Water Wheel Power: Using Ye Olde Water Wheel for a Bountiful Supply of Energy

Although water wheel power was rarely used in the U.S. by the early 1970s, one 71 year old man in rural North Carolina continued to rely on a system he set up in the 1930s to generate DC electricity.



024 water wheel power - sluce gate
Access water gushes from the spillway, directly in front of the sluice gate.  
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024 water wheel power - wheel, far view
 Water streams over the Fitz Wheel as access flow from the "race" is diverted by the sluice gate.
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024 water wheel power - wheel, near view
The water outlet is positioned six inches above the wheel so that logs and other debris shoot out over the buckets, preventing damage. 
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024 water wheel power - checking connections
Thomas Oates checks lead connections to his DC generator.
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024 water wheel power - wheel closeup
The bushings and shaft of the 1914 Fitz Water Wheel.  
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024 water wheel power - at the controls
Oates, our inventive craftsman, adjusts the wooden "light switch"  that regulates the flow of water through the sluice gate.
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024 water wheel power - diagram
Diagram of the pulleys and mechanical linkages that transfer power from the water wheel to a DC generator.
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