Skystream - Down

I have never posted anything, anywhere but after reading past/current posts regarding the skystream, I am weighing in. I installed my skystream in 2008, a DIY project with the help of subs only for the foundation dig & an electrician, all the rest done by me & done by the book. I thought I'd done all the necessary homework & research but I had the "wow" mentality going on, that's cool, a wind turbine, grid tied, I thought even if it does/produces half of what they say, I'll be happy. Installed on a 50' segmented tec-wind monopole tower. This was all done in 08.

The first problem I had was with the communications package, the little box with the touchpad & screen & the little antenna sticking out, man, how I wanted that thing to work, never did. I contacted SWWP & they sent me a new inverter with the new zigbee antenna, related software (version 202). I hired a bucket truck for the inverter installation, the best part of the install was the view 50+ feet up. Along with the package came a template & instructions to check for the drainhole & if I did not have one, this is how & where you drill the hole. . . My turbine came with a drain hole. Everything went fine, only problem I had with the new software was the times I'd have to force a connection for communication: pull up software, turn disconnect outside off for 10 minutes, push the "find turbine button", run outside (only 60 seconds to get the disconnect turned on), run up the hill (I won't say uphill both directions), then come back & look at the software to find that, ahhh yes, the turbine is now communicating! The above was done under warranty, no charge.

I came home yesterday, windy outside, turbine not turning so my first thought was a temporary shutdown from a grid power dropout. I pulled up the software & found it going nuts, on the turbine status page, It was showing waiting & fault.

On the quick diagnostics page line 1, line2 voltages & frequency readings were irradic, in split seconds the readings of the voltages were anywhere from 0.7 volts to 6499.7 volts (too bad this was not going through my production meter-I would not have had to pay an electric bill next month). When the readings would normalize, the countdown timer would start but only for a few seconds, then the irradic readings would start again. The frequency readings were not as extreme, but also fluctuated.

I called tech support at SWWP & was told to check voltages at the breaker, disconnect, base of pole & at the turbine connection, sounded like a loose wire, then call them with the results, we'd go from there. Does this sound like a loose connection, truth squad? Is this new or has this problem occurred before? Is the inverter or or related components bad in the nacelle? Any information would help.

I sent a follow up e-mail to SWWP (yesterday) with a discription of the current problem & yes, included my turbine serial number. I will probably have it hoisted down to troubleshoot & hope I get a return response from SWWP soon, the wind is blowing and the turbine is down, so much for production. . . Speaking of that, at least I had the brains to put in a dedicated production meter, if a replacement is in order, I will have lost all turbine recorded data.

My next project, SOLAR!

Comments

  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream - Down

    sorry to here that, but this time maybe SWWP are right. check the cable connections because this sounds like a bad connection.
    If not then it is a bad brush in the tower top.....:grr
    There you have a problem because you have to take it down and try SWWP to send a new set of brushes.:confused:

    Greetings from Greece8)
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Skystream - Down

    peterako, Thanks for the reply, I plan to have the skystream hoisted down for troubleshooting soon, diagnostics page now shows ( all "0's" ), other than that, the communications still work. The serial # on the Overview page loads along with the Communications Status: USB, Interface, Skystream - all light up.

    As far as trying to graph on the Overview page or see the readings in the Cumulative Performance, no go. I am posting this to let Skystream owners know what the symptoms, solutions are. When I get this repaired, I will post what repairs were needed.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Skystream - Down

    Update: I recieved an e-mail from SWWP Tech Dept. - I am in line for a response to the e-mail I sent them describing the trouble (line 1, line 2 & grid frequency fluctuations ranging from 0.7 to 1395 volts, 50 to 65 on the grid frequency - on the skystream quick diagnostics software page) I am having with irradic power production from my Skystream. Just an e-mail, no response as to when it would be addressed, no time given, no additional info.

    After taking down the tower, I checked power at all the points recommended, up to the base of the turbine, all power OK from the house thru wiring to the yaw. Opened up the turbine, disconnected the connection to the line filter, tested again, normal power on line 1, no power on line 2, I moved the turbine body back & forth while taking readings, power normal on line 1 & line 2 momentarily, when I would let the turbine body stay still, the readings would go back to abnormal.

    Diagnosis, bad brushes & when I would move the turbine, a sqeaking sound, so bad brushes & slip ring. . .

    I recieved another e-mail giving me an RMA (return authorization number) which was authorization for me to only return the "INVERTER", the weight limit shown was for only 27 Lbs. to be shipped, why only the inverter ?, I called SWWP & was told they didn't know why I was sent that number, that there was another RMA number that I should use instead of the one I was given, this new RMA number was to cover shipping for an entire turbine. What da !!! I think I'll wait & see what I am shipped, I am going to play the cool hand Luke card here, maybe there is some wisdom in the way they are handling my request.

    This unit has been in operation from Sept. 4th 2008 to Oct. 28th 2009, so approximately a year and a month, down 2 times within 1 year of operation - first time for an inverter exchange because of a communications change from the handheld box - never worked - to the x-bee pro with new software, worked. I re-read the recommended maintenance guidelines to be done every 6 months, mostly visual, which I have done & monitoring the software regularly for correct operation/production of the unit. I realize that things break down from time to time but if this is any indication of future maintenance/repairs. . .

    REMEMBER: "Learn to read then read to learn", this is my new motto, I have already learned a lot from this site, I hope my posting helps someone else. I will add/update when I get additional info.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,443 admin
    Re: Skystream - Down

    I am sorry to hear about your problems with the turbine. But--at least you seem to be getting help with repairs.

    By the way, how much power has your turbine generated over the last year? Has it met predictions/expectations?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • guerrillasolarguyguerrillasolarguy Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Skystream - Down

    Just a small bit from an installer who has dealt with a few problems.
    The skystream has to 'push' voltage back at 2 volts higher to push power back to the grid. Any voltage drop from bad connections, tiny yaw brushes, or too small gauge wire to the turbine will force the voltage up more. Line voltages from the grid are not nearly as stable as one would assume. If the grid is running 127+ volts, the turbine will soon reach its limit at 132 volts and shut down. A quick call to the utility to bring down line voltages will usually rectify the situation. In Iowa, the local utility removed/replaced the transformer we were hooked to because it was running out of spec. The only other fix I have made to a skystream with similar problems was the inverter wires were not restrained well within the turbine and one wire had been rubbing on the spinning nut inside the turbine and was arching. Easy fix. Haven't had too many problems yet with newer turbines. I would also use the software to make sure the elevation setting is correct. Other than being way too complicated with electronics, these are great machines IMO.
    Joel
  • WattWatt Solar Expert Posts: 32
    Re: Skystream - Down
    BassLaker wrote: »
    I have never posted anything, anywhere but after reading past/current posts regarding the skystream, I am weighing in. I installed my skystream in 2008, a DIY project with the help of subs only for the foundation dig & an electrician, all the rest done by me & done by the book. I thought I'd done all the necessary homework & research but I had the "wow" mentality going on, that's cool, a wind turbine, grid tied, I thought even if it does/produces half of what they say, I'll be happy. Installed on a 50' segmented tec-wind monopole tower. This was all done in 08.

    The first problem I had was with the communications package, the little box with the touchpad & screen & the little antenna sticking out, man, how I wanted that thing to work, never did. I contacted SWWP & they sent me a new inverter with the new zigbee antenna, related software (version 202). I hired a bucket truck for the inverter installation, the best part of the install was the view 50+ feet up. Along with the package came a template & instructions to check for the drainhole & if I did not have one, this is how & where you drill the hole. . . My turbine came with a drain hole. Everything went fine, only problem I had with the new software was the times I'd have to force a connection for communication: pull up software, turn disconnect outside off for 10 minutes, push the "find turbine button", run outside (only 60 seconds to get the disconnect turned on), run up the hill (I won't say uphill both directions), then come back & look at the software to find that, ahhh yes, the turbine is now communicating! The above was done under warranty, no charge.

    I came home yesterday, windy outside, turbine not turning so my first thought was a temporary shutdown from a grid power dropout. I pulled up the software & found it going nuts, on the turbine status page, It was showing waiting & fault.

    On the quick diagnostics page line 1, line2 voltages & frequency readings were irradic, in split seconds the readings of the voltages were anywhere from 0.7 volts to 6499.7 volts (too bad this was not going through my production meter-I would not have had to pay an electric bill next month). When the readings would normalize, the countdown timer would start but only for a few seconds, then the irradic readings would start again. The frequency readings were not as extreme, but also fluctuated.

    I called tech support at SWWP & was told to check voltages at the breaker, disconnect, base of pole & at the turbine connection, sounded like a loose wire, then call them with the results, we'd go from there. Does this sound like a loose connection, truth squad? Is this new or has this problem occurred before? Is the inverter or or related components bad in the nacelle? Any information would help.

    I sent a follow up e-mail to SWWP (yesterday) with a discription of the current problem & yes, included my turbine serial number. I will probably have it hoisted down to troubleshoot & hope I get a return response from SWWP soon, the wind is blowing and the turbine is down, so much for production. . . Speaking of that, at least I had the brains to put in a dedicated production meter, if a replacement is in order, I will have lost all turbine recorded data.

    My next project, SOLAR!

    Hate to hear of your problems.

    Wonder how long it will take for SWWP to set this straight and get you back in the air.

    I can't help but ask, after reading your next project being solar, I wonder just how many people have been turned away from wing from the likes of SWWP?

    Good luck and keep us posted.
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