How to build a simple electric motor at home

Simple electric motor

How to build a simple DC motor at home

After watching a few videos on the internet about how to build a simple DC electric motor, I though that this is something I could also do with materials that (mostly) I already have available at home.

I have learnt two things:

The first one is that, yes, most of the materials are readily available at anyone’s home but not all. 

The second one is that without clear instructions it may take quite a few try and errors to get it done right.

Simple electric motor

In this posts we are going to show you the steps we have taken not only to get the materials to build the motor but also clear instructions about how to make one.

Instructions and materials to build a simple DC motor at home

As one image is worth than a thousand words, we have filmed three videos that should walk you through the whole process of getting the materials, preparing them and building the simple DC motor.

Maybe, have a look to this video first and afterwards keep browsing through this post for additional details.

To build the motor you will need the following materials:

– A piece of cardboard (around 2000 x 700 mm)

– One cork

– One AAA battery

– One magnet

– Around 100 mm of copper wire from a standard cable.

– Around one meter of ENAMELED copper wire

– Glue

And the following tools:

– Pliers

– Cutter

– Scissors

– Your hands

Where from you can get a magnet to build a simple DC motor

Magnets are used quite widely and, also, are thrown to the bin without most of the people being aware of it.

I would say that most of the households have had some kind of musical toy thrown away to the bin during the last year. Or even some PC headset, or PC speaker, or some TV speakers,…

All those devices that emit any kind of music or sound most probably have magnets inside that can be extracted and used at home. To extract the magnets from toys it is a rather simple process but for the people who are not familiar with the process, we are showing how to do it on the video below.

Where from you can get enameled copper wire

Enameled copper wire it is not a material that can be recycled from old toys, an old printer or some damaged PC headset. The best place to get enameled copper wire is from motors so your best shot would be to find some old or damaged motor and extract the enameled copper wire.

Of course , most of the households will not have any old or damaged motor around. But, if you are working on a place that uses or builds machinery, or you know someone who works in such a place, maybe it is possible for you to put your hands on one or a few discarded motors.

In the video below we show the process of extracting enameled copper wire from a discarded motor. It is not that complicated to put such a motor apart an extract the enameled copper wire.

Still, it may not possible for you to put your hands on a discarded motor so another way to get some enameled copper wire could be to purchase some (a couple of meters) from a local provider or even buying in on line.

Other basic materials needed to build a simple DC motor

Probably enameled copper wire it is the material most challenging to procure. Other materials like standard copper wire, cork, cardboard or some paper clips are readily available at home.

The only material that may not be at everyone’s home it is the 1,5 mm copper wire rod. This kind of wire it is used for the houses electrical connections (at least in Europe). So there may be the chance to get some of this type of cable from any house undergoing renovation or new houses in construction from which the electricians may throw away some cable.

If you don’t have at home some of this 1,5 mm copper wire rod and you don’t know anyone working as an electrician, the easiest way to procure some is from a hardware shop.

Simple motor home materials

Other materials like cardboard, cork or some standard copper wire from a cable can be easily found around most of the households.

How to CORRECTLY build the coil for a simple DC motor

Building a simple DC electric motor it is rather simple but there is one very important step that must be done right or otherwise you will finish with a construct that doesn’t work and you will not know why.

Once you have made the coil, as shown on the video, you must remove the enamel from ONLY the top half of each end of the wires

On the image below, the copper wire it is colored in dark orange and the enamel it is colored in light orange. As depicted, we have marked the area from where the enamel has to be removed ( ‘ Remove the enamel’) and as you can see we have to remove it from ONLY THE TOP HALF of each end.

simple motor rotor

We have build the whole circuit over a 2000 mm by 700 mm piece of cardboard from a show box.

We recommend that before start gluing the parts to the cardboard or even cutting the slot for the battery, that you mark all the locations first. Than will avoid you wrong guesses and mistakes.

Simple motor front view

One more detail, we have made several coils of ten turns each and it has always worked well for us.

Also, the coil has to be relatively close to the magnet. We leave around 5 mm between the coil and the magnet. 

Coil rear view

Finally, note that if the coil is not well leveled or imbalanced, at it starts spinning the whole coil will start moving towards one side. This may cause for the coil to collide against one of the side poles and stop spinning.

The science behind a simple DC motor

You have just built an electric circuit that takes the electrons from the negative side of the battery to the coil.

Those electrons pass through the coil, creating an electromagnetic field in the process, and return to the positive side of the battery.

The process keeps repeating and the electromagnetic field created by the electrons while passing through the coil interacts with the magnet and creates the spin.

Simple motor current flow

While we have a closed circuit and the electrons are flowing through the coil, the coil and the magnet repeal each other. This is, the coil tries to move away from the magnet and starts rotating.

But, as the coil start rotating, because we have only removed the enamel from half of the wire, the circuit opens because the enamel doesn’t conduct current and the electrons do not flow anymore through the coil. And, because there is not electromagnetic force and the coil is not repealed by the magnet anymore, it moves back again to a rest position.

And the process repeats itself again and again creating a constant coil rotation, until the battery runs out of power.

If you would like to have some more detailed information, have a look to this DC motor explanation at Wikipedia. Or, also, to this electromagnetic coil explanation also at Wikipedia.

Build a simple DC motor with paper clips

It is possible to build a simple DC motor by using just some paper clips because the clips can also conduct the current from the battery to the coil.

Paper clips are made of galvanized steel wire and they also conduct current, even though not as well as copper. For more information about conductivity, have a look to this page. Copper’s conductivity is much higher than the conductivity of the stainless steel. Still, the stainless steel conductivity it is enough to conduct the electrons from the battery to the coil.

Just be aware that this design it is very unstable and it will need quite a few tweaks to get it to work. This is because the clips will move, or the battery clips will not make good contact with the clips that hold the coil, or the coil clips will turn and block the coil from turning,…

I do not recommend to use paper clips for your first simple motor construction, unless you have not any way to get some copper wire.

Simple motor paper clips

Troubleshooting a simple DC motor

Building a simple DC motor it is quite a straightforward process but when building one for the first time you may make some mistakes. It took me a couple of attempts to successfully build one.

The first time I made one, I didn’t have the correct instructions and I removed the enamel from all around the wire (Remember, you just need to remove the enamel from the top half). Because of this, the close circuit open circuit interaction needed to create the spin was not present and the coil didn’t spin.

Of course, if at any point there is not a good connection and the electrons do not flow from the battery to the coil or from the coil to the battery, the coil will not spin. I found this lack of good connections to be a recurrent problem to the simple motor I built using paper clips.

The easiest way to troubleshoot most of the problems is to use a multimeter

On the left picture below it can be appreciated how I measure the DV voltage at the rods that hold the coil. This way I can be sure that there is good connection all the way from the battery to the coil and the electrons are flowing from the negative to the positive side of the battery.

Also, on the right picture below it can be appreciated how I measure continuity between the both extremes of the copper wire I have used to build the coil. If you have removed the enamel from the TOP HALF of the wire, there should not be a problem whatsoever but this is a test that can be used to discard that there are any coil related problems.

Troubleshooting Simple Motor

Still, if your coil is not spinning and you cannot figure out why, leave us a message below and we will try to provide some troubleshooting advice.

Home electricity consumption calculators

Lamp electricity consumption calculator

Home electricity consumption calculators

It is on your interest to find out how much electricity you are using at home. 

– Do you know how much electricity your appliances are consuming? Your fridge, your washing machine, your tumble dryer…

– Do you know how much electricity you are consuming to illuminate your house? 

– Do you know how much electricity your home devices are consuming? The router that it is powered on 24×7, the PC monitor that it is in stand by mode while not in use, …

If you know how much electricity you are using at home, you can calculate the cost. Once you know the cost, it is easy to calculate how much money you could be saving by reducing your power consumption.

Effiworkx have made available several calculators that will help you finding out your home electricity consumption.

Lamps and bulbs electricity consumption calculator

Lamp electricity consumption calculator

The easiest way to know how much power it is being used to illuminate our houses, and the cost, it is to calculate the consumption and the cost of small units.

For example, if we have a lamp in our living room with seven bulbs and we know that the lamp it is used an average of 4 hours a day, we can easily calculate the power and cost consumption over time.

Another example, if in our bedroom we have 5 bulbs of the same power rating and we estimate that they are powered on 1 hour every day, we can easily find out how much electricity they are consuming and how much it is costing us.

Once we know how much we are consuming and the cost, we can also easily figure out how much we would be saving by swapping to more efficient bulbs or by decreasing the usage.

IncandescentCFLLED
40 W8-12 W4-5 W
60 W13-18 W6-8 W
75 W18-22 W9-13 W
100 W23-30 W16-20 W
 

Devices powered on 24x7 electricity consumption calculator

Many houses have devices that are powered on 24×7, for example the router and the fridge.

We all want to have internet available at any time but it is good to be aware of much money it is costing us. Once we know the cost, next time that we need to buy a new router and we have to chose between two models, we will be making sure to buy the one which is consuming less.

Devices consuming electricity 24x7

In occasions, specially for small devices, we power rating tag is not showing the power consumption is Watts (W) or Kilowatts (kW). But once we know the voltage and current consumption, we can easily calculate the power consumption.

 

If the know the power consumption, for how long we are using the device every day and how much we are paying to our electricity provide per Kilowatt hour (kWh) consumed, we can calculate the power consumption and the cost over time.

 

Devices and appliances electricity consumption calculator

In general, it is simple to calculate our devices and appliances power consumption and cost over time, we just need to know:

– The device or appliance power rating

– For how long we are using the device or appliance any single day, in average.

– How much we are paying to our electricity supplier for every kWh we are consuming.

 

This calculator can give you an estimate of the power consumption and the cost but the most accurate way to find out the consumption of any device or appliance is to use a plug in power meter.

Plug in power meter electricity consumption

Buying an energy efficient appliance: is it worth?

Energy efficient appliances consume less electricity which means that we will be paying less every month on electricity bill. So far, it sounds good, isn’t it?

What we need to be aware of is that the energy efficient appliances are usually more expensive and we will be paying more for that energy efficient fridge, washing machine, dishwasher,…

The question here is, is it worth to pay that additional money to buy an energy efficient appliance that will be consuming less electricity?

Energy Efficient Appliance

We need to be very careful, because in occasions it is not profitable to buy a more efficient appliance because it may take many years for the monthly savings to offset the cost of buying that extra efficient appliance.

 

Reduce your consumption - Save electricity and money

All in all, there will be many ways at home to reduce our electricity consumption and save money and you just need to know where to look at.

Do you know much electricity (kWh) do your household consume? Ours it is consuming an average of 2700 kWh every year.

Our home electricity consumption in kWh

If you know your yearly power consumption you can also find out if your consumption is average when compared to your region or country. 

Find out how much you can save, for example, by reducing your heating consumption or by reducing your household consumption by 10%, 20% or even more.

 

How to reduce your electricity consumption

Let us show you how to reduce your electricity consumption by sharing with your those ways to save electricity that we have tested by ourselves or we deem worth to try.

Have a look to our tips to save electricity and learn more!

Bringing life to old laptop with Ubuntu

old laptop ubuntu

Bringing life to an old laptop with Ubuntu

At some point or another, that laptop that has served us well for so many years it to become to ‘old’ to run operating systems, such as Windows 10, that require more up to date hardware.

This doesn’t means that we cannot use that old laptop anymore, because if it still works if would be a waste to throw it away. Instead, we can install an operating system that has lower system requirements.

And here it comes the best part, Linux based operating systems like Ubuntu are free, has much lower system requirements than Windows and can be installed easily and in no time.

old laptop ubuntu

Installing Ubuntu on an old laptop

Ubuntu can not only be downloaded from their official page but also they provide instructions on how to install it or even the option to try it before installing it by running it from an USB.

As Ubuntu it is very well known and used, it has a lot of community support and a lot of resources are available on the net. Any doubt, question, clarification or already has an answer readily available or can be asked to the Ubuntu community.

As a warning, I must say that using Ubuntu may not that straightforward as using Windows. It requires some time to get used to any Linux distribution and some task like installing additional software may require some time and specific knowledge. 

Said that, if that old laptop it is only required for some basic tasks like browsing internet or watching a movie, Ubuntu can deployed and used straight away.

Giving the old laptop new and useful purposes

Let’s explore our option for an old laptop…

That old laptop can be used as a first PC for a young teenager, a PC that can be used and ‘destroyed’ without incurring in a major loss. 

In this case, an old laptop with Ubuntu it is just ideal because it can be the gateway to further knowledge like computer programming. We all know how smart our small children are and how quickly they can grasp new knowledge so that old laptop with Linux and a readily available command line may bring out the programming genie inside of that child or teenager.

In the worst case, the child will ‘break’ something and we just need to reinstall the free Ubuntu operating system.

Another option, maybe one that it is not in most people’s mind, it is to use to mine cryptocurrencies. Most people has heard about Bitcoin and that it is possible to mine it using some powerful hardware, but bitcoin it is not the only cryptocurrency that can be mined.

This relatively ‘young’ but with a lot of potential cryptocurrency called Nimiq, can be mined using a web browser and without the need to specific and expensive hardware. The old laptop with Ubuntu may be your gateway to learn about cryptocurrencies, the mining of cryptocurrencies and even the source of some passive income. 

Note that mining will consume power and our electricity bill may increase because of the higher power consumption. It is up to you, the person reading this article, to assess if Nimiq mining it is or it will be profitable and a possible passive income source.

There are other many uses that can be given to that old laptop and we will be updating this article with new possibilities. 

We hope that this information has ‘saved’ the life of your old laptop and bring it new purpose. If you have some ideas or suggestions related to this topic, let us know so we can share them with other people.

After all, reducing waste and save money it is on everyone’s interest. 

For more tips, visit our recycling page by clicking on the image below.

Earn while surfing the web

Brave Presearch featured image

Earn Brave and Presearch tokens while surfing the web

Many of us spend a considerable amount of time every day using our laptops, PCs, tables or mobile phones surfing the web. Those devices use electricity and bandwidth that we need to pay every month. Over time, relatively small amounts of electricity may account for a significant expense and our mobile phones data plans may have a limit on how much bandwidth we can use and the more we use the more we need to pay.

Why not to maximize the time that we spend browsing the internet by earning some BAT or PRE tokens, then exchange those tokens to FIAT money (Euro, Dollar, Pound, Zloty,…). Then use those earnings to pay for part of our electricity bill or some additional bandwidth…

earn with brave browser

The Brave browser

No so long ago I started getting interested in the blockchain technology and, of course, into cryptocurrencies. To keep the story short, a piece of information lead to another piece of information and then I got to know about the Brave browser and Presearch search engine projects.

The first one, the Brave browser is a relatively new browser with a very similar look to other more known browsers, like Google Chrome, but with additional benefits like enhanced security, lower data usage or increased privacy

The brave browser automatically blocks ads and trackers when you surf the web which leads to a decreased bandwidth usage, faster content load and less time for us users waiting for the web pages to load. 

Brave browser bandwidth

Additionally, the Brave browser is giving to their users BAT tokens for clicking on ads. Clicking on ads is utterly optional and the ads can be totally disabled while still enjoying a quick browser, with lower data usage and increased privacy features. But for those who don’t mind to click on relevant ads every so often, the browser is giving BAT tokens for every click. Once a month those tokens become available and they are transferred to an account from which those tokens can be redeemed.

As shown on the picture at the top of this post, last month I have earned a little over 11 BAT which are the equivalent to 2,5 euro. Maybe not a big amount of money but it will definitely will help with paying for the electricity used by my computer.

Note that to in order to use to BAT tokens and transform them into FIAT currencies or other crypto assets, it is mandatory to have a crypto wallet and know how to use it. The brave browser works with a wallet named Uphold, and on that wallet we can transform our BAT tokens to other crypto currencies, Fiat money or even gold.

Uphold cards

Bonus tip

If you are a Global Hive* user, your daily cryptocurrency gains are multiplied by 10X if you are a Brave Browser user

*Global Hive is a crypto faucet and another way of earning small amounts of crypto, in this case Zcash (ZEC) 

Global Hive screenshot

The Presearch search engine

In addition to the Brave browser, I am also using the Presearch search engine. Until now I was using Google for my searches but I have swapped to Presearch because not only I can run my searches but also earn some PRE tokens in the process. 

To be fair, Presearch it is not yet at Google’s level and every so often I need to run some specific searches on Google. 

At the moment I am not expending my PRE tokens because as an small content creator I will eventually stake to tokens towards getting more traffic to my website. Still, once the Presearch engine becomes more widely used, the tokens may increase in value and then I may decide to swap those tokens for cash. 

Earn with Presearch

Bonus Presearch Tip

If you are a content creator and you want to promote your content, you can create ads by staking your Presearch tokens. You still keep the ownership of your token and until approximately January 2020 there is no cost for any traffic generated by your ads. 

Just be aware that you need a minimum of 1000 tokens. Apart from that,  it is cost free promotion for your website.

Stacking Presearch Tokens

Blockchain projects and Cryptocurrencies - Step out of your comfort zone

The bottom point is, if you are going to use a computer browser anyway and you are going to make some searches every so often, why not to be efficient and earn some BAT and PRE tokens in the process.

Also, this may be an effortless and profitable way to start learning about those blockchain projects that are going to become more and more widely used in the near future. For those new to the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, terms like tokens may be  bit alien and there may be some initial learning involved, but for those who are willing to step out of the comfort zones, there are rewards waiting to be found and collected.

Visit the Brave and Presearch websites and they will guide you through the process of installing the Brave browser and the Presearch search engine. From there, it is just matter of learning a bit more about crypto wallets and crypto currencies which it is a knowledge which will be of great value in the near future.

On this post we have shown a way to potentially earn some cash to pay for our bills, a different approach towards our standard saving electricity to pay less on our bills. Still, home efficiency is our main motto and getting profit out of our daily activities it is most definitely efficient. 

What is standby power?

Standby power consumption

What is standby power cosumption

Standby power consumption at home

Standby power consumption it is the power used by a device or appliance when the are not in active use.  

Those appliances and devices that draw power while in standby mode are also called vampire loads or phantom loads.

Many devices, like TVs or microwave ovens, remain in standby while not in active use to they can be quickly put back into use. This is, instead of having to wait a few seconds so the device can go through the power on cycle, the device can be put back into use instantaneously because it was never completely powered off.

The standby power consumption it is relatively low but low power consumption over long periods of time can quickly amount to a considerable cost.

Standby power consumption calculator

The calculator below can be used to calculate the cost over time of a device or appliance kept in standby mode during long periods of time.

 

For other useful calculators have a look to the electricity consumption calculators page.

How to find out what appliances or devices are consuming power while in standby mode

For those interested in learning how to find out what home appliances or devices are using power while in standby mode, better an image than a thousand words. Have a look to the video below, acquire the knowledge, use it and save money by eliminating vampire loads.

We are working towards make the videos available in many languages so if English is not your main language have a look to the channel for other language options.

Eliminate standby power consumption

Now that you have learnt what standby power consumption is, consider your options to reduce or eliminate that waste of electricity and money:

  1. Switch your devices off while they are not in use
  2. If your appliance or device has an ECO function, make sure that it is enabled
  3. Use a power strip to power off several standby devices with the flick of a single switch
  4. Use a smart power strip to measure and control the standby loads
  5. Use a visually friendly smart socket to avoid unnecessary standby times

We trust that we found this information useful and educative.

If you want to know how to reduce your electricity consumption and save money, clicking on the image below will take you to the Effiworkx electricity page.

Plug in power meter electricity consumption

Install a water saving tap aerator, reduce your water consumption and save money

water saving tap aerator

Install a water saving tap aerator, reduce your water consumption and save money

Water saving tap aerator bathroom

We have reduced our bathroom tap water consumption in hundreds of liters every year by installing an inexpensive water saving tap aerator.

Most of us understand the importance of saving water so we do our best to close the water taps while not in use and teach our children that water is very valuable and must not be wasted.

Still, as a parent, I have came to realize that very small children (and some adults) may not have yet enough awareness and we need to take a more active role into making sure that water is not being wasted.

Because of the strong water pressure at home, our bathroom tap was using much more water that necessary for just simply cleaning the hands or brushing the teeth. We were wasting water and money!

Water saver tap aerator: Cheap, easy to install, big savings

I came across a water saving tap aerator that claimed to use only one liter of water every 3,8 seconds and had very good reviews so I decided to give it a try.

If you also decide to install a water saving tap aerator, my advise is to look for aerators that specifically describe the water usage (for example, one liter of water every 5 second) and to avoid those which make claims like ‘save up to 30%’.

We recently purchased a water saving shower head that claimed to save up to 30% of water. Well, it is actually saving us 1% of water so that means that we have wasted 30 euro that we could had used to buy something else

In any case, the water savier tap aerator has been a great investment: Low cost, easy installation and big water and money savings.

BeforeAfter
1 liter every 6 seconds1 liter every 15,5 seconds
10 liters per minute3,8 liters per minute
5 minutes per day = 50 liters per day5 minutes per day = 19 liters per day
50 x 330 days per year = 16,500 liters per year19 x 330 days per year = 6,270 liters per year
16,500 x 2 euro per cubic meter = 33 euro/year6,270 x 2 euro per cubic meter = 12,5 euro per year

A saving of 25 euro a year is actually a very good result because the cost of purchasing a tap aerator is quite low.

Still, the amount of water saved is astonishing which really makes it a worthy investment for any family.

On the video below we are walking you over the whole process of installing a tap aerator, which is quite a simple process that anyone can do.

We are working towards making the videos available in different languages so, if English is not your main language, have a look to our YouTube channel for other language options.

We hope to convince as many people to install water saving tap aerators because we really believe that it is a simple but very positive way to save both money and water.

For anyone who still have doubts, use the following calculator to decide if it is really worth for you to purchase a water saving tap aerator.

 

Reduce your water consumption

Now that you have learnt how to install a water saving tap aerator, if you are interested on further increasing your knowledge and learning how to reduce your water consumption and save money, click on the image below and have a look to our water efficiency page.

We trust that the information shared if it of interest for anyone who is interested in becoming aware of how much water it is being consumed in our households and what are the best water saving opportunities that we can apply to reduce our water consumption and save money.

How to measure your appliances and devices power consumption using a plug-in power meter

Plug in power meter measure power consumption

How to measure your appliances and devices power consumption using a plug-in power meter

Plug in power meter electricity consumption

Our objective is to decrease our electricity consumption and save money on our electricity bills.

The first step we need to take is to measure how much electricity we are consuming and then work towards finding ways to reducing our electricity consumption.

All of our house appliances and devices like the wash machine, the dishwasher, the TV or the printer are plugged to a wall socket. With a power consumption meter we can determine how much energy our appliance or devices is using and, more importantly, we can measure the power consumption over a period of time.

The image below shows the power meter that we are using during our tests. For more details and specifications, clicking on the image will re-direct you to the product page in Amazon.

Learn how to use a power consumption plug in power meter

Following the principle that one image is worth one thousand words, we have made a video where we show how to use a plug-in power meter and how it can be used to measure our appliances and devices power consumption.

We are working towards making the videos available in different languages so, if English is not your main language, have a look to our YouTube channel for other language options. Do not forget to ENABLE the CAPTIONS.

As explained on the video, we did measure the power consumption of our dishwasher cycles and that did allow us to know that we were not using the most efficient cycle. Since, we have got used to always use the Eco cycle and even though it takes over three hours to complete we have just adjusted our routines and now we run the dishwasher overnight.

CyclePower consumptionTotal cost
70 degrees1,21 KWh0,31 euro
Auto0,80-1,10 KWh0,20 - 0,28 euro
Auto + Vario Speed1 KWh0,28 euro
Eco0,60 KWh0,15 euro

In our opinion, a plug-in power meter is a cheap an easy to use device which make us become more aware of our daily electricity usage and, as we have proved already, to save money it may just be matter of being more aware of how our habits and lifestyle can contribute towards reducing our energy and water usage.

We hope you have found the information useful. We will be updating this post regularly with any new information, our personal experience with other similar products and the information our visitors share with us.

If you are interested on similar topics learning how to reduce your electricity consumption and save money, click on the image below and have a look to our electricity efficiency page.