Because of the number of photos and continuous additions to this page, I have added Wind Turbine Page two, Don't miss it for the latest additions to the continuing saga of small wind power. Wind turbine page two picks up at the beginning of 2009. Also, conveniently beginning with the change from a 66 foot tower to a 96 foot tower.
Anyone interested in small wind power should strongly consider a Kestrel Wind Turbine by Eveready, the battery people. The upfront extra cost may be cheap on retrospect!!!! After our SWWP Whisper 500 has had a history of failure after failure, I am looking for a way to buy the Kestrel e400i. The line voltage developed by the high voltage Kestrel is many times the voltage of the high voltage Whisper 500, and better suited for a long wire run to the summit of the mountain. I am not the only one to replace SWWP machinery with Kestrel. It is my experience that the South West Wind Power Whisper 500 built in 2007 is a bad investment.
Here are some stats on turbine production after raising the tower to 96' for our 3.2 KW Whisper 500; For the month of February 09, 157.57 KWh. March 09, 159.21 KWh. April 09, 185.75 KWh. In May 09, the turbine yaw shaft shorted out and stopped all generation, and it looks like it will take all month to get through to the warranty department for repair.
The Whisper 500 wind turbine is broken again!! That seems to be the theme of this turbine installation!! NOTE: 6/11/09, It now seems that possibly all the problems early on with the turbine were caused by a faulty yaw shaft and never figured out by the tech team at Wind Energy. This is why after repair of the turbine we continued to have so many problems, and returns to warranty for repair that never seemed to fix the problem and why we have had such poor generation all along.
!!!3/16/08 WIND TURBINE ON LINE!!!. 4/1/08 WIND TURBINE FAILED. Turns out the stator windings were defective. 5/19, Turbine back up and on line!! 6/7, Turbine inoperative again! They sent it back producing the wrong voltage. 6/25/08, Turbine fixed and on the way back. 7/2, Turbine 100% operational! 10/4/08 The turbine and the solar panels are equal in wattage rating and the turbine produced 1/17th the solar generation to date. 10/16/08 The turbine charge controller ceased functioning!!! Turbine inoperative again. 10/28, back to charging again, for $165.00 in parts. 11/15/08 Turbine generation fantastic with winter weather arriving.!!!! 21.49 KWh!! Even heating water with the electric water heater with heavy clouds above, using cold winter wind. 1/13/09, The turbine is great to have. Over 6 KWh over night and generating strong in total darkness. Worth the effort!! 2/2/09, Turbine now at 96 feet and performing very well! 5/13/09, FAILURE of the wind turbine again! Now 6/14/09 and still not working with no support from tech or warranty. Parts are failing and breaking with reassembly. I have worked as a customer service/repair/trouble shooting/training agent for an international forest products company in Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe, so do not take it lightly when I say this turbine is poorly designed, built and uses inferior components. If Wind Energy tech/warranty support is so busy they can't have a meaningful dialogue with a customer, I worry!
1/13/09. I plan to raise the turbine 30 feet in an attempt to gain summer south wind generation and get above turbulences. The total height to prop shaft will be 96 feet. http://www.safelandindustrial.com/App/index.asp for my hardware. 1/26/09, let down the turbine to lengthen the tower. Found more cracking in one turbine blade, and the tape on leading edge is coming off.
2/2/09 Turbine back up at 96' and spinning power down the hill!!
11/03/08 An interesting note: The total solar generation for 3/14/08 through 11/1/08 is 3000 KWh. The total generation of exactly the same size potential wind turbine is 170 KWh, although in the turbine's defense there may be turbulence when the wind is from the South. With winter weather arriving the turbine is performing well. 18 MPH and greater winds are needed for any generation that is usable. 11/15/08 we are even heating water with the electric water heater with wind power.!! Record generation 21.49 KWh!! Winter problem; the least bit of ice and the turbine stops spinning. We have lost days of generation in good windy periods due to ice buildup on the turbine blades. 1/13/09, still, worth the effort!! 5:32 and generating great in total darkness, 6 KWh in six hours at night. Update looking back from 3/28/09, Icing is a minimal problem. The turbine at 96' is working much better!!
3/14/2008 THE TURBINE IS UP AND SPINNING! A couple of minor things to finish.
3/16/08 the turbine is running perfectly since 10:00 hours. I saw it generating up to 1000 watts and it is a calm day. No wind, no breeze at Earthbilly Manor and the readout peaks at 600-900 watts. WOW! Wait till the wind is from the West.
SYSTEM DIAGRAM Here is a wiring diagram of our complete system.
Wind Turbine generating 3238 watts. We don't have a wind speed meter yet. I guess the turbine works.
10/18/08 The turbine charge control has failed for the manyith time. This is too interactive even for me. I will replace the charge control circuit board again in the interest of education, to see how long it lasts, again, and to see what generation occurs during winter months, the strongest months for wind. However I am thinking strongly of taking Down the turbine and using the site to host a Wattsun 225 with a full complement of solar panels connected to the Sunny Boy 3000US we already own. I just need to be sure everything will work with the long distance drop in voltage from the 1700 foot distance site. Just remember...The turbine, since commissioning in March, has developed a whopping $16.00 worth of electricity, at a cost of THOUSANDS of DOLLARS IN WARRANTY WORK and SHIPPING. And the site has great exposure!! 10/28/08, circuit board replaced and back on line charging.
We plan to start installation after the Control Center is complete. We have a 21 meter tower kit supplied by South West Wind and made for the Whisper 500 turbine.
12/1/2007 We purchased 6,000 feet of #6 wire and 2000 feet of 1-1/2" conduit to run our turbine 2000 feet to the top of the mountain for best wind. We calculate only 3.6% loss from the wire at 240 VDC. We calculate gaining 20% more wind than at the house. Thanks goes to to Butler Electric Supply of Farmington MO for a great deal on the wire. Our turbine will be 400 feet higher altitude than the house, on the seventh highest mountain in Missouri. Vickery Mt. There is already a cell tower up there. Three sides of the ridge drop off 600 feet very steep. Our tower will be 30 feet above the trees. I may need every ground rod in Iron Co. to protect it from lightning, but it will be up in the wind! Put in ten ground rods. Two per anchor and two in the mast base and tied into the re-bar driven into holes drilled into the bed rock.
12/26/07 We measured and routed the path to our turbine tower. Tomorrow we will start clearing a path for the backhoe. It is 2500 feet to the best tower site, 1500 feet to the first possible site on the ridge. Update, we choose a site 1,700 feet away.
12/28/07 The conduit path is cleared, ready for the backhoe. The wind turbine tower site is cleared and ready for digging the footings and building forms. Monday we will start the footings! It is 1700 feet to the top of the tower from the control center. The base of the tower is 300 feet higher altitude than the control center and has extreme exposure to the sky! So much so that we will pull 7 feet off the tower height, to three 21 foot pipes, and add an extra guy wire to each of four anchors. This should boost survivability to 150++ wind speeds. Above that, debris in the wind will be the problem. While the tower concrete cures we will start installing our last inverter, a SB3000US, in the Studio, for fixed PV panels on the studio roof.
1/8/08 The ditch and footings are dug.
1/11/08 The 1700 foot run of conduit and wire is finished.
Cold weather is slowing progress.
1/24/08 Redesigned and fabricated, with green power, the guy wire tie down assembly. Instead of one 3/4" eye bolt in the concrete for two guys, we now have six 5/8"x 16" L bolts into the concrete with a 16" long 4"x 6" T beam and 3 guy wires per anchor. This system should be adapted by South West Wind Power as the standard for their tower.
2/7/08 Lots of weather related days off. Today we pour concrete in the turbine tower anchors and base. Concrete Finished! Total of 13 yards in four anchors and one base. A major step forward for the tower and turbine.
2/11/08 Waiting for the concrete to cure before installing tower. Assembled the turbine head. Impressive!
2/28/08 After three weeks of winter, we plan to pick up 5 joints of Scd. 40 - 5" steel pipe on Monday, 3/3.
3/3/08 Picked up the pipe. 22X3=66 feet tall. Thank you SKYWALKER Steel supply. With a name like that, how can I go wrong. One more ice and sleet storm to wait out.
3/10/08 Assembled jib and attached it to the mast base.
3/11/08 Assembled mast and attached it to the base. Ready to paint and rig guy wires.
3/12/08 Painted the pipe JD Green. Rigged all but two guys. The top is ready to accept the turbine.
3/16/08 Finished the turbine today. Three times up without the turbine and two times up with the turbine before I was satisfied everything is right. Total control of the mast.
3/17/08 Installed battery shunt and changed Sunny Island parameters to properly monitor the new external DC generation.
3/19/08 It all works. Cheers.
4/1/08 Turbine failure. I took it down and find it's possibly shorted out in the windings. Freeze and thawing separated the steel ply of the core, touching it to the windings.. Already heavy rust in the core. The light steel plate holding the bearing has bent misaligning the drum and the core. Improper shielding of the Cu windings in the core causing more windings to contact the core. I left voice mails for three days that it had failed at the manufacturer without anyone calling back.
4/6 Boxed and on a pallet to send back to South West Wind Power in Flagstaff AZ. At my expense. They seem to think it was hit by lightning and will not be under warranty. No sign of any surge. Just poor equipment.
4/14 Finally getting good communication with SWWP. I hope to know what will happen with the turbine today.
4/16 We got a message that our stator windings were defective and they will rewind it and send it back in May.
5/14 Stator arrived today but two magnets were deeply shattered and prevented re assembly. SWWP will make it good and send out a new magnet can. Got to wait another week.
5/19/08 Turbine back up and spinning. Odd, the transformer fan does not work now.
5/26 Something is wrong, windy but no generation except very short pulses in very high wind.
6/7 Turbine does not produce electricity. Checked voltage and it has been rewound at the wrong voltage. Took it down again.
6/9 Worked out all the wiring is correct and the proper stator is in the turbine, only the voltage is half what it is suppose to be. SWWP says send it back and they will pick it up tomorrow. I even put it up in the air again and still had trouble with voltage. So it is down and off the mast ready to box up.
6/10 Shipped out. AGAIN!
6/21 Up again but not working.
To make a long story short, we had to replace the magnet can, then the charge card also, the heart of the charge control. Then the communications cable kept falling out and messing up the operation until I cut a wooden stick and braced the plug into the socket. Now it all works great!!! Just no wind this time of year. So from;
7/3/08 Everything is working well. Check the Journal for daily outputs, except for a month after a hacker messed with our site. Now early August, all data is up to date.
10/1 After several months of flawless operation of the 3.2 KW wind turbine it is clear that the turbine generates less than 1/15 of the power a similar sized solar array would generate during those months. I hope for better performance in the winter. As of right now 1 KW of solar generation with 450 AH/10hour rate battery would be a vastly better investment for less money. Even a Bergey 7.5 KW battery charger turbine would theoretically only perform 3 times better, which would still be below acceptable generation levels. Something to think about for all those people selling and investing into wind power in Missouri !!!! We will look forward to the next six months to see what happens during the historically windiest season.
10/15 The turbine charge control has failed. NO turbine generation until a new circuit board arrives, and in two days I have not been able to talk to anyone at South West Wind on the phone to order. (10/16-17)
10/20 Finally ordered a new controller circuit board. 10/25 still has not arrived. 10/28 circuit board installed and working!!! NOTE: the new circuit board has a good connection on the communication wire and does not need the stick to hold in the connector.
11/15 Record generation with the turbine, 21.49 KWh. Made hot water with the cold winter wind!! On a day with nearly no PV generation.
11/19/08 Major rust in the guy wires supplied by SWWP. Not a year old yet. They will need to be replaced soon.
12/6/08 All problems with the shunt accrediting turbine production have been solved with the new shunt. Battery soc works perfectly.
12/7 Some electrical shock to the turbine was registered at 7:13 hours. Clear skies, calm wind and -6C, no generation at the time of event. The com wire didn't drop out as the REG set points stayed the same. If the com wire is disconnected the REG set points fall back to factory preset.
12/10 High winds all night but about midnight the turbine quit generating, completely. Switched to grid at 1:00. I suspect the turbine iced up. Very frustrating with such good generation winds currently and forecast all day.
12/12/08 Turns out ice built up on the blades and when it fell free the turbine started working!!!
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