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Old 25-02-2019, 05:59 PM
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pmrid (Peter)
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Wind power

Is anyone into wind turbine power - for -home, shed, remote obs - whatever? I'm about to embark on my third turbine experience after two pretty dismal efforts.

Both were EBay purchases of identical Chinese 3-blade 400watt units. The first one failed when the whole turbine broke off at the point of attachment to the tower. These attach my means of a collar that clamps to the tower. Number 1 had a complete break of the neck of that mounting. It was in a high wind episode so I was prepared to write that off the bad luck.
Number two lasted all of two years before it failed. The blade assembly shook itself loose from the motor part of the head and it simply ceased to drive the stator. It had stripped the thread off the retaining bolt and could not be undone. It was a complete write-off.

So now, a bit older and wiser, I am getting set to install a 5-blade unit and I thought I might take the opportunity to poll the experience of others.

In the meanwhile, I have been looking at some of the electrical connection issues. Such as:
1. Do I need to install an external brake?
2. DO I need a relay and dump load?

In the past, I have relied on the controller supplied with the turbine. Because the instructions that come with them are so woeful, I did not really know how to set them up and what I could expect them to do. Their specifications told me that they had a set brake voltage at 29 volts or thereabouts. But did that mean the device automatically applied a brake at that point - presumably by shorting the 3 AC leads? I assumed it did and so I have not, thus far at least, gone down the road of an external isolation switch or brake. Is this my first mistake I wonder!

Also, I have not gone down the road of over-voltage sensor/relay units that switch the power output to a resistive dump load instead of overcharging the batteries. This strikes me as the more important issue to resolve before going 'live'.

More study required. All advice will be likely to be better informed that I and therefore welcome.

Peter
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Old 26-02-2019, 10:17 AM
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Hi Peter
You sound more expert than most.
I have one and its contribution is minimal.
They need to be on a tower.
A friend bought one that needs a gale to make it work...
Why not just get solar panels.. or if you have them already just buy more.
Also power management via a regulator wont see you worrying about a load dump I expect.
Alex
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Old 26-02-2019, 10:23 AM
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Also given how mine screams on a high wind I think a brake would be a good idea as clearly such speeds must mean unnecessary wear.
When mine dies it wont be replaced and I will sell the tower☺
Alex
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Old 26-02-2019, 10:45 AM
glend (Glen)
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I looked seriously at wind power when I bought my property here. The problems I ran into were the NSW regulations requiring certain separation distances from adjoining properties, and the need for pole mounting at a certain height. You need to know that these devices make some noise in operation. My analysis at the time informed me that solar was a far more cost effective solution on a per Watt generated basis. Most wind generators are three-phase AC and has to be converted to DC for storage (by batteries).
My decision at the time was to install roof top solar, and it has been a very good investment, with a payback period of only three years, and that was installed 7 years ago now. I do have a smaller ground mount solar system for my shed, and this has a 400ah battery bank for storage. Solar is quiet, does not require separation distances, and it is cost effective.
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Old 26-02-2019, 11:32 AM
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pmrid (Peter)
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G'day Alex and Glen.

I have set this wind turbine up on a 6 meter tower with double-guy wires and well earthed to boot. It's a hybrid system with 2x100 watt solar panels in a 24 volt series as well. And it is all sited on a hilltop about 1 km away from my house yard so noise is not an issue and it gets good wind. I have fenced off a few acres of this hilltop and constructed a nice roofed and paved area with BBQ and fire pits and the like, water tanks and a sexy little mower-shed I have converted into a power station with 4x100AmpH deep cycles in a 24Volt system running my water pump as well as the lights. This area has been planted with fruit trees and some natives to make it a great place for observing and also for having a coldie after a long day. As a bonus, mates can camp there with their rigs and have access to 360 degree horizons with no light pollution.

But solar has its limitations and since we have good winds most of the time it seemed silly not to make use of them. Given the intermittent power usage up there, I really only need a trickle feed system to keep batteries topped up so I would accept that I don't really need wind power as well as the existing solar. But I went to so much bleedin' trouble to design and build the tower, I just can't bring myself to let it go to waste. Not very logical, I know. But I never was one for logic. I suppose I could just put a flag on it b ut that would be a bit of a cliche!

Peter
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Old 26-02-2019, 01:13 PM
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Peter I know where you are coming from...its like my home made battery idea to a degree in so far as you feel bound to follow it thru no matter what☺.

In truth a panel or two would do it even just a small genny☺...but then you would be wasting the wind.

So throw a water wheel in the mix☺
The extra power that you need to dump in effect can run a pump that fills a tank and that tank runs a water wheel generator☺... a big water tank can become the ultimate battery if you think about it...
So its a nice spot for mates with telescopes a long way from the main house mmmmm when will it be finished☺
Alex
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Old 26-02-2019, 05:08 PM
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pmrid (Peter)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xelasnave View Post
mmmmm when will it be finished☺
Alex
G'day Alex. The turbine arrives Friday but other bits and bobs will lag a bit behind that. But I'm expecting to be up and running by the end of next week - just in time for the next new moon. But I'm resisting the temptation to get excited about that. If recent experience is any guide, the weather will make the whole idea a bit of a pipe dream.

Peter
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Old 27-02-2019, 12:06 AM
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Try and post some photos when its up.
Good luck with the project.
Alex
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:08 AM
Sunfish (Ray)
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I have organised the installation of energy efficient systems in several houses. I looked into wind for a site which had a little too much shade but found that wind was a problem any where near the ground. So you are lucky to have a hill in open country with a six meter tower, taller even better, with German made generator.

Vertical axis generators were very popular for a while as they work in less wind and more flukey dirty wind near buildings. Correct speed is critical for power. But some of those installations failed also probably due to the extreme mechanical stress involved in catching wind power and a requirement for constant maintenance. Hard up in the air.

Solar power has become so cheap and involves no moving parts that it is simpler to add more panels to a poor site. The other important issue is that most of the energy cost in buildings is heat generation and cooling. Lighting can be solved with complete led systems.

An earth sourced , (or water sourced ) heat pump , together with solar panels to power the compressor can completely cool and heat a house with reasonable thermal mass , along with all the hot water you can use. All this than be done when the sun is shining and hot water stored. If you have property you may not need to drill 30m holes as we did, although this is more efficient as you can simply lay a lot of refrigerant pipe a few meters down in a big loop.

Saves many thousands of dollars per year. Compressors have moving parts but a high quality unit is very reliable . But it must be high quality or the idea fails. My Australian made air sourced heat pump unit is more than 15 years old and stil saving $500 worth of gas per quarter. My next installation will be earth sourced.
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Old 03-03-2019, 01:50 PM
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Hi Ray.

Good points.

I have solved the issue of how to do maintenance on the turbine. I just lower the tower by means of a simple boat winch anchored in a concrete block and a beam (there's probably a technical-term for this but I have forgotten it).

Here's a quick an dirty side-on view.

Peter
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  #11  
Old 06-03-2019, 11:55 AM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Peter - nice application of the winch - you’d get a job rigging yachts any day.

A better solution that braking the rotor in high wind is to use blades with variable pitch that can be feathered in high wind, controlling the speed and in extreme wind it reduces the forces on the blades.

There are some that use a governor to maintain a constant speed too, to avoid wearing out the moving parts.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xelasnave View Post
Try and post some photos when its up.
Good luck with the project.
Alex
G'day Alex.

Here's a progress report - of sorts. I'm still waiting for the sexy part of the electrics to turn up: a controller, relay, dump load etc.

But in the interim, the turbine has arrived and I'm engaged in a tricky process of precisely balancing the 5 blades to eliminate vibration etc on the bearings. I didn't do that the previous two builds and paid a price for it.

I have also redesigned and rebuilt the whole of the core electrics (see attached pic) - doubled the battery bank so it is now 4x100 AH in a series/parallel 24 Volt array of total 200 AH storage; also increased the Inverter size/capacity to 2000 watts of PS wave; added some lights, meters, switches and plugs; dug up most of the trench running the old conduit from the turbine tower and solar panels and made ready to lay new cable as soon as I can bring myself to dig the final 4 or 5 meters of trench.

Bleedin' hard clay soil does not make for fun. I allow myself a meter in the early morning and another in the twilight - too hot and too much sun in between. I think I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for all this digging.

Peter
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:52 PM
glend (Glen)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmrid View Post
Hi Ray.

Good points.

I have solved the issue of how to do maintenance on the turbine. I just lower the tower by means of a simple boat winch anchored in a concrete block and a beam (there's probably a technical-term for this but I have forgotten it).

Here's a quick an dirty side-on view.

Peter
Looks like a Boom Downhaul arrangement.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:17 PM
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pmrid (Peter)
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Looks like a Boom Downhaul arrangement.
I'm a "glass half-full" sort of guy so to me it's more of a boom uphaul. You haul it down and the mast goes up. What could be simpler?
Peter
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:25 AM
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mldee (Mike)
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Dump load items

Hi Peter, I've been in my Southern Downs house now for a couple of years, completely off grid, as I think mentioned to you in an earlier post. 24V 4.5KW PV plus 48KW of SLA (used) battery storage. Works well. Must get around to building my new RO obs soon......but I've discovered gardening!

Last year I fiddled around with one of those ebay 5 blade Chinese 24V 400W jobs to see if I could salvage some night time wind, basically, like you, just to see if I could. Turned out that it would generate about enough power to charge a mobile phone. I did however, design and use an elcheapo ebay voltage controller and dump load, which functioned well and kept the turbine from overspeed in the process. The basic problem being that the little 1m diameter turbine just didn't have enough oomph to make a noticeable difference to my 48kAh of batteries. (2px12s 2V@1000Ah cells ex-telecom), which give me about three days of storage anyway, plus autostart genset backup.

To cut a long story short, the turbine still sits there and spins, until I get the motivation to pull it down. PV is far more cost effective. However, If you want the 200W dump load and controller bits, I would be happy to gift them to you, either by post or meeting somewhere. Can also do a schematic and photos if you're interested.

Cheers,
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:01 AM
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Terry B
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A number of years ago I looked into installing a turbine on my property. There were 3 neighbors that had turbines. I was looking at a 4-5kw system that was going to cost about $15,000 plus wiring. This was a lot of money. The wiring was also going to be very expensive as I would have had to run about 600m of low loss cable at a very high cost. The entire project would have ended up costing over $40,000 so I did not proceed.

Interestingly my 3 neighbors similar size turbines have all failed and were too expensive to repair so are no longer functional. Only 1 is still standing and it doesn't turn.
My take on this was that the expense isn't worth the trouble yet.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:04 PM
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pmrid (Peter)
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G'day Mike and Terry. You'd reckon that after 2 failed experiments, I would have learnt the obvious lesson. Seems I didn't. There was something about that damned empty pole sitting there with all the fancy guy wires, anchor points and the like that just got to me. I just had to go again. I do know more about them now. And I can readily identify a few things I did wrong with those first attempts. Simple things! Like not properly balancing the blades. And now that I have them on a bench, I can see that there are very considerable differences between the 5 blades. That has got to cause some imbalances and noise too. So I'm goosing about with that ATM.

I know, deep in my gut, that these small turbines are a waste of money and effort. I just have to keep going because I'm too far in now to pull out.

Mike, thanks for the offer of those cast-off bits. Put them aside and I'll pick them up from you. It'll be a good excuse for a bit of a drive. Care to PM me some address details.

And terry - it took me quite a while to figure out your avatar. When you see it, of course its bleedin' obvious, but - well, lets just say it took me a while

Peter
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Old 14-03-2019, 04:09 PM
Sunfish (Ray)
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Great idea to be able to lower the pole for maintenance if it is safe. Once you have the infrastructure it is hard to resist updating. Yachts get some charging from quality generators. I have just visited a friend who runs a holiday house on just 1 kw. Takes the washing home though.
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Old 14-03-2019, 08:05 PM
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We had a wild storm pass by about an hour ago with lightning seemingly striking around the house.
It was very frightening and I think the house may have been hit perhaps thanks to the tower for the wind generator...there was a bad electrical burning smell and the inverter does not work... so have put the genny on for the fridge and will survey the damage tomorrow because for now I just want to lay in bed and suck my thumb☺ 45 mm in about 10 minutes ...so the good news is ar least the lack of water crisis has passed...I knew putting in a new pump for the dam would bring rain eventually☺.
So may I suggest some sort of lightening rod on your new turbine☺.
Alex
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Old 15-03-2019, 03:43 AM
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pmrid (Peter)
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So may I suggest some sort of lightening rod on your new turbine☺.
Alex
You certainly may. In fact I'm ahead of you on this one since we are no strangers to wild storms up here. Each of the 4 sets of guy wires is separately grounded and the main pole also so there are 5 ground points on the tower alone. And another one on the battery/inverter shed.

But it's a good point you raise. I'm not sure just how much good these ground rod things do against a determined bolt of lightning. But grounding charge controllers and inverters is an important consideration. I wonder if anyone in the IIS community knows the ins and outs of earthing/grounding these sorts of installations.

My inverter, for example, is a 2000 Watt PS Wave EBay job that does not even have a ground point on it.

I'm hoping that if I tie the negative pole on the battery bank to earth/ground will serve the same purpose for all the bits and pieces that are connected to it one way or another. Anyone know otherwise? I think I'll start a new thread just on this.

Peter
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