Making a wind generator is a whole lot simpler than people realize. The first thing you need to be aware of is that magnets make electricity. That's right! Magnets can make electric by passing over a conductor that is inside the magnets magnetic field. This is called the law of induction discovered by Michael Faraday. All a windmill contains is magnets and copper wire. The magnets are placed on the back of the windmill propeller and pass over a winding of copper wire and it is this mechanical setup that generates the electricity. So when the wind comes along and moves the propeller it will also spin the magnets allowing electrical current to be induced onto the copper wire. The magnetic strength and the amount of copper wire surface area exposed to the magnetic field is directly proportional to the amount electricity the wind mill will put out. The speed of the propeller is also directly proportional to the electrical output.
An easy way to make a generator is to find a DC electric motor. One thing that you should know is that all DC motors are essentially electric generators. When the shaft of the motor is spun mechanically there will be an electrical output. The positive and negative of the motor is then connected to the positive and negative terminals of a charge controller. Charge controllers regulate the amount of electricity that goes to your battery bank so that it does not overcharge the batteries. Without the charge controller the batteries would probably melt or catch on fire when a big wind comes along. So a charge controller is an essential safety precaution. And don't forget to attach the ground wire to a large piece of metal. It is a good idea to put your generator on top of a metal pole so you can attach the ground wire to it later on.
The output positive and negative terminals of the charge controller are then connected to the positive and negative terminals of the battery bank. A battery bank for most off grid systems usually consists of a few 12 volt car batteries. The more batteries that you have the more electricity you can store. The next step after the battery bank is the inverter.
The inverter then converts the DC electricity into AC electricity so that it can be used to power standard plug in electronics. The inverter will have AC power outlets built right into it. Some inverters have more power outlets that others. So if you are want to power a number of devices you might want to splurge on a larger inverter.
Ways to spin a turbine
It is important to know that a turbine can be used in many different ways to generate electricity. The shaft of the turbine can be spun by harnessing everything from flowing water to the wind. It can even be hooked up to an exercise bike in order generate power. Use your imagination to explore innovative ways to spin a turbine and you will be rewarded with free electricity that you can use for whatever you want.
Turbine and Controller uses
If you are foreign to electricity visit my Electricity ans Electronics hub. It has the basic fundamentals that you should know about electricity before attempting a project like this. This project is good for someone who is wanting to power a small tool shed or for someone who is beginning to study alternative energy. It is also worth mentioning that it is also possible to replace the turbine in the schematic with a solar panel. All you have to do is hook the positive and negative terminals from the solar panel to the positive and negative terminals of the controller. With this system in place you can easily have your own little dual sourced power plant. The outcome of this project is very rewarding both educationally and financially.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 20, 2019:
Interesting article. Informative. Thanks.
Paul Westphal (author) from Starke,FL on June 20, 2015:
Sure is...electric motors are electric generators just depends on how you use them!
mikeydcarroll67 on June 19, 2015:
Informative! I never knew that they were made this way!