Wind Turbine


Believe it or not, most of the electricity you use comes from moving magnets around coils of wire! Wind turbines spin big coils of wire around very powerful magnets (or very powerful magnets around big coils of wire) by capturing the flow.

Here’s how it works: when a propeller is placed in a moving fluid (like the water from your sink or wind from your hair dryer), the propeller turns. If you attach the propeller to a motor shaft, the motor will rotate, which has coils of wire and magnets inside. The faster the shaft turns, the more the magnets create an electrical current.

The electricity to power your computer, your lights, your air conditioning, your radio or whatever, comes from spinning magnets or wires! Refer to Unit 11 for more detail about how moving magnets create electricity.

We’re going to build a wind turbine that will actually give you different amounts of electricity depending on which way your propeller is facing. Ready?

You’ll need to find these items below.  Note – if you have trouble locating parts, check the shopping list for information on how to order it straight from us.

  • A digital Multimeter
  • Alligator clip leads
  • 1.5-3V DC Motor
  • 9-18VDC Motor
  • Bi-polar LED
  • Foam block (about 6” long)
  • Propeller from old toy or cheap fan, or balsa wood airplane

Here’s what you do:

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10 Responses to “Wind Turbine”
  1. Aurora says:

    Here’s something you might like: It shows you the energy the US uses.

    This is a chart of the Renewable energy consumption:

    And here’s one that compares it:

  2. mguske says:

    What kind of alternative (renewable, is there a difference) energy is the most efficient from a cost/benefit analysis?

  3. Aurora says:

    Perhaps – or a better propeller. I am sending you a private email about this…

  4. Rika McKinney says:

    I changed the angle and distance and still couldn’t get the LED to work. On the 2V DCV setting on the multimeter, I got a peak of .146 going one way and -.144 going the other. Do I perhaps need the bigger motor?

  5. Aurora says:

    That should work – bring it closer and change the angle…?

  6. Rika McKinney says:

    I used a 1875 watt hair dryer on high – This is Leah (Rika’s daughter) byetheway

  7. Aurora says:

    The wind turbine doesn’t produce nearly as much power as a battery, so you’ll want to really crank up the wind to get your LED to light. What did you use for wind power?

  8. Aurora says:

    Make sure you are logged in and your membership is active… if you still have trouble, email me directly.

  9. Sophia Pitcher says:

    The video won’t play. Thanks. : ) ~ Isabel Pitcher

  10. Rika McKinney says:

    I made my own propellers (two) and managed to get a peak of about 16 on one and about 18 (on the setting 3 clicks counter-clockwise). I also tried to light up an LED, and it didn’t work. I know the LED works as I lit it up later with batteries. From the multimeter, I learned that I got a lot more power from the batteries than the wind turbine. Also, I used the 1.5-3V motor. How can I get the LED to light up?

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