Main Project: Mini Wind Turbine
For my main project I chose to build a mini wind turbine. I wanted to choose a project that would be both enjoyable to build and actually be useful. I feel like this project was the perfect choice because it fulfills both conditions.
I followed instructions from gotwind.org’s page on a mini DIY wind turbine. The description is fairly detailed but there are some vague gaps in the steps. For instance, there are no instructions on wiring the circuit. Unfortunately, for many days I was under the impression that I had to follow the instructions directly. This misunderstanding resulted in many difficulties, primarily in finding parts.
The way that my wind turbine generates electricity is fairly simple. When the wind blows towards the turbine, the propeller spins a shaft that is connected to a diametrically magnetized neodymium magnet. This means that the magnet’s poles are on the edges of the magnet. I wound 300 turns of copper wire around each side of the magnet. The fluctuation of the spinning magnet’s magnetic field induces an alternating current to flow through the coils. I will be able to collect that energy through a circuit that will convert the current into direct current and then store it in a capacitor.
Since I finished my starter project on the first day, I was able to start working on my main project right away. My first step was planning my build process. Using Google Sketchup, I designed a 3D schematic of my wind turbine. Although I had to adjust this model many times due to unexpected issues, the general structure of the turbine remained fairly consistent.
I designed a schematic for my end mounts on Google Sketchup. Kyle, my instructor, was able to laser-cut the end mounts from acrylic. When I finished assembling the turbine and connected it to an oscilloscope, my turbine was generating just a few kilovolts. I believe that this unfortunate outcome is a result of the metal screws that are interfering with the magnet’s magnetic field and obstructing the magnet from spinning smoothly on the shaft. I am hoping to solve this issue by replacing all of my metal screws and nuts with matching stainless-steel versions to reduce the magnetic interference and allow the magnet to spin more smoothly.
Since my last milestone I have made many mechanical adjustments to my wind turbine to solve new issues that arose as I continued to build.
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