DIY Wind Turbine

Turn a car alternator into alternative energy by building this cheap and easy homemade wind generator.


| April/May 2017



Generator-7

If you can turn a wrench and operate an electric drill, you can build this simple generator in two days.


Photo by Robert D. Copeland

Maybe you reside on a boat, vacation in a remote cabin, or live off-grid like me. Or perhaps you’re just interested in lowering your energy bill. Either way, with a handful of inexpensive and easy-to-source materials, you can build a homemade wind generator, making electricity yours for the taking for as long as the wind is blowing. You’ll be able to light up that storeroom, power your barn, or use a generator to keep all your vehicle batteries charged.

Electricity for my off-grid cabin comes from solar and wind power stored in a bank of four 6-volt golf cart batteries wired for a 12-volt system. A charge controller and battery minder keep my system from under- or overcharging. The whole shebang cost me less than $1,000, and I have lights, fans, a television and stereo, refrigeration, and a disco ball that goes up for special occasions.

If you can turn a wrench and operate an electric drill, you can build this simple generator in two days: one day for chasing down parts, and one day for assembling the components. The four major components include a vehicle alternator with a built-in voltage regulator, a General Motors (GM) fan and clutch assembly (I used one from a 1988 GM 350 motor), a tower or pole on which to mount the generator (15 feet of used 2-inch tubing cost me $20), and the metal to build a bracket for mounting the generator on the tower or pole. If you’re a Ford guy or a Mopar gal, that’s fine — just make sure your alternator has a built-in voltage regulator. You’ll also need some electrical cable or wires to hook the alternator up to your storage batteries. I used 8-gauge, 3-conductor cable pilfered from the oil patch. (And they said the transition from fossil fuels to renewables would take years. Pfft!)

Fan Clutch to Alternator Attachment

The blades for the wind generator are repurposed from a vehicle fan clutch. To attach the blades to the alternator, you can weld the fan clutch hub directly to the alternator hub — just make certain the fan is perfectly in line with the alternator shaft. Also, make sure the alternator’s built-in wire plug-ins are located on what will be the bottom of the generator. If you don’t have access to a welder, you can connect the fan clutch to the alternator using the following materials:

• 5/8-inch-by-3-inch washer, 3/16 inch thick
• Electric drill
• 1/4-inch thread tap
• Drill bit that corresponds to specific thread tap
• (4) 1/4-inch-by-1-1/2-inch to 2-1/2-inch bolts with corresponding nuts and lock washers

woodyratcliff
7/30/2017 9:52:44 AM

Is the battery bank connected to the circuit breaker box? What are some options to get power from battery bank to appliances, or lights.


joebrown4109
7/9/2017 3:48:28 PM

Well in the first place , you're using a clutch fan so you're going to have to drill holes in that , and make it a solid fan. in the second place that thing pulls a lot of torque when it's actually generating power . so I do not understand how you're getting enough wind to actually spit it at a high enough rate to get it to charge your batteries . unless you live in a wind tunnel. You must have some solar panels to back it up. because an alternator has to spin pretty damn fast to generate enough juice to keep your batteries charged up. if you're pulling juice out of them constantly with a refrigerator or a TV and some lights. If you've ever put jumper cables out of vehicle, you can hear the motor pull down when it is actually charging. that's the alternator putting torque on the motor. and I don't see any bolts through your clutch fan, so I don't understand how it's even spinning the alternator..... some thoughts on that would be nice to hear from you. as I would like to build one but have always thought it to not really be feasible to use an alternator. one wire Chevy alternator is perfect if it will generate juice as slow speed.


joebrown4109
7/9/2017 3:48:25 PM

Well in the first place , you're using a clutch fan so you're going to have to drill holes in that , and make it a solid fan. in the second place that thing pulls a lot of torque when it's actually generating power . so I do not understand how you're getting enough wind to actually spit it at a high enough rate to get it to charge your batteries . unless you live in a wind tunnel. You must have some solar panels to back it up. because an alternator has to spin pretty damn fast to generate enough juice to keep your batteries charged up. if you're pulling juice out of them constantly with a refrigerator or a TV and some lights. If you've ever put jumper cables out of vehicle, you can hear the motor pull down when it is actually charging. that's the alternator putting torque on the motor. and I don't see any bolts through your clutch fan, so I don't understand how it's even spinning the alternator..... some thoughts on that would be nice to hear from you. as I would like to build one but have always thought it to not really be feasible to use an alternator. one wire Chevy alternator is perfect if it will generate juice as slow speed.


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6/30/2017 6:03:59 AM


smith
6/30/2017 6:03:59 AM


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6/30/2017 5:59:43 AM


smith
6/30/2017 5:59:43 AM


smith
6/30/2017 5:36:46 AM






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