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Old 13-11-2019, 07:05   #1
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Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

Hey guys,

I’ve just been offered a like new (with lots of spare parts) Air 303 wind turbine.

Does anyone have any experience with them? I know they’re older, I think this was bought in the late 90’s and it’s been difficult to find any info on it.

Am I better just getting 2 250w solar panels?

Thanks
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Old 13-11-2019, 07:15   #2
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

better getting the solar IMO, and they are quiet! (I would prefer to listen to a Honda run than one of those wind screamers speeding up and slowing down all the time)
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Old 13-11-2019, 08:08   #3
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

+1 for the solar panels and pass on the wind gen. The panels will consistently outperform the wind gen and are quiet.
I believe the Air 303 is the notorious Air-X gen that sounds like a howler monkey when running hard. Unless you change to the expensive "blue" blades it will be loud and you will not be the favorite boat in the anchorage/marina.


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Old 13-11-2019, 12:21   #4
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

I am with the both-is-better camp when it comes to wind and solar, but only if the wind gen is the silent or near-silent sort.

If the Air 303 is the Air-X as Bill suggests then run away, fast.

There was an Air-X at our local marina, on an unattended boat. People took to throwing coils of rope at it to shut it up. In the end I approached the owner on one of his infrequent visits and offered him the loan of one of my smart chargers to take the stress out everyone’s lives. He reluctantly accepted it, because he was sick of pulling ropes out of the wind gen but just could not understand why people hated it.
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Old 13-11-2019, 12:37   #5
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

You could say both is better, but if I had to choose one it would be solar.



The wind gen is really only good in an area w/better wind speeds. Areas where the wind is considered "light" they are much less useful. Can check here for wind speeds


We do have a wind gen (w/solar) and it does kick in during storms, but again overall solar is the champion for energy production.


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Old 13-11-2019, 12:43   #6
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

The Air-X was developed to be quieter than the 303/403!

Quote:
• New Blades: The rotor blades use a highly efficient, true airfoil. They are manufactured using a precision injection molding process that produces blades of exceptional consistency. The result is quieter performance and minimal vibration. The AIR-X blades differ from the AIR 403 blades in their tip angles. The AIR-X blades have an increased tip angle which improves their ability to start rotating, and moves “flutter” to higher wind speeds. Unlike the AIR 403 and earlier 303, the AIR-X does not rely on blade flutter for over-speed protection. The control electronics will slow the blades before the turbine
reaches the point of flutter. Increasing the tip angle helps to ensure that the flutter noise is not heard.
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Old 13-11-2019, 13:24   #7
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

I will add a caveat for my comment that the solar panels may be better.

Similar to my previous wind gen. comment, it depends where you will be sailing. If you are in the higher latitudes w/typically less daylight hrs. and higher wind speeds, then a wind gen maybe more useful.
In the tropics w/more daylight and less wind speed, then would go w/solar.


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Old 13-11-2019, 15:25   #8
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
The Air-X was developed to be quieter than the 303/403!


That may well be the most terrifying thing I have read today.
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Old 13-11-2019, 15:27   #9
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
I will add a caveat for my comment that the solar panels may be better.

Similar to my previous wind gen. comment, it depends where you will be sailing. If you are in the higher latitudes w/typically less daylight hrs. and higher wind speeds, then a wind gen maybe more useful.
In the tropics w/more daylight and less wind speed, then would go w/solar.


Bill O.


Yes, good points, I should have noted that my boat was originally a trade wind sailer so the wind gen made a lot of sense.

These days it really is there just for backup, but still nice to have, particularly for night sailing.
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Old 13-11-2019, 15:33   #10
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

we have both.....solar is better, but wind is nice on overnight sails while auto pilot is on with radar.....the noise has never been a problem....I find the klanking of a halyard on a mast alot more noise and bothersome.....having both is good in my books
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Old 13-11-2019, 15:40   #11
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

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Originally Posted by Navicula View Post
we have both.....solar is better, but wind is nice on overnight sails while auto pilot is on with radar.....the noise has never been a problem....I find the klanking of a halyard on a mast alot more noise and bothersome.....having both is good in my books
It would be good to include the make and model of wind gen you use. The list of quiet wind gens seems to be shorter than the list of noisey ones. My Aerogen 6 is no longer made. If it dies I’d love to know which options are good for a replacement.
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Old 13-11-2019, 16:18   #12
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

As a long term Air-X owner, I don't think they are particularly noisy if the inbuilt regulator is functional. They make a kinda "whishing" noise that is quite different than the earlier 303 generation. Those turbines relied upon blade flutter to regulate speed in stronger winds and that is where the "banshee" reputation arose from. The Air X will occasionally enter flutter mode when a sudden strong gust gets the tip speed up faster than the regulator can apply the "brakes", but it is short lived and in my experience a rare thing.

But the 303 is noisy and requires external regulation... and if it has been in use since new, the bearings will need replacing asap. I'd give it a miss myself.

And the proposed solar array will produce far more total power with no noise and no maintenance other than some poop scraping!

Both, of course, is best!

Jim
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Old 14-11-2019, 12:15   #13
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

We love our 5 bladed Dilectric near silent wind generator and depending on where you sail has a lot to do with such a choice. Where we are now on Humboldt Bay I would not trade my generator for my solar panels. We had both 40 years ago on our ranch near Hearst Castle but back then even the barely engineered Arco panels that were available gave us better power than our Wincharger that was designed in the 1920's with an old fashioned wooden straight airplane looking propellor that sounded like a B-52 landing whenever the wind got above 50 its, which was surprisingly often. We had to turn the brake on the Wincharger too often and it was a chore back then.
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Old 14-11-2019, 14:57   #14
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

I concur that solar panels are a better investment. They have to be mounted clear of any shading. I had an arch with solar panels on top and provision to hoist and stow the dinghy below. I also had a wind generator. With 300 W of solar and the wind generator I rarely need the Honda generator. When I bought the wind generator, only Wind Bugger and Four Winds had high output and were SILENT. I mention this because I have a wind generator assembled from my spare parts for sale for $250. It uses Four Winds blades with a new motor. Contact me if you are interested. I live in NJ.
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Old 15-11-2019, 03:19   #15
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Re: Air 303 wind turbine. Buy or not?

I chose the SuperWind 350 because I sail in northern Europe, the SW350 is the quietest wind generator on the market, it is made from very high quality parts, factory service is very good. Trouble free for 10 years.

I always wonder what happens to solar panels when green water comes over them. I also don't store extra fuel cans on deck for the same reason.
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