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Old 16-05-2008, 09:24   #1
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Noisy Wind Generators

I am refitting my 30ft steel sloop for extended cruising.Need to make her self sufficient for power requirements.Will be running Raymarine autopilot,small fridge,radios,lights etc.

Recently had a vessel moor near me in port.Wind piped up in the night,and this vessels wind generator woke me.It sounded like a cessna warming up for takeoff!..Felt like taking my 12gauge and putting it out of its misery!

I am in the market to buy one..a QUIET and reliable unit..Any input from your wide experience appreciated..Also best batterys? Golf cart? Also best solar back-up.

Should the batterys be isolated from cranking batterys?

Thanks for your input..Fair winds..BILL
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Old 16-05-2008, 09:35   #2
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I have an AirMarine X, it is definitely NOT quiet. For batteries I use AGM because the locations are too difficult to get to for regular service. In my experience on my prior boat - golf cart batteries worked just fine.

I don't have solar so I can't help you there. On my boat the house bank is isolated from the engine bank under normal conditions although I have provisions for cross connecting them into one large bank.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 16-05-2008, 10:02   #3
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Whatever wind generator you buy just make sure it isn't either an Air Marine or a Wind Baron. The former has a banshee howl, the latter sounds like the helicopters in Apocalypse Now!

By contrast my Honda suitcase genset just purrs away. Runs on the smell of gasoline. Puts in loads of amps via the shore power charger.
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Old 16-05-2008, 11:29   #4
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Originally Posted by sestina View Post
Whatever wind generator you buy just make sure it isn't either an Air Marine or a Wind Baron. The former has a banshee howl, the latter sounds like the helicopters in Apocalypse Now!
The new model from Southwest Windpower, the Air Breeze Marine, which replaces the Air-X Marine, has slightly modified blades which are supposed to decrease noise quite a bit, and perform better in lower winds. Practical Sailor tested a pre-production model in July 2007, and it was the second-best performer. Their only concern was whether the production model would live up to the performance of the test model...

FWIW - I'm ordering the Air Breeze today... I need someone to make me feel good about it...
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Old 16-05-2008, 11:59   #5
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I have an AirX. Having had a deck mounted diesel genset on my last boat, I have a theory:

The AirX puts out the same total amount of noise as the diesel genset, it just spreads it out over 24 hours instead of getting it all out in 1 hr.

For those math types, the summation of noise of the AirX over 24 hours is equal to the summation of noise of the diesel genset over 1 hour.
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Old 16-05-2008, 12:10   #6
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I've been listening to the different types at our marina lately because I'm thinking along the same lines. One of the Sea breeze was put up recently, and my thoughts on it were that at low speeds it was just as noisy as the air marine x one, but once the wind speed got up to about 15 it was noticeably quieter than the nearby air marines. I've been impressed by the kiss wind gen on the dock, it seems pretty quiet in most wind conditions, but costs a few hundred dollars more. It seems 'quiet' and 'high output' are conflicting design qualities on a lot of the wind generators.
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Old 16-05-2008, 13:02   #7
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We use the Air Breeze on all our catamarans , masthead mounted and are very happy with these units less noisy than the predecessor better performance in low wind conditions better balanced all in all a winner.

Greetings

Gideon
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Old 16-05-2008, 13:31   #8
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KISS, I have an older KISS, and will re-install it this weekend with the new props. For 5 years I always had strangers compliment me on how quiet the generator is.
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Old 17-06-2008, 19:29   #9
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Been there, done that. Think solar. I don't miss the noise.
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Old 17-06-2008, 23:59   #10
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I run both wind and solar, the wind is a 4-winds and makes a-little noise in light air but above 6 to 8 knots, it quites right down..
For the batteries, my house bank is 10 of the lifeline AGMs, which gives me a usable 1000 amp hours or more and between the 150 watts of solar and the 4-winds,
my batteries stay above the 80% area...
I've been off the grid for about 5 years now and we live on the boat and are cruising..
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Old 18-06-2008, 13:32   #11
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Have a look at the comparison table of various products at Wind Generator Comparisons - Fourwinds Enterprises.
I have an AirX which is noisy but seems to produce well at higher windspeeds. I was impressed with the quietness of the Rutland 913 but it's output appears to be rather low.
I currently also have one Solara 225M solar panel with which I'm happy with, planning to install a second.
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Old 18-06-2008, 14:31   #12
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We had a Four Winds on the last boat. I thought the noise was not a big deal. It's more of a low pitched noise where the smaller plastic blades are higher pitched noise. As noted it's not silent. It's still going strong after many years with the new owner. I had to replace the brakes and over speed springs. It survived a hurricane.
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Old 18-06-2008, 17:54   #13
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A little hint on the 4-winds for noise, the noise comes from the leading edge of the last few inches of the blades.. I put a piece of tape on the last 10 inches of the blade on the forward edge, the noise went away...
I had also posted this a few months ago about the rumble of the unit when the wind shifts, the solution happened by accident.
The 4-winds causes a rumble throughout the boat when the wind shifts when that big honken blade changes direction. During the storm that blew through the SanFrancisco Bay Area in January of this year, The 4-winds got lose and started charging, (normally I keep it tyed off in high winds).. in those 60 to 70 mph winds the generator was fine but the mounting pole couldnt take the force and bent backwards over the boat about 30 degrees..
Instead of buying a new pole, I streightened the old one and then spiral wrapped it with 4 layers of carbon fiber and a couple of fiberglass, in hopes of making it stronger.
Not only did it make it stronger but it now absorbs the rumble of the unit when it changes direction.... we dont even know its out there.......
And just a little funny,
We settled into this older marina for the summer. very few sailboats up here as were about 70 miles inland from the bay on the river.. an older "drunk" gentelman asked about the wind generator one day as I leave it spinning. wondering if infact that it would reduce the power bill.
I told him that not only did it reduce the power bill but in a good wind, it would make the meter run backwards and they would pay me to stay here...
The story got around the dock and now every drunk in the area is talking about getting one............
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Old 18-06-2008, 19:05   #14
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I just purchased a sail boat with a Fourwind generator. It makes a loud racket and wobbles. Two of the four screws are missing in the pole below the blades. I am assuming that it is not mounted correctly and I need to replace the missing screws. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Tks
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Old 19-06-2008, 16:22   #15
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We just installed a new Air Marine on Piper and have gotten used to the hum since then. If I ever do notice it, I recall the days of my diesel running to charge the engine and sigh with relief.

As far as others, I think that the Air Marine has the most sophisticated charging built in. A multi step power charger with built in potentiometer on the side is pretty hard to beat. I considered this a big plus when it came to the complications of wiring up the whole thing, then being able to leave it on all the time. Also, if a big gail comes in, I just flip the stop switch to stop the blades. Sure beats crawling out and trying to tie the darn thing off.

One other thing: If your primary concern is noise, go with a lower output unit like the Ampair. They start at a lower speed (5 knots I think), and the five blades make for less noise. Of course, they top out faster as well.
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