The Whisper 500 failed back in early November '09', and SWWP never sent a truck to collect it for warranty repair, so I sent it back December 21, '09'. When it returns all repaired and with a new set of blades, new charge circuit board and new remote panel circuit board, I plan to grease the slip rings and brushes as per all industry standards except Wind Energy it seems, paint the stator with special PMA paint, something other wind turbine companies suggest for any long term operation, and possibly one other major custom change I will describe at the proper time.
Also, I have researched the 12 blade Missouri made low wind turbine by Missouri Wind and Solar. I will add one or two to a tower mast I have near the house. If they work well and the Whisper 500 has another premature failure, I will replace the SWWP Whisper 500 with a stack of three 1500 watt 12 blade turbines by Missouri Wind and Solar. This winter we are really missing the generation by our turbine. We are using grid power to make up for the lost generation.
1/4/2010 Ordered most of the parts for my "Missouri Wind" wind turbine to be mounted at the house. It will have 12 blades, be on a 60'+ tower, and rated 1500 watts.
1/8 Assembled the new turbine with twelve blades. Pretty cool. Waiting on a new Missouri made PMA and warmer weather to start painting the mast and turbine. Still waiting on Wind Energy for the warranty repair of my Whisper 500. Bought electrical brush grease from our local NAPA auto parts store and it says use to reduce arcing of electrical contacts and brushes. Just what I want. Apparently arcing has melted the insulation on two yaw shafts and contributed to failures of my Whisper 500. Also have the stator paint ready for the returned and repaired Whisper.
1/28/2010 Heard from the shipping agent that our whisper 500 is ready to ship back, to be delivered February 2. I have some customization planned when it arrives; 1.) disassemble and paint the stator with special coating, 2.) add two more props the the turbine making it a four blade turbine. I'll have to coat the base of the cracked prop to do this, hope it seals the crack, 3.) lightly grease the slip rings and coat the brushes with grease to prevent arcing. The electrical brush grease works great until it dries out. I'll need to clean and replace it every two years when I take the turbine down for regular maintenance. I hope with the custom improvements it will last two years. all the problems with the turbine failing have been linked to stator shorts and slip ring burning. These improvements should help. We will see!
2/13/2010 Here is the repaired whisper 500 turbine with a coat of special stator coating and an extra blade attachment to have four props instead of two. If this works I'll buy two new props to replace the old cracked props that I painted with green sealer paint.
I greased the slip rings and brushes very lightly with proper electrical brush grease and the difference in friction and noise while turning the yaw shaft by hand is amazingly different. Whether or not it helps and holds up is yet to be seen. The power company warned me on over greasing and old grease fouls contacts. If the turbine works till the grease is old, would be a fantastic improvement. Five major failures in the turbine and the fourth charge control circuit board, and the second display circuit board, and one cracked failed prop in two years. If the Whisper 500 fails again in the next year it goes into the scrap pile and three PMA's will replace it. This is my last all out effort to "fix" the Whisper 500.
2/19/2010 The extra blades went up perfectly and spun up generating about 40 watts in light wind, 8 mph, two mph lower than before. No shimmy or vibration detected yet. The turbine was spinning well enough to test 240 VAC across the poles at the main switch in my control room.
2/20, Winds at a calm 4 mph and the turbine is spinning just below charging RPM. It just figures the lightest winds in weeks are forecast for today and tonight. Worrisome note; The turbine makes a noise that can be heard 1.5 miles away. Don't know yet if it's the prop tape is loose, which it is on the old props, and vibrating, or the bearings are growling. Zero generation today.
2/21 Higher winds forecast tonight.
2/22 The brand new charge circuit board is faulty, it records generation low by a factor of ten, or shows 10 watts when it generates 100 watts. I had to take it out and replace it with the old charge circuit board that is faulty in a different way, but working better than the new one. I also think the extra two props may be a problem. They may be slowing the turbine at higher wind speeds even though they speed up the turbine at slower wind speeds. Over 5 KWh today from the turbine.
2/23 The verdict is still out on adding props. There seems to be no wind and we are charging 400-700 watts. Coarse it did that anyway sometimes. I've had a couple peak moments of 1700 watts over night. I need a good windy day to see it furl and record the wattage.
2/28 I took down the turbine tower today and took off the extra props. The old, 2 year old, props make so much noise and the protective tape is frayed so badly they do not work. The turbine made so much noise it could be heard two miles away. It was definitely the old props as now the turbine is soundless at 1700 feet away. The old circuit board I had to put in to replace the brand new circuit board that malfunctions right from the box is also up to it's bad tricks, stopping generation on 2/26 and 2/28, today. I will not buy two new props if they degrade so badly in two years anyway. I doubt I'll get two more years out of this machine. So the degraded leading edge protection tape on our original props caused the loud noise and poor generation all last summer!! Now I know! Makes sense as this is how an aircraft wing creates drag for speed control before landing.
3/1 Great generation from the turbine today running on two props in 9 mph, according to the weather channel local weather, wind.
3/11 The slightest lightning in the area shut off the turbine. I had to reboot this morning. Yesterday had over 10 KWh turbine generation.
3/21 The turbine seems to work well, even though the display amp and wattage doesn't, put back in the newest charge circuit kit. I supervise voltage, wattage and production from the Sunny Island and SMA webbox. The turbine never worked more than three months non stop in the past. Now one month of operation.
3/28 Very good turbine operation to report. Five weeks old now.
4/3 The turbine seems to have a new problem, it furls at medium wind speeds. It begins furling at 2000 watts generation and will not generate above 2400 watts, a full 1000 watts less than new. This is with stock two prop blade. If finances allow I will replace the main tower turbine with a Kestrel e400i and build a new tower near the house for the Whisper with four props to backup extra generation and install a third tower for the Missouri Wind 1400 watt 12 blade turbine.
4/5 Here is the complete experimental 12 blade "Missouri Wind" 1400 watt 120 VDC turbine. The manufacturer has dropped back to 11 props for his commercial unit. I'm also considering using a downwind version of the 12 blade with 9 inch long props and four water nozzles to generate hydro power. We have 250 GPM flow but only a few feet of head and this may be the solution. If it doesn't work I can use regular props and add it as a wind turbine.
4/12/2010 Made great headway on the tower for our two Missouri Wind General 1400 watt 11 blade wind turbines. We choose to change the hub from 12 blades to 11 blades and I ordered the second turbine today. The tower will be 46'-6" to the top turbine and the second will be at 40'. The top half of the tower is SCD 80 pipe and the bottom half is SCD 40. I need SCD 80 for the torque of two turbines running at the top of the mast to transfer into the ten guy wires, two sets of five. I learned what forces do to making a pipe tower into a sign wave shape with the whisper turbine.
4/20 The tower mast is finished and two turbines assembled. Waiting on U bolts to arrive to mount the inter-brace. Ordered a wind speed instrument to mount atop the inter-brace for real time wind speed data collection. From the guy wire mount to the base of turbine 1, the pipe is total 1" thick steel, two SCD 80 pipes inside each other. Above that is 1/2" thick SCD 80 1-1/2" for the two Missouri Wind turbines. Thinking of painting them to resemble a Black-Eyed Susan.
5/1 No I better not paint them to resemble flowers or I may promote bird deaths. The tower is up on first trial erection. Now I need to reinforce the jib spar base, install conduit, fuse, diodes, wire, meters, controller, anemometer, and last but not least the two turbines. Again, I can raise and lower the tower with a tractor or vehicle, alone, using the permanent jib. On another issue, on 5/19 we will celebrate a three month run of successful generation with the Whisper 500, a new record. Still using the newest charge circuit board with it's decimal point bug. Ordering a new kit will cost the same as sending back the complete controller for warranty checking, and I won't loose any generation. If the whisper works for 6 months straight, I might order the new charge kit.
5/2 Work on our new "Two Star", Missouri Wind, "General" goes well. Pull on the jib and the whole thing goes up in the air perfectly. An anemometer, arrived 5/3, goes on the top spar.
Another 40 feet of mast would have been desirable, but had to work with existing parameters of trigonometry, the North-South limit of guy diameter. Looking forward to building another tower without constraint and with three turbines. In theory, the Sunny Island should throttle back PV production to accommodate excess DC wind generation on sunny days, allowing for more wind turbines. A wind farm of six turbines is possible, five Missouri Wind Generals and our Whisper 500, total 10 KW potential wind. From experience we can expect 33% generation on very windy days, ie, the Whisper rarely averages over 1 KW in any one hour. And the Generals, with their 11 blades are suited for low wind and will tend to naturally limit speed in high wind conditions.
5/5 It will be another week before I install the anemometer on top of the General's mast but the instrument software is installed in my system computer and working and if I blow really hard I can get to 6 MPH, (non smoker). Watching the two star, two turbine, rig work, makes me more ready to build a three turbine head. A third turbine will be installed downwind between the two upwind PMA's and put atop a 5" SCD 40 X 80' mast on top of the mountain, near our Whisper. I'll need to transform the DC to a higher voltage for the trip 2600' down the mountain. With the money I'll save using three PMA's to attain a 4200 watt turbine, the project will still be 1/3rd the cost of a Whisper 500, and 1/4th the cost of a Kestrel e400i. But first, hard data on wind speed and watt output on the two star General to consider.
5/22/2010 Our Whisper 500 turbine has now worked without breaking longer than ever before, (three months straight), and is working better than ever before, (with the new props and stator replaced by warranty). Through several heavy rains which before could have shorted the stator, (special PMA paint added), and no shorting, arcing or heating of the yaw shaft brushes causing melting and shorting of the yaw shaft insulation, (lightly greasing the slip rings and electrical brushes).
5/24 Both General's PMA's are disassembled, cleaned, resealed to perfection, and waiting for warranty replacement rectifiers to arrive. While the tower is down I installed the Anemometer. It will be fun to have all this new data. I am very happy the PMA's needed to be taken apart, they are easy to work on. Jeff has a huge variety of replacement parts and selection of interchangeable configurations. Be careful of stray iron picked up by the strong magnets that will come out during high centrifugal forces and screw up the PMA. I also found a loose core phase connector. It pulled off without any force. The wire did not break, it was a bad solder job.
11/26/2010 Awaiting some new parts to fix both micro-turbines and reinstall them on top of the mast. Also adding 12 feet into the mast. This will put the lower turbine 6 feet higher than the current top turbine. This should help...and push the envelope of our mast to the limit. Any higher and I need to move the entire thing to a new location, building a new base.
11/27/10 Reinstalled both micro turbines onto tower and they are back up. I'll wait to add to the mast till I have more time and collect all parts. It took all day to rebuild the micro turbines and reinstall everything. By the way the Whisper 500 turbine is still working great. It's just, two of them are needed to really get some generation. We use under 1,000 KWh per month and at our location we really need 6+KW of wind power potential on top of the mountain to get what I would like to supplement our 6 KW solar PV. This month is a better than average generation month and the Whisper 500 3.2 KW turbine has generated total 110 KWh/solar PV, 800 KWh. This month we have had one day of great wind generation and three or four days of good wind generation. The rest of the time wind generation of zero to three KWh per day. Seems to be a problem in the lower micro turbine.
12/7/2010 Took down the micro-turbines today and I think I fixed the problem with the bottom one. This may be the first time both turbines will be working at the same time. Also installed the shunt and amp meter directly into the controller. Looking forward to the predicted windy day this Sunday. Thinking of moving the two micro turbines to a 100 foot tower up the hill and North, (behind the trackers in photo at left.) It must be close to the house, (51.6 VDC), but out of line of sight of the trackers so as not to shade them.
12/12 Strong winds all day produced over 29 KWh with wind power. The dual micro turbines produced a combined 5 amps in brief 40 mph wind gusts, contributing very little to nothing to the daily generation in KWh. 5 amps X 52 volts = 260 watts peak 40 mph generation. That is with two turbines stacked. 6 gage wire from the top to the batteries at 140 feet long...only a 1.2% voltage drop, and an anemometer checking wind speed. That can't be a contributing factor to bad generation. My opinion is the 11 blade fans self govern the rpm to below that needed to furnish generation at 52 VDC. I have two brand new 60 volt stators installed in the alternators, and top of the line rectifiers. The turbines look great up there spinning but contribute nothing. My plans for a higher tower will not help enough to justify the expense. Unless I buy a different turbine. They would do much better if hooked to a 24 volt system. Down they come, and will be recycled into some sort of engine driven DC generator for no wind-no sun events.
12/15 After a good start to the days' wind generation, (over 5 KWH at noon), an ice storm stopped the turbine.
1/1/2011 Took down Missouri Wind's Generals due to absolutely zero generation even in high wind. I saw the two of them briefly generate a total 220 watts. Turbines sold as 1500 watt turbines that only generate 110 watts in 40 mph gusts is just wrong. Beware of these turbines for 48 volt applications. I've tried reworked, tried rewired, tried new parts, tried more and less fan blades, and remind you I have an anemometer on this tower, and nothing works to increase generation to the point I get any KWh at all. Just a brief few watts at the highest wind gust.
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