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Old 21-07-2014, 06:02   #46
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Anybody know if there's an easy way to determine if the internal regulator on the AirX is bad? From the ends of the wires, without having to take the thing down and apart? I've got good DV)Ms etc. but no O-scope.
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Old 21-07-2014, 07:06   #47
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First I'm gonna say you were lucky the wind bugger went overboard they are well known for throwing the blades. I saw a photo of one half way through a deck. The easiest way to find out if your windgen is putting out is use an amp meter that clamps around the wire. Harbor Freight has one for less than $30. well I don't know how reliable it is but it sure would be handy to have for testing lots of things. If you don't wanna spend the money( take the chance that it's junk) just disconnect the positive lead and put your regular multi- meter in between. most can go to 10 amps. Just make sure you tie off the wind generator before working with wires. Voltage can get real high and shock you even in a light breeze. To find out if the regulators kicking in you have to wait till your batteries are topped up and its a breezy day( but not too windy you don't want exceed the 10 amps) . Not to over explain but if voltage goes past what it's supposed to and amperage is still flowing you know the regulator is not regulating
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Old 21-07-2014, 08:40   #48
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Is the windgen a viable backup if the engine and solar panels become inoperable? Or is the system so interdependent that one failure screws up the lot? What're the ways the canny electric sailors harden their systems?
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Old 21-07-2014, 08:51   #49
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Originally Posted by micah719 View Post
Is the windgen a viable backup if the engine and solar panels become inoperable? Or is the system so interdependent that one failure screws up the lot? What're the ways the canny electric sailors harden their systems?
Unless you try to use a combination solar/wind control unit (which I would not recommend) you are looking at three complete and independant systems with the common point being the battery buss bar. So if one or two of the systems go down the 3rd will keep on going. Redundancy and back-ups at sea and while cruising is a good thing.
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Old 21-07-2014, 09:18   #50
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

We lived aboard 10 years in South Florida and the Caribbean. I installed an Ampair 100 wind generator after the first year. It was a conservative, well-built unit that did not need to be manually braked in excessive wind. A realistic average for us was 25 amp hours per day--not enough to keep up with our refrigeration(75 amp hours per day). There were occasionally days when we got close to 50 amp hours, but it was not the norm and the wind needed to be in the 20-25 mph range. When we leave again, we will install a couple flexible solar panels and take a Honda generator to equalize our batteries as needed. I would not recommend a wind generator.
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Old 21-07-2014, 09:35   #51
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Ampairs are very conservative. But you should have been getting 2amps at 12 knots,4 at less than 20
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Old 21-07-2014, 09:40   #52
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

I have a Fourwinds and 390 watts of solar. I would not want to be without either or those charging sources. There are days where there is no sun and right now there days with little or no wind. One charges when the other can't and when both are providing current I'm a happy camper.

Stock AirX machines are the most noisey out there. Several years ago the blades from Portugal were reasonable but now the price is a bit steep for us in the US. I guess due to exchange rates and inflation. An AirX and the Portugese blades were a very cost effective solution.
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Old 21-07-2014, 09:48   #53
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Ampairs are very conservative. But you should have been getting 2amps at 12 knots,4 at less than 20

Sparrow,
We never got close to those numbers unless the wind was in excess of 20 mph. We even had the unit checked since we expected more and there were no issues or problems. For the windage and space, it wasn't worth it. It looked yachty, though. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 21-07-2014, 10:31   #54
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Rognvald. Over the years I'm on my third ampair and I also own a rutland they all put out two amps at 12 knots. Practical sailor tested a bunch of wind generators and I believe it was the lowest outputting of the group but it matched exactly what the makers claimed it would at different wind speeds. And by the way the only maintenance I've had to do is replace the bearings on the last one that I bought used.
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Old 21-07-2014, 10:55   #55
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

If you have a deckhouse, just cover that with panels. It won't be all efficiently pointed at the sun, but that's a potentially large unused area. Only the mast and boom would partially share a portion of the panels.


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Old 22-07-2014, 05:22   #56
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

I have 3- 275watt solar panels on top of the davits on my yacht as well as an Aerogen4 & Aerogen6 wind generators. I was very wary about just how much power the wind generators were putting out as the solar booster installed always showed the solar panels working during the daylight, but have no way of measuring the input of the wind generators. Just recently I was on a mooring in 25knots of wind all night and was amazed to find in the morning that my battery bank was fully charged. So I now realise that they do work but I need a good strong breeze blowing for then to show there full potential Click image for larger version

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Old 22-07-2014, 05:53   #57
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Most wind generators I have seen on boats have give incredibly low output below 15 knots of wind. Furthermore, wind generators are not something you want on your boat in a storm at sea, and they do slow you down when beating.

The solution to this problem I believe is, a wind generator which can be easily stopped and stored below with 2 or 3 different (silent) blades for various wind speeds. The low wind blades would be 3-4 meters in diameter with 5 or 6 blades with a large gear ratio. Normally you would never use this while sailing, but it would make it possible to have a steady 15-20 amps in only 10 knots of wind, and even useful 6-8 amps in 7 knots of wind while at anchor.
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Old 22-07-2014, 10:13   #58
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Sparrow,
We never got close to those numbers unless the wind was in excess of 20 mph. We even had the unit checked since we expected more and there were no issues or problems. For the windage and space, it wasn't worth it. It looked yachty, though. Good luck and good sailing.
But what was the state of charge of your batteries?

If they were reasonably well charged by other means it may have been the batteries limiting the charge rate.
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Old 22-07-2014, 11:40   #59
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

Take it from a guy that knows about wind turbines in general. It has nothing to do with sailboats or models. It's a simple thing. Only so many watts can be captured. Doesn't matter if it's a perfect capture rate or not. 3 ft of wind at a given speed only has so much power. It goes up exponentially with the wind speed. That's why wind farms are built where there is consistent steady powerful wind.

Now on sailboats sometimes all you need is a trickle, but that's all you are going to get unless and until you exceed a steady 10-16 knots, and because the way energy is stores in wind is why you see energy production jump when winds exceed 25kts.

Yes you can tune the blades for peak performance at a given wind speed, but you'll never get the same watts from 10 or 16 kts as you will from 25kts. On the other hand, if that produces more than you need then who cares?

Switching blades is a silly idea I think...too much work and too much risk climbing the mast to get to the turbine.


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Old 22-07-2014, 12:07   #60
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Re: Are Wind Generators even worth it?

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Only so many watts can be captured. Doesn't matter if it's a perfect capture rate or not. 3 ft of wind at a given speed only has so much power.
Most wind generators aren't even very efficient at capturing those 3ft. Imagine a wind generator which captures 30-50 square ft and has variable pitch blades. This also allows them to continue operating at max output in higher wind speeds without spinning too fast.

This generator would make 2kw from 15-60 knots, and still 200 watts at only 7 knots.

Now, you can use this wind generator to run the electric oven and stove, and in windy cold areas it would work to heat the boat and run a dehumidifier.
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Switching blades is a silly idea I think...too much work and too much risk climbing the mast to get to the turbine.
First a switch electrically brakes the turbine so it cannot spin. Second, the generator ( on a pole on the back of the boat) rotates so it can be lowered to the deck very easily. This is important for heavy weather anyway to lock it down and no longer have a wind generator which is a liability in those conditions. Now it is easy to switch between low/medium and high wind speed blades.
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