Our Eassy

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Rick Wight, Ian Mcgaunn, Theodore Kakhavas, Chris Riccio


Lab report


Our project was a crank generator. Although we had trouble with our gearbox, we were still able to generate up to four volts. Our assignment was to create a generator that could power a hot plate and boil a cup of water in less than ten minutes.


Our group is working on generator we intend to use to heat a hot plate to a high enough temperature to boil a cup of water in ten minutes. We have decided to build a crank generator, which is cranked by a gear box with a 4 to 1 gear ratio attached to the axle.

The generator we decided on is extremely similar to the one shown as #4 on my brainstorm page, except we had more wire, different magnets, and a gearbox. The gearbox has a crank attached to a large gear which turns a small gear attached to a large gear which turns a small gear and on through several layers in a series. The final small gear is attached to the axle running through our generator, which has the magnets attached to it. With the gearbox, the generator can be cranked slowly, but the magnets will still spin much faster than we could spin it by hand.

This contraption works the same way a motor works, but backwards. A motor consists of “field” magnets attached to the side of the motor case, anywhere from two to four rotating electromagnets wired together, each with the wiring wired in a different directions (the first one clockwise, the second one counterclockwise, etc) so that they have opposite magnetic poles. A commuter switched the electromagnets on and of in a pattern so that the magnet always repels them they are next to and attracted to the magnet ahead of them. This causes the electromagnet, and the axle attached to it, to perpetually spin when power is run through them. Likewise, when the electromagnets (or the magnets, if the electromagnets are attached permanently) are spun, they generate electricity. We are spinning them using a hand crank attached to a gearbox, and with enough wire wrapped around our box, it could have a lot of potential.

Materials and methods:

The materials we used for our generator, gearbox, and crank bar were the following

1. 8 neodymium magnets

2. 1 large spool of 20 gauge copper magnet wire

3. I large sheet of cardboard

4. 12” by 12” sheet of compressed cardboard wood for the gearbox

5. 6 Nails

6. 1 Bolt

7. 10 plastic gears (Five Large, Five Small)

8. 1 hot glue gun

9. 1 roll of black electrical tape

10. 1 6 inch section of brass pipe

How The Generator Is Made:

Measure the cardboard and cut rectangles into the appropriate size of the box
Mark the exact center of the box with a sharpie or other marker
drill a hole through the box at the exact center with a drill bit slightly larger than the desired axle
Push the axle you are going to use through the holes (it is recommended you use a ferrous material for your axle so you will have an easier time securing the magnets to the axle.)
Secure one end of copper wire to the box with tape leaving about a six inch tail so that the wire can be connected to a load to power.
Wrap the copper wire around box about 450 times, making sure not to totally cover the axle and keeping the hole in the middle free.
Secure the other end that will be left over after the wire is wrapped around, again leaving about a six inch tail.
Create two rods out of four magnets each and attach them via magnetism to your axle (one rod on either side)
How The Gearbox Is Made:

Measure the top and bottom sides of the box to your desired size
Drill a hole to give a place for the nails, or whatever material you plan to use for the axles where the gears will rest.
Place a small gear directly over the center of a large gear (make sure you can see through both through the hole) and then glue the small gear on top of the large gear.
Place your gears on their axles in the order of large gear connecting to small gear and then secure your final small gear to the axle on the generator.
How the crank bar is made is with the following steps

Take two 3 inch sections of brass pipe and create an L shape
Secure the L shape with the black electrical tape
Tape securely to your axle and try cranking to test security.

Results Section:

Test 1

Test Multimeter LED light
Results Up to 8 volts Brightly lit, and stayed lit, even after generator was moved

It wasn’t easy to spin the crank continuously. The wiring was a little messed up, and we were able to generate up to 8 volts on the multimeter. We added a ball bearing when we were testing the LED light. After we cranked it, and saw that the LED was brightly lit, we stopped, but it was still bright, which shows that the generator was a capacitor. This means that the generators coils were holding current and letting it out slowly so it could keep lighting the LED without us cranking it

Test 2 (Final Test)

Test Voltmeter (9-10 v) LED Light (dimly) LED Light (Brightly) Light Bulb Motor Hot plate
Results 4 volts flickered none none none none

We kept the same box for the re-design of the generator. To make the generator’s crank spin faster, we added a handle, made out a brass pipe and tape. We kept the ball bearing on the generator. The new gearbox that was constructed created too much friction and was much to hard to turn when a load was attached. So we reverted to the older gearbox. The generator wasn’t able to generate more than 4 volts. It could only flicker an LED light, and it was no longer holding extra charge.

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