On water wheels and hydro power

So how exactly do water wheels work? I’ve done research up and done and even tested a few things in game, but I’m having a rough time figuring it out. From what I can tell, there are two water wheel types, but at the current moment I only have access to one.

Would it be possible to turn facilities like sewage treatment plants into hydro facilities using water wheels or large water wheels?

Water wheels and large water wheels provide passive power generation to vehicles they’re installed in, but only if the vehicle tile they’re installed in is located over flowing shallow water. A pond would provide no charge, but the bank of a river would, for instance. I’m unsure of what variables can affect the power generation from water wheels, but under default conditions, a water wheel provides 80w/second, and a large water wheel provides 180w/second. If you have the means to build a few, and the location in which to build them, they could easily outpace standard solar panels in passive power generation. While water wheels could be a source of power generation on a boat, they also provide a good amount of drag, and may slow the vehicle too much to be worth it.


Why do the water wheels provide 80/180 W of power? I wish the normal one provided 90W, would make it much easier to distribute among fridges/freezers (make a 3-tile freezer vehicle).

Why is the large wheel not constructible with a single tiny electric motor or motorbike alternator? Given the power it provides, I really don’t see why the recipe requires e.g. “2 electric motors”.

i believe its less because you’re using the motors in the construction of the wheel, and more that you’re using PARTS of the motors for said wheel… it could be changed easily enough

If by parts of a motor you mean, the motor in and of itself. Then yes. Yes you do, a motor spins if a current is applied to it. If you spin a motor, it generates a current. Hence why a tiny motor on a big wheel won’t generate much, you need that big boy motor to make use of all of that mechanical energy. Yeah to electromagnetism, fun fact, this is how an electric guitar works.

I find it odd that you use electric motors and not alternators because that is literally what alternators are for.

as i understand it: an alternator takes mechanical energy and produces only alternating current, (hence, alternator), where a motor in a generator can be used to produce either AC OR DC. both do essentially the same thing though with the right mechanics, it all depends on where the energy originates (in this case water wheel.)

(theres lots of diffrences between alternators and motors being used as generators but its complicated and i dont fully understand it, and i dont wanna get yelled at again ;w;)

both electric motors and alternators can be used to make a water wheel… what i was saying before is that when it ‘takes’ 3 small electric motors, i doubt the whole motor intact is being used for the recipe, instead, our character is taking apart those 3 motors in order to set up one large motor structure for the actual generator of the water wheel. (also seen in the fact that you can use 2 regular sized electric motors, or one large electric motor.) same goes for alternators, the smaller ones being broken apart for the larger system to generate the electricity.

That sounds a horrendous idea. These things aren’t made with user serviceability in mind and if I was to take a small motor or an alternator apart what I’d almost certainly end up with would be copper wire, scrap metal, ball bearings and electronic scraps. It’s more likely that the three motors are put on the same axle without doing any home surgery on them.

Alternators do, in theory, produce alternating current but it is rectified to DC before it gets used in cars. I would guess the alternator and rectifier is all lumped together for CDDA purposes (and probably also in real cars). The alternating current it does produce isn’t usable ‘as is’ because the frequency will vary with how many revs the car’s engine is doing (or in this case, how fast the water wheel is turning).

well… majority cases with a cars alternator its simply to charge the battery of the car.

if the motor were being used whole for the water wheel then it would stand to reason that you could disassemble a water wheel for those motors (which you do, to some degree, as its possible to get 1 small electric motor, bike or motorcycle alternator) but i dunno. i’ve built an electric engine before and they’re relatively simple (if streamlined due to modern manufacturing) so i cant see it being that hard to pull em apart for everything involved.

We’re probably over thinking it. Were alternators actually in the game at the time the water wheel construction recipe was added?

water wheel was added 2 months (bfa06cf6b25de1ecca1794c3af62ff5a0a9592dc) after bicycle alternator (b9eb16eb7a9c69c43ad3189f9e8e43dc6cd9f87a)

Shouldn’t the bicycle alternator be called a dynamo? At least, that is how they are called around here.

Bicycle alternator and bicycle dynamo are two different things. Way back when (1960s) cars used dynamos and not alternators. Dynamos produce DC natively, alternators produce AC natively but (in cars) the output is rectified to DC before use. Alternators are more efficient and wear out more slowly.

I wouldn’t put it past people to use the wrong name for the things on bicycles, or dynamos may just be more common in your area.

P.S. A water wheel with a bicycle alternator would probably be able to recharge a flash-light battery or run one old fashioned lightbulb. I think you’d need a car or truck alternator to be useful.

I see, this is just old naming that stuck, and they are actually alternators Electric generator - Wikipedia

Though I wouldn’t be surprised if the one ancient bicycle still in basement has a proper dynamo, later bicycles have neither as batteries are now superior in almost every way.

Mainly because modern bicycles use LED lights which are ridiculously more power efficient than filament lights.

BTW, total aside, but I came across the strange phenomenon of Dubai lightbulbs during a random Youtube wander recently. I’ve had to change the LED light bulb in my bedroom like 6+ times in the last 10 years, it’s ridiculous. Dubai light bulbs are what LED light bulbs should be and always said they are. Super long lasting and energy efficient. They also only exist because one autocrat with a lot of money is able to make deals to make things that are technically easy but won’t normally be made because companies make more money if stuff keeps breaking.

Then I don’t see why these LED lights aren’t powered by alternators? Do you have any figures on how much power bicycle lightbulbs consume[d]? My LED one is 11W from batteries, which seems to be on the high end of what is usually put on a bicycle.

I’m quite sure that the power use of standard bicycle LEDs and lightbulbs is about the same, but the former allow you to cycle comfortably at 25km/h. The added resistance to cycling is what made alternators obsolete. Leg power is the most expensive one there is (apart from perhaps hand power). Batteries are simply too good. Some of us even went further and added a motor to our bicycles, so those batteries also free us from the pedaling.

Ah yes, LED lighting still seems like a total scam. It is very hard to get high-CRI ones (that approximate sunlight very well), even harder to get them in 4000K (broad daylight colour temperature) and just forget about the quality. I change home LEDs about once every 3 years, which is how long the warranty on the 95 CRI 2700K (yellow) ones is. I have a couple of dead ones here and I really wonder what they died from. Will need to dissect one.

The reason that batteries are better than alternators for bike lights isn’t because batteries provide more power, it’s because alternators make it harder to bike. I had a couple of bike with bike dynamos (back when they were actually dynamos) and it really made a difference in how much effort you put in to peddle. Sure it wouldn’t be as bad with lower power requirements and alternators, but with batteries lasting five years or something there’s no point.

it’s because alternators make it harder to bike.

Literally what I wrote.

Modern li-ion lasts 20+ years when handled with care (don’t let consumer electronics destroy them).

‘modern’ lithium ion hasn’t existed for 20 years for that to be proven (the first ‘commercially viable’ lithium ion was created in 1985, but lithium ion batteries didn’t actually enter market til 1991, and better more efficient versions followed in the next 10 years to where we are now.), and a majority of ‘modern’ lithium ion batteries die within 2 years at best. (assuming they aren’t ruptured internally and explode.)

They don’t die within 2 years, they are killed in 2 years. They are killed by improper handling by consumer electronics. Do you think there would be so many li-ion electric cars on the market if their batteries died in 2 years? The cells in those batteries aren’t charged to 4.35V in a 40’C environment.

its not being used improperly that kills them, its them BEING used period that kills them… you could keep a lithium ion battery in a drawer for 2 years and it’d probably still work after however long you decided to pull it out and charge it up again, but in the real world people use them consistantly or even constantly, a phone for example, is always drawing energy from the battery, and systems always interacting with it (you get a text message, you get an e-mail, you get a notification from whatever service you’re using)

you drain the battery, you charge it up again, you drain the battery, you charge it up again

two years go by and your batter just doesn’t last as long as it used to, pulling mabye 3 or 4 hours of life out of that phone where it had 10-12 when it was new. thats just wear and tear of electronics in general though. the same goes for car batteries (even non-electric cars have and use batteries and they often need to be replaced, though mabye not every two years as they’re generally built more sturdy.)