worth the trouble to repair. I got a set that way just last week from two destroyed weed whacker motors. They're smooth as silk
jgobaira1 year ago
Pardon, but I'm doing a science fair project on VAWT's and I was wondering exactly how it rotates the coil or magnets around eachother... as I am building my own model oit of a coke bottle, with a slightly different design.

nerdyH3 years ago
A solvent like wd-40 might be good for flushing away metal dust (say, from aluminum nails). But, I wonder if needle bearings like a little bit of grease, the way so many other types of bearings do?
chadeau nerdyH2 years ago
Oil and/or grease is the lifeblood of bearings.Ensure you have an enclosed bearing to omit dust and debris,flush clean with alcohol or other degreaser,then relube.But please,do NOT use WD-40 as a lubricant:WD-40 = 'Water Displacement (formula #) 40.WD WILL dry out,evaporate,leaving your bearings with no lube...My prefer on grease is any automotive wheel bearing grease,usually @ $5.00 per tub (not tube :) ) because of the environ it is designed to work in.For oils I like the Tri-Flo brand for bicycles (many specific formulas available) with the 'all-around' formula as a favorite.Tri-Flo will not only flush debris as a cleaner,but will stick well.Be sure to re-apply after exposure to water.
And then there are dry-film lubes...
chadeau chadeau2 years ago
...and Yes,needle bearings like grease.All ball,and needle bearings need lube.
Only sealed bearings and Oil-lite bronze bushings can exist without lube (sealed contain their own lube,Oil-lite bronze is impregnated into metal during mfr...)
VoltisArt2 years ago
One thought that's come to mind regarding bearings -- this is another place magnets can help. I looked around and the easiest source seems to be computer case fans. Very low friction. Then it occured to me that the fan itself, (minus blades for higher speed, though the cooling factor may benefit the workings?) may be a great option to simplify the entire endpiece.

I have a handful of 92mm case fans from the close-out shelf of one of the local electronics store. The motors are rated 12v - 0.4a, so the output should be pretty decent without burning anything out for quite some time. Your turbine design should turn these babies very nicely. (I can blow on them and get them turning, so...woosh!) It's a very different machine, but I think it fits the "simple and readily available" criteria.

Am also curious to see how much power could be pulled out of your suggestions for beefing up the coils and such, though.
Tom Buckey2 years ago
Does this work with the sour cream and chive tubes?

On a serious note, can this be used to charge 'Re-Chargeable' batteries?
NightLord2 years ago
What power production really depends on (despite the wind speed), are number of turns per coil, wire resistance, and strength of magnets. It is better to use thicker wire, because it has lower resistivity, and voltage drop under load is smaller. If you only test its voltage there will be no difference, but try measuring current flowing through...
hi again, i just wanted to say that i would really like to get the response as soon as possible, cause i have to submit this project in college.

and i would upload the images of my project as soon as possible so that u r able understand the problems i am facing.

thank you.
read the instrubable, it shows and tells everything
how much energy does this put out? And can you store any of the energy?
hi there, i have to say that this project is a nice one but i am facing some problems such as
1- how many rounds of coil winding are used in this project.
2- i am not able to understand, on which part of the project is the CD with magnets attached is supported i.e. the CD with magnets is too heavy and needs a very good support. would appreciate if u upload pics of the supporting parts.
3- i would be very happy if u could provide me the link for the video of the making of this project.
4- i wasnt able to find the paper towel holder, therefore i made a wooden holder just like the paper holder.
5- a question- can we use LEDs to show the energy produced, and use a rechargeble battery for storing purpose.
bykerboi764 years ago
Also, one of the requirements of the project was that if the wind blew, the project wouldn't blow away. It needed to be stable and supported somehow in the ground of our university field, which is just grass. So I added string, tent stakes to the milk crate which were shoved in the ground and specifically placed at the joints of the milk crate. Worked perfectly for the strong winds whipping through our university. Keep it simple.
bykerboi764 years ago
Great project to do. Easy, and can actually double your amount of energy by putting magnets on the top cd as well. Used a milk crate vs the towel holder. Can fit magnets in the 'diamonds'. Worked wonderfully. Had professors in Physics class asking to reproduce for the school and their own houses. Produced 12 depending on wind speed. Also used pyrex so you could see how it worked. Good stuff free. Everything available online.
Wesley6666 years ago
I have a bunch of hard drive magnets and I was wondering if they would work for the magnets. Also This project is alot like something I've built. I built a big fan and welded it to an alternator and that works wonders for generating power because alternators are so easy to turn. Another question is did you ever test the current and voltage of AC this produced before adding the DC converter/Bridge rectifier?
there's a wind turbine project I've seen that uses HDD magnets. they are polarized different then most magnets so they didn't work well at first. The project was made to work by cutting the magnets in half and attaching the halves back with one flipped to get the polarity to the wanted configuration.
cutting a magnet doesn't affect how it is magnetized. The end you didn't break is still either north or south, but the break still becomes the opposite for both halves. You can't break a magnet apart and one half is north and the other half is south. If you did somehow, you have broken laws of Physics. Magnetized objects always have to poles, they can never have a single pole. So breaking it in half just makes the same magnet but smaller.
right, but HDD magnets are polarized on the faces, not the ends. so a coil passing over a face won't pass through the strong points of north and south. cutting in half and flipping one side over makes a north and south on the same face, so then the coil would.
All the wires should be connected like this.
Make sure that they are wound in the same direction, as shown in this photo.
G14diat0r4 years ago
hey, I'm making a generator for a project, and I'm making a small scale model, and I was wondering if there was an equation that I could use to calculate the voltage/amp output of it at different rpms, and with different numbers of magnets.
Cool project and great explanations! A question and a suggested improvement: Is your three phase "Y" (wye) rectifier circuit connected half wave? I think so. If it is, rewiring to a full wave circuit could supply even greater voltage or current. Pages 23 and 24 of show full wave, three phase rectifier circuits, wye-connected and delta-connected, respectively.
I can confirm that the circuit is a full bridge rectifier. In you link, I believe the reference to 8 diodes includes the field coil diodes on some alternators. In car alternators for example, you have no permanent magnets, instead they use a much more powerful electromagnet. To start power generation, the battery must power the field coil but when the alternator is up to speed, it feeds it's own field coil on top of recharging the battery.
If it were connected half wave he would have used three diodes.
It doesn't explain the 8 diodes, what would you do with the 2 extra ones?  It is already a full wave.
MaXoR4 years ago
Darn I'm so confused!!!

ok, I was wondering what the values were on those diodes? I have some that say 10U, and 20U, and 5U (However the 10's are smaller than the 20's, but the 5's are HUGE!

There is a "IN" before the 5U as well, don't have a clue what that means either.

I just got all the parts together, somewhat. Now I need to know that the diodes that I got, are going to at least work for me.

Any help would be great. Also if you have pictures you can send to me, or whatever... I'm just looking for as much reference material as possible, so I can have redundant pieces of info that can help me get this done.


The size of the resistor depends on it's current flow limit (the small one are usually 1/8amp and the larger are 1/4 of an amp).
1N is a designation meaning it is a diode (one gate so to speak)
Diodes start with 1N,, transistors start with 2N, etc
i did this in fourth grade and got nothing on it because it was a " collage level project" but i had fun and my favorite part was the eating of the pringles!
what is 'collage' level' ??
jj.inc4 years ago
I really haven't gotten the whole three phase thing yet, so do you just take 1 wire from each coil and not use it, then link up the others and hook them to the rectifier. I know not all together, but in their individual phases
Rimwulf4 years ago
I've seen propeller turbines use this magnate method rather than curved magnets around it. What I'm coming to is could one make multiple platforms? I would imagine it would have to be done in a way where there no interference from the others. Any ideas?
dellmang1874 years ago
i wanna do this one but im really not to good with circuits

The "CLEAR CD"   comes in bulk from 50 or 100 CD / DVD as protection. It is not made.

ear0wax4 years ago
What about using the main motor assembly for the coils and magnets
john henry4 years ago
do you think hard drive magnets would work there strong and have N and S pols on one side and there in a half circular shape so you can make a ring of them.

Yes they would because they are rare earth magnets.
sweet thanks!! i will post pictures when get it to work.
Your Welcome
AT4 years ago
Great project!  I did something similar a couple years back with spare parts.  I called it a miniature wind turbine.  I used a motor from a hard drive as my generator and a pop mounted to a CD can to drive it.  Snagged some diodes from various sources to create my rectifier so it would output DC.  Was able to generate 1.37V when I put it in front of the exhaust from the Shop-Vac.
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