# Sort-of-windmill electricity ?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Vera, Feb 16, 2005.

1. ### VeraWell-Known Member

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Ok, this is going to sound utterly silly because I don't understand electricity and therefore can't explain too well what I'd like to know. Bear with me, please.

On one of those websites that show olden stuff, I saw a setup to get water out of a well. Basically, it looks like a big wooden hamster exercise wheel, but it's set up for a dog to walk in it to turn the wheel to bring the water up. Now, this is a mechanical sort of thing, right? But technically, it's the same as a water wheel or a windmill, and can't you produce electricity with a windmill? If so, could you produce electricity with a doggie exercise wheel? And if so, what's needed to create the electricity, to store it, and to use it for something minor like, say, outside lighting or possibly a short electric fence?

I suppose it would be about the same basic idea like the guy sitting on a stationary bike and pedaling to power a lightbulb - but I don't understand that either

Any input, anybody?

2. ### fordyWell-Known Member

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...................The dog turning a wheel is probably connected to a gear with a crankshaft type connection which in turn is hooked to a lift pump which functions like a Windmill except the wind is exerting force upon the pitch of the blades on the windmill and thereby turning the gearing of the windmill which in turn raises and lowers the liftpump connected by a rod running down into the well bore(pipe) .
...................For the dog to produce electricity the wheel would have to be attached to some type of generator . A generator is a Spinning electro magnet surrounded by wires that are wound according to a certain ratio so as to produce a desired voltage . The basic principle for transformers , electric motors , alternators , generators is Electromagnetic induction . Every magnet has an invisible magnetic field that surrounds it . The stronger the magnet the stronger the magnetic field surrounding it . In 1999 I built a Mile of Bobwire fence Directly under a series of those 125 foot tall , Metal power line towers . They were carrying 392,000 volts of Juice . When I got finished , on a wet day you could get a Buzz off of the bobwire because the Magnetic field was SO intense that it extended all the way to the ground from 125 feet above the fence . fordy...

3. ### CosmicWell-Known Member

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The operative words there are DOG and WALK. Isn't going to produce much, few watts maybe. All about the power that the prime mover can deliver. Few smaller animals like a dog can pump out much power, neither can most humans, especially over longer time frames.

So a big pup really loping along might produce a bit of power for a few minutes but will tend to tire fairly quickly if the demand is high. Even horses will tire out if put under heavy loads quickly.

Your main problem is probably going to be how to convince any dog to do it in the first place and repeat as necessary. Most dogs just aren't that dumb and what is in it for them??? The dog chow would probably cost far more than getting a small generator.

4. ### moopupsIn Remembrance

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Vera, think of electrical energy as to a magnet, have you ever placed the positive ends of two magnets together? They will not stay, the push is big enough to spread them apart. Electricity is this force in another useage, a magnet spins within another magnet. The spin is caused by some out side force, be it a dog wheel, water wheel, or wind wheel; it is converting rotary energy to pushing magnetic energy along wires. The energy is consumed at the electrical appliance, be it a light, washer, battery bank, whatever. It is just magnetic impulses that carry a long ways via alternating currant, a shorter way via direct currant. AC can travel much further than DC because of the friction to the impulses in the wire.

Yes, a dog wheel would produce electrical energy, enought to light a flashlight for a few hours if the dog was constantly on the wheel but not enought to be practical without a battery bank to accept the constant input of recharging. Solar systems demand only sunlight to be charged, that is a chemical reaction that is very exspensive to buy which operates on sunlight. They convert sunlight to electricity.

A wind or water driven system is much more economical in the long run, after the main exspence is paid there is not much expence to keep it running.

5. ### shorty'smomWell-Known Member

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Say, not to get too far off the subject, but what would you have to have to get electricity from the overflow pipe of a fairly big pond. It runs neary year round. The pipe is about 8 inches in diameter. There is a drop of at least 25 feet on the back side of the dam.

6. ### Dave HallidayMember

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You would need to know the number of cubic feet per second that is flowing through that pipe. Once you have that, the formula for Horsepower or Kilowatts can be found at this site: Canyon Hydro

A five gallon bucket is 0.66840278 cubic feet (give or take a little bit) so see how fast the outflow can fill a bucket and take it from there.

7. ### AlexWell-Known Member

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you rotate the shaft of a generator or alternator, which produces electricity;

you store the electricity by connecting the generator to a battery(s);

you reuse the electricity at the voltage, frequency, and as AC or DC by connecting the battery to an inverter (your inverter can also act as a battery charger and charge regulator);

and then you connect the items you want to power to the inverter.

Good luck getting the shaft of the generator to rotate -- that's the hard part, always.

Alex

8. ### shorty'smomWell-Known Member

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cool. I haven't done it yet, but I'd say you'd better have a good hold on the bucket or it'll get knokced from your hands by the flow. The pond does get to below the overflow pipe in the dry part of summer. When fall rains return, it goes again. The pipe is mainly to keep the dam from washing out.

9. ### Blu3dukWell-Known Member

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There were a couple of different companies that produced conveyor style treadmills for producing power via use of diferent animals, however generating electricpower wasnt what they were intended for, mostly they were used for grinding grains, raising water, or something that only required short termed use... there are a few muesuem quality pieces stil around, and from time to time a person can find one up for sale that requires a small amoutn of restorative work done to make functional.

Animal power has been used for centuries in what we know as "third world countries" to provide irragation via tying and animal to a spoke and walking in circles to move water into trenches. Miners of yesteryear used the same principles for milling ore down with burros. But animals are meant for moving slow, and using a dog to generatre power may wear the dog out beforeyou create enough stored energy to turn you light on for any amount of time.

Animals pulling their wieght to be useful again is an awesome idea, instead of just being there for eye candy and such..... what a idea!!!!

Anything is worth a try, without inventors there would be no inventions!

William

10. ### VeraWell-Known Member

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Thanks for your input, Everyone! It's great to finally understand the very basics now. I'm printing your responses for my tech folder and hopefully, my brain will come to its senses one of these days so I can delve into this deeper and build some DIY (non-dog) electric system

I did have a hauling harness for my Rottie, but never got around to really get into carting or something useful - all he ever did was pull kids on innertubes around on a frozen lake and such. He did carry about 30 lbs of wet driftwood at a time in his backpack though, up from the beach and over the steep dunes, and one time, I hooked him up to a whale skull that he dragged across the sand. He was sooo proud to be "working", LOL!
My husky is more than capable of doing some hauling work, but I haven't gotten around to making a harness to fit him or to build a sledge or cart for him. The Great Danes aren't suited for pulling, they're more built for carrying loads. Creating electricity was one of the things that came to mind for them to do when I saw the doggie wheel thing, but since that's not feasible, I'll go back to looking into loading and carting.

11. ### VeraWell-Known Member

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Uh, this isn't leaving me alone... LOL! I was sanding my floor and mulling over the whole electric thing, and the thought came up that there's lots of different car parts that do the same thing (technically) as a windmill, generator and battery. Does this mean that you could go and get car parts at the junkyard, put it all together just so (however that is), attach a small home-made windmill or other turning device to it, and produce electricity?

(Aren't you glad that I'm not wondering about turning a flat rock into something round with a stick through the hole in the middle? :haha: )

12. ### John HillGrand Master

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Well yes you can do exactly that with the car parts Vera. But unfortunately the typical car alternator is not very efficient so you waste a lot of precious water, wind, dog or human energy.

13. ### ramblerWell-Known MemberSupporter

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For a home power system, you need 4 things:

A source of power. The dog, or windmill or water flow.

You need a way to transport this variable on & off power to someplace, and make it useful. An alternator of some type & fair sized wires & a regulator to prevent too much juice.

You need a way to store that power from when it is produced to when it is needed - this is the spendy part. A battery setup.

You need a way to supply that electricity to where you need it, in the right voltage & amps that you need, with safety controls. Wiring & a contoller/ inverter.

Each of those 4 parts comes with different costs & different efficiencies.

Lots of people have scrounged & found & hotwired & used big hammers to make power systems. It can be fun. It rarely is efficient or carefree.

Mostly, it takes way way bigger source of original power (BIG windmill or LOTS of water flow or herds of dogs) to start with than people realize.

The other 3 parts need to be built very very efficiently to make the system work well. And it is hard to scrounge up efficiency.

But, yes, you sure can scrounge up used automotive parts & make a simple battery charger that will work, to some degree, from a windmill or the like. And it can be fun to do so.... My unckle did so back in the 40's according to mom, and powered the home radio with it. Old charging system from a model A, an old car battery, & a 6v radio. Take the battery out to the windmill every 5 days or so for a charge. Worked fine in it's day before REA.

Sure would not power the whole farm tho today!

--->Paul

14. ### shorty'smomWell-Known Member

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Yeah, but maybe it will back up my solar fence charger when it's been raining and cloudy for 3 whole weeks in a row. This is supposed to be Oklahoma, not Oregon.

So how about using some falling water to pump water from a well?