It would be impossible to list all the reasons why you want to build a DIY generator.
Maybe you’re preparing for a long-term emergency and want to generate your own power if the grid gets wiped out.
Maybe you’re living in a cabin in the wilderness, sustained by the land, supported by Mother Nature.
Perhaps you dream of off-grid independence and self-reliance.
Maybe you’d like to knock a few dollars off your electric bill or even get rid of it completely.
Maybe you don’t feel like spending the money on something like .
Or maybe you want to do it for the pure joy of making functional science.
Regardless of your reason, the goal is always the same; to produce and consume your own electricity.
Now, living off the grid doesn’t require electricity. You can go off grid without it. Human beings have survived all across the world for tens of thousands of years without it.
It’s possible to make camp and sustain yourself without electricity. Instead of light bulbs, use candles. Forget the furnace, use the heat from a fireplace. Instead of an oven, use a wood-stove and thick blankets. You can make it with the right set of survival books, and woodsman know-how.
But electricity makes life a lot easier. And most would also agree it makes like better.
For example, a refrigerator and freezer are very difficult appliances to live without in our modern society.
But electricity is a survival tool like any other – it’s just intangible and non-material. But extremely useful.
Electricity is a versatile tool that helps achieve many survival related goals. Heat, light, cooking, entertainment, communication, construction.
The applications are endless.
The best part is, building DIY generators does not require the intellect of Nicola Tesla.
Or even a degree in electrical engineering.
You can buy energy generators and have them installed on your property. Or you can build your own. DIY generators are extremely helpful tools. And they can even serve to increase the sustainability of your off-the-grid outpost.
Building your own generator is a skill that makes a huge difference in a “SHTF” situation. Even if you don’t plan to make a DIY generator today, just knowing “how” is a valuable skill to have at your disposal.
The Principals of Making Electricity
Before we get into the different DIY generators you can build, let’s s cover the general concept. Electric generator all share the same basic principles. So these are the truly important concepts to understand.
Any time you use electricity, you are using energy that came from somewhere else. Whether it’s a coal plant, running water, or wind, power comes from some other form of energy.
You convert one type of energy (wind, water, geothermal, combustion) into another (electricity).
So how do you turn the energy of moving water into electrical power stored in a battery?
No matter the exact DIY generators you intend to build, these two pieces are essential: The Stator and The Rotor.
The Stator is a stationary shell that houses the Rotor, which rotates inside of the Stator. The Rotor is filled with magnets, which, as they spin within the Stator generate electric current.
That current is captured within the Stator’s built-in coils and transferred to the storage unit.
Now, to store electricity generated by the Stator and the Rotor you need a battery.
There are many commercial batteries designed for the sole purpose of storing self-produced energy. Basically, the larger the battery, the more energy you can store.
If you plan on using your generator often, I would recommend getting a large battery. One with a significant amount of energy storage potential. Or even better yet, a bank of batteries connected in series.
If you just want off-the-grid electricity to charge a camera and flashlight, small batteries are perfect.
Building Homemade DIY Generators
There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Right? If you want DIY electricity, you can look to the sky, look to the sea, look in the ground, look in your garage…
The potential for electrical generation is everywhere.
This is good because no matter the situation, the possibility for electricity generation is there. You just need to understand how to harness it.
For this reason, I’ve compiled a very brief, but comprehensive list of DIY generators.
1 – The Bicycle Generator:
I put this one first because it’s such a simple idea.
By turning the gears (or wheel) of your bike, you turn it into a Rotor. So you can generate electricity and get a workout at the same time.
Need to boil some water? No problem put in twenty minutes on the DIY bike generator, and you are cooking!
Need a reading light? Pedal while you read and you will have light for as long as you are on the bike!
Obviously, this requires physical labor. You won’t be heating a large household via bike-generator. But if you need electricity for small, quick tasks, a bicycle generator is a healthy way to go about it.
You don’t even need a whole bike for this setup – you can build a DIY bike generator using old bike parts. So there is no need to dismantle your prized bug out bicycle.
In the following video, they use a treadmill motor to turn leg power into electrical volts, here’s where you can get a treadmill motor.