New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution

markkmarkk Registered Users Posts: 13
First, let me preface this by saying thanks to NAWS for putting up a forum for individuals to interact. I used to live in Monument Valley, and Flagstaff was a common "shopping trip" for me, but that was in the late 70's and early 80's, and it's a lot different now than then. This post is going to be long, I don't know of any other way of conveying what I need to say so that people can understand what I'm after. If you're not inclined to read long and semi-rambling, perhaps you can hit the back arrow now and save yourself some time :)

I run a wireless internet service in a rural area of eastern Oregon. That's my interest in solar and wind power. I have three sites that are quite suited to wind, as a part of the power needs. My biggest consumption site uses approximately 25-50 watts continuous (yes, it varies by network load on the cpu's), 24/7, and there's no AC available.

I initially started out with just an Air-X, in 2004. I used it for about 4 years. At about 2.5 years into it, the circuit board failed, probably from a nearby lightning strike, or possibly from age. It survived a century wind storm, where we had wind in excess of 40 mph sustained for about 18 hours - peaking at about 70 or 80 mph, which lasted 2-4 hours, and ran fine for another year. After the board failed, SWWP replaced it under warranty and we used it again for about a year and a half, whereupon the board failed again. When we took it down, the bearings were loose in the front cover, giving some play in the shaft, so we decided it was pretty much worn out.

I bought a kit from SWWP to change it to an Air Breeze. This lasted for about 3-4 months, and it burned up. Leaking horrible, nasty smelling, caustic stuff out the bottom. SWWP replaced it under warranty, and that one lasted about 45 days. That one, too, was replaced, and it, too, did the same thing in about the same length of time, and so did its replacement. I saw no point in doing this any more, and the hassle at trying to get a replacement from SWWP, who insisted it was a "site problem", was just not worth it. At this point, I was broke, and bought just one solar panel of 130 watts, which isn't quite enough, but it got us through most of the summer, at which time I bought a different brand of wind generator, which never worked. It was a brand called "Tycon", and it was a 6 (as opposed to 3 of the previous) blade style. We put it up just as a rainstorm was approaching, only to discover it had some internal electrical issue, and it was stuck in "brake" mode. When the storm passed, we went back onsite to find that the larger swept area, combined with some metal fatigue, had taken our tower down and buried the generator into the ground.

Since then, I have a gas generator, and when the solar on-site is insufficient, I run the generator to fully recharge my batteries (about 420 amp-hr @ 12v). This, of course, is not good, but since I moved just a few minute's drive from it, I've just lived with it.

Later this summer, I'm going to upgrade the solar system, but I want to add a wind generator for additional backup power. We're in a 'decent' wind location, on a point of land. Much of the summer, the "wind" is either passing rainstorms, or a thermal airflow that coincides with sunup and sundown. Just before sundown, the air starts to move in one direction, and we have 2-5 hours of very steady 9-12 mph in one direction, and at sunrise (if not before, usually it stops or slows before 2 am) or a little after, it then goes the other way for a while, same speed, etc. In the later fall, winter, and until very late spring, we have pretty steady 10 to 20 mph for several hours a day (sometimes for 1-3 days almost unbroken), but interrupted in the winter by inversions, where we have no sun, all but motionless air, for as much as 10 - 12 days in a row. For those, I expect to use a generator, as increasing the battery capacity to "enough" means the self-discharge quantity becomes a signficant consumer of our power.

The strategy would be to find a generator that makes good use of the 8 to 15 mph range. It doesn't have to make big power from it, even a 1-5 amp output would be immensely helpful. It has to be small, as the land lease doesn't allow me guy wires or an actual "tower". I just use a 3 in pipe on a rigid base. I'm tempted to use one of the PMA types, a higher voltage one with a lot of blades, so it starts up real easy and makes a little power at low speeds. Ultimate power generation isn't very helpful, simply because I can't use it, it'll have to be braked or turned to heat in a dump load after the batteries are fully charged. The air-x was all I used for years, but my load was only 10-20 watts, 24/7 back then. In the near future, I may need to be able to use more like 70 watts, as the use and equipment load grows with customer numbers. So, my interest in having at least three power sources.

Thanks for reading my tale, long as it was. I doubt I'll ever buy a SWWP generator again, unless it can be confirmed that their products have been finally made to last. Yes, I realize that I may need to replace this every 3-5 years. If that's the lifespan, it works for me. I'm sensitive to the price, as this is not a highly profitable business, but cheap stuff that doesn't work is not a good value.

Thanks
Mark

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution

    Welcome to the forum.

    It seems you know full-well the trials and tribulations of small-scale wind systems, so I'll spare you the lecture. You've been there, done that, buried the dead. :p

    Here's one brand that you might want to look in to, USA Wind: http://www.usawindgen.com/
    One of the forum members has one of these and is happy with it so far.

    Another you might want to look at is the TLG: http://www.solar-electric.com/tl500wawige.html
    Our forum host sells them and they usually stay away from handling poor-quality equipment.

    I don't know what sort of budget you're working with but you already know you can buy cheap stuff twice or good stuff once.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution

    Been there, done that with small wind. Never again. And yes, I know "never" is a very long time.
  • markkmarkk Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution
    Welcome to the forum.

    It seems you know full-well the trials and tribulations of small-scale wind systems, so I'll spare you the lecture. You've been there, done that, buried the dead. :p

    Here's one brand that you might want to look in to, USA Wind: http://www.usawindgen.com/
    One of the forum members has one of these and is happy with it so far.

    Another you might want to look at is the TLG: http://www.solar-electric.com/tl500wawige.html
    Our forum host sells them and they usually stay away from handling poor-quality equipment.

    I don't know what sort of budget you're working with but you already know you can buy cheap stuff twice or good stuff once.

    I did look at usawindgen before posting here. Has anyone tested what these do in 10 - 12 mph? Do they do anything? Or does it take more? I keep reading the "low wind" designation but finding the meaning is variable. Often, it's apparently meaning 15 mph or more. I have seen actual videos of some high blade count generators that actually start spinning at under 5mph and produce 1-3 amps at 10 mph @ 12v. I appreciate that the seller doesn't make wild claims, but it would be nice if we had SOMETHING to go by...
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution

    Here's the thread from The Only Sarge who has one of the US Wind units in use: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?15473-Small-Wind

    By that it seems to fit the bill.
  • markkmarkk Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution

    The problem with being me, is that I am NEVER interested in what everyone else is. I see all these wind power people who want to know how the total output is over time... 'cause that's what everyone else needs. Me, I mostly only care about what I get at 8-12 mph. This pattern holds for all the things I do and see and use... And that includes 4x4's, diesels, routers, wireless equipment, bandwidth providers, propane fuel, high fidelity, solar power, wind power, small engines, autocross, and the list goes on and on. In other words, there's almost nothing I don't find interesting.

    For the price, I may just buy one and hope it works out, and if it doesn't, I guess I can ebay it and make sure the next owner is aware of just exactly how it works.

    Now, back to my research... :)
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution

    Wouldn't you be better off investing in a few extra solar panels and solve it once and for all?
  • markkmarkk Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Wouldn't you be better off investing in a few extra solar panels and solve it once and for all?

    I am limited in the square footage I can place panels. Also, for part of the year, we have quite a while that has a lot of cloudiness, where wind power generation probability is quite high. So, they complement each other, it's going to be far less common for there to be both sun and wind here.
  • DaveBDaveB Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
    Re: New Guy here - looking for a wind generator solution

    You might also want to check out Chinook Turbines which are made in Montana and designed for reliability unlike the SWWP ones.
Sign In or Register to comment.