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Harnessing wind energy

A high-performance wind generator for less than 100 euros
Author: Jean Luc, La Valette du Var, France
Online since: 28/09/2009, Number of visits: 242447
I built a small wind generator, setting the following goals for myself: lightweight, relatively simple assembly and low material costs. Details of the construction can be found in the Youtube video at the bottom of the page (only in French, but it should be easy to follow for speakers of other languages as well).


Here you can see the nine coils, each consisting of 70 windings with 1 mm enamelled wire. I arranged them in a star shape inside a wooden mould (diameter: 21 cm) and then encased them in polyester resin (see video at the 1-minute mark).
Next, I cut a disc with a diameter of 18 cm out of a large, 5 mm thick sheet of steel. This disc will be the rotor. The roller bearing was mounted at the hole in the middle, so that the rotor is able to rotate.
Now it was time to use your strong magnets. Previously, I had tried using weaker magnets but with less than satisfactory results. On top of that, your magnets are priced fairly, so they did not jeopardise my budget :-).
I glued 12 of your disc magnets type S-20-10-N onto the metal disc in regular intervals using a strong adhesive. All of the magnets needed to be oriented the same way.
Rotor with mounted roller bearing
Rotor with mounted roller bearing
Then I also encased the magnets in polyester resin. I had to be careful not to fully cover the magnets, letting them slightly protrude instead.
Now a second rotor was added. With a diameter of 16.5 cm, it is slightly smaller than the first one but made of the same material. Like before, 12 disc magnets were glued on as well. However, these magnets have to be oriented opposite to the ones on the first rotor, or else it won’t work.
The generator passed a trial run on the workbench with flying colours. I only had to nudge it gently and it started to generate over 12 volts. The produced alternating current was converted into continuous current by three diodes.
Now I only needed the windmill itself. It has three rotor blades made of acrylic glass, which I tapered and gave a bevel of 20 degrees. The entire windmill has a diameter of 1,5 metres.
  • Total weight: about 8 kg
  • Capacity: 18 volts at wind speeds of 30 km/h, at 8 km/h already 12 volts
  • Total cost: less than 100 euros thanks to inexpensive materials
Here is the YouTube video with explanatory speech bubbles.
If you are interested in the topic of wind turbines or wind generators, please also take a look at our projects Wind Power, project232 and Wind turbine for 5 euros.