I’m on a quest to learn more about DIY alternative energy, and while last week I investigated wind turbines, this week I decided to look for a decent water turbine. Although not everyone has a stream near their home, for those that do, a turbine can be an interesting addition for energy. This water generator by Angry Ram certainly fills the bill with its up-cycled Fisher&Paykel washing machine. The maker explains how to strip the machine down to the important parts like the tub and rotor. He offers a generous warning about working with the electricity on these appliances and then dives in, adding a Pelton wheel, access hatch and rectifier. There’s some helpful hints along the way like making a pad to protect the bearings, creating a simple gasket for the acrylic hatch and even adding a coat of paint to protect the plastic from UV rays. In the end the rig is attached to a battery bank and an inverter takes voltage from DC to household current. It’s a well thought out tutorial and Angry Ram has created additional videos that explain the initial rewiring of the rotor, as well as the build for the charge controller, which handles the energy levels in the batteries. This setup is producing 21A at 29V, which seems to work well for the maker’s home.
If you are water deprived in your area, you might want to experiment with solar energy. We’ve got a great tutorial that explains how to turn solar energy into a battery charger for your LiPolys. Although you won’t be able to heat your home with this setup, you will be able to charge batteries for your little projects. It’s a great way to supplement energy and also a fun introduction to the science of the sun for younger family members. Go to the light!