DIY: Electric Generators


Build an electric generator for your home that runs on a free source of clean, renewable energy. Any DC motor can produce electricity if it is turned in the opposite direction that it runs when powered. Whether you turn the motor with a wind turbine, hand crank, pedals or water wheel, the electrical system is the same. You can even charge your electrical systems with solar panels or ambient energy collectors and eliminate the need for a motor entirely.

Things You'll Need

  • Schematics or blueprints for a green energy electrical generator
  • Parts for a wind turbine (optional, 3-foot length of 8-inch to 12-inch ABS or PVC pipe, steel hub, 3 steel bars 2 by 12 inches)
  • Solar cells or panels (optional)
  • Stationary bike (optional)
  • Parts for ambient energy collector
  • DC motor (optional; for wind, water wheel, crank or pedal system)
  • Jig or table saw
  • Grinder (for wind system, optional)
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or UV protective coating (for wind and solar systems, optional)
  • Drill
  • Assorted nut and bolts
  • Charge controller
  • Battery bank
  • AC inverter
  • Wiring
  • Soldering iron
  • Socket wrench set
  • Screwdriver set

Build a Green Energy Power Source for Your Electrical Generator

  • Build a windmill turbine, pedal system, hand crank system or water wheel if you plan to power your energy generator with a DC motor. Follow the blueprints for each unique type of cranking system. Detailed manuals for these various DC motor systems are available at

  • Assemble a bank of photovoltaic (solar-powered) cells or panels if you want to power your electrical generator by solar energy. This system has no moving parts and eliminates the need for a DC motor. Construction manuals for specifics on how to assemble solar panels and calculate the number of cells you will require for your power needs are available from the websites listed in the Resource section.

  • Build an ambient energy collector by following the detailed manual available at to power your electrical generator by ambient electricity. Similar to a solar system, this energy source has no moving parts and doesn't require a DC motor.

Assemble the Electrical System for Your Selected Energy Source.

  • Wire your chosen energy source to a charge controller using a soldering iron or bolts. A 45-amp charge controller will work best. Set the charge controller to turn the electrical current on when the battery bank charge is below 11.7 volts and turn it off when the battery charge exceeds 14.3 volts.

  • Bolt or solder the charge controller to a bank of "deep cycle" batteries. The "Home Made Energy" manual as well as the specific manuals for different power sources provides information on the number of batteries required for your power needs. Golf carts and fork lifts use deep cycle batteries. Local companies that use these vehicles might let you have used batteries for free. Most batteries that are presumed "dead" can be refurbished using a desulfator.

  • Wire your battery bank to an AC inverter by soldering or bolts. The AC inverter converts the stored energies in the battery bank (direct current) into alternating current used in electrical outlets. Once you have wired the AC inverter to your electrical system, you can plug in any common appliance or device that runs on standard household power.


  • "No Cost and Low Cost Energy Saving Tips for Your Home"; Ben Ford; 2008
  • "Harvesting Energy-–The Ambient Vibration Energy Generator"; Home Made Energy; 2010
  • "Solar Guide Expansion Bundle Photovoltaic (PV) Principals, Electrical Fundamentals and Electrical Wiring Considerations"; Home Made Energy; 2010
  • "How to Make a Solar Power Generator"; Ben Ford; 2008
  • Photo Credit element electric power black image by Leonid Nyshko from
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