EasyDigging's Blog



Just tooling around...


Wind Generator with No Moving Parts

Fluttering design called the Windbelt + ideas for use with a kite.

This is a pretty remarkable solution to a problem few of us can imagine: generating a small amount of electricity with little money for equipment. The inventor, Shawn Frayne of Humdinger Wind Energy, set out to help people in impoverished areas have enough electricity to have light for reading, power a radio, or charge a cellphone. He wanted something that they could afford to build and repair themselves, which can not be done with solar electric PV panels or even the smallest rotating wind generator.

He came up with a way of using the movement created when a tight strip of fabric flutters or vibrates in the wind. And the reports I found say that one of these generators can be made for about $5.00! See the following video for the basics...

Thanks for reading!       by Greg Baka

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2 minute video showing the basic idea.   This is the inventor doing a showing how the Windbelt works and describing the mechanics and uses of it.


coils and magnets on a Windbelt generator

The electricity generating portion of a Windbelt

micro wind generators in Haiti

Units hand made in Haiti from PVC pipe

large double Windbelt for roof mounting

Large double unit designed for roof mounting

I will not go deep into the technical details of how this works, but will sketch out the basics. There are a pair of magnets fastened near one one end of the fabric strip. When the strip flutters in the wind, the magnets rapidly move back and forth. Electricity is generated as the magnets moves past small coils of wire mounted on each side of the fabric strip. More complete details at this Appropedia article

One of the most flexible uses for this is to charge a small battery that can then be used for a LED light, or for a radio or phone. This avoids the need for wiring from the generator to the home. Instead someone would just swap an empty battery for a charged one at the generator location.

The videos will show you the Windbelt generator in action, but I wanted to tackle the issue of keeping it oriented to the wind and maybe getting it to a place where the wind blows stronger. This is made a bit easier by the fairly light load on such a small device, and by the possibility of the small battery staying with the device while charging. See the ideas below for a self-aligning generator mount, and an airborne kite generator...

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Shows some steps in making it
This video shows how simple and understandable most of the construction is. The inventor has mentioned a circuit created from common electrical parts that converts the high frequency electricity to DC for battery charging, but I was not able to locate that circuit.


multiple Windbelt generators in a frame that aligns with the wind

Using a tail and a rotating frame it is possible to keep one or more generators facing directly into the wind. The electronics and the small batteries being charged could be attached to the same frame in a waterproof box for a simple solution. The batteries would be swapped when fully charged, and the entire unit can be removed for storms.


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Device that climbs a kite string   Raising a small Windbelt generator to a height with steady winds would charge a battery efficiently. The generator could attach where the rod is. It would always face the wind because the kite string does. Daily it could travel back down for a fresh battery.



Now I know that these little wind generators aren't going to put out the amount of power commonly used by a household here in the West, but isn't it kind of fun to imagine the possibility of generating some wind power using things you could create by yourself? It's like the "Robinson Caruso on a deserted island" daydream from our younger days.

I hope you enjoyed this little excursion. Please go to my Index of Posts to see what else I have written about.