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My homebrew wind turbine


The pole it will live on eventually. It's a long way up that pole so I want to ensure everything is as it should be before I go up there to install the turbine.


The blades, carved by hand from old ¾" plywood shelving and then painted with the finest white gloss I found in the back of the shed.


The batteries it is intended to charge. Reclaimed emergency lighting batteries that are probably older than I am.


The permanent magnet generator clamped to the bench for testing. It produces around 50 watts @ 180 rpm. I can't actually spin it any faster than that by hand.


The 35amp bridge rectifiers which turn the 3 phase AC from the generator into DC to charge the batteries.


The freshly welded chassis all naked and in need of paint.


Another shot of the chassis from a different angle.


The mount which fits between the top of the pole and the turbine chassis. Not yet welded up.

pmg on chassis

This shows the generator built up on the chassis. The two magnet discs each have twelve N40 grade Neodymium magnets embedded in glass reinforced polyester resin. The discs themselves are 300mm x 6mm. The stator between the two magnet discs consists of nine coils of enamelled copper wire embedded in glass reinforced plastic. The coils are connected in three banks of three coils in series, the banks are connected in a star configuration producing 3 phase AC @ 24 volts.

completed tail

The completed tail, it's around 7½ foot long and the vane area is 3.75 square feet or thereabouts.

access steps attached

The access steps all attached to the pole, all that remains to be done now is drag all the bits up to the top of the pole and nail them on.

hoisting the pmg into position

The mount is attached to the top of the pole and the generator is almost in position, just waiting for :-
(a) A burst of adrenaline.
(b) A passing helicopter with 5 minutes to spare.
(c) Me to grow another arm or two. (Unlikely, but never say never).

The extra pole is only there as a crane, once all the bits have been hoisted up and attached it will be removed.

hoisting the blades up the pole.

Hoisting the blades into position.

hoisting the blades up the pole.

The blades ready to be bolted on.

The finished article.

The finished article, just requiring some wind now. If anyone can design a generator that produces loads of electricity each time it rains, I'm up for building one. The idea being that the chance of the wind blowing this side of Christmas is really remote; simply because I want it to. Now if I had a reason to want it to rain, we would have clear skies for ever. ;)

The way it works is this, the turbine charges the batteries, the batteries power an invertor which produces 230vac; which is fed down an armoured cable to the house where it powers my computers. The batteries are monitored by a small microcontroller and if the battery voltage drops below 23v the computers are automagically switched over to normal grid ac to prevent battery damage due to being too deeply discharged. When the batteries recover, the invertor is reconnected and my computers run on free electricity again.

All the info for making the various bits was gleaned from teh intarweb, was very helpful and I stole lots of their ideas. It's not hard to build one once you get motivated, has got picture of schoolgirls building wind turbines. Alton Moore, has some interesting things to say on building wind turbines too. is another useful site. These are just some of the pages to be found on the world wild web, there are plenty more for anyone interested enough to google for them.

Next: And then it all went wrong

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