2015-05-04 (M) Wind Generator Test Base

Over the winter someone told me about a "tree" which was generating electricity. The "leaves" were small wind generators. More specifically the tree was an array of Savonius wind turbines. The idea interested me because the design was elegant and well executed. In Minnesota, where I live, solar power is not popular due to the high latitude but wind here is a viable option for sustainable power. Wind fields can be found all over the state.

Since winter I've had a few ideas for how to build these generators easily and inexpensively. The dynamo itself will be a permanent magnet motor which are easy to find and rugged. Only the style of turbine will be tested here.

My biggest revelation for the design was to use two-liter soda bottles as the wind capturing devices. Soda bottles are such a readily available resource that they become a great building material since worn-out parts can be replaced immediately without specials skills, tools, or technical knowledge. Reuse also puts the plastic to work.

Enough background.

A small weather monitoring kit was purchased to have a commercially produced method of weather monitoring. Equipment from the weather station includes a wind vane, compass and most importantly a cup anemometer. Thingiverse.com has cup-anemometers but the purpose of the weather station was to use a commercial option so results could be repeated. The cup anemometer will have magnets attached to the arms and a reed switch will read the speed. Alternatively an infrared emitter/detector could be set up to the measure the speed. Absolute wind speed is not important, only the speed relative to the turbines being tested is important.

 Weather station

Cup anemometer functioning

To make each testing unit as free of defects as possible standard 608 motor bearings will be used. These bearings are readily available as skate bearings. Holding the bearings in place is often the trickiest part so bearing holders were modeled in OpenSCAD. Bearing holders were modeled in halves so they could be printed and assembled with the bearings inside. The holes in the bearing holders were arranged to reduce as much friction as possible. Overall dimensions of the test fixture have not been decided upon.
 Bearing holder model

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2.

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2015-04-21 (Tu)