It can be a challenge to spin the generator fast enough to light an LED with home-made turbine blades. A red LED requires about 1.75 V in order to emit light. We found that the generator shaft has to be spinning at around 700 rpm in order to produce this voltage.

If you suspect that your KidWind Wind Turbine Generator does not work, the best way to test it is to touch the exposed ends of the red and black wires to the two terminals of a standard 9V battery. If the generator is functioning correctly, the 9V battery will cause the shaft to spin. If the shaft does not spin, please contact Vernier technical support at 888-837-6437 or

Some people have tried spinning the generator with an electric drill, but most drills are not capable of rotating at 700 rpm. Do not worry if rotating the generator shaft with the drill does not work to light the light bulb. Using a 12-V electric drill, we were able to produce about 1.5 V and about 50 mA of current with the standard Wind Turbine Generator, which is not enough voltage to light an LED. This test was conducted with no load (no resistors, LEDs, or other light bulbs, etc) on the circuit. The specifications of the drill we used stated a maximum rotational speed of about 600 rpm, therefore the drill would not be able to light an LED by spinning the Wind Turbine Generator.

This document is in reference to the KidWind Wind Turbine Generator with Wires (KW-GEN3)
This generator is included in:

This is the same generator that is part of:

If a lab activity is written for a Vernier Energy Sensor and I don't have one, can I still do the lab?