Flip A Ceiling Fan Into A Wind Turbine… Nearly
It’s not uncommon to drive around the neighborhood on Garbage Day and see a ceiling fan or two randomly strewn on a pile of garbage bags ready to be taken to the city’s garbage dump. It’s a shame to see something like that go to waste, and [Giesbert Nijhuis] decided he’d see what he could do with you. After careful work, he was able to turn a ceiling fan into a kind of wind turbine.
While some generators and motors can be used interchangeably by reversing the flow of current (motors can be used as generators and vice versa), this does not apply to ceiling fans. These motors are induction motors which, for reasons of cost, do not have permanent magnets and therefore cannot simply be used as a generator. However, if you make some changes to them such as: For example, by rewiring some of the windings and adding permanent magnets around them, you can avoid this disadvantage of induction motors.
[Giesbert] notes that this project is not a great way to build a generator. Even after making all of the changes necessary to make it work, the motor isn’t as efficient as one built with its own set of magnets. With all the work, it’s not that much of a time investment for a low quality generator. However, it’s interesting to see the theory behind something like this in the first place, even if the end result wasn’t a full wind turbine. If you have an old ceiling fan lying around, you might be able to make better use of it.