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Old 23-04-2015, 05:21   #1
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Aix X blade question

I'm finally getting around to taking a look at the AirX wind generator that came with the boat. I'd tied the blades off to keep them from spinning because the noise is so high it was difficult to sit in the cockpit and have a conversation. The old pitted blades sound like a Force 10 with rain effects. I've read about the blue blades that are advertised as quiet and more efficient. Importing would cost me about $ 500 for the $ 255 blue blades, vs. $ 300 for the $ 120 stock replacement blades. ( I have to take sell price + shipment to consolidator in Florida + Fed Ex to here + 46% import duty + 25 dollars clearance fees.)

My first silly question of the morning is...how obnoxious is the noise from a new set of standard blades? The ones on this boat are pitted and chipped, and I suspect that's a big source of the noise. those tips must be hauling. I've never heard how loud the standard blades are, so having a hard time deciding whether the blue ones are worth another two hundred bucks.

Another issue is that shorting the output doesn't completely stop the blades from turning, either. That is supposed to brake it, from what I've read. Wonder if that's indicative of something else gone wrong.
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Old 23-04-2015, 05:31   #2
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Re: Aix X blade question

A slow turn creates the current needed for resistive braking.


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Old 23-04-2015, 05:35   #3
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Re: Aix X blade question

Have the manufacturer's retrofit blades on my 2005 unit and they are quieter. The noise is more like a tolerable high volume hiss than the original howling banshee effect. When the bank is full or the wind speed cranks up, the unit does brake by shorting and the blades still turn but slowly. Not fast enough to produce power.
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Old 23-04-2015, 05:41   #4
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Re: Aix X blade question

Okay, thanks for that info. So maybe the internal regulator is still okay. This was on the boat during our very first lightning strike as new owners, but I don't yet know if it was involved. A lot of the 12 volt stuff got fried. I know this was still outputting dc when I checked it a year ago. I just secured it because of blade noise. Banshee is an apt description. We're in a marina and I rank loud wind generators in marinas right up there with slappy halyards. Rude.

I think maybe I'll buy a set of standard blades from the US.
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Old 23-04-2015, 06:09   #5
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Re: Aix X blade question

You may also find that a different hub is required for the blue blades. I believe they have 2 bolts each. You can also polish the sharp edges of the new (black) blades. Although they are much improved over the old ones, there are still sharp edges, mold lines, etc.
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Old 23-04-2015, 06:19   #6
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Re: Aix X blade question

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1affiah View Post
You may also find that a different hub is required for the blue blades. I believe they have 2 bolts each. You can also polish the sharp edges of the new (black) blades. Although they are much improved over the old ones, there are still sharp edges, mold lines, etc.

I was under the impression the blue blades fit the air x but you would need a new hub for the air breeze.


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Old 23-04-2015, 06:35   #7
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Old 23-04-2015, 07:06   #8
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Re: Aix X blade question

We had one chipped blade last year that we replaced, that reduced the noise/vibration generated from our unit by about half at higher outputs. They seem to be very sensitive to balance issues as well as the extra resistance from a blade deformity. We used the standard blades. The "hiss" is still noticeable if it's blowing 20 or 25 though.


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Old 23-04-2015, 07:31   #9
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Re: Aix X blade question

20 knots is pretty much in the realm of "average" days here.
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:48   #10
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Re: Aix X blade question

Buy the Blue Blades!! You will NOT regret it! The awful noise is reduced to almost nothing. The biggest source of noise I now have is the bearings (which admittedly are a little tired!)

Be nice to yourself - AND to fellow cruisers in the anchorage - don't think about about the standard blades!
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Old 23-04-2015, 10:43   #11
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Re: Aix X blade question

Have you found a best place to buy the blue ones?
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Old 23-04-2015, 11:11   #12
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Re: Aix X blade question

This doesn't answer your questions Canibul, although my experience somewhat overlaps your situation, so take it for what it's worth.

We inherited an old Air-X with standard blades with our current boat. Used it for a few years. Power output was good, but it screamed like a banshee with winds over ~12-15 knots. We did short it to put it into brake mode. Would turn slowly as you describe.

I was considering buying the blue blades when the internal regulator died on the Air-X. We purchased a Spreco Silentwind, which is the company that makes the blue blades. This came with the blue blades. This new wind gen with blue blade is many factors quieter. It's not silent, but I can easily carry on a normal conversation in the cockpit with it whirring away above us. It's completely inaudible from a couple of boat lengths away.

That's a steep price for those blue blades. I can't say if it would be worth it, but they would certainly make your Air-X a lot quieter. But maybe new standard blades is the better cost-benefit.
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Old 23-04-2015, 11:29   #13
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Re: Aix X blade question

How did you know the regulator died? Output stop entirely, or did it get erratic? I have been assuming that as long as I can measure voltage on the output wires and shorting them brakes it, that the system is still basically working. Just loudly.

Would love to junk it and buy a new one, but twelve hundred dollars seems to be the going rate for a brand I recognize, and that's US prices. There are some considerably cheaper wind generators with some really good specs on the internet, but the one manual I downloaded was in a character set I couldn't translate.

Doesn't give me a warm feeling about customer support from a distance.
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Old 23-04-2015, 12:10   #14
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Re: Aix X blade question

Ours stopped putting out any amps. Forget if I was getting any voltage, but no real power. Quite frankly, I didn't investigate it deeply b/c I was happy to be able to toss the thing over the side (metaphorically speaking). The noise was intolerable to me, but I couldn't toss it while it was still working.

There are a lot of wind gens out there. There might be better options now, but I settled on the Silentwind based on a the best combination of output specs, weight, cost, and very importantly it's noise level (I hate noise).

I know that Matt Paulin of Neptune's Gear (and a CF sponsoring vendor) sells the silentwind, and is very knowledgable and helpful.
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Old 23-04-2015, 12:54   #15
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Re: Aix X blade question

I'll take another look. I didn't know about dc clamp meters back then.
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