Hurricane Survival With a Wind Turbine




About: I am an engineer focused on recycled batteries, electric vehicles and renewable energy. I am always working on engineering projects I can’t stop.

This video show what we did to help us through the hurricane and the aftermath.

I live in La Paz Mexico and we were just hit by Hurricane Odile. It was a category 4 and the worst hurricane to hit Baja Mexico since the 1940s.

5 days after the hurricane we still don't have water and many others in the city don't have power.

This instructable goes over some advice on how to prepare and comfortably survive a hurricane and the aftermath.

My Homemade wind turbine helped a lot when we didn't have power.


Step 1: Wind Turbine

I have built my own wood wind turbine for very cheap. I use cheap pine wood to carve the blades and a free 12V car motors as a generators. I used electrical heat shrink tubing as a belt between homemade wood V pulleys. My larger wind turbines 3ft to 4.5ft cost less than $5 to build.

Usually I have my 4.5ft wind turbine on a 13ft pole on my flat roof. This works for wind speeds up to 40km/h. After the hurricane passed the winds were very strong with gusts close to 100km/h. I replaced the 4.5ft turbine with my smaller and stronger 3ft turbine. I also removed the 8ft section of the pole and only mounted the turbine on a 6ft pole. It gets much less wind there but with these high winds this stopped the tower from blowing over. The wind turbine also has a furling tail that turns the turbine out of the wind when the wind is very strong. My turbines are still being improved so they are not very efficient. I was able to get a maximum of 30 Watts (2.4 amps at 12.3V). The power runs along a 50 foot 14 gauge wire into my window and charges laptop batteries. I used these charged laptop batteries to run everything we needed in the house.

Step 2: Water

Water is always the most important thing in a survival situation.

Here in La Paz we live in a desert so water is even more important. We have a 750 liter tank on our roof that we use for showers, toilet, dishes, washing..... This water is not safe to drink so we also have large 19 liter drinking water bottles.

Before the hurricane hit we bought enough drinking water for a week.

Before the storm hit our roof water tank was already very low from hurricane Norbert a few days before. We had to conserve water by taking showers using only a wet face towel and then using that water to flush the toilet. We bought paper plates so we wouldn't have to do dishes.

Flushing the toilet became a problem because it uses sooo much water. We had to drive to the ocean with all our buckets and fill them so we could flush the toilet.

Step 3: Electricity

With the power out all our electricity was provided by the wind turbine. You can also build a hand crank or bicycle generator using free 12 volt car motors.

Old laptop lithium ion cells are a great source of battery power. They have about 3 volt to 4 volts per cell and can be arranged in many different series and parallel configurations to get the voltage and amps you need. You can buy used laptop batteries for very cheap on e bay and build your own battery pack. See the instructable below.

We used laptop batteries charged by the wind turbine to power to run cell phones, the internet modem, large and small fans, lights and much more.

I connected one laptop battery pack (6 cells) to a 75 watts car inverter. The green light came on right away. I did have to flip the spring loaded thing upside down so I didn't have to push it in. I plugged my modem into the inverter and the internet light came on. It turns out the power lines were down but the internet cable was still intact. We were able to send messages to our families to tell them that we are all ok.

I was able to plug a power bar into the inverter and charge many phones and run the internet at the same time. It is important not to overload the batteries and inverter by plugging in large loads. You could also take the battery out of your car and use that but then you car might not start after.

Mexico is very hot so we had a few battery fans that run off the laptop batteries. See the instructables below for a low power and high power battery fan.

I also built very cheap battery lamps. I bought 2 12V car light bulbs for less than $1. I soldered some wires to them and installed them into plastic containers. Please see the instructable below.

Step 4: Food

We were lucky as we have a gas oven. We were able to cook food but with the power out is was difficult to keep food in the fridge.

In sunny areas a solar cooker would be very useful if you have an electric oven that you can't use when the power is out. Please see the instructable below on how to build a solar cooker for less than $10.



    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest
    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019
    • Party Challenge

      Party Challenge

    4 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Wind turbines, aren't they great? we have a few and they work so well.

    If I was the decider if an Instructable got feature or not, I would definitely feature this one, but the best I could do is vote so I voted for you!

    Thanks for sharing such valuable information, I hope to see more!


    4 years ago

    I'm curious that you aren't collecting rain water for your roof tank. Wind turbines are great for these situations. If you look on popular mechanics Webb site they have plans for a turbine that has an auto braking function. I've built several versions of these over the years. They are running tank heaters in northern Nevada. Tho the blades/sails are fabric. Keep busy with the survival process. Good work.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great work. In 40's decade, my father built a wind turbine at our farm where we lived. We had light in all rooms of the house, ¡and a radio!. The radio was valvular (it had tubes, not transistors), then its use were a bit restricted to some few hours/day.