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I have heard from friends about putting a car alternator on a windmill for alternative energy anybody know how this is done
Try Youtube. I have no doubt you will find something there. The biggest problem I see with it would be the weight of the fan assembly creating too much downward load on the bearings and sooner than later, burning up the bearings. And alternators aren't cheap. You would also need to research what type of alternator would be best for the batteries you intend on using, along with using the correct power inverter. Just make sure you look at the WHOLE system. It's kind of like those guys who put Cold Air Intakes on their little Fast and Furious cars without changing the injectors, the exhaust or re-mapping the computer; You accomplish nothing other than spending money with zero gain in performance.
 

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if you're leaning that way, as suggested, look on youtube or do a google search for home made marine wind generators. Plenty out there.
 

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Biggest problem is getting the wind to run it at optional speed. 1000 to 3000 rpm
That's what I was about to mention but he beat me to it. That's the RPM range at which they were designed to work at. Getting a windmill to turn at that speed would be a pretty tough feat I would imagine. You might be better off trying to use a lawn mower engine to turn a car altenator and create power but then that kind of defeats your purpose of using the wind. Buy hey, I am no electrician!
 

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Biggest problem is getting the wind to run it at optional speed. 1000 to 3000 rpm
You don't necessarily need the windmill to reach this rpm, you need the windmill to turn the primary gears that will turn the secondary gears that will reach the desired rpm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
alright I appreciate it, I was asking cuz I have three windmills on my land that I dont have setup to pump water anymore, so I figured might find another use for them
 

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If you have good ol' fashioned real deal wind mills, and not the small wind generator thingies you are ahead of the torque game by a long shot!
 

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There was a show on I think discovery channel call "the colony". I think it was Season 2, but it was filmed in an abandoned part of Louisiana after the hurricane and it was an experiment in survival. In this season they used a car alternator, made a wind mill, joined the two by use of a 10 speed bicycle gears and chain. It worked fine for them but for long term, who knows.

Maybe you can google that and see how they made it.
 

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Simple gear reduction using different sized pulleys/chains or a transmission. Trans off a lawn mower or bikes.
 

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There was a show on I think discovery channel call "the colony". I think it was Season 2, but it was filmed in an abandoned part of Louisiana after the hurricane and it was an experiment in survival. In this season they used a car alternator, made a wind mill, joined the two by use of a 10 speed bicycle gears and chain. It worked fine for them but for long term, who knows.

Maybe you can google that and see how they made it.
I miss that show. :sad: I can't believe they stopped production.
 

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that was an awesome show, and an automotive alternator (and i havent looked this up) but they start charging at a relativly low rpm and charge all the way thru the engines rpm range so the only real problem would be getting a heavy fan going. also go to a junk yard theres tons of alternatrors out there for 10 or 15 $ each. i got a 105 amp alternator for my little samurai for 15$ at the junk yard it was nearly new.also seems there are internal and external regulated alternators. not sure that would be a problem in a system like home use as you would have a regulator built in anyway.

i also have a question for someone that knows about these systems. say you had a solar system up and running already with the solar panels. could you hook up a wind driven alternator like this into the same regulator with the panels and charge with both? thinking about it it seems like ti would work, no matter what you put into the regulator it only charges at a certain volt/amp right?? so fi your charging from the soalr panels during the day and the wind kicks up you'd still be charging at 12 volts just sending more amps, so the regulator (in theory) should absorb the max amps it can and send to batterys and then negate the rest? is this correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
yeah I'm a mechanic by trade so I have plenty of good alternator laying around and these are the real deal 36 foot windmills with 3 foot blades, I'm definitely looking more into it, thanks for the input everybody
 

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You will need about 6:1 gearing to get the alternator to turn the minimum of 1000 rpm to reach a decent charge. To get the maximum from it you will need 4 - 5000 rpm.

You can color one of the windmill blades and count how man times it rotates in one minute. That is the rpm of the wind mill. Divide the 3000 that you need by that number and you will have a good idea what the gear ratio is. A bike chain and sprocket set is a good low drag drive - better than a belt or gears and easier to set up.
 

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This likely has been said but in case it has not: it seems to me you need a gear drive that with each turn caused by the wind the alternator will turn 100 times. That will get the weight off the alternator bearings but you will need more than a breeze and an efficient blades. Or just do what Paul said.

It will make a good science fair project but you will not get such a system to pay for itself in most of the US.

Northern Indiana is doing ok.
 

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I don't think the weight of a fan blade would be enough weight to effect the bearings at all. Think about how tight a serpentine
belt is. And that's at the end of the shaft pulling down on the pulley a few pounds of fan weight is nothing compared to that.
And the idea of using a bicycle chain and sprockets is a great idea. Low drag, Easy to find parts, And the DIY would not
need to be as precise as a gear set up. Easy to find big sprockets for the fan and easy to find sprockets small for the alternator.
Also a very large fan with light weight blades doesn't take much to get it going look how big the fans at a wind farm
and they will start with just a little breeze. (there are some close to where I live) It comes down to cubic inches of fan
blade surface to resistance. An alternator free spins until it's turning fast enough to "kick in" so to speak.
I'm not sure but I think there is a kit to convert an alternator over for wind mill use. (works at a slower speed)

Note: The alternator was invented because when cars only had generators the battery would go dead if the car was left
idling with the lights on (like a police car) because a generator had to spin so fast to put out a charge. An alternator will
charge at idle speeds and put out much more. On some cars if you turn on the lights while idling you can actually hear
the alternator "kick in"
 
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