Author Topic: Washing machine motor wind power  (Read 17955 times)

Offline Johnny MAX!

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Washing machine motor wind power
« on: June 13, 2009, 07:50:33 PM »
okay, I need help!
It just seems logical that if it takes electricity to to turn the motor on an electric motor (like a washing machine motor) that if you turn the motor mechanically, it will output AC current! Actually I think it would have to produce current, because the copper coils will be passing through a magnetic field which will induce a flow of electrons.

So, here is what I need help with. I want to use a washing machine motor as a generator powered by wind. (I will use a motor to turn it, so I can test it first). Then I will make blades and power it with wind.

I need your help. I am wanting to convert the AC current from the motor to dc, so I can charge up a battery bank, but I want to do it on the cheap (Of course)

I was looking on the great and wonderful eBay and I found Small AC to DC converters. They are like $3 bucks.
They are designed to plug into the wall and you can plug a cigarette lighter into it. I was wondering if I made several wind generators with motors and used the AC / DC converters will it keep a battery bank charged.

I am wanting to set up a large aquaponics system and all I need the battery bank to power an aerator for the fish tank and a pump to pump the water into the gravel grow bed every hour.

It would be great if I ever get it worked out to set up a battery bank that is charged by solar and washing machine wind power to run my well and maybe my swimming pol pump. ;-)
Just make a circuit for the two pumps.

Any ideas about going from the AC generated my the motor to DC?
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Hare of Caerbannog

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 08:01:18 PM »
I have thought about this many times.
I know almost nothing about electrical motors and generation but have several old motors and squirrel cages sitting around.
I would love to be able to make my own generator out of an old motor.

Offline Johnny MAX!

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 08:09:37 PM »
Hey! Thought!
What do they use to convert the AC from a car alternator to DC to charge the battery.
I bet what ever it is, it will work perfect for this.
I bet it even limits the charge.
Any auto mechanics here that know?
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Offline Johnny MAX!

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 08:21:25 PM »
i think it is called a rectifier & regulator....
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Offline LGM30

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 10:08:55 PM »
Most AC motors do not have permanent magnets installed in them so they will not function as a generator unless you do a few things first.  One of them is to "flash" the rotor so that there is some residual magnetism so that the rotor can self excite next time.  A common way to do this is to spin the motor with a drill and apply 120vac.

There will be the need to add some capacitors to smooth out a few things, and most importantly do not stall the motor under load, this will cause your rotor to require re flashing.

As far as converting AC to DC for charging batteries.  You would want a full wave rectifier.  You could make one out of 4 diodes and a couple caps, or you could go to walmart and buy a battery charger.
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Offline Johnny MAX!

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2009, 01:52:13 PM »
I was wondering about using a battery charger.
They have them on sale from harbor freight all the time, but they may not be the best quality.
I guess it would be best to find some magnets and make my own, but requires a lot more work and I have a stack of projects already. And I need to brew up a half baeerl (15 gallons) of beer real soon!
I thought it sounded way too east to be true... :(
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Offline LGM30

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2009, 03:13:35 PM »
Back Home magazine had plans spread across three issues a couple years back.
You used the front rotor of a wheel and some fancy magnets. But basically you made the thing yourself.  All the way down to winding the magnets.  It was cool.
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Offline solarguy

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2009, 07:01:53 PM »
While your plan is theoretically possible, it is not practical.  There are many reasons why this is true.  Here are a couple just to warm up:

1.  Your motor is probably designed to operate at either 1750 rpm, or perhaps 3,400 rpm, in round figures.  In order to make it produce any meaningful amount of electricity, you will have to turn the shaft that fast.  A "propeller"  (it's not really a propeller)  of the right diameter could never go that fast in any reasonable wind.  So that means you now need a weatherproof, low friction, low maintenance transmission to gear up the prop shaft to the motor shaft.  Not a trivial job.

2.  To get decent clean air, which is air that has not been made turbulent by nearby objects like trees and houses, you have to put your mill above all that.  How tall is the tallest tree around your house?  Now, make a tower to support your new mill 20-40 feet above that if you want decent power output.  Oh yeah, and it has to be strong enough to survive the strongest wind that will happen in the next X years.  If it fails, what will that 40-100 foot tower land on?  Your house???  This is no fault of your washing machine motor idea, just that you have several major obstacles to overcome to get decent power output out of ANY wind turbine.

3.  Have you thought about how to keep your new mill, and it's fancy transmission, pointed into the wind automatically?  And how do you bring the power down the tower on some kind of wires, yet still allow the mill to follow the wind without twisting up the wire/cable?  You could build or buy slip rings, but they are often problematic and may require periodic service.  How are you going to get the mill up and down that 40-100 foot tower on a regular basis?

4.  Lot's of things, including AC motors can be made to generate some kind of electricity, but they are often inefficient, or have to be operated at a certain rpm to get much useful out of them.  How much output do you want/need?  Your answer to that question is going to affect everything in the system from blade size, to how heavy the tower has to be, to how big your battery bank needs to be, times 100 other issues.  Analysis of your need really has to come first.

5.  The bearing in your average washing machine motor are designed to drive a belt, not support 8' blades.  The "prop" will inflict all kinds of loads on those bearings that they were never designed to handle.  How many spare motors do you have that are identical, and how often do you want to crawl up there and do a motor transplant?  Maybe your transmission will be designed to handle both axial and radial loads typical of a wind turbine.  You're an engineer right?

6.  Congratulations, you have just installed a really big lightning rod, I mean, Wind turbine tower.  Do you know how to keep your house from getting fried with the next thunderstorm?

7.  Do you know which kind of charge controller to get that also includes a dump load so your turbine won't overspeed and blow up the next time your battery bank is fully charged?  A wind turbine MUST have an electrical load at all times.  Sometimes that can't be your battery bank, b/c it's already charged.

8.  And 19 other things I'm forgetting at the moment


OK, this is not meant to be critical of the idea.  It's meant to illustrate that there are multitude of factors that will determine if you have a successful turbine or not, no matter what the form of the actual generator/alternator is.

So, here's the payoff.  There's a bunch of home brew folks who hash this stuff out and teach each other how to get the job done.  They are a nice bunch.  This is the best discussion group for how to do home brew wind power on the planet, bar none.

http://www.otherpower.com/

They sell a nice little book for not too much money to show you the ropes if you want to build their style of machine, which has 99.9% of all the kinks already ironed out.

They also have a discussion group:

http://www.fieldlines.com/

There are LOTS of motors and whatnot out there that can be made into wind machines.  Every one has some pros and some cons.  Go get yourself educated.  They'll teach you about towers, magnets, rewiring car alternators, building blades, electrical, electronics, home brew controllers, building one completely from scratch, etc etc etc etc.  You have many hours of enjoyable work ahead of you.

I have no relation to them, except as a happy participant and occasional customer.

Finest regards,


troy

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2009, 12:25:06 PM »
As Solarguy points out, your project could get complicated.

Why not just skip the electricity & run your washer directly from the wind?

The old wild-West windmill (Aeromotor) was designed to pump water. It had a steel rod that ran down to the well. The rod cranked up and down when the rotor turned.

The same arrangement can turn a washing machine's tub, easy as you please. Just move the washer outside, and put a crank assembly where the motor was with a reasonably-sized pulley for the drive belt. (Note: This would be easiest with a front-loader.)

The Aeromotor is a high-torque low-speed design. It's easy to make and simple to maintain. It's pretty efficient, too.

Some US Marines made a wind-powered washing machine in the Solomon Islands (if I remember right) during WWII, using the perpetual trade winds to do their wash. It worked extremely well.



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hideousmonster

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2009, 12:46:28 PM »
You might get some ideas from watching this guy's videos.  He builds wind turbines out of ceiling fan motors.

PART 2 HOW TO CEILING FAN WIND TURBINE

Offline Pukwudji

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2009, 08:02:47 PM »
Just when you thought washing machine motors wouldn't work...

http://www.yourgreendream.com/diy_instructions.php

Visit these folk.  The F&P washer motors (LG and Whirlpool also have a few washers that use these types of motors) work great for wind turbines.

Here is another great source of info: http://www.thebackshed.com/windmill/forum1/forum_topics.asp?FID=2&PN=0
-Brian

Offline BatonRouge Bill

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2010, 02:41:34 PM »
This topic is more than worthy of resurecting so here goes!
I am presently working on a few DYI wind turbines even though my wind zone is probably the worst in the country. Only the minimum amount of wind during the winter months. Hugh Piggot is by far the expert on low wind/medium wind DIY wind turbines and here is his website.
http://scoraigwind.com/
He builds wind turbines with permanent magnets and rotors and stators made from truck brake disc's drums axials etc. wind his own coils and these are 2-4 kw units. Much of this can be viewed on youtube. I'm building one from an AC/Delco alternator. I purchased a low rpm set of coils from Blue wind. com and I am building my own permanent magnet rotor. Alternators are by design 3 phase and require a bridge rectifier to convert from 3 phase ac to  DC. For my low wind area I need 3x the amout of blades to overcome low speed torque of the pma to produce power. I am looking to feed into a future battery bank for a grid tie battery backup system. I will be going in at either 6 or 12 volts I haven't decided to capture as much power I can at low wind speeds. This also requires blocking diodes to prevent the power backfeeding to the alternator and spinning it like a motor. If that is successful I have an old 2 kw generator and an old sears 3 kw alternator.
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Offline AtADeadRun

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2010, 06:58:39 AM »
I'd recommend 12V over 6V; you're going to have some pretty serious I2R losses in the system either way, but with 6V, they'll be 4 times worse than with 12V.
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Offline BatonRouge Bill

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2010, 08:43:06 PM »
Interesting didn't know that about the losses. so the 24 and 48 volt units would be better yet I guess. Those higher voltages require more rpm  or more poles. I quess I'll stick with the 12 volt unit for a first try.
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Offline Pukwudji

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2010, 10:15:49 PM »
That's why power is transmitted from the source to your town at high voltages.  High volts and low amps results in less loss for a given distance and wire diameter than low voltage and high amps.   That means you can transmit the power over long distances with smaller wire resulting in lower cost.  If your power source is a long way from your storage/usage location it may be a good idea to generate and transmit at high voltage then transform to low voltage and higher amperage at the destination.

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Offline AtADeadRun

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2010, 02:46:27 PM »
Interesting didn't know that about the losses. so the 24 and 48 volt units would be better yet I guess. Those higher voltages require more rpm  or more poles. I quess I'll stick with the 12 volt unit for a first try.

Yeah, your losses on the wire are going to be figurable in watts as the square of the current flowing through them times the resistance of the wire run.  It is, therefore, possible to somewhat mitigate these losses by using larger-gage wire to lower the resistance, but by far the dominant factor is the current.  The higher the voltage, the lower the current for a given amount of power.

That, and 12Vdc is just easier to work with, because so many things are designed for 12V.
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Offline hardtorn

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Re: Washing machine motor wind power
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2010, 03:06:39 AM »
What a great discussion. I have just started looking into some type of redundant backup power. Something that will not use gas or diesel. This thread along with some on solar are really increasing my learning curve.
Thanks... to all...