Saturday, January 17, 2009

A few experiments in alternative energy

Alternative energy is something that is always on my mind. I of course want/need to find ways to do this on the cheap. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know I always try to find the cheapest and most efficient solution to any problem I have. I have been reading a lot of the posts over at Dragon's blog. He has a really nice set up that he has put together on a small budget. He has also coined a new phrase "The Re-Volt". Dragon's system is mostly a 12vdc system. By using 12vdc devices you avoid loosing energy through the use of an inverter. There are many things you can purchase that use 12vdc. 12vdc electric blanket is one that I thought was great! Check Dragon's post and links for more very informative 12vdc systems.

I have a few things that can be used to generate some alternative energy too. One being a small solar panel that I took off of my solar electric fence charger. Here it is while in the sun and hooked up to my new meter. In the sun producing 11.71 amps.


OK, so how can I use this? I just happen to have a lawn mower battery that has a very low charge. Here you can see it's reading 5.52 vdc rather than the 12vdc a fully charged battery should read.

I hooked the solar panel to the battery. Placing the meter between the positive leads.




A reading of 4.50 amps are entering the battery through the solar panel.



This reading is made with the solar panel attached and not much sun at this time. You can see that the power from the battery and the solar panel combined are now 10.13 volts. After charging for a few hours I will take another reading to see what the battery alone reads. Update!! 1 1/2 hours later--no sun, nearly total cloud cover and the battery now reads 7.59 volts. The small solar panel is charging the battery. I have not charge controler so I will have to keep close check on it. That is good news for sure.

Another project that may be of use is the cordless drill motor/generator. This is just a motor taken from a cordless drill. I had a blower wheel that I think I got from an old air conditioner. Attached the blower wheel to the motor shaft with a wooden dowel rod. Not the best set up but it was what I had at the time, so... I then took the rig over the the overflow from my pond. This overflow runs year round. By placing the wheel, which is now the turbine, so that the water passes over the turbine thus turning it, I can produce a small amount of dc power. A very small amount is all I was able to get from this. 0.15 amps. I will be doing a lot more work on this set up. I know that Dragon uses this as a wind turbine and gets good results from it but I don't get much wind. The overflow runs year round though and may be the best for me.





8 comments:

HermitJim said...

I've been trying to get my mind around how simple Dragon makes it seem! Maybe even I could do it...

Amy said...

Wow! I'm impressed Chris. I didn't know you could charge a battery that way. That's great! Can't wait to see what else you do with it.

Dragon said...

You picked it up and ran with it, A good start... Some of those drill motors are way low and some go way high end... I test mine out at 600 rpms to get an idea what they are capable of...
The low end permanent magnet motors could be used with a small step up transformer...Keep on plugging.

The Scavenger said...

Jim, know what ya mean man. lol I know if anyone can do it, Hermit Jim can. Thanks man for coming over. Appreciate ya.

Amy, Thank you. Yep, that's all it take to charge a battery. I have a few rechargable batteries that will work much better, just wanted to run a test first. I'll keep ya posted. Thank you.

Sir. Dragon, thanks. I did pick it up and run for sure, the kinda stuff I like to work on. I've got another drill motor that I will try and see what happens. Also have a motor from an electric scooter, 24 vdc, 180 watt output @ 2600 rpms. I keep on keepin on. Thanks for the inspiration.

Chris

edifice rex said...

This is interesting because I've been thinking a lot lately about using my spring creek to produce power for the pump via battery charging. The creek runs swiftly all year so it might work and would be great because if my power goes out my water is severely limited.

The Scavenger said...

edifice rex, if your creek runs really well this is something that wouild really work for you. Google homemade micro hydro and you will find lots of good stuff. Hope you are able to get something goin with it and post about it too. Love to see it. Thanks for coming over.

Chris (aka Blue Eyes...LOL)

warren said...

Very cool! I am especially excited to see what you do with hydro...so very few people mess with it, though it can be similar to wind. Anyhow, keep us posted as I am sure youwill...I can't wait to hear more!

The Scavenger said...

Warren, can't wait to get more time to work on it. It's gonna be a learning experience, a fun one too. Got a lot of ideas and I'll keep ya up to speed on it.

Chris