Introduction: Simple AC Electric Generator With an AC DC Converter

In this project we are going to show you how to make a simple AC electric generator. With this generator we can light up a small LED light. We also made an AC DC converter to show that our electric generator produces AC but with the help of self-made converter we can also produce DC.

Step 1: Tools, Materials and Skills

The following materials will be needed:

  • 4 60x40x15mm block magnets. We used these:
  • 2 12x12cm plexiglass with a 4mm hole drilled in the middle
  • copper wire
  • a metal rod that will fit into the hole (we used screwthread)
  • PVC tube to separate the plexiglass
  • one medium size adhesive breadboard
  • breadboard wires
  • 4 diodes
  • 1 capacitor
  • 2 pushbuttons
  • 2 green LED's, 1 red LED
  • glue-sticks
  • scotch tape
  • small pieces of cardboard
  • tinned wire (for soldering)

and the following tools:

  • soldering iron
  • a hot glue gun
  • a wire cutter
  • lasercutter
  • a saw

To use some of the materials you need to master the following skills:

  • soldering
  • hot-glueing
  • lasercutting

If you are not able to use a lasercutter, you can easily replace the plexiglass by wood, or cardboard.

Step 2: Construction

The first thing you do is cutting the plexiglass according to the measurements. When the plexiglass is nicely cut, you drill a hole of around 4mm in the middle of both sides. After this you have to saw the PVC tube, so it separates the plexiglass and the magnets can still move freely. You saw the piece of PVC in quarters and then apply two quarters opposite of easy other onto the plexiglass with the glue gun. Do not glue the two plexiglass plates together yet. This has to happen later. Once this is completed, it is time to attach the magnets to the screw-thread.

Watch out for your fingers in this part, the magnets are very strong.

Place two magnets on top of each other and to the same to the other two magnets. Now you place the screw-thread in the middle of one of the two magnet pairs and then place the other two on top of those. We used pieces of carton to fill up the spaces in between the two pairs created by the screw-thread. To make sure that the carton pieces will be held in place, use some scotch tape to keep everything together. Now place the screw-thread through the two holes and glue the two plexiglass plates together by putting glue on the PVC quarters and put it together. Let this rest for a while. Then it is time to wrap the copper wire around the whole thing. Make sure that when you start wrapping, the beginning of the wire can be easily reached because this will be needed when we connect the breadboard to our generator. We did around 1600 windings. When you are done, you a piece of scotch tape to tape the beginning and the end onto the plexiglass so you will always find them.

Step 3: Building the Circuit

Once the generator is constructed, the AC DC converter circuit has to be built. You do not need a lot of parts for this circuit. The idea of the set-up is that negative AC pulses are being converted into positive pulses. Because of this flows the current in only one direction. The capacitor in the circuit helps keep a more steady DC. Use the images to produce the same circuit with the mentioned materials in step 2.

Step 4: Connecting the Generator and the Converter

Once both of the components of the setup are done, you just have to connect the two pars. Start by stripping two breadboard wires. Do not forget to do so, otherwise it won't work. Next you let the soldering iron heat, and then you solder the beginning of the copper windings on to a stripped breadboard wire. You repeat this with the end of the copper windings and the other stripped breadboard wire. If this is done correctly you can try and test if the setup works.

Step 5: Test and Results

It is not possible to light the red LED and the green LED's at the same time. That is why we placed two pushbuttons onto the breadboard. Push one of these and then start turning the screw-thread and you will see that one of the two lights will light up. The red LED is connected to the AC DC converter. The difference between AC and DC is best seen when you push the button of the green LED's. These are directly connected to the AC generator. What happens is that the green LED's will light up one after the other, but never at the same time.