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Old 07-06-2011, 15:35   #1
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Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

Hey all, a fellow CF member said I should writeup my experience.. So here we go.

Back in February we got our arch installed in St Martin it had two posts for wind generators. We put the AirX a friend gave us on one kept it tied off most of the time because of the noise.

I debated and agonized over what brand to choose. I really liked the Aerogen 6 modular design that you could convert to a drag generator, so I called Budget and had them put two units on hold. We sailed back down to St Martin in May to install the two wind generators. Upon arriving at Budget I learned that the modular model has not been made for two years and the Aerogen webpage was way out of date (since updated, the day before we arrived in SXM).

Slightly annoyed at Budget I went to Island to see if they had anything interesting. Once there I bought into the sales info on the Silentwind and the next day got two units to install. After a bunch of trips back and forth for missing bits I had the Silentwind up and running. To my shock it was not-so-silentwind, with a really loud wispy sound.

About the time I had it running one of the guys from Island was going by in his dinghy. He stopped and suggested a few things to try to reduce the noise. Over the next few days I did everything I could to reduce vibration, reduce noise transmittance, reinforced the pole, re-position the blades. After corresponding with Spreco and only a little reduction in noise, I uninstalled the whole unit and took it to Island for them to test. They setup the unit on a pole and it was a bit less noise then on the boat, but still not-so-silentwind. Island had the Silentwind for testing overnight. Since I had installed the unit I couldn't return it, but I was able to return the second unit, without a re-stocking fee if I bought the regulator for the Aerogen from them. I went back to Budget and got one non-modular Aerogen 6.

Once back to the boat I re-installed the now slightly banged up Silentwind, and installed the Aerogen 6. A few hours later I had the Not-So-Silentwind on the Starboard and the nice quiet Aerogen 6 on Port. In testing with the amp meter they both seemed to produce the exact same amount of power.

The next morning I found the control unit on the Not-So-Silentwind had died. So, it was back to Island and a bit of drama before they gave me a replacement controller.

So, weeks later... here is what I think.

-) Both the Not-So-Silentwind and the Aerogen 6 make the same exact amount of power below 25kts, above that I have tied off the Aerogen and turned the brake on for the Silentwind.

-) Silentwind is loud, not as loud as the AirX. It will not piss off the anchorage since the noise doesn't carry that far, but I have found it to be a very annoying wispy sound. On a side note, it seems to be in an octave that some older people are missing.

-) Silentwind is wired as 3-phase AC and the control unit is actually really cool with menus and reporting. You can have a user-load to send power someplace before it goes to the battery. Best of all it has the BRAKE, so when people come over you can shut it down (soon to be on a relay so I can turn the brake on from the helm). I am worried that the control unit will go out again as the construction is very thin and not really marine quality.

-) Aerogen 6 is a great product and I regret not having one on both sides of my boat, it make very little noise (if any at all). The install was very easy, all DC with a very solid sealed regulator.

In the end, wind sucks... Buy more solar, you'll be much more happy!

~K
GlobalHopper
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Old 07-06-2011, 16:11   #2
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

We had the quietest of them all, the old original AmpAir, on my previous boat 23 years ago. It was SO silent that I actually put my head in it once! Long story...

15 years later I tried it on my new boat. It was still "totally silent" on the outside of the boat, but a rumbling howl down below. On the previous boat, the pole & struts went down to the solid cockpit combing which was isolated below from the living part of the hull.

On this new installation, I had the struts go down to the cabin top, right over my head. WOW... big mistake! Here's where I learned about pole/strut "transmitted" noise. I cut the struts and throughly rubber isolated them and the pole, but this only reduced the volume about 40%.

We went to Central America this way, and in high winds on the Belieze reef, I almost lost it! QUIET PLEASE!

When we got back, I sold the wind gen and replaced it with another solar panel. (110W) on an articulating rack.

Having used both for years, and solar since the 70s, I have found that wind gave us WAY more power than we needed 10% of the time, and NOTHING the other 90%. On the other hand, solar gives us 100% of our power needs, 95% of the year!

So sorry about your difficulties with the Aerogen, I have always liked them, and find their noise WAY less antisocial than the Air X. If you don't get the noise problem figured out at some point, solar may be the answer... It was for us.

Mark
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Old 07-06-2011, 16:33   #3
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

I have an Air X... to me its quiet and efficient.... I did however sand the sharp edges off the blades and take off anything that was rough from the moulding.... Ill be in St. AMrtin next week... maybe we can compare noise?
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Old 07-06-2011, 16:46   #4
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

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Originally Posted by sailingaway221 View Post
I have an Air X... to me its quiet and efficient.... I did however sand the sharp edges off the blades and take off anything that was rough from the moulding.... Ill be in St. AMrtin next week... maybe we can compare noise?
I have measured the audible distance of the Air X with my GPS, when I had to repeatedly move my boat further and further away. The Air X can be heard for over 1/4 of a mile! AND they sound like a high pitched, rapidly fluctuating, weed whacker! (All of the several hundred that I have been anchored near).

Some folks, (very few), don't mind the sound of squealing chalk on a blackboard, or dragging auditorium chairs either, but most do! Most people in the anchorage went cruising for the bucolic scenery, peace and quiet, among other things.

If the noise doesn't bother you, what about your neighbors who don't like it? Do their wishes matter to you?

M.
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Old 07-06-2011, 16:49   #5
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

Mark:
Actually I love the Aerogen 6, it's been good. We are only getting a slight amount of sound transferring from the arch.

The Silentwind from Spreco is the problem..

We have the adjustable solar, we'll add two more in FL on way North.



sailingaway221:
We're in Fajardo, PR at the moment waiting for the weather to clear, then North.
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Old 07-06-2011, 16:53   #6
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

Mark:

We only had the AirX on the arch for a few weeks, and 99% of the time it was tied so it couldn't move, and yes, AirX are noisy. That is why I had much higher expectation for the Silentwind.
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Old 07-06-2011, 17:03   #7
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

Globalhopper, sorry for the confusion, I understood that. My last comment was in response to Sailingaway's comment.

May we all enjoy our cruising...

BTW... We spent two weeks in Culebra, waiting for a weather window to do a bee line for the Beaufort NC inlet. (Which took 8 days) If you like snorkeling/diving, the refuge on the PR side of Culebra has some of the best diving around, with day moorings. Dewey is a cool town to just hang out and wait, and it is a good point to set out from, being a tad further east.

Have a nice trip,
Mark
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Old 07-06-2011, 17:27   #8
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

No worries, we were in Culebra last week and loved it. Fajardo was on the edge of the weather drama with Culebra and St Thomas getting the most.

We'll be up north at some point, just hate being holed up waiting for weather. But if we weren't doing that or fixing the boat what would be the point of cruising...

Might see ya up there for diving those great NC reefs, I mean wrecks...

~K
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Old 08-06-2011, 15:17   #9
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

MARK.. Maybe I got lucky or got a new version or something.. but mine seems to be fairly quiet. Like I said though I sanded the blades a bit ... But I am CERTain.. I could not hear mine 1/4 mile way at any speed.
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Old 29-06-2011, 14:19   #10
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
I have measured the audible distance of the Air X with my GPS, when I had to repeatedly move my boat further and further away. The Air X can be heard for over 1/4 of a mile! AND they sound like a high pitched, rapidly fluctuating, weed whacker! (All of the several hundred that I have been anchored near).

Some folks, (very few), don't mind the sound of squealing chalk on a blackboard, or dragging auditorium chairs either, but most do! Most people in the anchorage went cruising for the bucolic scenery, peace and quiet, among other things.

If the noise doesn't bother you, what about your neighbors who don't like it? Do their wishes matter to you?

M.
Mark I think there is something wrong with your AIR X then mate. I went out today with my video and recorded mine. My Air X is mounted about 10 feet from my front door... I cant hear it at all from my bed room and the windier it gets the quieter the thing becomes... Most noisy around 12 knots..... after that it is VERY quiet. Maybe you have an older model? But There is no way in hell you can hear this thing 1/4 mile away... Maybe you should change the bearings or the blades? The one I have puts out killer power .. IS almost silent completely and I think is reliable and great value. FOr certain I'd buy another. Once I go outside you can see the noise of the wind is waaay stronger than the noise form the windy! It was putting in about 9 amps here at this windspeed... 15 - 18 knots approx.

Here's the link to the video if you wanna compare mine to yours?

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Old 29-06-2011, 16:26   #11
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

You need to subtract the solar output from the total.
I saw 4.3 at the start.
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Old 29-06-2011, 21:28   #12
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Re: Silentwind / AeroGen6 install (story)

Actually I do say the panels are running, but when I turned off the windy it showed about 2 amps positive... so with 11 amps showing the windy was adding about 9 amps more or less when the wind speed was between 15 and 18 knots....roughly... as it said in the little video and the note.
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