How to Generate Alternative Offgrid Power by building a Homemade Waterwheel Hydro Electric System

    This project goes into the build of a homemade alternative offgrid power generation system using a water wheel and flowing water source like a stream or creek. In order to catch the water from your spring or creek , the first step is to build a small dam. This enables us to produce maximum power from the running water wheel .

    First, We use a 4 inch pipe to divert the water before starting the construction of the dam. With a solid concrete foundation ,we aim to make a 42 inch dam with 30 inch of head . A six inch 36 inches long PVC drain pipe is installed on the high water side .The dam is constructed using four layer of hollow blocks and quickrete blended mason mix .Try raising the water higher to see how much higher it needs to go before it overflow through the sides.

    The dam board gates made of deck boards are installed in the middle .The back board and the front boards are spaced apart an inch and three quarters. The dam stop gate made of plywood with dimensions of one and half is inserted between the boards . To get a tight seal a half inch rubber tube is stuffed between these boards.

    With a 13 and half inch treated plywood and couple of 2X6 plywood side boards, the flume is built. The side boards are glued to the plywood base using adhesive sealant and screwed with exterior grade screws.

    To resist twisting and to keep the width of the plywood steady , four cross spacers are installed on the flume board. To divert the water without having to drain the dam, we make a small trap door in the flume near the opening . The trap door is made seven inches back from the face of the dam. The door is supported by a flange around the back and a stainless steel hinge.

    The flume is installed on the creek with the help of rebars and supporting deck boards. The rebars are attached to the boards using u-bolts and drill bit. Three more subsequent flumes are attached to each other. The gap between the flumes are sealed with poly foam caulk rope.

    The waterwheel is made out of a section of 55 gallon HDPE drum . The blades are made of 4 inch PVC drain pipe. The blades are curved so that it retains most of the water making it more energy efficient. 24 blades are attached to the drum using 16th by half aluminum angle pieces.

    A three quarter inch jack shaft from an old go-kart is used as the drive shaft. This is supported at both ends of the wheel with a help of pillow block bearings. Two 28 inch Circular end pieces made of plywood is bolted along both sides of the barrel using a 6 ten inch long half by thirteen carriage bolts to make the wheel build complete.

    Two square collar blocks are mounted on to shaft to center them. The holes are larger than the shaft so that the wheel can be adjusted to get the runouts reduced.To center the waterwheel and to adjust the runout of the center shaft , we use four blocks and adjustment bolts around the center block like a four jaw chuck .

    To install the water wheel securely, a support structure made of 2×4 boards are installed near the end of the flume. The water wheel is secured on these support boards with the help of couple of swivel block bearings.

    We use an adjustable Unistrut to mount the bearings,sprockets and the motor. This can be adjusted for chain tension as well. The Unistrut will stand vertically on top of the cross support that is under the flume.The Unistrut’s are mounted onto the wheel on both the sides with help of bearings and T-nuts. A Number 35 sprocket with 72 tooth is mounted onto the center wheel shaft.

    This sprocket is connected to a half shaft with 11 tooth sprocket with the help of a size 35 go kart roller chain. A Permanent Magnet Brushed DC motor mounted on 2×4 board is further connected to this shaft via another sprocket. This gear system has a ratio of 30.86:1

    Using unistruct angled brackets, the wheel is mounted onto the support board near the flume. The wheel is positioned near the flume in such a way that the water where it meets the wheel is exactly at the top.

    The charging system consists of a 12V DC emergency standby battery, MPPT charge controller, 300W sine wave inverter . The connection from the water wheel DC motor goes to the charge controller.The charge controller is also connected to the battery.

    Finally the inverter is connected to the battery which is further connected to a load. To make this charging system secure, make sure to make fuse connection between the components. All these components are mounted on a temporary wooden board.

    • How to build an Off Grid Hydraulic Ram Pump that uses no electricity to pump water .
      Water is one of the most important resources you can have and to get water to the highest point in your property, so that you can store it and water your gardens and your animals and your orchards is incredibly valuable. This project goes over the build a water pump that can pump water uphill with no other external source of power except for the water flowing into it. If you have got a piece of land with an abundant source of water like a pond or a creek, a ram pump lets you get that water to a tank or a location at a higher elevation without using no electricity or fuel. A ram pump is essentially two one way check valves, one called the waste valve and the other called the delivery valve. To get it started, you just momentarily open the waste valve to allow water to flow. After that it's working on its own to pump the water uphill above the elevation of the source. The ramp pump works by the principle of water hammer. As the waste valve opens, water flows into the pump and immediately out the valve. But as it picks up speed, the flowing water eventually forces the waste valve to slam shut. Now the water is stopped in the pump, it had kinetic energy, but now it doesn't. That means that kinetic energy was converted into pressure. Slamming a valve shut converts all the kinetic energy nearly instantly, creating a huge spike in pressure which opens the second check valve and forces water entering the pump into the delivery line. An pressure tank is included in the pump to smooth out those sharp spikes and pressure and provide a more even flow rate out of the delivery pipe, reducing wear and tear on the pump components. Here we use a PVC cylinder as the pressure tank. As the delivery pipe is opened, it will allow a constant flow of water as the pressure builds. If you open the valve too quick, this will hold a certain amount of pressure in it so that the pump doesn't stop due to pressure loss. To get the water to the pump somehow from your source, you need to have a tube or pipe. This pipe is a called a drive pipe. This need to have head pressure or drop in elevation. The drive pipe has same size as the waste valve. The more rigid the material, the more efficient your pump will be. You can use steel or PVC pipe or flex tube. To get the water to our desired destination, we are going to have to have something called a delivery pipe. Here we are using garden hose as the delivery pipe. Here are the steps to assemble a one and quarter inch hydraulic ram pump. The parts you need to build this pump are : Six one quarter close pipe nipples - This allows the components to be screwed close together and not have any extra gap between. Two three quarter pipe nipples 2 One and a quarter ball valves 3 quarter threaded union 2 One and a quarter PVC union 2 threaded PVC tees - threaded on all 3 sides A threaded spring check valve - This has a spring on the inside. That allows water to flow through one direction and not the other. A bushing that goes from one and a quarter down to three quarter. A brass or stainless steel swing check valve - This is threaded on both ends. And inside there is a little lever that closes on a swing motion. Teflon pipe tape to make sure things are tightened up and couple of wrenches. The first step in the pump assembly is to take the Teflon tape and put it around these one inch and three quarter pipe nipples. This is done in a clockwise position such that whenever it is time to actually screw components onto this, we want to make sure that they do not unscrew or remove the Teflon tape. This pipe tape will allow the components to screwed together in a more fluid manner. And it helps to create a better seal in the components. Next step is take your one and a quarter ball valve and a pipe nipple and thread that together. Take the one and a quarter union and connect it to the other end of the taped nipples. Connect a tee to this unit with the help of another pipe nipple. Next is attaching a spring check valve to this unit. You need to make sure that the flow is pointing away from the components we just put together. There's an arrow on these that distinguishes the flow direction. Connect another PVC tee to the valve through a nipple. A threaded bushing is going to go on the end of that second tee. On that three quarter bushing, we are going to put one of the three quarter pipe nipples. From that pipe nipple, we are going to put the other three quarter inch union. A three quarter ball valve is connected to this end through another pipe nipple. We connect the swing brass/stainless steel check valve to the first PVC tee with the help of another pipe nipple. When connecting the check valve, make sure that the door or flapper is going to fall open from gravity. So it is going to screw on to this pipe nipple with the door hanging open. The second PVC tee is connected to the pressure tank with another pipe nipple. Make sure that both tees are facing in the same direction. To build the pressure tank for the one and a quarter pump, you need a four inch PVC schedule 40 pipe , four inch coupling, four inch socket to one and a quarter threaded bushing , a four inch cap , bicycle inner tube. Take your angle grinder and cut a 17 inch long pipe from the four inch PVC schedule 40 pipe .Once the pipe section is cut, it's time to assemble the pressure tank. Coat the inside of the coupling with a PVC cement and stick our 17 inch pipe inside .Make sure it is real snug in there . The other side of the coupling is connected to the threaded bushing. Next step is to insert the bike inner tube into the pressure tank .Grab it from the underside and pull it enough that we can attach my pump to it. Start filling the tube with the bicycle pump. Pump until the whole tube seems tight. Put the cap back on the top and seal them tight using pvc cement. The last step is to attach your pressure tank onto this threaded nipple that is connected the second PVC tee on the pump. Next step is installing the ram pump near the water source .This one and quarter inch pump requires around eight gallons per minute to operate. The amount of water that you get at the top is increased as the pump size goes up. So to start the pump, first you need to close the ball valve for the delivery pipe and make sure the ball valve for the drive pipe is opened. You need to just push the waste valve down until all the air inside the drive pipe is out. Water comes down this drive pipe and slams against the check valve to shut it down . It creates a pressure wave that gets shot back up the drive pipe .If the pressure wave finds an air pocket ,then the pump will stop. Start priming the pump by opening the valve manually couple of times until the pump starts to work on its own. After the pump has been running for a minute or two, you're gonna open up your delivery pipe valve out because the pressure tank now has enough pressure in it to push water uphill.
    • How to Dig a Shallow Well from Start to Finish for offgrid homesteading
      This project goes over how you can dig your own shallow well using simple tools that you can get from your local garden store. The materials you need to dig and install a well are as follows. A customized Seymour AUA2 Post Auger to dig the hole. A Shovel is used to move the pea gravel and dirt out of the way. A Four inch casing PVC pipe that is going into the hole that is dug and this is going to hold the water until you need it. One and one fourth inch threaded adapter. This connects the bottom of the casing pipe to the foot valve. The foot valve is one and one quarter inch. This valve allows the water to come in and not go out. This helps to keep the pump primed. A water well pump pipe which is basically a one and one quarter inch PVC pipe. This will pull the water from the bottom of the well bringing it to your pump. The length of this pipe is going to be determined by how deep your well is. It should be at least a foot shorter than the depth of your well. You don't want this pipe sitting on the bottom because it would just be sitting in sediment and it will be clogging things up. A pitcher pump that has a one and one quarter inch threaded water inlet at the bottom. A closet flange. It makes mounting the pump to the top of your well four inch casing pipe very easy and it also helps keep things clean. Basically you would just set this inside you your four inch pipe, drill a hole out of the middle of a board, screw that to the top of this flange then mount your pump to the board that you have fastened to this. A one and one quarter inch threaded adapter. This will screw into the bottom of your pitcher pump and in turn, it will connect to the pipe bringing water to your pump from the bottom of the well. Teflon tape, PVC glue. Pea gravel - This will go down around the casing pipe of the well. The amount of pea gravel you need is determined by the depth of the well and water height. Quikcrete or aerated concrete to cap the top of the well. This prevents groundwater contamination and keeps stuff from finding a way to easily get into your well. To find the spot for the well, we use couple of coat hangers as dowsing roads. We take a drinking straw ,cut it in half and slide it over the coat hangers. This helps us in not using our hands or fingers influence while dowsing. Also it is easy to rotate the rods within the straws. The rods are kept parallel to the ground . If the rods cross each other , then mark the spot on the ground directly down the cross . This is the ideal spot for the well. The auger used for digging the hole for the well is modified from the default Seymour Post hole auger. We use a custom 5 foot 11 gauge one and half inch square tubing as the extension for the auger . The handle of the auger is a three foot three quarter inch pipe welded to a four inch 11 gauge square tubing. We start digging into the the spot that we have found earlier using the dowsing rods. Pay attention to the changes in the color of sand , because that can give you clues as whether you are getting closer to water. We extend the auger using the square bar tube once the auger handle is near the ground. Once you have hit wet clay, there is going to be suction around. We twist and pull at the same time to get the auger out of the hole in this situation. Next, we put the 20 foot PVC casing pipe into the hole . We cut slots using a reciprocating saw on the pipe one foot from the bottom of the well to the top of the water level to allow the water to flow into the well. Pea gravel is poured around the sides of the pipe all the way up to the slots . The remaining hole area around the pipe is packed with sand and clay. We seal the well by packing it around the sides with quickrete cement. This helps the water not to be able to run down into your well but around it. We lower the one and one quarter inch well pump pipe with the foot valve at the end into the PVC casing pipe. A four inch drain flange is secured on top of the casing pipe . A pitcher pump is then attached to top of the pipe. To prevent the pump from moving, it is bolted to the board where the flange is installed. To prime the well, we pour some water down through the pitcher pump. Pump out the dirty water until it is clean.
    • How to build a Homemade DIY Geothermal Heat Exchanger to Cool Your Garage
      This project goes over the build of a Geothermal heat pump that takes the hot air in your garage and cool it down by transferring that heat into water .The cold water is pulled out of the ground through a shallow hand dug well and send to a heat exchanger inside the garage . A fan attached to the heat exchanger blows out the cold air into the garage . The heat exchanger absorbs the existing heat inside the garage . The warmed up water is then removed through an exhaust pipe. Just a few feet down the earth is a consistent 55 degrees, summer or winter. Water at that depth is about the same temperature. To harness the cold water down below, we dig a shallow well. To do this we use a post auger and a 3 foot long well point that is attached to a 10 foot three quarter inch pipe using a drive coupling. We start by digging a hole using the post auger till the water table is reached and then start driving using the well point for additional two to three feet until it is submerged under the water table. A two to three foot trench is dug from where the well is installed to the garage . A One inch poly pipe is connected to the well pipe using a barbed coupling and is buried inside the two foot trench all the way to a well jet pump .The trench is dug down at least two feet until you hit some hard pan clay that is about where the temperatures begins being more constant. This keeps the pipe cool under the earth. The other end of the poly pipe coming out from the trench is connected a 1/2 HP Flotec Shallow well jet pump . The pump can be powered by a solar panel. The pump is kept outside the garage as it generates a lot of heat. If it is kept inside the garage, cooling effect from the water will be undone by the heat generated by the pump. The output of the pump is connected to a three quarter inch copper pipe inside the garage. It is then further connected to a water pressure tank with the help of a brass tee and a union. A relief valve is also attached to the tee to empty the water tank if the pressure gets too high. A water pressure tank is used prevent the pump from failure .It also acts as a buffer storage. The other end of the brass tee is connected to two pipes. One pipe goes outside the garage to a faucet and the other pipe is connected to a radiator that acts as a finned tube heat exchanger. The heat exchanger captures the hot air surrounding the garage and stores the heat into the finned coils within the radiator .The heat is transferred to the water flowing through them . An exhaust line from the radiator carries this hot water to outside the garage. Two flexible hose pipes connects the input of the heat exchanger to the water tank and output to an exhaust pipe. A box fan is placed in the front of the radiator to blow the cool air . The fan can be powered by Solar panels. Once the water starts running through the radiator , we start the fan