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Old 19-07-2014, 09:27   #31
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pirate Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

As Matt noted, cleaning up the blades made a real difference in reduced noise, along with new bearings ... A twenty dollar nice band aid. And the $$ blue blades that Matt sells are reportedly very quiet (and smoooooooth).
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Old 19-07-2014, 10:26   #32
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Since you do have a large solar bank (1380) amps, would you please post a photo or photos to show how they are installed on your boat?



I don't have a photo since I installed the 4-240W panels, but will take some for you guys when I get back to the boat. In this photo I have 410W mounted ontop of my pilot house. (2-125W and 2-80W panels). What I love about that location is that unless you are above me looking down you don’t even know I have solar, so it kept the clean look of the boat. But the "clean look" changed when I added the 4-240w panels. I put two of them back on the dinghy davits and then mounted one on each of the cockpit rails in the classic fold-up/down approach. Are the two rail mount panels ideal....no...but there is no such thing as "ideal mounting location" for solar panels on a sailboat, so you live with what you have to not have to run your generator!

You can see the wind generator I had in the photo up on my mizzen mast. What you see there is the THIRD ElectroMaax wind generator in a row that I tried and ended up failing on me! None of the 3 would put out even 1/2 of the manufacturer rating, the blade hubs all wobbled like a fair ride and I've had 4 of their supplied "made-in-china" controller fail on me. I now have my KISS up there and what a difference to have a real wind gen compared to that Electromaax POS, but that's another story!

Being a techy-nerd and having access to wholesale cost Amp meters/counters, I have them all over the boat to track where the power comes from and goes. It also helps to call all that stuff along with my new 400AH LiOn battery bank "R&D equipment" as a business expense...ha ha ha.

I have dedicated Amp Meter/counters on the outputs on my Solar and Wind power cables with a third meter sharing the alternator and battery charger. I then have a 4th Amp meter/counter supplying my DC distribution panel. A fifth on my Engle freezer and a 6th on our refrigerator. My 7th Amp meter/counter is installed in a Radio Shack project box with in and out leads so I can move it around to grab some data from things like Laptops, TVs, etc. My kids hate it when I installed it on their Playstation! I know this is somewhat “crazy” but this lets me log AH used and AH generated and by what device. The scientist nerd in me loves data!


The problem in trying to access the value of a wind generator is that most of them don’t come with any type of Amp meter/counter and then who in the world is data obsessed like me and installs separate Amp counter all over their boat? So there is a lot of guessing and gut feels about how the wind generator is actually working. A common mistake is to assume that just because a wind generator is spinning that it is putting power into your battery bank. That's the beef with the Rutland, quite frankly. It starts spinning when someone two boats over in the anchorage farts, but is it making any usable amps? Another problem with wind gens is…well they LIE about the output. Well ok, maybe I shouldn’t say “Lie” because the sales and marketing guy doesn’t call what he does a LIE…but when you are rating a wind generator in units of measure that are completely meaningless to a cruiser to purposefully exaggerate the output…that’s what it is in my humble and worthless opinion, a lie.

Wind Generator noise…
This issue goes to show how one bad actor can literally tarnish the reputations of almost all wind generators on the market! We all know which one I’m talking about, so I won’t mention their name but when another company is making and selling quite blades for your unit because people with your wind generator are being chased out of marinas and anchorages…well…“Huston, we have a problem”. Most of the wind generators on the market today are quite, but there is no such thing as a silent wind generator. I’ve tested and stood under all the big names (except Super Wind, because I didn't want to spend that much R&D money on one!) and in normal winds of 5-25kts…they are all pretty quiet but NONE are silent. If you want silent, get a solar panel. Once you start getting to 30Kts and above, well your rigging is loud, your wind generator gets louder and that’s just the laws of physics. In addition to being subjective from person to perosn, the noise level also depends on the work load the generator is doing. For example a free wheeling wind generator or one going in and out of break mode is louder than one just working putting power into the battery bank. So ancedotal stories are hard to nail down and frustrating. A lot of the noise you end up hearing inside the boat isn’t from the blades but from the mechanical sound traveling down the mounting pole or mizzen mast and into the boat.

After having our wind generator produce 28% of our power in the last 28 months, I wouldn’t call it worthless but I still say put as much solar on your boat as you can fit and then look at wind. But don’t cast off cruising with only a wind generator and your 1500W microwave oven and 700W hot water heating element thinking that wind will get you microwave popcorn and hot water in the anchorage. Because I don’t want to be anchored in that anchorage!

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Old 19-07-2014, 12:59   #33
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Like another poster mentioned I see many solar panel displays on arches with 1 or 2 wind generators mounted on the sides in the perfect location to shade a panel or 2 and completely bugger up the amount of solar you should be getting. Never could figure this out, looks great but sure screws the solar.
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Old 19-07-2014, 16:57   #34
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
[CENTER]

Being a techy-nerd and having access to wholesale cost Amp meters/counters, I have them all over the boat to track where the power comes from and goes. It also helps to call all that stuff along with my new 400AH LiOn battery bank "R&D equipment" as a business expense...ha ha ha.
Can you recommend an amp counting unit - I have been searching for a while now.

I would love to find one that counts both positive and negative...

How do you access/download the data?
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Old 19-07-2014, 17:44   #35
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Like another poster mentioned I see many solar panel displays on arches with 1 or 2 wind generators mounted on the sides in the perfect location to shade a panel or 2 and completely bugger up the amount of solar you should be getting. Never could figure this out, looks great but sure screws the solar.
We are so guilty of this. We have both a radar scanner and a wind gen and various antennas shading our solar panels. For us there is no way around it. I do have the panels set up to tilt so that helps. It's just another compromise.
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Old 19-07-2014, 18:34   #36
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Something different:

The Saphonian - Illustration - YouTube

Saphon Energy
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Old 19-07-2014, 20:12   #37
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Oh yeah, the Saphonian, now wouldn't that just work great on a boat.
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Old 20-07-2014, 09:25   #38
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Why not? It won't dice a seagull or a cruiser, occupies the same airspace as a rotor....and it's quiet, more efficient, and operates across a broader range of windspeed. It's still in development, but it looks promising and the test results confirm the theory.
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Old 20-07-2014, 09:41   #39
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

The HC 38 in my avatar came with a wind gen. In the Caribe it often reduced my battery charging time (engine only) to every other day instead of every day. Maybe it saved me running the engine one day out of three realistically. If a boat has a bimini, I would likely rather have solar panels though custom mounted as part of the bimini.
If I had to have a big arch cluttered with stuff I would just go with the alternator instead.
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Old 20-07-2014, 09:53   #40
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Can one get around the shading problem by putting the windmill high up, either hoisted up like a staysail and lowered when not in use, or permanently mounted at the masthead?
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Old 20-07-2014, 10:13   #41
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Quote:
Why not? It won't dice a seagull or a cruiser, occupies the same airspace as a rotor....and it's quiet, more efficient, and operates across a broader range of windspeed. It's still in development, but it looks promising and the test results confirm the theory.
Why not? Well this isn't the first time this thing has been touted on CF. It has been around for some time, same claims, no details. What test results? Have you ever seen "test results" that were just made up numbers before?

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The late Carl Sagan was fond of a catchphrase that seems relevant here: "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." (The well-read Sagan probably borrowed and updated the idea from Laplace, who wrote "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.") Saphon makes some extraordinary claims here, but it's short on the requisite evidence to back them up.
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Old 20-07-2014, 10:18   #42
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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My paradigm is that wind is good for higher latitudes and solar is better for tropics.
That had to depend on the season, in high latitudes in summer there is plenty of sunlight, and either too much or too little wind. In summer I rarely have to un lash the wind generator

In the winter when there is much less daylight the wind generator does more work.

So if your a Summer sailor in high lats, go solar.
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Old 20-07-2014, 10:37   #43
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Thanks Deepfrz, I guess it's a pipe dream then, and I fell victim to wishful thinking and cut & paste haste. Ah well, back to solar, and the best budget strategy of all....cut the waste before increasing the supply.
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Old 20-07-2014, 11:43   #44
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

For me, the best use of wind generators is at night, on passage, to offset the watchkeeping gear such as radio, plotter (even dimmed) and occasional RADAR. As has been pointed out, in an anchorage they can be silenced, and I find their whirring noise to be less annoying than a 6 AM engine start to spin the alternators, or the "tink-tink" of unsecured halyards.

They are part of the solution and perhaps the smallest part, but not everyone can lay out square metres of solar panels and many do not wish to. A well-made wind gennie can be part of the solution to the avoidance of burning diesel for amps.
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Old 20-07-2014, 23:18   #45
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

I guess I'm lucky in that my wind generator doesn't shade my panels on my bimini; my two panels on the bimini are shaded by my boom and my backstay. I need to keep my boom off-center so it doesn't shade the panels.

So, in my case it wasn't an choice between solar and wind but rather 'what' solar and wind.

My solar definitely puts out more power overall than our wind generator, but overall the wind generator does contribute about 10-20% of our overall utilization.
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