Simple generator: AC electric generator for science fair

Full information at main project website,
also see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at
Time-wastage archive of odd physics videos:
Build this DIY ultra-simple AC electric generator from magnets, wire, and cardboard. (And a big nail!) Light a small lightbulb, or flash a red LED.

This simple project demonstrates how electric generators work. All you need is a stack of strong ceramic magnets and a coil of very thin wire. See the website for complete parts list. Also see the section about debugging, and the FAQ at

Now if you want a more useful device, instead get a small DC motor. Use it as a generator, since it has much better magnetics design. All motors are generators. Figure out how to spin a motor’s shaft, and you can make a small powerful generator.


See my links page for many generator projects on other websites, at Also… figure out how to convert the cardboard generator into a motor!


Lots more stuff at SCIENCE HOBBYIST


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