Help, long stupid love hate relationship with 3 air 303 wind turbines

seymourmtn1314seymourmtn1314 Registered Users Posts: 2
I installed 3 of these Air 303 turbines on my N.Y. off grid home almost 16 years ago. The original control boards quickly fried and southwest windpower showed why they are no longer in business almost right away by NOT standing behind there product - oh yes they did replace one or 2 free of charge but only after they argued with me for hours, only to have it fry exactly the same way. To make a long story short, I constructed my own rectifier and brush holder for each one of them, and went to an external regulator- a sea 440 (which failed miserably as well exactly how they said it wouldn't- fused contacts) and then went to a homemade regulator based on an old mechanical auto regulator.- But back to the turbines, I have added a blade spacer to each one as another flaw was the blades would hit the support pipe under high speeds. I started with the same diodes they used for a rectifier, it lasted 2 years and they fused. Then I "upgraded" to the heaviest radio shack Diodes I could get, and they fused a year later. I then called Allied electronics and asked what diodes they recommended, and NTE 5817 6a 1000v. Installed them and they lasted 4 years, and some fused as well. I even put a heat sink metal around the body of all the diodes, and thermal grease. so here is the question - I am strongly considering modifying the yaw for 3 brushes and running wild ac down to an easily replaced rectifier, but they have 4 leads coming off of the windings and 8 diodes each- does that mean that they have 4 separate windings or is the 4th set of diodes coupled to the center tap- I am hoping to get through a year or two more before buying something new.
I am also taking suggestions on what turbines to buy next, any suggestions that will hold up better than these junks?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Help, long stupid love hate relationship with 3 air 303 wind turbines

    Sounds like you kept those turbines running longer than most people.

    Regarding yaw slip brushes+rings--You might consider using a dangling cable down the tower--You may have to untwist it every so often:

    http://www.windgenerator.org.uk/html/wire_and_cable.html

    Regarding what turbine to buy--I do not have any experience, but it appears there are few, if any, small turbines that are really worth flying.

    With all of the work you have done so far, perhaps you would think about making your own:

    www.otherpower.com (good forum for DIY Wind Power)
    Hugh Piggott - Scoraig Wind Electric site for tons of info
    Scoraig Wind "Recipe Book" for DYI Turbines
    www.greenpowertalk.org like here, more wind turbines

    I am not a fan of small wind--It can be expensive (towers, wiring, electronics is usually more expensive than the turbine) and maintenance for the turbine can be a real issue (like you have seen). Add ice/lightning/wind storms, etc...--It is a tough environment.

    The idea of moving all the the electronics off the turbine and down to the ground is a great idea (wish the mfg. did that).

    A poster here, Brianellul, has a web page on wiring/modifications to an Air 303 that you may find interesting. According to his specifications, it is a three phase stator.

    http://brianellul118.blogspot.com/2011/08/air-x-modification.html
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?16765-hooking-up-a-s-w-wind-air-303-to-an-external-rectifier

    Otherwise, if you have the room/shade free area, perhaps installing an "over sized" array facing south east/south west (virtual tracking) may be similar costs and less maintenance--Of course, the solar array cannot produce power in bad weather...

    A small genset (like a Honda eu2000i plus an AC battery charger) may help make up for lack of a wind turbine (depending on the AH and Voltage rating of your battery bank) make it through dark days/power outages of winter (and depending on your power needs).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help, long stupid love hate relationship with 3 air 303 wind turbines
    I installed 3 of these Air 303 turbines on my N.Y. off grid home almost 16 years ago. The original control boards quickly fried and southwest windpower showed why they are no longer in business almost right away by NOT standing behind there product - oh yes they did replace one or 2 free of charge but only after they argued with me for hours, only to have it fry exactly the same way. To make a long story short, I constructed my own rectifier and brush holder for each one of them, and went to an external regulator- a sea 440 (which failed miserably as well exactly how they said it wouldn't- fused contacts) and then went to a homemade regulator based on an old mechanical auto regulator.- But back to the turbines, I have added a blade spacer to each one as another flaw was the blades would hit the support pipe under high speeds. I started with the same diodes they used for a rectifier, it lasted 2 years and they fused. Then I "upgraded" to the heaviest radio shack Diodes I could get, and they fused a year later. I then called Allied electronics and asked what diodes they recommended, and NTE 5817 6a 1000v. Installed them and they lasted 4 years, and some fused as well. I even put a heat sink metal around the body of all the diodes, and thermal grease. so here is the question - I am strongly considering modifying the yaw for 3 brushes and running wild ac down to an easily replaced rectifier, but they have 4 leads coming off of the windings and 8 diodes each- does that mean that they have 4 separate windings or is the 4th set of diodes coupled to the center tap- I am hoping to get through a year or two more before buying something new.
    I am also taking suggestions on what turbines to buy next, any suggestions that will hold up better than these junks?
    A three phase wye would need four wires, but only six diodes for a six pulse rectifier bridge.
    It sounds like they may in fact be using two center tapped windings in quadrature (90 degree phase shift), but that could make use of a fifth wire for the common point. Another alternative would be four separate coils in quadrature, connected in a square, similar to a three phase delta. That would, I think, take 8 diodes to from a full wave bridge. It should not be too hard to figure out the interconnections using a low resistance ohmmeter or else putting a scope on the windings as you rotate it slowly by hand or with a motor.

    If, as BB's reference indicates, these are in fact three phase, then the ground could explain the fourth lead, but it does not explain 8 diodes. (Unless by "each" you meant 8 diodes in parallel for each of three wires?)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help, long stupid love hate relationship with 3 air 303 wind turbines
    BB. wrote: »
    Sounds like you kept those turbines running longer than most people.

    Regarding yaw slip brushes+rings--You might consider using a dangling cable down the tower--You may have to untwist it every so often:

    http://www.windgenerator.org.uk/html/wire_and_cable.html

    Having past experience with small wind turbines, I have to agree with BB.
    The last one I had used the "dangling cable" and it caused on problems during the 2 years before I gave up and took the whole all but useless contraption down.
    The "dangling cable" thing was about the only thing that did work well.
    I do wish you luck.
    By the way, all was not lost in my case - - the alternator is now producing power from a small hydro turbine, and has been for I think almost 6 years now, and solar takes care of what the hydro turbine can't.
    Peace.
  • seymourmtn1314seymourmtn1314 Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: Help, long stupid love hate relationship with 3 air 303 wind turbines

    Thanks for all the great responses! Well I had 10 diodes leftover from last time so I bought 10 more to fix the bad ones and put them back up this past weekend as one last try. But I am very interested in the dangling wire Idea, I read one blog about pinning the yaw bearing so it can't go 360 degrees ? but how does that work out? Yes It each turbine has 8 diodes, original design. Matter of fact Southwest's first control board had a simple automotive alternator rectifier bridge and 2 additional diodes solder on the board all coated in hard epoxy. I dug through my spare parts box (sad isn't it?) and found a old set of windings that I had replaced on one. After inspection it seems as if there is 3 sets of heavier gauge winding, and one lighter winding ? Matter of fact southwest used just a simple 4 wire flat "trailer Light" connector to go from the windings to the rectifier board . If I do the dangling wire, do I pin my yaw say at the south (north is strong wind) and how will it behave to go from south west to south east wind shift?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Help, long stupid love hate relationship with 3 air 303 wind turbines

    I would probably not bother pinning the yaw bearings... Just check the cable a few times a year for twist.

    Unless you have something that causes the head to yaw in one direction (up stream object causing wind turbulence)--It probably will not be much of an issue at all.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help, long stupid love hate relationship with 3 air 303 wind turbines
    BB. wrote: »
    I would probably not bother pinning the yaw bearings... Just check the cable a few times a year for twist.

    Unless you have something that causes the head to yaw in one direction (up stream object causing wind turbulence)--It probably will not be much of an issue at all.

    -Bill

    That was my experience. I had fully expected the dangling cable to require unwinding rather often. Never happened in my case.
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