One of the best ways to ensure that the world follows a sustainable path is to educate kids on the merits of going green. This will ensure that the building blocks of sustainability related thoughts are retained and may fuel youngsters to devise new ways with which to go green. Instructables, the online community that teaches the public how to go about building useful projects, has showcased a DIY mini hydropower generator to teach kids the rewards of recycling.
Instructables member, masynmachien, was the brains behind the idea. The DIYer was himself an inhabitant of an area that generated its own power with a water wheel. He wanted to build a similar project on a smaller scale and conducted a workshop for kids where the resulting hydropower generator was built. The generator was constructed using items like discarded CD-ROMS, PVC pipe, zip ties, an LED bulb, and a stepper motor from a computer printer.
While it doesn’t produce too much electricity,it is just enough to power one LED bulb. The project shows the extent to which discarded items can be recycled. Aside from the used materials, the only new material that was used was hot glue.
According to masynmachien, stepper motors make easy to build generators as they can deliver relatively high voltages in the 5 volt range at low revolutions per minute. Toy motors, on the other hand, need high rpm, but produce a lower voltage of only about 1 volt. Moreover, stepper motors don’t require special gears and electronics in order to function.
Masynmachien has worked on several other projects including a junior wind turbine that powers an LED. Unlike the hydropower generator, however, the wind turbine needs gears to generate power in low breeze. A little bit of circuitry, step gearing and solar motors sourced from toys, and the wind turbine works like a charm.