Wind Generator Maintenance ?

GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
Bill,

You've mentioned in the past about high maintenance in wind turbines. What where you referring to specifically about them ?
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    Re: Wind Generator Maintenance ?

    Bearings, slip-rings, blades, brakes/feathering, possibly gear boxes or belts, etc... And the other-stuff like corrosion control on the units and towers. Some have electronics in the turbine body--so there can be issues there too...

    Wind, Rain, Snow, Ice, Sun is all really hard on an electromechanical system at the top of a 60'+ tall tower. And include cost reductions made by many vendors--it is tough for the units to last more than a few seasons.

    Blades fail (delaminate, fatigue failures), Permanent Magnets are very difficult to seal against moisture and will rust/corrode quickly if sealant fails, etc... Older units had DC Generators (brushes and commutators). If you drop the PM and use a stator with field coils, then you have slip rings and brushes...

    Normally, taking down a wind turbine 1-2 times per year to do checks, maintenance, tightening hardware, etc. is not a bad idea. However, can get expensive if you have to hire a crane truck to do it every time.

    There is a thread here about TLG Wind Turbines here. A few TLG Customers have posted and say their systems have been running 2+ years without maintenance just fine.

    I do not fly a wind turbine--so most of my information is from reading here and elsewhere (plus my engineering background).

    Anyone else here who wants to add their personal experiences about wind? I would be very happy to read about their systems.

    I can add references to other threads about failures of wind turbines posted here--But I assume that you have seen a few of them here already. Not trying to beat a dead horse (or at least continually flogging my views. :roll: )

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Maintenance ?

    I Have whisper 100 & 200. maintenance is high production is clearly not as stated. The whisper silence is a definition by somebody deaf, mean at slow wind speed it makes a high pitch noise and by high wind from time to time you think a helicopter is landing.:D

    But my big problem is lighting strikes in the last two and a half years my wind generators are hit three times. The 100 is still down and yesterday after the last hit the diodes from the controller are burnt away.
    yes i have special protection on the cables and grounding but a full hit is nasty.

    The 100 has the bearing melted in one piece:cry:.

    for me it maintenance cost are still low ( i repair it myself) and i am on a good wind location i have weeks that i can not take down the setup because of high winds.;)
    And i am using a own design part tilde down mast i can safely lower it with in a minute but only when the wind is low.

    Greetings from Greece
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Maintenance ?

    The only way to avoid high maintenance costs is to build it yourself. That way, you control the quality of the parts that go into the thing. As it is, certain small wind manufacturers source the cheapest parts possible knowing full well they won't last long. (It becomes evident in the warranty department and heed is not taken.) Pressure is put on purchasing departments to "drive down costs" and this means finding the cheapest parts possible; usually from China. So, let's say there's a certain part in a turbine that works fine. But if they find one a couple pennies cheaper, they'll throw it in there with no testing to see if that part is of decent quality. And if it fails, as long as they figure the cost savings are worth the increase in warranty, they will continue to use that part, even if customers are angry. Bear in mind that purchasing departments base their raises, or even continued employment, on generating costs savings by sourcing cheaper parts.

    I'm sorry to say that small wind turbines are some of the shoddiest products I've seen manufactured considering what types of conditions they're expected to survive and the lifespan the manufacturers claim. Small wind turbines are basically the Yugo automobile of the renewable energy world.
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Maintenance ?

    I wouldn't say a "Yugo", maybe a Vega or Pinto, or them darn Gremlin cars.

    It sounds like I'm lucky enough to build my own to learn from. The only real maintenance I've done is correcting a few mistakes in design. For instance, the blades spinning counter clock-wise loosen the main shaft bolt regardless of how tight they where. Had a natural loosening effect on a right handed thread. Since making clock-wise rotating blades, have not had a problem. Simple stuff I've fixed and improved upon and now I lay in boredom waiting for the next issue. When I was assembling the units I added extra wheel bearing grease to the rear bearings.

    It cost me about $450 to build one unit complete with pole and rotational axis 360 degrees not including 40 hours of labor. It's no wonder my plans are not selling. With all the junk out there to discourage people, I'd be in the same Titanic. Live and learn, I guess...
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  • WisJimWisJim Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Maintenance ?

    I have been using wind power since 1977, and using the same Jacobs 2.5kw machine since 1979. Maintenance consists of climbing the tower once or twice a year,checking bolts and all other connections and fasteners, greasing 3 bearings, maybe touch up some paint every few years, and maybe change brushes every 20 years or so (not sure, my brushes have gone 30 years without wearing enough to replace them). You climb the tower, you don't have to hire a crane to take it down. Of course, machines not as well built may require more maintenance or repairs, but new machines like the ARE and the Proven could turn out to be as low maintenance as our old 1940s vintage Jacobs machine. I did take it down when we moved to a different place, and I replaced the original blades in 1999, but they should last for many more decades, as will the rest of the unit. I imagine my kids and grandkids may be using it in 50 years.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    Re: Wind Generator Maintenance ?

    Jim sounds like he designed his setup to allow him to climb the tower for maintenance (was it you Jim that has a picture posted somewhere around here with a lattice tower and even a platform/jib crane to give you maintenance access to the turbine?). Which is a good idea (saves the price of a crane).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Maintenance ?

    There is still a Jacobs turbine going in Stelle, Illinois to this day with little maintenance. The last tour of this town I took, they said it was 4kw w/regulator. The pole on it was around 50-75 feet and guy wires. It's simply amazing how things were built back 70 years ago.
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