With the specs war ongoing, smartphones are getting more and more power-hungry by the day. Charge on a smartphone never seems to last as long as we want them to. And the idea of being able to charge a dying smartphone in the wild with just water and plastic bottles seems enticing and surreal at the same time, right? Well, not anymore. YouTuber Thomas Kim has demonstrated how to produce electricity to charge smartphones successfully and generate electricity in a new video with just water, and a few plastic bottles.
In the video uploaded to YouTube on 5th July, Kim shows how a water wheel generator works with just a steady flow of water. The generator uses plastic bottles, disposable platters, a 3-phase stepping motor and a rectifier circuit to build the entire system. In the video, he shows how the electricity produced from the generator can charge an iPhone, although how long it will take to charge the phone fully is quite uncertain. Kim also uses a multimeter to check the voltage generated, which records about 10 volts. For reference, an iPhone charger has an output voltage of 5 volts.
This project is a miniaturization of large scale hydro-electric power plants. Hydro-electric generators placed on dams work in the same way to harness the flow of water and convert it into electrical energy. To explain the science behind it, the water makes the wheel rotate, which in turn is connected to the 3-phase stepper motor. The motor acts as a dynamo and converts the kinetic energy into electric energy, but the current is direct current. A rectifier circuit is used to convert it to alternating current, and a capacitor is in place to stabilize the current while absorbing any spikes. When he connects it to the iPhone via a lightning connector, the phone is charging! He also demonstrates how a LED panel is lit up by the same circuit.
For all the geeks out there who wants to build something similar, the system is a Pelton wheel turbine system and is completely eco-friendly. The uploader of the video is a power plant operator and DIY enthusiast who often uploads videos of unique electrical experiments. The video has already garnered over 32,000 views.