Make My Own Electrcity

Discussion in 'Energy & Electricity' started by Burlington, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Burlington

    Burlington Guest

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    All right, check it out:

    I want to build my own hand crank generator. I don't know anything about electricity, electricty conversion, generators, et cetera.

    What I do know is that I want a lightweight, small, portable hand crank device, from which I can generate electrcity. Morever, I want this electricity to end up being tapped from a generic 15amp electrical outlet (from Lowe's or wherever) that I would like to install on this device. Maybe secure everything to a small piece of wood or something.

    And I'm talking about plugging in appliances out in the woods, like a battery charger, cell phone charger, a computer, a hairdryer---whatever---anything with a cord that has the familiar two prongs on the end of it.

    What I've done so far is extracted the small dynamo generator out of a flashlight and made my own metal crank for it. I'm sure it only produces less than 6 volts or something, which may or may not be enough to power something plugged into the outlet I plan to wire to the generator, but help me out here. I don't know what to do next: what other components I need, what I need to wire, etc.

    Any ideas/constructive feedback are welcome. Best,

    Burlington
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2009
  2. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

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    Honestly... quit wasting your time. Even bicycle-powered means you're going to be pedalling all day to charge a battery.

    If your hand-crank generator produces 6v, it's probably generating almost no current (amps). So connect it to a 6v battery and crank all day. Then connect to another 6v battery and crank all day. Now connect those two in series, and you get 12v. Hook up to a 12vDC-120vAC inverter, and you have 120VAC power.

    Hair dryers are a huge draw. You need a fairly large inverter just to run one. (You realize you just cranked all day to charge a battery... just so you can have hot air blown in your face?)

    human-powered is not a realistic option. Solar will charge batteries on a sunny day. A gas/diesel/propane/etc generator will charge batteries when the sun is clouded. Wind can be a crap-shoot, depending on where you are.

    The real question is, why are you trying to generate electricity? What purpose will it serve? Are you prepared to carry a large battery bank to store that power? Are you going to spend the money on a large inverter to run high-amp draw devices?
     

  3. twolilfishies

    twolilfishies wanna be prepared

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    dtomp.. good points! I want a bike generator to make my kids pedal to watch tv but I know its going to be ALOT of pedaling...Maybe they will give up and do something else ( which is half the point ,haha )
     
  4. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

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    Tell your kids that the older small TV's are much more efficient than the LCD's and Plasma's... save yourself buying a new TV. ;) (It's true... the newer flat panel tv's are energy hogs!)
     
  5. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    If you really want to have human-power creating electricity ... might I suggest looking into some automotive goodies. 2004 Dodge trucks (Dakota, Durango) have 160amp alternators under the hood. You could rig-up a stationary exercise-cycle with belts to 1 - 4 alternators and have them rigged to 12-volt deep-cycle batteries - then wire those to an inverter to convert the 12-volt DC power to 120-volt AC power and have "clean" power going to your electronic devices.

    It might be cost-effective to look into solar-systems instead or combine a windmill with a power generator to create your power instead ... unless you are really looking for a way to build-muscle and loose weight quick. :dunno:
     
  6. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning on putting 12 volt in my cabin when I build it, it will only be a place of last resort. I have the solar pannels and I'm now looking for a wind gennerator. I plan on setting up 2 battery banks with 2 deep cycle batteries in each one. Strictly for radio communications and maybe a little bit of lighting. For the most part we will bug in our current home. I have been prepping that for most emergencies. I do want a small place in a non descript location for some of the scenarios that could happen.
     
  7. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

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    While in theory this works, it's another one of those things that doesn't work very well. Automotive alternators are fairly inefficient; they have to generate their own magnetic field, so they use some energy in the process of creating energy. They also require a fairly fast RPM to generate electricity. Remember, vehicle engines tend to idle around 900rpm, and top out around 7000rpm... so the alternator is optimized to produce around 2500-3000 rpm (engine cruising speed). Also, whether you're using a 65amp alternator or a 160amp alternator, drawing something in the range of 150watts (11.1 amps @ 13.5v) is going to feel like quite a workout if you're pedalling.

    If you don't believe the above statement (150w = a good workout), go to a reputable gym (our local YMCA has these) and use a bicycle/treadmill/stepper/"skating" machine. Find the one that will display "watts" of energy being expended. Hop on, warm up, and then try to find a setting that will keep you pushing/pedalling/skating at ~150watts. Now do that for an hour.

    Congradulations... you just generated 0.15kWh's. Now you're hot, tired, and sweaty. And you've barely done enough work to heat up some water... so no hot shower for you. And no blowdrying your hair either.


    If you REALLY want to do something like this, avoid car alternators, and look for permanent magnet motors. If I'm doing the pedalling, I want it as efficient as possible.
     
  8. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    I have found some plans on the 'net for combining permanent magnet motors with home-made fan-blades to create electricity which is then pumped into batteries for use. The one site that comes to mind was written by a guy who was doing night-sky research in Arizona IIRC (If I Remember Correctly).

    What he did was make up his own wind generator, hook it to batteries and used an inverter to run his laptop and had his LED lighting running off the main batteries.

    I searched for the same kind of permanent magnet motors and could not find anything similar. That is when I started looking towards easier-to-find power generating equipment.
     
  9. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

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    I've read the same one. And there is a ton of information out there on building your own wind turbine... from making your own permanent magnet generator to carving turbine blades.

    Do some reading at Fieldlines.com || Make your electricity from scratch!

    It's a great resource for all things home-brew electricity... solar, wind, hydro, etc. Also solar heat production, off-grid living, etc. Some of the people on there also have their own sites... like Gary at Build it Solar. (A great resource for solar energy projects and concepts)
     
  10. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    Thanks for that link .. now I have another forum to read through. I don't find their software as easy-to-understand as our vBulletin, but, the information is quite good.

    Because of that site, I found an intersting video - I won't claim to understand everything that I see there, but, it looks like something that I could experiment with ...

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyzFk3KV3rw]YouTube - free energy Device at work[/ame]
     
  11. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    I was reading another thread (FieldLines - Treadmill Windmill) and a guy was discussing his use of a treadmill DC motor and spinning it to create electricity.

    He was stating that he would be able to use it to charge 12-volt systems with that motor ... if that theory is true, would I be able to take another 12-volt-DC motor (ie: fan motor from vehicle or a starter-motor without its solenoid) and if I spin it fast enough, would I be able to charge batteries with it? If so, I think I have another experiment to play with ..
     
  12. allen_idaho

    allen_idaho Well-Known Member

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    A salvaged dc motor is usually what is used in a number of homebuilt wind generators.

    Another option is to build your own permanent magnet contactless dynamo to generate dc power. They are very easy to make and relatively cheap, depending on how much you spend on the magnets.
     
  13. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

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    That's simply using one coil to generate a magnetic field to cause the unit to spin (once it's already spinning)... and another coil that gets excited by that spinning magnetic field (N/S constantly reversing) produces voltage.

    one side is a motor, the other side is a generator. No free electricity.
     
  14. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

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    And yes... thats the basic idea. But you have to use a motor that has permanent magnets.
     
  15. twolilfishies

    twolilfishies wanna be prepared

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    ok you totally lost me but... im not giving up on myself! I will fiind out wtf you mean and do it one day!!!!!!
    we will probably do windmill later on when we build our earthship but for now i totally want to learn ANY ways to make power!

    oh and whoever mentioned about the tvs..i didnt know that newer tvs take more power, thats so stupid and typical of companies...sheesh! making things that take more power than the older versions is NOT progress !grrrr
     
  16. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    One of the reasons why a new TV requires more power is because all of the settings are stored in "powered" memory kind of like the ram of your computer. When the power is removed, the ram "forgets" everything in it. Some TV's use memory similar to an SD-card where the information is written and able to be retrieved even when the power goes out.

    Finally - because of the remote-control that every TV comes with, the TV needs to have "some" power running through its control-boards to continously scan for the signal to come to full-power.

    The only way to go back to the "non-power-using" style TV's of past is to use a power-bar to cut the power completely to the TV - kind of like when the old "dial-tuning" TVs had a power-switch that killed all power when flipped, twisted or pushed into an off-position.

    New computers are all setup the same way - some power always running through the system-board due to the "soft-power-switch" - not like the old i386 computers where the power switch actually killed all power to the whole computer.
     
  17. GetPreparedStuff

    GetPreparedStuff Member

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    I'll take a stab at some constructive feedback and share some of the things you can do with human powered power generation.

    One solution is this pedal powered generator:
    David Butcher: Pedal Powered Generator - DIY Plans
    [​IMG]

    And the application that sounds most like what you are after is running this kitchen blender: http://www.los-gatos.ca.us/davidbu/pedgen/pppm_blender.html

    The key component needed for such a generator will be a ultra or super-capacitor that can store quickly the generated power and also give it back quickly so it can be useful. A blender is a good example of a device that works well with human power generation. A blender takes high wattage to run, but it only runs for a short time so you aren't forced to pedal for hours to get the blender to work as needed.

    Even a little hand crank device has some application. If you really crank on this you can generate about 10 watts of power.

    [​IMG]
    A Freeplay FreeCharge 12v (plus a 12v Car to USB adapter)

    or it will charge a capacitor based LED flashlight like this
    [​IMG]

    Ecolight in about 5 minutes of cranking.

    As a last suggested possibility which will likely need a lot of tinkering and additional parts. Here's a military hand crank generator that could be adapted for some power generation use?
    [​IMG]
    MIL-2132 - Original Military Hand Crank Generator Type 65 10 Watts of Power 1960's Chinese
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  18. Icbones

    Icbones Member

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  19. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    At first blush, I'd say it can't be done as you describe...

    What you are talking about is called a 'Dynamo',
    Hand crank machine that produces usable current is fairly difficult to build from scratch,
    Requires gears to speed the rotor up, and is fairly complex.

    Hand cranks haven't worked very well in the past simply because human arms aren't very strong...

    Have you considered foot pedals, like an old excercise bike so you can use leg power instead of hand power?
    ---------------------------------

    You could start the way I started...

    I would say to start with an EXISTING electric motor,
    Something with a permanent magnet that normally ran on DC power...

    Lawn mower or outboard engine starter would be a good place to start...
    If you are a little more adventurous,
    Move to something like a tread mill motor...

    Exercise bikes are DIRT CHEAP at yard sales, thrift shops, junk yards, ect.
    The kind with the heavy flywheel are best, the 'Fan' type don't work so well, lots of conversion to use them...

    You will need a larger pulley or sprocket for the leg power side, like the big sprocket on the cranks of a 10 speed.

    You will need the small sprocket for the motor so it turns faster than the cranks.

    Since the motors I listed are permanent magnet type, you won't have to rewire them or add magnets to get them to produce current.

    You CAN drive the motor directly off the cranks on the bicycle, but I prefer to drive the motor off the flywheel of an older excercise bike.
    The flywheel evens out the energy applied to the motor/generator, and that evens out the output current from the motor.

    Some people chose to drive the motor directly from cranks, but like I said, that can be jerky and seriously reactive to input changes... Like when you want to 'Coast' awhile.

    Does this sound like something you would be interested in?