Hydroelectric Generator: How to Build a Small One


hydroelectric generatorA hydroelectric generator is the best thing to build to produce electricity if you have a stream flowing nearby.

We all know that scientists are in a constant search for alternative energy sources and this happens because in recent years conventional energy sources have started to decrease significantly.

They have developed various systems that convert the energy from nature in electricity and many of these systems could be built at home, on a smaller scale, in order to reduce electricity consumption.  After we saw how to produce electricity using magnets or wind power, it is time to talk about those people who live near a river.

Often called as a low-impact hydro, micro-hydro or run-of-stream hydroelectric generator, this system is not very hard to build.

To build a hydroelectric generator you must follow these steps:

1. Preparing the Disks

Our hydroelectric generator will consist of two main parts:
-The stator (this part is not moving and it is equipped with coils of wire to collect electricity)
-The rotor (the rotor is the part that moves and has some powerful magnets that will induce electricity in the coils)
First you need some templates and a cardboard. The two templates that contain the rotor and stator scheme must be cut and attached to the front and back of the cardboard. After these templates are well glued to cardboard make a hole (1 cm) at the center of the stator disk.

2. Attaching the Stator

Now, you have to make 4 coils that will be attached on the cardboard. This requires you to use a cardboard with an oval section. Then, start winding the wires on this cardboard to form a tight coil (200 turns). Remove carefully the coil from the oval section and then, repeat this procedure to make three more coils.

Arrange the coils on the cardboard according to the template scheme (their windings have to alternate between clockwise and counter clockwise). You must be sure that an electron would follow the path shown by the arrows in the template, begining from the left counterclockwise coil.

Connect the ends of coils and use insulation tape to prevent any errors. Use a multi-meter to cehck electrical resistance (ohms). If the wires are properly connected the meter should produce a reading of about 10 ohms.

3. Attaching the Rotor

At this stage you need 4 strong magnets to be attached on the stator template. Check the magnets, mark the south pole on two of them and the north pole of the remaining two. The magnets should be arranged on the template so that their polarity alternates (N-S-N-S).

Then you need a cork and 8 plastic spoons. You have to shorten the spoons so that the handle will not measure more than 1cm. Look at the rotor template and insert the spoons into the cork (1cm depth).

4. The Turbine

Make a 6mm hole through the cork (make sure the hole is centered), fix again the geometrical position of the spoons and add some hot glue to each spoon to secure it.

 

5. Generator body and Final Assembly

Find a plastic tank or a bottle to attach the rotor, the stator and the small turbine. After you find the center of the tank, make a hole in that place (6mm) and fix the stator with its coils just above the hole. Then, attach on the same shaft the turbine and rotor (the spoons have to face the neck of the bottle and the magnets should be close to the coils (3mm between the coils and magnets)).

It seems that our small hydroelectric generator is almost ready to use. All we need now is a stream of water so that the turbine to spin continuously as long as there is water to drive it. If the turbine is properly connected to the generator this stream should produce enough hydroelectric power to provide juice to our utilities or charging batteries.

A working power generator

Youtube user TheDamHeroes, inspired by the designed shown in this article, posted a working hydroelectric generator. Watch it in action below:

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