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Old 17-10-2016, 18:15   #1
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Best wind generator

Before I get told about older links in search, I did search old threads, and not that much. Was at the All Sail show in Annapolis MD, but I would still prefer reviews from actual owners and not a sales rep. So which one really is the best one, money aside? Who's got what out there?
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Old 17-10-2016, 20:41   #2
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Re: Best wind generator

Silentwind. Had it for a number of years. Seasonal usage (2 to 5 months usage per year). Performs pretty much to spec. Mid-range cost, relatively light, pretty quiet. Happy owner (so far).
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Old 17-10-2016, 21:05   #3
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Re: Best wind generator

After 30 years in the business we only sell D400's... Not cheap but no problems with over 50 installs...
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Old 17-10-2016, 21:59   #4
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Re: Best wind generator

Do not get SilentWind.

I have two of them. They both vibrate badly. Turns out both were defective, which shows poor quality control. SilentWind acknowledged manufacturing problem and sent me replacement parts that were supposed to fix my problem. They did not.

Now, they are blaming my installation. I have used their install kit, used their instructions and a good SS fabricator.

Long story short, SilentWind is a crap shoot. I wish I would have gotten D400's...

Get more solar panels. Just my opinion...
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Old 18-10-2016, 03:23   #5
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Re: Best wind generator

I've sold lots of Silentwind units. They have all been, and still are, great.
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Old 18-10-2016, 03:41   #6
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Re: Best wind generator

Check out MarineKinetix wind generators. Extremely quiet, produces energy at low windspeeds, weighs 17 pounds. Also, good tech support for installation. We've had ours for 6 months now and are very happy with it.
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Old 18-10-2016, 03:43   #7
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Re: Best wind generator

I had one of the highly praised Rutland 914i's. Didn't produce any useful power, even in this windy latitude. Didn't even cover self discharge of the batteries. Sent it back to the factory (lots of shipping cost); checked out functioning to spec. Sold it at great loss on Fleabay. YMMV.
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Old 18-10-2016, 04:06   #8
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Re: Best wind generator

Not a Rutland 914. OK it's nice an quiet, but they tell not fibs, but big black lies about the output.

Also, the tail plane is made of mild steel and rusts badly. Furthermore, it is rather imbalanced so when the boat is heeled over it spends a lot of its time spinning horizontally rather than vertically. Plus the supplied mounting system is crap.
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Old 18-10-2016, 05:10   #9
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Re: Best wind generator

Silentwind. It's not totally silent mounted 20' up the mizzen. But it's not bothersome. More importantly, the low whoosh sound it makes at 10 knots is about the same volume at 20+ knots. So quiet-and-predictable-wind is more appropriate than silentwind.

It replaced a KISS mounted in the same position. The kiss was about as quiet at 10 knots, just a low whoosh. But at 20 knots the KISS was quite a bit louder. Still way less than an air breeze, but loud.

A marina neighbor 3 slips down has his air breeze mounted 12' above his deck. It runs all the time. Every week or so I'll turn off the brake on our silentwind to let it get some exercise. At 12 knots the neighbors air breeze is louder than my silentwind in our cockpit. At 15+ knots I can hear the neighbors air breeze while downstairs in our salon- I can't hear our silentiwnd.

Added bonus to silentwind is the controller will also handle a solar panel. We currently have a 140w Kyocera tied to it mounted over our davits and a very happy with that setup. It's not a huge benefit it most cases, but it's a nice addition to our other solar panels with minimal effort in our case.
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Old 18-10-2016, 06:52   #10
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Re: Best wind generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by sestina View Post
Not a Rutland 914. OK it's nice an quiet, but they tell not fibs, but big black lies about the output.

Also, the tail plane is made of mild steel and rusts badly. Furthermore, it is rather imbalanced so when the boat is heeled over it spends a lot of its time spinning horizontally rather than vertically. Plus the supplied mounting system is crap.
I agree with all of the above except with the output. It will produce the rated output, perhaps on a concrete post in your backyard but it certainly wont do it on a boat. Even in flat water the movement of the boat heeling in a gust will cause the thing to swing away from the wind and stall out.

The generator is not balanced over the pole but significantly to one side, the slightest heel of the boat causes it swing to the downhill side. It was obviously never tested on a boat before being put on the market.

Even in tradewind conditions its output at sea is insignificant (on anchor it just about works) due to the whirling dervish effect.

I have lashed a 1kg dive weight to the hole in the tail but it needs much more.

When it does get going the shellac varnish melts on the rotor and runs into one of the bearings. This contributes to rumbling noise and eventual failure of the rear bearing.

Very disappointing design.

The best that I have seen working well on multiple boat in all conditions are the D400 from Duogen. All the long distance liveaboards (a notably thrifty bunch) are investing in them so that seems a good recommendation. I'll go that route myself in year or so.

Before a wind gen upgrade I'm going to put more investment into a high voltage array a big MPPT controller.
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Old 18-10-2016, 07:14   #11
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Re: Best wind generator

I have a Superwind 350 that is now over 8 years old and still going strong. The unit is relatively quiet when compared to other wind gens I have heard, and output is as advertised but like Dockhead, not very impressed with wind generators in general as they just don't produce unless in steady wind over 20 knots. Their tech support is good and worked with me to customize one of their charge controllers for my LiFePO battery refit.

I am much more impressed with solar as a charging source as we get output from our panels even on cloudy days, but if you are committed to getting a wind gen, I would suggest you consider the Superwind: http://www.superwind.com/swe/index.htm
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Old 18-10-2016, 08:28   #12
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Re: Best wind generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitebread117 View Post
Silentwind. It's not totally silent mounted 20' up the mizzen. But it's not bothersome. More importantly, the low whoosh sound it makes at 10 knots is about the same volume at 20+ knots. So quiet-and-predictable-wind is more appropriate than silentwind.
...
Added bonus to silentwind is the controller will also handle a solar panel. We currently have a 140w Kyocera tied to it mounted over our davits and a very happy with that setup. It's not a huge benefit it most cases, but it's a nice addition to our other solar panels with minimal effort in our case.
Just a comment WB, I've learned (the hard way) that the Silentwind controller is great for wind, but not very good for solar. It's a simple voltage cutoff type which means it has a hard time fully charging with larger solar arrays. I'm switching to an MPPT-style next season.

Agreed on the silent part ... not silent, but pretty darn quiet compared to others. Ours is mounted on a mast just aft of our cockpit. I easily carry on normal conversation with it whirring away, no matter the windspeed. And no vibration issues either. Our previous Air-X had serious vibration issues, and would scream like a banshee as the wind piped up.
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Old 18-10-2016, 08:47   #13
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Re: Best wind generator

I second Marine Kenetix - we have had ours over a year and its quiet, balanced, good output range...it takes 7 kts to start it until you break it - we love it!
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Old 18-10-2016, 09:20   #14
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pirate Re: Best wind generator

Get an Aerogen 4 if your boats 32ft< if over and lots of bells go for the Aerogen 6
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Old 18-10-2016, 11:21   #15
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Re: Best wind generator

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Silentwind. Had it for a number of years. Seasonal usage (2 to 5 months usage per year). Performs pretty much to spec. Mid-range cost, relatively light, pretty quiet. Happy owner (so far).

The complaint I've received from friends with the SilentWind is that it works great for a very limited wind range. It wasn't the start-up speed that was the issue -everyone knows that it takes some real wind to make usable power- but more the low cut off speed. They said almost as soon as they started making power, the wind would increase and the unit would heat-up and turn off. We had the chance to almost steal a two month old Superwind for $500, but declined for that reason. Instead, went with a used D400 purchased for the same price.

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