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How to Build an Electricity Generator from Scrap and Spare Parts?

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posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 04:29 AM
First off, apologies if you thought I was posting instructions on how to build an electric genny. The thread is asking for help on doing this instead.

Secondly, throughout the thread forgive me for using laymen's terms and not being fully up to speed on technical terms.

A space has opened up for a new project, so I'm investigating a few ideas. One idea is to source or create a rudimentary electrical generator that could be used to supply power to a home or community if global system breakdown does occur.

These are initial thoughts, so feel free to chime in. I'm not sure whether to post this in the survival forum or the science forum - I've gone for the survival forum as I never posted here before.

I have two distinct ideas. 1. To use the current market availablity of products and components to build something fairly leading edge and technologically interesting (science forum?). 2. To attempt the project using only components that would be available locally if the system had really crashed to a halt.

Both have their attraction, but the latter feels a little bit more urgent and important.

My initial thoughts were to explore the thermo-electric effect, to see if there is any possibility of constructing a power source that works on temperature differential. My reasoning for this, is that temperature gradients are often freely available everywhere, and when they aren't, they are pretty easy to create.

So, a couple of questions to get the ball rolling:

1. Anyone have any practical experience working with thermoelectrics?
2. Anyone know of any device or method that can generate electricity from very small temperature differences, say around 10-20 degrees centigrade.
3. Any other ideas for constructing electricity generators from 'scrap' and 'spare parts' using naturally available energy input sources.

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 04:42 AM
HAHAHA I read the title and was thinking, this sounds like a bad idea!

Anyway I'm intrigued if this is possible and relatively easy to do with a bit of electrical knowledge. I'm always looking for a project to sink my teeth into

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 04:45 AM
I was hoping for instructions! Haha!

I don't have alot of experience with this field, but to start off, i'd say construct something wind or solar driven?
For a solardriven powersource, i'd guess you need solar panels and such.. So if you really have to build from scratch and you live in a windy area, i'd go for wind driven power supply.

Something along the line of a dynamo combined with a source that can hold/store power for a while?

Like i said, no expertise in this field, just thinking this out from the spot with some common sense!
edit on 29-9-2011 by Elexio because: typo

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 04:57 AM
i think this is an awesome thread whether the OP is asking or telling

its likely in our lifetime, our gov't will (attempt to) knock most all of us right back to caveman stone age

hope someone on ats has done this for emergency reasons of course and can share how.

for some reason i thought of gilligan's island and pedalling a bike

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 05:07 AM
This question depends on a number of factors. Such as how much electricity you need to generate and what sort of material you have available.

The simplest and probably weakest power source you could build is an Earth Battery. All you need to make it work is some dirt, water and two dissimilar metals such as iron and copper. As long as you keep the ground damp and the soil has electrolytes in it, you will be able to generate a charge. A weak one, but a charge nonetheless.

Alternatively, you can build a water battery using the same concept. Two dissimilar metals suspended in salt water or juice. If you add a little bleach, you will be able to increase your power output. But again, this is a very weak power source.

If you can generate heat in any way, you can create a thermopile. This is a simple device which also requires two dissimilar metals but also heat. The heat causes an electric charge at the junction between the two metals and creates more output than an earth battery or water battery.

If you have access to some magnets and copper wire, you can create a basic generator that can be used in either a wind turbine or water turbine.

If you get yourself a lawn mower engine, an alternator, a pulley, a battery and a v-belt, you can make yourself a simple gas driven generator.

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 05:09 AM
I wonder why people seem to forget the most abundant and easy to use generator that would be available.

You probably have hundreds of them in your neighborhood.

Every single automobile in your neighborhood has a complete electrical generation and storage system in it.

The alternator in the an automobile really does not care what is turning it, as long as it has the kinetic energy (rotation) it will generate electricity.

Every car has a regulator and a battery in it, so you have the materials needed to make a generation and battery farm.

You would have to convert to a 12 volt dc system (converting DC to AC is inefficient and requires some electronics that might not be readily available.) . Almost every modern device , except for those using motors, could be converted as they mostly use 5- 12 V DC anyway, as household current is just down stepped and converted to DC anyway, one would just have to wire into the secondary side of the power supply for the most part.

I could see lighting as an issue, even though a normal household incandescent bulb would not care about ac or dc, the filament is still calibrated to household voltage, and any up-stepping of voltage would require either a DC to AC conversion to work through a transformer or electronics to create voltage doublers..etc.

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 05:48 AM
reply to post by RogerT

The best thing you can do. Is do a course in it. learn it right.

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:01 AM
Hey yeh you got me with the "lets build a electric generator" also haha!

i studied being an Electrician in the UK for 5 years. in my personal opinion Kinetic energy is the way forward.
be it wind generators or water driven this is the right path to travel down. As allenidaho said you can makes these batteries but there a waste of time for the amount of volts you'll get out of them (1-3volts. 3 and a push)

when i can get my hands on the resources i'd recommend building an Electro magnetic generator. sorry not and Electro but just a normal magnetic generator. ofc finding powerful magnets is going to be the biggest challenge i think.

Basically the idea is to use the magnets to push/pull/turn the generator which in turn will kick out AMPS of electricity for you.

alternatively for a quicker source of power. water turbine (with a river close by!)

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:02 AM
I cant believe I forgot about an automobile lighting system. You have all kinds of 12 volt lighting. Headlights, courtesy lights, tail lights etc.

That solves the lighting problem with a 12 volt system.

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:10 AM
Depends on just how rigged up you want to make it .
so ill start with you have a generator that runs on diesel ok well plan old vege oil will run it . and yes you can make taht at home just grwo green beens and boil the oil rises to the top after sitting .
But lets say you dont have one at all. Ok any cars around ?? you see ten alternators (ac voltage by the way )
coil changes it to dc .
anyway ten alternators will produce (Drum roll please ) 110 voltes and well say 60 am altenatiors ( averge types)
thats 600 amps your home probly has a 300 amp pole .starting to see the possibility here?
as for turning them to produce this power well there are easy ways and more tricky ways , air but a wind mill no fance things need even a wood one will be good enough then just use belts .
or better yet if theres a stream dam it put in a water wheel . that truns wind or not.
and finly theres a net little trick I have never seen posted yet .
try it take 4 pices on metal iron steel what ever cut into squares paint one side white the other black.
now mount them on a center shaft have that shaft were it can turn freely then just put it out in the sun .
the black side heats faster tehn the white making the air expand quicker pushing it .wile the white side cools the air faster pulling it (less pressure )
only works in the sun. bst is the stream powered one no sun or air or fuel needed . and a few junk cars for parts is all you need to build it

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:23 AM
o by the way making solar cells is easy as well.
take a copper plate say 4 inches square not on one side put it in a flame that side will turn pink (if its a clean fire )
now clean the other side NOt the pink side so theres no pink or any other color on it.
now solder a wire on each side /
now put this in a clear cd case )clear one just makes it easer to see what your doing.
seal the case make a small hole on the top edge and get water mix in salt Wont take much water or salt .
put it in teh case and seal hole .
now it will be producing dc voltage . how much dont know how many amps again dont know
finly Every thing in your home can be rigged to run on dc dc will run heaters or you could rig a cooler ((yea they sell dc coolers .and every thing else runs on dc anyway your tv has a transformer that changes the av to dc all you need to know is the amount of dc required to work the tv and you can by pass the transformer .
of just get a dc ac converter

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:35 AM
Thanks for all those speedy replies.
Of course, once gas is gone, cars would be seen as scrap and suddenly we have a massive resource of machined parts, wheels, pulleys, flywheels, electronics etc. I hadn't looked at cars that way - hiding in plain sight!

With regards to thermo-electric effects, I did find this on ferroelectric materials that generate current at as little as 10 degrees centigrade temp difference: but that's hardly survival stuff!

So if we look at the idea of using car bits, then the question is simply "how to turn the shaft". Water, wind and sun are the obvious candidates, but are very time and location specific.

I think there is something worth discovering or uncovering in regards to v. small temp differences. For example, surface temp where I live ranges from -5 to +35 during an average year, but only 2.5m down, it's a fairly stable 15-18 degrees.

Even if it's horribly inefficient, if there's a way to 'turn a wheel' using this temp gradient, then electricity could be generated and stored by automobiles, which almost every household in the developed world has 'sitting in the driveway'

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:36 AM
almost any two metals in vinegar make a battery .
and the US navy has a emergency power source using the ship its self and another piece of metal say copper .
plate and in there case that plate is huge wire in the ship attached to haul wich is steel .
copper plate in water with wire and both are in salt water ocean .
wala power .

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:40 AM
Have a look at this.

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:40 AM
reply to post by xxcalbier

Only a couple of issues I see

There is a diode bridge in the alternators that convert the AC to DC, in order to get AC you would have to rewire part of the alternator to bypass the diode bridge.

You would not be able to put ten alternators together in series to get 120 volts, probably around the 4th or 5th alternator in the series, one would start to burn out the windings in the alternators as they are not designed for that kind of voltage. Best bet is to put a few in parallel and just use 12 volts. I can see where one would think that would work, as trucks will put two two batteries in series to get 24 volts, and that would work fine with alternators too, but trying to get up to 120 volts would start to burn components out.

Unless you have a constant source of kinetic energy, you are going to need to store the electricity for times the wind is not blowing, the sun is not out (night and cloudy days) etc.

One also would not be able to store 120 VAC with the lead acid batteries in automobiles.I guess you could use a battery charger, but then you have the problem of the DC to AC conversion to use the battery power if everything you want to power is still at 120 VAC. DC to AC is MUCH harder and inefficient than the conversion from AC to DC (A simple half or full wave diode bridge, every electronic device that runs off household current in your home has a bridge in it)

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:46 AM
I noticed the OP mentioned differential temperature to produce energie. If you look up Stirling engine it does work with differential temperature. It looks like it could be possible to make as a diy project with local supplies. I've been interested in this myself but haven't had the time to do much research on this old technology which has a lot of potential in my opinion.
Best of luck!

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:48 AM
well heres another way of turning the wheels .
(try it . look at the tree out frount look how tall it is and yet it gets water all the way to the top most part.
How does it do this ? its called capillary action each cell in the tree acts like a sponge drawing water into in and the next in line up does the same until the water is in the top.
now amazingly enough a big oak can move 5oo gallons of water a day using this .
well you can recreat the same effect at home.
get two 5 gallon plastice buckets like pant comes in with lids .
get pvc pipe 3/4 inch now put on bucket on floor on on a table using the pvc take one pice put a hole in top of bucket and hole in bottom of the same bucket one piece of pvc you fill completely with sponges Or cloth will work (not as good. ) that piece will be your draw line its goes from the bottom of the floor bucket ((bottom inside bucket) to the top of bucket on table .Just inside the lid .
the other pip empty goes from the bottom of teh bucket on the table to the top just inside the bucket on the floor
now fill the bottom bucket say 3/4 the top will be empty to start once pips are attached and not leaking at the bottom the one filled with sponge will draw the water to the bucket on table .
now this rige i just showed you would be slowwwwww but scaled up ((not the size of the pips just how many u use with each container ) it would be fast enough to use the bring back pips water to turn a wheel or fill a big water tank which can then turn the wheel
edit on 29-9-2011 by xxcalbier because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 06:57 AM
there are other ways to do this even more primitive yet with which all you need is a fire to heat and you can move water from lower to upper container and then use that water to turn a wheel but this post could go on with how many net ways you can do this .using nothing but one way valves pips and metal containers and a fire even a wood fire or a garbage fire .and with this rig you could move thousands of gallons a day easy

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 07:02 AM
reply to post by RogerT

Lots of info available in cheap used books from eBay,, Kijiji, Craigslist, Amazon, abebooks and local public library sales.

Titles I got dirt cheap I'm currently reading:

-The Mother Earth News Handbook of Homemade Power

ISBN 0-553-14310-7

-Approaching Free Energy / by the editors of Rodale's New Shelter

Rodale Press, Emmaus PA.

-Producing Your Own Power / How to make nature's energy sources work for you

Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA

information = power (sorry for the pun!) best of luck

posted on Sep, 29 2011 @ 07:20 AM
One fairly easy source to find and use are old solar powered outdoor lights. Wiring them up to desired voltage and current if fairly easy. Wired in series increases the voltage and in parallel increases the amps. People throw these away all the time when the battery dies, or they break, or just fade and don't look nice anymore. The cells usually still work though. Easy to find and inexpensive.

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