Waterwheel energy?

Wolf-Kim

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Okay, so I know the very, VERY basics of energy and it's creation. I know that you can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.

I've always thought that waterwheels are beautiful. I hope to one day own land with a large creek or some other source of moving water. So I thought, if I wanted a waterwheel and to be "off the grid" as much as possible, why not make it a source of energy?

Anyone know where I could find some "blueprints" or information on using a waterwheel for energy. If not a link, anybody know how to make this come into existance?

I know that the water makes the waterwheel turn and then through a series of cranks(the name evades me, toothed wheels) it transfers the energy to an axle. What to connect to the end of the axle to convert the mechanic energy(the spinning) to electrical energy?

Also, if I were to have something like this, can you connect multiple energy sources into the same grid? Say, I have the waterwheel, a mini windturbine and solar power panels. I can add all these into the same grid and still be connected to the public power system as a backup?

We want to eventually end up in southern Virginia, so I think wind power is unlikely, but I'll have to do my research. Although, hydropower and solar power are a definate possibility. Any thoughts would be great!

-Kim
 

OkieAnnie

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:welcome

Welcome! I don't know much at all about it. Sorry, I can't help :idunno
 

Icu4dzs

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You my good friend have asked the question that is nearly my favorite subject; "How to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy? Certainly the water wheel is one of the oldest and most under-used now because they are usually quite massive and requires some skill to build and maintain. Of course the folks that did this "back in the day" were NOT "rocket scientists" so if they could do it, certainly anyone with a college degree, time and some basic tools (or better) can produce the same things. Now they call it "hydro-electric power generation and all the big (I mean really big dams in the world) are dedicated to doing just that!

There is an old addage (not all that old) which states that "you can drive a Semi with a lawn mower engine IF you gear it right!".

This is the basis of the question. As for where to find some information on water wheel, The Foxfire book has some and by looking at old engineering books etc, you should find plans, dimensions and whatever you need. Most, as you said, are made of wood and the gears are made of wood as well. A good machine to study is the wind-up clock or the counterweight clock. All the parts in one of them can be used to produce the kind of machine you want. The question is "on what scale do you wish to work?"

As you have noted, as long as you can generate torque, you can produce electrical energy, so long as you gear it properly. There are simple formulas defining that principle based on the "drive/driven" wheel. For the simplest example, look at your kid's bicycle. The large gear on the front turns the smaller gear in the back (much faster) allowing them to propel the vehicle.

So you take that basic construct and now you apply it to the conversion of torque by gearing it so that you increase the speed of the axel in order to make the armature of the generator turn. The key is to produce high torque measured in "shaft horsepower". The stronger the torque, the better you will be able to gear it the way you want. (i.e more shafthorsepower = more speed = more electricity.)

Remember, if you have an electric motor, and you put electricity into it, the armature turns and gives you torque. If you turn the axel, the armature turns and puts electricity out the other direction. So now you have the basics.

The entire process is to gear the item properly so that the armature turns fast enough to produce electricity. You don't have to produce a lot, if you want to simply charge batteries and run your power source that way. Nearly anything will do that. The trick here is if you want to run your power equipment in "real time" from your water wheel. That may not be all that easy...and is often not reliable.

While I am NOT an electrical engineer or a mechanical engineer, I have been working with this type of idea for quite some time. I have a radio that works on two sources of energy in "real time". One is a solar panel on the top of the radio and the other is a ribbon spring that turns a miniature generator and produces enough electricity to operate the radio. These are "on the market" and have given me significant ideas on the same lines...just a bigger scale.

I hope this helps. I'd be glad to discuss this more if anyone is interested.
Best
Trim
 

xpc

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I won't dive into this as it is not even an option unless you live on a fast moving river and then the corp of army engineers and dept of natural resources would never grant permission. Its hard enough just to get them to approve a boat dock nowadays.
 

k0xxx

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xpc said:
I won't dive into this as it is not even an option unless you live on a fast moving river and then the corp of army engineers and dept of natural resources would never grant permission. Its hard enough just to get them to approve a boat dock nowadays.
A friend of the family back in Louisiana, owns land that includes an area of Mississippi River batture (the land between the river and the levee that floods most of the time). He owns a barge that is docked at his property. He tried for years to get a permit to add a water wheel to the barge to produce electricity.

The Corps of Engineers flatly refused. He even had a design to set the wheel in the center of the barge, so as not to increase the "footprint"of the barge. No was the only answer he received. Our government at work.
 

jeffreydominic

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A good machine to study is the wind-up clock or the counterweight clock. All the parts in one of them can be used to produce the kind of machine you want.
 
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