DIY: Few Simple Steps to Make a Water Activated Flashlight

Have you ever been in a situation at night, where the battery of your flashlight is on its last leg and you have no spare batteries or any other alternative?

If you are in a place where powercuts never occur and you're not a hiker, or camper, then you probably won't be prepared for such incidents. Well, look no further as Instructables member ASCAS has come up with the solution.

A flashlight powered by water. This makes a lot of sense since water is all around us. What this means is that you will always have light. To add to that it's pollution free, since there are no chemicals, such as those contained in batteries, to pollute the environment. This flashlight will last for 30 minutes, once tap water is added. Adding salt water will make the light even brighter and last up to two hours. The battery or Galvanic Cell as it is also known can be used in calculators and clocks as well.

To make this battery the following items are needed

  • 4-inch long PVC pipe
  • 3/4 to 1-inch PVC coupling
  • Teflon tape
  • Soldering iron
  • Hot glue gun
  • Super Glue
  • 2x2-inch Acetate sheet
  • Five sheets of toilet paper
  • Zinc and copper strip
  • Copper wire or magnet
  • 1-K Ohm resistor 
  • 2N3904 General purpose NPN transistor
  • Toroidal Core/bead
  • Recycled three LED torch
In the next few steps, I'll show you how to build this battery from the aforementioned items.

Main Energy Source
You are basically going to make a power cell made up of an anode and cathode. The copper strips will be for one and the zinc the other. The following steps will be take to build this cell:
  1. Wrap the copper strip in three sheets of toilet paper
  2. Wrap the zinc strips in the remaining two sheets of toilet paper
  3. Then take some copper wire and tie two together to prevent it from tearing apart
  4. Using a pulley, which should fit on the PVC coupling, make two holes big enough to put the metal strips through
  5. After putting the metal strips through these holes, superglue together in the holes

To Make the Circuit for the LED Light
You will need to follow the tutorial provided by ASCAS, except a more compact circuit will be needed, which will allow the transistor to be fitted under the LED's board, while on top will be the toroidal circuit.

Putting the Two Together to Make the Flashlight
  1.  Solder the wires to the power cell
  2. Glue around the coupling
  3. Put the LED's reflector on top of the coupling and let dry

Making the Water Storage Cylinder
  1. Using the PVC pipe, place a suitably sized piece of acetate or cork to seal the non-threaded size.

Add Water
Simply add water to the enclosed PVC pipe. Salt water can also be used as well as vinegar, which will give up to ten hours of light.

Those steps will give you the convenience of making your own water powered flashlight.

Images (c) The Instructables

How to Build a Wind Generator Using an Old Scanner

For those of you who want to get some green energy out of your old devices, here you can learn, how to build a wind generator using some components of your old scanner device.

At step 1 we are discussing the needed components.

- an old scanner,
- capacity of 1000uF,
- rectifier diodes,
- a voltage regulator that goes for 5 volts, type LM7805,
- for the blades, we can use a PVC pipe,
- for the tail we use a plastic square,
- and some aluminium pieces are recommended as well, or some other material

Step 2 is recycling the scanner parts. Open up the scanner case and search for the stepper motor, this is real important for the project. Also you can use some electronic pieces and the fluorescent tube from your old scanning device.

Step 3 is about designing and building the rectifier circuit. The voltage generated by the stepper motor is alternate, so you have to rectify it. You can rectify the phases, by using 8 diodes, 2 for each phase. After that we move on to stabilizing the output, and we use a 1000uF capacity, and a voltage regulator that works for 5 volts. You can use an LM7805 type regulator. Connectors should also be added, so you can charge your different gadgets. Put on an USB connector as well, if you have USB driven chargers for your devices.

The stepper can generate more than 5 volts, but this is the amount of energy we need for our wind generator. For connecting an USB port to your device, you must use some specific orders. For those who are connecting an USB2 port, there are 15KOhm resistances  that should be added, so the device will work properly. Also you can use QUCS software for software simulation, to test the circuits.

Step 4 is about building and setting up the blades for the wind generator device. You can use an on-line instructable to build such a device.

Step 5 is actually working on the structure and building it. You can use some pre-made plans, but also you can come up with your own plan while you are building this device, so be creative.

The last step, step number 6 is testing the device, on how it works. First of all you need wind, to run the paddles, so a little patience might help. Test the wind power in your area, so you can adjust the used circuits, the blades and the structure to work properly with the wind power you are getting.

Now you have just made yourself a wind power generator using some of your old components from a scanner. Try it out, how it works with your mp3 player or with your phone charger.

DIY Wind-Powered Water Pump Built of Used Bike Components

As a do it yourself project we are building a water pump that uses wind power to work. The best part of it is that you do not need to buy any components, cause you can get them from your used, worn out bike. Also you should test the device yourself for optimal results. It will not work perfectly from the moment you installed it, give it some time, and think of how you may improve the structure and make it more efficient.

Step number 1 is about the used components, and setting up such a water pump. Also if you don' have a used bike, you can easily get the components from an old bicycle dumpster.

- now first of all you have to put some bolts into the holes you can find on the gears. Use short bolts for the horizontal gear, that is on the top, and longer bolts for the vertical gear. You can also add some spacers made out of nylon over the teeth of the vertical gear and be sure to secure them with Teflon tape,
- the horizontal gear has to be attached on the axle of the mountain bike wheel,
- by using three metal brackets attach a rim from the second bike wheel,
- you can also put a tee made out of PVC and with measurements of 1 inch on the top part of your tripod,
- the contraption from the bike wheel has to be fixed on the PVC tee that lays on top of the device,
- take a wood piece of 1x2 and drill out some pieces from it. The hole formed in the middle of the wooden pieces will hold the axle rod nicely in its place. Also if the vertical gear does not connect with the horizontal one, than you can add some spacers to elevate the horizontal gear.
- the vertical gear has to be fixed into the horizontal part of the PVC structure, and also you have to put the gear on a ball, so it can move and rotate freely. Here you can also use an axle that still has bearing on the inside. Take care of the gear so it will stay firmly in its place and use anything you can find to stuff around it so it will not move in unwanted directions. For this you can use the cardboard from toilet paper for example.

Step number 2 is designing and putting together the wind foils. The wind foils have to be big enough, so they can catch the wind power properly, but also you should think about the weight, they have to be light enough, so the whole device will work flawlessly. Tin is a good material, but watch out for your hands, or you might get cut. You can use silk for building the foils and you can also coat them with polyurethane. Do not look for aesthetics here, make it work, also you can use some plastic to make this structure more steady. The used plastic is the same one that they use as a light diffuser in photography.
The foils should be large, so first of all, the dull side of the plastic has to be sanded and you can use polyurethane as an adhesive. The silk has to be glued to the plastic, and after that you can cut out the silk that is in excess, and drill some holes. These holes are for the spokes that will hold the foils to the rims.

Step 3 tells us how to install the wind foils. The holes that you drill have to be wide enough so the bike spoke will get through them easily, both in the rim and the bike wheel as well. You have to start from the inside of the rim with the spokes and use some epoxy used by plumbers to secure them in their place. Also you can fix them with spoke nuts at the ends so the foils will not be falling off, once you start your device.

Step 4 tells us about the wind pump collector and how it should be made. One of the most important parts of this component is the bearing. This attaches the water pump and the windmill and makes it possible to transfer the horizontal force from the wind and translate it into up and down movement in the water pump. One bearing, a small red ball, is attached to a gear tooth on the backside of the vertical gear mechanism. The other bearing is attached to the piston of the water pump. The rod that connects this two devices together can be a PVC one.

Step 5 tells us how to build the PVC water pump. You can get the picture from the drawing above, or the embedded video, on how it really works.

At step 6 we are talking of how to assemble the wind powered water pump. First of all take a metal rod and with the use of a hammer put it in the ground. Than you take the outer part of the pump and with two screws connect it to the rod. For the windmill part has to be placed right over the pump, you have to set up the connection arm, so it can reach high enough and also contract without braking, buckling or folding. The connecting arm has to be placed on the two red ball bearings, the first one goes on the horizontal gear, the second one on the pump piston.

Step 7 is about debugging the water pump. Now it is all together, and it might even work, but you should check on the mechanism, is it really working properly. By using the above mentioned components, the water pump might loose a lot of wind power by the components moving in unwanted directions at their connection points. These problems can be eliminated if you:

- use a real steady tripod,
- the used bicycle rim has to be intact, else ways the whole structure will loose a lot of energy,
- by using PVC or tin, you can attach the wind foils directly onto the bicycle rim and save some more of the wasted wind power, which is lost by the way when the bike spokes begin to shake.
- the rod plunged into the ground has to be a steady one and a thick one. Use a 4x4 post to get rid of the unwanted movement,
Also you can make some improvements, as you may think, by using a single metal pipe, instead of a tripod. This is the backbone of the entire structure, so use proper material.
You can put the valve system on ground level, so the pump will easily raise the water, without having to pump it up high.

How to Make a Wind Powered Led Out of Your Old CD-Rom or VCR

This article will provide you some simple advice on how to reuse an old VCR or a CD-Rom drive, so you can manufacture yourself a LED device.

First step is about the components and the tools needed for this project. You can also use similar tools, as long as you can get the job done with them.
- a pinwheel
- copper wire, six strands of it,
- one LED,
- a soldering iron for soldering things together,
- epoxy that dries quickly,
- some scissors or a knife, to cut things,
- a file,
- wire cutter,
- a drill that goes for small bits,
- clamps so you can keep things at their place while you are drilling,
- a permanent marker,
- you can both used a worn out VCR or an old CD-Rom for this purpose, you have to get some metal pieces, gears and motors for this project.

Step 2 is about extracting the needed parts from the different devices. First of all open up the VCR case, and start looking for motors. Depending on the manufacturer of the device and the model some parts of it might be unusable. So start digging for a motor that will fit your needs. Some of them may be to large, so settle for the proper one. Now we can get to the testing part. You have to take the terminals from your LED and connect them to the positive and the negative terminals of your motor. You will check it if it works by spinning the motor with your finger. If is does not work in one direction than to be certain try it in the other direction as well. After trying on a few motors you will hopefully find a motor that will light up the LED.

Step 3 is about finding the right gears that you can use to make the motor and the pinwheel work. From the recently opened device you can use some gears that you will find. Also try out the spur gear, that might actually work. After putting together all these gears you have to find one right for the motor and one for the pinwheel. The gear that will be connected to the pinwheel has to be bigger than the motor gear. Now you have to find a middle path between the size of the gears so they will be able to run freely and with no errors and also spin rapidly enough so your LED will light up.

Step 4 is about modifying the gear connected to the pinwheel so it will work nicely. In some cases you might have to drill a hole on the big gear so you can fixate it on the shaft of the pinwheel. Also you have to test it and to prevent wobbling you can search for other useful pieces inside the VCR so you can secure the gear. With some cylindrical part you can secure it and glue it on the shaft.

Step 5 is about melting and connecting the copper wire onto the pinwheel. The motor has a positive and a negative terminal so you have to find the copper wires and melt them onto the pinwheel properly. Take the strands of the copper wire, if possible the thin ones and spin these wires together. After you have successfully twisted your wires, than make two strands. Than with the help of the soldering iron you have to press this wires into the exact spot of the shaft where you can see the spinning fan. By this you have to work smoothly so you do not make a mess of the plastic, because the fan will be spinning over the top of this spot. This is the spot you have melted the wires into.

At step 6 you also have to find a way to connect your gear to the fan on the pinwheel. In the beginning do a little testing, and if it really works than you can fix it there permanently. Use some epoxy after you are sure things are in their right place so they will not be falling out of your device.

Step 7 tells us how to select the pieces so you can pin the motor to the pinwheel. Take another look into the VCR case and find some other useful parts. Search for those parts that will be good enough to connect your motor on the shaft. Choose from them until you will find the one that suits you best. A small piece of metal that can be used along with screws should actually do the job. In normal cases the motor has some screw holes which you might find useful, and also, by going along with the piece of metal you might have got yourself a good business. Cause metal can be easily bent and you can use this feature for mounting the motor.

At step 8 we are talking about putting the motor along with the mounting bracket and attaching both these things to the shaft on the pinwheel. With the use of a file you can make the sides of the shaft real smooth and it will be a lot easier to drill holes. All in one use fastening screws to secure this whole thing. Now make yourself a little plan and put it together in mind where will all the pieces will be placed and start arranging them into their proper places. With the use of a permanent marker draw the exact places where the screws will be. Use a small headed drill to make holes into the mounting bracket, and into the shaft of the pinwheel, into the exact spots where the motor mount will be put. Also a big point for recycling if you can find screws in the VCR case that can be used in this project. The motor mount also needs some holes, this will be the place where the motor will be attached to it. Find some more screws in the case that will do the job.

Step 9 is about testing and optimizing the motor mount so it will work properly. The fan gear and the motor gear have to be connected somehow so fit them together until the whole device works. Keep it in mind that you may have to drill some extra holes or rearrange things until these two will get together. Also consider that you might have worked in vain with one of the motors, because if the measurements are not correct you might have to replace it. Search again until you can make the wheels run freely.

Step 10 is about securing the gear of the fan by using two screws. After you have found the optimal mesh, drill two more holes into the shaft. This specific location on the shaft of the pinwheel will be where you have melted the entry point for the LED wires previously. These two screws will be very helpful when you will want to keep the main gear attached to the fan while the motor actually works. First of all use the marker to set the drilling points and be sure to make them in their right places.

Step 11 gives us the advice on how to solder the LED to the shaft. This has to be done, where the wire has been melted into the shaft. Take the two wires that you have previously melted into the shaft and bend them so the endings will form a hook. Than find the positive and the negative terminals of the led and by forming two hooks here as well, you can connect these hooks. Turn them until you will connect these wires tightly and wrap them so they will stay in their place. When all of this is done, with the help of the soldering iron, solder the LED and the wires tightly until they will not come apart.

Step 12, the final step of this whole project will be all about testing, and maybe lubricating the device so it can run smoothly. If the pinwheel of the LED is having difficulties in spinning freely add some lubricant to the gears.

How to Build a Solar Powered Stove Out of Recycled Materials

The below project is one based on recycling material, so you do not have to buy the needed components from the local hardware store just use anything you find unused laying around your house. Also with the Solar Powered Stove you will be using entirely renewable, green energy.

The table of needed things is real tiny this time, you need a discarded, unused satellite dish and some worn out CDs.

Step 1 is about making the stand for the Solar Powered Stove. To build the backbone of the structure you will need some kind of a rod. There are a few methods to use here. First of all you can take a metal rod and stick it into the ground and fixate it with concrete, but also you can take a plastic pipe and lower it into the ground at around 18 inches. After this is done you can use concrete to make the structure stable. So just feel free to fill the pipe with concrete, it will give it some plus stability.

Step 2 is about attaching the CDs to the surface of the satellite dish. Somehow you have to attach the CDs so they will stay in the desired place. You can use a combination of fender washers, with measurements of 1/8" X 3/4", and some additional 4 by 3/8" machine screws. For the outer rows of the dish you can use silicone adhesive that will make this whole structure last. In case the satellite dish is a fiberglass model, you can use the silicone adhesive for most of the CDs. Keep in mind that by using pre-recorded disks, these ones will reflect the sunlight better and they will even last longer than the recordable CDs.

Step 3 is about actually building the stove. If the satellite dish has the receiver installed on it than that is great, in other cases just take some metal rods and calculate the right distance for the focal point and set it up yourself. You can also use a 10 x12 wire cooker but feel free to build and use anything you have in mind as long as you are playing it safe. The adjustable focal point is important for adjusting the different levels, so you can easily change the temperature. In this case you will be able to set up the cooking vessels for different use.

Step 4 is about setting up the aiming device. To align the dish in its desired position you can use the original adjuster. Depending on the manufacturer and the model type, this can be a 24 volt DC adjuster or some other type. You can also use a 12 volt battery for this.

Step 5 is setting up the whole device so it will effectively catch the sunlight. You  can put a piece of paper underneath the dish, where you will find the swiveling point. The dish has a round opening at the center. Aim this thing until the sunlight will draw a nice circle onto the piece of paper. Your goal is to find the exact place where the reflection of the sun will hit the cooker. It is important that you should not tighten the screws that are at the base of the dish so it can still swivel freely. The dish will have to move from east to west. By using a tilt adjuster that runs on electricity you can use fine tuning in case of the dish so it can move in the north to south direction.

Step 6 the final one of this project is for completing the whole settlement. Now you have to test the temperature of the device. The temperature can get up to 400 degrees, so be careful with it, but also this is enough to work your device. By getting your hands into the focal area of the device you might burn yourself so keep in mind safety is real important.