Continue to Site

Welcome to our site!

Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

  • Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

links for creating mixed mode energy generation.


New Member
I have almost no electronics background. I heard you groan lol. What I am going to do in some fashion is create multiple sources of renewable energy wind and solar, into a central circuit that will feed a battery pack and then feed power into my abode.

One problematic stipulation is I cannot afford to buy much if any parts. I will be building all or almost all of this from scrap parts. Ceiling fans, fans, space heaters, etc. I will not be using solar panels for solar energy. Instead I'll build solar trees as I can build those from found materials. $100 is a pipe dream for me right now. I am moving into a tent and trying to drum up the $200-$400 they charge people with no income and no gov assistance to get cancer treatment. So if I had $200 it'd wind up spent on doctors bills not materials.

I will have some power in for times when there is no wind or sun or it's insufficient. Which will be most of the time until I add enough sources.

What I think I want to do, which is probably not the best way to do it is.

Energy sources feeding to a charge controller.

Charge controller to battery pack.

Battery pack to something to blend current from an extension cord with what's being generated. and that drawn off the battery pack. Which at the moment consists of a single battery.

Then extension cord(s) off that source to power space heaters, an AC in the summer, hot plate, microwave, etc.

So am I on the right track?

I don't see how I can get around buying a charge controller. I doubt I could make one from found materials. Especially one that wouldn't be a potential fire hazard. I expect to have a pretty significant power draw as it gets down to the single digits F here in the winter, and 110+ F in the summer. I am a musician and will need to record. I will also have a few computers running at all times, a mini-fridge, lights, space heater in the winter to supplement what heat I can get from a wood stove,

I have plenty of wire to work with. I scrap so I pick up lots of wire of all types and sizes. I also pick up all sorts of cieling fans, space hearers, etc with working motors. I've found some youtube vids and howtoos that appear to be good on converting these to generators, but nothing about what to do with that power afterwards. Obviously I cannot just run it direct to what I am powering or even a battery. I could overload the battery or destroy anything running AC power into something designed to use DC power. The power fluctuations alone would be a major problem.

I have plenty of space so I can set up hundreds of wind generators and solar trees as time allows.

I eat on about $150 a month. Getting a charge controller means not eating for most of a month assuming a $100 charge controller will do the trick. Buying multiple controllers would be prohibitively expensive. If I had to buy one for each power source there's no way I can afford that. From what research I've done, it will take a dozen or so of these things to produce enough electricity to power my stuff when there's a moderate or light wind.

So I need a way to channel the output of all of them into a single charge controller that sits in front of the battery(s).

Setting up the batteries seems pretty simple. I've found good information on how to do that.

It's going from the batteries and how to combine that with current coming in from an extension cord that has me baffled.

I'm sure some if not all of this is covered in FAQs somewhere and previous posts here. If somebody has the patience to put it in sequence I would greatly appreciate it. That is, you need to do this first with the power coming from the generators, then you need to do this before you hit the battery with it link to the FAQ/post, you need to do this after. I don't know the terminology well enough to find it myself or I'd not need to ask this question

You need to do some very serious research in to power requirements for the things you want to run, before buying anything!

Sorry, but to be blunt, I think you are on an expensive and dead-end path, hoping to run equipment like that without a serious, large, solar panel array and some massive!!! batteries.

A computer needs 60 - 500W+ depending on what it is, from laptop to gaming grade, unless you use something like a Raspberry Pi or that type of thing.

Air conditioning? 500 - 3000W.

Microwave 1000 - 1500W while in use.

Hotplate: 1000W+

Power storage:
A single large car battery size lead-acid (but not a car battery - it must be a "deep cycle" grade) has a rating up to about 100 amp-hours or 1200 watt-hours (average voltage x amp-hour rating).

That's eg. 100 watts for 12 hours, 1000W for basically an hour, for each battery - but running them down in less than 4 - 6 hours would seriously shorten the life. eg. You would need at least 4 x 100AH batteries to be able to draw 1000W continuously.

Power generation:
The "Solar tree" concept is still solar panels, just smaller ones.

The output power from good quality solar panels, averaged 24/7 over a year, is somewhere between around 8% of the panel rating (in such as the UK) to 15 - 20% in sunny regions; more near the equator with rare clouds, but that's not where you are, from your description of the climate.

eg. Three of the typical large panels fitted to roofs (350W each, 1050W total "maximum output" ratings) will average 80 - 160W throughout the year.

One of the little 3W panels you can get that's supposed to work as a phone charger would give somewhere between a quarter watt to half a watt, average - if the rating is not exaggerated..

Wind power - a six foot commercially made wind turbine with a maximum power rating of 1500W will average around 100 - 150W, if you are lucky.

DIY ones, unless they are massive and mounted on towers tall enough to get the blades well clear of all obstructions and ground turbulence, will likely never produce enough to cover the material costs.

Water wheels can work well, if big enough and designed properly, and driving a commercial high efficiency generator.

The average power generation needs to be 150 - 200% of the average load, as it needs several stages of voltage conversion:

The voltage from each different voltage source needs converting and regulating to the battery bank charging voltage.
Multiple sources with different voltages and characteristics would each need individual converters.

The battery voltage then needs converting to 115V AC or 230V AC, using an inverter powerful enough to handle all the things that could ever need to be running at the same time.

Each conversion loses anything from 5% to 20% or more of the input power, and the batteries themselves will probably only return about 80 - 90% of the charging power put in to them.

Running any kind of battery flat shortens it's life, so you have to avoid that.
(Normal car "starter" style batteries can only stand being run down possibly half a dozen times before being totally wrecked; that's why you need the deep cycle type "Leisure batteries" as using with caravans / campers etc. instead).

Any other type of battery is either more expensive or just unsuitable for that type of use.

There are many more considerations for cable current ratings, fusing & safety considerations when using battery banks for power storage, to avoid the possibility of fire or explosion.

Some parts could be built up incrementally - but others need to be the maximum power rating, from the start, or they will be wrecked / scrapped / replaced when found inadequate.


Do all the power usage calculations first.
For each thing you want to use, how many watts it needs and how many hours per day it will be needed. Multiply watts by hours to get the watt-hours per day for each device and add them all together.

Whatever that figure is, the battery bank will need to have several times that capacity to have any chance of holding up through winter days, and the power sources need to add up to near double the load, after allowing for their real average output.

Most so-called off-grid homes have a big diesel standby generator, to keep things working when the other sources are inadequate.

Latest threads