Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

creosotecreosote Registered Users Posts: 11
Hi Folks, I have a SWWP Whisper 500 wind turbine that recently blew its circuit board within the Charge controller (CC). It happened by not shorting out
all 3 wires while doing an upgrade to my solar units. From what I've learned even though the Whisper Charge controller was disconnected from my batteries (and was not in use) it still builds up voltage. So when I flipped the breaker on my panel that connected it back to the batteries I saw a flash and pop come out of the CC. When I took the cover off the CC I saw two of the resistors were fried. One of the resellers/installers of SWWP told me this happens all the time to people.

I'm probably one of the rare people who haven't had many problems with the Whisper 500, so I'd like to keep using it. I've called all the dealers listed on the new website but many of them act like they can't get parts right now. One told me a new replacement CC will cost around $1500-2000. That's way more than
I want to spend. I'm looking for a used CC or even better just the internal circuit board of the CC since it appears to be the only item that was damaged.
My system runs at 48V.

If you have any parts or suggestions please reply or PM me..

thanks,

Comments

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,366 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    If you can't get parts or they are outrageous, you could just make a rectifier bridge to get it back to DC then put a regular charge controller on it. Issue will be how do you get the protection back for over speed. I am certainly no expert on wind but several here are, they may know much better how to solve your situation.
  • creosotecreosote Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    I never considered using another charge controller or knew that was a possibility. Maybe some of the experts on wind power could comment on how this could be done or some of the other options.

    Also, if anyone knows where I could find parts for this charge controller please let me know..

    thanks.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,658 admin
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    Assuming that the wind turbine is wired for 48 volt battery bank charging (gets >60 VDC when under load)--Then just get a diode bridge assembly, or build it out of discrete diodes and heat sinks (be careful of short circuits and such)--Then wire (through a breaker) to the battery bank. And put your three phase shorting switch between the turbine and the rectifier.

    Next, you have two options... The inexpensive option is to get a PWM controller and a resistor load bank (you can probably use the one from your original wind controller). You program the controller for dump/bypass/whatever mode and connect the output to your dump load. When the battery bank >~59 VDC, the controller will turn on and dump current to your resistor bank.

    Or, you can get a Midnite Classic/Clipper system... This is a MPPT controller that connects between the wind turbine (after rectifier) and the battery bank. The Midnite will allow the wind turbine to run at "optimum" Vturbine/Iturbine and down convert to the battery bank voltage/current (takes high voltage/low current and down converts to low voltage/high current needed by the battery bank). It also includes and integrated dump load/controller.

    With a MPPT controller, you may get 2-3x more energy from your wind turbine at times--However, this is not a cheap solution.

    The Midnite Classis also has a "waste not" mode--For example, you can program the output to controller a relay to turn on an electric water heater to use excess wind (and solar) capacity.

    Lots of options--And very happy to hear you are happy with your wind turbine... However, take a close look at the turbine (blades, bearings, castings, etc.) and make sure you have enough life left in the turbine to justify the amount of time/money it would take to get running again. Turbines are exposed to extreme weather/temperature conditions and don't always last more than a few years without major work.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • creosotecreosote Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    Hi Bill, Thanks for the detailed answer. It would probably help if I gave you a little more information about my setup. I have a Xantrex 6048 Inverter with two sets of PV arrays running on separate Xantrex Charge Controllers. It's a Hybrid system with around 1000Amp hour battery bank. We are connected to the Grid and sell back any extra energy we make. My total PV panel wattage is around 5500 at peak. I had just added the second array of panels (3500w) when the Wind Turbine blew. So now I'm near the max wattage my inverter can handle (6000w) with just the PV panels. I live in coastal central FL so we do get a good bit more sun then we do wind. However, there are some times when it's cloudy with strong with for days. Those are the times that I wish I could use the wind turbine to make up for the loss of sun.

    The Whisper 500 is around 4 years old and hasn't had any maintenance done to it from what the previous owner tells me (I just bought this home and it had the wind turbine already installed). From what you are saying it may not make sense to spend $1000-1500 to get a replacement CC and parts if this turbine only has a limited lifespan left. I've read a lot of bad news about the SWWP so I'm not sure how long my Whisper 500 would last. I may be better off just selling the turbine, tower, etc...

    Maybe this additional info will help in making me some recommendations.

    thank you again...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,658 admin
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    A set of rectifier diodes should not be too expensive. A Xantrex/Schneier C40 controller setup in diversion mode would cost around $115.00 (plus shipping+insurance).

    You might want to price the cost of R&R'ing the wind turbine (if you cannot pull it down yourself) and see what that costs. If nothing else, inspecting/painting/leading edge tape on the blades, check for cracks on blades/hub/yaw bearing housings, etc.

    That wind turbine probably is >200lbs on top of that tower--You do not want anyone near that if it comes down (I am not a fan of small wind--So take what I say with a grain of salt). If that tower is built too close to your home/yard where your kids play--I would just take it down (or get into HAM and use it as an antenna tower).

    Also--In Florida, you are in lightning central--Wind turbines do not always survive strikes either.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • creosotecreosote Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    Hehe.. Funny you mention lightning. The previous owner did have lightning strike it once or twice. One of the strikes was bad and ruined the charge controller and inverter I think. He put in many lightning arrestors after that. His insurance paid for the replacement equipment..but still not a fun situation. It's plenty distance from my home so no threat in that regard, but acting as a large lightning rod is not good...especially if it was to fry all my equipment.

    I'll take a look at the options you mentioned. Your help is must appreciated..
  • mahendramahendra Solar Expert Posts: 141 ✭✭
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    With the recent events with South West wind power i suggest getting a new CC,While some stock the CC ,i don't think they have great repair services since the new manufacturer for Whisper turbine is based in India.Try midnite classic but think you will need a separate dump load for that as well like midnite's Clipper which will run up to about $2000 as well but al least you would be sure .Also i don't think you will get CC frying problems in future.how ever i think there are experts here who can salvage your CC's rectifier and dump load,so if its possible it should work fine with the midnite classsic.I am no expert so please do consult with experts and midnite solar Before attemping anything outrageous.
  • E-dubE-dub Registered Users Posts: 13 ✭✭
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    I have a similar problem, burned charge controller. This one is the Whisper 100. We had a good working relationship with SWWP for years, as in we got to talk to them at least once a year when the turbine broke. That may not qualify as a "good" thing, so yeah, just kidding.

    Don't want to hijack this thread with my system and history but was curious if there is some way for guys like us with fried boards to use any of the original parts and bypass some of the circuitry. Probably too much to hope for but thought I would ask. The new charge controller is suppose to be more durable but the price is a little steep.

    Thanks, Rick
  • jenni_lastjenni_last Registered Users Posts: 1
    Re: Looking for Whisper 500 Charge Controller, Parts or Advice...

    Hi all. I have a 48v Whisper 500 system on top of a 42 foot tower. It has been in operation for 2 years and (dare I say it?) has been completely dependable and trouble-free. I take the unit down annually to inspect the rotor, bearings, yaw brushes, blades, etc. No issues or problems to date. I am worried though, about the demise of SWWP and the availability of spare parts. Here in north Texas, the sun has to be aging the blades - it's not a question of if but of when they will fail. When I purchased the unit, I just assumed there would always be a source for parts. Sure wish I had stocked-up on the expendables.

    But enough about my system, I was wondering if the gentleman with the fried controller would consider rebuilding the unit? I haven't looked closely at my controller, but a well-designed unit might handle over-voltage/current situations by failing relatively inexpensive discrete components. In other words, in the event of reverse voltage or an overload event, the passive components would behave like a fuse and "fry", preserving the critical parts. From the description provided, a couple of resistors burned up. Perhaps they could be replaced?

    Just a thought.

    Jennifer
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