So, here are some facts I know about electricity, and how to make it. Electron, magnetic field, flux, magnet wire, coil.
And some words.
Those are some words I've read recently.
To make electricity we can wave a magnet over a coil of insulated coper wire. The more we wave, the more electricity we make (or excite or whatever). The coil needs to be of a shape and size that the magnet passes first over one side, then the next. Not both at the same time. As I understand it the magnet imparts some magical force causing electrons to surge around in the coil. And it seems it's the difference between the sides of the coil that gives us the strength of what turns out to be called "Alternating Current" or AC. AC is the stuff that comes out (or peaks out then goes back) of your household electric outlet. Unless you live in the top left hand bit of Australia, where I think you still just get a wire from a gigantic battery to your house. Batteries give us DC or "Direct Current".
I have no idea what people who live off grid have spilling out of their wires.
You can turn AC into DC. This means we can generate some AC electricity, jam it through something called a rectifier, then have some nice DC to charge a battery with. Apparently.
Because my aquaponics system is already running via a 12 volt battery (for system security in case of blackout) I can feed any electricity I can make directly into that existing system. I might even save a dollar or two. Currently the battery is charged from mains power as the power is used by my pump. Any electricity I can feed in will lessen or remove the need for that mains power charger. I can still leave it connected, but adding some wind energy should just give me another layer of backup. And another layer of complexity to enablel more things to go wrong.
Which is nice.
I found some old electrical thing and pulled it apart and cut my fingers a lot. But I got some wire out of it. For my first experiment I thought I'd keep it as simple as possible so based most of what I'm doing on google searches that started with "the world's most simple...".
corflute into a strip and making a box shape out of it. A box would have been better, but I didn't have a box.
Actually I started by selecting a nice blue background to create an elecron(ic) atmosphere. It should go nicely with the copper wire as well.
My blue background came from the back of a blank CD.
I have a few very strong magnets stuck to my fridge. They are small, but according to the blerb that came with them, they require 7kg of pull to get two of them apart. I'm not sure if that's true, but they are strong enough so that I spend a bit of effort to not get pinched by them. It would hurt. I hate hurt. The little magnets are there as spacers, and to form a bridge for the magnetic flux. See me use the words "magnetic flux". Its a proud moment for us all.
This should allow us to rotate the magnets by turning the stick.
This in turn should wave the magnets over the wire, imparting magic, and exciting electrons.
Electrons love waving magnets.
Rotating the toothpick via my drill, showed 2.7 volts AC on my multimeter. Yay!
I should be able to make it better by adding some metal on the outsides of the coil, to turn the flux back. [In the future, I think the metal would attract the flux, drawing it through the coil]
Rotating it by drill also produced some light. I think its flickering because its AC current. The bulb is an LED which I understand only works when electricity is going through it the right way. Whatever that is. AC is going one way and the then the other, so I guess it didn't matter which way its connected for this test. All I did was twist the wires from the LED to the two end wires of my coil. I burnt the insulation off the wires with a flame.
Carbon footprint! I just need more toothpicks.
Interesting cow and magnet based factoid...
Did you know cows have magnets in them. They are called "cow magnets". We put them there to collect metal stuff they might eat.
Cows hate to poop out metal stuff.
The world is often as strange as I hope it might be. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_magnet
WARNING !!! - Don't let little people swallow strong magnets. I understand they have a habit of meeting the other magnet the kid swallowed earlier, and making intestines heal together. Its probably a good idea for big people to avoid eating them as well. I'm not sure if that's a myth or not but, who cares. Magnets don't taste good so there is really no point taking the risk.