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Windmill/Turbine(?) Help Needed

  1. Feb 16, 2010 #1
    I'm thinking about participating in a science fair competition and I need to build a windmill capable of generating electricity. I've looked on the Internet but all the designs and instructions I've found are kind of complicated..

    Just so you have an idea of how complex we need the windmill to be we're in High School.

    So if anyone could give me a helpful link or assist me in any other way I would appreciate that.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2010 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    Gold Member

    Watch your expectations, you want to generate electricity, but not power. Spin a magnet in a coil with 'wind'.
  4. Feb 16, 2010 #3
    I'm not sure what you mean Doug.. I do want to generate power.
  5. Feb 16, 2010 #4

    Doug Huffman

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    Gold Member

    How much? Power, be it wind or electrical, is moment times angular rate.
  6. Feb 16, 2010 #5
    Unfortunately, wind turbines are very complicated devices. Effectively converting wind energy into useful electricity requires a lot of complex components that can't just work, but have to work well together.

    If you're really dead set about building a wind turbine, then I would suggest you buy the more complicated parts commercially and focus on building the more simpler parts. That is buy the power controllers, speed controller, and generator off the shelf and just focus on building the turbine itself.

    Theres a lot of kits out there that might fit your needs too.

  7. Feb 17, 2010 #6
    There are a bunch of different ways. A perm magnet motor is a good generator. Those are what are used in most common battery powered toys. the windmill can be one of a number of designs. simple drag type, (like the wind speed meter) vertical axis with blades, prop type, etc
    here is a link to an old (1910) book that explains the early versions very well.
    I feel that wind turbines are not near as complicated as people are led to believe
    my latest windmill is made from a discarded ornimental "old timey" style one. $50 in pipe fittings, and the drive axles from a riding lawn mower transaxle. The "stock" 13" turbine easily makes the axles and gears spin. I plan on a total diameter of 3 ft, and want to charge commercially available cordless tool batteries. (and light it up)
    not sure what motor I'll use yet, but I have 4 different choices of perm mag motors at the house

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