DIY Wind Turbine for Free Energy

With electricity cost going up and the likes of British Gas hiking up their price, everyone could use a bit of free energy. There are a number of ways to harvest renewable energy including solar and wind, however, the cost of setting up a wind farm can be quite high. [Mr Tickles] has uploaded a video where he has a cheaper DIY method of making a DIY wind turbine.

His project uses a commercial ceiling fan as a turbine for converting the wind energy into electricity. PVC pipes are used to mount the entire thing such that it becomes portable. A cardboard fin is used to make the propeller face the wind but there are plans to upgrade it in the future. [Mr Tickles] demonstrates his project by lighting up a lamp and then charging a cell phone.

For the price, this hack is pretty neat and can be extended to work with larger fans. For those who are looking at an even simpler version of this build, check out the most straightforward wind turbine.

35 thoughts on “DIY Wind Turbine for Free Energy

  1. People sort of throw around the word “free” like it’s magic or something.

    This isn’t free. I’ll grant you it’s extremely low cost energy, but you do have to amortize the cost of creating (and maintaining) this across all the energy it creates.

  2. The ceiling fan is apparently a PMSM (permanent magnet synchronous motor), which is a bit surprising because they usually are asynchronous motors which are quite useless for such purposes. I know you can get those to sort of work with a few capacitors across the phases but it is very far from ideal.

    Because it’s a direct-drive motor, it would have a very low KV (rpms per volt), which means in reverse that you get a high voltage output at a relatively low speed, which is quite ideal for a wind turbine. He is sort of correct it produces AC output, but it’s frequency varies with the speed, but as long as you use switchmode power supplies (like in a reasonable quality LED bulb), that doesn’t really matter.

    You could try optimizing the power output with a MPPT (maximum power point tracker), which is basically a switchmode converter with a microcontroller that would try to load the turbine just right to get the maximum power output, constantly adjusting to the wind conditions, but the complexity and cost would be way out of proportion with the turbine itself, because you can’t buy a proper MPPT converter that actually works off-the-shelf for a few bucks.

    1. Many LED bulbs use capacitive PSUs. These would not work well with varying frequency (and voltage). An MPPT converter is only useful to charge batteries. Most other loads have rated (and needed) power

    2. Even asychronous motors can be used to generate power (search induction generator), but you need a reactive element (capacitive load or external capacitors) to keep the magnetic field and this reactance has to change with load. Also, starting with no power, it might take a while for sufficient magnetic field to build up. (with a perfectly demagnetized motor, this would be impossible, but there’s always a tiny residual magnetic field in real motors)
      Also, it’s not as efficient as synchronous machines.

      Not really sure, but this might also be possible with a hacked VFD.

      1. but induction motors are used with hydro power as the energy input can be controlled to be stable ie not fluctuating
        also cant increase load/increase power draw(or decrease) on them quickly as it disrupts the power frequency
        i havent watched the video but normal ceiling fan must be modded by adding nd magnets on a iron ring and removing the silicon iron ring in the fan

    3. “because you can’t buy a proper MPPT converter that actually works off-the-shelf for a few bucks.”

      MPPTs aren’t exactly that complicated – they’re a very common student project in EE departments. Wind MPPT controllers are pretty different than solar MPPT controllers due to rotational inertia, but there’s still plenty of basic theory stuff online that you could do it yourself with a minimum amount of effort.

    1. 1 W at what speed? How much torque do you need to overcome the cogging(which is substantial with stepper motors)?

      Just popping in a motor a stepper motor isn’t really a solution

  3. Purlease… 1 watt is just not worth the effort. Even at the British Gas price of 18p/kWhr, 1 watt would cost you a ‘phenomenal’ £1.58 if used for a YEAR non-stop.
    I suggest that even one item from the BOM would set you back that amount.

    I’m not knocking the principle of ‘free’ but…. get a grip.

  4. As the mains fan is designed to work inside it will not be waterproof.
    So you could get an electric shock in the rain.
    The motor will need protection from the water entering from above, but also ventilation slots so it dosen’t over heat.

  5. Imagine, if you would, a world where using this kind of technology and waste materials could power the necessities of your dwelling. Now imagine a world without government legislation invovled in building and using such energy-generating devices.

    If widespread use of negligible-cost energy becomes the norm, there will be some form of taxation involved, whether it be direct or attributed to having the “necessary safety permit(s)”. In the end it would not be ‘free energy’.

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