Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

I bought a Whisper 500 from SWWP and it does not work. I have been thru 5 or 6 controllers and they all burned out in 2 or 3 days. One actually caught on fire. To date SWWP has refused to honor the warranty, refund my money, or fix the problem. They have pretty much hung me out to dry-their last suggestion was that I get a new controller and sell the unit to someone else!!
I am filing a lawsuit and am looking for anyone else with similar problems with that unit. Please contact me.

Comments

  • Robert LakeRobert Lake Registered Users Posts: 9
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    It bothers me that so many people have trouble with new and/or used wind machines. It seems that too many wind machine builders also do not want to solve ongoing problems with customers.

    This 5-6 controller failing problem is a good example of a manufacturer initially trying to solve a problem and then advising the customer to sell the "PROBLEM" to someone else when they couldn't figure out the real cause of the failures.

    Does the manufacturer not know that we live in an age of instant communication? Did they think that their "giving up" on the problem would never be known?

    I have a Air 303, yes, the original, and it has never put out anything close to specs and with very little time in service, it has shown itself to be poorly designed (IMHO). I have had to replace the blades once because two of them broke in 50 MPH wind, yes, only 50 MPH. I was told that it was because the blades were spinning fast and then the gen turned out of the wind causing the blades to strike the mast. Ya know what, since the warranty had run out a few months before it happened, they didn't give me the blades for free. I had to buy them.

    Another customer that put a Air 303 marine on a local lighthouse near me also was refused new blades when theirs broke, also hitting the mast. They (the lighthouse preservation society) were not allowed to visit the lighthouse during the winter months because of govt restrictions so even though the blades failed early on, the company would not honor the warranty.

    It looks like SWWP doesn't have a very good customer service record even when they know and at that time knew, of the tendency of their blades to hit the mast. I am pretty sure that I will never buy any product from SWWP.

    It is stories like this that make me wonder if wind energy will ever take hold if companies like this respond to their customers in this way.

    Does anyone know about Bergy's, or any other manufacturers, for that matter, that might have a reliable machine? I want to buy a bigger machine but don't want to be "surprised" when a warranty issue pops up.:confused:
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    Small scale wind is "not quite there yet".

    And to be honest, I don't expect it to be "there" in less than 10 years or so, if ever.

    Unlike solar, wind has a lot more problems to contend with, the two major ones are reliability at less than "space shuttle" prices, and the nearly 100% misunderstood (by consumers) of what the (over optimistic) ratings really mean.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    I want to share an article written by my friend Gale. Her articles are opinionated and may not share your values or be of any interest to you but I enjoy reading them and I must admit that I agree with her on many of her viewpoints.



    CHINESE TAKE-OUT
    ---by Gale Force


    Well, some might think I spend a lot of time slamming Chinese wind
    turbines. In a word, yes. Why? Because they rightfully deserve it. Look,
    these clowns practically counterfeit existing wind turbines and then try and
    pawn this crap off on people as an original design. These Chinese wind
    turbines serve one purpose and one purpose only: To give wind energy a bad
    name.

    I don't care how low the price is. I don't care what the profit margin is.
    The sellers and manufacturers can only justify them in terms of money in
    their own pockets. Because you sure can't sell them based on performance.
    Some of the fantasy-world output claims made for these Chinese wind turbines
    would cause any sane person to burst into laughter. Unfortunately, there are
    a lot of people who end up buying these piles of junk because they believe
    what the manufacturer says. Or, excuse me, the distributor because the
    manufacturer isn't the only one saying it. The people who import these wind
    turbines are nothing more than hucksters. They ought to be ashamed of
    themselves, foisting off this junk on their countrymen. You know, I'm sorry,
    but patriotism is not just slapping a yellow ribbon sticker on the back of
    your Hummer and singing ridiculous paeans to "free enterprise" as practiced
    by typical corporate slicksters. Patriotism is treating your fellow citizen
    as you'd want to be treated. That means you don't sell them rubbish! It also
    means you don't help keep one of the last communist empires on the planet
    alive! If anyone slaps an American flag on these Chinese-made POS, I call
    that person a bottom-feeder. Parasitic insects have better values and ethics
    than the importers of this garbage.

    The hilarious thing is, some of these Chinese wind turbines cost just as
    much as the regular brand-name wind turbines. Which means the distributor of
    those Chinese turbines is pocketing a profit somewhere in the triple digits.
    And for what?! Some of the towers sold with these "shit-on-a-stick"
    turbine-tower combos are so obviously unsafe, it staggers the imagination as
    to how these importers can sleep at night knowing people might walk under
    them. Yes, you heard me correctly. I call these Chinese wind turbines
    "shit-on-a-stick" because that's what they are. Some of the blades these
    Chinese wind turbines have are made out of the shoddiest fiberglass I've
    seen in a long time. As in that greenhouse roofing style of fiberglass. I've
    also seen the turnbuckle of one Chinese tower guy wire that bent under wind
    load. Now come on! We all know that's unsafe! I'd LOVE to post some of the
    performance curves for these turbines and discuss why they are simply
    impossible, but then I'd have to name names. I'm not here to get into a
    pissing match with certain people by naming them. These people know who they
    are. But the people who've fallen victim to these purveyors of junk also
    know who they are and who I'm talking about.

    Really, is it just too much these days to ask for an American-made
    product? Is it too much to ask for a product to deliver what the marketing
    of it claims? Is it too much to ask for honest and integrity? Is it too much
    to ask for quality? Evidently so. But, the American people don't get off the
    hook here, either. When you talk to your wind energy dealer, don't sit there
    and hound him about the price. Ask him about the quality and PAY for it.
    Otherwise, just pay your power bill and don't whine about it. Or go live off
    grid and get used to kerosene lamps and storing your butter in the creek to
    keep it cold. The reason this cheap Chinese crap comes in is because some
    Americans are providing a market for it. Some people don't know any better
    and that's why I'm here telling you the truth. The truth, as I've said
    before, doesn't ask to be liked or take you out for a beer and be your pal.
    It is what it is. And the truth is quality costs money. The truth is Chinese
    wind turbines are junk. Just because there's an American flag on it doesn't
    mean it's American made. Remember, there's a lot of American flags these
    days made in China themselves. The importer can box the turbine and
    accessories in America and claim that the SYSTEM is "made in America". Nifty
    trick. Look for the fine print that usually says "Of American and global
    components" at the bottom. Or, better, call the manufacturer and ask him to
    give you, in writing, where the PARTS of the turbine are made. Not the
    turbine, the PARTS. Someone who makes a turbine of American parts is as
    proud to say it as a Swiss or German company is to tell you their product is
    made of Swiss and German parts. Be aware that not all wind turbines are
    created equal and some are not even created worth a damn.
  • Robin GudgelRobin Gudgel Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 58 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    Don't dispair. There is a new turbine on the horizon coming out of Montana in the near future. An MPPT controller for it will be coming from Arlington, Washington also. Enough said for now.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    If the last post came from anyone other than Robin Gudgel, I would dismiss it out of hand, but this guy has way too much integrity and respect to dismiss what he says.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    There is a new company called solgen power that builds all carbon fiber turbines. Their not available yet but they look rugged. The do not use electronic braking, instead they use full blade feathering. There is a video on youtube of it hitting tree branches @ 70 or 80 MPH with no damage.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Reliable Wind Turbine

    Hello All

    Newbie here. Building on a windswept island in the middle of a large lake. Need a 100' tower, but no point in going there if no one builds a decent wind generator. Anyone familiar with the Skystream 3.7? Looks pretty. Some good reviews from users. Appreciate the input.

    Cheers, Ian
    Goat Island, Lake Cowichan, British Columbia
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    The Skystream is a Grid Tied wind turbine... Normally it is connected to your utility power... Do you have utility power at home?

    If not, they have to be connected with an Off-Grid Inverter (I think they use Outback) and the Skystream is AC coupled (tied to the inverter's AC output) and back drives the inverter to charge the battery bank. Skystream probably supplies an additional charge controller to properly manage the battery bank charging with the AC connected wind turbine (they took down the details from their website a while ago).

    If you are off grid--you might as well look at a wind turbine designed for DC power direct connect.

    Proven and ARE have been suggested as good "small wind" units.

    Our host has started carrying TLG-500 500 Watt Wind Generator. We have had a couple of people post here that they like these units.

    The fact you are looking at a 100 foot tower is a good thing (60' or taller). Ensuring you have a a way of servicing the unit (tower mounted Jib crane, tilt, some way to get a crane on site) is important.

    We have some long threads here about the "issues" of wind power (and I am not a small wind proponent personally)--but I will wait for you to ask instead of dumping it on you.

    At this point, the reliability of the Skystreams appears to be very low (they have a pretty sophisticated Grid Tied Inverter in the Turbine Nacelle + a wireless radio. Placing electronics at the top of a tower with no easy method to service (plus slip-rings, weather issues, etc.) have lead to some problems with reliability.

    And frankly all wind turbines require maintenance from time to time--so planning on access (and money if rented crane is required) to the turbine is important. Another issue to plan for is lightning strikes... Can be a big issue if your area gets lots of strikes.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • guerrillasolarguyguerrillasolarguy Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    Hi all,
    I would like to "weigh in" on what has been said here. I install Skystreams for a living (among other things) and we have 30 or so turbines here in Wyoming. After upgrades to the newest software, they are all spinning and producing reliable power. Most of the problems we have had are with the utility (grid voltage over 127 per leg) and voltage rise/drop and electricians not making tight connections.
    That being said, I would only own a Skystream if I were planning on being connected to the grid, had a reputable servicing dealer close by, and didn't have to go higher than the tallest tilt up mono pole would get me. Mechanically speaking, it is a beautiful machine and at 140mph survival speed, very rugged. I have installed one for my mother in Iowa on a 45' pole and it is producing nearly what the brochure says it will do (3400kwh/year).
    If I had my choice of turbine in a world where cost is not a factor and independent living (off grid) was the norm, it would be an ARE, Proven, or a couple of whisper 200s. All of which I have installed and am pleased with.
    I feel sorry for anyone who owns a chinese turbine, air product, or any # of the untested turbines on the market promising way more than they can deliver. If you really have the resource, and see wind energy as a long term investment, buy the best turbine you can find and give it lots of love and attention.

    Joel
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    very interesting as it seems swwp is joining the chinese classification and that you would install wind machines onto the grid without testing to see if the voltage is in line with the requirements of the machine. i know you assumed the voltage to be where one would expect it to be and i do believe the utility is ripping off its customers by jacking the voltage high and is not uncommon. let a customer steal from a utility and they would hang that customer, but let the reverse be so with a utility stealing from its customers and they seem to be allowed with little or no repercussions. it is very commonplace that electric utilities steal from their customers by illegally raising the voltage to higher than is allowed by law and this also results in premature appliance deaths due to excessive heat dissipation along with possible fire hazards as a result in some cases and flat out burnout for some appliances. now 127vac may or may not be excessive in your state and you would have to see what your state is allowed, but here in pa it is not supposed to be above 126vac unloaded. they still push the envelope here by staying near the top without going over often so they won't be caught. i complained to my utility of overvoltage several times and the lineman was amazed that somebody caught them meaning they are aware of it and doing it premeditated.
    i could take this even further, but would involve political corruption and would be beyond the scope of the forum and is not allowed. do i really need to go there as it is obvious?:cry:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    Many times high voltage near the substation is just the utility trying to be cheap in their power distribution system to make the minimum voltage at the end of the network without additional hardware/voltage control.

    We have already seen utilities that have tried to "save power" during heavy usage--and that costs customers real money to replace failed motors (as voltage goes down, motors draw more current and overheat).

    Many of the loads now-a-days are electronic/constant power devices... Raise voltage, current goes down, power use remains the same. Drop voltage, current goes up, power remains the same.

    Dropping voltage as a power conservation measure was tried on a national scaled decades ago in the former USSR as a power conservation measure... Failed big time. (assuming my memories as a kid are correct. :roll:)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    bb,
    that is a possibility with some utilities, but none the less they aren't allowed over or under certain voltages no matter where it falls on their system.
    myself, i am more than 3/4 of the way out from the substation and the last on the pole transformer and they are on the high end to me with an occasional overage. that tells me most everybody else is likely above the limits set by law here, but i can only complain if mine consistently goes over. i have also seen it high during the nighttime hours and their techs would check only during the day.
    they are stealing. my cfls and other fluorescents usually do not last more than 2 years no matter the brand and it is because of the overvoltages they are putting out there.
  • mikeomikeo Solar Expert Posts: 386 ✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit
    Many times high voltage near the substation is just the utility trying to be cheap in their power distribution system to make the minimum voltage at the end of the network without additional hardware/voltage control.
    I am out on the end of a rural system and recently I have had to set my SW4024 sell safety cutout range up to 134 volts which is the max it allows. I wondered why my system kept dropping out, was hoping it wasn't starting to fail when I noticed the Kilowatt meter was showing 132 VAC on the mains.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    please note mike that the kill-a-watt meter is not supposed to be used with voltages over 125vac.
  • mikeomikeo Solar Expert Posts: 386 ✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit
    the kill-a-watt meter is not supposed to be used with voltages over 125vac

    You are correct, just checked it out. Hopefully they allow some tolerance to their voltage specs, no smoke yet!
  • guerrillasolarguyguerrillasolarguy Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    We give the 'Kill-a-Watt' meter to all of our customers so they can monitor their grid voltages.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 986 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    What a great idea! Must make for less callbacks if a customer can check loads before whining to the installer their system isn't performing as they want.

    Ralph
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    Hello,

    I'm new to this forum and feel I just have share my experience with Southwest energy and the wisper 500. I had a Wisper 500 installed 2 years ago and it has been nothing but a nightmare since. Six months after the install, the blades actually fell off of the unit! Apparently Southwest used bolts that were too long to attach the mounting plate to the turbine, and after a short while they sheared off. The installer came out and actually put up a brand new turbine. 6 months later, same exact problem! Installer came back out and was able to fix the unit. About 4 months later, yet another problem, the turbine remained in the tilted position and stopped generating power. Installer came back out and repaired the unit again. Now, 4 months ago the blades just stopped spinning no matter how strong the wind. I checked the wiring for shorts and there are none. So in 2 years, my wisper 500 has broken 4 times. The installer told me he has had so many problems with Southwest, he will no longer come to repair the unit. No the fun begins with me dealing directly with Southwest Energy in an effort to have the unit replaced. Finally, they have agreed to replace the Wisper 500 with a Skystream 3.7. However, I have been forced to take an active role in finding another installer. I am also forced to pay to have a 4th wire run from the unit to my meter as well as pay to have the Wisper 500 shipped back to Southwest. Feeling I have no other option other than to seek legal representation I have agreed to Southwest's proposal. So, I called them the other day to find out when they will ship the Skystream. I was told it will be a remanufactured unit, and it will take an additional 6 weeks as they don't have any in stock. I am really at the end of my patience with this company and am contemplating seeking legal representation. I paid $21k for the wisper and it has been nothing more than an eye sore. I believe Southwest should be willing to ship out a new unit, and do it immediately. At this point, my best advice to anyone thinking about installing a wind turbine or becoming a dealer is to stay as far away from Southwest Wind Energy as possible. I will post again when and if my issue is resolved.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    sorry to hear of your misfortune and do keep us up to date.
  • RolandRoland Registered Users Posts: 1
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit
    I bought a Whisper 500 from SWWP and it does not work. I have been thru 5 or 6 controllers and they all burned out in 2 or 3 days. One actually caught on fire. To date SWWP has refused to honor the warranty, refund my money, or fix the problem. They have pretty much hung me out to dry-their last suggestion was that I get a new controller and sell the unit to someone else!!
    I am filing a lawsuit and am looking for anyone else with similar problems with that unit. Please contact me.

    Wana sell it? e me [email protected] thanks
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    Was a post from 6 years ago... And has not been on the forum for years.

    Are you looking for a skystream to experiment with?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • JehdaJehda Registered Users Posts: 4
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    I have a whisper 500 but the boards keep burning up. Saw this forum is there a law suit to join?
  • JehdaJehda Registered Users Posts: 4
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit

    Controller keeps burning up circuit boards. Is there a law suit to join or not?
    Thanks
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Southwest Windpower Whisper 500 Lawsuit
    Jehda wrote: »
    Controller keeps burning up circuit boards. Is there a law suit to join or not?
    Thanks

    Haven't heard or seen a thing about this whole infamous affair for a long time. Not many folks on this forum use, or have tried to use these machines.
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