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Project : Magnetic Generator

  1. May 3, 2012 #1
    I wasn't exactly sure whether this belongs in the mechanical or electrical section.

    [STRIKE]That was the video I saw that made me want to start a project. This would be my first, and I haven't taken physics or anything yet, so I don't know [STRIKE]some[/STRIKE] a lot of things.

    Here's what I plan to do:
    Create a smaller-scale version of what was shown in that video. One that could fit on a 1 foot by 1 foot square surface and 1 foot high. I want the energy created to be converted to electrical energy and then sent into a lightbulb. This has to be made with limited tools, so no welding. I have access to basic tools.

    All I really need is a list of materials. If you wanted to make this (under a low-as-possible budget), what would you use? Please be specific for things such as the type of motor.

    A few additional questions:
    Would I need the magnets to be in a perfect circle and then tilted either clockwise or counterclockwise? Would it be difficult to get this right?

    Would the generator be able to go on forever as long as nothing interferes? If I connected a lightbulb, would the lightbulb stay on until either I stop the generator or it burns out?

    What would the expected energy output be of this generator? Would it even be able to power a small lightbulb?[/STRIKE]

    Okay, ignore everything above.
    Would a machine like this even work? What would go wrong?

    An lastly, for educational purposes, can you explain the science of a generator like this? Where does the energy come from? Doesn't a contraption like this have infinite potential energy? Wouldn't that violate a couple laws of physics? I'm not sure what the physics behind magnets are, but I'm pretty sure magnets don't transfer matter or energy to what they are attracting. So what would the momentum be called if no object exerted force on it?

    Keep in mind I haven't taken any courses in physics.
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2012 #2


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    this topic is bordering on perpetual motion machines which are a no go topic on this forum.

    no machine will go on for ever, there are always some losses due to friction etc
    there are a mass of B.S. videos out there about rotation magnet generators, they all need energy input to make them work.

    You dont need to full courses in physics, but some basic learning from some respectable www sites and forums like this one will soon teach you enough to recognise when some clown is trying to pull the wool over your eyes ;)

    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  4. May 4, 2012 #3


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    R y a n, Welcome to Physics Forums! Here real scientists and engineers contribute towards the advancement of real science and engineering.

    davenn above is exactly correct, anything smacking of “perpetual motion” or “free energy” is crackpot hocus-pocus drivel. It is never allowed here.

    But, on the positive side, all members here are ready and willing to assist anyone who is interested in learning. So if that is you, and you are curious about how generators work, and would maybe like to make one to light a small lamp, then here you are:

    Always start with some reading up on the theory. This wiki page offers an overview of the types of generators:

    Now, if you check out this site you learn how to make a simple generator which will light up a small lamp:

    If you have any questions or doubts, just come back here and post them. I promise members here will be happy to guide you along. Good Luck!
  5. May 4, 2012 #4
    Sorry about starting a thread on a no-go topic. I honestly didn't know (I'm sorta new to this forum, didn't see any rules thread in the electrical engineering topic). I'm not really interested in making a generator. The only reason I had started to think about it was because I, being naive, believed perpetual motion was possible. It would be pretty cool to have a lamp on in your room 24/7 without paying for electricity.

    So magnets would not create a perpetual-motion generator.. but would they decrease the input needed? Or would some factor ultimately make the input and output even, with or without magnets?
  6. May 4, 2012 #5


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    hi Ryan
    you are never going to get even input and output
    as I said in my first post there are ALWAYS losses

    did you have a look at those 2 links Bobbywhy posted ?
    go get into some real life generation of power :)

    here's an idea for a project that will keep you busy.....
    try a generator used on a push bike for lights and instead connect it to a propeller to create a wind generator. Experiment with the angle of the blades to get better efficiency. Consider the problems of how to transfer the power across a rotating mount
    ( remember the prop and gene needs to be able to rotate to take advantage of the changes in wind direction)

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