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Harnessing wind energy

A high-performance wind generator for less than 100 euros
Author: Jean Luc, La Valette du Var, France
Online since: 28/09/2009, Number of visits: 267942
Would you like to build your own wind turbine? We will introduce you to two projects from customers who used our neodymium magnets to build wind generators. The first project is from an individual who created a DIY wind turbine for personal use. The second project comes from a student who built his own wind generator as part of a diploma project.
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Build your own affordable wind generator

I built a small wind generator, setting the following goals for myself: lightweight, relatively simple assembly and low material costs. Details of the construction can be found in the YouTube video at the bottom of the page (only in French, but it should be easy to follow for speakers of other languages as well).
Here you can see the nine coils, each consisting of 70 windings with 1 mm enamelled wire. I arranged them in a star shape inside a wooden mould (diameter: 21 cm) and then encased them in polyester resin (see video at the 1-minute mark).
Next, I cut a disc with a diameter of 18 cm out of a large, 5 mm thick sheet of steel. This disc will be the rotor. The roller bearing was mounted at the hole in the middle, so that the rotor is able to rotate.
Now it was time to use your strong magnets. Previously, I had tried using weaker magnets but with less than satisfactory results. On top of that, your magnets are priced fairly, so they did not jeopardise my budget :-).
I glued 12 of your disc magnets type S-20-10-N onto the metal disc in regular intervals using a strong adhesive. All of the magnets needed to be oriented the same way.
Rotor with mounted roller bearing
Rotor with mounted roller bearing
Then I also encased the magnets in polyester resin. I had to be careful not to fully cover the magnets, letting them slightly protrude instead.
Now a second rotor was added. With a diameter of 16.5 cm, it is slightly smaller than the first one but made of the same material. Like before, 12 disc magnets were glued on as well. However, these magnets have to be oriented opposite to the ones on the first rotor, or else it won’t work.
The generator passed a trial run on the workbench with flying colours. I only had to nudge it gently and it started to generate over 12 volts. The produced alternating current was converted into continuous current by three diodes.
Now I only needed the windmill itself. It has three rotor blades made of acrylic glass, which I tapered and gave a bevel of 20 degrees. The entire windmill has a diameter of 1,5 metres.
  • Total weight: about 8 kg
  • Voltage: 18 volts at wind speeds of 30 km/h, at 8 km/h already 12 volts
  • Total cost: less than 100 euros thanks to inexpensive materials
Here is the YouTube video with explanatory speech bubbles.

Building a wind generator as a diploma project

Addition from our customer Tommi Ollikainen in Kuopio (Finland):
I wanted to build a power generator for my windmill. The windmill has a rotor with an impressive 3,72 meters diameter.
I placed 16 Q-40-20-10-N block magnets on each of two round steel plates. The magnets were placed on the outer edge with the poles alternately positioned (north-south-north). The direction of the magnets on the first plate should mirror exactly the placement of the magnets on the other plate so that the magnets attract to each other.
Then I wound 12 spools of copper wire and held them together with a strong tape.
The plates and the copper spools were then mounted in a housing which also holds the drive shaft.
The wind which causes the turning of the rotors also causes the magnet plates to move. The alternating current generated by this movement is transformed into direct current with the help of 6 rectifiers.
The generator produces a maximum of 900 watts when the generator and the windmill are turning at approximately 450 rotations per minute. With only 57 rotations per minute, the batteries begin recharging.
Tommi completed this project as part of his diploma thesis in electrical engineering. His thesis studied the possibilities and wind conditions required for the use of wind-powered generators in Finland. The generator should have minimal investment costs (maximum 1000 Euro). The current prototype delivers enough energy to power a hunting cabin in Kortemäki, Vieremä in Finland.