Desperately seeking help with whisper turbines

RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
edited January 4 in Wind Power Generation #1
Hi I am new to forums. I am looking for anyone who knows whisper turbines fairly well.

I bought a used whisper 500 and just got it put up about 1-2 months ago. We are off grid and are running a 48v battery bank. The turbine was ran for two years supposedly without issues and then sat for several years without blades before I bought the system.

Since I put it up it has made virtually no power. It takes approx 25 mph wind to turn green light on on the controller at which point it will typically make less than 100w.  I saw 700 watts once during 45-50 mph wind. I have spent the last couple months talking to anyone I can find with knowledge of whispers and troubleshooting any possible ideas. I have checked voltage between phases both hooked to charge controller and unhooked. In a 15-20 mph wind I get 25-30v between any 2 of the 3 phases and they are always exactly the same. I have replaced the spindle bearings.

I have double checked that the stator is wired to 48v configuration. I have cleaned the brush card. I bought a new stator and it performs exactly the same. I have checked the rotor can for cracked magnets and none of them look cracked. There are a couple small chips approx 1/4" by less than 1/16 deep in a couple magnets. A couple of the people I have talked to have told me I should be able to spin the rotor by hand and produce 60-80v between any 2 phases and a couple other sources say I would not be able to make even close to that much by hand. When I spin rotor by hand I can make approx 26-28v. This is exactly the same with both new and old stator.

Nobody I have talked to can tell me what voltage I should be making at a given wind speed. I make approx 25-30v in a 15-20 mph wind. The whisper 500 performance chart shows the turbine should be making 1000 or more watts at this wind speed. Can anyone tell me whether the turbine should be making more voltage at this wind speed suggesting it's a problem with my turbine or if this sounds about right suggesting my charge controller is bad or if this is all the turbine will do and I'm wasting my time.

Everyone I have talked to has agreed that they should produce way more than I'm getting including my local solar store who still imports them from Wish energy in India who makes them now. I have wasted enough money throwing parts at this turbine. Only parts I have not replaced at this point are brush card, rotor can, blades, and charge controller.  I would appreciate any advice before I buy a new controller or rotor can.

Thank you

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,840Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    One possibility is "dirty" air at the new location. Even fairly strong wind will produce little power if there are any obstructions (eg trees) potentially causing air to swirl around them. This can affect air a surprisingly large distance from the obstruction.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,019Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Did this gen ever have an option to run 24V nominal systems? It sure sounds like that is what it is doing?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    I am on a 70' pole and at the very top of a 100' hill on our property. My anemometer is mounted about 50' up the pole. We have juniper trees that are maybe 20-30' tall. Do you think this is enough separation?  Thank you for your input 
  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Dave,  yes the stater and charge controller and dump load can all be adjusted to 24 or 48 or even 36 V I believe.  Several people I have talked to have suggested it seems like it is wired for 24 V which I agree. On my first stater I actually unhooked my charge controller  from half of my battery bank and hooked it back up to 24 V worth of batteries and then re-wired the dump load and flip to the dip switches to change my charge controller for 24 V just to see if it happened to actually produce any Watts at that voltage setting and it did not. I also received my new stater wired from the  factory for 24 V. I spun the stater by hand before I reconfigured it to 48 V just to see what the difference was and I was getting exactly half the voltage spinning it by hand when I had it wired for 24 as I do now when I have it wired 48.  I have a double checked the configuration of the 12 wires coming out of the stater about 10 different times referencing the old southwest windpower instruction manual the newer luminous instruction manual and the newest instruction manual from wish energy that the newest manufacture just emailed me about a week ago.  I keep hoping that I'm just making a stupid mistake but I keep checking everything over and over.  Thank you for your time and input. 
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,019Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    There is a alot of info on the site here from when Whisper was "popular". I am out the door on a service call but maybe someone or you might have luck searching the site here. Good Luck.

    There is always the Bergey that I have used for clients and they are very good with support! Nice array! Can you manually turn it?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Thank you very much.  The only reason I bought a whisper is because my local solar store told me that they are great and that after all the issues they had they were back to producing them and that they work good but I'm about ready to switch to a Bergey.  At least they are still American made. Yeah I can turn it manually pretty easily.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,897Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    It looks like you have a good installation. A quick test is to fly a kite and see if the air is "stable" at the elevation of the turbine (I assume the turbine points into the wind pretty steadily, and you do not see it "hunting" or having trouble finding wind, blades slowdown or even possibly stop as the turbine hunts)? Is the Anemometer wind speed readings and direction "stable"?

    Here is an old manual (2006). On page 12 is the wiring for the stator. You followed the 48 volt? (and you did not connect B winding X2+X3 to the x4 windings of all three coil sets? The drawing in the manual is not ideal, it almost shows the X4 connections to X2+x3 on B).

    Have you checked the current from each of the phases with a current clamp meter (AC version/AC measurement)? All three legs about equal current flow?

    I am not a big fan of wind turbines... They can be difficult to diagnose problems. Are you "sure" the turbine was working well before? I found that few people really seem to log the daily or monthly Watt*Hour production numbers and keep track of performance over time.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,019Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    What make of Array/Rack Ryan?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Bill,   Thank you very much for your suggestions. I will definitely try the kite just to make sure but yes our turbine does not move around much at all it seems very stable and the blades seem to spin almost all the time. as far as my stater wiring I jumped the 2's and 3's together of each color. Jumped the no color - ( or 4) to red 1 and black - (or 4). Sent the no color 1, red - (or 4), and black 1 to the brush card.  The new stater I bought  was manufactured by luminous instead of SW and they made the no color yellow and made the dashes  into the number 4 but they were wired the exact same configuration considering that.  I have not checked the current of the three legs. I have just check the voltage and tend to get exactly the same out of the three phases.  To check the current I Assume I would have to do it in a 25 mile an hour or more wind so that my charge controller is actually charging for it to show any current?  Thanks again for your input. 
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,897Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Current Clamp meters (there are AC only and AC+DC versions) are really nice for debugging. For example, if you have a bad wire where in the 3 phase AC side, you would lose ~2/3 of the output current.

    Current clamp meters are safe and easy way to look for bad wiring/unexpected current flow (parallel connections that are not sharing loads, etc.).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Gotcha. Sorry I build airplanes for a living so this is not my expertise. And no  I am definitely not sure the turbine was working good when the previous owner had it. For all I know he sold it because it wasn't working. He moved his mobile home off of the property where the power set up was. I bought his entire power system that is the turbine and everything else works.  So it's my problem now either way. I'm so deep in this moneywise that I really am hoping to make it work somehow. Thanks again for your time
  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Dave, not sure on the solar rack. I bought it together with the turbine and inverters etc. I will have to look when I'm home.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,897Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Assuming that the location, installation, system configuration are all correct,

    I would be looking at s poor connection, possibly a miss wiring, shorted or open rectifier block (typical 6 diodes set up to rectify 3 phase ac into dc current).

    Sears sells a $60 ac/dc clamp meter/dmm. Or you can find others for $100 on up.

    This system is very similar to a car alternator system ignoring the car regulator. The rectifier block eventually is direct connected to Tyne battery bank.

    The brake just shorts out the alternator to stall the blades with too much torque. Either a dead short or through some power resistors.

    The dump controller is just a load on the battery bank.

    Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Bill,  I think my dad has a clamp meter.  I will try to borrow it this weekend and hope for enough wind to check the current. Thanks for all of your help today. 
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,205Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    The voltage measurements you stated when spinning by hand, were these before the rectifier and if so we're they on the AC scale, or are they DC measurements taken somewhere after the rectifier?
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    The voltage measurements are ac before the rectifier. They are any two of the 3 wires and are always about identical. I can get 26-28v by hand spinning and the turbine produces 25-30v same measurement in 15-20 mph wind. If I measure in the lugs where the 3 wires attach to the charge controller it is 25-30 and if I unhook the 3 wires from the charge controller and let turbine spin free I get exactly the same and the turbine does not speed up. So this suggests to me the controller is not shorting the turbine or loading it up early.  I just don't know for sure if this voltage is  adequate to produce any power for a 48v system.  The performance charts say the 500 should make 1000w or more at these wind speeds. so if my voltage should be 60 to 80 V by hand or under this kind of wind I'm assuming my issue is in my turbine but if this low voltage is common at a low/med speed then I'm assuming I have an issue in my charge controller.  Thank you for your time 
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,902Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    If you short the DC output from the rectifier, does that brake or stall the turbine (with an extra heavy load)
    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

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,897Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Without any electrical load on the turbine (i.e., no battery connection), it should output >>30 volts (60 to 90-120 VAC or more?) in a good wind. (over 10-15 MPH). If not, then something is not right (for a 48 volt system).

    Assuming that the turbine is getting enough RPM (no loads), the battery bank needs around 58-60 volts typically to charge (48 volt battery bank).

    If you have just the stator wiring (no connection to the rectifier), and any sort of good RPM in decent wind, and are getting 30 volts AC--Not good.

    Just shorting the three AC leads together should just about stop (or very slow spin) of the turbine in low to moderate winds. If it does not, then you are looking at wiring/brush issues (not good current flow). Or, if those are OK, then the magnets may have failed (low field strength).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Mike,  I have not shorted the D.C./ output side of the rectifier. Only the ac side. If I short two of the 3 wires it's lumpy and if inshort all 3 then it brakes the turbine completely. 
  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
    Bill,  thank you very much that's the answer Ive been looking for for a while. I have cleaned the yaw shaft and actually just installed a new one because I got a new lower unit and yaw shaft with the new stator I bought. I chamged it just in case the yaw shaft was shorting out internally and causing the turbine to brake slightly. I also have cleaned the brushes. I had assumed the brushes were passing current well because the brake switch stops the turbine very quickly even under decent wind. I am not convinced that the turbine is winding up to full rpm because I have watched a couple videos on YouTube of 500's starting up and they seem to slowly wind up to a certain point and then take off which mine never does but it's hard to tell for sure over a video and I didn't know the wind speed in the videos. I had hoped to post a video of it running on this forum but couldn't figure out how to. I have heard that cracked magnets will reverse polarity and cause the turbine to not wind up enough so I had thought about replacing the rotor can next which I'm leaning towards especially after your last comment. I can't visually see any cracks in magnets but there are several small chips.  But if there's a possibility of magnets failing and not visually seeing it or those chips are enough to cause problems then I might get a rotor can coming and try that next. Also my turbine squeaks like bad bearings and I have replaced them and the new stator had new bearings so clearly that's not the problem. I've heard people say it should humm or make slapping noise in high wind which I have never heard which also makes me think it's not winding up to full rpm. Thanks again for all the help
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,897Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    I don't see any problems (no cracks in magnets across the middle, etc.).

    If you connect the rectifier to the 3 phase output of the alternator, does the unit still spin easily (looking for shorted rectifier).

    If you short the DC output of the rectifier, does the unit "cog" like when you shorted the 3 phase wire from the stator (looking for open rectifier).

    Other than it may have never worked (rotor too small of diameter compared to the stator opening, your wiring diagram in the manual does not agree with the wiring diagram of the actual stator, etc.)... Putting the unit on a bench and spinning it with a motor so you can bench test everything--I am not sure what else to do.

    In "the old'n days", we had speedo-electric shops and you could take an alternator to them for diagnosing or repair. Or possibly a motor re-winder. But it is probably hardly worth the time and effort at this point (unless you can get a quick diagnosis of the system that all is OK or not).

    Here are some links to various wind related sites (and DIY). Perhaps you can find some more information there:

    Wind Power Links
    www.otherpower.com (good forum for DIY Wind Power)
    Hugh Piggott - Scoraig Wind Electric site for tons of info (from mike90045)
    Scoraig Wind "Recipe Book" for DYI Turbines (from Chris Olson... From his 4/11/2013 post)
    www.greenpowertalk.org (added from "russ"--Like here but more wind/less solar)
    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Truth About Skystream & SWWP
    Windmax HY-2000 2kW Wind Turbine (apparently, some vendors don't sell spare parts--just new turbines. However, the owner, Edward has been very happy with its performance from 2010-2012--BB. 5/31/2012)
    www.fieldlines.com (otherpower.com forum)

    Wind turbines are one of the things where DIY systems can be better than what you can purchase (in general) for small wind.

    Good luck,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,205Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 6 #23
    There are 6 windnings, 2 in each group, none, red and black,  which are either configured in series or parrallel to achieve the required nominal  voltage, reference page 38 of the manual. Perhaps the best starting point would be to verify each windings  resistance, measured between 1 & 2 and 3 & - are equal, in leu of known values, also check winding shorts to ground and isolation between windings. This would establish that the windings are in fact in good condition since the history of the unit is unknown, another test would be to establish isolation of the slip rings on the yaw shaft and brush assembly and the contact between them is low resistance. Those small chips of magnet could have found a home somewhere, creating a short. Just a few thoughts on how I would tackle the problem.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • RyanGRyanG Posts: 12Registered Users ✭✭
     I will definitely look into all of those suggestions. Thank you to everybody for the help. 
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