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Old 21-03-2006, 08:30   #1
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Is the new Air-X really quieter?

It is decision time for our new wind generator.
A previous thread had convinced us to go with the KISS, but we just met a boat with a recent Air-X and they can't say enough good things about it, including the low noise of the new units.

Unfortunately, the system stops automatically, which is a very good feature but we couldn't listen to the noise level as we had a lot of wind recently and their batteries are full.
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Old 22-03-2006, 06:00   #2
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Claire, there have been several threads on the choice of wind gens, including Air X performance, over at the SSCA Board - http://ssca.org/sscabb/index.php

FWIW (and to repeat myself from another thread) we had several visits aboad a 35' Warrior while in the Channel Is. while their AirX was busy keeping the batteries up. Our collective heads were perhaps 10' from the wind gen and, as the reefer cycled on which exceeded the current being supplied by the solar panel, the AirX would cycle up to speed, generate for a while, the reefer would turn off and battery voltage would again climb...and the AirX would spin down and stop. This went on repeatedly and no part of this cycle was intrusive on the cockpit conversation, nor did it bother any of us.

One of the main features overlooked when choosing a wind gen is how 'smart' the charging circuitry. To weigh an AirX against a KISS e.g., when one is fully independent re: battery management and the other is unregulated, is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Another factor is product support. With many wind gens, the retailer is who you must rely on if you need to resolve a product problem (which does happen). With Southwest Windpower (the AirX mfgr), they invite problem hardware to be sent directly to them, they employ a technical staff to deal with them, and they also have offered upgrade paths for older models.

Be sure to think thru the entire system installation and also product support before making your product choice. Fortunately, there are a number of good products to choose from.

Jack
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Old 23-03-2006, 05:11   #3
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Hello Jack. Good to see that you are back on board Whoosh. Good thought regarding the service behind the product.
See ya...........Roger SV Tin Cup
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Old 14-05-2006, 14:12   #4
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Update:

We now have had the AirX installed for about 2 weeks and tweaked the pole this morning, to correct a slight angle from vertical: it's pretty good so far. Can't say we don't hear it, but it's bearable. Perfect verticality helps for noise and efficiency, so it's probably much better on a multihull than a monohull :-)

The other good thing is that it finally justifies the oversized (by mistake)lifting mast we got installed in Colombia, as can be seen on the pic.

Cheers,
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Old 15-05-2006, 06:23   #5
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"The other good thing is that it finally justifies the oversized (by mistake)lifting mast ..."

Now that is a good idea.
m
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Old 15-05-2006, 09:08   #6
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I was anchored abot 100ft from one last year in the BVI. I couldn't hear it at all. I asked the owner if he had modified the blades and he didn't know. After looking at it appeared the tips were sanded to minmize tip vorticies(sp) and cut down on noise.
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Old 15-05-2006, 09:33   #7
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Just this week, a First 46 Air-X was 10' away from our cockpit, open companionway and adjacent aft berth where we sleep at night. Again - as with the Warrior comment above - it was a non-event.

My conclusion from lots of discussions on this topic is that some folks are simply less tolerant (or capable of tolerance) of any noticeable amount of noise, in which case all wind gens are going to eventually generate a complaint. From what I've seen, KISS wind gens produce almost no noise in <20 kts of wind, Air-X wind gens produce very modest noice from about 10-20 kts of wind, and then the noise curves start to cross. Both seem to me to be easy to live with most of the time. Folks who can't be a bit noise tolerant probably would be happier with solar panels.

Funny thing is...I thought cruising folks were by and large some of the most inclusive, tolerant folks around. Sometimes this proves to be far from true.

Jack
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Old 15-05-2006, 11:31   #8
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to report upon the noise of this generator, one needs to be anchored BEHIND the vessel which carries it. the occupants of the vessel carrying the generator can NOT hear it; only those behind it can.
a boat with the new airex was anchored ahead of me for over a month and it sounded like a DEA helicopter was landing on my foredeck. the people aboard insisted it was silent. they later came and apologized to me when others pointed out the racket it created. they then modified it and it was slightly less intrusive. most wind generators cost within a few hundred dollars of each other and only one really stands out in my experience on all fronts: the ampair. it is beautifully constructed, gives years and years of great performance and is silent!! while those with the airex aboard may feel only a slight vibration or hear a low hum, those BEHIND them are forced to endure an annoying noise that echoes and amplifies with every gust of wind.
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Old 15-05-2006, 15:46   #9
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"Funny thing is...I thought cruising folks were by and large some of the most inclusive, tolerant folks around."

I don't know if this statement is true or not (I hope it is), but must point out that some people are much more sensitive to certain frequencies than others. I consider my mate to be a tolerant person, but there are certain noises that don't cross my conscious threshold that drive her insane. Like a dog whistle to a dog. It doesn't have anything to do with tolerance, but with sensitivity - like differences in pain threshold among people. Wind generator frequencies might fall in this catagory for some.

Having said that, and pointing out that I am very tolerant (read: insensitive) to noises, I have been around wind generators that sounded like helicopters landing inside my head. From 100' away. Ones in which I was dumbfounded that a human being could exist closer than 100' to them. Of the particularly bad experiences, the Air-X was the cause of the majority, if not all, of them.

I have no experiences with the newer Air-X. Then again, if it isn't causing me to fall over in a fetal position holding my head, it doesn't register with me as even existing. So perhaps I have had hundreds of experiences with the newer model.

Mark
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