The MINI Wind Turbine with Blade Design kit comes with a simple multimeter so you can quantify how much power your turbine generates. The following directions will help you connect your kit to the meter in order to record voltage and current.
- Attach the wires from the generator to a Vernier Energy Sensor or the multimeter. Polarity is not relevant at this point.
- When using a multimeter to check the voltage, select DC volt (V) and set the number to 20.
- Place your turbine in a windy location or in front of a fan and let it spin. It is normal for the voltage readings to fluctuate because of the inconsistent nature of the wind, unbalanced blades, and natural noise of the generator.
Voltage is related to how fast the DC generator is spinning. The faster it spins, the higher the voltage. With no load on the generator, it has little resistance and can spin very fast. You can measure voltage with no load, but it is more realistic to place a resistor in the circuit and measure the voltage across the resistor. Use 10, 30, 50, or 100 ohm resistors.
To calculate the turbine’s power output, you will need to measure current. Current is measured in milliAmperes (1A = 1000 mA).
To measure current, place a load (resistor) in series with a Vernier Current Sensor, Vernier Energy Sensor, or a multimeter so that the generator is forced to operate. If using a multimeter, set the meter to 200 or 20 mA, which is a typical range for the MINI wind turbines.
The current that the turbine produces depends on the load placed in the circuit and the torque the blades are generating.