Windmill Bashing

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Comments

  • TelcoTelco Posts: 201Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing
    They can't advertise something like that if it is not true.

    (image removed--understand that you (Telco) are not advertising/endorsing the "smiling Bob" product--see article link below--but hot linking image/ad from vendor was effectively doing that... -Bill "BB")

    http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2005/06/13/daily28.html

    Smilin Bob sez otherwise...
  • tmcmurrantmcmurran Posts: 21Registered Users
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    I hate to say it, but depending on your location wind is at times better then solar. We have been running a Whisper 100 off grid now that supplies more then enough power to run all our tools for renovations. Compressor, saws, heaters and lights.

    Have a look at what the wind here is, then you might understand.

    ="www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/advanceSearch/searchHistoricDataStations_e.html?searchType=stnProx&txtRadius=25&optProxType=custom&txtCentralLatDeg=46&txtCentralLatMin=39&txtCentralLongDeg=53&txtCentralLongMin=4&optLimit=specDate&Month=8&Year=2008&Day=2&selRowPerPage=25"

    Not saying this is the thing for everyone, and upfront costs are high. But at the end of the day we will be adding more to go back on the grid to feed and pull in cash from the utility.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,883Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    tmcmurran,

    My family lives in an area with areas known for high/steady winds (SF Bay Area)... We have a very popular hang gliding area on the coast, and lots of wind farms on the eastern hills of the SF Bay Area (California)--so, I do not deny that there are areas where there is sufficient wind available to make good power.

    Other than the issue that wind is highly variable (season, location, and local obstructions/wind patterns)--the other problem has been finding a good quality/reliable "home sized" wind turbine and any installation with power output numbers and a history of more than a few months or year or so...

    Your site appears to be quite windy--so, roughly, how much to install?, How has your installation been preforming for you? How long has it been running, how many kWhours per month has the system been generating since the install? How are you doing maintenance (tilt tower?) and how often does the system need routine maintenance?

    Given that the W-100 (PDF) appears to be rated (very approximately) around 200 kWhrs per month at 18 MPH average wind (39 kph?) (plus losses for batteries, inverters, and loss opportunity of charge once the battery banks are full)--I would be interested in how much useful power you actually pull out of the system (kWhr meter).

    I am very happy to hear how well it works for you.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tmcmurrantmcmurran Posts: 21Registered Users
    Re: Windmill Bashing
    BB. wrote: »
    tmcmurran,

    My family lives in an area with areas known for high/steady winds (SF Bay Area)... We have a very popular hang gliding area on the coast, and lots of wind farms on the eastern hills of the SF Bay Area (California)--so, I do not deny that there are areas where there is sufficient wind available to make good power.

    Other than the issue that wind is highly variable (season, location, and local obstructions/wind patterns)--the other problem has been finding a good quality/reliable "home sized" wind turbine and any installation with power output numbers and a history of more than a few months or year or so...

    Your site appears to be quite windy--so, roughly, how much to install?, How has your installation been preforming for you? How long has it been running, how many kWhours per month has the system been generating since the install? How are you doing maintenance (tilt tower?) and how often does the system need routine maintenance?

    Given that the W-100 (PDF) appears to be rated (very approximately) around 200 kWhrs per month at 18 MPH average wind (39 kph?) (plus losses for batteries, inverters, and loss opportunity of charge once the battery banks are full)--I would be interested in how much useful power you actually pull out of the system (kWhr meter).

    I am very happy to hear how well it works for you.

    -Bill

    I have no data as of yet, but plan on adding a meter since we are interested in these values ourselves. With the stats Southwest put out, and going by the average wind speed ours tends to produce at even or slighty above levels when we are running load. I just ordered the optional LCD unit for the controller. Not too sure if it will be able to provide this information for me, and I still have not found the time to mount the weather station or re-locate the turbine to a decent height. At this time I would be pushing it to say it is close to 30 feet up.

    Here is one with the unit in full furl. Seems to be doing that pretty often, and with the extra being sent to the dump load. May need to look into a way to take from the dumpload control and send it to another battery bank as a reserve it that can be done.

    Right now we are in the process of doing renovations, so our load demand has been quite high. Only once have I had it shut down due to not enough power and that was to a 1.3HP air compressor. But when the wind is blowing the compressor kicks in without much fuss.

    We have had a few of the locals drop by looking into obtaining a turbine, and I spend more time talking about it rather then working.

    As you can see in the photo, I have had to add a collar to the tower. With the high wind gusts, and winter comming with the storms and higher average wind speeds it seems to be the right thing to do to prevent problems.

    Most costs seem to never end. The turbine was $1700.00 US (old stock). Tower is homemade, (nice to have a welder and friends with access to pipe and poles) Batteries - That never seems to end. Only have 3 200ah 12v units right now, and need double that, they are between $120, and $300 CDN each. Inverter 6000/12000 Watt Peak. a little over $500.US. Xantrex Powerhub 1800 $900.00 CDN. Wire - Free :)
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,901Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    from facebook: You must log in to see this page.

    You can attach/upload photos to this forum (compress them to 72dpi first)
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

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  • tmcmurrantmcmurran Posts: 21Registered Users
    Re: Windmill Bashing
    mike90045 wrote: »
    from facebook: You must log in to see this page.

    You can attach/upload photos to this forum (compress them to 72dpi first)

    Had no time to play with file sizes tonight. Maybe over the next few days. But I did find out the the LCD display for the controller logs Kwh. Will start posting the weekly and monthly values along with average ws once it's all set up.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,883Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    tmcmurran,

    If you wish--please feel free to start a thread about your own system experiences... I am sure it will be interesting for us all.

    Regarding your batteries and inverter...

    1) Do you have a good handle on the "health" of your batteries. For the typical flooded (wet) cell deep cycle storage battery, you want to keep it from going below 50% state of charge--and ideally, once it drops below 75% state of charge (25% discharge), you will want to start recharging it rather quickly (in hours or day)... If the batteries sit below 75% state of charge, the sulfates begin to harden and reduce the life/capacity of the batteries (if no wind/sun, using a generator to get some charge in the battery would be a good thing).

    Using a battery meter, hydrometer, or an accurate DVM would help ensure that your batteries last a long time.

    2) You have three 12 volt batteries--so I assume you are probably using a 12 volt inverter... If you are powering large loads--you will probably want to get a 24 or 48 vdc inverter. Even pulling just ~1,000 watts, you are pulling 100 amps (at 12 volts) from your battery (and through your wiring system).

    Obviously, you are still building up your system--so this are things for the future.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tmcmurrantmcmurran Posts: 21Registered Users
    Re: Windmill Bashing
    BB. wrote: »
    tmcmurran,

    If you wish--please feel free to start a thread about your own system experiences... I am sure it will be interesting for us all.

    Regarding your batteries and inverter...

    1) Do you have a good handle on the "health" of your batteries. For the typical flooded (wet) cell deep cycle storage battery, you want to keep it from going below 50% state of charge--and ideally, once it drops below 75% state of charge (25% discharge), you will want to start recharging it rather quickly (in hours or day)... If the batteries sit below 75% state of charge, the sulfates begin to harden and reduce the life/capacity of the batteries (if no wind/sun, using a generator to get some charge in the battery would be a good thing).

    Using a battery meter, hydrometer, or an accurate DVM would help ensure that your batteries last a long time.

    2) You have three 12 volt batteries--so I assume you are probably using a 12 volt inverter... If you are powering large loads--you will probably want to get a 24 or 48 vdc inverter. Even pulling just ~1,000 watts, you are pulling 100 amps (at 12 volts) from your battery (and through your wiring system).

    Obviously, you are still building up your system--so this are things for the future.

    -Bill

    Will do. As far as the batteries go, both the charge controllers in the WH100 and the Xantrex Powerhub regulate charge levels. I do tend to check water levels more often then recomended, and have not noticed heat build up yet.

    Just a quick question while on the subject. If running 12v batteries, I thought that I needed to have everything set at 12v. Turbine, chargers and inverter. Is this not correct?

    Ack more reading I see :)
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,883Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    tmcmurran,

    No, you are correct... The voltage of the battery bank needs to match the charge controller, charge sources, inverter, other loads, and such...

    I kind of get into the habit of thinking that most modern PWM and MPPT controllers have two to three voltages that they can work with--just with the change of a switch setting.

    Many of the wind turbines, however, as the battery voltage goes up, their power output (especially at lower wind speeds), goes down...

    Problem, as you know, is that lower voltages require more current for the same power output--higher losses, heavier wire, fusing, etc. (your comment on not being able to start the compressor if the wind turbine is not spinning--kind of had me wondering if your wiring/battery bank is large enough to handle the very high starting currents and/or if your battery bank is not being sufficiently charged).

    There are always trade-offs as you design and build out your system.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jacobsjacobs Posts: 72Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing
    WisJim wrote: »
    Proven and ARE make good reliable machines in the 2.5kw size, but they aren't cheap. My 1940s vintage 2.5kw Jacobs is running fine, after it was rebuilt in 1978 or so before I started using it, and then we replace the blades in 1998 when we moved, took it down, and reinstalled it. The Proven and ARE machines should have similar longevity. Some other bigger machines are well built, too.

    I personally know of three 2.5kw Proven installations. Two just installed in the last 3 months and one over a year ago that has survived over 80 mpg gusts. All of them have been reliable so far BUT occasionally sound like a helicopter flying overhead. I'm not impressed with their plastic blades. The old pre REA Jacobs machines are quiet, WHY can't current manufactures make a quiet machine?
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing
    jacobs wrote: »
    I personally know of three 2.5kw Proven installations. Two just installed in the last 3 months and one over a year ago that has survived over 80 mpg gusts. All of them have been reliable so far BUT occasionally sound like a helicopter flying overhead. I'm not impressed with their plastic blades. The old pre REA Jacobs machines are quiet, WHY can't current manufactures make a quiet machine?

    Give me a five year reliability test. Any hardware that lives in the rain, snow ice, along with the life loads that windmills have to survive, plus servicing hardware that it 10s of feet off the ground if not 100's. I remain skeptical of long term reliability.

    Tony

    PS From what I remember of the the old Jacobs machines is that they were heavy, cast iron huge machines that had much smaller output per pound.
  • jacobsjacobs Posts: 72Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing
    icarus wrote: »
    Give me a five year reliability test. Any hardware that lives in the rain, snow ice, along with the life loads that windmills have to survive, plus servicing hardware that it 10s of feet off the ground if not 100's. I remain skeptical of long term reliability.

    Tony

    PS From what I remember of the the old Jacobs machines is that they were heavy, cast iron huge machines that had much smaller output per pound.

    Heavy, YES. About 500 lbs. Cast iron, NO. Mostly steel and copper. Low output....only if you consider 3000 watts with a 14 ft. rotor diameter small.

    Adm. Richard E. Byrd in 1933 on his second expedition to the harsh environment of Antarctica installed a Jacobs wind generator for lighting and communications. In 1947, Richard Byrd Jr. visited the deserted Little America site and found the Jacobs still intact with the blades turning. Later in 1955, others saw the old Jacobs generator still intact and running. That installation survived over 20 years and held together in over 100 mph winds.

    Today, quality wind generators could be commercially manufactured to be safe, quiet, dependable and efficient if desired. If Joe and Marcellus Jacobs could do it 75 years ago, it CAN be done today.
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    I stand corrected. Clearly you have forgotten more about Jacobs' that I have ever know. In fact I know of Jacobs only by reputation. I wish I could find one in reasonable shape, reasonably priced.

    As for modern small scale systems, (modern) I stand by the opinions voiced here on this forum. I too wish it were other as I would love to augment my systems with wind, but I don't think it reliable in the here and now.

    Tony

    PS I said smaller output per POUND! lol.
  • jacobsjacobs Posts: 72Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    Tony,
    I get very skeptical of any lightweight machines. When a manufacturer cuts weight, they usually also remove durability and life. Generally speaking, a heavy weight per output will outlast a lightweight generator.

    Granted, the field coils in the old Jacobs reduce output by about 100 watts compared to the new permanent magnet alternators but time will tell if any of the pm alternators last as long. I've seen original 1930's Jacobs armatures and fields (made by motor manufacturer Robbins and Myers) still working and in outstanding condition. I personally doubt there are ANY current manufacturers generators made today that will be operational 75 years from now. How long do you think the plastic PVC Proven blades will last? The current manufacturers are all giving wind a bad name and it isn't necessary. It's just like back in the 1980's when the government offered tax credits for renewable energy, a lot of companies sprung up from nowhere selling cheep junk at inflated prices. Soon after the tax credits disappeared, they disappeared. I see the same thing happening again.
  • solarixsolarix Posts: 713Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    Visited a guy with a skystream the other day. It had been up 9 months, been broken for 3 of them and had a total of 350kwh on the meter!
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Posts: 126Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    Actually, no, there aren't any "average consumer" priced wind turbines that I would recommend. Some people don't believe me. And some people now regret their purchases. The fact is, the small wind industry is run by people who want to make huge margins with low overhead and costs, and show a minimum of 25% company growth in sales each year. Well, how do you do that? There's a few ways:

    1.) Source cheaper parts, usually from overseas (meaning China.)

    2.) Source cheaper labor. And you get what you pay for when it's assembled.

    3.) Rush product to market, even if it's not ready.

    4.) Ignore customer complaints if it entails major costs to improve the product of fix the problem. Remember, if the part is coming from China, it's often cheaper to keep sending you new parts than to actually get better parts. Yeah, you're stuck with the expenses and headaches of fixing it. So? That doesn't cost the company anything.

    5.) Cut actual beta testing time down to a few months and extrapolate a "year of data" from it.

    When companies are run like this, how can you get decent product? You can't. And as long as people keep ignoring the information that's out there (like here), they will continue to get rooked.
  • BajaGringoBajaGringo Posts: 40Solar Expert
    Re: Windmill Bashing

    There is a lot of misinformation out there on small wind turbines, mainly by retailers trying to push them but the real story is not all bad. I have one and you just need to be honest with yourself about a couple of things:

    1) Is your location really a good candidate for wind based on avg wind speed and obstructions?
    2. It is very unlikely that you will be able to produce enough power to supply more than 15% of your energy needs with one turbine.
    3. You need to spend the time and money on a good tower that allows you to drop the turbine easily for maintenance and repair.

    I have a 600 watt turbine that augments my solar power array. Living off-grid down here beachfront on the Baja Mexico coastline outside San Quintin we are "blessed" to have good, constant wind and zero obstacles in the way. During the day we average lots of good sun and the solar panels dwarf the wind turbines output and always bring my battery bank up to full charge.

    The beauty of the wind turbine comes into play once the sun goes down. The 2 kW+ average charge my turbine supplies to my batteries each day between sundown and sunup the next day is critical to keeping my battery charge high, allowing us to make popcorn in the microwave while watching Blu Ray movies on the big screen and the electric fridge keeping my suds cold all night. Without the turbine I would be looking at batteries less than 50% SOC come morning.

    I love my wind turbine but you have to realistic as to what you can really accomplish with it. At best (in my mind) it can be a good addition to solar under the right conditions. Especially for off-grid folks like us...
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