air-o-power 2KW

Hi,

I just registered. I'm very seriously considering a grid intertie
system that consists of an Air-o-Power 2000 W turbine and an
SMA Windy Boy 3300U. This is for a residential installation in
a very good wind area.
Any experience / recommendations / disclaimers about these units?

thanks,

Tom

Comments

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Tom,

    Since we have all remained silent about the Air-O-Power machine, I'm going to weigh in. I wish to make it clear that this is strictly my opinion. The turbine looks to be a North American label placed on a Chinese built wind generator. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that....however, this scenario does remind me of some of those Chinese-built, gray market estate tractors---where you wonder about service/support after the sale. For all I know, they may have a great network for obtaining parts--and a local service center if you had to send your controller/generator in for warranty work--for example. The Air-O-Power unit certainly has a Bergey look, making me wonder if XL.1's come from the same place. I do think that in many applications, the 40ft tower they sell as part of their system is too low. Towers that short often subject the turbine to turbulence.

    If I were considering a grid-tied wind system---with a $16000.00 price, I would take a hard look at the ARE 110. That machine has a known, proven heritage....the AWP 3.6. I would think the folks at ARE have had a few years to fine tune this grid-tied system. Every review I have read about the AWP 3.6 grid tie system has been very favorable. I would expect the same from the ARE 110. At least in this scenario, you'd get local service and support. I think by the time you purchased the ARE tower, the difference in cost between the two systems would be pretty close. Let us know what you think.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    And just a warning to look at over-speed control (don't self destruct in high winds), how long they will last, and maintenance requirements... Don't many of those turbines require to be taken down every so often (once a year or so?) to be serviced... If you have to rent a crane/rigger every time, the cost savings from would seem to be consumed by the ongoing service costs.

    If you have no utility power, wind is a good option... But small wind and grid tie always seemed to be way on the wrong side of the cost curve.

    Have you worked out the ongoing costs for a wind turbine? I am kind of curious--although I don't have the room to install one here in a city (or the wind either).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Trillium Air-O-Power manufacturer or dealer

    Does anyone have info on the manufacturer of or a vendor for Trillium or Air-O-Power wind turbines? The vendor I used out of Canada, E-Mark Electric has closed shop. I got their 5KW turbine a couple of years ago as a newbie. It was a chore to erect but I got it done. So far it has worked pretty well but that has somewhat been a chore also. Currently the yaw control has broken and the nacelle is just spinning in the wind, luckily reversed. I will definitely have to tilt it down and do some gear repair so I am just starting the search.

    Happy Holidays,

    Tim
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Just going by Google, it appears that the company you bought it from was the only reseller in North America, but they may have also just put their own name on it.

    E-Mark has been around a while, they used to buy a few odds and ends from us, surprised they shut down.
  • WisJimWisJim Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Wisconsin has a program that is funded by many of the state's electrical utilities, called Focus on Energy. In order to get a rebate or cash-back reward for a wind system, a person must first have a wind site assessment done at they site of the proposed installation, and then they are eligible for a rebate based in part on the projected output of the system. Only generators that have a history of working, or new ones that have been studied and tentatively approved by the organization are elible for rebates. Air-O-Power and most other Chinese clones are not on the list. Most of them are junk, and few of them actually work. There are no 3rd party tests, monitored installations, or other reliable information available about the output and reliability of these machines. Save your money and look at the ARE110, as mentioned above, or maybe a Proven for more money. The ARE would be the one I would look at if I wanted to replace my existing machine with a new one. Proven and Endurance would also be on the short list of machines to consider.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Home Power Mag has a full sample issue up (in PDF) that has a large wind turbine article.

    The also have a Wind Turbine Buyer's guide available for download too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Trillium Air-O-Power manufacturer or dealer

    I would like to talk to you on your experience with air 0 power!!!
    Doug Smith

    [Just leave comments in thread or via PM. -Bill B. moderator]
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    e-Mark Electric was primarily a company dealing in commercial motors, generators, and converters. They would design and spec systems and have them built in China. They had a decent reputation and were in business quite a while (since the 70's I think).

    Their thought was that since they already had the generators, it would not be too much of a stretch to add the tower, blades, and controls to put a wind turbine kit together. THey aparrently offered 5, 10, 15, and 20kW models.

    I was surprised to see that they went belly up last year, though I understand that they had a lot of problems with their wind generators. These things are brute force machines - nothing elegant about them. My 10kW generator weighs in at about 800 lbs without the blades. However, it came with two top-of-the-line SMA 6kW Windy Boy inverters, and there is nothing wrong with the 80' tilt-up guyed tower they supplied (except that it arrived well rusted from crossing the ocean on deck). The gin-pole and fittings left a bit to be desired and I had to buy new blocks (actually I fashioned my own from four 30,000 lb rated snatch blocks and some 1" shackles and 1" grade 8 bolts. The 1/2" steel guys are a bit overkill and were not long enough, so I ended up having to buy more cable and piecing some stuff together. My anchor points are all in good old Maine granite ledge, so the placement was one of opportunity - hence some are further from the tower than the minimum design specs.

    For tilting up, I have a Mile Marker 18,000 lb hydraulic winch set up to run from my Kubota tractor hydraulics. It has a long drum (their military unit) with 220' of 7/16" synthetic winch cable rated at 22,000 lbs.

    All is ready to go save one connection to the control box that is currently baffling me - I can not determine the purpose of the two terminals on the control box labeled "TO HOUSE" which is not mentioned in the literature.:confused:
  • guerrillasolarguyguerrillasolarguy Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Hello all,
    I am new to the forum and looking for information on this turbine. I have a customer who has one and we decided to help him make it work. It is a 3kw machine and it came with a 40' tower, controller, and windyboy grid-tie inverter. We sold him a 300 amp hour, 48volt battery bank, (2) 175w solar panels and outback power flexware 500 system with one off grid inverter.
    The only way to hook up the windyboy was to trick it by hooking it up to the outback. The turbine produces wild 3phase 240v, the controller is a cheap little box with a few gauges on it that rectifies it to dc and has a built in load diversion. The load diversion is not really large enough to handle the output of the turbine in high winds and so the gauges melted and the when the batteries were full, the outback stopped accepting power and the windyboy blew up a few capacitors. Round one.
    The only other way we could see to make it work is to get a whisper 500 controller and transformer (240-48v) and load diversion ($$$). Now the turbine will not startup unless you disconnect it from the transformer, let it free spin until the voltage gets up in the 100-200v range and hook it back up. It then begins to run and charge. Once it gets down below a certain rpm it will not startup again unless you disconnect it. I don't know what to do next.
    Joel
  • guerrillasolarguyguerrillasolarguy Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Well,
    The Air-O-Power machine is such that it requires constant attention. After starting it up in the morning, my customer returned at the end of the day to find his turbine had gotten really lonely and decided to 'jump'. The yaw shaft is still mounted to the tower. We had gusts of 50 or 60 mph that day and I guess we know what its 'survival wind speed' is. <60.

    Joel
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    sorry to hear that.:cry:
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: air-o-power 2KW
    Well,
    The Air-O-Power machine is such that it requires constant attention. After starting it up in the morning, my customer returned at the end of the day to find his turbine had gotten really lonely and decided to 'jump'. The yaw shaft is still mounted to the tower. We had gusts of 50 or 60 mph that day and I guess we know what its 'survival wind speed' is. <60.

    Joel

    That is why you won't find many fans of small wind here, especially the overseas manufactured stuff.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Just to be clear, you are talking about several hundred pounds to near a 1/2 ton of metal dropping approximately 40-60 feet to the ground (and hopefully missing the home/structures and anyone that happened to be nearby?

    It is always a good idea to put a wind turbine away from inhabbited areas--mechanical devices can fail.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    All this make me glad that the only fans I have hang from the ceiling!
    Though I had a good wind site, bought a recording anemometer, was able to collect enough data, before the elk got tangled in the guy wire, to determine it was a good site to fly a kite or loose a hat...but not to generate power.

    Having many years in the aircraft maintenance business, I question why no one has built a constant speed propeller for one of these? They are not all that complex and properly done would only require annual maintenance. Is it cost's or lack of knowledge on the manufacturing end?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Jacobs Wind Turbines have been doing variable pitch blades for 80 years or so...

    www.wincharger.com/jacobs/index.htm

    Notice the design uses a hypoid gear case that allows the very heavy DC Generators to be fixed mounted in tower, and only the blades, tail and transmission to yawing at the top of the tower. No sliprings, much less pivoting weight, presumably less stress and danger of falling parts (if designed/manufactured correctly).

    -Bill

    PS: This may be just a furling/overspeed feathering device--but it is better than 90% of the other small wind that is out there today in having several methods to control overspeed.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: air-o-power 2KW
    audredger wrote: »
    Having many years in the aircraft maintenance business, I question why no one has built a constant speed propeller for one of these? They are not all that complex and properly done would only require annual maintenance. Is it cost's or lack of knowledge on the manufacturing end?

    Mostly costs. Small wind competes mainly against solar, and solar prices have dropped. And wind turbines don't have the economies of scale like something that sells in the millions does, so you end up with poor design, poor manufacturing, poor materials, etc in the race to the bottom.

    There are a few decent small turbines out there, but those are not the one you usually see advertised on eBay and such places with far too much hype.
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Cool Bill, I forgot about Jacobs. Old company don't see much press on them.

    Windsun, Thank you!

    It seems it takes hype to sell junk, quality sells itself.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: air-o-power 5KW, controller, Windy Boy 6000

    I have a friend who has had this unit in his garage for 3 years. I may want to buy it or sell it for him (if someone is interested-email me).

    The questions are...
    1). Does anyone know where we can get parts?
    2). Does this wimpy controller have sufficient current-handling capability? It does not weigh enough!
    3). How is the best way to test a system BEFORE you spend $$$ erecting it? The yaw bearing does not turn, does it need to be connected first?

    Does someone have some experience with this unit and the ACTUAL install for it.

    Thank you in advance.
    Mark
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    To homeboy981

    I have up and operating an Air-O-Power 5K unit. I am very interested in your friend's garage stored unit. I need a control for another unit. Please E-mail me at [email protected]
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW

    Richwind,

    You might try sending an email to Homeboy (click on his name)--HB has not been back to this forum since last April and he probably will not see your post.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: air-o-power 2KW
    Well,
    The Air-O-Power machine is such that it requires constant attention. After starting it up in the morning, my customer returned at the end of the day to find his turbine had gotten really lonely and decided to 'jump'. The yaw shaft is still mounted to the tower. We had gusts of 50 or 60 mph that day and I guess we know what its 'survival wind speed' is. <60.

    Joel

    That's interesting. We have a new customer that called us to look at their installation. The unit was installed by another company and the next day the owner came outside to find the blade/hub assembly laying on the ground. Apparently, it came loose and augered in from ~85 feet up. We were told that it is a 30kW unit, but we haven't seen any documentation yet and we didn't find a data plate when we went up in a lift to look at the unit last week.

    -Rusty / Ken
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