Perhaps you live on a boat, vacation in a secluded lodge, or, like me, live off the grid. Maybe you just want to save money on your electricity bill. In any case, you can create a homemade wind generator using a few low-cost, easy-to-find items, giving you access to electricity for as long as the wind blows. You’ll be able to light up that storeroom, power your barn, and keep all of your vehicle batteries charged with a generator.
Solar and wind power are used to power my off-grid cottage, which is powered by a bank of four 6-volt golf cart batteries wired for a 12-volt system. My system is protected from under- or overcharging by a charge controller and a battery minder. I spent less than $1,000 on the entire setup, which includes lights, fans, a television and audio, refrigeration, and a disco ball that rises for special occasions.
Is it possible to use a car alternator to power a wind turbine?
If you’re new to the idea of making a wind generator out of repurposed parts, you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself a few questions like these:
- Why are automobile alternators suitable for wind energy?
- What adjustments are required to convert an automobile alternator into a functional wind generator?
- What is it about Delco-style alternators that makes them so popular?
- Which WindyNation blades work best with Delco-style PMA wind generators?
Perhaps we asked that last question ourselves! In any case, if you’ve ever wondered about repurposing automobile alternators, now’s your chance to learn everything you need to know.
Wind power enthusiasts are increasingly common around the world, taking advantage of excess supplies of alternators or motors that were originally intended for purposes other than generating electricity from the wind. Fisher & Paykel washing machine motors are quite popular in Australia and New Zealand, as these machines utilise big permanent magnet motors. Ametek, Inc. is best known in North America for their tape drive motors, which were once readily available and immensely popular for constructing wind generators.
However, when it comes to DIY modest wind power, the Delco brand of permanent magnet alternators is likely the most popular.
Why are Delco-style Alternators So Popular?
The Delco moniker is derived from Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co, a long-time supplier to General Motors. Delco had a long and illustrious history, which included the invention of the first practical battery ignition system. Hundreds of key components for American-made autos were manufactured by the enterprise, which was absorbed into a variety of larger mega-corporations. GM still uses the Delco brand name, especially for its ACDelco components division, but the corporation has come a long way since its early pioneering days.
Since the early 1980s, the American auto industry has had a lot of excess production capacity, which has often gone into generating a lot of components that don’t always wind up in automobiles. Even though these alternators didn’t find a place under a hood, they found a way to be useful. Delco has experienced a rebirth among wind power aficionados. For usage in small wind generators, repurposed vehicle alternators have become exceedingly popular and relatively cost-effective.
Most ACDelco generators that are sold specifically for use as a wind generator have been repurposed or rebuilt. The reason for this is that when a Delco automobile alternator is employed in a wind turbine, it operates under different conditions than a permanent magnet alternator.
What Modifications are Necessary?
The stator of an automobile alternator is wound to function at extremely high RPMs, owing to the alternator’s luxury of being turned by a powerful, high-rpm engine. The operating rpm of a Delco vehicle alternator is around three times that of the crankshaft of the car engine. The crankshaft of a car rotates between 1000 and 4000 revolutions per minute. As a result, a Delco automobile alternator is built to provide adequate charging voltage and amperage at 3000-12000 rpm.
In 25 mph wind, a modest wind turbine with a rotor diameter of about 60 inches may reach 850 revolutions per minute! The threshold for a normal Delco automobile alternator to even begin charging a 12 volt battery bank is 850 rpm!
When using a Delco automobile alternator as a wind generator, it is imperative that the alternator be modified to run at low RPMs. This is achieved by two complex modifications:
- The stator windings on a Delco vehicle alternator are replaced with a stator with more turns of lower gauge wire.
- On the rotor, high-powered Neodymium magnets are used, which produce more power than conventional magnets.
Where Can I Buy Quality Delco Alternators for Wind Turbines?
WindBlue manufactures high-quality Delco Permanent Magnet Alternators (PMAs), and they are ethical and transparent in their assessment and presentation of the PMAs’ expected power output. They generally achieve this by displaying a Power Curve that shows the output of their alternators under load. This is in contrast to some other re-sellers of modified Delco PMAs that only show open-circuit voltage readings, which are essentially useless indicators of a PMA’s output.
Have Reasonable Expectations
When it comes to Delco alternators, it’s critical to have realistic expectations for the amount of power these devices will provide. In other words, you shouldn’t anticipate a Delco PMA to produce a power production miracle because the amount of power a wind generator or alternator can produce scales with:
- The maximum amount of copper that can be crammed into a stator.
- The number and size of powerful neodymium magnets that can be used on the rotor.
Because a Delco automobile alternator is about the size of a cantaloupe fruit, the amount of copper and magnets it can hold is limited.
A automobile alternator, maybe more importantly, was designed to be installed under the hood of a vehicle. This is not meant to be a criticism of their quality or even their suitability as wind generators. It is a basic reality that the specs for a car alternator and a wind generator are vastly different. A car alternator, for example, will not be weather-proof because it is normally protected from rain and mist because it is located under the hood. Second, the stator must be rewound in order to provide a voltage adequate for battery charging, as we’ve just mentioned. Third, because it is turned by the automobile’s engine, which may produce at least 100 horsepower (76000 Watts! ), a car alternator does not need to be particularly efficient at generating energy.
Great Way to Learn How to Build a Wind Generator
Nonetheless, we are heartened by the thousands of people who have learned the foundations of wind power via Delco PMAs and are now using them to generate significant amounts of electricity.
We’ve put WindyNation blades through their paces on a variety of WindBlue alternators, and we prepared this section to serve as a resource for consumers considering WindyNation aluminum wind turbine blades in conjunction with a WindBlue alternator.
On the WindBlue 540 and 520 series PMAs, we tested numerous sets of our blades. The load for all of the experiments was a 12 volt battery bank.
Three of our 28-inch HyperSpin blades performed admirably with the WindBlue 540. In 11-13 mph winds, we measured 2-4 Amps of power into a 12 volt battery bank. We measured roughly 10 amps of output into a 12 volt battery bank in very high gusts (20-25 mph). The 540 is ideally suited for the HyperSpins. The 540 PMA is wound for high voltages at low RPMs, allowing it to charge in low to medium winds. As a result, the unit’s Amperage output suffers slightly.
The WindBlue 520 worked best with the 5-blade HyperSpin set, which offers a good balance of torque and speed. This alternator produces more amps than the 540, but it takes a steady 9 mph wind to start charging a 12-Volt battery. The alternator was able to produce 3-5 amps in a 12 mph wind. The 540 produced 12-17 amps in 20-25 mph wind, which is a reasonable amount of power for a little PMA.
Overall, we were impressed with WindBlue’s alternator’s performance. If you’re dead set on employing a Delco for your wind turbine project, we recommend the WindBlue. If you’re looking for something a little more powerful, we recommend the Windtura 500 PMA.
Anyone can see the appeal of modified Delco automobile alternators for do-it-yourself wind power: LOW COST.
Thousands of DIYers utilize these devices to build modest, low-cost wind turbines all around the world. It’s critical to have realistic expectations regarding how much power a Delco-style alternator will produce when acquiring one. Furthermore, because the Delco alternator must be “rebuilt” for use in a wind turbine, it is critical that you obtain a Delco alternator from a reliable and honest company. A Delco car alternator that has been adjusted by an inexperienced person or a company that takes shortcuts will have poor performance, cogging, and will most likely fail on you.
What is the operation of a Savonius wind turbine?
The Savonius wind turbine is a simple vertical axis device with half-cylindrical pieces attached to the opposite ends of a vertical shaft (for a two-bladed configuration) that rotates at the same speed as the wind.
What kind of motors are used in wind turbines?
The motor you use is, without a doubt, the most critical component of your wind power generator. If you’re new to small wind turbine construction, you’ll find this to be one of the most perplexing (and contentious) components of the process. Oh, the motors, generators, and alternators! There are a number of words that appear to be referring to the same thing.
Many industrial motors create excellent wind generators at a low cost. The motor is used to generate power in a wind turbine. The “motor” would no longer be referred to as a “motor,” but rather as a “generator or “alternator.” This article focuses on possible motors that can be found as surplus items on the internet and utilized to make your own custom wind generator.
Obviously, selecting the right motor for your generator is critical. If you pick the wrong one, you can find out that:
- There will be no electricity generated by your wind generator.
- Your wind generator will generate electricity, but not at a high enough voltage to generate usable electricity.
- Your wind generator will initially work, but it will overheat and quit working within a few days or weeks.
Don’t get discouraged, though. There are hundreds of motors that can create hundreds, if not thousands, of Watts of useful energy. Even better, we’ll give you some pointers on how to find one at a fair price.
Generators generate electricity in one of three ways: by induction, an exciter, or PERMANENT MAGNETS.
Magnets, Magnets, Magnets!
Permanent Magnet Motors are almost entirely used by do-it-yourselfers to make wind power generators since they are widely available, dependable due to their construction, and can generate electricity at virtually any RPM. Other sorts of motors, on the other hand, cannot be regarded to be in the same category.
A coiled copper coil is surrounded by permanent magnets within a permanent magnet motor. Electromagnetic induction drives these motors, which means power is fed into a coil of copper wire, which generates a magnetic field. The permanent magnets in the motor casing are at odds with the magnetic field formed by the energy flowing through the copper wire. As a result, the copper wire connecting to the motor’s shaft attempts to “push itself away from the permanent magnets.” As a result, your motor begins to spin!
When considering a permanent magnet motor as a generator, the same logic applies. The voltage difference between the two ends of the copper wire is created by spinning it with the wind’s energy in the presence of the magnets. Electric charges (electrons) flow in the copper wire as a result of the voltage differential, generating electric current.
One of the most significant criteria to check for when choosing a motor is the Volts-to-RPM Ratio. Because of their low cost and broad availability, most DIYers utilize their motor to charge a 12-Volt battery. To charge a 12-volt battery, the permanent magnet motor must produce at least 12 volts. If it doesn’t, it won’t be able to overcome the 12V battery’s impedance, and the motor will never charge the battery. How can you determine if your wind-powered motor is capable of producing more than 12 volts? Continue reading.
A permanent magnet motor’s volts-to-RPM ratio is defined as the number of volts necessary to spin the motor at a particular RPM (rotations per minute). Assume you have a permanent magnet motor with the following specifications on the label: “2500 RPM at 100 volts. Simply said, if you feed 100 volts to the motor, it will spin at 2500 rpm. It has a volts-to-RPM ratio of 0.040. (100 divide by 2500).
This figure gives an approximate idea of how many volts the motor will produce at a certain speed. Let’s pretend our 2500 rpm, 100 volt motor is rotating at 450 rpm. At what rpm will it create how much voltage? Here’s how to figure it out:
There’s one more thing to do now. 18 Volts must be multiplied by 80%. Why? Because the number 18 Volts only applies if the motor is being used as a motor. This motor isn’t being used to move anything. It’s being utilized as a generator, and it’s not 100% efficient. As a generator, it is approximately 80% to 85% efficient.
At 450 rpm, we know how many volts our motor will produce: 14.4 volts. The realistic RPMs of a wind generator must then be considered. Most likely, you’re constructing a “Small wind generator with a power output of 100-500 watts. When the motor is under load (meaning the motor is attached to your battery bank), any well-constructed 50-to-60 inch diameter blades on that motor will easily produce 450 rpm in wind speeds of 8-10 mph. When a generator is under load, it has to work harder, which causes it to spin a little slower than when it is not. In wind speeds of 8-10 mph, this motor will start charging a 12V battery bank.
This is in line with your goals, thus we can deduce that this permanent magnet motor would be suitable for use in a wind generator.
When looking for a permanent magnet motor, a voltage-to-RPM ratio of AT LEAST 0.035 is the minimum need. It’s perfect if the value is more than 0.035. If the value is less than 0.035, it will most likely be insufficient unless it is in a windy environment.
The motor’s amperage rating is the next item to consider. This tells you how much current the motor will generate when used as a generator. According to our experience, predicting the type of current your motor will generate as a generator is quite challenging. We’ve encountered motors that produce more amps than they’re rated for. One thing is certain: the higher the amperage rating, the better. A motor with a minimum amperage rating of at least 5 Amps is what you should be looking for. You’re good to go if the current is greater than 5 Amps.
The power generated by a wind generator is proportional to the amps and voltage:
Keep in mind that the more amps and volts the wind generator generates, the more electricity it generates!
So keep these three key considerations in mind:
Because we want to keep things simple and straightforward, we’ve skipped over some topics in this essay. This information, however, is all you’ll need to look for a wind generator motor with confidence.
Feel free to write us or submit a query on our User Forums if you have more specific inquiries regarding a motor or motors you’ve found. Our staff or a forum member will be pleased to address any particular queries you may have.
Also, please have a look at the quality WindyNation products we have available right here on our website. Compare them to the competition to see if they can match our 90-day Money Back Guarantee!
What is the process for making a Savonius wind turbine?
You Can Make Your Own Savonius VAWT (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine)
- Build Your Own Savonius VAWT (Introduction) (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine)
- Step 1: Get some bearings with a 25mm ID and a 50mm OD.
- Step 2: Construct the Shaft.
- Step 3: Put the VAWT Blades in place.
- Step 4: Add a blade to the mix.
- Step 5: Insert a new blade.
- Step 6: Attach the last two blades.
- Step 7: Perform a trial run.
Which wind turbine is ideal for a home?
- How to Pick a Wind Turbine for Your Home
- How much energy do you require from your turbine?
- Using Wind and Solar in Combination to Save More Money
- Where Should You Put Your Wind? Turbine
- Is it Possible for Wind Turbines to Survive in Bad Weather?
- Our top recommendations for the best wind turbines for residential use
- Nature Power’s Marine Wind Turbine Power Generator produces 2000 watts.
- Missouri General Freedom II Wind Turbine, 2000 W 11 Blades
- WINDMILL 1500 W Wind Turbine Generator Kit WINDMILL 1500 W Wind Turbine Generator Kit WINDMILL 1500 W Wind
- Residential Wind Generator Kit, Windmax HY400 500 W
- Automaxx Windmill DB 400 W Wind Turbine Generator Kit (Automaxx Windmill DB 400 W Wind Turbine Generator Kit)
- For Apartment Living, the Best Home Wind Turbine
Wind power is frequently marketed as a “green” energy source, and it is true that the energy is derived from a renewable source, namely the wind. However, what about the turbines themselves? What color are they?
The answer is usually the same, whether it’s a large wind farm turbine or a little residential wind turbine: most wind turbines aren’t built sustainably. Because most commercially available wind turbines are now manufactured with a lot of plastic and fiberglass and coated with a variety of chemical protectants, none of my suggested models receive more than three leaves.
They’re also tough to recycle, if not impossible. However, certain models are superior to others, which is why they are listed here! Fortunately, several clever designers are working on ways to construct entirely recycled and recyclable wind turbines with a far smaller environmental impact during their lifetime.
To power a home, how big of a wind turbine do you need?
Small wind turbines for home usage typically range in size from 400 watts to 20 kilowatts, depending on how much electricity you need to create.
Each year, a typical home consumes roughly 10,649 kilowatt-hours of electricity (about 877 kilowatt-hours per month). A wind turbine rated in the range of 515 kilowatts would be necessary to produce a meaningful contribution to this demand, depending on the typical wind speed in the area. In a location with a yearly average wind speed of 14 miles per hour (6.26 meters per second), a 1.5-kilowatt wind turbine will cover the needs of a home consuming 300 kilowatt-hours per month.
A competent installation can assist you in determining the amount of turbine you’ll require.
Create an energy budget first. Because energy efficiency is typically less expensive than energy production, reducing your home’s electricity consumption will likely be more cost effective and reduce the size of the wind turbine you require.
The amount of power generated by a wind turbine is also affected by its tower height. A skilled installation should be able to assist you in determining the tower height required.
Is it possible to install a wind turbine in your backyard?
Because a larger size implies more energy, most wind turbines aren’t tiny enough to put in a backyard. A single blade can be as long as a football field. And, even when a wind farm is kilometers distant, wind power can be loud enough to cause complaints from neighbors.
Is it worthwhile to invest in residential wind turbines?
A domestic wind turbine can be a realistic and economical energy source for homes in the correct circumstances. You should do your homework to choose the proper turbine for your region, and keep in mind that while wind power won’t offer all of the electricity you require, it can help you save money on your electricity bills.