Here is the story of how Mike Davis, an astronomer in Arizona, designed and built his own wind turbine generator spending less than US$150 and utlilising some scrap parts and items he already had.
His location is very remote and so there was no grid electricity available. With a bit of ingenuity and technical know-how he managed to put together a wind turbine generator to charge a 12 Volt leisure battery and give him power to run his laptop computer, shaver, to charge AA batteries etc.
Rather than trying to build his own alternator / generator, he chose to use a 30 Volt DC Ametek PM motor purchased for just $26 from eBay (Ametek motors on eBay UK, eBay USA). Such a motor can easily put out a couple of hundred watts when used as a generator.
Just the cost of the magnets for a home made 200+ Watt alternator would have cost far in excess of $26, and it is also far cheaper than purchasing a ready made permanent magnet alternator, so using such a motor is a great way to get started generating electricity from the wind.
His turbine blades were home made from 6 inch PVC pipe. Again, PVC wind turbine blades are the quickest and cheapest way to get started. He made them 24 inches long giving an overall wind turbine diameter of over four feet.
Here is a video of the finished wind turbine generator in action:
If you click below to read the full article on Mike’s website, you will also find a full details of the electronic controller he made for this wind turbine with a selection of battery protecting features.
To find out more, click the link below. He has added many updates to the article since it was originally published in 2005/6 including details of a new simpler (but prize winning!) electronic controller for which a full schematic is provided.
How I Home-Built an Electricity Producing Wind Turbine
“It was easy. You can do it too”.