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Hydro for challenging location  RSS feed

Posts: 17
Location: Macal River, Cayo, Belize
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I have a 10K permanent magnet generator that I intend to put with a water wheel and appropriate gearing devices (differential, gear reducer, pulleys). I have 2, 8' steel wheel frames that were intended to have 1' extensions and buckets welded on, but the person (I use the term loosely) who designed it is no longer working on the project, and I have realized both some flaws in design and my inability to complete the project as it stands. So I need some major advice with this to continue without wasting more $$ than I already have. The water source is a spring which is literally "gushing" at 500-700 gpm conservatively, but there is no easy access, and getting everything there will be done with womanpower and some helpers, on very limited funds, so each component needs to be within the range of a few hundred pounds or less in order to get it there.

So... I'm looking at the wheel first off; I bought a welder, which I found my generator is not large enough to handle, and throws the breaker after 30 seconds. Even if it worked, I can't move a 10' steel wheel quarter mile over steep terrain into place. So now I'm wondering if there would be any reason NOT to design a wheel from aluminum (like they use for large aluminum window frames) that can be hauled in pieces and be bolted together and assembled in place. Is the lightweight aluminum an advantage or disadvantage with the wheel turning? Or merely cost prohibitive? Would a weighted flywheel make a difference?

Second is the support for the wheel, and how it could be leveled in an awkward location without major excavation and construction. Poles with sliding brackets and pillow block bearings to hold the wheel? I'm not sure if the weir should come next, but once the wheel is in, it can be determined if it's undershot, or could raise the level with a dam enough to make it a breast shot.

Then of course comes the gearing apparatus to get the RPMs up to 1800, and what kind of foundations and housing would be required, all depending on the resources available here... salvaged parts, etc., and how they are connected to the wheel.

I know it's being done backwards, but I have to work with what I have and what I am capable of handling with the location. As with everything so far here, once you decide you're going to do it, you just keep working on it until it gets done, regardless of how long it takes or the final cost.

TIA for any responses from experienced installers... and free vacation stays for anyone who wants to come and help me do it!
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