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Old 07-13-2016   #11
Wadeinthewater's Avatar
Walterville, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 559
Originally Posted by jgrebe View Post
I'm a hydroelectric engineer. Designed, installed, REAL hydrokinetic turbines in the Mississippi and tried get these smaller ones to work in off-grid applications. The power output is minimal unless you have at least 6-8 fps and even then not a lot of power - maybe 50W. Your a whole lot better off (cost and hassle factor)keeping it simple and use a solar panel
What he said. The units the OP showed were designed to be towed off the back of a open water sailboat. Those boats are usually moving fairly fast and the units require quite a bit of current over a long period of time to generate much electricity. I was a fish biologist, not an engineer, but I cobbled together several undershot wheels to make power for monitoring fish in remote locations. The wheels were about 4 ft in diameter and 5 ft wide. We set them on legs or pontoons in fairly swift streams and made up to 100 watts. But they weren't anything you would consider taking boating. I wish I still had pictures. After I retired, the crew started using units similar to the one the OP shows, but I am not sure what equipment they were running or how much power they made. Solar power is probably the way to go, but you seem to want to do a project and it might be fun so go for it and let us know how it turns out.

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Old 07-13-2016   #12
Bosque Farms, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7
DIY tow generator

I've thought about making a DIY generator with a permanent magnet alternator mounted on a gimbal connected with a short piece of rope or cable to an outboard prop with a capped PVC pipe float. Tow generators get used in yachting, but cost too much (see Tow Generator ). You can make a DIY permanent magnet alternator by replacing the rotor in an auto alternator with a purchased rare-earth magnet rotor (see: Permanent Magnet Alternators ). Another solution is a smaller DC generator like a treadmill motor. You also need a cone to send down the line to kill the prop rotation so you can pull it in. It seems like such a unit would fit just fine in rocket box or a couple of 50cal boxes.

Having the electrical stuff out of the water makes it all much simpler. It would be cool if this could make enough power to run a 12v cooler/icemaker. I'd also like to use one of these to charge the battery of a electric water filter I made. Solar is great too, but this would be the night-time solution. You'd have to make sure that it wasn't an entrapment / Cuisinart risk though. Maybe just trail a buoy with a bright flag.

Has anybody already tried this?

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Old 07-14-2016   #13's Avatar
lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 498
Originally Posted by wasatch_angler View Post
I have a couple thoughts,
I recall from fishing discussions the faster flowing water is at the top of the water column, so a small turbine near the surface may be better.
That's a fact Jack.
Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life on or off the river. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2016   #14
stuntsheriff's Avatar
jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 164
wow. i remember when you could go down the river with nothing more than aa batteries.
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Old 08-19-2016   #15
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 261
Just saw this on Kickstarter today, I've got a few issues with the design and capacity compared to solar panels and larger batteries, but it's a little different approach than the other turbine generators I've seen.
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Old 08-25-2016   #16
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
old school is always the best school.
Power generators, Bose speakers for camp, air conditioning ...............

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