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Wind generators

Discussion in 'Boat Electronics' started by Nigel, May 4, 2004.

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  1. Nigel

    Nigel Guest

    I'm looking at buying a wind and or towed generator for my boat, the choices
    seem to be Aerogen, Ampair, Duogen or Rutland, does anybody have any
    expirience with any of these, or any recomendation for other makes, I'm
    based in the UK.
     
  2. I have experience with Aerogen wind generator. Reliable and QUIET. If
    you like beating into the wind, you will be happy as you produce the
    current you need. On the run, you are not as well off.

    - Lauri Tarkkonen
     
  3. Russ Barron

    Russ Barron Guest

    I have a Rutland 913 in use since 1996. It's quiet, does not interfere
    with HF radio reception ,it puts out about what the spec.s claim, which is
    not much. The tail on the unit is completly worthless. Underway or even
    sometimes at anchor it will spin drunkenly about. I made a new tail fin
    about 2.5 times the size of the original. The new tail keeps it charging
    in everything but light downwind conditions. After about 5 years in the
    Florida sun the plastic housing got yellow and brittle and the blades
    began showing fibers as the outer plastic powdered away.
    A couple of coats of epoxy paint seems to have stopped that process.
    If I was buying a new unit now I would look at the KISS. Everyone I talk
    to who has one seems happy with it.
    Russ Barron
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Guest

    I realize that Windbugger is a US based unit, however I am extremely happy
    with mine. This is my second season of living aboard with wind and solar
    power.

    Last night it was charging between 15-20 amps in gusts of 25 knots. Normally
    it charges around 5-10 in just the moderate breeze in my anchorage.

    I can just barely hear the 'swish' of the 3 blade prop. Hardly noticeable
    until it reaches higher RPM, went the overspeed break starts regulating.
    Nothing objectionable, just a reminder that the wind is over 25-30 knots.

    I have been maintaining an 800 amp/hr battery bank with the wind gen as
    primary source and two 55 watt solar panels.

    My electrical load is presently, 2000watt inverter (for micro wave, toaster
    oven, tools, etc), 12 vdc frig., TV, VCR and lighting.

    Anyway, if you have chance to pick up a used WindBugger, it would be well
    worth considering.

    Steve
    s/v Good Intentions
     
  5. TB

    TB Guest

    I have used the Rutland 910. I vowed never to use it again after a solo
    transatlantic. The noise resonating through the hull was awful but it
    did the job. After trying to use only solar power for a few years i will
    resurrect the wind gen but try to insulate the pole from the boat with
    rubber bushings.
     
  6. I've a Rutland 500 - it has a rim around the fins
    so you don't lose anything if you go too close, but
    that's the only good thing I can say about it. Very
    little power output and the bearings give up too easily.

    Alisdair
     
  7. The following is a log from 3/13/2004 regarding a failure that I had
    with my KISS wind generator. While I own one, and generally think that
    they're very good, they do have definate problems.

    -- Geoff

    *****************************

    I just experienced a failure of my KISS wind generator of a nature that
    I've been worried about for quite some time. The KISS generator has a
    thermal breaker on each of the 3 outputs of the generator. These open
    when the generator is getting too hot by generating too much power. This
    sounds OK in principle, but the problem is that when the breakers open,
    the blades freewheel at a very high rate of speed. The power curves that
    KISS supplies shows the generator producing 18 A at 20 Kts and 25 A at
    25 Kts. However, there's nothing in their literature which shows the
    maximum sustainable power output.

    A switch, located between the generator wiring and the connections to
    the battery provides a method of feathering the generator by shorting
    the outputs to ground or each other. In winds of less than 25 kts this
    typically causes the blades to spin at a very slow rate of speed.
    However, once the thermal breakers have tripped, this switch does
    nothing. To me this is a serious design flaw. The system should feather
    itself instead of letting the blades freewheel.

    I first noticed this on the trip from FL to Guatemala last summer. I had
    just installed it and was quite surprised when it wouldn't feather in a
    squall that blew through. I contacted the US KISS distributor about
    this, and their response was that I should take a boat hook and use it
    to pull the generator sideways into the wind via a string that goes from
    the tail of the generator to the support pole. Yeah, that's a great
    concept until you're at sea with the boat pitching all over the place
    and probably a lot of other things going wrong at the same time.

    Today we've been at anchor at Lighthouse Reef in Belize with a cold
    front blowing through. The winds have been in the 15 to 25 kt range all
    day. This morning the breakers tripped twice when the winds gusted over
    30 for brief periods of time. Each time I was able to grab the string
    and swing it around to feather it. This afternoon the winds have been in
    the 15-20 kt range and the breakers have tripped twice. We were only
    generating about 17 amps sustained when this happened. The second time I
    was pulling the generator around when the string got caught in a blade
    and yanked the boat hook into the tail, snapping it off. I suppose that
    this is a lot better than having the boat hook strike a spinning blade
    and potentially impale me, but I'm not happy at all.

    While in general I am happy with the KISS generator's simplicity, I
    think that this is a serious design problem which poses a substantial
    safety risk. If you're thinking about getting one, consider this fact
    before buying.
     
  8. Old Nick

    Old Nick Guest

    On Wed, 5 May 2004 00:04:44 -0400, "Doug Dotson"
    <> vaguely proposed a theory
    .......and in reply I say!:
    uncap my header address to reply via email

    I am not up with this from a boat point of view, but I would have
    thought that either angling the tail if the mill so that it
    self-slowed as the breeze became stronger, or using the tail to brake
    the blades, would have been simple enough. It's been done on pump
    mills for a long time.

    Another opion would be _literally_ feathering the the blades, so that
    they are not spinning, if the heat cutout cuts in?

    I can see why the heat cutout needs to let the genset open and allow
    freewheel, rather than close and stop it. Short circuit generates
    large currents and little roatation for cooling, and could make things
    worse.
    *******************************************************
    Sometimes in a workplace you find snot on the wall of
    the toilet cubicles. You feel "What sort of twisted
    child would do this?"....the internet seems full of
    them. It's very sad
     
  9. Pete Verdon

    Pete Verdon Guest

    How would that work? Make the tail an aerofoil section so that as the
    airflow across it increases it generates "lift" sideways and pulls the mill
    round?

    Pete
     
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