Charge controllers for wind generators?

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
For solar installations there's plenty of charge controllers but for wind generators I have yet to see a "wind generator charge controller", I was told that some wind generators have a regulator built-in but what about the ones that don't? Which controllers are made specifically for wind generators? Thanks

Comments

  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Posts: 705Solar Expert
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    Have a look a this company, There are near the end of developement of a new MPPT based CC , for Windturbines. The Clipper, rumour also has it that Outback are in the development stage also for a MPPT CC for wind turbine.

    I think one of our members Halfcrazy is Alpha-Beta Testing a clipper with some eye catching performance increased power harvests

    Also if you wind turbine is outputting DC then the Xantrex C series CC can be used with a diversion load. I think the Morningstar Tri Star Range also are similar to Xantrex C series,

    HTH Nigel
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    but in theory current is current right? That your source is solar, wind or hydro the purpose of the charge controller is to protect the battery and make sure it charges correctly, or am I missing something? any solar charge controller would work with a wind turbine
  • WindsunWindsun Posts: 1,164Solar Expert admin
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?
    solarguy wrote: »
    but in theory current is current right? That your source is solar, wind or hydro the purpose of the charge controller is to protect the battery and make sure it charges correctly, or am I missing something? any solar charge controller would work with a wind turbine

    Not really. Most wind generators use an alternator, which is usually 3-phase AC, which is then rectified into DC. The problem is that what is coming out of the rectifier is not plain DC, bur pulsating DC, which most charge controllers - especially MPPT types - have problems regulating.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,146Super Moderators admin
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    Yes and no...

    A solar panel, you can draw 100% of the available power, or simply draw less as the battery becomes fully charged--and as load vary on the system.

    A Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT)--the normal type with a two or three blades that points into (or away) from the wind has several issues. (Many Vertical Axis Wind Turbine are supposed to self limit maximum speed and be safer because of this).

    The basic one is that the speed of the turbine needs to be regulated so that it does not over-speed in high winds and self destruct. Classic video of a large wind turbine failing.

    So--most turbine are setup to have 1. a constant/full electrical load whether battery charging, the actual electric load, or a "diversion load" and 2. one or more mechanical methods to reduce maximum turbine speed such as brakes, feathering, turning out of the wind, etc....

    So, typically, the wind turbine is directly connected to a battery bank (constant load) and the controller is setup to monitor the battery voltage/state of charge--and when the battery is fully charged, the controller turns on a "diversion" load (electric heater, water heater, pump, etc.) to divert the current/power to an alternative use (or waste).

    Many solar charge controllers have a "diversion" mode available (controller can only be used as solar panel or diversion controller, not both at the same time). Because overcharging the battery can be dangerous--The NEC would require a second diversion controller+load as an emergency backup.

    Now, the other interesting issue is that electric generators/alternators have power curves (like those of solar panels) that don't match the electrical characteristics of batteries.

    An alternator/generator's output can be optimized such that Pmax=Imp*Vmp -- And a "solar charge" controller can be designed so vary the current flow such that the voltage and power generator power is maximized.

    Midnight Solar and possibly others (Outback?) are working on MPPT controllers that can be used with wind turbines to optimize power generation (early reports are that an MPPT controller on a wind turbine can dramatically improve the power harvest on a properly designed and installed wind turbine).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Posts: 714Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?
    BB. wrote: »
    Now, the other interesting issue is that electric generators/alternators have power curves (like those of solar panels) that don't match the electrical characteristics of batteries.

    An alternator/generator's output can be optimized such that Pmax=Imp*Vmp -- And a "solar charge" controller can be designed so vary the current flow such that the voltage and power generator power is maximized.

    Midnight Solar and possibly others (Outback?) are working on MPPT controllers that can be used with wind turbines to optimize power generation (early reports are that an MPPT controller on a wind turbine can dramatically improve the power harvest on a properly designed and installed wind turbine).

    -Bill


    This is the interesting part on my Hugh Piggot style turbine i have noticed 3 to even 4 times the output with the Classic. This is caused by the fact that the alternator was designed for optimal performance in lower wind speed. So as the wind picks up the battery holds the turbine RPM down thus putting the blades in a stall. With the Classic we allow the turbine rpm to change based on wind speed and we follow the turbines optimal power curve.
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Posts: 424Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    Hugh Piggot has some interesting work, don't get me wrong. Making things out of nothing is his specialty, however, the low wind voltage is determined by a couple things. One is the windings of the stator coil (PMA), and the other is the Neodymium magnet strength on the rotor. The windings need to be thinner wire to pickup more current and the magnets stronger to increase the flux created when the rotor lobe passes by the metal stator coil phase elements.

    I have 3 PMA's hooked up to a Morningstar TS-45 & TS-60. They both have wiring diagrams for Wind/Hydro/Solar hookups. All Wind/Hydro power lines are hooked up to batteries directly like was said. A diversion load is a must with wind power & hydro. Without it things could get ugly, like the video stated in the previous post. My other backup safety device on wind turbines is the Furling mechanism, which mine furl (turn out of the wind temporarily) at about 40mph wind. By then they're producing about 60 volts and 10 amps each ! The charge controller did not have a digital display so I forked over another 85 bucks to get one. Well worth it for monitoring. This is an overall nice charge controller that can be used for all purposes. I got mine from infinigi.com for $180 + 85 for the digital display. They do not rip you off on shipping costs. Check it out.
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  • dlenoxdlenox Posts: 42Solar Expert
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    GPM,
    The windings need to be thinner wire to pickup more current .<snip>.

    Actually I believe that for increase in current you need thicker wire. You would need more turns of a given size to obtain more voltage.

    Dan Lenox
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Posts: 424Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    Mine use 18 gauge coated copper wire matched up with Neodymium 42 magnets to achieve 12 volts at about 150 rpm. I've tested a 48 volt rated stator with the magnets and gave the same results. The wires where 75% thicker and it needed more rpm to achieve 12 volt. What gives ?
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  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Posts: 424Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    Here is something I've read that sounds about right.

    "Magnets--The stronger, the better. The larger and stronger your magnets are, the more power you can produce in a smaller alternator".

    They're saying that the wider the magnets, the more current capable they are. One of my turbines has a solid magnetic disc in the center of the rotor lobes and produces the same voltage as the turbines with studded magnets on the lobe but with less spinning resistance.

    Maybe it's not so much the coil windings after all.

    http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_wind_tips.html
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  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 2,396Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?

    I think you are right about the magnet GPM ! There has to be a synergy in the design but the neodium magnet is very desireable! Sanyo and others are using them in their heat pumps even going as far as taking AC power line and inverting it to run the heat pumps on DC. Just to use this type of magnet. They get nice power at variable speeds to save energy and reduce noise.

    OK back to solar. I'll keep wishing that someone would make a quiet wind system that would work in 7 knots of wind and ouput 500 watts.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • boBboB Posts: 933Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controllers for wind generators?
    Mine use 18 gauge coated copper wire matched up with Neodymium 42 magnets to achieve 12 volts at about 150 rpm. I've tested a 48 volt rated stator with the magnets and gave the same results. The wires where 75% thicker and it needed more rpm to achieve 12 volt. What gives ?

    IF I read your question correctly......
    It comes down to Faraday's Law... If you wind all you can, with thicker wire, you simply can not add as many turns of wire on it as you can with smaller wire...

    That's the "N" part of V=N (dPhi/dT)... Or, Number of turns.

    boB
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