Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

SamuraiSamurai Posts: 5Registered Users
Hello,

I am new to all this, trying to learn, so I bought the HF solar kit (3 panels, 1 controller, 35 amp/hr battery). It's all set up, connected to an inverter and it all seems to work well!

Now, I bought an Eagle II wind generator on eBay. It's small and cheap, I just want to learn with it. I plan on buying another 35 amp/hr battery to wire in parallel (the exact same one from HF). The turbine also came with a blocking diode.

I understand I need a charge controller for the wind generator that can dump power to not damage the batteries. I have looked for cheap charge controllers and most of them are hybrid (wind and solar) have THREE inputs for wind while my little turbine only has TWO wires.
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This is where I need help. Why do I have two wires and those controllers have three inputs? I am also not wiring a ground from the battery, is that ok? Everything seems to not complain (inverter etc)

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    Welcome to the forum.

    Without actually seeing the schematics I would guess that you are looking at a difference of turbines outputting 3 phase AC (three wires) vs. a turbine that puts out DC (two wires). Although I don't know why they would include a blocking diode if the turbine puts out DC to begin with.

    In terms of regulating output from the turbine, the standard form is a dump controller connected to the battery which keeps the Voltage from going to high by connecting the load as Voltage climbs, thus 'bleeding off' power.

    Don't expect much. Small wind turbines are notoriously over-rated and impractical. Installing any turbine so that it actually performs requires some pretty tall tower to get it out of the turbulent air near the ground.

    Grounding is not actually necessary for the operation of anything. It's there in case something goes wrong; and attempt to keep anything you might touch at zero Voltage potential in respect to the ground you are standing on so that no current would flow through your body.

    If I were you I would not worry about a controller for the wind turbine until you see whether or not it can actually produce any measurable current to the battery.
  • SamuraiSamurai Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    Thanks for welcome and great info, Cariboocoot.

    This is the turbine I got:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/EAGLE-II-Wind-Turbine-Generator-Kit-Battery-Charger-with-ALUMINUM-PRO-Blades-/151216196657?ssPageName=ADME%3AL%3AOU%3AUS%3A1120&nma=true&si=M2EBeMApa5jDzgerXFGh8mu3OGM%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    I will take your advice and connect to the battery as a test w/out a controller to measure if it's worth pursuing. However, if I see that it is providing usable current, can I use controllers that have 3 wire inputs? like this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/GudCraft-CD5-0-12V-Controller-Generator/dp/B005QWM51O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1391109780&sr=8-2&keywords=wind+charge+controller

    I know the equipment I am experimenting with is bottom of the barrel, but I would just like to get an understanding as I want to set up solar on my garage. Wind seems to possibly be more trouble than it's worth for my limited knowledge - but it would be cool to make it work with my solar/wind shed!

    EDIT: Lastly, my HF solar controller reads the voltage of the battery and shuts off if need be. Can I trust the reading on that to tell me what the battery voltage is at with both the solar and wind hooked up? (I understand it won't control the turbine, just specifically talking about the reading it's getting from the battery)

    Thanks again for your time. I am very new to this.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    Looking at that linked controller we see this in the description:

    "Transform the AC power from wind turbine by Rectifier Bridge to DC power for battery charging"

    Just as I suspected it is anticipating AC output from the turbine. This is probably not going to work with your turbine, even though technically putting DC to an AC input and "re-rectifying" it won't cause any trouble other than drop in Voltage.

    Look at the 2nd page of this data sheet and you'll see what we'd normally expect for wiring a dump/diversion controller: http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/wind-sun/TSdatasheet.pdf

    In this application one such connection would do for regulating everything (as there is no need for MPPT function on the solar panels due to the small array size).

    Yes, the good equipment costs more. The HF controller sounds like a poor 'shunt type' where there is a "panels connected" low Voltage turn on setting and a "panels disconnected" high Voltage turn off setting. Not very reliable or desirable.

    You should definitely get a reasonably good digital multimeter and read the Voltages for yourself. You're wanting to learn how this stuff works, so it's important to have something supplying you with accurate numbers.

    You might even toy with building your own dump load controller employing a Voltage controlled relay.
  • SamuraiSamurai Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    I really appreciate your help. I apologize for all the questions, but I feel like I'm getting somewhere!

    Do those TriStar controllers accept wind power (like the one in the pdf and one linked below)? If so, will it accept a DC turbine like mine?
    (http://www.amazon.com/Morningstar-TS-45-TriStar-Charge-Controller/dp/B0012DNFT2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391111571&sr=8-1&keywords=tristar+controller)

    If all that was gravy, ideally I'd want to ditch my HF charge controller for that TriStar one and regulate my solar and wind from it (with something to dump power to like a heater)? Correct?

    I will refrain from building my own equipment. I try very hard to understand this but I'm a lowly graphic artist by day. The other side of my brain struggles. :)
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    If you look at the diagram the TriStar simply monitors battery Voltage on its input, compares it to the settings for charge stage, and then connects/disconnects the load via PWM to regulate the Voltage level of the battery. It doesn't care where the charging current is coming from (panels and/or turbine) so long as the power doesn't exceed its capacity.
  • SamuraiSamurai Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    Ah, I see now, apologies.

    Walking through a theoretical set up:

    1. Solar panels connects to Tristar controller
    2. Wind turbine connects to battery
    3. Tristar connects to battery and diversion/dump (heater?)
    4. Inverter connects to battery

    Look right!? :D

    If my turbine is connected straight to the battery, can't power go back to it and ruin it?

    OMG, I feel like I am getting so close!
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,103Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    to add, you will need separate controllers , one each for PV and wind.
     
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  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    Um, actually no.

    In this size system the dump controller can regulate the whole charge acting only as a dump controller.

    PV and turbine both connect directly to batteries. Controller input connects to batteries, output to diversion load. The controller and load must be able to handle the combined power of both PV and turbine.

    When you get into larger systems you inevitably have a separate controller regulating PV input to the batteries.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,090Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    Having a second "series" controller for solar is actually a good idea anyway.

    For most people, the majority of their charging will be from the solar array and a series connected (panels to controller to battery bank) actually does a "nicer job" of charging the batteries (more accurate, less "micro cycling").

    A dump controller is just turning on a big load and dropping the battery bank voltage back down to float voltage (or below) for a bit, then turn off until the panels+wind turbine get the batteries charging again at absorb (and/or above float).

    Another "code requirement" is that you have two dump controllers and loads--The second one is "backup" in case the first dump system fails. Batteries can do terrible things if subjected to excessive charging voltages/currents.

    How many folks actually install a second dump controller+resistor bank for backup? Probably not many.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SamuraiSamurai Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: Newb - Harbor Freight Kit + Eagle II Wind Generator - Few Questions

    Great info, thank you so much. Now time to do some more research! I'm sure i'll be back with more (annoying) questions!
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