Constructed of junk parts at a total cost of $20, a homemade hydroelectric power plant is supplying current on the farm of William E. Howell, Decatur Island, Wash. The water wheel is built up on half of a rear automobile axle, and the two-foot, V-shaped buckets are constructed of cedar planks. A thousand gallons of water a minute run down a 217-foot flume from a small creek and strike the buckets after a five-foot drop, spinning a one-fourth-horsepower, thirty-two-volt motor of washing machine type which is used as a generator. The electricity thus produced by the “backyard” hydroelectric station is sufficient to light two houses, the barn and outbuildings, to operate an electric washer, sewing machine, vacuum cleaner and sheep-shearing machine, and to run the builder’s amateur radio station, with which he talks to the mainland.

  1. mrchurchill109 says: July 23, 20074:59 am

    Let me see…1/4 horsepower is about 180ish watts, with which he manages to light 2 houses, outbuildings, run machinery (albeit light machinery) AND a transmitter and receiver.

    I’m impressed. I am assuming he had a battery bank of some sort running @ 24 volts and was running things off that, but it’s a great low-tech setup to provide electrical power on a shoestring.

  2. in a small town... says: June 1, 200811:43 am

    A bargain if looked at in today’s terms, but $20.
    in 1933 could have done so much more, then.

    During the depression era, pre-WWII, people
    worked for days for a few cents worth of food.
    Comparing values today, it would cost plenty
    to do the same sort of thing, at that time.
    At least it did not require a fossil fuels.

    Nowadays, someone from the power company
    would call their environmental lawyers, and
    have the small guy’s DC Power Plant shut down.
    That’s because the open impeller could bonk fish
    and the grease used on the bearings, drips into
    the pristine waters of the Pacific Northwest.

    (You see, that’s all changed over there now.
    The fish are almost all gone & the forests, too.)

  3. jayessell says: April 6, 20107:16 am

    I was going to tell Dani to Google ‘Handbook of Homemade Power’ but…

    1) It’s from 1974, so it’s out of date due to improvments in technology.
    1a) No mention of LED lights, microprocessor controllers, 60hz Phase matching Sine wave inverters.

    2) The comments are from insane survivalists.
    2a) “How much ammo is enough?”
    (2000 per weapon. Excess may be used as barter.)
    2b) “What style camoflage should I have?”

  4. anthony says: May 19, 20115:43 pm

    do you have any small scale

  5. Kyle says: July 31, 20115:23 pm

    Imagine this with an alternator, battery bank, and AC converter!

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