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Old 25-03-2017, 19:27   #1
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Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

The wind generator that came with our boat is very old and dead. The po had said that with the solar and wind generator the boat was self sufficient for electricity. But I'm wondering if we really need to replace it.

I can't tell you if we will have enough power with solar alone. I'm just wondering about the pros and cons of wind generators and if the actual power output is worth the cost.

Essentially I have very little idea what I am asking about but I don't like the idea of spending so much money without any way to assess the value.

Thoughts appreciated!
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Old 25-03-2017, 19:42   #2
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

Solar works much better without the shading caused by a wind generator mounted nearby.

I found overall solar was much more reliable and pleasant to live with.

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Old 25-03-2017, 19:52   #3
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

I agree with Snowy in general that solar is better, but we added a wind gen anyhow! Our thinking was that our voracious auto pilot needs feeding, even at night, and that sometimes on gloomy days there is wind galore. Our aging Air-X still cranks out some power when there is >10-12 knots apparent, and quite a bit of power at 20. We managed a mount that does not shade the panels except at fairly low sun angles, and then you don't loose so much from the shadow 'cause there wasn't much there to start with!

But I do love the solar: quiet, maintenance free, longlived and getting cheaper by the day. Can't say that about many things these days!

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Old 25-03-2017, 21:32   #4
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
The wind generator that came with our boat is very old and dead. The po had said that with the solar and wind generator the boat was self sufficient for electricity. But I'm wondering if we really need to replace it.

I can't tell you if we will have enough power with solar alone. I'm just wondering about the pros and cons of wind generators and if the actual power output is worth the cost.

Essentially I have very little idea what I am asking about but I don't like the idea of spending so much money without any way to assess the value.

Thoughts appreciated!
Some thoughts..

I view a wind genny as a great charging method at NIGHT time. I don't have a diesel or petrol generator at the moment. And that's because I have plenty of solar. But solar does not work at night.. So if after a night or few anchoring or if you do night passages and you find your bats charge diminished and you have enough wind at night time then a wind genny certainly becomes something to consider. But as always, the whole charging system should be considered as a one big BALANCED system, ie. your bank, panels, alternator, combustion generator, controllers size and quality etc should all be balanced to work together to meet your needs.

Personally, if possible I would choose solar over wind. Wind generators are electro-mechanical devices and suffer from wear and tear, and the good ones are not particularly cheap. They also make noise which maybe annoying but some newer models are considerably quieter.

One big mistake I see people sometimes do is to install the genny too close to solar panels thus shading them and effectively rendering the panels pretty much useless. Yes, its not easy to find a good spot for a wind genny aboard a boat.

But a lot of good information has been posted on the forum and I don't want to try repeat everything, I would try to Google "Cruisersforum wind generator".

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Old 25-03-2017, 21:40   #5
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

As stated, they are very nice for passages. Mine is quiet and can keep up with my chart plotter and autopilot. The best answer is both.
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Old 25-03-2017, 23:17   #6
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

I read lots of threads of people claiming that sun power is much more efficient than wind.
I agree. Certainly cheaper.
However been a full time liveaboard ( year 30 now ) and not situated in the Caribbean, I could not live comfortable without my wind generators. Winter in Greece .. not much sun. So far, this winter I had to charge the battery's only 2 times using the engine. The engine is only good for boost charging. Equalisation and float demand time. So much time that the hours of sun are not sufficient and running any engine for such a small charge is foolish. Without equalisation and float sulfation starts. Wind works at night also.
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Old 25-03-2017, 23:39   #7
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

I just came back from a week on the water down at Kangaroo Island. We have 280 watts (theoretical) of solar and a 360 watt wind gen. Power consumption on the boat is light, less than 100 AH per day, except when passage making, when the autopilot chews a lot more.

I can't remember the exact numbers, but in short the wind gen saved my bacon for the week because it was a cloudy, sometimes drizzling week, but there was plenty of wind around. Most days the wind gen produced double the output of the solar. This is not the norm, usually it would be just the opposite, but weather has a way of changing the rules without warning.

So I am most certainly in the "have both if you can" camp, even if the wind gen does slightly compromise the performance of the panels.

Also, it is worth noting I currently have NO house power generation from the engine, nor do we have any kind of other generator on board. We don't use shore power of any form either.

Oh yeah, our wind gen is practically silent, I'd never put up with a noisey wind gen these days, there are too many lovely silent models around.
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Old 25-03-2017, 23:58   #8
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

We put on 500w of solar and that is more than enough to run the boat electronics -

we did look at wind gen and we viewed from a financial standpoint - ie how much diesel can I buy for the cost of a wind gen - and how often would I need the wind gen - and when at anchor the goal is to get out of the wind so less power available from the wind gen -
but we decided that we could buy one heck of a lot of diesel for the price of a wind gen - oh and we have a 150 amp alternator
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Old 26-03-2017, 00:14   #9
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

I'd say it depends on your boat. The cost of a good wind generator would buy a HUGE solar array. Probably enough to make good power even when it's cloudy.

But is there the space to fit it?
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Old 26-03-2017, 01:32   #10
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

Do you have biggish alternator and room for more battery storage? Might be a better alternative to the wind gen cost.
(AGM's instead of wet for better charging rate and more AH storage ??)
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Old 26-03-2017, 04:47   #11
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
The wind generator that came with our boat is very old and dead. The po had said that with the solar and wind generator the boat was self sufficient for electricity. But I'm wondering if we really need to replace it.

I can't tell you if we will have enough power with solar alone. I'm just wondering about the pros and cons of wind generators and if the actual power output is worth the cost.

Essentially I have very little idea what I am asking about but I don't like the idea of spending so much money without any way to assess the value.

Thoughts appreciated!
If you don't know if you have enough power with solar alone, you need to find out. That's a process of educating yourself about your batteries and current electrical system, and your current daily usage profile. I'm a bit concerned because you're living on the boat as I recall and if you don't know if you have enough power there's an excellent chance that you're damaging your batteries, unless you're living at the dock and hooked up to shore power all the time.

Whether wind power is "worth it" to you is a question only you can answer, based on your current energy needs and your travel plans. The answer could be a resounding no if you solar is currently meeting your needs, you take only the occasional long passage, or spend 90% of your time loitering near the equator. The answer could be a resounding yes if you're making lots of passages and spending time in higher latitudes.
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Old 26-03-2017, 05:10   #12
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pirate Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

To my mind yes.. but that's just me.. been using them since before solar came along and now I like the combination.
I'm an Aerogen fan..
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Old 26-03-2017, 05:28   #13
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

I selected Wind Yen after I had had Solar a few years because wind can keep adding a bit at night.

In the tropics the wind is always from the east WORLD WIDE so at anchor if I have the poke on the Port side in the Northern Hemushpere it can't block the solar panels.

An expensive one is a waste of money. They are over $2,000 set up, often u need to buy a seperatet regulator

I bought a SunForce wind generator under $900 with regulator included.
Yes its noisy as @#$% they ALL are.

But they do the trick at night in the trade winds tropics.

But as others have said, Solar is the main power, quiet, silent, efficient, no moving parts and SILENT!
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Old 26-03-2017, 06:07   #14
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pirate Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

Quote:
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I selected Wind Yen after I had had Solar a few years because wind can keep adding a bit at night.

In the tropics the wind is always from the east WORLD WIDE so at anchor if I have the poke on the Port side in the Northern Hemushpere it can't block the solar panels.

An expensive one is a waste of money. They are over $2,000 set up, often u need to buy a seperatet regulator

I bought a SunForce wind generator under $900 with regulator included.
Yes its noisy as @#$% they ALL are.

But they do the trick at night in the trade winds tropics.

But as others have said, Solar is the main power, quiet, silent, efficient, no moving parts and SILENT!
Aerogens are quiet.. no screaming or whistling..
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Old 26-03-2017, 06:24   #15
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Re: Is a wind generator a worthwhile purchase?

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Aerogens are quiet.. no screaming or whistling..
See comment re price.
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