Remember when you could make your own little hobby generator that involved twisting the wire around several nails? It’s almost getting that simple to make your own DIY wind turbine using material found in your home or even salvaged from an old washing machine or treadmill. We explored the web for some top ideas on what it would take to create a hobby turbine or solar panel that could actually offset some energy expenses at your farm, cabin, boat, or cottage. Here is a sample of some creative ideas to get off the grid.
#1 DIY Car Alternator Wind Turbine – Mother Earth News
This simple project involves taking a car alternator with a voltage regulator and creating an off-the-grid electricity source for the author’s remote cabin.
The small turbine is mounted on top of an old TV antenna tower (remember those?), with standard piping and brackets to keep it all secure. The system is connected to on-site storage batteries. The whole DIY Wind Turbine project was about $1000.
It’s not the prettiest wind turbine, but it is cheap. However, the author did warn that getting the DIY wind turbine rig on top of the 20-foot tower was challenging due to the motor’s weight.
#2 DIY Snow Shovel Wind Turbine
This next project makes creative use of a common tool found in the north country; the snow shovel. This author bought most of this gear on Amazon and created a tower for his DIY wind turbine on wood 4x4s.
Most of the material he bought on Amazon comprises electrical conduit pipes, joints, and nipples. The project generated power with a 300-watt permanent magnet motor mounted on the base.
The author, Mountain (Boomer) Mike‘s total budget for this DIY wind turbine came in at a skinny $200. A real low threshold to get your wind turbine in place. A complete list of parts can be found at SolarPowerSimplified.com
#3 DIY Treadmill Motor Vertical Access Wind Turbine
This next DIY wind turbine project is a rig you can place just about anywhere. It could even be portable. Using bike wheel rims, PVC pipe, and a salvaged treadmill motor.
With an estimated 50 watts of generated power, this portable vertical turbine can be moved and placed where the wind is. The author notes that the one drawback is that it takes quite a bit of wind to start the rotation. All the materials were scavenged from garages, and junk shops, effectively making the cost of this DIY wind turbine project $0.
#4 DIY Washing Machine Motor Vertical Wind Turbine
This author gives a step-by-step guide to creating a simple wind turbine using a cut PVC pipe and an old washing machine motor. The PVC blades are stacked on a single pole for a nice look.
A 15 step guide; illustrated and explained in great detail. With hand power tools and salvaged materials, you can do a fully functional DIY wind turbine project. Thus, do it in one weekend! The author claims that this washing machine version generates 50 watts at no load. Specific plans can be found to make a vertical wind generator from a washing machine motor.
#5 DIY PVC and Junk Plastic DC Motor Wind Turbine
Chances are, if you are a home handyman, then you have spare PVC tubing, plastic, and wiring to get started on this simple DC motor rig. This example comes from Southeast Asia, where creativity using simple parts available in the home or village is necessary.
Detailed written instructions are lacking, but the video provides a step-by-step guide on making a simple generator. A parts list is included on their video page. In addition, the Creative Think channel has all sorts of other DIY electronic projects to try, so it is worth bookmarking to review later.
#6 DIY Bicycle Wheel Vertical Wind Turbine
Here is another step-by-step DIY wind generator using an old bike wheel and a bunch of PVC piping. The music soundtrack is annoying, but the simple video tutorial is worth watching for all sorts of ideas.
#7 The DIY 1000 Watt Wind Turbine
This is an excellent step-by-step guide to building an “almost commercial” wind turbine. This 1000 watt wind turbine can charge a battery bank that powers an off-the-grid home. It’s a permanent magnet alternator, generating 3 phase alternating current rectified to direct current then fed to a charge controller. The magnets spin with the wind, the coils are fixed, so no brushes or slip rings are necessary.
6 Steps To Consider Before Building Your Own Wind Turbine
An innovative site called Greeneco Products has a neat guide showing steps to consider before diving into selecting your own perfect DIY Wind Turbine. These include:
- Research the technology – Understand the terminology and safety or working with electrical components
- Understand your local weather patterns – Do your local wind conditions permit the use of your own wind turbine.
- Determine how much electric power you will need to generate – Carefully analyze your power needs. Will your project covers the entire need or will you augment with grid-based power.
- Do it yourself or hire a contractor – Do you have the skills to tackle the project by yourself or do you have the budget to hire it done.
- Access to quality materials – Wind turbines take a lot of punishment. Do you have access to quality components that will last.
- Consider mixing wind and solar – If your local conditions allow, consider adding solar panels to the project. It will over better coverage when the wind isn’t blowing.
DIY Wind Turbine Kits
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FAQ for DIY wind turbines
According to the USUIA, in 2019, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential customer was 10,649 kilowatt-hours (kWh). This translates to an average of about 877 kWh per month. Thus for ease of calculation, figure 900 kWh per month, 30 kWh per day, or 1.25 kWh per hour.
Sizing a wind turbine for your home depends on several factors. Anecdotally if you’re living in an area with an average of 14 mph wind speed, a small 1.5-kilowatt wind turbine will meet the needs of a home requiring a miserly 300 kilowatt-hours per month.
Depending on the normal wind speed in the area, a wind turbine rated in the range of 5 kW to 15 kW would be required to furnish electric power to an average household.
Related DIY Wind Generator Reading at Thumbwind
Construction of Thumb Loop Transmission Line. The loop is 62 miles, starting from the new Bauer substation site in southwestern Tuscola County, to the new Rapson substation in Huron County, in Sigel Township.
Home Wind Turbines in the Future. – Michigan’s Thumb region will see more users of home wind turbines in use for farms and cottages. Advances in technology have made this potential more affordable. Even “Big Box” home improvement stores have wind generation products for sale for home use.
Building a Wind Turbine in Five Minutes. MidAmerican Energy put together this terrific video that shows the entire process of building a wind turbine. The video is a little over five minutes and includes factoids during the entire process.
Google-backed Wind Power Line Clears Hurdle – From 2012. The Chicago Tribune reports that a proposed Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) line has passed its first regulatory hurdle. The $5 billion transmission line to send power from wind farms off the East Coast. The Google Renewable Power project to move to the next step in the approval process, officials said