About: A retired electronics engineer -motorola. delveing into new craft ideas and contest entries.

For home and garden ornamentals and rotating flowers or birds I thought I would add some lights which would be seen at night .Then along came the new LED contest which initiated a flash of get busy -- So I wanted to have a novel method of lighting a LED other than a battery. I used an old VTR recorder motor to generate energy to light a LED when the propeller turned in the wind.That is it.[[Video(Propeller rotation turns motor/generates 2 volts for LED).


Motor- Use the main capstan drive motor from old tape recorder.It runs on 2 volts. ,Resistance 30. ohms. Clockwise will produce about 2 vdc, at 40milliamps. Enough to light a 2v Led.Rot.=60rpm.

Aluminum sheet 12 to 20 mils thick.I used left over Al house siding.
Central rod. A skewer .075Dia.x15 in. long [Dollar store} Has a wooden handle for tail fin.]
Wire to mount device- Coat hanger wire .062Dia.x 10 in. long.
Propeller Hub. Block of Foam Polyurethane 1 in. thickness to cut out 2 in. round. Can use wood too.
LED- any color. I used red led 2v. 20ma. from Rad Shack. The longer lead is plus connected.
Screws/nuts- 6/32 x 1/2 in. long to adhere the motor.
Large rotator 4 in. diameter pop bottle. Smaller size can be a pill bottle 2 in. dia.
A bottle cap and an inner corked wine stopper.
Pulley- rubber band. I used a ladies hair rubber band.
Tube- mounting of prop on tube and slid onto above skewer.
TOOLS- E6000glue. as required to hold prop blades into the polyurethane Hub.
Epoxy paste- Spread over exposed Hub to seal from water=rain.
Scissors . pliers, screwdriver.small clamp to hold prop at front of axle skewer.
Soldering Iron 40W. and 60/40 solder. To connect motor to Led.
Paint or decals.


Follow the diagram. Cut Out 4 blades . The general idea is to get sufficient area to turn the motor .This size turned the motor at 25MPH wind spead. I then added more surface area by gluing more aluminum to the blades.Finally the props turned in a 10 to 15 MPH wind. One can use longer blades also to get the greater wind forces to turn the motor pulley.I will trythis next.
The Poly hub I cut with a knife at 45 deg. angle, as shown. to position the blades to turn in a breeze.
Large bottle was used to get a mechanical ratio for a slow rotating prop. Then I used a smaller bottle inside it to get a lesser ratio but needed a higher rotation for the prop. You can chose either one. I used a wine cork with a plastic cap inside . Drill with a .125D bit thru center to insert a plastic tube. Aluminum tubes can be used also.

Mount motor with a piece of Aluminum as shown . use screws to tighten onto skewer.
Connect LED directly to the Motor sloder tabs. Some LEDs require a series resistor of 100 ohms.
I did not use it as I needed all of the 2 to 3v. volts from the M/G set.
Tail- I cut a slit in the wooden handle to insert the tail assembly.Surface area should be at least
6x6 inches any outline . Use glue to hold it in slit.
COMPLETION- I used the coat hanger wires as shown next step-


TEST- see diagram on assembly and mounting out side.
I used a coat hanger wire to connect at the centre of gravity point. Then attach a rubber or ply elastomeric 1mm diam string about 10 in. long to the wire and other end to a small tree in my yard.
This allowed for rotation into the wind.
The other methods would be to mount on frame or close line.
You may have to experiment some time to get the large enough blade area to start rotation .

I am entering this Istrc- in the LED contest so lets see some votes. ?

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    Thanks for this, I'm working out a version now. It seems like simplicity is a key element but difficult to work into the design.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Keep at it. It must be rugged.


    10 years ago on Step 3

    Si usas un diodo (1n4148) en serie y un capasitor de 1000mf en paralelo con el LED logras que se mantenga con brillo aun en condiciones de bajo viento y no necesite tanto viento pues el capacitor guarda la carga mientras no hay viento pero no por siempre If you use a diode (1N4148) in series and parallel 1000mf capacitor of the LED you manage to stay bright even in low wind conditions and will not need as much wind as the capacitor stores the charge while there is no wind but not forever


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 3

    good info [kdjo] i will modify it to add the 'lytic and 1N4148 . my biggest problem now is getting the right pulley material that can last a long time outdoors. I am trying an VTR cord now as it seems rugged.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I added more propeller area about 10 sq. in. Now the prop will rotate at 10 MPH wind speed to lite the LED.


    12 years ago on Step 3

    hit by a 60 MPH downburst storm 6-19-09 . Im happy to report the whirligig not only survived but also generated enough voltage to really light up the LED. I also added a green LED and they both lit up nicely in the rain storm. Mistic