How Hand-Powered Generators Work ?

Human beings have become so accustomed to “things” being done for them, it is rare to find work or play being performed by hand. Of course, we still do some hand cutting, sawing etc. and we also play games “by hand.” Yet there are parts of our lives that we don’t have to see and touch, one of them being the world of electricity and power.

People in a so-called “developed” society expect electricity to be delivered to their homes from large power-generating stations located hundreds of miles away. If for some reason our electrical power stops we sometimes provide for emergency electrical power with a gasoline-powered or diesel-powered generator. Beyond this level of back-up power, there is one more method for generating electricity in specific situations – the hand-powered generator.

If we don’t have the funds to put a large gas-powered generator next to our homes, we might find ourselves “going back” a couple of hundred years to the time when light and heat were provided by candles and wood. What if we’re on the road and don’t have access to an electrical outlet? Is there a way to get electricity in these situations? The answer can still be “yes.” We simply have to use a hand-powered generator.

Hand-Powered GeneratorsA generator converts mechanical energy, such as turning a crank, to electrical energy. The generator “forces electrons in the windings to flow through the external electrical circuit. It is somewhat analogous to a water pump, which creates a flow of water but does not create the water inside the pump.” (Wikipedia)

We can even make a simple generator using the motor from a battery-powered drill. Using the battery pack we can wire this power source to whatever we want to power. The shaft of the drill’s motor can be turned by hand to charge the batteries. The source of power is your hand and arm. If you want to use this simple generator for sensitive equipment you’ll have to be very careful. It’s difficult to control the voltage. But this is the general description of a working hand-powered generator.

There is another way, of course. Some companies offer hand-powered generators at retail stores or from specialty suppliers. A few devices even come with generators as part of the purchase, though these generators are limited to use with particular equipment, lights etc. Many are even small enough to be suitable for travel. They have a handle that can be turned when access to electricity isn’t feasible. Many of these have a regulator to control voltage so the equipment being charged or used isn’t damaged.

Companies also make slightly larger generators designed to be used with pedal-power, like a bicycle. These can generate enough power to charge large batteries and in some applications can even provide power to small electrical equipment.

Category: Technology

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