Device Charging With a Multi-turbine (on Faucet, Wind, Bike, While Sporting and Etc.)




Introduction: Device Charging With a Multi-turbine (on Faucet, Wind, Bike, While Sporting and Etc.)

About: Hi, I'm Tamas (Thomas), a 19 years old Hungarian guy. My hobby started more than 10 years ago. I learn electronics, physics, programming, IoT and I'm sharing my projects with you, hope you like it!

I love every green energy gadgets and devices but they are specialized only for one electricity generator like a solar cell or a wind turbine. the wind turbine chargers are big and they can't be used as a hydroturbine. I tried to make a waterproof multiturbine that can be powered by wind or by any flowing material like water. So I designed this very small charger that can be installed on a faucet, on a bike, or in a river (or everywhere you want). Works well under your downspout or on your arm while running. It charges a 3000 mAh Li-Ion battery but can be connected directly to your phone. Before we start you need to know that this instructable completes my solar charger instructable but can be used separately too. The most of the parts that I used are salvaged from somewhere so this was a really cheap project. So I'll describe you where I got my parts in the next step. Oh and I'll make a new design for this gadget because don't like how now is looking. I hurried to complete until the ending date of the Make energy contest. So gather materials!

Step 1: Tools, Parts and Salvaging

Tools that you need:

  1. glue gun
  2. multimeter
  3. cutting tools
  4. rotary tool
  5. electrical tape
  6. solder and soldering

Parts and Salvaging:

The motor and the propeller are salvaged from my old RC Helicopter but you can find also in any phones without the propeller. You can make a propeller from a plastic sheet (costs about $1). The 5v voltage step up is bought from the ebay.

  • for the power bank you'll need a 3.7v battery with a capacity between 3000-2000mAh
  • a USB lithium charger circuit
  • a switch
  • and a 5v step up circuit
  • Use a box for the power bank, I hurried and I haven't at home!

So the batteries that you can see on the pictures are salvaged from old phones (950mAh, 1000mAh and 1020mAh). The lithium charger is from the same RC Heli. Never charge lithium batteries without a charger circuit they can explode! If your partlist is complete let's go crafting!

Step 2: Soldering-Turbine

This will be very easy. If you have enough space for your full circuit don't cut the USB jack. I needed to cut and soldered back with a wire later you'll see why I made this. Be careful with the polarities! My motor polarity has been revesred. So simply solder the two wires of the DC motor to the 5v step up somehow like on the images.If your circuit is done go craft in a PVC tube.

Step 3: Building the Turbine

  1. First cut 2 small pices from the plastic sheet.
  2. See on the second image.
  3. Than glue to the bottom of the motor.
  4. Cut 4 lines on the PVC for the plastic pieces and insert the motor in.
  5. After this remove this Red LED from the circuit (see on 7th image).
  6. Finally glue the circuit and the USB jack on the PVC.

Step 4: Waterproofing and Testing

Get your glue gun and some electrical tape than make the full device waterproof. Won't happens nothing if some water flows inside, but this is the safest way. If you want test it with your faucet. Fix onder it than plug your phone in and the charging begins. The multi-turbine now is done. Install on your bike or on your arm, and when you move starts charging any device. Even tablets! The output voltage will be 5 volts and the current about 300mA. Charges slower than a wallplug but it works! If you want go build the power bank!

Step 5: Solder and Build the Power Bank

Glue the salvaged batteries together than silder them in paralell. Paralell means that connect every positive to the positive and every negative to the negative output. After this use your USB charger and charge up this battery pack just like on the 3rd image. Use your glue gun agian and make complete the power bank. Test it on your phone than make this waterproof too.

About the circuit:

Don't charge your phone while charging the power bank from a wallplug. You can charge while cycling or while moving, but from the wallplug the current is too high.

When you don't use turn off the circuit.

Be careful with Li-ion batteries never short them. May cause fire!!!

Step 6: Waterproofing

Get your glue gun and electrical tape agian and make ot waterproof. I think no need more explanation. So go test it!

Step 7: The Last Tests

Install the discharged power bank on your faucet and when you use the faucet the multi-turbine will generate electricity. Or put on your arm with a belt (not like me with tape) and when you run the charging begins. But you can charge up your battery pack also from a wallpug or from computer. On the last image is charged upwirh a 5v regulated solar cell.

If you liked it share, write your opinion and vote on me. In my next instructable I'll present you a very especial soldering station so follow me if you want to see! Oh and sorry for my potential grammar errors.



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    61 Discussions


    Hi ,reading through some of your posts & it seems a lot of people are trying to improve on the circuit etc where as, I am more of a outside box thinker. If you don't want to change, or alter your circuit, (which is a great idea by the way :) then go to the source >> your facet.

    I would extend the length of the pipe hooked up to the opening of the facet.

    Narrow the middle section of pipe that will hold the generator(s) so the propellor fits with little clearance (1-1.5mm), to restrict water flow over blades (this causes water to increase in speed, as is under more pressure, over propellor) which would increase the speed, thus higher load capabilities.

    Add a longer length of the narrow pipe, & can now add a 2nd, or 3rd propellor & hook up either in series or parallel, depending on what you want more voltage or current


    By restricting the flow of water in the narrow diameter of pipe, will cause the propellor to increase the speed, thus output is increased. Can widen pipe an inch or two after the narrow pipe to slow down the water as it enters sink to reduce splashing.

    Also, won't have to turn water full out to get max potential out of generator(s). Using a meter could mark the tap with a marker or tape to where peak output is achieved. Why run wide open if don't have to, or might have to lol

    By adding more water generators (depth of sink is only what limits how many generators could actually have in play. A tub or laundry tub could fit 4-6. A kitchen sink maybe 3 if work out how long the narrow part of pipe would be, plus normal size before & after.

    Although could put a "U" (180 degree) at bottom to raise pipe back up & then another "U" to have pipe go back down so can still be able to have room to wash hands, dishes etc. No reason it only has to be a straight piece off the facet.

    Look under sink at the "U" trap to see what I mean on how you would fashion the wider pipe section after the narrow pipe section that holds the generator(s) section.

    But to add , when you have all the bugs out of your design. Work on an under counter type model that will hook up to the water inputs so your device will not be visible to our wives, or in your case mother, lol.

    Or even hook up to a dishwater line

    Good job keep at it,

    Good luck :)

    Can I buy one from you


    3 years ago

    i have question . you use the 5v adapter to charge directly to the battery? how do you know it is fully charge instead of using charging module. If anyone knows please tell me. Thanks a lot :)

    1 reply

    Hi! I use the 5v power supply to charge the batteries, but when the battery is fully charged the charging module will light red.

    Great thinking young man. Fertile minds like yours are needed more than ever now. I envision a future where everyone will "mine" kinetic energy sources for power, from faucets running water to every balcony and roof top with a breeze, and the simple motion of walking. Power just isn't expensive enough yet to make the effort worthwhile. It will be at some point. Between 2014 and 2016 over 100 coal fired electric generation power plants are being shutdown due to environmental regulations from the US government in the United States alone. SNL Energy has projected the loss if 25 Gigawatts of energy production from the closure of coal fired power plants since 2009. They project that figure to double to 50 Gigawatts by 2022. Nothing is coming on line in the next 7 years to make a dent in this loss of energy production. It is so short sighted of the government to have a shutdown plan without a new production plan in place. There are not new plants under construction, or on drawing boards to be constructed to replace this huge drop in the supply of electricity. It is NOT possible to replace that loss of capacity by 2022 under any circumstance. Simply laws of supply and demand says that the cost of electricity is going to skyrocket in order to reduce demand on the system. We will be lucky if we do not have brown outs at best and maybe a system failure at worst. I will guarantee that the price of power in the US is going to skyrocket. The power industry has to be smiling. More money for making less power with less employees and less facilities. Sweet profit. You keep thinking! Good work!

    1 reply

    Thank you very much! I'm working now on a self charging battery for the Google Sceince Fair. It's incredible, but would work. The voltage of a single NiMH AA battery just stepped up with 0.07 volts. The technology now is a secret, but maybe I'll publish here at the Instructables.

    The Hoover Damn produces about 3 Gigawatts. Where do we come up with 17 Hoover Dams by 2022 to replace list production? We don't.

    Looking at the pics the biggest problem from my point of view is the "huge"space between the turbine and the pipe. Everything in Nature uses the easier way and the largest portion of the prop driver passes by and do no work.I remember an article in the sixties in some journal that the guy built his own designed planes and just by putting the prop in a housing, he could use a 60 horsepower engine and with the prop open he needed a larger prop and 120 horse motor.

    3 replies

    I said that this is a prototype, not the final version, so don't worry about this.

    a noteworthy comment, efficiency could be vastly improved by utilising all available space!and having little space for water to flow around instead of through :)

    Ha reminds me of a story

    ,I wrote for the grand kids, the
    hero generates power off a nearby creek to recharge their emergency battery and

    Running it under a faucet ...not so good as water is expensive
    and sometimes in short supply.

    Anyhow gives me and excuse to
    experiment, think I can better your output by using a better turbine blade, and
    3 phase motor….I’ll let you know.

    at first I was thinking why bother but then I saw it on the tap. especially in a large family people use the tap all the time, 2-3 days and it will have a good charge, enough for the weekend adventures. unreal guide!!!

    Hmm... even if you were getting 20mA off a small motor like that... it would take AT LEAST 100 hours of water movement to charge up a 2,000mAh battery.

    You also typically need 3,000mAh to charge up a cell phone. So the question is, what's easier, running water for 150+ hours, or using another power source.

    Also keep in mind that the kind of USB boosting circuit being used in this project sacrifices amperage for voltage, so you'll be getting an even SMALLER amount of amperage than what the motor is outputting.

    This is why small scale wind projects are so difficult to do. It's very difficult to generate enough amperage to be useful. One idea would be to add in gears to your setup to get the motor to spin faster, or get a larger motor.

    So while this project TECHNICALLY WORKS, it will not work in a useful way. It'd be like hooking up a postage stamp sized solar cell to a cell phone; it technically works but not in a way that we can use it.

    These DC heli motors generates much more current than 20mA. When I'm cycling curreng is 118.7mA and on the faucet was 90-120mA. This is enough to charge up a power bank. Slowly but it works. If you don't believe buy a motor like this and try it.

    Ok, so, lets do the math again. Lets assume you're getting a consistent 100mA from the turbine (and we'll discount the loss of amperage from the circuit). That would still take a AT LEAST 20 hours of water flow to charge up your batteries, only to get 2/3rd a phone charge. I like the idea, but it's not overly practical and I worry about your use of Lithium batteries.

    Also watch out, the DC to DC Circuit you're using puts out under 500mA and many newer phones need more than that. (I used to use those in projects I sell, but I switched because of how annoying they were.)

    I'm cycling very often (to shool or in the wild) and sometimes my phone discharges. In this case I can use this device to charge it up. Maybe this isn't the best Li-ion pack but I charged and discharged them up more 15 times, and worked fine. But you can try also with an old CPU fan that has a higher current. And the solar panels (that you or anybody uses for his projects) haven't a much higher amperage, aside from the high wattage panels.