Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

I purchased a Whisper 175 and installed it just over a year and a half ago. It was stored for a time until I had the chance to install it. After about one year I noticed that it would fold up when windy and stay up for days. I called "them" and had to purchase a modified shock absorber bracket and shock. It worked good for awhile, then the other day it stopped. I went up in a manlift and found the main shaft was broken. This destroyed the windings and stator. Apparently the two year warranty, unknown to me, starts from the date of sale, not the date of installation. So I used a $5,000 generator head for 1 and 1/2 years and it is now junk, "they" will not honor the 2 year warranty. I wish I could say something nice about "them" Can anyone advise me of a company that makes more of a reliable, heavy duty wind generator and includes some old-fashioned service and a better attitude thrown in? Oh and another disappointment I had was, the shock I bought (no warranty) they had it in stock, but it would take three days to get it shipped out, I was told, it is only in Arizona, from California one state away, and I think it was actually about 2 weeks I had to run my generator, even tho I begged and pled for expedited shipping. Can anyone offer me a better option, preferably made in the southwestern states, but hey, I would go a long way for better old fashioned service. I am a mechanic, and if I ran my business that way, I would soon be outta business, I am afraid. Puzzled, in Lebec, California

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    I'm still waiting to hear a wind success story.

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck. While it was working, how pleased were you, with it's output, was it close to what you expected ?
    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 ,

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    now, i haven't bought any of these, but they seem good and are made in usa.
    http://www.bergey.com/
    if you get one of these report back to us and keep us up to date on any pros, cons, and operations in general.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    It actually worked OK especially with the updated shock absorber. The problem is we have too many days when there is very little wind. I am in process of connecting to the grid as fuel for generators is killing me.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    Joel,

    Besides maintenance issues--from my humble point of view, most people don't seem to live in a windy enough location that turbines can be a consistent source of energy. And, at best, is seems to be seasonably useful as a backup for solar (i.e., stormy weather, no sun, lots of wind).

    I live near the Pacific Coast (near SF, CA) and, to me, it seemed that if it was windy enough for wind power (draw on a hill), it was probably too windy to build a house there and live comfortably (I used to help take care of a couple square miles of coastal ridge line where horses were kept in decades gone by).

    So, how much power per month/season/year did you gather when it was running?

    As an example, assuming that you don't have any local issues (shading, valley/coastal fog, etc.), $5,000 worth of solar panels (1kW) on a fixed mount facing south, 34 degree tilt, would give you about 1,470 kWhrs per year or about 4.5 to 6.5 kWhrs per day (across the seasons). (this is ignoring roughly another $5,000 in installation, permit, and Grid Tie inverter costs)...

    Of course, off-grid systems have additional costs and lost opportunity of generation (can't store more than ~3 days of solar energy for a typical battery based system--a Grid Tie system with 1 year net metering has the ability to "store/load shift" power over the 1 year period).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    I gave up on wind. Perhaps a huge turbine on a 150 to 200 foot tower might work, but I've not seen anything worth spending money on for my area.
    When my turbine was up, Very Few, were the days when I got ANY power at all, very unlike what I had been led to believe I should expect. Usually the only usable production was during bad storms that threatened to tear the turbine apart. I finally took it down while it was still in one piece. On the other hand, with solar, almost NEVER, do I see a day when I don't get at least some power, even on cloudy days I usually get 10% or better. And the only "maintenance" is to change the tilt a couple of times a year.
    That's my experience, so although I love to lay on the ground and "watch the wheels go round", wheels going around may look pretty, but in too many instances that doesn't produce usable power, unless there's a storm.
    Cheers
    Wayne
  • Chuck46Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    Well I have 2 wind gens and both are working up to expectations so far. I just installed a Tri-metric to check out bwhat is being produce so I dont have yearly figures yet as soon as I get some Ill post them.

    One is a Wisper the other is a Bergey X1? or something like that. My area doesnt even show on the wind charts but after a year of measuring the wind at the site for them I found the wind average was 10 mph per day for 11 hours per day more then enough to produce good power. Yes there were days with no wind and days with lots of wind but more with usable then not.
    What my point is is buy a wind meter and measure for a while before you put the money into wind power. 200 bucks vs 5000 wasted bucks makes sense to me.

    Well more later when I have some usable numbers

    Chuck
  • arcandsparkarcandspark Solar Expert Posts: 63 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    I had bad luck with Southwest Windpower myself. A 800 Windseeker unit, new in box stored for one year. When the owner asked me to put it together and test it I found it had no output at all. I contacted Southwest Wind and they said they had discontinued that model because of problems with it. They could not help me at all, but would gladly sell me another model wind generator. The owner said they will never get his money again. Personally I was thinking of purchasing a 175 unit but now I have changed my mind. I will be going with another company. Another person in the local Ham radio club had bad luck with the 403 unit from Southwest and after several try's finally got the problem fixed but he had been unhappy with the performance of the 403 unit. (arcandspark)
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk
    mike90045 wrote: »
    I'm still waiting to hear a wind success story.

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck. While it was working, how pleased were you, with it's output, was it close to what you expected ?

    That is pretty much our experience also. Wind gets far too much hype for the results it produces.

    We try to downplay wind (and in fact would prefer to not even sell most wind generators), but some will always insist on it.

    To our knowledge, there is NO small to mid-size wind generators made by anyone, anywhere, that could really be considered reliable. We have considered dropping wind generators completely - they amount to about 1% of our sales but 10% of our headaches - and we may yet do that if the recent crop of generators don't show a marked improvement.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    I have heard good things about ARE ( Abundant Renewable Energy). They actually wind their own stators on site. Everything but the nuts and bolts (which comes from Fastenal) is made in the USA. The foundries that do all the casting are also in the US.
    SMA inverters raves about their turbines. I talked to an installer and he is pleased with them.

    Something you should know about SWWP; almost all of their wind turbine components are subcontracted and made in, ah yes, CHINA. That might explain why you waited so long for your shock absorber, regardless of what you might have been told. The Skystream is no different and has, to the best of my knowledge, a 100% failure rate. They are up to their eyelids on warranty returns and they don't have a fix for its current problems.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk
    ....The Skystream is no different and has, to the best of my knowledge, a 100% failure rate. They are up to their eyelids on warranty returns and they don't have a fix for its current problems.

    That is not quite true.

    You cannot count the ones that have not been installed yet, so the failure rate is probably closer to 90%.
  • skflyfishskflyfish Registered Users Posts: 20
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk
    Windsun wrote: »
    That is pretty much our experience also. Wind gets far too much hype for the results it produces.

    We try to downplay wind (and in fact would prefer to not even sell most wind generators), but some will always insist on it.

    To our knowledge, there is NO small to mid-size wind generators made by anyone, anywhere, that could really be considered reliable. We have considered dropping wind generators completely - they amount to about 1% of our sales but 10% of our headaches - and we may yet do that if the recent crop of generators don't show a marked improvement.

    Hmmmmm, I wish I had known this before I bought my Air-X from y'all last year. Two months and one good gale and it was toast. The replacement controller eventually arrived but too late to work on it this winter.

    I have bought a lot of PV and accessories from NAWS and have come to trust NAWS. The fact that you sell wind products, is in itself an endorsement for wind re. Had I known your true feelings on this or been questioned of my purchase by y'all, I probably would have expanded my PV array rather than add wind.

    While you do have some disclaimers on your site about wind, the fact that you sell it, gives it a credence that it may not deserve. I understand the choice was mine to make and I am ultimately responsible for my poor choice in wind re, but maybe NAWS reconsider selling it a little more.

    Jay
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    The Air-X have not been the problem, it is all the bigger ones.

    And in response to your other comments, next week I will be putting a lot more disclaimers on the webstore on all the larger ones, and put links to the threads here concerning them.

    Been holding off, trying not to upset the manufacturer too much, but lately there have just been too many problems - such as reports of 100% failure rate on the SkyStream.
  • skflyfishskflyfish Registered Users Posts: 20
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    After a similar situation, but on my part, I am acutely aware of what a perceived position on wind re can do. Lemme splain;

    I have had my PV system for around 4 years and love it, other than the dirth of winter. I mentioned to some one that I was going to add a small wind genny to try and offset some of the dirth of winter. Well this 'person of minimal forethought' took that as an endorsement in wind, and because he lives on a hill he went out and found a SWWP dealer that had all of one or two installations under his belt and sold him a SkyStream 3.7. But it gets better. To save money they did not put it on the apex of the hill, but close to his house, on the path between his house and his barn. So the blades hardly reach the apex of the hill and are more protected by a nearby woods, plus they put themselves in harms way by walking under the turning blades on a daily basis. After 20 days in windy November it had sold back all of 87 kw-hrs.

    I could go on and on about this 'gentleman' but won't.

    So saying you have (or sell) wind re, is in itself a covert endorsement. One I am not willing to give at this time.

    Thanks for hearing what I said and adding more warnings to your site. I wasn't meant to be mean, just help inform others more of the iffyness of wind re.

    Jay
  • arcandsparkarcandspark Solar Expert Posts: 63 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    Joel, Every chance I get with all the alternative energy forums I am involved in I do my best to keep people from purchasing anything from Southwest Wind. You testimony helps me with my quest.

    Dave R. (arcandspark)
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Whisper 175 , Southwest Windpower junk

    david,
    what feedback have you gotten from other users regarding other manufacturers like awp or bergey or ?? is the concensus just a lesser of evils or are there good machines out there?
Sign In or Register to comment.