Questions and Answers.
Home Built Generator Basics

If you are looking for F.A.Q. about the TLG-500 please see the Product Reviews link on the menu.

Questions from customers or other interested individuals that I think sharing the answer with all of you would be helpful.
Please remember that my answers are like advise and my advise is only worth what you are paying for it. ;)
With that said lets get started.


Q. I built one of the boss99 systems and I have never seen it produce anything more than 8 amps of power unless it does more when I am not home.  My battery stays charged but I guess I was expecting more.
A.  If you are staying charged then you are doing good.  One thing to remember is this; a completely dead battery draws hardly nothing until the electrolyte gets excited, then it goes into a harder charge mode where the amperage goes way up.  Once it is almost charged it will once again draw very little amperage until it reaches full charge.  This activity can seen by watching a standard battery charger on a pretty ran down battery.  My guess is your battery is more than likely at the top area of charge and just not demanding the amperage from the generator.


Q. What is the best thing to use for wire to run from the generator to my battery in my garage?
A. I personally like a good 10/2 or 10/3 extension cord from a discount house.  If you can find a reasonably priced 8/2 or 8/3 that would be even better.  An extension cord is flexible and not to expensive to buy.  Plus you can buy two of them and wire them together to increase your ability to deliver the amps if needed.


Q. I made my generator from the 30VDC motor and it puts out good charge for me as long as the wind is blowing.  After the wind dies down it runs until the battery is dead.  Is my motor bad?
A. No, your 30VDC generator is just fine.  I have a strong feeling that you do not have a blocking diode in your system.  Please see my Tips and Tricks page and read my long winded version about a blocking diode.


Q. I saw something last week that is making me wonder if my generator is going bad.  We had a pretty steady wind of about 14 mph all day and my meter was reading about 3 amps of power.  The blades were spinning and looking good, by the end of the day I was only getting about one amp and the wind was still about the same but I could tell the blades were spinning much faster.  Is the generator getting hot and slipping?
A. It could be getting hot and breaking down but I really doubt that is what it is.  You said that the wind was about 14 mph all day.  That gives me the impression that the battery was reaching full charge by the end of the day and just not loading the generator down very hard.  That would allow the blades to roll much faster due to not having the load.


Q. I saw an ad on ebay for a set of blades that some NASA scientist designed and approved.  There was a comment in the add that said something like (some cupped sets claim to have power below 10 mph and there is no power below 10 mph.) I assume that was aimed at your blades since yours are the only cupped ones I have seen.  Is it true that there is no power to be had at 10 mph or below?
A.  I will try to answer this in a way so that it doesn't sound like a mud slinging presidential debate...  If that comment from the NASA blade people was really a pot shot aimed at me and my design then that makes me feel pretty dang good.
:)  In trying to figure out what was meant by the comment you read, if these NASA blades were only 12" to 24" in diameter they may not able to give out any power at below 10 mph and could be where that reference came from.  I don't know?  If not then maybe the next ad may read "Aaaah Houston we've got a problem" :)
All I know for sure is I have a lot of "customers" that will say yes there is power below 10 mph with my blades.  And our TLG-500 with its 5 foot diameter rotor delivers 1 full amp into a 12 volt battery bank at only 5 mph, and almost 4 at 10 mph and it goes up drastically from there.
I can safely say that all owners of the TLG-500 will strongly disagree with the statement about there being no power to be had below 10 mph.


Q. How do I go about making a bracket so my generator will turn with the wind?
A. See my Tips and Tricks section and look at my mounts on the Parts page for lots of details.  


Q. You say to run the wire down the inside of the pipe but how do I get the wires out of the bottom.  I am afraid that it would weaken the pipe if I drill a hole in it.
A. If you have a triangular tower, or a break over pole you can just run the wires down inside.  If your pole is going to be more solid like 2" pipe down to 1.5" pipe then what you need to do is weld a short piece of 1.5" on the outside of the top of the 1.5" pipe.  This short piece can be about 18" long and have about 6" or so inches overlapping the main pipe.  In this setup the wires would run down inside the 18" long pipe and down the outside edge of the main pole.  A "loose" eyelet every 5 foot or so should keep the wires going straight down the pole and still allow them to twist as needed.


Q. I have four 6 volt batteries how can I wire them so that I end up with 12 volts or is that possible?
A.  Yes you can wire up all 4 batteries to have a 12 volt battery bank.  Here's what you do; set them up the way you are going to store them.
Next hook the positive of one battery to the negative of another battery. You just wired those two batteries in series and you have one 12 volt battery made out of two 6 volt batteries.  Do the same exact thing with the other two remaining batteries..  At this point you should have two sets of batteries wire up from the positive to the negative and you should have one negative post from each set, and one positive post from each set with no connection.
Next hook the positive of each set together positive to positive, and then the negative to the negative.
You have now wired four 6 volt  batteries into one 12 volt battery bank.
Check out the Battery Bank Wiring page.


Q. Are the little holes in your hubs for mounting nose cones?  I did not see any nose cones on your site.  Don't they give you more power?
A.  The holes are there for other mounting options, not for cones.
The only reason to have a cone is if you have moving parts that you need to protected from the elements.  A nose cone will actually cost you power not gain it!   Since I am sure (why) would be the next question I will go ahead and answer that too.  As the wind passes over a nose cone it directs the wind away from the center of the blades and causes the wind to not be able to make a direct straight-on contact with the root of the blades.  It is not a great loss but a loss none the less.  If you want to be able to visualize this effect think about what water looks like in front of a moving "V" bottom boat..  The air being split by a nose cone folds over kind of like the water does under the boat.


Q. What is the max wind speed before your blades will be destroyed?
A. I do not really know where the destruction rate would fall.  I have pushed every rotor design I offer to 100 mph with no damage.  I have several MM series rotors flying in Florida that I feel received a hard field test in the 2004 Hurricane season with winds over 100 mph and driving rain on top of that.  I have received comments from Florida blade owners about their survival but no reports of failure.


Q. In one of the discussion groups there was talk about metal fatigue. Have you had any problems with metal fatigue with your aluminum blades?
A. I feel that my design is sturdy and should provide many years of use.  Out of all the rotors that I have sold I have had two sets of blades that were damaged by an unknown force.  Both of those sets showed groves in the blade where the washer cut into them.  I feel it was from over tightening the bolts on the blades.  But I am not sure if that was the only cause.
Rest certain if I was seeing failures in my rotor line I would be letting everyone know what I had found out.


Q.  What is the difference between an up wind and a down wind system?
A.  The definition for either an upwind or downwind system is the direction of the wind in reference to the tower or pole.  If the wind would strike the rotor before it would hit the tower, the system is an upwind unit. Generally there is a Vane or Tail that follows.  Likewise if the wind would strike the pole before the rotor the system would be a downwind unit.
For more clarification of the confusing terms we have in the renewable energy world you may want to read my Glossary of Terms page.


Q. Why do you not like wooden blades?
A. It is not that I don't like them, it is just that for many people they are very hard to build, balance, and maintain.  I have seen several very pretty wooden blades over the years, I have also seen several broken wooden blades too.


Q. I was wondering how would someone connect a wire to a generator that is able to spin freely in the generator mount.  Isn't it possible that the constant direction change will cause the power wire to become twisted?  Is there some kind of power connection that I am missing?
A. The connection you are asking about is called a Slip Ring.  They are
expensive to buy, a pain in the butt to build, and they can be VERY high maintenance!
I run my wires down the inside of the tower or pole...  I use a 10-2 or 10-3 extension cord as my down wire.  I leave the male plug on the extension cord and put a female connector on the wires that go on to the batteries.  IF it were to ever tangle or twist up just unplug it, let it unwind, and plug it back in.
Based on your question I see I had an important piece of information missing from my site.  So I created the generator to battery page for better instructions.  


Q. I like your blades and all but after I read your product disclaimer it made me wonder if there is any kind of warrantee with your products.  If I buy a rotor and it breaks in a month am I screwed?
A.  No not at all.  The Product Disclaimer is for my protection against accidents or things that may happen in relation to one of my products.  For example: if someone forgets to tighten their arbor nut and it allows the rotor to come off in a high wind and it flies through the garage door and sticks in the hood of a car.  It was not "MY" rotor that came off, it is "YOUR" rotor and you are flying it at your own risk per my disclaimer.
I was raised up with old school values, where a man is only as good as his word.  Rest sure that I stand behind my products and I will replace the product if there is a problem with the material or workmanship within a reasonable amount of time.  All you have to do is contact me. 


Q. The voltage coming out of my 40 VDC Ametek generator goes higher than 40 VDC at high winds, will this burn up the charger, or blow a fuse, or can it compensate?
A. What is happening is the motor is very capable of reaching well over 100 volts DC.  This is normal. When you hook it to a battery the battery will control the voltage level like a regulator.  Meaning if your battery is at 11.0 volts when you hook it up, the open voltage from the generator will drop to 11.0..  As it charges it will rise 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, etc until the battery reaches full charge.  Once the battery is at full charge is when a charge controller comes in...  At that point the charge controller will kick in protect your battery from over charging.
The higher the open volts that the generator has the potential to produce the higher the charge rate, or amperage will be.


Q. I have a whole bunch of 1 amp diodes how do I wire them together to make one strong diode, or is possible?
A. It is possible, but it will NOT LAST, and may be a fire hazard!!!  Cheap diodes are not perfectly matched.  If you have 5 diodes, one will fire first taking the brunt of the load and it will burn up, then another will being firing sooner than the others and it too will burn up.  This will continue until you have no diodes left. If you use 100 of them it will just last a bit longer, but in the end all 100 will burn up.  Buy the right size diode.


Q. Hi Terry, is everything is ok? I have your site set as my home page and I noticed that you had not added anything to it for a while. I hope you are not going away on us.
A. You're right and I bet you are not the only one that noticed this either.  The search engines out there sure did.
I don't really see any reason to hide what happened, besides maybe it would be better to just get it out in the open.
I could make this answer detailed but it would be really loooooong if I did so here it is in a nutshell. 
I was married for 13 years, we had two beautiful girls, She decided she wanted a divorce in 1999, we were divorced in 2000, She took her life December 5th. 2004 throwing an unexpected twist in mine and my children's life.  So the last couple of months has been pretty much spent making sure my children are going to be alright.
I kind of figured that there would be people noticing that I was letting things slide here and I probably should have said something sooner.
Sorry for the scare.


Q. You talk about primary generators, do I need a primary and a secondary for my hunting cabin?
A. If you use it every day yes, if you use it on the weekend or a couple of times a month I would bet that a primary is all you need.  Time is not only money, but charge time as well. ;)


Q. Your new generators sound like they are going to work well for you.  I was wondering if this means that you are going to stop making blades for us guys that still want to make our own after you get your systems going?
A. NO WAY..
There will always be people that want to do things themselves, and I started out building blades and helping the do it yourself type of people and they are my roots.  If the roots die so does the tree. 


Q. I keep checking your site hoping that you will get the information on the Amatek 50 volt motor I have.  Are you going to be offering more information on these motors soon?
A. I have not gotten my hands on an Ametek 50 for close to a year now.  I don't have any plans at this time to even look for one since they too are getting harder to find.  About the only ones that seem to be left are the 30's and 40's.  I will at least try to get the data on the 40 I still have.  I think I might still have a 72 out there as well.  I'll just have to look.
If I run across one cheap somewhere I'll be sure to test it and post the data.


Q. Have you seen the new blades made from high quality Douglas Fur?  Do you think they will hold up?
A. I recently seen an ad on ebay with blades made out of a Pine Tree (OPS, I mean Douglas Fur).  I have no idea if they will hold up in the air or not.  I have to say the ad itself brought a smile to my face to know that Pine Trees have found a job in the air rather than their old job of being made into a Pine box and put 6 feet under. ;)


Q. Hello Terry, I love the look of your blades but others are claiming they have faster blades than yours.  Please be honest and let me know is speed really what is important to me?
A. Speed is important to a certain extent, but speed without horsepower is like putting perfume on a pig. (I think I may have already said that in my site, but oh well) The point is nothing replaces power.  It takes power to produce power.  I am sure you have rode a 10 speed bike before.  If you shift the bike into 10th gear you better have some strong legs or you will not get any speed at all.  I have rotors that will go well beyond 3000 rpm, but they are for small generators that don't produce a huge amount of power.
Creating power from the wind requires horsepower.  And mine produce the horsepower needed.  We just need to match a rotor to your generator.


Q. My neighbor and I are going to built a simple wind generator with you quad al rotor.  At first we (were) thinking about using some big hose clamps to hold the generator to the mount but afterthoughts have us thinking it may not be too smart.  What are your thoughts on hose clamps?
A. I am really glad you used the words "may not be too smart"!  this way I can just be straight forward with my answer since clearly common sense has prevailed! ;) 
The answer is NO.  Do not use "hose clamps"!
For the safety of others that may read this I will continue with some detail.
It is fine to use them for testing, but if you plan on mounting it permanently do not use hose clamps.  That would be just plain stupid UNLESS it was mounted WAY away from anything or anyone.  I have seen hose clamps used, and even have one pictured on my site, but that unit is clear of anything or anyone.
Anyone that mounts a generator permanently with hose clamps that may end up being sited near people or property either has not seen what mother nature can do, doesn't care about anyone's safety, or knows absolutely nothing at all about "wind energy".  In time it will come down!
Hose clamps crack, break, vibrate loose, etc. then you have a 10 to 30 pound weight with high speed rotating knifes falling to the ground.  Trust me, this will not happen on a calm day it will be when mother nature is showing what she can do and somebody may get hurt.  I use 3/8" U-bolts for a reason on my mounts.


Q. I need a generator now and you don't have your ready yet.  Do you know anything about the units from Mikes Windmill Shop?
A. I have not used one of Mikes units personally, but I have spoke to them.  I know they are a family owned and operated business just like TLG Windpower and my opinion based on talking to them is they do their best to offer a good quality product.
I wish they would convert to the new Boast Buster rotor, but maybe in time they will.


Q. How much of an increase can I expect out of my hornet with the Boast Buster?
A. I feel extremely comfortable saying 40%, but most are seeing a great deal more than that on both the Hornets and Mallards.


Q. Why would you show a crashed set of your blades?
A. When you consider that a 100 mph wind can throw a 2x4 through a brick wall, I think the pictures show that we are doing our best to deliver as safe of a product as we can.  Sure the blades in the pictures are ruined but the damage stopped there,   I think it would be interesting to see what some of the other brands of rotors would look like after debris struck them in an 80 plus mph wind.  My guess is there wouldn't be much left on the tower to see and probably the reason why they don't show them.  


Q. I know you don't deal with Axial Flux Generators but if you were going to make one would you use single or double windings?
A. It would make sense to use double windings in each coil.  That way you will double the amperage at the same voltage.  You may have to use smaller wire, but the theory looks good on paper.


Q. Does the new unit you are going to be selling me have a slip ring?
A. No, we are building them to last for many years of trouble free service.  If we were to put a slip-ring on them that would be a weak link.


Q. How do you go about grounding a tower?
A. I run a piece of solid Copper wire from the tower to a long ground rod..
I made a page that explains this in more detail. Read Grounding your Tower / Pole.


Q. I read the spec sheet on your new generator and seen it was an AC unit. How is this going to be able to charge my DC battery bank?
A.  It is going to work and work even better than a DC motor/generator would.  Here's why;  Putting out 3 phase AC means that you can run smaller wires down the pole which will save you a lot of money over a standard DC unit, and depending on the length of run you may save enough money in the cost of wire alone to be able to buy a second unit.   Once this smaller wire is at the battery bank you will have a 3 phase bridge rectifier that will turn the 3 legs of AC power into a DC Positive and Negative terminal which you can hook right to your battery bank. 


Q. Are you going to do the ratings on some of the new blades you have?  I am interested in the power star express but would like to know how fast it turns.
A. I can hardly wait to know myself.  This winter has been really strange for me.  I have not had any days in the last (almost) 3 months of no wind.  It takes between 1 to 3 hours to get accurate data on each rotor.  During the last 4 months TLG has not only added the Power Star Express, but the Boast Buster, the Power Star Elite, and has redesigned all the AL series blades along with the all MM series.  So I actually need to re-graph all the rotors except the Elite and the Extreme.  Those are the only two that did not undergo a major design change.
As soon as the wind will cooperate I will be posting that data.  I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused anyone.


Q. I looked over your web site. Why is it really advantageous for me to purchase your wind gen verses a Slant-Core PMA Technology! Isn't the longevity the same for both? Even though yours is heavier won't they both still be up on the poles 10 to 20 years from now? Besides the longevity issue, your price is more than 3 times the cost of your competitor in Calif., Why is that?
Thank you, for your time!
George

A. Hello George.  You asked a couple of questions that happy owners of the TLG-500 were able to figure out on their own.  Sadly it is clear to me that you read the available information on the site and were not able to derive at any clear advantages of owning the TLG-500.  Since you seemed to be extremely concerned with the TLG-500 costing 3-times as much then I have to assume that you did not read the comments from the disgruntled owners that had purchased one or two of the different models from your friends in California.  The only thing that I can say to you with utmost certainty is this.  Those that bought the TLG-500 at a cost of 3-time a unit from your friends in California are completely satisfied with it.
I am thankful that after some of them buying one or two of the units from your friends in California that they were even willing to try a wind generator afterwards, let alone one that costs 3-time the amount.
Here is a quote from a TLG-500 owner that had bought one of your friends from Californiaís units for less money.
"The way I see it if you cannot make power in common winds of 10-15 mph, you should get solar panels. Now Most of these other wind products on the market today are JUNK!  As you state, there 600 watt unit is really 120 watts at 50 MPH, and in 10 to 15 MPH, do you know what a Condor puts out? ZERO Amps!!!
I know there are a lot of people buying these types of units, and I feel bad for them."

With what he said there I really think the advantage would seem clear to anyone.  It seems to be a question of do you want it to work or not?   The fact remains, so far every owner of the TLG-500, even though it is 3-time the price is completely satisfied with the unit.  Satisfied owners are something I feel I will continue to have.  Can your friends in California say that?  You donít need to answer that, dissatisfied owners of your friends units are scattered all over the Internet for everyone to read.

One other thing, I noticed that you said you looked over my website.  I am amazed that you asked this question in ebay.  Given the chance that there might be someone else that would ask such questions I will not only reply to you on ebay but I will post this in the Q&A page on my website for all to read.


Q.  I appreciate the straight up approach you take but I have to agree with the other person about your rating system.  If everyone else is lying to us why shouldn't you?  People might buy your units even faster if they knew it way out powered others out there.
A.  I cannot, and won't say that others are lying, they are simply using the old way of rating wind generators.  I say the old way because I see it changing. 
Back in 2003 TLG started talking about output and referring to our ratings as "Real World" output.  I am very happy to say that the concept of telling it like it is for output is really catching on.  I see the term "Real World" now being used on several site.  Although not the way I mean it in some cases, but none the less it is coming around.
Unfortunately the most common method now days seems to be the even more confusing, but impressive looking rating of Kilowatt Hours Per Month.  Which sadly is still based off of the old theoretical Instantaneous Output rating.  It makes a unit look like it could run a whole house when in reality AKA "Real World" you would be lucky to run a couple of lights...

I have to agree that my method of rating a wind generator has certainly slowed the kick off for our wind generators, but I can say proudly that every single owner of a TLG wind generator is 100% satisfied with their unit and its performance.  And I feel I can say with utmost certainty that TLG is one of the very very very.............. few wind generator companies that can say that.
So with that said I have to stick to my guns and keep on rating them by what you will actually get into your battery bank at a given wind speed, AKA "Real World".


You can also read the TLG-500 FAQ page.  There are a couple of repeats on it.



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