Friday, March 16, 2012

More powerful simple generator

One of the best science toys I have ever built is the simple generator built from magnet wire wrapped around a box spinning around a nail.

I therefore decided to build a new one, improving on the original design to meet my purposes.

First, I decided I wanted stronger magnets. So I replaced two of the four magnets with similar size rare earth magnets. These are fairly dangerous as a pinch hazard, but with a little care I was able to place them as the outer two magnets.

Next I used a hockey puck display case with two holes drilled in it as a replacement for the cardboard box. It has the advantage of being the perfect size and being clear.

I still used a nail to rotate the magnet. I however added some paper so the two magnets on top are parallel to the two magnets on bottom. I also taped the magnets together so they are less likely to move.

One big problem with the original design is that the nail slips when spinned rather than moving the magnet. This I cured with blue stik. It is temporary if I ever want to disassemble the generator but does a good job increasing friction between the magnets and the nail.

Then I replaced the 30 gauge magnet wire with about 400 feet of 24 gauge magnet wire. This was a mistake, 30 gauge wire is ideal. 32 gauge is so small as to drive me nuts when I wire the generator. 24 gauge wire just doesn't get enough voltage. Even with the huge magnets I only get 6 volts out of the generator. This is even less than my original generator with the smaller magnets!

Still this new generator does have its perks. It does produce a lot more current than one with smaller magnets or lower gauge wire. The total power is therefore a lot higher. This means you can actually feel when it is powering something. When shorted out it really fights you. Also, unlike the original generator it can power small electromagnets or motors.

Here is an example of it throwing coils up in the air. I simply placed the coil on a large magnet with a bolt connected to it. Then I run the generator:

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