DIY : Let’s go off grid! Hydroelectric power station in the garden.

Off grid — here we come! A little off grid at least. We might be able to power a light bulb, or an Arduino. This is a blog about the process.

Me and my family moved to a house which have a small (or humble) stream along the property. A minor dam was built at one time or another, presumably by some of the previous owners, and our first thought was to remove it to promote the water living beings. It can’t be easy to be a crayfish and try to climb past the steep obstacle (yes, we have seen it and the crayfish made it over the top, but still). A second thought about it though gave us the insight that the dam might be pretty good for the animals. This because the stream dries out in the summer and the dam makes a nice little pond. So the dam still remains, and to give back to nature we could build a salmon ladder on the side to help the animals that may want to get past.

Okay, so here we are. The dam isn’t very big. The fall not very high. I know barely nothing about electricity. So I figured it would be interesting and fun to build an old style water wheel (like the ones used in mills), use the cogs, chain, dynamo and other parts from an old bike and see what I can create.

I’ve set some interim targets. First off, get the water wheel spinning. Second, get a light bulb to lighten up. My main goal is to be able to charge some kind of battery/batteries — this to either charge my phone or laptop, but even cooler would be to run an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi. Maybe create an art installation in the garden using several colorful LED lights, running 24/7 on all green and renewable energy.


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