Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

DeveakDeveak Solar Expert Posts: 38 ✭✭
Hello, new member. Hope to stay, I love the site and forum. I have some general questions regarding windmills and my general impressions my research has given me. The more i read the more i am convinced the small residential windmill market is in complete disarray and rife with junk, scammers and bald faces lies. I can't find a single windmill with good reviews and seeing this spat between Missouri wind and solar and thermodyne/hydrogen appliances confuses me. They could both be lying or one of them. I see so many claims of 6 mph winds but no concrete proof. Solar seems so much more reliable and mature but i need wind to complete my off grid setup. I live in west virginia, we get great sunny summers but come September to about January there is weeks of no sun and blustery wind. I want to find a windmill that is modestly priced, performs as rated and wont fall apart in 5 years. Doesn't even need to be that big. My solar system does 80% of the work, when its not the wind is pretty decent at 15-30 mph for a long time.

So I guess i just need general advice on windmills and who to avoid. System integration confuses me a bit but i will do more research or another thread down the line. I do appreciate any advice you can give.

It is stressing though.

Comments

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.
    Deveak wrote: »
    The more i read the more i am convinced the small residential windmill market is in complete disarray and rife with junk, scammers and bald faces lies. I see so many claims of 6 mph winds but no concrete proof. Solar seems so much more reliable and mature but i need wind to complete my off grid setup.My solar system does 80% of the work, when its not the wind is pretty decent at 15-30 mph for a long time.

    Welcome to the forum "Deveak".
    Unfortunately, what you've been reading and discovering - - - is true. I wish it were not so.
    You will find only a few people on this forum who claim success with wind. The wind turbine I had was not a total loss, it's alternator has been busy producing power for me going on 6 years now, but it has nothing to do with wind. It's being turned by a small hydro turbine.
    That infamous 6 MPH rating is the wind speed that will cause the wind turbine to start turning and looking pretty, but most definitely not to produce any useful power.
    Re your mentioned wind speed of 15 to 30 MPH, if you're seriously considering wind, DO NOT guess at your wind speeds, do a serious survey of the wind. And be aware that maintenance will be a more or less regular part of your life with a wind turbine. DO NOT expect much at all from a wind turbine, then if it does actually produce useable power, you'll be happy, but don't expect to be happy.
    Wishing you all the best. Seriously!
  • DeveakDeveak Solar Expert Posts: 38 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    Thanks shogun. I kind of figured it might be a bit of malarkey. I am guessing both thermodyne/MWS are both scammer/shady types judging by the mud slinging.
    As for wind speeds i was using the local weather speed as an indication and yes i know that does not mean on my property specifically but we really do get strong consistent wind after September. Nothing crazy but at that time there isn't good sun but maybe once a week or every two weeks. If i could do hydro i would but in my state you need state engineer approval for any modification of a water way. Even if its a small creek on your property. Local government is very authoritarian and corrupt. A story for another day. Should i build my own or try a VAWT? I really dont expect much but if i could get 100-200 watts consistently when the wind is around 15-20 mph i would consider it a success. Maybe under 600 if possible. I will continue research but i do appreciate your time. Good thing, my grandfather was thinking of dropping big money on MWS. I heard good things about air x but that was in high wind.
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    Dev...
    It is stressing though.

    It should be stressing, wind has more detailed type controllers with the ideal to not over charge and keep the turbine loaded so it doesn't destroy itself. My opinion is 90% of the people would do better to put the resources that they would put to wind into solar. This is atleast at the price of solar now. It is not the wind turbine that cost. Also 5 years with out problim is unrealistic. It is a harsh inviorment. Some get it but it is more luck then not. The turbines you listed are light and light (from what I have read) is bad ans heavy is good. I have heard that the burgies and afican wind are pretty heavy. Hugh piggots turbine have a decent rep but must be built. You need to look at what is around you and get over thirty feet or more above that with your wind tower. I have heard if you fly a kite you can figure out where you get into steady un-turbulant wind. With all the extras that go with a turbine, a bigger battery and more solar would probly give you more. There may be exceptions. It doesn't mater what you have, you are not going to make power in a 6 mph wind.

    For the heck of it look this over.

    http://www.fieldlines.com/index.php/topic,148533.0.html

    Solar has gotten cheap enough to give up wind.

    HOWEVER, If you want to prove you have no sence and really have your heart set on it and don't mind doing things for hobby purposes do like me and get turbines. Yes I know what I am. I have a four wheel drive 3/4 ton deisel pickup and could get buy with a trailer behind a car most times. Some times you just want to do something and can't let common sense get in the way.
    Gww
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.
    Re your mentioned wind speed of 15 to 30 MPH, if you're seriously considering wind, DO NOT guess at your wind speeds, do a serious survey of the wind.
    Expanding on that: If the turbine can operate safely in 30MPH winds, that will give you eight (!) times a much power as the same turbine in a 15MPH wind. It is important to get it right.
    Any figures which are referenced to "average wind speed" make the assumption that actual wind speed follows a well known statistical distribution to get that average.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • DeveakDeveak Solar Expert Posts: 38 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    huh didn't post i think. Anyways according to weather sites, local wind is 10 mph yearly average, 12 mph monthly average high. I am looking at other windmills. I found some youtube videos by a guy called fearless thinker. He is graphing and recording windmax hy energy windmills and windy nation windmills. The windy nation looks promising. It might not be a ton of power but 50-100 watts sounds good at 10 mph.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    I just stumbled on this site, be sure to read the part called The Great Misunderstanding.. he tells it like it is! Sounds like he has been mislead along the path, charlatans and cheats, etc...... He is out of Belgium or Holland as far as I can tell.

    http://www.greenenergyresearch.be/important_message.5.html#Important%20Message

    enjoy..

    found another page..

    http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.greenenergy.li/&prev=search
     
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  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,610 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    if you have to tie your hat on every time you go outside, you have enough wind to bother messing with a wind turbine. IF you still need to try it, you have to get the turbine up high (50 - 100 ' ) and clear of obstructions.
    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 ||
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  • 2twisty2twisty Solar Expert Posts: 199 ✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    My rule of thumb on these turbines: if it doesn't require a crane to install it, it's probably bunk.
  • DeveakDeveak Solar Expert Posts: 38 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    anyone know of any feedback on hurricane wind power?
  • Ethan BrushEthan Brush Solar Expert Posts: 231 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    Mostly a reiteration on what others have said but:

    IMO, only do wing if:
    1) its not just to fulfill an energy need but its also a fun hobby for you
    2) you have a very good wind site and very dark winters

    I have a southwest windpower whisper 200 that I set up in 2007. I did it on the cheap in that I bought the turbine for $1700 and a transformer for another $900 but made the tower and controls myself. Tower is 90' built from utility poles that I got either cheap or free. Maybe 5k total in not counting my time and that is really really cheap. Just try to get a turbine 90' feet in the air and all connected with proper diversion controls and everything for that you will have a hard time. Dont get my wrong I have a fantastic wind site and it really cranks in the winter, BUT given what I know now and the cost of PV and if I didnt enjoy all the tinkering repairs and maintenance to keep i t running, I would buy 5K worth of PV instead. Thats A LOT of PV and will put out "a ton" of power even on cloudy days - it doesnt have to be sunny for PV to work. I enjoy playing with the wind turbine so when it dies, Ill probably build one but again thats just because I would enjoy the project.
  • DeveakDeveak Solar Expert Posts: 38 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.
    Mostly a reiteration on what others have said but:

    IMO, only do wing if:
    1) its not just to fulfill an energy need but its also a fun hobby for you
    2) you have a very good wind site and very dark winters

    I have a southwest windpower whisper 200 that I set up in 2007. I did it on the cheap in that I bought the turbine for $1700 and a transformer for another $900 but made the tower and controls myself. Tower is 90' built from utility poles that I got either cheap or free. Maybe 5k total in not counting my time and that is really really cheap. Just try to get a turbine 90' feet in the air and all connected with proper diversion controls and everything for that you will have a hard time. Dont get my wrong I have a fantastic wind site and it really cranks in the winter, BUT given what I know now and the cost of PV and if I didnt enjoy all the tinkering repairs and maintenance to keep i t running, I would buy 5K worth of PV instead. Thats A LOT of PV and will put out "a ton" of power even on cloudy days - it doesnt have to be sunny for PV to work. I enjoy playing with the wind turbine so when it dies, Ill probably build one but again thats just because I would enjoy the project.

    Well, while i do enjoy it as a hobby my real problem is our solar system doesn't cut it. We have around 850 watts of solar. During cloudy season (September to December, sometimes February) we put out maybe 50 watts, that wont keep the chest freezer on and thats all we can use. We get blustery wind so i thought it would offset the power somewhat. I dont expect much or need much. Just 200 watts when the wind is blowing at 15 mph. I might be asking to much. Its just confusing because it looks like the options are chinese junk, american scammer types or dropping serious money on a quality windmill that still has issues with the control circuit burning up.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    Do a search here , there is a fellow in Oregon that has an HY turbine that works well, his user name is KEYTURBOCARS also look on MidNIte.com

    Here are 2
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?19237-Wind-Max-HY-Energy-Chinese-imports-hype-or-good-stuff&highlight=keyturbocars
    http://midniteforum.com/index.php?topic=130.msg2490#msg2490
     
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,050 admin
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    The problem is that Wind is one place where Do It Yourself can be better than just about anything available commercially for "small" wind systems. And you are still looking at 60-90+ foot towers and a good amount of maintenance--Plus a crane/lift truck/tilt tower/etc. for some way to access the turbine on the tower once a year or so.

    And for safety, a good turbine design should have at least too methods that allow you to shut it down... Shorting the output, feathering the blades, furling the tail, mechanical brake, etc.

    Here are a couple of sites/links about wind that may help you:

    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
    www.greenpowertalk.org (added from "russ"--Like here but more wind/less solar)

    The wind turbines usually end up not being the major cost of the system. The 60-90 foot tower, concrete, footings, wiring+charge controller, etc. all add to the costs of the installation.

    If you install a DIY wind turbine--At least you will be able to debug and repair the system yourself. So many of the vendors seem to come and go in a few years.

    Hopefully, a few folks that drop by here can give us an update on their successful wind installations. It so difficult to have good results with a smaller installation--The physics are stacked against you from the start.

    Personally, I am not a fan of small wind--I would like to give references to successful installs for people that can use wind--But they seem to be relatively rare. These couple of threads give some information/experiences about the dark side of wind--At least they will give you some information on what to watch for.

    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ramlouiramloui Solar Expert Posts: 103 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    My cousin and his son built their own from Hugh Piggott's instruction and they are very happy with it. Not sure at all what the output is but it is enough to meet his power needs at his fishing cabin (lights, recharging the trolling motor battery, etc). The tower is about 30 ft but it is installed on top of a mound so it is above the tree line (could be higher to get more stable wind in my opinion).

    I had a chance to leaf through Piggott's manual and it is quite detailed, thorough and the instructions cover different size mills. It may be a good investment even if you decide not to build one. Good Luck!
    381571_187455458008156_1498010514_n.jpg?oh=72a14ff9b1d3723f351f262a63886e81&oe=555AAA94
    Off-grid cabin in northern Quebec: 6 x 250 W Conergy panels, FM80, 4 x 6V CR430 in series (24V nominal), Magnum MS4024-PAE
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    I have built three hugh piggot turbines and I wan't to build a bigger one. I say this but I also know I am stupid to do so. And the tower iws a real bugger and not as cheap as the turbine and I am a real scrounge. I would have made lots more power if I would have put my resources toward solar. The above doesn't count all my experments with wind or the two towers I had fail in high winds while learning.

    I sure like hughs turbines though. I like his book too.
    Gww

    ps I like fish too, nice turbine and thanks for the picture.

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    028.JPG 74.6K
  • Ethan BrushEthan Brush Solar Expert Posts: 231 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.
    Deveak wrote: »
    Well, while i do enjoy it as a hobby my real problem is our solar system doesn't cut it. We have around 850 watts of solar. During cloudy season (September to December, sometimes February) we put out maybe 50 watts, that wont keep the chest freezer on and thats all we can use. We get blustery wind so i thought it would offset the power somewhat. I dont expect much or need much. Just 200 watts when the wind is blowing at 15 mph. I might be asking to much. Its just confusing because it looks like the options are chinese junk, american scammer types or dropping serious money on a quality windmill that still has issues with the control circuit burning up.

    Just for rough numbers and arguments sake, say you get 1/20th of nameplate rating on most cloudy days (which is a little less than your figures). That would be 300 watts from a 6KW system. That is $4500 in panels and little or no maintenance for 25 years. You wont even need 6KW in charge control capacity because you dont care about the 6,000 watts when the sun is out (although having it opens options such as water heating or air conditioning with the extra). The logical, cost analyzing part of me as a real hard time putting a nickel into my wind and not putting it up on ebay. Its only because its fun and neat for me that it is still flying. Throw more PV at it, its .75 cents not $4 a watt anymore.....Just my thought on it.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.
    gww1 wrote: »
    I have built three hugh piggot turbines and I wan't to build a bigger one. I say this but I also know I am stupid to do so. And the tower iws a real bugger and not as cheap as the turbine and I am a real scrounge. I would have made lots more power if I would have put my resources toward solar. The above doesn't count all my experments with wind or the two towers I had fail in high winds while learning.

    I sure like hughs turbines though. I like his book too.
    Gww

    ps I like fish too, nice turbine and thanks for the picture.

    Attachment not found.
    What is that row of rectangles down from the top of the truss tower? Did you rent out as a cell phone site?
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    inetdog
    What is that row of rectangles down from the top of the truss tower? Did you rent out as a cell phone site?

    I wish, they went to my neibor. $3000 per year for 100 square foot and acess. They do come almost every day so I get to see the croud and my neibor gets the money.
    Cheers
    gww
  • DeveakDeveak Solar Expert Posts: 38 ✭✭
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    I think i might try hurricane wind power. I talked to the guy who owned it, small company and only a state away so i can resolve things if it turns out to be a sham of some sort. He explained what the market is like in detail, pretty much reaffirmed what my gut was saying. Crappy companies and shady people abound. He might be blowing smoke but I don't think so. Had a good grasp and answered a ton of my questions.
  • bpolitobpolito Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Windmill noob, no idea where to look or who to trust.

    My hat is off to the homebuilders on the forum; it is not easy to build a turbine that holds up. It's not an easy business either, but folks should know that there are US manufacturers building solid turbines. Our 10' machine is not cheap (around $6k, including the charge controller), but it's made in Maine of US components (except for the neodymium), built to last, and it makes real power if you have real wind and a tall enough tower to get at least 30' above the surroundings. Drop us a line if you have any questions.
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Funny, there was what looked to be a successful small wind install near my house. It was turning for about 4 years in Northern NH. It was guyed and would need to be dropped to service it. I drove by today and notice the tower was bent about 30 degrees about half way up.

    Its too bad a their roof has nice solar exposure.
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