Using a Car alternator.

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Using a Car alternator.

Postby DIYman on Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:17 am

I need a wind turbine which only produces about 50 Watts effective power in winds of about 20km/h - 25km/h. I know that using a standard car alternator for larger amounts of power output is not recommended because you need to gear the system so that the alternator spins faster ( and you need to excite the coil in a non permanent magnet alternator). But, if any of you experts( and novices ) might want to see if you can help: Will I be able to achieve 50 Watts effective power in 20km/h wind when mounting the blades directly onto the alternator ( no gearing )? I suppose it will depend on the exact alternator, but lets assume some standard car alternator, the one I have came out of a ford 1600 bantam I think. :)

Thanks for any input/help.
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Re: Using a Car alternator.

Postby windgat on Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:53 pm

Hi DIYman. First step is to check what rpm is needed to get the voltage you want. Say you want to run a 12V system, then it means you need 14V from the alternator. So spin it until it gets 14V, and measure the rpm. How to do this depends on your instruments and ingenuity!

Lets say for the sake of calculation you find its 2000rpm. (please note the calculation below changes if this changes)

Now, you want 50 watts in a 5.5m/s wind. Max Power P = 0.3 A m^3, so
50 = 0.3 A 166
so Area = 1m^2
Working at say 50 efficiency of conversion, you need 2 square metres which means a radius of about 800cm.

That makes a circumference of about 5m, so 2000rpm means a tip speed of 2000 x 5 / 60 = 166m/s.

That would be way too fast, for reasons of noise, blade abrasion and safety.

My guess is that you will either need to reconfigure the coils in the alternator, or use gearing. From what I have read, most people who have tried car alternators have not had much success.

I look forward to reading what you do next!
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Re: Using a Car alternator.

Postby Chikky123 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:00 pm

Hi DIYman. First step is to check what rpm is needed to get the voltage you want. Say you want to run a 12V system, then it means you need 14V from the alternator. So spin it until it gets 14V, and measure the rpm. How to do this depends on your instruments and ingenuity!
Love
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