Author Options:

Apartment Wind Turbine ideas Answered

Hey all. I would like to gather opinions on 2 small wind turbines I'm thinking of constructing. Difficulty: I live in a third floor apartment (it's also the top floor). My first idea was to modify an old box fan and mount it outside my window. Then I walked into my bathroom, which has a noisy exhaust fan in it. I accidentally turned it on and realized that I could build a collapsable darrieus turbine that would fit up the exhaust vent, expand when outside, and hook that up to the exhaust fan motor already in the vent. Does this sound feasable? My goal is to see if I could charge a cell phone from the power generated by one of these two options. apologies for the quick-n-dirty sketch below.


What's the ID of the tube? About 4 inches?

Try a variation of the Picoturbine. It's small and low-powered, but you could leave it up all night, or all the time your landlord is out of the area.


You could even fool them into thinking it's a feature of the roof - set it up projecting a couple of inches, then move it up an inch every few weeks. By the time they see it, it will have registered as "always been there".

I wouldn't use the fan motor to produce your current, though - find an old DC motor to produce DC current. Add a diode to stop the battery running the motor, and you won't have to bother with rectifying anything.

some of you may be wondering why I'm all about sticking this thing up a pipe: I live in a small apartment building, right next to the landlords office. They don't take to kindly to things being stuck to their buildings, so I'm trying to make it discreet. Sticking it up a rooftop pipe gives me a discreet location and height.

the topography of my area produces regular low to moderate wind speeds. Based on my research I need lightweight blades that react to low windspeeds. I was aware of the non self starting nature of darrieus turbines, unfortunately there's not much info out there for building your own darrieus. my other collapsable idea would resemble a traditional horizontal axis fan, but the blades would be able to unfold like a chinese handheld fan. In that manner it'd be able to be stuck up the pipe and then unfurled once it's outside.

From what I've read, which is not super duper comprehensive, Darrieus turbines are not self starting -- so you'll need something to get it going ;) How much wind do you get in your area?