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Old 17-12-2010, 17:05   #1
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AirX Goes Slowly !

Hi All,

Sorry if this has been asked before, but can't find anything. We have an AirX marine 400W. we recently had 38kts for about 10 mins and I switched it from on to free wheel. now it seems to be stuck in stall mode. ie turns but slowly and does not generate any juice. when I switch off and back on, it flashes twice, so that tells me it is working ok. any ideas as to what to do next?

by the way we are currently in Port Stephens NSW Aus.

Thanks
all help/knowledge gratefully recieved.

Gillie & Ruth
The Tuppenny Girls
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Old 17-12-2010, 20:11   #2
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G'Day girls of Tuppenny,

Are your batteries fully charged now? One possible cause of your situation is just the internal regulator sensing full batts and thus shutting it down.

Incidentally, putting the turbine in freespin (open circuit) during high wind speeds isn't a good idea. If you want to shut it down, you should use the "stall" function which basically shorts out the output and loads the alternator to the extent that the rotational speed is minimal.

Good luck with it... we still like ours despite all the nay-sayers!

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Old 17-12-2010, 20:46   #3
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Heh Jim & Ann,
Thanks for the response, no batteries need charging and we now have 20+kts and it is still in stall (turning slowly and very quiet!) our batteries are reading 12.55v so she should be charging. any more ideas?

We are holed up here until better weather - don't fancy heading out with weather warnings in situ - yeh wimpy we know, but heh, nothing to prove here!

I am wondering if I should de-wire it and start again or have I bugga'd it completely????

help!
Cheers
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Old 17-12-2010, 21:09   #4
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Well, Tupennies, stall mode occurs when the output of the unit is shorted out, so possible areas to check are: try disconnecting the wire from the Air-x to the control switch. This should put the unit into "free-wheeling" mode. If it does, then look for a short downstream from the switch. If it doesn't, then look for a short upstream of the switch. Could be in the wiring or in the Air-x itself. Other possibility is that the regulator circuitry inside the unit got fried while it was free wheeling in high winds.

And we certainly don't blame you for holing up with the current wx situation. We have other reasons for not proceeding on towards Tassie right now, but wouldn't be going anyway... too snotty out there to be fun, and noserly to boot!

Cheers and more good luck.

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Old 17-12-2010, 21:48   #5
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I have had an AirX for about five years now and had to replace the eletronics board three times. AirX were very good about this and let me have them for free. However I did run into one problem that was not the boards fault. If you take the thing to bits you will see three carbon brushes that transfer the juice from the alternator to the wires that run down the mounting pole. Believe it or not one of these had jumped out of it's holder and was shorting the whole thing out.....i.e. it was like having the stop switch on! I replaced this carbon about two years ago and it is still running OK. Don't be afraid to take the thing to bits, it is not that complicated.
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Old 17-12-2010, 23:27   #6
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Hi again Jim, which wire should we disconnect from the switch, can we do the neg?

thanks
The Girls
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Old 17-12-2010, 23:30   #7
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Hi thanks for the info, Ok so we will bear this in mind, but are hoping (probably naively) that we can fix without taking it down..AGAIN.. from the mizzen mast. But if we do, we will take note of the advice.
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Old 17-12-2010, 23:44   #8
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Originally Posted by S Y Tuppenny View Post
Hi again Jim, which wire should we disconnect from the switch, can we do the neg?

thanks
The Girls
You want to disconnect the one that comes from the positive side of the Air-X. If you have the factory supplied kill switch it is the center terminal. One of the others goes to ground (shorting out the system and putting it in stall mode) the other goes to the battery bank. Center position on the switch disconnects the pos wire and puts the system on open circuit or freewheel mode.

So, if when you disconnect the wire the unit runs in freewheel mode, it implies that there is a short somewhere "downstream" from the switch. This is likely in the switch itself... if in the wiring between the switch and the battery, there would be smoke, lots of smoke! If the unit continues to be in stall mode with the wire disconnected, there must be a short "upstream" of the switch. It could be in the wiring, in the circuit board itself, or as suggested above, one of the carbon brushes could have jumped out and shorted the system.

We're getting brisk W'ly quarter winds here in Broken Bay, and nasty looking clouds but no rain right now. Sounds like another front on it's way... hope that it lacks the hail involved with Thursday's frontal passage.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 19-12-2010, 21:07   #9
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Girls.

I would like to know what you find is the problem......so let us all now. I have mine installed on the mizzen as well. I know the problems of getting the thing down only too well. Main thing is not to get cut by revolving blades. Remove blades altogether and lower on light line before dropping alternator. Lay blades on a flat surface otherwise they might warp. Good luck.
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Old 19-12-2010, 21:29   #10
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When I installed my AIR-X the first time, one of my guys on-board did the same thing during a test in 20-25knots of wind (left it open-circuit). Long story short, my motherboard was toasted and I had to get a new one from AIR-X. I'm really hoping you don't have the same problem, but it sounds pretty much exactly like what happened to me

Mine's working wonderfully now, though. The unit itself is pretty durable, and like others have said above, it's really simple to take apart and put back together. The only confusing part could be the three wires inside. Make sure the little marking stickers with the numbers 1, 2 and 3 don't get lost, otherwise it could be a head-scratcher to figure out which one is supposed to go where.
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Old 06-01-2011, 23:51   #11
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Hi again all well just to let you know that we have today taken the AirX down from the Mizzen for the umpteenth time and opened it up to check on board and bushes etc. It all looks good to us, cannot see that the brushes have jumped out or that there is any burn out on circuit. So I forgot to check that if I disconnected the positive it would go into freewheel, as Jim had suggested should, bugga! So we think he may be right and it may be a Switch issue. We will let you know, we had our friends from Willow with us and at the moment we are all stumped!
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Old 20-01-2011, 18:16   #12
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Air X regulator bug ad

Hi again all,

So here is the situation. A friendly Aussy has deduced that the regulator is now toast, so we have to replace. Cost AU$500 - 600 ......ouch! any one got a spare they don't need/want or has anyone got a cheaper option for us.

We are pretty broke.......not called the Tuppenny Girls for nothing!!

Thanks
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Old 07-03-2011, 22:38   #13
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Re: AirX Goes Slowly !

Hello again one and all,

just wanted to let you know the results of getting the Air X down and having an engineery friend do the bench testing. below is the email from Duncan telling us what is wrong:-
The unit in question - Air-x wind generator was bench tested with a 750watt Makita power drill
in low gear which has a top speed of 450 rpm at a wrist breaking torque connected to the air-x
using a hex bit, at very low revs torque was low with the drill machine full power (which only achieved
about 300 revs) we measured 14v at just over 1 amp not a good return on the power inputted, the unit
was disassembled which showed slight corrosion on the terminator screws and the bearing chewed out a bit
causing seal failure or vise versa, the regulator was removed checked the regulation FETs one was
shorted gate, source, drain- another has a high gate resistance (300 ohm) and the third is good .
I did check check the alternator first for shorts or dodgy bits but after a lot of revs at sea it's in perfect order
with no corrosion on the neo magnets or stator metalwork or windings so it points to the FETs -IRF 2804
Don't know the cause of failure as the 2804 has heaps of headroom on the specks maybe the gates got
a spike ?? maybe a zener on the gates could have helped maybe, I doubt it was back emf as the FETs are
internally protected or maybe the drive wave-form went silly from a software issue just don't know!!

We sent this to Chris Reigner at Southwest Wind Power and his response was that we can replace the circuit board for US$ 168 + shipping, also we are replacing the bearings two in front one in rear at US$36 & 37 respectively. Chris was really helpful even though our generator is out of warranty and he was really prompt with his replies, we took this long as our friend Duncan is really busy. So for less than US$250 we can repair it and get it going again.

Thanks to all of you who responded to our plea and with offers of advice, we do appreciate it.

We are hoping to have the gen back up in a week or so.
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Old 07-03-2011, 22:41   #14
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Re: AirX Goes Slowly !

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We are hoping to have the gen back up in a week or so.
I love happy endings!
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