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Charging mobile from a steam generator Answered

Hello Guys

For my first attempt at building something I'd like to try a simple steam generator using a can, tea light etc set up.

Would it be feasible to attach some kind of wheel / piston to a dynamo and to generate a small current enough to charge a mobile phone?

Finding the correct search terms, when you're not sure which parts you need is a problem. so if there are some specific part names i could search for, that would be good.



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5 years ago

Think about doing it without moving parts by using the Seebeck effect / Peltier effect.


5 years ago

a) Let's define "charging"...
If you want to charge a modern mobile phone you need aroun 2-3 hours at 5V/1A
In standrad USB charge mode with 500mA quite a while longer.
b) Let's define charger...
You would need a motor that has a small turning resistance, produces enough voltage and current to drive a charge circuit.
That means at the speed the steam generator can hold the motor should produce at least 6V and without dropping the voltage too much (or the speed of the generator) produce at least 500mA.
If it is just for a show off that "it does charge" 100mA will do but charging an empty phone to full will take an overnight job.
c) Let's define "steam generator"...
You ask for steam generator but want to build with a can, so I assume you got the terms wrong and actually mean a "sterling engine".
These simple can engines run but to make one that can drive a motor for a long period of time you would waste your time and building skills.
You need a proper, high speed sterling engine, like those in using a glass cylinder and carbon pistons.
A heavy flywheel should be used to cater for load changes and as said, the motor should fit the needs.

Something like this might work if you use the proper gear ration to drive the motor:


Something like this won't work for you:


Maybe the best option is to check some of the videos this guy posted:

He does a few nice designs and the above would be a nice one for your project.


Reply 5 years ago

Thankyou very much for taking the time to reply and clearing up some of the terminology.

I've watched the video, but I've only got a Dremel so I may start with a smaller project to get me going.

The idea of mixing some hardware with some basic electronics interests me.