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Old 23-08-2006, 14:23   #1
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Wiring of Wind Generator and Solar Panels

Ahoy All You Salty Dogs and Cats,

Okay, since I'm not the electrical wizard I'd like to be, I'd like to lean on the collective genius of the Forum.

I have a Air Marine 400 wind generator and 2 SM 55 solar panels.

I wanted to wire an ammeter to monitor their input to my batteries.

Tell me if I did something stupid when I connected wind and solar + leads to a 50amp busbar so I could have one + lead going to my ammeter.

Both the wind and solar are protected by fuses inline between the unit and the busbar. The solar has a charge controller and the Air Marine 400, I'm not sure about. I know the Air X has internal regulation. I am getting nothing from my wind generator and it spins up to a certain RPM no matter how strong the wind gets. I'm thinking their might be a short in the wind generator as it is acting like it is in stop switch mode. However, when it does spin I get the red LED lighting up but still no amperage on the ammeter....I'm going crazy over here!!!

Help!

Mahalo for your kokua,
Mike
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Old 23-08-2006, 15:00   #2
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I assume you had these units previously connected directly to the battery, by seperate wires? If so there is no difference between that arrangment and going through a busbar, so if there is a new problem it is not caused by what you INTENDED to do.

Since you did not have an ammeter in the system before, can you be sure the wind generator was working then?

Is the behavior of the wind generator EXACTLY like its behavior when the stop switch is thrown?

How are the two units connected to ground?
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Old 23-08-2006, 15:44   #3
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My suspicion is that the wind generator controller is sensing the higher voltage output from the solar panels when they are in the sun and putting out enought current to charge the batteries, and therefore shutting down the wind generator.

Use your ammeter and check each unit (wind, solar) individually without the other connected and make sure they are both operating properly and charging.

If they both work properly, you can leave the arangement you have and the solar panels will charge when there is enough sunlight, and the wind generator will charge when the solar panels are not producng. To have both of them charging simultaneously is probably not possible since you would need to bypass the charge controller in each unit and have only one charge controller control both. Since they are very dfferent in their outputs it is probably not feasable, but since I have seen boats with both units mounted maybe someone has figured out a way to do it without either destroyng the circuitry or voiding the warranty of both generators

Richard
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Old 23-08-2006, 16:59   #4
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Richard's suggestion is an excellent one. If the Air-X is seeing a voltage of more that 12.75 V it will stay in "shutdown" mode. The Air-x only starts charging when the voltage it sees is less than 12.75 and it continues until the voltage reaches 14.(something)

If you are not sure what to test with the meter, try just disconnecting the solar panels and see if the wind generator spins up.

It so, then what you are seeing is a feature, not a bug.
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Old 23-08-2006, 19:33   #5
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When I installed my new Air-X, the wiring diagram showed a seperate ammemeter for the wind generator and the solar panels. By running them both to the same ammemeter, you're not really getting any usable feedback.
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Old 23-08-2006, 19:46   #6
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Big, Got to Everfair or Four Winds web site and get their phone number. Give them a call and they will help you get set up. They have some nifty ways to connect wind and solar and both will charge at the same time and you will be able to monitor both. Good luck.
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Old 24-08-2006, 10:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatKetch
Since you did not have an ammeter in the system before, can you be sure the wind generator was working then?

Is the behavior of the wind generator EXACTLY like its behavior when the stop switch is thrown?

How are the two units connected to ground?
I did not have an ammeter previously, however the voltage/state of charge meter would always indicate "charging" when the wind generator kicked it. The only thing I can think of that has changed since then is one afternoon the wind was gusting and clocked at over 60mph for a brief time. I happened to be onboard at that time and the generator made this awful sound and vibration. I believe the Air Marine 400 uses blade flutter to stop over-reving. I discounted this initially as being the cause, but reason would have it that it hasn't worked properly since.

The wind generator still spins at a higher rpm than in "stop mode" but it has the vibration/whirring as it did in "stop mode" when it was working properly. Again, it only reaches a slow-med rpm regardless of how strong the wind.

Both units are grounded directly to the ground panel as is everything else on the boat.

Mahalo for your reply and kokua(help),

Mike
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Old 24-08-2006, 10:12   #8
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Thanks for you help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaclusion
My suspicion is that the wind generator controller is sensing the higher voltage output from the solar panels when they are in the sun and putting out enought current to charge the batteries, and therefore shutting down the wind generator.
I thought that might be an issue as well, however my batteries have been flirting with 50% every 10 days or so. They get a lot of usage between the inverter and especially the refrigeration unit which is pulling 5-6 for 20 minutes every hour or so.

I have been running my engine for 4 hours every 10 days. Even at the end of the battery cycle (50%) the wind generator still will not put out.

I really don't like running my batteries down that low. This has been going on for two months. To prevent the batteries from such a deep drain I have just installed a Xantrex True Charge 40amp which I run off of my generator (Honda) But this is off topic.

Many Mahalos for you suggestions,

Mike
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Old 24-08-2006, 10:16   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer
When I installed my new Air-X, the wiring diagram showed a seperate ammemeter for the wind generator and the solar panels. By running them both to the same ammemeter, you're not really getting any usable feedback.
I see the advantage of two separate ammeters. However, running both units through one ammeter will still give me total output. I know my solar panels are putting out 3 amps (should be double that, another issue for another day) so anything in addition to that would be the wind generators output.

Thanks For All the Input!

Mike
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Old 24-08-2006, 10:18   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier
Big, Got to Everfair or Four Winds web site and get their phone number. Give them a call and they will help you get set up. They have some nifty ways to connect wind and solar and both will charge at the same time and you will be able to monitor both. Good luck.
Thanks Chuck! I'll check those sites out.

Mike
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Old 24-08-2006, 10:35   #11
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Mike if you get good data on how to share solar and wind stuff, please share it on here.
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Old 24-08-2006, 15:39   #12
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If your batteries are draining to 50% capacity, and your solar panels are only putting out 3 amps, the voltage in your system should be low enough to cause the wind charger to kick in. Especially when there is some other load drawing on the system such as your refer.

You need to test your wind generator independently by itself to determine if it is actually functioning before going on to other remedies. If after testing, both your wind generator and solar panels function properly, then you can move on to find out why the solar panels only put out half their capacity and why the wind generator puts out nothing.

One last thought. Is the ammeter connected between the bus block that both generators are connected to and your batteries and are there any other connections to the bus block or to the ammeter? I know that's a basic question, but sometimes the simplest things can really screw things up. Also, are you using any charging diodes or battery combiners in the circuit?

Richard
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Old 24-08-2006, 15:47   #13
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Do your solar panels have an internal blocking diode or is there a blocking diode built into your solar charge controller? If there is no diode, your wind generator may be charging through your solar panels, hence the red 'charging' led is on yet no current is going through the ammeter into your batteries.

Richard
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Old 24-08-2006, 19:33   #14
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Richard and Talbot...

I'm still doing some homework on the assignments you've given me. Once I have the info....in the spirit of Arnie: "I'll be baack".

Ten Thousand Mahalos For All of Your Help!!!

Mike
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Old 25-08-2006, 10:24   #15
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I'm sure you thought of this, but...
Keep your frig and some lights on while going through the above-recommended checks. Then, you can be a little more certain it isn't a regulator failure.
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