Harris Micro Hydro System

A Hydroelectric System for Home Use

Adjustable permanent magnetic alternator, operating efficiently on 25-300 feet of head and 2-250 gallons per minute of flow.

Harris SystemHow It Works

The Harris system is an efficient, durable battery-charging Pelton turbine. It is designed to produce usable household power from springs and creeks that are too small to sustain the same level of useful power from a conventional A.C. generating system. Because D.C. power can be stored, the system is collecting power 24 hours a day, a little at a time, to be used as needed.

The average American household (not using electricity to produce heat) requires about 12,000 watt-hours a day, or about 500 watts on a continuous basis. This can be reduced to about 300 watts by just turning lights off when not needed. There are times, however, when as much as 10,000 watts are needed, such as when a refrigerator or vacuum cleaner is started. Because A.C. systems cannot store energy, they must be sized to meet this peak load (requiring up to 40 times as much water as a similarly useful D.C. system). Smaller-sized systems save money. D.C. systems are matched to extract power the way that nature delivers it, slowly and steadily.

Harris 4-nozzle setupA 4-Nozzle P.M. Generator-Equipped Turbine

Multiple nozzle arrangement allows much more water to impact the runner, resulting in greater output at any head, and usable power at a much lower head. All turbines include an output-optimizing circuit allowing maximum efficiency at any flow rate. Multi-nozzle systems include a manifold kit and ball valves for each nozzle.

The 4-nozzle arrangement allows for maximum flow conditions and provides for seasonal flow adjustments.

Pelton Type RunnerPelton Type Runner

The Pelton type runner is a lost wax cast of silicon bronze. The wheel is 70 to 90% efficient, depending on nozzle size and head. The bucket shape allows high efficiency for nozzles and provides a flow range of over 100 to 1. The wheel has a hydraulic diameter of just over 4.0 inches and each wheel is individually balanced.

Two Basic System Configurations

Mountain Cabin – DC Direct

Harris Mountain Cabin diagram
The basic system is suitable where battery power can be used directly. Cabins using 12-volt lights, portable radios, televisions, and recreational vehicle type D.C. appliances are easily adapted to the basic system.

Conventional House – 110 Volt

Harris Conventional House Diagram
This configuration is suitable where higher output is needed and 110-volt, 60-cycle A.C. power is required to operate conventional appliances. Both configurations are compatible with other D.C. charging systems of 12, 24,48 volts, including photovoltaic cells, wind charging systems, and generator-operated battery chargers.

Determining Turbine Output

  1. Head, or vertical drop, from source to turbine nozzle:
    Head can be measured with a transit or level and a measuring stick of known length in successive steps. A quick pipe can be assembled from numerous garden hoses and the pressure can be measured with the hoses full of water. This, too, can be done in successive steps.0.43 P.S.I. = 1 foot of head;
    2.3 feet = 1 psi
  2. Flow in gallons per minute passing through nozzle:
    A temporary dam can be built to measure flow. By timing the filling of a container of known volume, the flow can be determined. Care should be taken to not dry up creeks, but to leave enough water to maintain natural environmental balances.
  3. Diameter, length, and condition of feeder pipe:
    Generally, single nozzle systems with under 2000 feet of feeder pipe require a 2″ pipe. A two nozzle system needs a 3″ pipe, and a 4 nozzle system requires a 4″ pipe. This will keep pipe losses under 25%. Please inquire about specific pipe losses for your site.
  4. Turbine efficiency:
    Alternator systems are between 30% and 70% efficient.

P.M. Alternator Output in Watts
feet of net head
Max Efficiency chart
Max Wattage at Various Volts
Max Wattage per volt
Max Effectient Flow at Various Heads
figures in gals/min
feet of net head

Flow with var heads chart

Evaluating Your Site

The following information will assist in selecting the best system for your site:

  1. Head or drop in elevation from source to turbine
  2. Flow in gallons per minute to be used
  3. Length, size, and condition of pipe to be used
  4. Distance from the turbine to point of power use
  5. Desired system voltage (12v, 24v, or 48v)

What It Costs

The main components of a hydroelectric system are the turbine, wire, and pipe. System costs are determined by 4 factors:

    1. Cost of Turbine:
      The turbine selected can be a one, two, or four nozzle turbine.
    2. Pipeline / Penstock:
      The pipe diameter and length need to be determined by the available head and flow to maximize system potential.
    3. Cost of Power Transmission:
      The wire size is determined by the amount of power generated by the turbine, and the distance from the turbine to the point of use (i.e. batteries).
    4. Power Conditioning Equipment:
      All but the smallest systems need voltage regulation to protect batteries from overcharging. Systems with a 110v, 60-cycle AC require an inverter.

If you’re interested in purchasing this system, please contact us.