Physics Experiments: How to build a simple generator

Simon came up with the idea to make this simple electric generator a while ago, but we had bad luck with the ceramic magnets we ordered: they had chipped ends and literally crumbled in my hands, which I found very dangerous. Simon was extremely upset when I told him we couldn’t use those magnets and had to order new ones, not ceramic but neodymium ones this time. Even though we had to wait for the new set of magnets, Simon had already prepared the square cardboard base with the long iron screw piercing it in the middle. He made it all by himself. Today we finally had the time and everything necessary for the project:

a 1,5 Volt, 40 mili-ampere miniature lamp;

coated copper wire,  0,25 mm thick;

and of course, two new 40 x 20 x 10 mm neodymium magnets (very strong, make sure to take precaution as such magnets can cause injuries when they jump towards each other — adult supervision required).

The generator works because of Faraday’s law, which states that a dynamic (moving) magnetic field creates electricity. The objective is to make sure the magnets can freely spin inside your cardboard box when you turn the iron screw. We put around 250 loops of copper wire around the box to create a coil (Simon actually counted). Carefully scrape the enamel off at the tips of the two loose ends of your copper wire and attach those to the lamp’s contacts.

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