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Windmill vane controller

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Michael King, Aug 17, 2017.

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  1. Michael King

    Michael King

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    Aug 17, 2017
    I am trying to control the vane on a windmill using an electronic anemometer.
    the Anemometer puts out .4v @ 0km wind speed and 2v @ 32km wind speed.
    Can i use this difference in voltage via an Arundo board to activate a dc motor either CW or CCW hence moving the Windmill vane?
     
  2. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    As far as I was aware, that is the purpose of the vane, to steer the head windward.
     
  3. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009


    indeed, so to the OP, why would you want to control it ?
     
  4. Irv

    Irv

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    Jun 7, 2017
    Perhaps the windmill will fly apart if the wind gets too fierce, so he wants to turn the blades "sideways" to the wind (e.g. Full Right Rudder). Yes, you could do that with a Arduino Nano, and even include a wind speed display in the house. The problem would be: what kind, and how powerful a motor would it take to turn the vane? There are some small, geared stepper motors with "pretty good" torque available for the Arduinos, but whether they would work here depends upon the weight, balance, size and etc. etc. etc of the vane.
     
  5. Michael King

    Michael King

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    Aug 17, 2017
    Shutting off or turning the vane in high wind protects the windmill from damage (high rpm).
     
  6. Michael King

    Michael King

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    Aug 17, 2017
    Oh great.
    Is there an Arundo tutorial that you know of that would help me
     
  7. Michael King

    Michael King

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    Aug 17, 2017
    Sorry, Arduinos.
     
  8. Irv

    Irv

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    Jun 7, 2017
    Yes, you just need one which measures voltage (analog voltage, 0 => 5 volts). The cheap ($4) Nano has several analog inputs for that purpose. It can be connected to a stepper motor/driver combo, such as (search Amzn for this: ULN2003 5v stepper motor + uln2003 driver board for arduino) I have several of these, they're pretty strong, and cheap, but whether they'll work depends on what they're going to be moving. We have no info on that.
    The Arduino IDE (it's free) comes with demos showing how to read analog input, and another 3 which show how to control stepper motors. You'd just combine the two programs.
    Of course, there's probably a completely mechanical way to do what you want, as well.
    Which might be a more permanent solution. Is lightning a problem where you are? If so, electronics are going to be problematical.
     
    Michael King likes this.
  9. Michael King

    Michael King

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    Aug 17, 2017
    Firstly, thankyou for your replies - you have given me a-lot.
    1. The windmill stands 2mtrs high so lightening should not be a problem.
    2. Mechanical....Id love to hear your thoughts.
    3. The vanes weight is 7.4 kg and is mounted on bearings so resistance to rotate is in essence created only by the wind and estimated to be minimal.
    4. The holding torque of the motor and the fact that rotation is only 90 degrees are cosiderations in my mind.
    I was thinking to use the following motor - maybe you think it is over-done
    27:1 Planetary Gearbox Nema 17 Stepper Motor 0.4A
    I have yet to research if this motor is Arduino compatible.
    5. I have not yet studied the Arduino IDE demo's yet but are you saying that it will read the output of the Anemometer and through a program control the stepper motor?

    Thanks again.
     
  10. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    Don't think you will get too much gale force wind @ 2 metres off the ground unless you're in a cyclone.

    I wouldn't be around a windmill in that instance.

    When reference was made to windmill, I among others were thinking 40 to 50 ft tower.:oops:

    Maybe the Op comes from the big smoke.:D
     
  11. Irv

    Irv

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    Jun 7, 2017
    You'll want what's called a Dual H Bridge controller, they're five or ten bucks. And yes, the program could be pretty simple: read, in a loop every 10 seconds or so the voltage from the anemometer.
    If the voltage is above X, turn the vane to one side or the other, and wait until the voltage drops below Y, then turn the vane back to zero degrees.
    You decide the values of X and Y, based on what wind speeds the voltages represent.

    Of course, since you have an actual computer at your disposal, you should only turn the vane as far as is required to prevent the windmill from overspeeding. You really wouldn't actually need that anemometer, either. You could just measure the rpm of the blades.

    One way to measure rpm would be with a magnet and detector. Another way would be optical (stick something shiny on a rotating part, and point an LED and a light sensor at it.)

    Either way is cheap.
     
  12. Alec_t

    Alec_t

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    Jul 7, 2015
    What exactly do you mean by 'vane'? Full-size windmills have so-called 'sails', each of which may consist of several pivotable 'shutters'. The shutters can be mechanically controlled to regulate the mill rotation speed in different wind speeds.
     
  13. AnalogKid

    AnalogKid

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    Jun 10, 2015
    When you say "vane", are you talking about the blades? Are you trying to change the pitch of the blades to optimize power transfer? Plus, feather them in times of high wind? This is different from turning the entire windmill to face the wind. for that, you do not need to know the wind speed.

    ak
     
  14. Michael King

    Michael King

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    Aug 17, 2017
    Hi Alex,
    No its the vane i am moving.
    Irv, so the Nema 17 Stepper Motor 0.4A works with the Dual H Bridge controller and Uno Anduino.
    Im going with the Anemometer to record average wind speeds over a period.

    Thanks for your help.
     
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