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Harnessing sound power


by Applebohn on May 5, 2008

Table of Contents

Harnessing sound power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Intro: Harnessing sound power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Step 1: Wiring the speakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Step 2: Hooking up the speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Step 3: More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

http://www.instructables.com/id/Harnessing-sound-power/
Intro: Harnessing sound power
You know how everyone's talking about using solar panels and wind turbines to Go Green. While thats good and all, those aren't the only sources of renewable energy;
there's another one that is almost never used: sound.
Although it does take a fair amount of noise to generate a descent amount of electricity, but if you think about it, say you harness all the noise from a football game or the
hustel and bustel of a large city, by the end of the day you have a lot of power, and some stranger unknowingly will have given you free electricity.

The things you will need:

2 wires
1 volt meter
1 speaker (the bigger the better)

Step 1: Wiring the speakers


The first step is to attach wires to your speaker. Your speaker may already have the wires and if that is the case go right onto the next step.

Step 2: Hooking up the speaker


The next thing to do is to connect the your positive and negative wires on the speaker to the volt meter contacts and switch it on.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Harnessing-sound-power/
Step 3: More
I have found out that bass noises produce the most electricity. To increase its output you can place the it up against a speaker playing some music or if you happened to
own a jet, you could strap it onto the engine and make some serious electricity!

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Comments
50 comments Add Comment view all 113 comments

MaXoR says: Mar 3, 2011. 9:56 AM REPLY


LMAO.... you guys aren't stepping back to look at this whole theory..... all of you who think this has potential, will cry once they realize that even the most
efficient set up like this, would be very watefull, and inefficient.

Don't get me wrong, I love this idea.... there is just a reason it's not being used today.......

meghatoks says: Dec 8, 2010. 1:54 AM REPLY


speakers emit sound ..... how do we get to gather it ???

Applebohn says: Dec 8, 2010. 7:31 AM REPLY


Yes, speakers do emit sound but as is the case with all electromagnetic devises not only can they consume energy, i.e music blaring out a speaker or a
motor spinning, but if done in reverse they generate power and speakers are no exception. This is the basic principle behind wind turbines and it too can-
-in theory--be applied in speakers to harness energy (although it is not nearly as effective). Read the instructable!

MaXoR says: Mar 3, 2011. 9:34 AM REPLY


Doesn't sound travel better through water? What if water was replacing the air in this idea? Air is just a liquid when it comes to physics......

talhakamran2006 says: Oct 22, 2010. 1:37 PM REPLY


Well guys I did some more research in it and what happens is very disapointing. There is a ring of coild which when receives electric input gets mangnetized
and moves away from the magnet.
In his case the guy was using sound waves from another speaker to vibrate that coil. Whenever copper coil and magnet come close the magnetic field
excites electrons in copper coil and current is produced. Those who know how electromagnetic works will understand immediately whats going on. To cut
long story shot this idea is busted. Switch to wind turbine its more affective. However if you are really interedted in harnessing sound lookout for acoustic
systems which use sound to generate waves in helium. .......

http://www.instructables.com/id/Harnessing-sound-power/
Dilong_paradoxus says: Jan 2, 2011. 7:33 PM REPLY
Actually, the sound energy is being used to power the speaker, like how a microphone works. I believe speakers are magnetically shielded, or at least
not a large enough magnet to actually influence stuff around them through their case.

Applebohn says: Nov 3, 2010. 6:49 PM REPLY


What the heck is "this idea is busted" supposed to mean?! It does work, not with great efficiency but I was proposing it as a concept project, for fun, not a
plan to save the planet. If your still a cynic I suggest you check out this article about Daniel Wang:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb242/is_201009/ai_n55071644/pg_2/

talhakamran2006 says: Nov 4, 2010. 9:10 AM REPLY


Sorry my friend, wrong words came out. Actually me and my fellow contrymen are desperate to make electricity in our backyards. You can imagine
how would you feel if you dont have electricity at house for 12 hours a day and you live right on the equator.

Please accept my sincere apology.

Applebohn says: Nov 4, 2010. 4:23 PM REPLY


I totally understand how frustrating that could be. I'm sorry, I over reacted. And hey good luck!!

CAbeachguy says: Dec 16, 2010. 10:46 PM REPLY


I've been in the large scale PA systems business for many years, and this makes me think that we could make one of these and use it at concerts to power
items like signeage or props on stage, sidestage/backstage lighting, maybe even musical instruments...

As cyberpageman and macrumpton have indicated any sort of back and forth vibrational thing can create electricity. The Vibro-Wind Research Group is
working on an efficient, low-cost method of converting vibrations from wind energy to electricity. Google it. It definitely looks like something that can be made
cheaply in a weekend to generate electricity. Personally, I'd like to see a large scale demo of this on all 4 sides of the upper 10 stories of a building of 15 or
more stories.

morgangalpin says: Nov 1, 2010. 10:05 AM REPLY


Would using a microphone produce more energy than a speaker? Are they not designed to be sensitive to collecting sound? You might be able to collect a
wider range of sounds. Maybe a microphone is just a speaker in reverse much like you've done here.

Here's a random link I googled: http://www.marktaw.com/recording/Electronics/MicrophonesSpeakers.html

I think the cone/funnel idea is an excellent one for increasing the sound collected by a single speaker. I would definitely expect it to increase the power
output.

I'm going to try this today.

hifatpeople says: Dec 4, 2010. 4:50 PM REPLY


microphones and speakers are built the same, the only real difference is that speakers are made of thick material and microphones are made of very thin
material.

Speakers are thick so they can produce louder sound.


Microphones are thin so they can be vibrated easily (more sensitive to sound)

Applebohn says: Nov 3, 2010. 6:35 PM REPLY


That's a very interesting idea! I bet you're right, it would make perfect sense that a mic would generate more electricity than a speaker!

Bando_Red says: Aug 26, 2010. 11:43 PM REPLY


How well do you think gunfire would work with this?

Applebohn says: Aug 28, 2010. 12:41 PM REPLY


Great thought, it never even occurred to me!!! With gun shots being so loud, all you'd have to do is set this device up at a large firing range and you'd be
in business!!!!!! Yet sadly, as for tapping into all that energy wasted by firearms, it could be more difficult to do so than with say, an excited crowd at a
stadium. Due to the fact that gunfire is typically is in short loud bursts, you would be left with incredible short, sporadic bursts in voltage. But hey, its still
sounds perfectly doable. For starters you could add an inductor to your circuit in order to help create a more consistent voltage output and then all that's
left to do is strap it to a machine gun and pull the trigger!!! :D

Great Wight Ninja says: Nov 26, 2010. 3:18 PM REPLY


I think what you meant to say is a capacitor, not an inductor. Since you have an oscillating signal, an inductor would create high impedance until you
had current flowing in one direction for a long period of time. A capacitor, on the other hand, would gain impedance as it collects charge and release
that accumulated energy when the voltage drops.

Applebohn says: Nov 28, 2010. 11:49 AM REPLY


whoops, your quite right!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Harnessing-sound-power/
talhakamran2006 says: Oct 15, 2010. 9:11 PM REPLY
Well, I did the basic test as you did. Broke one of my headphones and solded the cables. Nothing happened even when i turned my big Tele's volume to full.
My headphone's speaker had a plastic coating at top which was slightly lifted above from the magnet and one of the wire was attached to this thin plastic. It
seemed like this plastic was to move up and down for bass effects. Anyways when i gently tapped the plastic in the center it touched the magnet and that
produced charge. In some cases even few milli volts.

Please someone shed light on this to explain to me what is happening here

talhakamran2006 says: Oct 15, 2010. 1:53 PM REPLY


Guys, I am desperate to make electricity. I am from Pakistan and we are facing electricity crisis here. My house is out of electricity for more than 12 hours. I
have all sorts of nasty experiments to do with this idea.
My personal thoughts are that instead of bass pitch sounds like the one you get after a slap in your ears would work better :). I saw in a video that a guy re-
magnetised ferrous magnet by using such sound from his speakers. Which I take as kinetic force to align poles ones again in a magent.

wish me good luck guys.

Vissy says: Oct 2, 2010. 1:53 PM REPLY


I'd seen a video/interview with a guy (from a university?) tat was using the same concept to use sound to produce cooling in a desktop PC.

I assume this works the opposite of powering a speaker. Yay magnets!

Applebohn says: Oct 2, 2010. 2:23 PM REPLY


that awesome, sound interesting!!

Saturn V says: Oct 2, 2010. 7:07 AM REPLY


Yay! You just gave me the idea for an electric jet!

omgitzstegman says: Jul 8, 2010. 2:09 AM REPLY


Cool idea, did you think about using a very large "speaker cone" attached to your speaker coil?

mortso says: Aug 6, 2010. 11:51 PM REPLY


...and let's not forget the whole range of powerful Cell, Radio transmitters out there... basically putting energy into the air in a certain spectrum— like
sound! How about capturing that energy as a pure energy source... no "listening".. just watts of RE-captured power. just "another" thought! lol

Applebohn says: Aug 13, 2010. 11:19 AM REPLY


LOL

mortso says: Aug 6, 2010. 11:49 PM REPLY


I wonder about using a "bank" of speakers... several in series or parallel to capture the entire range of sound... several octaves in both directions from
human hearing... placed into a busy "city" environment... I'll bet you could generate 24 volts and up to a couple of amps. Worth a try? How about a long
"wire" mic next to busy trains and freeways? Or what about capturing the very rumble of the earth in ultra low freq piezos? the possibilities are endless.
Mankind soon will be groping for such salvation technologies. I'll bet my 57 years on it.

MaXoR says: Mar 3, 2011. 9:42 AM REPLY


sorry for another one.... Mankind will ALWAYS have to take the cost of harnessing such power, against the gains you receive. How much will they
have to spend, to gain how much energy?! I like others on here would like to see a scaled up model put to actual tests. I doubt this theory would be
anywhere near to an "answer" for our energy crisis.

MaXoR says: Mar 3, 2011. 9:39 AM REPLY


I have a question.... where did you get your voltage math from? Just pulling numbers out of the....air?

Applebohn says: Aug 13, 2010. 11:18 AM REPLY


YES! That would be awesome!!

Applebohn says: Jul 9, 2010. 8:36 PM REPLY


Na, hadn't thought of it, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. Focus the sound on the speaker... good idea!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Harnessing-sound-power/
omgitzstegman says: Jul 15, 2010. 11:24 AM REPLY
I don't really mean "focus" the sound but more like a large rigid surface that you could even attach to the regular speaker cone. It would act like a
larger piston to move the coil. BTW I'm not sure how you could rectify that AC into some useful DC for your LEDs. Good luck!

MaXoR says: Mar 3, 2011. 9:46 AM REPLY


use a bridge rectifier, and run it through a smoother circuit. I run LED's off generated AC, converted to DC..... good as gravy!

mortso says: Aug 6, 2010. 10:33 PM REPLY


This reminds me of the circuit to make an Ultrasonic Listening device using a special Piezo Speaker as a high freq. microphone.
http://www.amazing1.com/accoustics.htm#HT9 Thanks for sharing this is cool and shows the electronic possibilities of unused sources of energy. *COOL* !

Electronics Blurred says: Jun 21, 2010. 11:43 AM REPLY


I am of course , very confused . Can i use a giant subwoofer for it ? i am listening to music via a small logitech subwoofer , i have a 6Ohm speaker about
slightly bigger then a satellite speaker . but the subwoofer is some serious business . Its 10 ohms and its huge ! its used to power my LG DVD 5.1 but the
mosfet got fried . D: my satellites arent showing anything though .

Applebohn says: Jun 21, 2010. 12:04 PM REPLY


I would bet that large speakers would harness just as much (in fact probable more) energy than a smaller speaker yet the drawback being that the larger
the speaker, the louder the noise it would take to vibrate the magnate back and forth over the speakers coils (what creates the energy). So, you'll
probable have better luck with a smaller speaker for just testing it out around the house whereas a big speaker might be more suited for industrial uses or
something like that. Good luck! :D

Electronics Blurred says: Jun 21, 2010. 9:11 PM REPLY


Yea . I cranked my speaker up to 80 db , and got some voltage .

Applebohn says: Jun 22, 2010. 8:44 AM REPLY


Nice :D

Electronics Blurred says: Jun 22, 2010. 9:00 AM REPLY


i wore some ear plugs and tried 120 db . And then i connected it to my 3V DVD drive motor ( i guess it's a brushless ) and it spun , quite okay
.

Applebohn says: Jun 22, 2010. 10:52 AM REPLY


WOW! That's so cool!! I never got nearly that many volts!!!!!

Electronics Blurred says: Jun 22, 2010. 11:05 AM REPLY


Well , i should be lucky . because 120db is a plane's volume ! i quickly replaced my logitech subwoofer with a larger subwoofer , as it
couldn't take such volumes without over bass-ing . so there , i used a even larger 12 ohm subwoofer to power my motor , but the
exact amount of power it produces is quite deflected , considering having to power 12V and 1 A , to get it working . since my computer
is running at 18.5V & 3A . I can say , its using up almost 1/6 my computer's wattage .

loki2012 says: Apr 5, 2010. 11:39 AM REPLY


That has to be the oldest volt meter I have ever seen! I had one back in, uh, 1985? I lost mine in a fan blade of a car. Nice to see one still working!

Applebohn says: Apr 25, 2010. 9:35 AM REPLY


Haha, ya it is getting quite old!!

dasruckus says: Apr 24, 2010. 6:41 PM REPLY


You should make a circuit that uses that energy instead of displaying the volts, which is basically potential.

Applebohn says: Apr 25, 2010. 9:32 AM REPLY


Ya, that would be a lot more fun! Maybe it could light up an LED....

cyberpageman says: Nov 5, 2009. 7:57 AM REPLY


This is a great idea. Why stop with harnessing sound power? Any force that moves back and forth can be used to generate power. Get a neodynium
magnet with wire loosely wrapped around it. Instructions are given in http://www.instructables.com/id/Styrofoam-Plate-Speaker/

When you have done it, you have a coil that can mover up and down on a magnet, which will generate power. How you set it up now is up to you, but one or
the other, magnet or coil, has to be free to move, and the other held still. You can put it on a base, attach an LED to it, and carry it in your car. Vibrations
and bumps will cause the magnet to jump, and the LED should flicker on. DON'T FORGET TO WATCH THE ROAD!
http://www.instructables.com/id/Harnessing-sound-power/
The vibrations from trains and cars going by, especially on a bridge, should power the generator (don't stick it on a metal surfact that will hold the magnet
from moving).

Anything that flaps in the breeze would power this too once you figure out how to attach it.

Let's see, what else? Waves in the water, yes, that would work, but hard to wire. There must be zillions of others.

Neodynium magnets can be ordered off the Internet,


I got mine at http://www.indigo.com/magnets/gphmgnts/Nd-rod-magnets.html. The N42 rod magnet, D10mm x 12.5mm are $US 1.62 each.

This idea is not unlike the battery-less flashlight that you shake to charge. The most basic circuit here would have the wires from the coil connected directly
to an LED. If the LED doesn't light, perhaps the coil and magnet should be bigger. If it does light, add another LED wired with the opposite polarity, because
the power from the coil is AC, so it will power an LED on the positive cycle and another LED on the negative. If the LED art too bright, a small-value resistor
should be added in series.

The next step might be addition of a capacitor to store the charge, but let's leave that for another time.

macrumpton says: Apr 4, 2010. 3:57 PM REPLY


Google Humdinger windbelt for a nice example of a wind powered vibrational generator. There are some limitations in vibratory harvesting. It is easier to
harvest energy that is higher frequency since the lower the frequency the larger the coils and magnets need to be for the same output. This is one reason
harvesting power from ocean waves is difficult. The other thing to look for is larger amplitude vibrations. A movement of 1 inch is much easier to get
energy out of than 1/8" since it is the amount of movement of the coils past a magnet (or vice versa) that transfers the power.

Applebohn says: Nov 5, 2009. 11:14 AM REPLY


That's a very cool project idea, so simple yet so many applications, I love it!! It makes me wonder if one could design the shocks in a car so that it makes
electricity when you go over bumps in the road in the way that you described. This energy could then be used in addition to the power generated from the
alternator to help supply the power to your headlights or air conditioning and in turn reduce your emissions!

cyberpageman says: Nov 5, 2009. 4:19 PM REPLY


That is clever, using the shocks in cars to help power electronics. Patent the idea!

Applebohn says: Nov 5, 2009. 5:45 PM REPLY


Thanks!

cyberpageman says: Nov 11, 2009. 4:26 AM REPLY


I just read today (Nov. 11) that a company is selling a charger with a magnet and coil that bounces up and down as you walk, charging a cell
phone. Just like your device, but attached to a person. It's described at

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24379/?nlid=2503

view all 113 comments

http://www.instructables.com/id/Harnessing-sound-power/