Rural Hacker De-Crufts And Rebuilds Hydroelectric Generator

YouTuber [Linguoer] has a knack, and it’s one that we don’t often see on the pages of Hackaday: rewinding and rebuilding dilapidated motors and generators. In the video below, you’ll see [Lin] take a hydroelectric turbine and generator that looks like it’s been sitting at the bottom of a lake, and turn it into a working unit, all while wearing her trademark blue and yellow denim jumpsuit.

Where as most makers would have used a MIG or TIG welder, [Linguoer] uses a simple (probably A/C) stick welder. Generator windings are calculated and wound by hand, and the carcass of what used to be the generator is sandblasted out in the open. Missing parts are fabricated from scratch using nothing more than an angle grinder. “Simple” is the order of the day.

[Linguoer] often refers to herself as “Village Girl”. Whatever specialty tools she uses, they are elementary. And whatever methods she uses, they are manual. You will get the idea very quickly that [Linguoer] isn’t just a person with a skill, but a person with a passion for getting things done no matter the circumstances. [Linguoer] is a hacker if there ever was one!

If hydroelectric hacks spin your pelton wheel, give this Impressive Off-Grid Hydroelectric Plant a whirl.

27 thoughts on “Rural Hacker De-Crufts And Rebuilds Hydroelectric Generator

    1. I’ve since learned that while YT locates her as being in HK, she’s likely in China. I had the same thought as you though, and before writing that sentence I researched and found that there are in fact rural, poorly serviced villages in HK as well. Where is she really? ¯\(º_o)/¯ Wherever her VPN puts her, I guess.

    2. Using Google is illegal in China, so I’d assume by proxy YouTube is illegal too. She must be using a VPN, and with a VPN you usually want to use the geographically closest server since it is usually faster, so she is probably in China and using a VPN in Hong Kong to access YouTube. Also technically Monaco is the most densely populated in terms of people per square kilometer but people don’t tend to live there all the time, it’s more that they are registered as living there for the appearance and lack of taxes.

    1. i watched a few more of her videos. She has some great focus. it is damn hard to cut circles out with an angle grinder like that. I can hardly cut straight lines. lol

    2. You did see her multiple very expensive packages come in right bro? Those magnets aren’t cheap and that copper isn’t just unwound from a television. Possibly microwaves. But living in an extreme rural environment here in southern Nevada I totally respect what you’re saying use what you got because that’s what you got.

  1. Another tuber to watch with this knack and a good head for working on and repairing pre ecu construction and farming equipment is Marty T. Marty liv3s in NZ and his content is about repairs on long abandoned ( 25+ year ) construction and farm equipment as well as fixing anything that comes along and building hydroelectric systems from salvaged clothes washers and irrigation pipes. An added bonus, his level of chill is so relaxing yet he keeps you fixed to his work.

  2. Given what she had available, I thought she did a great job. I had some thoughts/questions: 1 – why did she not sandblast/clean the impeller; 2 – can anyone estimate the power generating capability of the turbine given its overall size, estimation of coils and estimated water throughput; 3 – expected life expectancy/maintenance cycle of the “restored“ mechanism?

    1. The pelican wheel is a throw away anyways, as the water wears it out pretty quickly. Any added texture to it is only increasing the efficiency (greater surface area). You want all the metal there you can. It also moves too fast for rust to develop. Look forward to hearing how wrong I am.

        1. Yes, cavitation. The cancer of turbines. It attacks the propeller at different spots with different intensity regarding different factors like geometry, materials, … and of course speed (water flow, prop rotation). You have also turbulence behind the blades that generates cavitation. It is also modulated by the system velocity. Actually a turbine is a very complex system in terms of fluid mecanics.

          1. Precisions: I ain’t say: the faster the system, the more cavitation you’ll get. It is not always that linear in such a complex system.

          2. There’s nothing like references…

            Testing Francis turbine for cavitation at different speeds:

            During the initial phase of speed variation, small cavitation spots at the trailing edge junction near to hub and shroud were obtained. The cavitation was automatically disappeared as rotational speed increased further, however, at high rotational speed (), the cavitation was maximum.


    2. The limiting factor is probably the generator.. That stator has been taken out of some other machine and already modified once – into what looks to be two-phase windings and non-neodymium permanent magnets with a huge air gap. Weak magnets make sense for a generator that is going to be spinning fast, but the air gap will limit the amount of current to something very small. I would say it’s a couple hundred watts, a kilowatt tops?

      1. Yeah you are guessing in the same ballpark I was thinking – I’d have gone a little higher maybe up to 1.4Kw tops, at least with a good fast waterflow, but its probably not that high, of course we are both creating wild ass guesses as there just isn’t enough information to really do the maths on.

  3. Oh sure, “just uses what she has to hand” She us using specialized winding (albeit antique) winding equipment. She has also had some training. Winding a stator that will have some degree of efficiency is a skill not easily acquired even if tou can find the tools.

  4. She’s been written up in Chinese official media:
    It’s the sort of story the Party likes.

    She went to Kunming University, “majoring in Water Conservancy and Hydroelectric Engineering”. They seem to have many practical training courses, which is probably where she learned motor rewinding.

    Much of the stuff she rebuilds is left over from the Mao era – simple, rugged, and repairable. Notice how similar all those Diesel engines are. Same design in different sizes. You can [buy one of those on Alibaba for $145.](

    All those burned out windings. You can see why, when you see motors wired up without a motor protection circuit breaker. If the motor is stalled, it will burn out. Which is how those guys with the crane managed to burn out their motor in the middle of a job. A 3-phase motor protection circuit breaker is only US$7 on Alibaba.

    The lack of electrical safety is scary. No strain relief on power connections. Standing in water holding an outlet strip!

    She really is an artist with an angle grinder. Watching her make stuff from scrap sheet steel with just an angle grinder and spot welder is impressive. She has a huge range of skills. Watch one of her woodworking projects.

  5. I found myself comparing this with my memory of a workshop in- I suspect- Pakistan where they pulled an all-nighter rewinding a big motor. In both cases they basically had the right supplies and knew how to do the job, except that right at the end of the Pakistani video they had some clown soldering the wiring with a gas torch and no flux. You could see the copper blackening and the solder barely wetting it, at which point I found myself thinking that it was hardly surprising they were working all night since they’d probably last seen that motor weeks if not days earlier.

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