I’ve been starting to experiment with micro-wind turbines lately and have been trying to think of turbines that are complact and not very noticable. This is mainly for my wife’s sake, as she wasn’t exactly fond of my last attempt at a VAWT. I’m also trying to keep the cost as low as possible by reusing items that are on their way out to the landfill or recyling plant – things like paper towel rolls, old cd’s, cardboard, etc. We’ll call it a prototype development phase. There are so many things to consider when attempting to engineer these micro-power plants, things like motor size, regulation, “blade” size, etc. That’s why using items from the trash to experiment with is a great prototype method. Right now I’m focusing on the VAWT template because it’s very appealing to me, since I live in an apartment and would have a much easier time getting away with putting up a VAWT compared with a traditionally bladed turbine.
I have a used computer fan that I’m using as my base generator. It’s got minimal output potential – 12v and about 0.12A, or about 1.5 watts. It’s a good test bed though as it doesn’t take a whole lot to turn it, so I can focus a little more on design first rather than just coming up with something that will actually turn the motor. It may seem a little backwards, admittedly, but in my attempts in the past I was unable to successfully build an efficent VAWT that would turn itself very well, let alone a motor at the speed needed.
I initially created a VAWT using a tp roll, but it was way too small. I then turned to an empty oatmeal container. This is showing to have a lot more promise due to sheer size, but it is way bigger than the motor so it’s not as efficient as I would hope. Below is a picture. I put it all together using paperclips, an old cd, cardboard under the cd to raise it up a bit, and double sided tape to secure the base to the motor. I’m still going to do more experiments with it and try some other configurations, but fornow this is where I’m at.