Model Pelton Wheel Hydroelectric Generator

In an earlier post I outlined an educational activity building a water-powered turbine (Pelton Wheel style) with milk bottle tops and plastic spoons. This was successfully trialled at the first Schoolgen Sister Schools Cluster Day in Spetember.

Making the turbine (a linear to rotational kinetic energy converter) was the first stage in the creation of a working model of a hydroelectricity generator. I have  recently found a bit of time to actually build the whole thing.

It is based on plans that I linked to in the earlier instructions – this is the excellent website now called GreenLearning Canada.  It involves building a permanent magnet alternator and installing it and the turbine in a housing made from a large plastic bottle.

My variation on the plans was to use a thin steel rod I brought at Surplustronics instead of wooden dowel, and to use old CDs for the rotor and stator. The CDs provide a free, readily available, flat  strong disc on which to mount the magnets and copper coils.

The whole setup is rather rough and ready but I tested it with a jet of water from the hose outside and it worked pleasing well. Using a multimeter I measured an a.c. voltage of 2.3 volts and a current of about 0.25 amps. The output was a lot less under the kitchen sink but still measurable.

Instead of hot glue I probably need to use another glue as it doesnt adhere that well to the CD surface and the heat may have caused some warping of the CD surface.


3 Responses

  1. That was really very useful for me to make my science project

  2. How did u attach the copper coils to the cd do some have to be loose?

    • Hi Joe. Thanks for your question. I think I used a hot glue gun to stick the coils on. It might be better to use another kind of glue (super-glue for example) though because the heat can warp the cd and the hot glue didnt stick that firmly. All the best 🙂

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