We at Otherpower.com have always been in a quandary...we have more time on our hands than money, and remote power equipment is expensive! That's why we started making our power from scratch! The experiments presented here are not to be interpreted as "plans" or "kits"--they simply show what we did, and how it worked. Some of these experiments worked well, some were partially successful, and others were complete failures! But we hope that our experiences will provide a good starting point for your own experimentation. If you have any experiments that you would like to share, please contact us by Email or post on our Discussion Board.

WARNING!! These experiments are things we and other people have done. We are serving only to share free information and take no liability for the dangers imposed should somebody attempt these experiments at home. Most of these could be dangerous! If you are unsure of the dangers involved, DO NOT try any of these experiments! Always wear eye protection and gloves. FAILURE TO INITIATE AND FOLLOW YOUR OWN SAFETY PROCEDURES MAY RESULT IN BODILY INJURY OR DEATH! Possible hazards include high and low voltage electrocution, large items spinning very fast that could remove your head, high towers, power lines, battery acid, explosion danger from hydrogen or propane gas, and faulty wiring causing fires. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE, DON'T EVEN START!!!!!!


One of the Triplets flying!
10/10/2003 -- The Triplets -- 3 new 10-foot diameter dual-rotor brake disc wind turbines!

These 3 nearly identical machines are built with the same design as the mill at the Caboose (5/20/03, below) but we streamlined the construction process significantly and built 3 machines at the same time -- Curly, Moe and Larry. These are the latest of our designs, and they perform great in low winds. Detailed DanCAD drawings and dimensions on this page.
A WORKIN' Hamster!
Hamster-Powered Alternator

Skippy the Hamster is Forcefield's newest employee! We custom-built a low-rpm permanent magnet alternator onto his exercise wheel, and he lights a night light at DanF's house. We installed a data acquisition computer on his wheel too! And of course this simple alternator, buildable by kids, would work for wind or hydro power experiments and science fair projects too.
New brake disc mill
5/10/2003 -- New Brake Disc Mill

9-foot dia prop, furling tail, 3-phase, separate laminate assembly with excellent specs. Many improvements over our previous designs! Spins up and makes power freely in low winds, and governs itself in high winds.
dual rotor brake disc mill
5/20/2003 -- Dual Rotor Brake Disc Mill

Up and flying at the Caboose. Excellent low wind performance with 10 foot prop, great furling system.
Volvo 240 Disc Brake Wind Generator
DanB's Homebrew Volvo 240 400-watt Windmill

One of our older designs, but still functional. No furling system.
Choosing Alternators and Generators for Wind Power
A guide to help you figure out where to start for your application...
Volvo Disc Brake Wind Generator
Ward's Homebrew Volvo 400-watt Windmill

One of our older designs. 7-foot prop, no furling system.
Volvo Disc Brake Alternator
Volvo 140 Disc Brake Alternator

One of our earlier designs.
The infamous Wood 103
The Wood 103

The infamous "Wood 103," a 100-watt windmill made entirely from wood--and from scratch! You can also download our entire Home Power Magazine article here.
Regulator for PM Alternators
Uses the Lenz effect to change alternator wiring from series to parallel and back. Not a very practical design, but a great demonstration.
Windmill Testing with Model A
Our windmill testing rig--a 1930 Model A Ford! Cool video.
Converting Motors Into Alternators
How we have converted AC induction motors into permanent-magnet alternators
The Wood A-X
The Wood A-X

Sequel to our infamous Wood 103, this all-wooden 200-watt wind genny uses sturdy ball bearings One of our older designs, but we are working on a new version.
Surplus Tape Drive Motors
How to use surplus tape drive motors for wind and hydro power
Homebrew Easter Egg Anemometer
A very quick and easy project for accurately measuring wind speed. Good science project for kids, too!
OOPS! Always Tighten Your Cable Clamps
How a very small oversight caused a major disaster while raising a windmill on a 40 foot mast! No humans, dogs or pickup trucks were hurt.
Homebrew Windmill
Homebrew Wind Generator

Uses an AC induction motor converted to a permanent magnet alternator
Homebrew Alternator
Homebrew Wooden Alternator

A very powerful permanent magnet alternator built from wood, and from scratch! We use it as a demonstration unit at our retail magnet store!
science fair windmill
Science Fair Wind Generator

A bunch of ideas for building tiny wind generators for science projects.
anemometer built from bike speedometer
Anemometer made from Bicycle Speedometer

Very simple and easy to build! Uses a standard, inexpensive bike computer to calculate wind speed and acquire data, including maximum gust, wind miles, average speed, and hours of wind. Built using our pre-made anemometer cup assemblies so it goes together fast.
Homemade Waterwheel
Homemade Waterwheel

Built from a surplus squirrel-cage blower and a surplus tape drive motor
Maytag Engine Battery Charger
Maytag Engine Battery Charger

A slick little homebrew battery charger using a car alternator and old Maytag engine
Automatic Solar Water Pumping
Cheap! DanF's solar pumping system with one solar panel and a small Shurflo pump
Antique Witte Engine Charger
A beautiful old engine hooked to a modern car alternator for battery charging
Homebrew Float Switch
When DanF's commercial float switches failed, he built this reliable homebrew magnetic version
Charger Built From Dead Inverter
This dead 1000 watt Heart inverter found a second life as a powerful homebrew AC battery charger
Bicycle Powered Generator
Make your spouse and children pedal if they want to watch TV! Or use it to charge batteries, pump water, etc. in remote areas.
Homebrew Lightning Detector
Watch the charge potential rise as a thunderstorm moves in...predict if it'll hit you or not!
Simple Homebrew Ammeter
Build a big, beautiful, accurate ammeter from cheap surplus materials. Digital is cool, but analog can be a work of art!
Convert Gas Generators to Propane
Propane generators are easy to start and reliable...and they are perfect for cold climates. But DON'T TRY this...you could blow yourself up!
Convert Flashlights to Use LEDs
Get longer battery and bulb life with these easy white LED conversions. DanF uses them extensively for the local Fire Department
Disk Drive Magnet Alternators
Our earliest alternator projects using dirt-cheap, readily-available hard disk drive magnets. Be sure to follow through the update pages too!


Ward's Cheap Solar Power System Page

How Ward put together a complete cabin power system for under $700!

solar powered captive caboose
Solar Powered Captive Caboose

How Dave put together an inexpensive solar power system for his new captive caboose.




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This page last updated 2-20-2012