Homestead Hydro Power: Build Your Own Water-Power Plant

Harness the power of your stream and forget the electric company. This is the first of three installments of the five-part article printed by Popular Science that very concisely sketched out every step for establishing a small water-power plant on a farm or homestead.



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You can build your own energy-producing water wheel.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Float method of measuring flow.
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The power available at the site of a water wheel is expressed in this formula.
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Fitz Water Wheel Co. This 4" impulse wheel, built for war requirements was direct-connected to a small generator. It can be run off an ordinary water faucet. Note the removable nozzle and the tiny bucket, lower right.
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This table shows the quantity of water passing over a rectangular weir in cubic feet per minute (cfm) for each inch of notch width.  Depth D is read as a combination of the lefthand column and the top row.  For example, if the depth over your stake is 5 3/8 follow over 5 (fifth row) to 3/8 (fourth coumn), and read the value as 5.01 cfm. Don't forget that this figure should now be multiplied by the width in inches of your notch.
TABLE: JAMES LEFFEL CO.
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With a carpenter's level, straightedge, and pegs, head can be measured before or after the dam is built.
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Weir method of measuring flow.  More trouble than the float method, this gives somewhat more accurate results. It is especially useful in shallow streams, or if a dam is already present.
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With the straightedge held level, vertical height between a pair of pegs is read off and noted down.
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Four types of small water wheels.
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The earth dam.
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Your last measurement should be to the surface of the water at the site selected for the water wheel.
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Determining the size of spillway.
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The gravity dam.
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The framed dam.
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