Zero Impact Environmental Alternatives

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hand-Crank Radio


For my senior project I am developing pedal-powered and hand-powered ways of generating electricity. I got some permanant magnet DC motors from eBay (2 for $16.99, offered by tsiudak). The seller messed up and sent me a more powerful motor (which I got to keep), so to make it up he sent me 7 of the motors I ordered, with some brackets to hold them down. Great seller!

If you hook up a permanant magnet DC motor to any DC load (Christmas lights are good, or anything battery-powered), and you spin the shaft of the motor, the motor acts as a generator so you don't need a power outlet or batteries.

I mounted a small 10V DC motor on a thick piece of wood, and mounted a small wheel from a cart vertically, then ran a rubber band from the outside of the wheel to the shaft. When I spin the wheel it is enough to power some Christmas lights or a small radio. It doesn't take much effort to power the radio (maybe one turn of the wheel every two seconds), but as soon as you stop the radio stops playing. It's nice knowing that if the power goes out and I can't find batteries I will always be able to power some small lights and or a radio.

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