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    STATIC ELECTRICITY PROJECTS
    SUPERMAGNET FUN

 


    SODA-BOTTLE MOTOR
    MORE SCIENCE PROJECTS FOR KIDS


Ultra-simple Electric Generator
wire and spinning magnets

(c)1996 William Beaty

PARTS:
  • 4 - 1cm x 2cm x 5cm ceramic magnet, Radio Shack #64-1877 $3.96 for 4
  • 1 - #30 Magnet wire 200ft, Radio Shack spools #278-1345 $3.99
  • 1 - Miniature Incandescent Lamp, 1.5V 25mA Rad. Sh. #272-1139 $1.29
  • 1 - Cardboard strip, 8cm x 30cm
  • 1 - Large nail, 8cm long or more
  • Misc. - Knife or sandpaper to strip the wires
  • Misc. - tape to hold wire down
  • Optional: hand drill or electric drill to spin it (hand drill is best)
This is an AC electric generator which lights up a tiny incandescent light bulb. The generator is made from a hollow-ended cardboard box with a nail through the center. The box has many turns of fine copper wire wound around it, with four large magnets clamped around the nail. When the nail and magnets are spun fast by hand, the little light bulb lights up dimly.

I wrote this article because I found lots of projects for making a simple electric motor, but nobody gave the secret for making a generator. Well, here it is: use strong magnets, lots of fine wire, and a special light bulb which only needs 1/2 volt. Also, don't bother making a "commutator," just hook the wires directly to the bulb. It's much simpler that way, but the generator will produce AC (alternating current).

Before you start, here are some notes: you must use a special light bulb. Normal flashlight bulbs will not work. Also, you must use the large, strong magnets shown in the parts list. Smaller magnets won't work. The wire must be #30 gauge or smaller. Also, you can improve the generator if you buy lots of extra wire and wind it on the cardboard, since the bulb will light up even when the generator spins slowly.

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