BBC micro:bit — building a wind machine

The BBC micro:bit board is a pocket-sized programmable computer that can be adapted for use in a variety of projects. In every issue of The Shed, Enrico Miglano presents a new project. In this issue, with the help of enthusiast creator Xavi, he makes a wind machine using the device.


Power of the wind

This wind machine is made with Kitronic Inventor’s Kit, which includes a variety of components to create different electronic projects. The wind machine is a scale model of a wind generator, and will go some way to help you understand how force can be converted into energy through a generator; in this case, the DC motor included in the kit.

As we can also use the micro:bit to measure the quantity of the converted energy (the increasing voltage), this same model can also be used as an anemometer to measure the wind speed.

3D printing

3D printing

Building the wind machine

To build the prototype, I sourced some cheap components and made use of the hot glue gun. A toy fan is perfect for connecting the generator. To keep it in place, a small plastic support was 3D-printed to hold the motor in the rotating fan, while the support pole was made from a 30cm-long barbecue skewer.

After preparing the wind generator, the next step was wiring the circuit. The connection to the micro:bit is made easy using the breadboard included in the micro-controller board support. The positive (red) wire of the motor (the generator) is connected to pin 0 of the board to convert the current into a numeric value. Pin 0 of the micro:bit is also an analogue-to-digital converter. The negative wire of the motor is connected to pin 1. Every time pin 1 is set to zero, the circuit closes and the current value can be read by pin 0.

To enable the circuit, one of the micro:bit buttons has been programmed to change the status of pin 1 to low when it is pressed. The converted analogue value read from pin 0 can be displayed on the LED matrix display of the board.


Read the full article in issue 80 of The Shed, a bi-monthly magazine that features how-to articles by experts, interviews with people undertaking amazing projects, and peeks into their sheds. A great read for the DIY enthusiast and those with a few tools after a bit of advice and inspiration. You can find out where to buy a copy here:

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