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wind generators


kccwoodworks

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wondering if any one has experience with wind generators? Specifically "Wind Blue Power" DC540.

My experience with wind power is probably only marginally relevant to RVing. In the 1980s we were cruising our 32' sailboat in the Sea of Cortez and while we were in La Paz a group of us carved our own propellers and set up wind generators. The one I built used a DC permanent magnet motor rated at 36vdc. I used galvanized pipe and a 4-way tee for the mount. The pipes screwed into the tee to create a "cross". I strapped the motor (with propeller attached) to the "nose" of the tee, ran a stainless cable through the vertical pipes with a loop in each end and fastened a plywood "vertical stabilizer" to the tail.

 

The entire contraption was about 4' high and 3' long and could be hoisted into the foretriangle of the boat (the area formed by the mast and the forestay) using a halyard.

 

It worked great.. sometimes too great... and we often had middle-of-the-night generator drills to get it secured because of high winds. We could stop it easily by simply tying a tail-rope to a shroud (the cables on either side of the mast that help keep it straight) and thus turning it more-or-less sideways to the wind (since the boat, when anchored, points more-or-less into the wind if the prop is sideways it won't keep on spinning).

 

Perhaps because carving a propeller on a tropical beach is not as conducive to quality assurance as a manufacturing plant might be (we were in Mexico, after all) the devices we all built all behaved a little differently. But they had one thing in common. They generated a lot of noise right along with the electric power. In direct proportion, actually. The more power, the more noise.

 

If I were doing this on an RV (or, more specifically, our RV) I would make sure the support is strong and somehow supported in a way to reduce vibration. On a sailboat just using ropes to suspend the device in the air isolated us from the vibration (but not the noise). On an RV that might be more problematic.

 

I went to the web site and it appears that Wind Blue Power has some interesting units. Our solar system is 75% complete and I might take a look at wind next.

 

But vibration isolation and reduction of noise would be right up there with power generation for me.

 

If you do this... keep posting. :)

 

WDR

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Noise and vibration are the two biggest issues, even if you can live with the noise your neighbors might not be so happy. Vibration can be reduced by mounting the generator to your toad or truck instead of your living quarters, remote mounting on a guy supported mast is even better.

 

Next issue is wind, if you have enough to make any decent amount of power you'll likely not be happy staying there in an RV. If you read up on wind generator mounting locations you'll also see most recommendations suggest being well above anything that will disrupt the wind flow.

 

I have only seen a few RV folks happy with wind generators and they were camping on the beach in Alaska where they had near constant wind, no obstructions and plenty of room to put the thing 50 feet away from their rig. If I was thinking about beach camping in Alaska I might go for one but further south with better sun I'd sure go solar instead.

 

Wind and water generators have their place but it just isn't usually an RV.

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Good spicy bowl of chili with beans provides me with plenty of.... Oh wait, I mis-understood the question.

 

Check the marine realm. There are some units manufactured (Ampair, Aleko, etc.) for cruising sailboats that produce a lot of power. Most of them are pretty quiet and a large noise/vibration improvement over the straight bladed styles.

 

Russ

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  • 7 months later...

I frequently boon dock in the South Western desert area, in the winter time. In this area, in the winter, there is usually little sun and always wind. Sometimes the wind hits 75 mph. We have a gas driven generator, but I would love to capture some of that wind energy.

 

I am still climbing up the very steep learning curve, but here is what I have learned thus far.

 

1. You have to monitor the wind conditions. If you have access to the internet, check local weather. I have been in 75mph wind with the generator up on the mast. Very, very scary.

 

2. You must have a way to S A F E L Y lower your wind generator if the wind is blowing excessively. See above. This is a work in progress for me.

 

3. You have to use a voltage controller. You do not want the wind generator to overcharge your batteries. I was just looking at a unit made by Xantrex.

 

4. You have to use a "dump load" resistor. A wind generator does not like to run wide open, without a load. So, when the batteries are charged, the energy is diverted (by the controller) to a dump load resistor(s) to keep the generator loaded.

 

5. Dump load resistors will get very hot.

 

6. I would like to transfer the heat from the dump load resistor(s) into the trailer or the water heater. No sense wasting that heat when it is 30 degrees outside!

 

7. Locktite the screws/nuts that attach the blades to the hub.

 

8. Balance the blades. This can be done, statically, with a simple fixture and a small vibrating device (to overcome bearing friction).

 

9. Lastly do NOT go cheap on the mounting hardware (follow the manufacturer's recommendation). I recently saw a wind generator mounted on what appeared to be PVC water pipe! The PVC mast was swaying back and forth. YIKES!!

 

10. To reduce transferring noise to the trailer, isolate the generator from the trailer, with rubber mounts. Or just take your hearing aids out, like I do. :rolleyes:

 

I just got back from a trip to the desert. I saw three wind generators on trailers. Wind generation is good way to generate power, in the appropriate location and situation.

 

I am inclined to believe that both solar and wind would be the best approach for boon docking. They seem complement one another well.

 

Jim

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#6 load resistors make decent heaters and adding a 12 volt box fan makes them even better. If you end up with too much heat you have a problem since you can't disconnect the load before you stop the generator from making power. Adding a second set of load resistors outside works but is a bit expensive.

 

#10 do a pole mount with guy wires or mount it to the tow vehicle to keep the vibration and noise down even further.

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Stanley:

 

Thanks for the food for thought.

 

#6 load resistors make decent heaters and adding a 12 volt box fan makes them even better. I like the fan idea. I have a toy hauler and the 12 foot garage is unheated. I am wondering if I could simply use a 12 volt heater (with a fan) in the garage as the dump load?

 

If you end up with too much heat you have a problem since you can't disconnect the load before you stop the generator from making power. Adding a second set of load resistors outside works but is a bit expensive. I am wondering if I could use a switch that would allow me to switch from garage heater to outdoor dump load resistor? Although, in the winter time, I suspect that the garage would never get too hot.

#10 do a pole mount with guy wires In very high wind conditions, the noise is horrendous. In mild wind, it is not a problem and much better than the genset running. If I had to do it again, I would have used more rubber insulation.

 

or mount it to the tow vehicle to keep the vibration and noise down even further. I thought about that, but our tow vehicle is our "go to town" vehicle to get supplies. We do not have a smart car.

 

Jim

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Missouri wind has some good set ups that will control wind turbines and solar, comes with inverter and dump resistors. The plus is, if theres alot of wind and batteries are full the dumps will be a good heat source. They also sell dump elements that will heat the water in your water heater. Might be a good idea to set them up to switch, RV water heaters are small so if its dumping often it may make it to hot?

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Using a single switch to switch the load resistors might not be a good idea as for a moment you'd have no load connected as the switch toggled to the other contacts. I'd ask your charge controller manufacturer about that. Two switches so you would always have at least one of them closed would work or a hard to find make before brake double pole switch. It would be overkill from a power standpoint but a battery bank switch ./ combiner might do the trick.

 

Any resistor type load will work fine, the key is that it needs to be able to dissipate the excess power from your system without overheating. Amazon has a good selection of high wattage encapsulated resistors that you mount to a heat sink, get one with a fan mount built in and you have your heater/load ready to go. Once you find one you like then Google for the best price.

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Am I correct in assuming that the noise is from the propeller tips moving so fast?

 

Just wondering if there is a more efficient wind gen that doesnt use a bladed prop.

 

 

There are vertical wind generators like these.

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=vertical+wind+generators&biw=1340&bih=601&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=vydlVbC6CsGfNpvxgKgJ&ved=0CCMQsAQ

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You stop a wind generator by turning it so that its propeller is not facing into the wind.

 

WDR

The wind generator that I am using has a tail fin that keeps the blades perpendicular to the wind. In 75mph winds, I am not too thrilled about getting close to this "buzz saw." As I recall, the blades are four feet in diameter. Also, the wind in the desert can change directions very quickly, which would cause the fan assmbly to spin on its gimbal mount.

 

How do you move yours so it is not facing into the wind?

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The wind generator that I am using has a tail fin that keeps the blades perpendicular to the wind. In 75mph winds, I am not too thrilled about getting to close to this "buzz saw." As I recall, the blades are four feet in diameter. Also, the wind in the desert can change directions very quickly, which would cause the assmbly to spin on its gimbal mount.

 

How do you move yours so it is not facing into the wind?

I have a line to the tail and pull it sideways... then secure it to something. If you look at old farm windvanes they have a way to "trip" the tail so they lay flat against the body of the device.

 

If you can't tie it off you might be able to turn it sideways and then slip a line around the propeller and tie that to the mast.

 

Good luck.

 

WDR

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I have a line to the tail and pull it sideways... then secure it to something. If you look at old farm windvanes they have a way to "trip" the tail so they lay flat against the body of the device.

 

If you can't tie it off you might be able to turn it sideways and then slip a line around the propeller and tie that to the mast.

 

Good luck.

 

WDR

THANKS! I like the rope idea.

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THANKS! I like the rope idea.

It works well until the wind changes so that the propeller points into the wind again. Which is why I kinda like the latching body/tail idea; no matter where the wind blows from, the tail always points the propeller 90-degrees from it.

 

WDR :)

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Long time sailor, ten year RV'er.

 

Wind generator, boat yes (maybe) . RV no.

 

VERY noisy, and not cheap. On water away from shore in a not too crowded anchorage is one thing. In a campground you are going to pee off a LOT of people, IF you can get a consistent wind (speed direction) which is doubtful. So yeah, on a plateau on the fruited plains or a beach in Alaska maybe. At Happy Minnows KOA, not so much.

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We have a Primus 40 wind generator that we use in conjunction with our solar panel set-up when we are in the desert. I mounted it on a telescoping flag pole with a height of 24 feet and set it off the RV with a flagpole stand weighted and with 3 guide wires weighted with 2- 5 gallon buckets at each end either filled with water, gravel or both. It worked great as a supplement at night and for those overcast days. Noise was minimal. We used Northern Arizona Wind and Solar for all of our equipment.

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Long time sailor, ten year RV'er.

 

Wind generator, boat yes (maybe) . RV no.

 

VERY noisy, and not cheap. On water away from shore in a not too crowded anchorage is one thing. In a campground you are going to pee off a LOT of people, IF you can get a consistent wind (speed direction) which is doubtful. So yeah, on a plateau on the fruited plains or a beach in Alaska maybe. At Happy Minnows KOA, not so much.

A wind generator works very well on an RV, in the right location (not too crowded and lots of wind on a daily basis, like in the SW desert area). And yes, using the wind generator in a KOA and a crowded campground is a really a bad idea, but then so is using a noisier gas generator.

 

kccworkworks, the original poster, started this thread looking for people to share their experience. As I read other reader's posts, I learned a lot and, some of my technical issues have been resolved.

 

I may be wrong, but I think that as demand increases, the market will advance and solve the problems (such as noise) associated with wind generators for RV use. For the engineering types on the forum, I would love to have a wind generator telescope out of a compartment on my roof, with the push of a button. :) How cool would that be! And when it gets too windy, it is automatically lowered back into the compartment. S W E E T !

 

Jim

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As they say "anything is possible, all it takes is money". In this case your money...and lots of it :D


I would love to have a wind generator telescope out of a compartment on my roof, with the push of a button. :) How cool would that be! And when it gets too windy, it is automatically lowered back into the compartment. S W E E T !

 

 

Jim

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