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Publication Title | The Wood 103 A wooden 100 watt wind generator

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Dan Bartmann

& Dan Fink ©2002 Forcefield

The Wood 103 was built mostly of wood in just a day, with very little number crunching. Producing 100 watts in a 30+ mph wind ain’t bad for a weekend project!

he initial goal of our project was to build a functional, permanent magnet alternator from scratch, primarily out

of wood. When the alternator was together and working, it became clear that wind was the logical energy source for it. This unit (we call it the “Wood 103”) is not intended to be a permanent addition to a remote home energy system, but a demonstration of how simple it really is to produce energy from scratch—and to be a bit silly!

Many homemade wind generator designs require a fully equipped machine shop to build. Our wooden version, built in a day, can be made with mostly local materials and simple hand tools in any remote corner of the world. The alternator design is well suited to hydroelectric, human, or animal power. We plan to use it for a series of magnet and electricity demonstrations at

22 Home Power #88 • April / May 2002

local schools, and for future experiments with different energy sources, windings, cores, poles, and rotors. This project will cost you only US$50–75, depending on what you pay for magnets and wire.

Alternator Basics

Electricity is simply the flow of electrons through a circuit. When a magnet moves past a wire (or a wire past a magnet), electrons within the wire want to move. When the wire is wound into a coil, the magnet passes by more loops of wire. It pushes the electrons harder, and can therefore make more electricity for us to harvest.

The magnetic field can be supplied by either permanent magnets or electromagnets. All of our designs use permanent magnets. In a permanent magnet alternator (PMA), the magnets are mounted on the armature (also sometimes called the “rotor”), which is the part that spins. It is connected directly to the wind generator rotor (the blades and hub). There are no electrical connections to the armature; it simply moves the magnets. Each magnet has two poles, north (N) and south (S). The magnets are oriented in the armature so that the poles alternate N-S-N-S.

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