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Old 25-05-2014, 11:43   #106
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Re: A Wind Generator Review

From Windbugger to KISS to D400. Windbugger needed a lot of maintenance. KISS was excellent. I used to swear by it but now I have to admit the D400 beats the KISS. Had the KISS for 12 years no significant problems. I disliked the thermal switches that shut it off at about 25 knots but learned to live with it by tying the generator a bit off the wind when it blew.. The noise when it started honking was my notice to check the anchor. Problem with the D400 is that there is absolutely no noise. We sleep in the aft cabin and there is a slight hum at wind speeds over 16 knots. I really didn`t want the D400 (KISS couldn`t deliver in time) as I have no faith in British electrical stuff but I must say the D400 has been a pleasant surprise. Only one season so far. We`ll see how it lasts.
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Old 25-05-2014, 13:50   #107
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Re: A Wind Generator Review

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So I wet-sanded the old blades and we shall see. At least I now have new bearings which was the original point.
Do let us know how it goes BC. My SilentWind with the blue blades is many factors quieter than my old Air-X, but it was pretty old when I inherited it, and I'm sure the blades were in bad shape. The SilentWind sits above our cockpit off the boomkin and we can easily carry on a normal conversation with it whirring away.

BTW, I really like the D400s. Very quiet, and the specs look good. The reason I shied away from it was the weight (and cost). Since our sits out on a boomkin, I didn't want to add all that extra weight. But I have been up close to one, and they are very quiet. I'd love to end up in an anchorage with one now so I can do a head-to-head with the Silentwind.
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Old 25-05-2014, 15:39   #108
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Re: A Wind Generator Review

Blue Crab, the sanding of the black blades definitely helps. (I did it to mine!) I fail to understand why they were not well finished in the first place! You will not get near the level of the blue blades though.
Longer blades are a bad idea - they may provide more torque, but, as a general rule, larger diameter blades turn slower. Think about the commercial wind farm blades - rotational speed is less. What you want on an Air-X/Breeze/Marine is faster speeds for more output.
The blue blades are around 1/4 the price of a new wind gen. I don't think that is excessive when you think about the research that went into them, and the way they are made. The price equates to 3 tanks of gas for my car here in NZ, and the Wind Gen has topped off the batteries 100's of times now....
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Old 25-05-2014, 17:13   #109
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Thanks Matt. My black blades are several years old and looked it. They cleaned up pretty well, well enough for me to put them back on. Manana maybe. I don't have an objective way to measure the sound level. I had more of a bearing growl so if the sanded blades are even reasonably ok, I'll be fine. I really don't mind that banshee sound when it's honking. It's the sound of cold beer.

Got another month with shore power so time to test. I may come ashopping.
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Old 26-05-2014, 19:24   #110
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A Wind Generator Review

I also have a silentwind... It is quiet but I too have a bit of "bearing growl" at low speeds. The growl is a little annoying but once up over 10 knots of wind or so, that sound goes away and the silentwind gets much quieter (relative to the wind that is).

I do find that the wind generator/controller sometimes causes the solar controllers to go into float mode before the batteries are topped up, so I lowered the automatic break voltage, which seems to have worked.
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Old 26-05-2014, 20:02   #111
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Re: A Wind Generator Review

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I do find that the wind generator/controller sometimes causes the solar controllers to go into float mode before the batteries are topped up, so I lowered the automatic break voltage, which seems to have worked.
So I gather you are running a separate controller for the panels? I'm running my panels through the Spreco controller. The new one can accept up to 500 watts (I think). I'm just in the process of wiring panels in for this season, and only have 100 watts so far. I haven't field-tested the system yet, although it all seems to work.
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Old 26-05-2014, 20:18   #112
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Re: A Wind Generator Review

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So I gather you are running a separate controller for the panels? I'm running my panels through the Spreco controller. The new one can accept up to 500 watts (I think). I'm just in the process of wiring panels in for this season, and only have 100 watts so far. I haven't field-tested the system yet, although it all seems to work.

Yes, 2x140 and 2x137 each on their own genasun controller.
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Old 28-05-2014, 12:52   #113
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Re: A Wind Generator Review

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... It is quiet but I too have a bit of "bearing growl" at low speeds....
On my D400 I've just replaced the bearings and everything is much quieter.

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...I do find that the wind generator/controller sometimes causes the solar controllers to go into float mode before the batteries are topped up,....
Often it is the wind regulator that switches off too early.

With wind generators there is not a constant source of power to allow the regulator to stabilise itself. Often there is a huge surge in available current from wind gusts, and then their charge may drop. The wind controller will then still see the high voltage coming from the solar panel controller so it will switch to float. When the wind rises there may be a built-in delay of maybe an hour before the wind controller attempts to charge again and so the cycle continues. The wind generator could potentially be providing the highest charging capability, but much of the time it has switched itself off so its energy is being wasted.

The simplest KISS principle, which is recommended by several manufacturers, is not to have a regulator for the wind generator but control it manually with a switch or a safe method of tying back the blades when the batteries are known to be 100% charged. This will rarely be needed when cruising with a large service bank, but an unregulated wind generator should not be left running when leaving the boat for an extended period without the risk of overcharging.
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Old 10-06-2014, 13:34   #114
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Re: A Wind Generator Review

SV Totem just dumped their Air Breeze which they found to be loud for a Silentwind. They talk about their decision here:
Choosing a wind generator: power projects aboard | Sailfeed
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:23   #115
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... The simplest KISS principle, which is recommended by several manufacturers, is not to have a regulator for the wind generator but control it manually with a switch or a safe method of tying back the blades when the batteries are known to be 100% charged. This will rarely be needed when cruising with a large service bank, but an unregulated wind generator should not be left running when leaving the boat for an extended period without the risk of overcharging.

My AirX400 has a 3 position switch. In the OFF it freewheels but is shorted out on purpose. The mid position stops the blades cold then allows them to turn again before stopping them cold. You can literally hear it. The FM says to not leave the switch in the center position ... kinda makes ya wonder why it's there at all.

Tying off the blades is no small thing. I have to stand on the grill on the rail to reach them. I've done it for a big storm but I wouldn't even try it without dead calm. And in no case would I ask someone else to do it. I'm playing with a tail in hopes of stopping the gen from finding the sweet spot WTSHTF. I don't have a safe plan B but I'm all ears.

Regarding the noise, I mentioned above about my wet-sanding my original (?) black blades when I read that the blue blades were finely finished. Airplane props are finely finished. Duh! At that point I had the Raptor blades in hand; brand new and smooth-ish but not finely finished IMO.

My black blades were nicked some, so I couldn't get them perfect without seriously altering the weight/ balance of them. But I decided the worst case would be another bearing replacement in a shorter interval. The nicks played havoc with the DA so I did it slowly by hand, ending with 400 grit, and not worrying about perfection.

Back in the air and without any way to measure the dB, I guesstimate the blades to have a different, not unpleasant, "whoosh" sound. When the gen kicks on in a rising wind, the old banshee whine has been reduced to almost nothing. I have gotten far enough away in all directions to be confident of not offending anyone with the gen noise in an anchorage, and certainly not within the distances I consider appropriate to anchor near another boat.

Now if I could actually get 40 amps out of it or even 20, I'd be a happier guy with a cold beer in hand.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:31   #116
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Sorry if I'm stating the obvious. the center switch that stops the blades is just to use momentarily so you can tie them down
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Old 11-06-2014, 09:25   #117
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Sorry if I'm stating the obvious. the center switch that stops the blades is just to use momentarily so you can tie them down

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks. That's a damned good idea! Wonder if I'd have snapped on that eventually? I'd like to think so but I'm still LMAO. I love a good joke especially when it's on my crabby ass!
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:13   #118
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Maybe I should give you some time to recover before this post. Loop a piece of line through your vane that is long enough to just go over the tips of the blades and leave it there permanently. Allowing you to reach it at a

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much lower height and a simple matter of stopping the blades from spinning.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:30   #119
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Maybe I should give you some time to recover before this post. Loop a piece of line through your vane that is long enough to just go over the tips of the blades and leave it there permanently. Allowing you to reach it at a

Attachment 82876

much lower height and a simple matter of stopping the blades from spinning.

Cool. I was closing in on that solution with my long tail hanging off the vane. As they say in Miami, muchas gracias amigo. I'd toss you a cold one when I go by but I'll be cutting across the lake.

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Old 13-06-2014, 01:15   #120
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Maybe I should give you some time to recover before this post. Loop a piece of line through your vane that is long enough to just go over the tips of the blades and leave it there permanently.
... much lower height and a simple matter of stopping the blades from spinning.
My setup is still much too high to slip the loop over a blade without climbing on the rail. I could cut the pole down a couple of feet, the blades would still be over my head but maybe an elastic loop engaged with a boathook would be adequate for the few times it's needed.
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