Wifi hotspot powered by wind turbine and solar panel

Students at the Rochester Institute of technology have put together this WiFi hotspot that is powered by a wind turbine and a solar panel. It gets its signal through a parabolic antenna pointed at a near by building and repeats it for use in the vicinity. They are using a 30W solar panel, along with a 1/4 horse power 90V DC motor to charge two 6V batteries in series. On a windy day, the turbine has yielded 120W. Something interesting to note is a comment they made about blades. Though the ultimately decided to mimic a commercial design for wind turbines, they found the most efficient to be a single wood prop. Unfortunately, that prop was destroyed.

[via HackedGadgets]


  1. Jon says:

    I lived in st. Louis Park, MN they had plans to put in a city wide solar powered wifi network… The contract was dissolved due to delays in deployment but solar powered wifi is nothing new… a bit of 802.11s would sure be welcome in that kinda node system though.

  2. Sean says:

    Interesting project. How much did it cost, and how much would it cost per unit in production?

  3. nave.notnilc says:

    is that an arduino I see? :P

    anyway, neat stuff, it’d be interesting to see a longer-term record of the wind/solar energy generated. also possibly stringing a series of them.

  4. elal1862 says:

    With the added bonus of a fire hazard (load dump resistors mounted on a wooden board)

  5. Icarus says:

    Next time you shoot a video of a working wind turbine… it would be smart to use a wind proof microphone.

    Couldn’t hear a thing but the build seems nicely done

  6. anonymouse says:

    An embedded system like this should be able to operate with little enough power to use a radioisotope thermal generator. An access point doesn’t have much excuse to use more than 5 watts.

  7. andrew says:


    I’d imagine it’s the radio that ends up consuming most of the power.

  8. Anonymouse says:

    Too bad they are using only physical radio device on the node, as it will be connected to the parabolic dish and will also broadcast through this. The broadcom wireless chip used in the used access point cannot switch antenna output on a per packet basis (don’t know any that can, and even then it would probably be wrong for receiving packets). I would have used one of the many routers with two (real) wireless interfaces. Or get one with usb and plug in a cheap ralink wifi dongle that can work as an access point (the range sucks quite a bit, it’s often one model worldwide so out of the box it only tunes a few channels, and with like 5mW power. This can be overcome by modding the driver, or rewriting the eeprom for a permanent fix. Read your local regulations before doing tihs.)

  9. Tim Horst says:

    In my village we get our internet from a station on a hill above our village. The station is also powered by a wind turbine and a solar panel. So its nothing new

  10. Ken says:

    Is that a Arduino controlling the Solar and Wind battery chargers???

  11. Professor P says:

    I rely on a small solar panel to power a commercially available 3G wifi access point via a cigar lighter adapter for all my Internet access. Works beautifully.

  12. Looks cool. Not sure if the battery will store enough power for the night.

  13. David says:

    I have some business ideas for this sort of thing, these sorts of concepts could go a long way for creating low cost intranets, WAN’s and extended neighbourhood networks, also allowing people to share internet connectivity costs. Imagine an entire neighbour hot spot’erised! Wherever you go, you’re connected. Set up a central email server, free IP calling within your suburb, completely removing the ISP from the equationn unless you want to connect to the WWW.

    The only ongoing cost would be repairs/maintenance and upgrades.

  14. D_ says:

    Not to take away from this effort but amateur radio operators have had solar powered FM telephony, and digital repeaters operating for some time now. I know, I know, off the shelf wifi allows more of the general public play.

  15. trc202 says:

    @Ken I think it’s just reading the hall effect sensor and outputting the data back through the access point

  16. aj says:


    Because an RTG is such a simple device to design and deploy compared to a solar/wind combo.

  17. Jack says:


    Not to mention it is much safer, and not nearly as likely to require the EPA to clean up after your mess.

  18. IMac1701 says:

    I go to RIT for EE. I completely did a double-take when I read the first line.

  19. M. Carpenter says:

    I am going to RIT in the fall for Information Technology & Computer Science. As a member of the Computer Science House, I hope to be involved in projects like this on campus, it looks cool.

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