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Old 26-02-2013, 09:43   #1
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Wind Generator for mast mounting

We are looking at adding a wind genny to our ketch and were hoping to take advantage of some of the experiences of other cruisers. We are full time liveaboard crusing Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, and US East Coast.

We intend to mount the unit on our mizzen mast possibly at the top or certainly close to it. Therefore having to tie off the blades in high winds is not an option.

We also want the unit to function without any user intervention so having to throw a switch when high winds are forecast is also not an option.

We presently have (4) 100 watt solar panels wired in series/parrallel (2 on each side) connected to an Outback Flexmax 60 MPPT controller. Im not sure whether we want internally regulated wind genny or external.

We have a 1260 ah bank of flooded wet cells.

Presently on my list (not in any order) to consider/do more research are:

D-400
Superwind
Rutland 914
Airbreeze
Kiss
Ampair

Not on my list are:

Air X
Aerogen
Silentwind
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Old 07-11-2013, 13:05   #2
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

I've had my Ampair 100 "pacific" functioning on my mizzen mast with the S-M1B regulator and without maintenance since 2005 and left free running in one occasion with 85mph gusts and several events over 60mph gusts. I noticed this post when looking for service part sources as I plan to replace bearings, brushes & seals for regular maintenance, although without any evidence of failure. The Ampair will not provide the highest power output, but it seems to excel with low maintenance. I use mine in conjuction with solar panels and find it very suitable for my fulltime liveaboard cruising.
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Old 07-11-2013, 13:46   #3
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

Any wind gen should have a divert system to avoid overcharging…
We opted for the KISS as it's made in the USA and I wanted to reward the new owners for building in a western country. So far so good. We opted for the "slip ring" arrangement so that it can rotate freely 360d
YMMV
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Old 07-11-2013, 14:40   #4
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

At the top of your mast is going to require a long run of large wire. Do not fall into the trap of small diameter wire because you will not be happy with the output due to resistance. It really is best to keep the distance between the generator, charge controller, and house bank as short as you can but at the same time trying to keep the blades in clean air our of reach of people on deck. I suggest you take a look at at the sunforce 600 watt marine unit. It is available through west marine and comes with an MPPT charge controller. In addition it is 3 phase ac allowing for smaller wire than a DC wind generator will need. I have installed several of both types now and love the sunforce. Last but not least the customer service is great. We had a storm recently that sent or unit into permanent protection mode. I called up the company and two days later I had a loaner MPPT land version delivered. They told me there was an issue with the marine MPPT protection logic and said keep the land unit as a spare after we send you the updated marine MPPT. How cool is that?
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Old 07-11-2013, 15:09   #5
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

friend of mine mounted his airmarine on the top of his mast. boat is an out a morgan out island 28. fortunately he also has mast steps because he's been to the top more than once to make repairs to the airmarine.
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Old 07-11-2013, 15:13   #6
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

friend of mine mounted an air-x at the very top of his mainmast - morgan out island 28. good thing he's got mast steps because he's had to take it down more than once for service....
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Old 07-11-2013, 15:18   #7
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

We have a KISS and I like it, but not sure I would recommend it at the top of the mast. There is no internal regulation, all of that is done at the control box which is remote from the gen. Out of the box it only has a switch which needs to be thrown to shut it down, but you could automate that pretty easily from the Outback. Only problem is, that switch does nothing if the thermal cutouts in the gen open up. Then your gen will freewheel. In the tropics, with the trades blowing above about 20 it was not unusual to have the thermal switches open, at which point you had to jump up quickly and turn the blades downwind before the whole thing self-destructed. Just not something I'd like at the top of a mast.
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Old 07-11-2013, 15:22   #8
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We stuck an air breeze on the mizzen, it won out over the kiss for the reason mentioned above. It's only noisy when it's not making useful power, then I just turn it off.
IMHO there is no good reason to put a non self regulated wind gen up the mast.
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Old 07-11-2013, 16:45   #9
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

I have had two different ketches with wind machines on the mizzens just above the spreaders , facing forward . When I felt the need to stop them from spinning I would motor forward just enough to turn the boat sideways , stopping the blades . I then whipped a halyard out and snugged it up . I sat out ten or so hurricanes in the Carib. with no problems . On a boat that always stays on the hook there is no need for a swivel mount .
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Old 07-11-2013, 18:51   #10
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

My "Brother" Pistarkle makes a good point. My greatest need for the wind generator function is while I'm at anchor and I like his method of snuffing the beast in the big wind! My original thought of additional function for the wind generator was to power my autopilot while under sail; however, I soon learned that the mount forward of the mizzen was in spoiled air and not functioning during most of my best points of sail! I still like the Ampair's ability to be left without tending in high winds.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:44   #11
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Re: Wind Generator for mast mounting

If you want to place it in the mast or far away from the batteries, then to avoid the heavy DC cables, you should look for a unit that has remote charger and that delivers AC to the charge controller. They require smaller wires.
I only know of the Silentwind generators that has this feature but there are probably other similar generators available.
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