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Old 18-04-2015, 00:12   #1
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AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

Anyone has (or has had) this model and would care to share opinions and experiences?

Mine was bought in January 2001 (two thousand and one, yes) and came with the boat but I have never run it so far, it's been just sitting idle and tied n locked and I would like to establish if it would be feasible to invest any money/time into this old unit and buy the new blue silent blades for this one. I understand the blades cost about 400 USD so not cheap. Hopefully that would be it. but not necessarily, as we are talking about an old item here.

I do realize this topic is very much governed by personal opinions and circumstances, but since I don't know much about this product I would like to learn more. What i do know is that it was the predecessor of the "AIR X", which in turn has already been replaced by a new model also, I believe. However, the AIR marine and AIR X apparently are identical on the outside, but that's as much as I know. I believe they sold well in their time, but having searched the forum last week I got the impression that not so many owners were so happy with this unit.

For me, doing daytime cruising only here in the tropics, the only benefit from this wind genny that I can think of would be to get some charge at anchorage during night time, as I have 680W (old) solar for daytime charging. But for night time nothing. So a wind genny might give a few amps and keep batteries better over night running the fridge and the lights and fans, etc. So yes, that would be the only benefit for me, night time charging at anchorage, that I can think of right now, unless someone else can enlighten me?

I'm attaching a video demonstrating the sound levels with the new less noisy blades by Spreco (I have no association with the product nor the shop in the video), so if the genny really was that silent it would be great, but the blades are still bloody expensive... Please note, I am not trying to establish if this genny would be less noisy with the new blades (I know it would be) but rather I am trying to establish if it is worth investing money and effort into this or should I spent it elsewhere. (I know, its very personal Q, kinda like do you like blondes or brunettes, but let me ask anyways... )

This device has an internal regulator, but an external regulator may in some cases be installed (says in manual); anyone done this? Happy or not?

So.. should I just ditch this wind genny or invest in the new blades?
Is it crap or a jewel?


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Old 18-04-2015, 00:18   #2
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

Don't ditch it unless it does not work. The AirX puts out way more power than the Air Breeze. I liked mine way better than the Air Breeze replacement. Try it - if it works, it's worth the new blades, IMO. You will be surprised at the output if you are in the trade winds!
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Old 18-04-2015, 00:35   #3
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Don't ditch it unless it does not work. The AirX puts out way more power than the Air Breeze. I liked mine way better than the Air Breeze replacement. Try it - if it works, it's worth the new blades, IMO. You will be surprised at the output if you are in the trade winds!
Thanks Matt for your kind reply.
This is NOT the AirX though, I understand this "AIR marine" is the previous model, and being so old (at least 14 years) I can not find much user info about it by googling. Here is a photo of the manual cover:


Anybody knows how this "AIR marine" compares to the AIRX ?

(on the outside it seems pretty identical to the AIR X, but internally might be completely different..)
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Old 18-04-2015, 03:21   #4
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

Air Marine is Air X as far as I can tell. Predecessor is Air 403 I think...
Have a go - does it work? Its pretty easy (and cheap) to change the bearings if required, the weak point was the internal brake failing and the circuit boards burning.
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Old 18-04-2015, 04:48   #5
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

Our 10 year old AirX was not working, problem was only positive connection had failed at the solder on the board. New bearings installed at same time, cost of repair AUS$40 done by a friend. Much quieter now.

Worth keeping what you have, perhaps change bearings to quieten.
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Old 18-04-2015, 05:57   #6
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

I haven't dealt with the company in quite awhile, but if I remember correctly they rehabbed our old AirX for $100. May be worth getting a hold of the manufacturer.
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Old 18-04-2015, 11:35   #7
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

The Air Marine is quite popular here on the great lakes.

I researched these a while back for a friend, and if I recall correctly, the AIR X and the AIR MARINE were made at the same time, and are identical, except that the AIR MARINE is resistant to salt water. The AIR X is intended for land based uses, like wind power for your cottage. Hence the AIR MARINE is slightly more expensive.

The nice features of the AIR MARINE:
-Built in regulator (for multiple battery banks I think)
-High output, even in low winds
-Fairly quiet due to tapered blades
-Low Maintenance

I have spoken with several owners in the past who gave them good reviews...a well designed unit.

I suggest you untie your blades, switch it on, and watch your voltage. When you see the volts going up, you can decide if the noise level is acceptable. And you can always shut it off when it bugs you.

On a boat it always good to have redundant systems. Wind power for when its cloudy, solar for when its sunny with no wind. Most boats I meet are starved for more electrical power...refrigeration, TVs, electronics, stereos, lighting, anchor lights...etc, etc.
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Old 18-04-2015, 11:43   #8
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

As one might imagine there are several key points to consider with a wind generator for use on a yacht. Most cruising sailors find they spend 90% of their time on the hook or in a slip. Either case the available wind to drive the unit is typically reduced often below 10 knots would not be uncommon.

Before dropping $400 or so into an existing 12-15 year old wind generator you may benefit from the following. Which brings us to the first key point to determine - what is the start-up wind speed for a unit. Air-X and Air Breeze as many others especially dating back 5 or more years do not start producing energy until 7-8 knots. Hence if you are at anchorage with a wind speed averaging 5-8 knots forget about generating any recharging power. The unit below kicks in at 4.7 knots and has a self-braking device that many wind generators fail to provide. Noise and vibration are other areas of concerns that the fore mentioned units have a reputation. I spent three nights off the coast of Grenada while on the hook having to listen to a fellow sailor's annoying wind generator 300 yards distant. Imagine the roar, in the aft cabin located beneath this unit. The following link provides a great source to education oneself about the pros and cons of various units. You may also check out the Island Packet forum on this subject as the below unit is reviewed and a video is provided. This unit receives high marks

The best marine wind generator - MarineKinetix
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Old 18-04-2015, 14:11   #9
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

You are kidding, right? $400 for a set of blades? My entire windcharger plus shipping only cost $350 (or so) direct from the mfg. I had it's mount pole down once, laying across something so it could turn without a problem... there was a problem and the replacement blades cost me a whopping $50 including shipping AND they threw in an upgraded replacement tail, too. Yes, it's about the same rating as yours and it even came with a charge controller brick. Paying retail makes me break out in hives.
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Old 18-04-2015, 14:56   #10
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

I inherited and used an Air-X for a number of years. I was satisfied with the power output, but never happy with the noise level. Quite frankly, it screamed like a banshee in moderate to high winds. Produced a lot of power at those speeds, but pretty damn noisy.

The internal controller finally died, which gave me an excuse to pitch it. I bought a Spreco Silentwind. Spreco is the company that makes the blue blades. They started selling their own generator using their blue blades a number of years ago.

The Silentwind with the blue blades is not silent, but it's pretty darn quiet. There's no comparison between my old Air-X vs this new Silentwind. Many factors quieter. I can easily carry on a normal conversation in the cockpit directly below the new gen whirling away in high winds.

I can't really say if the blue blades are what makes the difference, or whether they are worth it for an old Air gen. I just know my Silentwind makes having a wind gen worth it and easily tolerable.
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Old 18-04-2015, 15:37   #11
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

Mike, it is the blades that make most of the difference. But the Silentwind starts at lower speed and produces more than the current Air Breeze. The AirX with blue blades from Spreco is pretty good, and IMO the blades are well worth it!
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Old 18-04-2015, 22:57   #12
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

Trifan... what brand is your windcharger? I would like the company info please.

Thanks!

Quote:
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You are kidding, right? $400 for a set of blades? My entire windcharger plus shipping only cost $350 (or so) direct from the mfg. I had it's mount pole down once, laying across something so it could turn without a problem... there was a problem and the replacement blades cost me a whopping $50 including shipping AND they threw in an upgraded replacement tail, too. Yes, it's about the same rating as yours and it even came with a charge controller brick. Paying retail makes me break out in hives.
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Old 20-04-2015, 12:26   #13
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Re: AIR marine 400 watt turbine / wind generator

We have the original Air Marine windgen and to date have had great service out of it apart from the paint ( powder coating ) flaking off .
I installed Spreco's Silent Blue Blades to our unit and it made a huge difference to the sound levels and Spreco also claim that it improves the performance of the gen .

At times we have had over 30amps pumped into to our ship's batteries .
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