Setting up your WaterLily

So you’ve found a great spot to use your WaterLily!  Maybe there’s a narrowing in the river where the water moves quickly, and it’s deep enough the fully submerge the turbine.  Or perhaps there is a slight vertical drop where the water rushes past.  The next step is setting up your WaterLily, by tying it to a tree branch, a rock, or something else.  Occasionally, you get lucky and nature has provided the perfect set up location, like in the picture below; the dead tree was already wedged right in front of a little river rapid:

But usually, to access the fastest currents, you will need to create your own tie off point.  This involves getting creative and using the naturally occurring things in your environment such as tree branches, roots and rocks.  In other words, setting up your WaterLily grants a terrific opportunity to put your bushcraft skills to use!

PLEASE - Avoid cutting live trees. Have a look for some deadfall, and always take your setup down when you are finished. Leave no trace.

Before reading on, please read our previous blog post “8 tips to get the most from your WaterLily” as this blog will build upon the concepts described therein.

Every site warrants a different method of getting set up, and reading this blog along with some practice will help you quickly decide the best method.   Most of these methods take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.  We guarantee: if you enjoy the outdoors and challenging your mind and body, you’ll have loads of fun setting up your WaterLily.  

We’ll start with a method that works well in many scenarios:  Placing a tree branch across the river.

WaterLily Turbine tied to a log placed across the river

When using this method, you can usually jam the branch up against a tree or rock, or if there aren’t any around, drive a wooden stake into the ground to keep it in place.  Below are some video clips of actual installations to give you some ideas.

In this clip a downed tree was found in the woods about a 5 minute walk from the setup location.

Location - Flatrock, NL on the East Coast Trail

We got lucky and found a perfect piece of driftwood on the beach to place across the rapids of a small river. There were even some nails available from a washed up warf!

Location - Outer Cove, NL

If the riverbed isn’t too rocky, you can take the more direct, brute force approach, and simply drive a stake right into the riverbed, upstream from where you want the WaterLily to be positioned.  The stake will create turbulence in the water flowing into the turbine, hampering efficiency somewhat, but you’ll still get a charge.  

WaterLily Turbine tied to a stake driven into the riverbed

Here's a video of Justin Barbour using the stake method of setting up his WaterLily Turbine.

In the absence of any wood from which you can make a stake, or if the riverbed is too rocky, find a large rock and place it upstream of where you want the turbine positioned.  You can tie off to the rock, but, like using a stake, the rock will create turbulence, so this method is not ideal. It may help to tie the rope around the rock before placing it in the river.

WaterLily Turbine tied to a large rock placed upstream

If the river has a bend, you can drive a stake into the river bank upstream.  These kinds of installations are convenient and safe because you are working on shore and don’t need to lean out over the river.

WaterLily Turbine tied to a stake driven into the shore

If you can access both sides of the river, you can use a “v setup”.  In the V setup, a rope is tied to something on both sides of the river.  Each rope is attached to two of the four lanyards on the WaterLily.  As you can see in the illustration below, the ropes and lanyards form a V shape. This is a very stable way to set up, and because there is nothing at all in front of the turbine, turbulence is minimized for optimized power extraction.

WaterLily Turbine set up with V setup

A similar method is to tie a line across the river, and attach the turbine to it either directly using the carabiner, or with another piece of rope, allowing you to easily adjust the distance of the turbine from the rope.  Tie a knot to keep the turbine at the desired position along the rope.

WaterLily Turbine attached to rope spanning the river

The cantilevered log setup is great for wide, deep, and fast flowing rivers with plain shorelines.  Begin by finding a log that can be extended out over the river, but with the majority of it’s weight on shore to keep it from tipping into the water.  Next, drive two stakes into the ground as shown below to resist the torque that will be exerted once the turbine is attached.

WaterLily Turbine tied to cantilevered log

In whatever setup you use, if you find the WaterLily is sinking to the bottom of the river, this is generally an indication that the flow is not very fast, or extremely turbulent.  Although you can still charge slowly, it may be worth your while to find another spot with faster moving current.  When the turbine stays up near the surface, and the rotor can be seen spinning rapidly, you are good to go.  

Remember to tie off the power cord.  This is not just as a fail safe in case your rope comes loose.  The main reason for securing the power cord is to resist the torque caused by the generator.  This important step will keep your WaterLily in the desired position, and prevent twisting of the rope and power cord, ensuring peak efficiency while you leave it to charge.

Have you found another great way to set up your WaterLily?  We are very interested in seeing how our customers are using their Waterlily Turbines - please send us your pictures or post them using the hashtag #rechargewithnature

Copyright Seaformatics Systems Inc. 2021