Build your own functioning mini-hydro generator from scratch

Here's how you can create your own power from running water with this handy guide.
Christopher McFadden

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Are you looking for some cheap ways to make your own power at home? Got some space for a large water tank? 

Then why not consider making your own on-demand micro-hydro generator from scratch? Follow this simple guide to find out how.

diy hydro generator complete
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.

Materials and gear needed

With all your gear in hand, it is time to get on with this great little build. 

Step 1: Make the water tank

The first step is to take your lengths of wood and reclaimed bricks and mock up the footprint for the main water tank or silo. You can make it any shape you want and as big as you want, but watch the video for more details if you want to create this one faithfully.

With that done, line the base using sacrificial plastic sheeting or cling film. Once ready, mix up your cement as needed, and begin to pour into the mold for the base as required. Level off and compact as you go.

diy hydro gen base
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With a layer for the tank base lain, add some metal reinforcements using lengths of steel wire or rod. With that done, begin to build up the walls of the tank using more bricks.

Cement the brick courses together using cement as you go and be sure to add in some lengths of plastic tubing to siphon off the water later. Keep adding courses of bricks until the tank is as large as you want it to be.

diy hydro gen tank
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

Don't worry too much about perfect pointing as you'll now skim the entire tank with cement, so, do so.

Leave the cement to cure.

Step 2: Make the hydro generator

While the tank cement is curing, we can now turn out attention to making the business end of the device - the actual generator.

First, take your old dynamo, and strip it down to the essential bits needed - the induction coil and rod. Next, affix a propeller to the main rod using washers and nuts as needed. Of course, you can also use an old DC motor for the same purpose.

Depending on what you use, you may need to install an AC/DC converter too.

diy hydro gen make
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that done, take your length of uPVC piping, cut it down to size, and also cut in a series of openings at either end, as shown in the video. This will be used to drive the water against the propeller and turn the generator to make power before being expelled from the pipe.

Install the propeller and dynamo into the pipe as needed.

With that done, take your lengths of small-bore plastic piping and cut them down to length as needed. Heat the pipes gently, bend as needed to fit the main hydro generator pipe, and connect to the pipes from the main storage tank.

Step 3: Complete the build

Once the main water tank is fully cured, remove the base mold and place the tank where it will be needed. With that done, add a series of pipe valves to the outflow pipes.

With that done, install the bent pipes you made earlier to the other end of the valves. Install the other end of the pipes into the main pipe of the generator as shown.

diy hydro gen install pipes
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

Either glue or wire the parts together to hold them firmly in place. If needed, support the base of the main pipe using an old brick or cinder block too.

With that done, wire up the wires from the motor/dynamo to an electrical socket/plug extender and attach them to the hydro-generator somewhere convenient to access (and away from the water supply).

diy hydro gen power socket
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that done, you can now fill the main water tank/reservoir with water. Fill to the top of the tank as needed. Once complete, your DIY hydro generator is now ready to fire up.

Simply open the valves, let the water flow, and watch as your generator begins to produce some juice. Now you can plug in some small electrical devices and watch them magically come to life.

If you enjoyed this little build, you might enjoy making some other home forms of DIY power generators? How about, for example, your own scrap-built steam power generator?

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