Washing Machine Generator


Building a generator can be a fun and fairly simple project. Getting a large DC motor however can sometimes be difficult. Here is a writeup on how to make a generator from an old washing machine drive. It looks like you might need to find a specific machine called the “Smart Drive” to follow their directions exactly though. If you happen to find one, or know of a unit with a similar motor, you can follow these directions to end up with a fairly decent wind powered generator.

[thanks TripleB]

32 thoughts on “Washing Machine Generator

  1. you can usually find this type of drive in a front load washer, I would look for the late 07 to mid 08 maytag built by samsung, they had lots of balance issues and you might be able to find some at the scrapyard. the coils are set up to be a 3 phase dc motor with a variable speed control, the concept is good but since these were built to be easy on the electric bill, you will probably find them to be way underpowered. they probably won’t be able to supply more than 5-6 amps, maybe less.

  2. . . .cont. there is another kind in the top load washer the whirlpool Cabrio, and a smaller version that drives the Dish Drawer. maybe if 4 or 5 of these were linked together and calibrated, you could drive something larger, there is definite possibility.

  3. Simon: not surprising since the fisher pykel and the cabrio washers are pretty much the exact same thing. they both even tried to sue LG for patent infringements on the same washer.

  4. When I worked at Home Depot, the new LG dryers would light up the LCD and let you select a spin cycle / when the drum was spun by hand. This is without the dryer pluged into to wall.

  5. There are plenty of write ups on using the smartdrive motors for generators, lots of DIY’ers in New Zealand use them in small scale hydro or wind generation as it requires only a little electrical knowledge to do.

  6. People do this type of conversion fairly often. Some people even rewire old garbage disposal motors to do the same thing. The term I hear most often is “garbogen” which seems to be anything that was garbage and was rewound to be a generator. Pretty resourceful stuff!

  7. These motors (whole washing machines) are being bulldozed into land-fill by the thousands throughout Australia. I’ve got a dozen or more which I am using to make some gennies, using a few different ideas in the hope of making something worthwhile. For me it is a fantastic intro to a fascinating field and I encourage more to try it – at the very least I’ll be better off for my efforts in knowledge gained if not from successful power generation.

  8. Good evening, these are indeed large stepper motors so they can be used to cycle the washing in the machine, they do make extemely good generators, but a word of warning, if you are experimenting with them in thier current state ie. without being rewired to give a lower voltage for charging purposes the current they give out when turned can be lethal, so be very carefull, normally they can be rewired to three phase and with a rectifier can put out 12 24 36 and 48 volts, the Australians have a lot of information on various websites and are easy to find, these motors can also be found in LG front loader washing machines and there are plenty of these for sale in England at a reasonable price, also there is an Australian firm who specialises in building these for power generation, have a go you will find the end results well worthwhile, regards to all Doc Cox

  9. I have read quite a few explanations on conversions and rewiring, this is by far the best. With most of them one needs almost a degree in electronic engineering to understand. Even I can grasp what is going on and will try to build my generator. I obtained a “LG. 7Kg. front loader Direct drive. I take it will be similar to the fischer peikel

  10. My hope is to use the wind generator to heat my Electric geiser in the house. We are in western cape of south africa. the wind at most times at least a breeze building up to averge of 8 to 12 knots. Then it can get scary at times and here lies the worry.
    Q. is the idea even feasable to conect to ones geiser. somehow I realise that we need to protect and isolate one power source from the other, it is the how that evades me. Now I have allways believed that if one can read you can fix or build anything that is explained on paper.

  11. Martin did you find a solution to your problem? What washing machine can we use in south africa to do this system? Im looking at making a VAWT turbine to runt a few of these to charge up batteries for the house, but not sure if all machines have the right setup to use. Going to look at local scrap yards to see if I cant find old machines.

    1. Hi Brendan, I obtained a LG 13 kg front load washing machine with direct drive. They are fairly new on the market in South Africa, but it is possible if you look hard enough. I found one on “gum tree” that some one just wanted to get rid of. There are a few that are for sale but a bit costly. I have a problem designing a break system for heavy winds and I don’t even know where to start. martin

      1. Thanks will look at it. Was trying to find a scrap yard that has a few old machines, but no luck. Only other option is to buys the part from a shop. At R500.00. What about using some sort of centrifugal rig with bicycle brakes and springs?

          1. It’s the stators that can be configured 52 or more ways. The old type multi magnet rotors will give you more power than the newer ones which are only quieter. Cheers, Bill Golden Bay NZ

      2. hey Martin i have 7kg lv direct drive motor with 3wires i want to run it with external source of power do u know how many volts ac or dc i will need to run it for 1400rpm thankx

  12. I have watched a lot of videos on these seemingly simple motors and wondered “why not build one from scratch?”. That being said, I pose this question. Why not build one from scratch? Some laser cut parts, wire, some plastic or cold casting material. I’m just a fabricator by trade, but this looks very doable.

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