Micro Hydro Basics
Flowing water from a spring or stream can be captured and used to turn a generator to create electricity.
In a high head (>10ft) situation, the water should be captured in a pipe (penstock) which will build pressure at the generator.
Here is a commercial unit: stream engine
In a low head (2-10ft) situation, the water can be channeled into an open, level sluice which will feed the impeller/generator.
Here is a commercial unit: low head stream engine
In an open river (no head, but moving water), a floating boat with a paddle wheel can be used.
How to use the tool
Step 1: Site Survey
Measure Head in feet (elevation drop from highest to lowest point)
Measure Flow rate in gallons per minute (capture all of the water in a 5 gal bucket and measure time to fill bucket)
Electrical power generation in Watts= Head (ft) x Flow (gpm) / 10
Here is a free excel-based calculator Hydro calculator
And another for Windows only Hydro calculator
Step 2: Build-out
this would be the equivalent of an owners manual, pictures and video are excellent in this section. If the tool has many functions, then these should all be explored here.
Bill of materials and Sourcing
Most of the investment is in the infrastructure (site work, intake structure, pipe, power house, etc).
For the water wheel, generator and electrical components, there are a few commercially available, and also look on ebay.
To build your own from parts:
Water wheel (pelton or turgo for piped system, or overshot or undershot wheel in an open system)
Generator (this can be any permanent magnet DC motor, or a PMA permanent magnet alternator)
Blocking diode (so electricity doesn't flow back making the generator a motor)
Fuse (can be simple auto style)
Charge controller for battery systems (here's a DIY one 555 based charge controller
or a grid tie inverter for a grid tied system
this section should include a list of materials, and dimensions and sources for each item when available)
Construction/how to build
this section should include basic step by step instructions and include supporting documentation like engineering drawings, CAD or CAM files, as well as supporting photos and videos. If an instructables has already been done on it, a link to the instructable would be perfect here)
This section is to highlight what next steps are needed for documentation or construction to move the project along. This might contain a link to a kickstarter campaign or to a forum discussion of documentation or prototype needs etc.
this section might link to fabricators of the tool or tool components who are members of the farm hack community. If a fabricator has the item listed on Etsy or similar, a link to that listing would be appropriate here too
this section might link to project threads on the forum - if you are going to build the tool, please start a project thread in the forum, and post lots of pictures!