Recharge your phone for free with this DIY triple-discharge dam

Learn how to make your own power with this little tripple-discharge dam.
Christopher McFadden

If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.

Do you have the need to make your own power at home? Fancy making a little dam? Then this project is right up your street. 

Follow this simple guide to find out how. 

diy mini dam 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: Prepare the ground and make the dam

Like any project of this nature, the first step is to choose a suitable site for your little dam. Once done, you can then begin to prepare the ground ready for your dam's construction. 

In this case, you'll want to excavate two large "pools" with a connecting trench between them. Further, excavate the trench area where the actual dam structure will be built. 

diy mini dam trench
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that done, take a length of uPVC pipe, cut it down to size, and cut a series of holes in one side. Then cut the pipe at angles, as shown in the video. 

Next, take your metal sheets/wooden sheets and cut three holes in parallel to the same diameter as the diameter of the pipes. Once complete, you can then begin to build the frame for the actual dam structure.

Make a wireframe using steel rods as shown and install them into the transverse trench you made earlier for the dam. Also, add the perforated sheets to the front and back of the main dam structure. Thread the cut uPVC pipes through the holes. 

diy mini dam piles
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

Secure the sheets in place with some of your old bricks as needed. You can also reinforce the sheets using a series of piles.

With that done, mix up some concrete as required and begin to pour it into the mold for the dam. Once filled, add some further reinforcements in the form of metal rods, etc, while the cement is still wet.

While the cement is curing, widen the trench in front of the dam, and compact the "pool" behind the dam. Once ready, line the "pool" behind the dam with a  layer of cement.

diy mini dam cement lining
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

Do the same for the trench in front of the dam too.

Step 2: Make the dam work

With that done, rig up a frame to mount the main sluice gate for the dam. Cement this into place on the reservoir-side of the main dam. Next, take a sheet of metal, and weld a metal rod to the center of it to make the main gate for the dam. 

Install the gate into the frame, and rig up a method of lifting and closing the gate as needed. 

diy mini dam gate
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that complete, take some more lengths of uPVC pipe and some matching end caps. Drill holes through the caps, and attach them to the pipe.

Then cut some lengths of steel sheet, and attach them to the pipe to make a series of fins to make a basic water wheel.

diy dam fins
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that done, take your generator engine and attach the water wheel to the engine's main rotor. Affix the two pieces together as required - in this case by welding them together. 

Next, take the water wheel/engine assembly and cement into place in front of the down water discharge pipes from the dam. This is to allow the water to drain turn the wheel and then generate your power. 

diy mini dam generator
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

If required, wire up the motor to an electrical socket extender. 

Step 3: Get the dam working

With that done, you can now flood the reservoir of the dam. Ensure the main gate is closed prior to doing this, obviously. 

Once the reservoir is flooded, we can now actually test out our mini-hydropower dam. To do this, open the flood gates, and let the water pour out from the dam. 

diy mini dam socket
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

When the water wheel, and by extension, the motor begins to turn, you should then be able to power some small electronics from the socket extender. 


If you enjoyed this little DIY-power project, you might enjoy another? How about, for example, making your own small steam-powered generator

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board