Wind Energy Guide

Homemade Wind Power - Is It Worth It?

No matter how people may sing heartening songs in praise of wind power and the comparatively lower cost of installing a system in your home to cut down electricity bills, the practical problem lies in getting hold of a wind power system at a reasonable price.

Homemade Wind Power

Readymade wind power systems that are available in the market and are suitable to the average homes, cost nothing less than $4000. Such a high initial lay out will take years for the system to pay back, presuming it would generate adequate power to offset the prevalent high electricity bills. Enterprising adults, therefore, often think in terms of having a homemade wind power system that will cost as little as $100 to $200. To illustrate the point, here are the details. However, prior to laying hands on the project, it may be prudent to check two vital points involved with the issue (a) Whether the home regularly receives reasonably strong wind current (at least 8 mph) all through the year and (b) Whether there is any local by-law banning installation of a wind power system in the area. A positive response to (a) and a negative reply to (b) is enough to plunge headlong into making a homemade wind power system or a turbine as detailed below.

To start with, one would require 5 basic components that include a power generator, blades to turn its shaft, a movable mount and a tail to keep the generator in right direction, a tower to install the unit, batteries and an electronic control device.

The hunt for the generator may come to an end either at the local hardware shop or at an e-bay outlet. As for the generator, all one needs is a reliable DC motor working at a low rpm. Now, for those not conversant with electrical appliances it may be relevant to know that DC motors also work as generators when turned in reverse direction. A 30 volt, 325 rpmAmetek DC motor suits the purpose best.

After the DC motor is duly acquired, blades are needed to turn the shaft. These can be carved out of wood or can be made out of 4 inch PVC pipe, 24 inch long. Cut lengthwise into 4 pieces, they serve the purpose well. While three blades are actually required for the turbine, the 4th blade may be kept in reserve future use. One more run to the hardware shop is then needed to procure a hub onto which the blades are tightly bolted. Once the hub with the blades attached to it is firmly fixed to the shaft, the turbine is almost ready for use.

One then needs a firm base for fixing the turbine for which a 4 inch x 8 inch wooden piece will be fine. The turbine may then be fixed on the base with the help of screws or can be strapped to it with a thin metal strip as were often used in old fashioned automobile generators in the form of inspection window cover. As the assembly has almost taken the final shape, a controller and batteries are needed to close the chapter. While the controller can be had from e-bay for a song, the batteries will cost some money.

And finally, the problem of finding a tower for hoisting the turbine can be solved with the help of a 10 feet long conduit, few turnbuckles and some nylon guy-ropes. Fitted with a hinge at the base and a flange at the top completes the job suitably and well. The entire wiring of the turbine from top of the conduit to its bottom can be run through the inside for protection against rain and sleet while the batteries may be kept at ground level for the sake of convenience.

As the homemade wind power generator becomes fit for operation, the guy ropes may be used to anchor the 10 feet long conduit to four wooden stakes driven to the ground while the turnbuckles on the lower end of each guy-line allows plumbing of the tower. The tower can now be raised or lowered to ground level for inspection and/or maintenance. Once raised to its full height and adjusted to suit the wind direction, the turbine will go on producing current to the merriment of all concerned.

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