The use of wind energy as a non-conventional energy resource is gaining importance now-a-days. Based on the availability of wind speed, various wind generating devices can be created for producing renewable energy. Given below is a similar DIY project termed as mini floppy windmill. It is quite simple in construction and could be used for charging mobile phones, MP3 players or smaller light bulbs while camping, fishing, sailing etc where power supply is not easy to access. This set-up is handy and can be used at outdoor locations. Following are the steps to create mini floppy windmill.
Difficulty level: Challenging (Requires considerable experience and expertise)
Time required: Around 3-4 hours
1. Old Floppy Drive
2. Stepper motor from Floppy drive
3. Shaft with holes
4. Drill to make holes in shaft
6. Two screws
7. Small electric circuit.
8. Rectifier to convert AC to DC
9. Soldering iron and tin solder paste
10. Wires for making connections
11. USB extension cable.
Since it makes use of recycled components, the cost depends on whether you buy an old floppy drive or have an old one with you.
1. Take an old computer having floppy drive and open it to remove 5.25 inch floppy drive. Most of the parts for making power generator will be used from this donor floppy drive.
2. Carefully, take off stepper motor from floppy drive unit.
3. Drill two holes on a shaft to directly attach propellers of the windmill to the stepper motor with the help of two screws.
4. Now, we need to construct a propeller and a bracket. Bracket could be made of thin aluminum pipe having diameter 3 to 4mm and fix it tightly. An easy solution would be using umbrella stand that would help for easy mobility.
5. Fix stepper motor directly to the bracket using clamps. The “L” shaped metal profile could also be used. It just depends on the arrangement whether you want to fix turbine horizontally or vertically.
6. While making horizontal arrangement for wind turbine, propeller could be constructed using the pen, meter and scissors for cutting metal sheet. Sheet should be 0.8m in length and 0.8 m in width with the thickness of 0.5mm.
7. Cut out the pieces and attach them to form a propeller and fix it to the rotor of the stepper motor with the help of screws.
8. If the arrangement is being made for vertical axis wind turbine, then the propellers could be made from a plastic bucket. This is simply done by cutting the bucket from the middle and then fixing on round wooden plate.
9. Finally, the whole arrangement should be set on generator motor with screws.
10. Attach a USB connector to this mini wind generator that will enable attaching modern devices like iPod, MP3 player, phone etc to the mini floppy charger.
Frequently asked questions:
1. How much energy can be produced by mini floppy generator?
The mini windmill can be used to produce small amount of electricity. The wind with 10m/s speed can make it produce 5 watts of electricity. The set-up is very convenient, especially during low wind speeds. This complete set-up is a DIY project and can produce around 100 watts of electricity sufficient to charge several batteries, depending upon the speed of the wind.
2. Is the project environment friendly?
Yes, this whole project of making power generator using an old floppy drive is totally environment friendly. This do-it-yourself (DIY) project is very quite simple and easy in construction. It not only helps in disposing of unused old computer floppy drive but also makes a very useful device out of it. The energy generator works completely on wind energy. Wind moves propellers of this handmade generator which in turn produces electricity that could be used to charge mobile phones and Ipod etc when power sources are not easily available. This set up can help in reducing utilization of non-renewable energy and also contribute to decrease carbon footprints.
Though, vertical axis wind turbines are more efficient in producing energy but horizontal axis wind turbines are more portable and easy to carry for outdoor locations. The risks of deformation while packing are less and they are easy to maintain.
Things to watch out for:
1. All the connections should be made carefully and rechecked to avoid any type of trouble. It is better to use one wire at a time to avoid disorder.
2. Fix the set-up tightly and tighten the screws properly to the base to avoid any type of component damage.
3. It is advisable not to rely completely on the mini wind mill as its working is completely dependent on weather conditions and wind speed. It is better to carry spare batteries for emergency uses.