Too Much of a Good Thing

keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
Just saw 50mph on my weather station. Too much of a good thing can be bad. That's definitely true of wind too. I was looking forward to making some serious power tonight with the latest winds, but when it's gusting this strong, it can be a fearful thing! Average winds speeds are in the 30's, but then the gusts starting approaching 50mph. Earlier, when I had my HY-2000 wind turbine running when winds were in the 30's, I was seeing well over 3kW at times. The analog ammeter goes up to 60A and it was going well past the 60 mark to what I'd estimate was at least 65A. Based on voltage of around 54V, those were peaks of 3.5kW! That's from a wind turbine that is rated as a 2kW!

Lots of power, but I do not feel comfortable letting it roar like this. I've seen numerous gusts around 50mph and the strongest predicted winds have not even occured yet. I'll sleep better tonight with the wind turbine shut down.

Comments

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,151 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Where are you sited? are you on flat ground or in a valley? are you on the coast? etc etc
    those are pretty good sustained avg winds...
    thanks
     
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    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    I live in a canyon in Eastern Washington. Winds can get very powerful around here at times. This morning, I looked out the window and saw a pile of roofing shingles on the ground. I checked around the farm and other than a small dead dry that blew over and some roofing damage, I didn't see anything else. Thank God it was not more serious. My weather station showed peak winds of 57mph last night. We've had much more at times. One year, it blew so hard in the area that 100 power poles snapped off like they were toothpicks. Wind power is good, but too much of a good thing (wind) can be bad!!!
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing
    I live in a canyon in Eastern Washington. Winds can get very powerful around here at times. This morning, I looked out the window and saw a pile of roofing shingles on the ground. I checked around the farm and other than a small dead dry that blew over and some roofing damage, I didn't see anything else. Thank God it was not more serious. My weather station showed peak winds of 57mph last night. We've had much more at times. One year, it blew so hard in the area that 100 power poles snapped off like they were toothpicks. Wind power is good, but too much of a good thing (wind) can be bad!!!

    We get massive wind storms here (Gorge winds) on the other side of the river. (We had winds at 75mpg+ in years past with 50+ sustained for days) New homes/buildings have a special 100/110mpg requirement. I would like wind power here but I'm afraid most the lower cost systems would just self-destruct.
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Sounds like you have some great wind power potential nsaspook, but you are exactly right that many of the small wind turbines sold today probably would not survive very long. You'd have to be very careful to choose wisely! I'm not even sure which wind turbine would be good for extreme conditions like that.
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing
    nsaspook wrote: »
    We get massive wind storms here (Gorge winds) on the other side of the river. (We had winds at 75mpg+ in years past with 50+ sustained for days)

    I remember driving up the gorge at 60 mph and having a pebble the size of my thumb go whipping on by - quite a sight. You also see water from the Columbia being pulled many feet up into the air when the winds from different directions come together. Can get exciting at times.

    Russ
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Sounds like exciting wind surfing weather! :)
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing
    Sounds like exciting wind surfing weather! :)

    It's great if your crazy. :D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4IiOJhUQ7o
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Adrenaline junkies. Years ago when I lived in Vancouver, WA, I worked with a guy that used to head down the gorge regularly to wind surf.
  • JordanJordan Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    I live in a valley that is notorious for strong winds. We just got through 3 weeks of continuous wind. It lingered in the 30's with gust in the up to 70 mph.

    Our little Southwest Windpower Whisper 200 actually stayed together in one piece this time but is currently not producing power. It was making a funny "buzzing" sound at higher wind speeds. Not sure if the turbine has a short or if it's a slip ring... :confused:. The wind just died down today so I might get a chance to lower the tower and see what's going on.
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Jordan,

    Sounds like you live in an extreme wind area! Have you ever seen or heard anything about this small wind turbine manufacturer in Alaska?

    http://www.beawindhog.com/

    They claim to have sold a lot of tubines, and they say they build them "Alaska tough".

    Edward
  • JordanJordan Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Hi Edward,
    Yes, I have heard of the WindHog. Never heard from actual owners though. I'm not sure about being tough - they look like they are built with car alternators. And don't think the aluminum blades would hold up either. Our Whisper's cast aluminum nacelle broke off last year when it got really cold.
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Jordan, I agree that they don't look that tough to me either. Be interesting to hear from some owners that have owned them long term.

    I wonder how many problems on the current Whispers are due to the fact that they now manufacture many of the parts overseas. They are "made in the USA" (or rather assembled in the USA), but they are put together with parts from overseas. From what Truth Squad (former employee) on this forum has said, the quality went down the tubes when they started having stuff manufactured overseas.

    Was your Whisper still under warranty when the nacelle broke? If so, how well did SWWP handle everything?

    Just curious,

    Edward
  • GlovesGloves Solar Expert Posts: 65 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    In the San Francisco bay area, it was reported to get up to 50mph winds (probably
    not that much at my house). But we have been enjoying very gusty winds for the
    past few days. Took my batteries from empty to 1/2 way in 12 hours. No sun tho,
    all rain.

    Generally, in the bay area my 450W car inverter 10-blade will give an estimated 0 to
    .25 KWh. Lately I think it's some 1-2KW per day. I know for sure it's not much but it
    feels like it's doing better than my 250W of solar panels on sunny days.

    The construction on the turbine generator and blades seems VERY strong.
    however, the guywires are probably the weakest link of the system. I'll be looking
    into doubling or tripling the gauge.
  • JordanJordan Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing
    Jordan, I agree that they don't look that tough to me either. Be interesting to hear from some owners that have owned them long term.

    I wonder how many problems on the current Whispers are due to the fact that they now manufacture many of the parts overseas. They are "made in the USA" (or rather assembled in the USA), but they are put together with parts from overseas. From what Truth Squad (former employee) on this forum has said, the quality went down the tubes when they started having stuff manufactured overseas.

    Was your Whisper still under warranty when the nacelle broke? If so, how well did SWWP handle everything?

    Just curious,

    Edward



    Our Whisper hasn't been able to make through a complete winter without malfunctioning in some way. Yes, it was under warranty when it broke. Customer service was very good. They said a cracked nacelle was not unheard of and just sent us a new turbine.
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Jordan, That's good that they took care of you under warranty. Hopefully you don't have too many problems once the warranty is up.

    Gloves, Have you noticed much vibration in your house when the winds are blowing hard?

    - Edward
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,305 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    This thread illustrates the basic irony of small scale wind. When you have enough to be truly useful, you often have enough that the hardware can't stand up to it!

    It is the gusting that kills it.

    T
  • GlovesGloves Solar Expert Posts: 65 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing
    Gloves, Have you noticed much vibration in your house when the winds are blowing hard?

    - Edward
    It does get much harder than the other night.
    Not much vibration since it's a tiny turbine.
    It also has guy wires that absorb vibration (just by how long they are)
    The pole is attached to the chimney antenna straps.

    We can hear it when it's humming when really windy,
    Checking for wear and tear. and i don't see any on the house.

    It's only windy enough to generate energy about 10 days out of the year.
  • BillFBillF Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    "They said a cracked nacelle was not unheard of "...

    It's too bad they could not design it right in the first place so it was unheard of. I had a Whisper 200 up for a few years and had a weld on the magnet can break. Power output was decent with a 65' tower but to have this happen after such a short time.... The can was replaced under warranty which took over three months.

    I decided to sell the Whisper and bought a Kestrel. It's been up for two years. It has survived some awful nasty stuff although the blades are getting noisy, most likely from tip erosion. I think the Kestrel is more rugged and industrial by design. The rotor pitch mechanism helps the tower and turbine to be more stable in storms especially the tornadic variety.
  • JordanJordan Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Bill,

    I guess they have to use cheap components to keep the turbines inexpensive. They probably don't want to make a better turbine because it would raise the price up too much. Right now they have one of the "affordable" commercially made turbines on the market. Most people probably think "hey, why pay $6K to produce electricity when I can pay $3K to do the same thing". I do think this turbine would do okay in low to moderate winds. I think it would do much better in high winds if they ditched that ridiculous angle furl for a normal side furl. But then that would be one less "marketing scheme" right?

    As far as the nacelle - Cast aluminum, frigid temperatures, high winds, high RPM, a furling system that's ineffective equals potential problems.

    We also had a weld on the magnet can break. fortunately it didn't rip the blade off. It just tore up the bearings and brought the whole thing to a grinding halt.


    You can read about the latest saga with our Whisper 200 here: http://forum.power-talk.net/Thread-Whisper-200


    Which Kestrel did you get? Our neighbor bought an e220. He has had a few kinks to work out but I think it's running fine right now. He said he will soon be writing about his experience on our forum as well.
  • BillFBillF Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Jordan,

    As far as the nacelle - Cast aluminum, frigid temperatures, high winds, high RPM, a furling system that's ineffective equals potential problems.

    Yes I can see were cold will affect the strength of the nacelle housing especially when stressed off center as in a furling event.

    Which Kestrel did you get? Our neighbor bought an e220. He has had a few kinks to work out but I think it's running fine right now. He said he will soon be writing about his experience on our forum as well.

    I purchased a 220 also. However I wish I would have gotten the e300i. Twice the low wind output compared to the e220i. However concerns with tower loading (2.5"id sch40 pipe tower) led me to that decision. I believe now that with some guy wire upgrades I could have used the e300i. At any rate, the 220 has been very reliable however the controller is very industrial in nature with no metering of any kind so that has been somewhat frustrating. I have it set to bring the batteries up to float level on a 48vdc system and let the solar handle the primary bulk charging duties.

    Midnight has a MPPT controller that I have heard will work well with the Kestrel units. I missed out on their beta testing though so I will keep an eye out for experiences before coughing up the money to buy one.
  • JordanJordan Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Bill,
    Have you looked at Outback's FLEXmax MPPT charge controller? Our neighbor with the 220 uses a MX60 and is pretty happy with the results. He does have a high voltage unit if that makes difference.
  • BillFBillF Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Jordan,

    I do have an older MX60 on the shelf, but have not used it with the Kestrel as Outback does not recomend it for wind turbines. I have heard the newer Flexmax units can be used however but have not actually heard from anyone using a unit in this application.

    The 220 I have is a 48vdc unit so I think it will not exceed the 150vdc input limits with the MX60. I think the MPPT sweeping may be too slow to take advantage of the constant flucuations in a wind turbines output. But I am more than happy to be told the opposite if anyone has had any experience using one with a wind turbine.
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Too Much of a Good Thing

    Well it was one of those days (nights) again!

    We had some strong winds blow through the area. Winds were peaking in the 50's (54mph was the highest I saw) and averaging in the 30's much of the time. My Davis weather station was frequently showing in the 40's and hitting low 50's during this wind storm. When the winds hit around 38-40mph, the turbine began to ROAR. Up until now, I've chickened out and shut down if there were very high winds predicted. So, I was not familiar with the sound of the blades stalling to control rotor RPM. When it happened the first time, I was startled and thought something was seriously wrong. The HY turbines don't have tail furling. They use this aerodynamic blade stall to control RPM. It worked very well, but was also quite loud while it was slowing itself down.

    I thought about shutting down my HY-2000 wind turbine, but then I decided to just let it go. Later, when the winds were hitting the 50's, I was hoping I didn't make a mistake. I felt like I had passed the point of no return. I didn't have the nerve to try to shut down, for fear of burning out the stator.

    In any case, after around 6 hours of roaring wind, now the winds have subsided to the teens. The HY-2000 held up very well cranking out peaks of 3.5kW and I saw sustained 2.5-3.0kW during the stronger winds. Very impressive for a "2kW" wind turbine. My 80 gal hot water heater diversion load was heating up fast (too fast), so I went off grid and burned up the extra power running all the circuits except the big 240V loads. Back on grid now that the winds have calmed down.

    Everything worked out great. It was impressive to see all the power that the HY-2000 cranked out. So far, I'm happy with this wind turbine.

    Edward
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