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Start again, this time with timetable and a measurable goal

Discussion in 'Power Electronics' started by ChrisGreaves, May 17, 2021.

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  1. ChrisGreaves


    Dec 29, 2020
    Hello; Again; when I introduced myself last December I was hoping for a complete system at $20. reality has sunk in, and now, of course, I wish I had bitten the bullet a year ago when prices had not made a hole in the roof.

    I have set aside UP TO $1,000 for my first effort at a 12vDC-based system for my home.

    (1) I am not going off-grid; I will always maintain my mains-Power supply (110vAC)

    (2) I will not be self-sufficient in electrical energy. See point (1) above

    (3) I WILL establish a platform, a starting-point, from which I can learn and develop skills.

    The platform will start as:-

    (a) a Vertical Spindle turbine capable of generating electrical energy at 12vDC

    (b) a used 12vDC car battery supplied by my good neighbour who works in a car shop

    (c) a 12vDC car jug capable of boiling a mug of water.

    I will place an order for the turbine no later than this coming Saturday 22nd May, but perhaps as early as tomorrow.

    Vertical spindle because I think a propeller/wind-vane is throwing away energy by turning the body into the wind, and by friction on the swivel plate. I don’t know how much energy is lost, but I think of it as “lost energy”.

    Two models appear to be in stock at Amazon. “NINILADY” and “TQ 5000W”. Five months ago there seemed to be a dozen in stock.

    They are priced at $729 and $490 respectively. I am inclined to go the $490 route (see “strategy” below)

    Single 12vDC car battery in good condition (see “strategy” below) because my neighbour can obtain these for me at a low cost.

    12vDC car jug to boil one mug of water for tea/coffee/oatmeal sachet, because I used one of these on my trips around North America.

    Strategy: I will start with a single turbine, a single car battery, and a single application (boiling water for beverages). I drink four beverages per day – two coffees in the morning and two teas in the afternoon. The hot water jug will run from the battery. After two months running, I shall add a second application from my list of twenty-nine applications, perhaps “(3) Reading Lamp” or else “(4) Phone Charger”. When I need more storage I will purchase another car battery; when I need more power I will purchase another turbine. I plan to keep adding turbine power and battery storage as I add applications. By next winter I will have a 12v DC driveway cable snaking down my driveway melting the snow that falls in two- to three-foot deep slabs.

    Right Now: I would appreciate any rational reasons why I should NOT go with a $490 vertical spindle turbine, a car battery, and a jug to boil water.

    I have to get my hands dirty, in a manner of speaking, and sitting around theorizing is not going to help me resolve any issues.

    Down the road I might purchase a bigger/better turbine; there is always a chance I can sell any earlier turbine to someone else who, like me, would like to dabble in 12vDC systems.

    My overall goal here in Bonavista is educational: to create a demonstration home (mine!) with a glittering array of applications that will educate and I hope enthuse the locals.


    Chris Greaves
  2. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

    Nov 17, 2011
    By design vertical wind turbines seem to be less efficient than standard wind turbines (see e.g. here).
    Because 490 $ is a hefty prize tag?
    Why not build your own wind turbine at a fraction of the cost? The turbines you linked to are 600W and 5000 W, respectively. These are oversized for the application. A car battery has on the order of 50 Wh (give or take depending on the model and the age). Assuming you can get power from the turbine only 20 % of the time (will depend on the typical wind characteristics in your area), a 600 W turbine will deliver an average of 150 W (with peaks and troughs). This will fully charge the battery in less than 1/2 hour (you'll have to take into account charge losses). What would you do with the power from the turbine once the battery is fully charged?

    If I were to start this project, I'd begin with an inexpensive turbine, probably DIYed from a used car alternator. Once the project has shown its feasibility and more power is needed, I could always upgrade to a more powerful turbine (and battery).
    davenn and ChosunOne like this.
  3. ChrisGreaves


    Dec 29, 2020
    Harald, thank you for this informative and (wonderfully!) provocative reply. Provocative in the trues sense "pro" "vocal", or perhaps "positively presented"! This morning I ordered a horizontal axis wind turbine and once this reponse is submitted, i shall order a 12vDC electric mug.
    I have begun a web page with details, but here I will briefly respond to your most welcome comments.

    I had not thought this through. I reasoned that some wind energy is lost in turning a horizontal turbine to face the wind, an incessant bleeding away of energy. I had not considered what I now suspect is a much greater loss of energy in the wind blowing on the back-side of the vanes on a vertical spindle turbine. I have no measurements or data on which to base this, except that the vertical spindle loss occurs 100% of the time whereas the horizontal spindle loss occurs only when the wind shifts by perhaps five degrees. That is, the direction loss will never be 100% of the time, whereas the back-side loss occurs 100% guaranteed.
    So I have ordered the Pikasola 12vDC for $cdn324 (includes tax and shipping, they say)
    I did this in a half-hearted manner this past (six-month) winter, using three vanes made from two-litre pop bottles and a discarded electrical fan. I say half-hearted because (a) I was not going to spend time out of doors making adjustments and (b) my educational goal is to demonstrate what can be achieved with off-the-shelf components. I embrace Second Use For Everything and enjoy DIY, but most people in town are more interested in buying a kit and getting on with life.
    My wondeful neighbour works in a car repair facility and promises a supply of near-new car batteries (the car is totalled but the battery works) and last week showed me an alternator in his shed. I can see us getting together while he builds his own system for his cottage.
    A significant factor here is that I believe in wind power as a practical source for SOME of my energy. I grew up in the Australian wheat belt where windmills pumped water into sheep troughs. I refuse to believe that in this wind-swept peninsula that juts into the North Atlantic Ocean I can't get enough energy for another cup of coffee.

    Again, thank you for your comments and the links. I read that material and have made better decisions already. My path will not be error-free, but my path is wider due to you!
    Martaine2005 likes this.
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