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Old 20-10-2005, 09:46   #1
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Question Wind Generator Recommendations ?

We plan to buy a wind generator for our catamaran in the next few months and are looking for feedback on actual noise, output, quality of what's currently on the market.
We already have about 200W solar panels and would like to complement our energy sources, particularly when sailing and using autopilot, instruments, frige, occasional radar...

Would preferably start producing below 10kn wind, but should particularly be silent!

We looked at the Air-X, but found little info on the actual output.

Feedback welcome

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Old 20-10-2005, 10:42   #2
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From all the posts I have read on this topic, I would seriously look at the KISS generator for all around performance and noise as number one.
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Old 20-10-2005, 13:00   #3
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The Air X is probably not a good choice at below 10 kts of wind. The blades start turning at about 10 kts. It does start generating at that speed though, and output climbs rapidly from that point. Many folks have said it is very noisey. The new units don't sound like they have that issue. Between 10 and 20 kts of wind, I can bearly hear it. Mine is mounted about 10 feet above my rear transom. I am not certain about sound above 20 kts wind speed, I have yet to experience any sustained speed up that. I would not expect any issues.

I do LOVE its self regulation features though. You can pretty much install it without worrying about configuration and conflicting sources. When my inverter/charger is on, it shuts itself down and the blades pretty much don't move. Very handy.

There are some additional details if you want to do a search on this site, or would like additional info.

Fair winds,

Keith
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Old 20-10-2005, 13:17   #4
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if you can get hold of a copy of the latest Practical Boat Owner magazine from UK, they have just tested 9 different turbines. All three Aerogen, the Ampair Pacific 100, The Air-X and Duogen and the new D400.

Only 3 of these produce more than a single amp at 10kts windspeed These are the Aero6gen which produced 2.5 amps, the duogen abt the same, and the D400 which produced 5 amps

The aero6gen is more expensive than the D400 and noisier
However, this is achieved because it is a large and heavy machine (17.5 kg) so only suitable for a larger liveaboard (i.e. a cat) and needs a robust post. It also has a much larger rotor than anything except the duogen so turns more slowly and thus more quietly.

The duogen is rated at nearly the same power output and exactly the same noise level (made by the same people) but is much more expensive because you can also tow it in the water (loss of abt 1/3 knot) and achieve a high amp charge rate. Thus if your sailing is downwind, when a normal wind generator is less effective, the duogen might be the answer. If you are more concerned with swinging around an anchor, the D400 is the best high output machine. Neither of them is cheap.
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Old 20-10-2005, 14:18   #5
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Had a Windbugger for 15 years now have a Kiss. Works quite well, no output under 10 knots but really gets going after that. 15 to 25 knots is what it's designed for. Kiss is fairly quiet and won't normally bother your neighbours. If you go to their site you'll get all the output info but bear in mind that winds are not always steady, usually lower at deck level than at the masthead and , if you are using it under sail, rolling and pitching will affect it. I got mine from John at Hotwire. He is quite helpful. Hotwire
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Old 20-10-2005, 16:48   #6
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Claire;

Aren't you glad you have a catamaran? None of that rolling stuff!

Keith
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Old 20-10-2005, 18:03   #7
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Strygaldwir,

What about the pitching and the slapping?
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Old 20-10-2005, 22:54   #8
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Yeah and a cat can be noisy and the feel uncomfortable too.
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Old 21-10-2005, 04:26   #9
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The KISS

After several years of looking and comparing, we chose the KISS for Makai, based on quality, noise, output, price, and support from the factory.

It is very queit and output starts around 7-8knots of wind. At 12 knots we will see 6-7 amps.

Though the 4 winds was quieter it cost a lot more. The AIr X is very noisy. Sounds like airplanes coming into land on the boats next door. Very annoying. Many of the others have high cost but very low output. AMPair 100 at 15 knots 2 amps per sv Nirvana which is what the spec sheet says it will do. He is trying to decide to toss it overboard or not.

Almost all of the cruisers we talked with said if they had to do it again the 4 winds or the KISS would be the choice.

Also the suppot from the factory is amazing. We have met many cases where a small problem had occurred and the factory just rebuilt the whole thing. Even years after the warrenty. That is what sold us based on the other factors.

Since we live aboard, quality, output and noise were a big issue as well as cost. We have been running ours for a few weeks now and it has lived up to the talk.
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Old 21-10-2005, 05:27   #10
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Another KISS vote.

Under 10 don't think you will find many that give output. But in 15+ the KISS really shines.
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Old 21-10-2005, 09:19   #11
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Thank you for this great information

This is really excellent feedback and exactly the info we are looking for, thanks to all of you!

We'll look at both the Kiss and the 4 wind as soon as we get to a place where we can do some shoping.

We are currently in Bocas del toro, Panama, and the wind is rarely even reaching 10kn, but at least we are out of the way of hurricanes.

On the comments about advantages and disadvantages of the cat, you are all right. It can be uncomfortable when underway in some seas, but it definitely beats any monohull at the anchorage!

Cheers,

Claire
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Old 21-10-2005, 15:31   #12
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I don't like that healing part when I am trying to sleep. It is such a pain rolling out of bed

Oh, lee cloths you say. Still wakes me up when the on watch crew comes about. Ahh... well..

I have to admit I don't hear the slapping any more except for the first few hours or so. We do not like sailing to windward, but then again, I'm a gentleman and rarely do so.

Keith
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Old 22-10-2005, 05:45   #13
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Fair Winds (Four Winds) out of Florida make a great wind gen that is quiet and has large blade that turn in less wind. Now output is relative to wind speed but at least you get something on those light breeze days.

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Old 16-12-2005, 15:36   #14
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For what it's worth...

...I'm really taken with the Duogen2, which Talbot mentioned. Being able to quickly convert it to a towed generator (without any long bits of flex trailing behind the boat) is very appealing.

This is relatively expensive but to be honest I can't really justify any of the expenditure involved in outfitting a yacht for cruising on the basis of sound economics...

I'd like to complement this with 2 or 3 125W solar panels, the idea being to reduce carbon fuel burning to an absolute minimum. Plus a wind/water gen + solar panels is a lot cheaper than a marine genset, no matter how I work the numbers.

Cheers

Neil
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Old 23-12-2005, 13:55   #15
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What a timely thread! I just took my Windbugger off the boat today and I don't think it will be going back on. It is 20 years old and it is time for a new one. I called Windbugger this summer and they want over $1300. for a new one. How does Windbugger stand when compared to other brands?
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