Public Lab Wiki documentation



DIY Hydroelectric Generator



Our Process:

Our prototype will be this specific hydroelectric generator: (http://www.re-energy.ca/docs/hydroelectric-generator-cp.pdf ). The missing link to the template is here: [(http://www.re-energy.ca/docs/hydroelectric-t.pdf)]

The Materials we need are: - 4L plastic jug (rectangular style, from vinegar, windshield washer fluid, or similar-see illustration) - 10 plastic spoons - 1 large cork (3.5 to 5 cm) - Enameled magnet wire, 24 gage (approx. 100 m) - Foamcore or heavyweight corrugated cardboard (approximately 22 cm by 30 cm) - 6 mm (1/4 inch) wooden dowel (20 cm long) - 4 ceramic or rare earth magnets (18mm or larger) - clear vinyl tubing (6 cm long, ¼” inside diameter) - 4 brass paper fasteners - sandpaper (needed to strip enamel off of wires)

Some of these items we could find in the recycling ( 4L plastic jug) or have available (spoons), or may already have. Here is my estimated cost breakdown

  • FREE (college recycling?) 4L plastic jug
  • FREE (college dining) 10 plastic spoons
  • ????? 1 large cork (3.5 to 5 cm)
  • $10.00 Enameled magnet wire, 24 gage (approx. 100 m)
  • $8.00 Foamcore or FREE heavyweight corrugated cardboard (approximately 22 cm by 30 cm) (foamcore may be more water resistant)
  • $1.00 6 mm (1/4 inch) wooden dowel (20 cm long)
  • $8.00 4 ceramic or rare earth magnets (18mm or larger)
  • $4.00 clear vinyl tubing (6 cm long, ¼” inside diameter)
  • $3.00 or FREE 4 brass paper fasteners

Estimated TOTAL: $34.00 - $26.00

If realistic, I hope that we can have most of these items by Wednesday 10/8 so we can start building. They also provided a list of tools. We probably have access to most of them but a few.

List of Tools required: - (borrow?) Electric drill, with ¼” drill bit - Scissors - Electrical tape - Ruler - 10 cm (3.5 inch ) nail or awl - Hot glue gun, with 3 glue sticks - White glue - Utility knife - Pencil sharpener - Permanent felt tip marker - Magnetic compass - (borrow?) Wire cutters - Gloves - Safety glasses

Here is an image of our gathered materials:

IMG_1165.JPG

As we started the construction our biggest obstacle that we encountered was that the wire gauges were inconstant. To adapt we had to sand off the enamel at the ends and connect them with electrical tape.

The Result:

Below are some images of the completed generator.

IMG_1174.JPG

IMG_1175.JPG

Using a multi-meter we tested how much electricity our DIY generator produced. We were able to generate 1 watts. This sadly, is not enough electricity to power one LED light bulb which requires around 2 watts. We determined that to make our generator more efficient the following steps we would need to take are to:

  1. have a consistent wire throughout the whole generator

  2. create a turbine that is symmetrical

  3. ensure that the magnets do not touch the wire.

Revision Step 1: We have ordered 100 m of 24 gauge enameled magnet wire. With shipping to the New England area, this costed around $30.00. We then took apart our turbine, recoiled the wire and re-assembled. With the additional wire we added 4 more coils and magnets to potentially increase out wattage. Additionally we wrapped our wire around 1/4' plastic pip to get a unformed coil.

IMG_2438.jpg

Revision Step 2: Using Sketch up we created out ideal Turbine that will soon be 3D printed. Here is a file of our SketchUp model. Turbine.skp Unfortunately the 3D printers available to us could only print 4 by 4 inches. Due to this constraint we were unable to print our turbine before the end of the academic semester.

Revision Step 3. We also decided to use a material that was stiffer than cardboard to attach out magnets to. This would ensure that the plate would not bend over time and touch our wires. We used a Frisbee to reinforce out magnets. Below is our revised model.

IMG_1208.JPG

Next Steps for a Future Person

If you would like, try and build your own DIY Hydroelectric Generator, and see if how much electricity you can make. Additionally someone could

  1. scale this to on a larger or smaller scale

  2. Redesign the the generator and write an open source DIY manual

  3. Continue to play with the idea of recycling old electronics and using low cost materials to produce energy.

  4. Continue to investigate ways to make environment monitoring technologies self sufficient.


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