Steam Powered Street Lighting

dynamo driven by flywheel

This all started with me wondering what it would be like to have steam powered street lighting. Could we have a network of steam and a steam engine attached to the lamp post? How big would these engines have to be? What would the sound in our streets be like?

Its like something out of a reverse Blade Runner movie, I can just imagine Harrision Ford chasing mutants down a dark alley lit by a row of steam engine lamps!

Peter, HMEM
lamp post engine

The original lamp post engine was made some time ago. It then sat on display and was occasionally run on compressed air. I had ideas of adding a lantern, but just never got there. Over the years I have tried a motor running against the flywheel with a small LED attached.

The dynamo came from a small electric motor. I ended up trying a few different motors and LED’s to get a combination that worked. In the end a motor from a Christmas card worked best.

The best LED was a 3mm flickering flame one. The LED was simply connected to the positive and negative outputs of the motor. The motor was then driven at a reasonably high speed and the LED would light.

The motor was geared around 8:1 versus engine speed by driving the motor from the engine flywheel.

In the end I think I’ve made beautiful steam powered street lighting.

About Nigel 338 Articles
I've been making models since I was around 7 years old and using a lathe from the age of 11, a self taught engineer with a passion for making model engines.

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