Picture of Windbelt Redux  21st Century Micro Power Generation
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This is my second iteration of Shawn Frayne's Windbelt generator, my first can be found here. This version is designed to utilise cross ventilation in a house. A Windbelt is an oscillatory wind generator working on the principal of aeroelastic flutter.

Here's a link if you're not familiar with Shawn Frayne's

Watch out VIDEO!!!! There's a better looking video available on Revver, but here's the youtube. I'll state that the frequency is much higher than it appears in the video, it must be a consequence of the frame rate.

Step 1: The Frame

Picture of The Frame
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I started by measuring the widest window in my house, then I cut a board 52 inches long to fit and ripped it down to six inches wide. Then measuring in 4 inches from each end I drilled a 2 1/4 inch hole at either end and cut out the middle between them.
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MBAustin5 years ago
I took apart a hard drive to get a voice coil, but it is much smaller than the one in this video. Will it still work?

hey dude do i have to add tha voltage multiplyer circuit to get a out put voltage thanks
What about feeding the twist of the blade into the voice coil axially ?

robotkid2495 years ago
Nice job.
john20105 years ago
when i solder the magnet wire to the circuit board, where do i solder the wires? and which wire foes onto which side of the led connection?? please helppp thanks
flashj5 years ago
I took apart a Iomega zip drive recently and it had all sorts of interesting parts that could be used in this project, including two coils and several spring loaded arms. The plastic case makes it easier to work with for me and I don't feel as bad for taking apart a hard drive. All I was after was the quiet motor. :)

Will post a pic if anyone's interested.
Kiteman5 years ago
Did you ever get as far as generating useful power with this, maybe charging a battery?
Tool Using Animal (author)  Kiteman5 years ago
Honestly i've had no time for any project over the last 8 months, but I've been thinking of revisiting this project recently using the voice coil from a laptop HD, hoping it would have lower inertia.  Need low voltage drop diodes as well.....
I had an idea for a vaguely-useful application;
Build the coil, magnets and LEDs (and maybe a charge-store, like a battery or supercapacitor) into a single unit that pegs to the ground, and the ribbon gets strung up to the guy-points of a tent.
The ribbon flutters away through the night, illuminating the LEDs and stopping people tripping over your guy ropes.

Ideal for festivals, I thought.
Tool Using Animal (author)  Kiteman5 years ago
That' pretty cool, a quick google shows solarbotics sells some nice low voltage drop diodes  (.22 V @ 20ma).    Hmm, winter break is just around the corner....
Can't have you sitting around and twiddling your thumbs, now can we?
duk30ne5 years ago
What an amazing concept!.. Maybe it could be also used in cars, in front where the radiator is, while the car is moving it could generate power to light all the little lights or even battery charger..
alessiof766 years ago
I did also moving magnet windbelt :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ulPtmmVelI
Hard disk coil i tried have less voltage output
FeedTheGrid6 years ago
Very cool. Aeroelastic flutter is new to me. I like it!
DeanC9936 years ago
Hi that is so cool very nice way of wind power! i am wondering if you could put the wind belt horziontal? ***** Great Job!!
I believe you could. It shouldnt make a noticable difference in power output
lr10cent6 years ago
On some other Windbelt thread, they were talking about how to use this. If there's an easy way to increase the voltage, one thing that comes to mind is charging batteries to run your doorbell. I read recently that doorbell transformers use 3 watts. That's 26kw hours per year. So maybe a couple of bucks year. If you could build one for $5 it would pay off (although not for your time). I don't know how much juice thermostats use, but that might be a good use too, for the same reason, since I bet they use a transformer as well. The tricky part is where can you get a really cheap small, 24V battery bank. Another, outdoor use for a scaled up device might be to charge batteries for a fence charger. Convenient because you've already got a frame to mount it on, and I'm sure that fence chargers are often found well away from the grid. I'm wondering if there isn't some coil that has a lot more turns on it that could be used to get a higher voltage in the first place. Alternatively, if your coil or magnet was really light you could mount it on a longer arm. (Opposite side of pivot from the ribbon.) And maybe there's a way to use the brushless motors from the computer for the same thing, although the radius may be too small. I suspect the usual voice coil mechanics are heavier than they have to be, although I haven't looked at any for a while, so perhaps a bit of judicious grinding might help?
Oh, more stuff I thought of: -You could maybe build something light and floppy like a tuna tail to run this. If you got the oscillation right I'll bet it would put out a lot more power. Or a cantilevered airplane wing shaped gadget, which maybe could stick up a long ways. You'd just have to tune the flutter right. Details left to the reader. :-p
Dr.Bill6 years ago
Looks like it might even have its own frequency too. Ya know like 60 cycle current has.
Dr.Bill6 years ago
Pretty Cool Stuff. I've Never seen that Before.
mcnnowak6 years ago
Oh wow.. Before i started the video it looked like it was powering a laser pointer pointing straight down. >.< Nice
yeah, I thought it was cutting something out from a paper sheet with a laser
roo27 years ago
Great Instructable! I was wanting to build the Frayne-style windbelt, but I'm glad I found this one. Much easier, and the results were better than I expected. I made one for class and was able to get a pretty consistent 1.5-2.0 volts (peak of 2.9) in pretty good Oklahoma wind (sustained 20mph gusts to 35). I also soldered up a full wave rectifier and ran it to a 1000uf 3.5v capacitor and was able to charge it to 3.44 volts in about 50 seconds. Awesome! Some observations while creating my windbelt: 1. Not all HDDs are the same, some have bigger magnets or better wiring. If i remember correctly, I think Western Digital had the best combination of thick magnets, protective plating for the wire, and easy-to-solder leads. 2. To prevent rubbing, I found it was easier to align the actuator arm and magnets if I just cut the HDD frame around the magnet and bearing screw hole locations. Then I simply zip-tied the whole assembly to the wood frame. 3. To increase the amplitude (swing arc) of the coil side, I cut the reader arms to about a 1/4" long and attached the tape there. 4. Because of the size limit (2ft.) for this project, I found that a loose tuning worked best. 5. Whatever tuning created the longest swing arc seemed to be the best solution, but with the VCR tape this created a lot of noise. I stumbled upon some 1" wide nylon-reinforced packing tape and I think the combination of the weight and thickness kept the noise down without slowing the fluttering action too much. 6. The looser tuning (and therefore lower switching rate) also worked better with my plain-jane silicon diodes, as Schottky diodes -while better- seemed hard to come by. In summary, this was my first time building an instructable (and soldering for that matter), and it came out great! Thanks TUA!
Tool Using Animal (author)  roo27 years ago
Thank you roo2, that's the nicest compliment, and I l like your mods.
second, thanks for that
Rossiroller6 years ago
Is there any way you could make a couple and use them to power a fan that blows through them? This probably violates the laws of something, but useful idea.
Tool Using Animal (author)  Rossiroller6 years ago
It does violate the laws of thermodynamics.
It breaks the law of Conservation. But who says we can rewrite the laws of physics.
that could work then you could make a self sustaining fan.
Excellent work. Living in a high rise I should be able to get good results on my balcony. This technology, from "junk", has incredible potential in my humble opinion. I can see clothes lines generating power while drying your clothes or certain types of trees becoming power plants on a blustery day. The possibilities are endless. Any repetitive tugging action could be utilized and you are not restricted to wind only or any particular set up. I love it!!!
Please ignore some of the previous comment. It is still very exciting, but I see now that the tuning is somewhat critical, limiting or at least changing the possibilities.
tjandrata6 years ago
Where i have to conect a wire to the voice coil? do you have a close-up pic...
This is a great instructable! Is there a way to figure how many amps can be produced with this setup? Great job again!
Really Really cool.
basheer7 years ago
i still cant understand how the electricity is produced can any1 help.can i have the do it yourself step to build one as i am an electronic enthusiast.thanks this project appears to be worth built
Tool Using Animal (author)  basheer7 years ago
In general, or in this specific case? If you move a wire through a magnetic field a current is produced (of course the motion is relative so the case can be reversed). The HD magnet has one north face and one south face on each side half the coil is over the north, half over the south, when the coil moves a current is induced in either side of the coil, viola, electricity. Since it's oscillating back and forth AC current is the output.
hickler7 years ago
I was just wondering how you connect the wires to the voice coil. Thanks
Tool Using Animal (author)  hickler7 years ago
There are two very small solder joints on the mini circuit board attached to the voice coil, I carefully used them.
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