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Let me preface this by saying, "Please don't write me to tell me how awesome my picture is. I already know it rocks." That being said, I would like to take a moment to explain just WHAT this is ... this contraption can ( and probably would be ) a wall mount, either indoors of out of doors. As rain water is collected (or you pour water into the topmost spout) it runs down the chutes and turns the water wheels which are all connected to motors, batteries, etc.for generation and storage. The water is collected at the bottom of the run and can be poured again into the topmost spout. The same principle can be applied along the gutters of your home, or even on the drain pipes from your bathtub, sinks, or toilet.

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Comment by Thomas Pinkerton on March 22, 2010 at 2:30am
I had thought about something like this -- small wheels within rain spouts - but there's one issue I keep thinking of: They need traps before the first few wheels. I know gutters around here can get pretty bad -- full of all kind of organic trash. A few leaves could damage the wheels and then cause spillage of rainwater, which I assume will also be collected and used at the end of the chute. I still like the idea, but there are a few kinks to work out.
Comment by Thomas Pinkerton on March 22, 2010 at 2:35am
And then, in a moment, an idea hits me. We angle the initial downspout, leading off of the gutters, about 10 degrees off-center, instead of leading straight down. Then, a few inches above the first wheel, we place a h*** in the top of the pipe, with a second entire downspout system that leads to the collection barrel. This acts like the h*** in the front of your bathroom sink. If the wheel is jammed and the spout is clogged, the collected water -- that can't get through -- is diverted down the secondary spout. We may miss out on power, but it saves worse damage, and the rainwater.
Comment by Robert Hawkins on March 22, 2010 at 2:47am
could you build this as a piece of art somewhere in a house connected to your water source?
Comment by Guy Gore on March 22, 2010 at 3:33am
Good idea Thomas, and Robert, I'm sure you could. :)
Comment by Andrew Jensen on March 22, 2010 at 10:40pm
I was playing with some designs like this a few days ago. Here's a few thoughts:

The best case scenario is to have a constant predictable flow of water, because then you can design your generators to be most efficient at that specific flow. Now for an unpredictable flow, like rain in your gutters, you'd be best to collect the water in a tank first. When the tank fills, a floating ball triggers a switch which drains the tank, kinda like a toilet's tank but in reverse. Then the water flows into a lower collection cistern, but through your generator setup first, at the designed-for rate of flow.

In one of my books I have a design for an aquaculture water purifier, that takes wastewater from your house and cleans it up enough to be released into a stream or groundwater. It involves moving a lot of water from one pond to the next, and setting up water wheels like this between each stage could collect some power at the same time.

The real question is what is the lifespan of the water wheels, and can they recoup the energy it took to make them within their lifespan. Actually, that's the real question about any generator setup.
Comment by Guy Gore on March 23, 2010 at 5:02am
Thanks for the feedback! Those are some good points (especailly about recouping to 'cost' of the generators).


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