Author Topic: small scale wind solutions  (Read 16957 times)

Offline stevebluff

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small scale wind solutions
« on: September 20, 2008, 10:06:57 AM »
small scale wind solutions are perfectly practical. They could power a small boat, caravan, trailer, RV, mobile home or contribute to a households supply.  they are best when combine with another alternative source , usually solar.  I am happy to go through the components of such a system if anyone is interested.

Trusty Mutsi

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2008, 10:12:13 AM »
I'm VERY interested! The thing is, I'm trying to figure out if wind or solar is the better option, or if I should try both.

Is it expensive to start doing this?

Offline stevebluff

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2008, 02:57:42 PM »
I'm VERY interested! The thing is, I'm trying to figure out if wind or solar is the better option, or if I should try both.

Is it expensive to start doing this?

Hi, it depends on what you are trying to do?  Complete off grid living, just having some backup?  This is a simple solution we developed for teleocms use but can equally be used for a small home system. 

First task, reduce your electricity requirement. Use DC devices or replace with other power supplies, wood for cooking and/or heating. More efficient devices.  Once you have reduced your needs, you need to work out your power budget in watts.  I can help if you need it.

This power budget then defines what amount of power you need to generate from your wind/solar solution.  Also need to think about storage batteries. Deep cycle gel types are best.

There's a lot to this but you need to start some where.  Let me know when yuo have an idea of your power budget (or if you need a hand working it out).

[attachment deleted by admin]

Trusty Mutsi

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2008, 03:26:32 PM »
Cool, thanks. I have a lot I'd like to try: Three Sister Gardens, Weakness Drill, etc... so I'm going to start small, and work on having enough to get by for a week with no power or water, then as I ramp things up I'll get back to you.

There's a part of me that desperately wants to "catch up" in case the poop hits the fan soon. But like Jack says, I should keep a level head. I just don't want to start procrastinating :(

Offline stevebluff

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2008, 04:19:37 PM »
Happy to help, just contact me when you are ready. you can start with a small solar panel, regulator and a leisure battery. Better than nothing, and it will let you run a small inverter (mains ac output from a dc battery) and use 12v dc devices like a car cell phone charger, CB or a DC florescent light.

By a wind up/solar radio and solar/shake torches (no batteries required).  A solar battery charger, rechargeable batteries (include adapter so you can use AAA in AA or C in D cell requirements).

By each one as you have some spare cash.  They are sound inverstment.

kuzushi

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 01:05:54 PM »
Those deep cycle batteries are quite expensive yes?
I would love to try this but I need a good source on batteries and specs.

youtube has some videos on the subject.

Offline stevebluff

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2008, 03:26:27 AM »
Those deep cycle batteries are quite expensive yes?
I would love to try this but I need a good source on batteries and specs.

youtube has some videos on the subject.

Medium cycle leisure batteries area good compromise or even the heavier duty truck batteries. If you are keeping them topped up all the time any battery will do and is better than nothing.

BR

Steve

Offline stevebluff

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2008, 03:30:25 AM »
Cool, thanks. I have a lot I'd like to try: Three Sister Gardens, Weakness Drill, etc... so I'm going to start small, and work on having enough to get by for a week with no power or water, then as I ramp things up I'll get back to you.

There's a part of me that desperately wants to "catch up" in case the poop hits the fan soon. But like Jack says, I should keep a level head. I just don't want to start procrastinating :(

Hi, two things will help you a lot.
1.  look at what you can supply via none electrical means, i.e. lighting from Coleman lanterns or 12 v (wind/solar), cooking from bottled propane, heating from a wood stove. 
2.  Look to reduce your electrical drain (power budget), use low power light bulbs, better efficiency appliances, use things less..

BR

Steve

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2008, 11:58:18 AM »
I have a 400w wind generator that is tied into my little power station.

If you are wondering if wind is the way to go I would say this. What is the average windspeed where you live?
So far I get much more power from my solar panels than I do from my wind turbine. That said it is nice to have it to help keep the batteries going at night or on cloudy or stormy days when you get little sun.

As for your concern about batteries.. They are where it is really at. I am currently using 6v golf cart batteries run in series to produce 12v

The problem I have currently is that I do not have enough battery so by noon on any given day my batteries are fully charged so my panels and turbine spend too much of the day sitting idle not charging anything. So my plan is to increase my battery reserve and use more and more of that rather than grid power.

Offline Bogota

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2008, 07:04:19 AM »
When I was in the states last year I tried to make my own wind generator.  I only got about half way through the project.  I made the blades and hub for them.  The day I finished that part of the project just happened to be the stillest day I could ever remember in the Texas panhandle, but this thing worked like a dream.  The hub wasn't mounted on anything so I was holding it and once it got started turning I couldn't stop it.  I turned it away from the wind, but that only slowed it down a little.  One of my friends was there (he's not that smart) and he stuck his hand out to stop it from spinning.  He didn't lose any fingers, but he jumped and hollered for a good 15 minutes.  It was priceless.  I didn't get any kind of plant hooked up to it because my vacation was short and my wife didn't want to spend it watching me work.  My question is with a hub that can spin/turn like that on a day with almost no wind will a truck alternator (like a Peterbuilt one) work for a generation plant?  Or do I have to invest in a real generator?

Kara

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2008, 02:13:17 PM »
Here in North Dakota, the wind blows almost non stop. It's truly the best resource we have. Someone in my town is trying to get the city to allow him to put a wind generator on his house as a source of energy, and I haven't heard whether it's been approved or not, but I'm keeping my ear to the ground.  Where I live, the wind splits around my house and and it blows on all sides, so I think that I could put a wind turbine in and it would product energy for me nicely. I  don't even think I would have to put it up too very high in the air.

My problem is that the wind blows hard, I mean HARD, here sometimes, and I wonder if these wind turbines have any sort of governor on them to they don't spin to pieces? I've poked around the net and can't see much about this particular question. Some of these things look really spindly, and I don't want to go to the work of putting hooking one up if they aren't sturdy enough for extreme wind and cold.

Does anyone here have any experience with this issue?

Thanks!
Wintersparrow
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 12:23:05 PM by Sister Wolf »

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2008, 06:42:33 PM »
This is the one I have  http://www.windenergy.com/products/air_x.htm

It has a built in regulator and governer and can withstand winds up to 110.

Edit to add:

As for how they do in the cold.. I will let you know how mine feels after this winter here in MN
« Last Edit: December 13, 2008, 06:49:26 PM by cmxterra »

Offline NC Rifleman

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2008, 07:13:22 PM »
I have a 400w wind generator that is tied into my little power station.

If you are wondering if wind is the way to go I would say this. What is the average windspeed where you live?
So far I get much more power from my solar panels than I do from my wind turbine. That said it is nice to have it to help keep the batteries going at night or on cloudy or stormy days when you get little sun.

As for your concern about batteries.. They are where it is really at. I am currently using 6v golf cart batteries run in series to produce 12v

The problem I have currently is that I do not have enough battery so by noon on any given day my batteries are fully charged so my panels and turbine spend too much of the day sitting idle not charging anything. So my plan is to increase my battery reserve and use more and more of that rather than grid power.

cmxterra I am from NC and looking at a wind map the whole state except the coast and the peaks of the blue ridge mountains is classified as "poor".  I am guessing you would be in the same boat? I would really like to have some other source then solar but I don't think its worth it were I live.  Cloudy days or not. A larger battery bank would probably be a better use of money.

So before you jump on wind power check out what your area has for wind resources.  Here is a place to check it at.  http://www.windenergy.com/globalwindmaps/united_states.htm

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2008, 08:05:11 PM »
Agree that my area is not the most ideal for wind generation. But something to consider is placement of your turbine. I got a used ham radio tower (pole telescoping) from Craigslist.com that is working well for me and get the turbine well above the house.

I also agree that a larger battery bank is ALWAYS a good idea.

I do get useful amounts of electricity from it on some days and I am finding that now that winter is upon us here we do seem to have a bit more wind.


Here is a pic with the tower fully extended.

edit: seems my server does not like hot linking.. I will find another place to host the image.




« Last Edit: December 13, 2008, 08:11:29 PM by cmxterra »

Offline NC Rifleman

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2008, 10:50:08 AM »
Well it may still be an option.  I would love to try wind out like I said before.  Is your area classified as a "poor" one or a little better? 

Do you know how roughly much "electricity" you get from the wind turbine?  I guess you would also get the potential for power generation 24hours a day.  When solar is more like 4 hours of full light.

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2008, 12:00:42 PM »
Our area is listed a little bit above poor.

Right now we have about a 12 mph wind and I am getting around 5ah where as my solar is only putting out around .4ah

I have thought about  adding some monitor to get a monthly idea of how much I am actually getting.

Here is a pic of the tower fully extended


Offline IRKCOD

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2008, 09:49:34 PM »
Came across the site below which has attached a PDF manual of 49 pages on how to build your own Wind-powered Pancake Generator while searching for info on 'permanent magnets'.  The plans appear fairly detailed

Could be of considerable interest to those of the DIY fraternity.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2005/08/how_to_build_a_10.html

Intro:
" HOW TO build a Permanent magnet generator...(power from wind)
Wouter writes "...an excellent, 49-page step-by-step how-to with photos on how to make your own pancake generator. It shows how to make jigs, a winding tool etc. The site also contains PDF's on how to make your own generator blades. Mr. Piggot is an enthusiastic wind generator man who's not afraid to share his extensive knowledge. More power to him"   Link

Click on the Link to bring up the PDF

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2008, 07:42:07 PM »
Tonight is one of the good nights here in the Twin Cities area.. We are getting a good breeze from the west and I am getting around 5 - 10 ah from the generator.


Offline bonnie

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2009, 10:38:26 PM »
I will be able to tell you a little bit about this pretty soon I think.  My husband ran into an electrician doing some work for one of the neighboring farmers who does some alternative energy installations.  He told my husband that we would only need to put up a wind turbine at 30' in our area and won't need any guy wires.  We have a steep hill down towards the road that drops down about 60' near our house and that's where my husband wants to put it.  The electricians gave us a quote for equipment of about $10,000 and we will get a pretty significant part of it back in tax credits over 3 years for federal and over 5 years for state.  My husband can dig the trench and the hole for the cement footings with his backhoe and save a lot on the installation.  He called the county about building permits and they said "people have been asking us about things like that lately and we're not sure what to tell them."  The electricians told us that the turbine they quoted us will save us about $50 a month in electricity.  Our electricity runs about $45-$75 a month so it should provide most of our electricity.  They were surprised because with their all-electric homes in suburbia their electric bill is $300 a month.  We use a wood stove first for heat and supplement it when needed with an oil furnace but could survive with only the wood stove if we had to.  It doesn't get much below freezing very often here.  We live near the foothills of the coast range in Oregon so we do get a lot of wind coming off the coast range.

Offline DDrew

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2009, 08:23:40 AM »
Our area is listed a little bit above poor.

Right now we have about a 12 mph wind and I am getting around 5ah where as my solar is only putting out around .4ah

I have thought about  adding some monitor to get a monthly idea of how much I am actually getting.

Here is a pic of the tower fully extended (picture removed for brevity)

cmxterra, I live in North Texas, and have a 12mph av wind speed, and also bought the AirX turbine, but am having problems getting it high enough.  Can you detail your tower setup?  I'm using an RV electrical system as my basic power center (batteries, inverter, charger, etc), and can tie it directly to my Inverter.  The tower is the only thing 'holding me up'.  ;)

Nice house, btw.  I grew up in SD, and sure miss my basement. 

Dale Drew
Springtown, Tx

Noriat

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2009, 07:36:31 AM »
Hi,

I live in the north and I was wondering if the batteries need to be kept from freezing? I was thinking of starting off by taking my un-heated barn off the grid. Do I need to rig something to keep them warm? I could box em with a 40 watt bulb, but of course this will use some of my generated power.

Thanks,

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2009, 09:20:23 PM »
My tower will extend to about 45ft.

The base is a big ass block of concrete with rebar.  3'x3'x4' (dug by hand = sucks)
The tower itself is a round telescopic unit that was originally designed for use in Ham radio so it can support a good amount of wind load.

UStower made this one I believe.

Kara

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2009, 06:52:42 AM »
CMXterra, how do you get your tower to extend? Does it have a hand crank, or is it motorized?

Offline DDrew

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2009, 07:33:56 AM »
My tower will extend to about 45ft.

The base is a big ass block of concrete with rebar.  3'x3'x4' (dug by hand = sucks)
The tower itself is a round telescopic unit that was originally designed for use in Ham radio so it can support a good amount of wind load.

UStower made this one I believe.

Thanks for the info, CMXTerra +1.  I got a 50' triangular shaped tower that was used for a Ham Radio Antenna. I bought an AirX Wind Turbine (http://www2.northerntool.com/alternative-renewable-energy/wind-turbines/item-339981.htm) I'm trying to figure out the best way to anchor it.  I am still researching the foundation calculations, and was curious if anyone was familiar with this process.  If you are a PE and have the ability to design and provide stamped design docs, I'd be willing to pay for the work.

ken

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2009, 10:16:26 PM »
My experience is similar to that above, I did better with solar than wind.  Note... it is totally dependent on your local conditions. 

I used one of the Air wind generators (as in the photo above) to monitor the available wind power at my remote site, set it up, and let it play for a while.  The amount of wind power available can be deceptive unless you have a way to monitor it at the height of your tower.  It was an interesting project, I frequently noticed I was generating power when it seemed almost calm at ground level, and sometimes the turbine was standing still when I could feel a breeze at ground level.  I wound up selling the wind generator to a neighbor that had a remote camp on a nearby mountain top.  About a year later, all the wind generators blades were destroyed when the wind gust went over 110 MPH.  I wound up going with solar panels and battery bank, as my wind power resource was not sufficient to support my needs.

My recommendations, and observations...

1. Have someone that is knowledgeable look at your site and advise you on location and obstructions that could be problematic.  You will need a large area cleared of obstructions (trees etc).  You may not want to cut down those large trees.

2.Consider making your tower as tall as possible, taller is better almost always.

3. Have a realistic idea about your wind power (resource) the production capability.  It is too easy to look at the wind generators peak ratings and start counting those proverbial chickens before they hatch. 

4. Remember sometimes the wind does not blow, and lightning can and will strike, take adequate precautions, (grounding and bonding) and consider purchasing an extended warranty on expensive system components like your inverter.  After a lightning strike ate my 2000 dollar inverter it made the extended warranty cost look cheap.

5. If your site has plenty of wind power available, but the wind tends to gust, and shift direction, consider several smaller wind generators, as the smaller units are more agile.  Smaller units will pivot and begin producing power faster than a single large unit in those shifting wind conditions.  In some extreme conditions a number of smaller "Air" type generators may produce more power than a single large unit, due the time and wind power required to bring the large unit into the wind.

ken

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2009, 10:38:48 PM »
As to the question about the ham radio tower...maybe this will help.

There is (or was) a publication by Rhone, that had a set of working drawings (has designs for several different maximum wind speeds and ice loading).  The drawings show the concrete detail, guy wire specifications and placement, they are reprints, signed and stamped by the PE that did the engineering for Rhone.  The idea was to provide the basic engineering paperwork for three sided (Rhone 25 and up) guyed towers for a large ham antenna array, they may or may not be sufficient for any inspector you have to submit to.  Fortunately I did not need a permit or to submit plans for my (radio) tower, I just used them so I did not have to do the math myself to have a safe design.  I have Rhone 25 tower for radio use, used the worst case design and it has held up in 100+ MPH winds. 

When I had my Air wind generator I did not mount it on my Rhone tower, but used the schedule 40 pipe and guy wires they used to recommend.   Those Rhone drawings may be available on the Internet somewhere, not sure where I filed my set.  I don't think the guyed tilt up pole plans download-able from the Air folks have a PE stamp, may be wrong about that. If properly guyed the three sided tower will be plenty stiff enough for your AIR, good luck.

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2009, 07:40:00 PM »
CMXterra, how do you get your tower to extend? Does it have a hand crank, or is it motorized?

there is a hand crank.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 06:44:51 PM by Sister Wolf »

Offline cmxterra

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2009, 07:43:15 PM »
Thanks for the info, CMXTerra +1.  I got a 50' triangular shaped tower that was used for a Ham Radio Antenna. I bought an AirX Wind Turbine (http://www2.northerntool.com/alternative-renewable-energy/wind-turbines/item-339981.htm) I'm trying to figure out the best way to anchor it.  I am still researching the foundation calculations, and was curious if anyone was familiar with this process.  If you are a PE and have the ability to design and provide stamped design docs, I'd be willing to pay for the work.

I would guess if your tower goes about as tall as mine that a similar massive base should work for you

I would just make sure that there is enough material out past where your mounting bolts would be placed in the base.

Offline azjake

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2009, 06:52:30 PM »
This is probably too big for a small scale wind turbine, but is of sound design. http://www.idcsolar.com/tower.php   I know Dan and know of the huge amount of engineering that needs to go into making a safe tower.  Be careful not to under build the base structure.

Offline njoycreation

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Re: small scale wind solutions
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2013, 09:32:58 PM »
I found something really cool during my research of wind energy. http://hint.fm/wind/ This site shows a US map and current wind conditions.  It isn't highly useful, but fun to look at. 

Another bit of advise, is do not purchase heavy gauge wire at home depot or lowes.  They charge twice as much as they should.  Find a local electrical supply company that would typically work with contractors and electricians.  They have all the wiring you need for half the price.