Spinning Wind Turbine Tells The Temperature

The technology behind wind-powered energy has come a long way since the first “turbines” made from cloth and wood. But many designers wonder whether the wind’s boundless energy could do more than just generate electricity. Using hacked together parts, Mike of Krazatchu Design Systems has created a wind-powered persistence-of-vision weather station.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, persistence of vision (POV) is a phenomenon of the eye by which an afterimage is thought to persist for approximately one-twenty-fifth of a second on the retina. Basically, it’s a trick that your eye plays on your brain because of its slow(ish) reaction time. And it’s part of what turns this simple turbine into a home weather station.

Wind Powered Weather Station

Image via Krazatchu Design Systems

Using recycled parts, like PVC pipe for the blades and a stepper motor salvaged from a floppy drive for the generator, this wind turbine-powered weather station displays temperature, humidity and wind speed readouts by persistence of vision. Eight white LEDs along the wing tip create the spinning display.

“The temperature and humidity are sensed with an SHT21 via I2C and absolute position by a hall sensor salvaged from a floppy drive. The hall sensor allows for positioning the POV display as well as calculating rotational speed. A resistive divider was added to sense the voltage generated by the stepper,” reads the Krazatchu Design Systems description. And as this HackADay review points out, the turbine even has a shunt system that keeps the input voltage at a safe level, and acts as a break in high winds to keep the rotors from spinning out of control.

If you’ve got hacking in your blood, and want to give this a try, check out the Krazatchu website for complete specs and a video of the POV weather station in action.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog