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PICOTURBINE WINDMILL KIT V2

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1.0 E April 2010

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Copyright © 2010 PicoTurbine International. All rights reserved.

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electricity- producing scale model of a Savonius vertical axis wind turbine. making it an excellent project for renewable energy education. PicoTurbine Windmill V2 can be built in less than one hour. Please check to make sure you have all the parts:  4 pre-wound coils of enamel coated copper wire  4 ceramic grade-5 magnets  1 bicolor light emitting diode (LED) with 2 leads  1 (1/2‖) Phillips head (cross slot) screw  4 (3/4‖) Phillips head (cross slot) screw  A eye-hook screw  A wooden dowel  1 piece of wood about 8‖ by 5‖ and ½‖ thick (for the base)  3 pieces of wood about 8‖ by 1 ¼‖ and ½‖ thick (for the frame)  2 pieces of wood about 7/8‖ by 7/8‖ (axle stabilizers)  A piece of corrugated cardboard about 8‖ by 10‖  A strip of double-sided tape  A small piece of sandpaper for stripping the copper wire  This instruction manual and the template sheet You will also need the following tools and materials that are commonly available:  Scissors  Phillips head screw driver  Ruler  Glue  Pliers  Pencil sharpener  marker It is also helpful to have the following tools. With some adult supervision PicoTurbine Windmill V2 can be assembled by children as young as ten years old. brushless permanent magnet alternator that is much more efficient and powerful than the original version. single-phase. 2 . BEFORE YOU BUILD A PICOTURBINE WINDMILL V2 Step1: Check Your Materials The following materials are supplied with your PicoTurbine Windmill V2 kit. PicoTurbine Windmill V2 stands about eight inches tall--but don't let its size fool you. but not entirely necessary:  A digital multi-meter that can measure AC volts is useful for tuning and testing the alternator. This version of PicoTurbine Windmill produces electricity using a direct-drive. and displaying the amount of electricity produced. Less time is needed if done as a group project.PART 1: BUILDING PICOTURBINE WINDMILL V2 This document will show you how to build PicoTurbine Windmill V2—a fully functioning.

 Do not allow magnets to “snap” together or fall together. See Figure 1. Cut these out and glue them (paste or glue-stick works best) to the piece of corrugated cardboard which is supplied with your kit. Figure 1 . and is of the same order as produced by batteries used in toys or radios.  Adult supervision is required for this project.Templates glued to cardboard Step 2: The Axle and Frame To make the base and frame assembly start with the three pieces of frame wood. Most of these rules are just plain common sense. But. Set these glued parts aside to dry while you continue on to the next step. to avoid shock hazard never work with electricity of any level when your hands or feet are wet.  PicoTurbine Windmill V2 generates low levels of electricity (2-3 volts at about 50 milliAmps) that is generally considered safe.  This project is not recommended for children under 10 years old.  Children under 4 years old should never work with wire or small parts like screws because they represent strangulation and choking hazards. Using a Phillips head screw driver you will screw in the ¾‖ screws in the predrilled holes. U-shaped frame. square. Keep the kit parts out of the reach of small children. They are brittle and may chip or break.  Persons wearing pacemakers should not handle strong magnets. Be sure to review these rules with children if you are building this project as part of an educational curriculum. See Figure 2. Building a PicoTurbine Windmill V2 Step 1: Glue the Template Parts Locate the templates marked ―glue to cardboard‖. but as with any project certain safety rules must be followed.  Children must be supervised when working with scissors and other sharp parts to avoid cutting injuries. Attach the side wood frame pieces to the top wood frame piece (wood with the green dot). 3 . They can also pinch fingers or send small chips flying through the air presenting an eye hazard if mishandled. forming a large.Step 2: IMPORTANT: Review Safety Rules PicoTurbine Windmill V2 is not a dangerous project to build. Then attach this frame to the base by screwing in the remaining two ¾‖ screws into predrilled holes on the short sides of the base wood.

If the previously glued templates are dry enough carefully cut them out. The ends of the blade coverings should be carefully cut into a ―feathered‖ edge. If you wish. Make sure the eye-hook opening is tight enough to prevent wobbling while loose enough to allow free spinning of the dowel. Screw in the eye-hook screw into the predrilled slot in the middle of the top wood frame piece.Paper and Cardboard parts. Using the pliers slightly tighten the eye-hook around the dowel.Figure 2 . The complete set of cardboard and paper parts you need for further assembly is shown in Figure 4. If it wobbles or does not spin freely adjust the size and/or shape of the eye-hook with a pair of pliers. The blade may be colored or decorated using crayons or markers at this time. made from a wooden dowel. you can put a drop of any type of oil in the center screw’s grove to make the dowel turn more easily. Use a pencil sharpener to create a tip on one end of the dowel.Feathered Edges Figure 4 . Step 3: Cut Out Parts Cut out the Blade Coverings from the templates. See the Figure 3. Put the dowel through the eye-hook screw.The frame assembly with the dowel axle. Make sure the dowel turns freely though the eye-hook. A common axle is used by both the blade assembly and the alternator. Make sure the dowel is perpendicular with the base and mark this spot. Figure 3 . Put the dowel through the eye-hook letting it connect with the base wood. The depth that the screw is screwed in will be adjusted at a later time. If you are constructing this in a mixed age group then this is a good task for younger children. Now partially screw in the ½‖ screw into your marked spot. Step 4: The Alternator 4 .

Then attach the magnet to the disk so that wooden square stabilizer is sandwiched in between the two magnets. which would restrict free spinning. It should spin freely and vertically. thread the top of the dowel through the eye-hook. each piece should be 1 inch long. The eye-hook loop should not be too tight around the dowel. Keep your hand out of the path while you slide the sharpened edge of the dowel through the stabilizer. dot. the rotor should turn on its own for quite a long time. and you must alternate poles going around the diameter. but must also not be so loose that it allows excessive wobble. If you build it carefully. The alternator is the most challenging part of the PicoTurbine Windmill V2 to build. Carefully move the dowel so that there is about ¾ of an inch between the end of the dowel and beginning of the bottom square stabilizer. and then peel off the backing using your fingernails. Now attach these two magnets to the disk so that they sandwich the wood square stabilizer and are perpendicular to the other two magnets. Now while supporting the magnetic rotor. Spin the rotor by twisting the blunt end of the dowel between thumb and forefinger. Mark off the sides of the square with your marker. the magnets will spin on an assembly called the rotor. Place one of the square wooden stabilizers in the center of the disk. Stick a piece of tape to each of the remaining two magnets on the green stickered side. you should alternate: dot. Take a second magnet and affix another piece of tape onto the side without the sticker.Magnets attached to rotor disk. The PicoTurbine Windmill V2 frame is designed to easily attach and remove the magnetic rotor. Line the magnet up to one of the marked lines and attach it to the disk. The same poles on all the magnets distributed with your kit are marked with a dot. In the PicoTurbine Windmill V2. Now thread your dowel through the first stabilizer so that the disk is pressed between both wooden square stabilizers and the magnets are not on the same side as the second stabilizer. Make sure that the magnetic rotor is level by adjusting the frame. with as little wobble as possible. Figure 5 .An alternator is little more than magnets moving relative to wire loops. Adjust as needed. Watch the rotor as it spins. The magnetic flux density changes as the magnets (or wire) moves around. Turn the top piece of the frame backward so that the eye-hook screw is on the top of the frame. 30 to 60 seconds or more. Take the second wooden square stabilizer and thread the wooden dowel through its center. Note that the magnets are magnetized on their faces. Once you have a stable rotor/axle assembly. no dot going around as shown in Figure 5. Step 4A – The Permanent Magnet Rotor Take the strip of double sided tape and cut it into 8 equal pieces. while the wires will remain motionless on a part called the stator. Lower the rotor to the base allowing the tip of the dowel to rest in the center screw. If you give it a good spin. Now affix one of the sticky sides of your tape to a magnet so that the green sticker is still showing. Pull the dowel partially through and turn the top wood piece so that the eye-hook is once again parallel to the bottom base board. inducing an electric current in the wire. remove it from the frame for use later. Pull the blunt end of the dowel through the center hole of the rotor disk. no dot. So. you can achieve about 2 to 3 volts of electricity—enough to light up the bicolor LED provided in the kit. Adjust the eye-hook position and/or the fame if necessary to keep it level. It should spin evenly. 5 .

exactly as shown in Figure 8. Make sure the stripped wire is shiny copper.Coil placement. you should get between 2. don’t turn one upside down accidentally. and everything is aligned well. A simple way to ensure this is to notice that both wire leads for a given coil come out of the black tape that secures them on the same side. The rightmost wire lead of one coil should attach to the leftmost lead of the coil next to it in the clockwise direction. Paste (or glue-stick) each paper blade covering on the circular side of the blade support. About a ¼ inch gap will work well. screw in the center screw. and the last back toward the center. If you spin fast.. Adjust the height of the rotor by changing the depth of the middle screw in the base board. If you have a multi-meter. Affix the coils around the center screw on base board. Space them about four inches apart. Looking from the top they should look the same. Step 5 – The Blade Assembly You’re almost finished! Cut the two blade supports out. etc. in the same alignment. Slide them onto the dowel from the blunt side. leaving the final two wires (the first and last) unattached. slightly unscrew the center screw to raise them. Give the rotor a hard spin. cut it lengthwise. but a gap of more than 3/8 inches may prevent the LED from lighting because the magnetic field will be too weak. and carefully poke a hole in each of their centers. Put the rotor/axel assembly back on the PicoTurbine Windmill V2 frame and level the rotor. If too high. Do not cross the wires coming out of a coil. press them down with your fingers.Step 4B: Constructing the Stator Strip the ends of the wires coming out of the coils using sandpaper. Notice on the stator template that the direction of the wires exiting the black tape alternates going around the disk: one coil’s leads point out toward the perimeter.0 volts AC (or more if you’ve built very well). You can also adjust the height by carefully changing the distance between the dowel’s tip and the square stabilizer. both top and bottom. with no green enamel remaining. Follow the template picture carefully and place the coils exactly the same way as shown. If the magnets are too low and crash into the coils. The final effect is as if you took a cylinder. but not so little that there is any chance of the magnets crashing into the coils when you spin them. the next out to the edge again. Use the feathered edges to negotiate around the circular support. Note that the loops should alternate between clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation going around the board. There should be as little gap between the coils and magnets as possible. Step 6 – Testing 6 . the next going clockwise points toward the center of the disk. set it to AC volts mode and hook the two remaining wire leads to your multi- meter. and offset the two halves half-way horizontally before fastening them back together. The coils should lie very flat. Tightly twist together the stripped wires from one coil to the next as shown on the template. keeping your fingers out of the way. Figure 6 .0-3. by using the doubled-sided tape provided with your kit. They should be aligned with each other. as shown in Figure 6.

Use standard wood glue within both square stabilizers to secure the dowel in place. If you have very good lungs you’ll get a couple of hundred milli-volts--real wind will do much better than you! For classroom demonstrations a small fan or hair blow dryer can provide the ―wind‖. it will glow green. send electronic mail to support@PicoTurbinesite. Because PicoTurbine Windmill V2 creates alternating current. If the magnets are hitting the coils. Problem: Blades Do Not Spin. The most likely causes of a failure to light are:  The magnets are too far away from the coils to produce enough voltage. or Only Spin Slowly 1. When current flows in one direction. Make sure to wrap it many times so that it can have a snug/tight hold on the dowel. and should be able to turn freely. puffing blows are best. hook up the leads to it again and puff into the blades. 3.com and we’ll give you a hand. Bad Point. then you may not have enough voltage. The dowel should be able to move slightly left and right. it will glow red. Make sure the magnets are not hitting the coils or a stray piece of tape or wire lead. PicoTurbine Windmill V2 needs to produce a minimum of about 1. The LED requires about 1. slightly unscrew the center screw to increase the height. or a hair dryer positioned close to the blades. it will go from green to red and back again many times per second. which should not be difficult if you've built properly. use a pencil sharpener to sharpen it. Blow into the blades from any direction.5 volts to light up. Look through this section and try out everything suggested. Use a rubber band at the bottom of the dowel where you would like your wood stabilizer to rest. Short. If a piece of tape has come loose. Rotor/Stator Collision. Attach the LED to the leads and carefully twist them tight.Carefully insert the blade/rotor/axle assembly back into the PicoTurbine Windmill V2 frame. This is a bicolor LED. Finally. then rebalance the beveled washer to the rotor. Problem: Dowel Axel is too lose with in the stabilizers to hold up the rotor 1) Glue Fix. Problem: LED Does Not Light Up If the LED will not light up. To produce this much power. A good spin with your fingers will produce this rate of turning. In the other direction. If it is not. or a wind of about 10 to 15 miles per hour. In a wind of about 10 to 15 miles per hour the LED will flicker weakly. If you still cannot get the kit to work. 2. Make sure the dowel point is sharp. or  The coil connections are not tight enough are and causing too much resistance in the circuit. Eye-hook Too Tight. Make sure the eye-hook loop is loose enough. use pliers to form a larger loop. 7 . Make sure to wait enough time for the glue to dry and that the dowel is in the right position to optimize the alternator 2) Rubber Band Fix. and they should start up very easily. If you have a multi-meter. in a 15 to 20 mile per hour wind it will flicker quite brightly. If not. or  There is friction that is causing the PicoTurbine Windmill V2 to spin too slowly. If the magnets tend to lean to one side.5 volts to light the LED. clip it off or use more tape to hold it down. This section discusses the most common problems. it must turn about 6 to 10 cycles per second. if it’s a windy day give it a real test using Mother Nature. Trouble Shooting This section discusses some common problems and provides advice on how to fix them.

If you have a multi-meter that can test continuity or has an Ohms test. The LED should light (assuming the LED is good as shown in (1) above and the batteries are known to be good). Other possible problems include: 1. Look carefully at the stator template diagram. Double-check that the coils are properly aligned. then double check that the ends are properly stripped. The stripped part should look like shiny copper with no red enamel coating at all. or carefully use the edge of a knife or scissors edge. If you do not have a multi-meter. a smaller version of the diagram is shown in Figure 8. or shows infinite resistance. Strip about 1 inch. Connect the coil leads to the batteries and LED in series as shown in Figure 7. If you still cannot get a positive continuity check using multi-meter or LED. then hook one end of each alternator lead to the multi-meter. otherwise they will cancel each other out. then there is a possibility that a coil is broken or kinked. If the resistance check shows more than 40 ohms. Inspect the coil visually and look for damage such as kinks or breaks in the wire.Coils Lack Continuity. The most common cause of coil problems is that the wire leads are not properly stripped.5 volt AA batteries. Make sure the coils are connected well. The coils must alternate direction. If you locate a break. For your convenience. or about 6 to 8 ohms for a single coil.If you have a digital multi-meter you can check the voltage directly by putting it in AC volts mode and spinning the turbine by hand or using a fan or blow dryer. Tightly twist together the leads from the coils and check continuity again using a multi-meter or the LED with AA batteries. then put a little tape around the twisted pieces. 8 . A continuity check should pass. then strip the ends of the two broken pieces and tightly twist them together. Coils Not Placed Properly. then your coils are not properly connected. disconnect all the coils from each other and test continuity on each one individually. If you find that one coil is bad. To test this. and make sure the wires are connected as shown and do not cross. check continuity by using the supplied LED and two 1. Strip each lead using sandpaper. and make sure the leads coming out of the taped portions alternate between pointing toward the center and pointing toward the radius. 2. A resistance check should show approximately 24 to 32 ohms for the four coils.

as well as information on the Savonius windmill design and other green energy science. The magnets must also alternate going around the rotor. As you look at coils clockwise from the top.Notice how the wires come out from the black tape.com describing the problem and we’ll help you out. They do not cross. If You Still Have Trouble If you still cannot get PicoTurbine Windmill V2 to work after following all of the above suggestions. then power from the alternator may not be high enough to light the LED. Send an email to support@PicoTurbinesite. Teacher’s guide: If you would like to look at our sample lesson plans you can find them at http://www. Notice how the leads are connected from one coil to the next. Another way of saying this is that the magnets with dot side up will be directly opposite one another. and the magnets with dot side down will be across from each other as well. then toward the radius again. then the center again. no dot. A dot is imprinted on one side of each magnet. no dot. There you will find lesson plans and ideas. 9 . you may have a defective or damaged part. you see first a coil where the wires exit the tape toward the radius. but directly connect to the corresponding lead on the adjacent coils 3. The magnets should alternate going around: dot. dot. then toward the center. If you don’t do this.com under the Teacher’s Guide section. Magnets Not Placed Properly.PicoTurbinesite.