Bad Experiences With A Cheap Wind Turbine

If you’ve got a property with some outdoor space and plenty of wind, you might consider throwing up a windmill to generate some electricity. Indeed, [The Broject List] did just that. Only, his experience was a negative one, having purchased a cheap windmill online. He’s warning off others from suffering the same way by explaining what was so bad about the product he bought.

The windmill in question was described as a “VEVOR Windturbine”, which set him back around 100 euros, and claimed to be capable of producing 600 watts at 12 volts. He starts by showing how similar turbines pop up for sale all over the Internet, with wildly inflated specs that have no relation to reality. Some sellers even charge over 500 euros for the same basic device.

He then demonstrates the turbine operating at wind speeds of approximately 50 km/h. The output is dismal, a finding also shared by a number of other YouTube channels out there. Examining the construction of the wind turbine’s actual generator, he determines that it’s nowhere near capable of generating 600 watts. He notes the poorly-manufactured rotor and aluminium coils as particular disappointments. He concludes it could maybe generate 5 watts at most.

Sadly, it’s easy to fall into this trap when buying online. That’s where it pays to do your research before laying down your hard-earned cash. Continue reading “Bad Experiences With A Cheap Wind Turbine”

Virginia To Get Large-Scale Wind Farm

If you go about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia, you’ll find two windmills jutting up out of the sea. Two windmills aren’t particularly interesting until you realize that these two are on the edge of a 2,100-acre lease that Dominion Energy is placing in Federal water. According to the company, those two will be joined by 176 more windmills on a nearly 113,000-acre adjacent lease. The project has been in the planning and pilot phase for a while, but it was recently given the green light by the US government. You can see a promotional video about the project below. There’s also a video of the first monopiles — the mounts for the windmills — arriving in the area.

The project will eventually have three offshore substations that feed the power to the state military reservation and, from there, to Naval Air Station Oceania, where it feeds the commercial power grid. The final project will power 660,000 homes.

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Books You Should Read: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

For many of us, our passion for electronics and science originated with curiosity about some device, a computer, radio, or even a car. The subject of this book has just such an origin. However, how many of us made this discovery and pursued this path during times of hunger or outright famine?

That’s the remarkable story of William Kamkwamba that’s told in the book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Remarkable because it culminates with his building a windmill (more correctly called a wind turbine) that powered lights in his family’s house all by the young age of fifteen. As you’ll see, it’s also the story of an unyielding thirst for knowledge in the face of famine and doubt by others.

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Making Music With The Wind

[Niklas Roy] built a windmill-powered music box for his backyard, and it was so awesome all the neighbors wanted to take a picture of it. Someone even liked it so much that he stole [Niklas]’s windmill in the middle of the night. (We kind of don’t blame them, it’s a gorgeously clean build.)

In the past few weeks [Niklas] has been mass-producing 20 windmills for the KIKK Festival 2017 to be held in November in Namur, Belgium. The windmills will operate in a cluster, and all play “Für Elise” when the wind blows. However, each one is driven independently and so the music is asynchronous. Since he was building a bunch anyway, he built a replacement windmill for his backyard, and documented how to do it.

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bike wheel wind turbine

Juice-Spewing Wind Turbine Bootstrapped From Bike Parts

Wind Turbines are great, they let us humans harness the energy of the wind. Wind is free and that is good, but spending a ton of money on a wind turbine setup begins to make the idea less appealing. [Ted] has spent many years building low cost wind turbines and this one is not only simple but can be made from mostly found parts.

It’s easy to identify the main rotor hub and blade frame which are made from an old bicycle wheel. The blades are standard aluminum flashing normally used in home construction and are attached directly to the spokes of the bike wheel. Mounted below the bike rim is a permanent magnet motor that acts as a generator. A belt couples the motor to the main rotor and uses the tire-less rim as a pulley.

[Ted] has strapped this beast to the roof of his car to measure how it performs. At 12 mph, he’s getting between 18-20 volts at 2 amps. Not too bad! Bikes and bike parts are cheap (or free) and there is no surprise that they have been used in wind turbine projects before, like this one that hangs from a kite.

7-Foot DIY Wind Turbine Proves Size Matters


When [brokengun] decided to build a 7 ft diameter wind turbine, he had no idea how to even start, so he did as most of us would do and read some books on the topic. His design criteria was that it would be simple to construct and use as many recycled parts as possible. This wind turbine charges a 12 volt battery which can then be used to power a variety of gadgets.

Although made from recycled components, this isn’t a thrown together wind turbine. A lot of thought went into the design and build. [brokengun] discusses matching the blade size to that of the generator in order to maximize power and efficiency.  The design also incorporates a feature that will turn the turbine perpendicular to the wind if the wind-speed gets to high. Doing this prevents the turbine from being damaged by strong gusts.

For the main support/hub assembly, a Volvo 340 strut was used because they are widely available, cheap and known for being long-lasting. The tail boom is made from electrical conduit and it’s length is determined by the size of the main fan rotor. The tail vane is made from steel sheet metal and its surface area is also dependent on the fan rotor size to ensure that the turbine functions properly. The blades are made from wood but instead of making them himself, [brokengun] felt these were worth ponying up some cash. [brokengun] also scored a 30 ft high lattice tower an airport was getting rid of. This worked out great as it’s just the right height for a turbine of this size.

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Windmill Made From Washing Machine, 555 Chip

Green hacks implement one of two philosophies. The first is über-technical, with very expensive, high-quality components. The other side of this coin creates green power out of junk. [Timot] obviously took the latter choice, building a windmill out of an old washing machine motor and a few bits of PVC.

The generator for the windmill is based on a Fisher and Paykel direct drive usually found in clothes washing machines, rewired to provide 12 Volts at low RPM. At high speeds, the generator can produce 80 Volts, so a charge controller – even one based on a 555 chip – was an excellent addition.

For the other miscellaneous mechanical parts of the build, [Timot] cut the blades of the windmill out of 200 mm PVC pipe and sanded them down a bit for a better aerodynamic profile. With a custom fiberglass spinner, [Timot] whipped up a very attractive power station that is able to provide about 20 watts in normal conditions and 600 watts when it’s very windy. Not enough to power a house by any means, but more than enough to charge a cellphone or run a laptop for a few hours out in the back country.