Understand Generators and what is the best solution for you.
Here are my thoughts on wind energy. Take what I say here and try to apply it to what you want to have in the end. Whether you want to run a couple of lights or try to run most, or all of your home or shop you need to know these basic things. Done correctly wind energy can be practical for most anyone anywhere as long as you have wind. Those that have common winds of greater than 12 mph will enjoy wind energy more than those that only have winds up to 10 mph. It just makes sense.
But how do you get the most from wind power. It is the way you setup your system and the things you use.
You can spend hundreds even thousands of dollars buying or building wind generators and still not meet your needs or goals. Most people think that they need a really big high output generator. You do, if you want to run heavy loads like your shop or home… But not just a big high output one alone… A system with only a big generator is very inefficient because of this. You're not doing anything unless the wind is blowing hard, and how often does that happen?
You need to use stages in wind generators to get maximum results. Here is what I mean.
Lets say you have average winds of 12 to 30. You know you can get good power in the 30 mph wind, and plenty of it with your big generator, but what about when the wind is only blowing 12 mph.
You need at least 1 (what I call)
“Primary Generator”. This
generator produce useable power, meaning it reaches charge voltage
of greater than 12 volts in winds of less than 12 mph.
Now that is practical. The more primary generators you
have the better off you will be.
You can make your primary generator out of several different
dc motors but the Ametek 30 VDC motors work real good for this
propose. The Ametek 30 reaches useable charge range between 360 and
550 rpm. That rpm range
is easily reached with any of my blade systems below 12 mph.
At this point the most effective is the
AL 4-blade, followed by the
AL 3-blade rotor. Stick
with the 4 for best results. With
these rotors the primary generators will produce charge for
you before the big wind kicks in to make your big generator put
Now you know what I mean by a
primary generator and why I say you need one or more.
There are lots of options for DC
motors to use as generator; still the Ametek line appears to be the
most commonly used. You
have to be careful when choosing your Ametek generator.
Just because it is an Ametek motor does not mean it is a good
generator. For example, Ametek makes several different 40 and 50 volt
motors. Some STINK as a
generator. The 37 &
60 VDC motors are a waste of time and money as is with some of the 40’s and
50’s. However the Ametek 60
VDC is the worst motor I have found in the Ametek line for use as a
generator. The best thing I have found to use the Ametek 60
VDC for is to knock the magnets out of it and use them to drag
around on a string to pick up nails.
Another option for low wind areas is to gear up your generator. You can use a large rotor that has torque to turn your generator many times faster than your rotor is actually turning. This system is more complicated but it runs on the same principle as the big boys. You know the ones you wish you had the money for setting there on the hillside all in a row. Those generators have transmissions in them that gear up the generator to several hundred to one in ratio. Even though the blades may only be turning at 100 or less rpm the generator inside is humming along.
You can do the same thing with a jackshaft system. A shaft with a couple of strong pillow bearings and I recommend one bearing on the back side of the shaft called a thrust bearing (like a throw out bearing) to handle the lateral thrust of the blades turning in the wind. Throw a large pulley or sprocket on the jackshaft down to a small pulley or sprocket on the generator. Play with the combination until you reach maximum output, and you can generator larger amounts of power in less wind. However you need to have a rotor that can turn out the power. The average rotor on the big boys you see that go hundreds to one in ratio are between 60 and 120 foot in diameter. That’s not very practical for most of us, however you can do gear up with some of my rotors because my rotors produce more torque than any blade I have ever seen to date. To actually stop my blades from turning in the wind you really have to hit them with a hard load. They will still rotate even the hard to turn Ametek 99 with the wires shorted together. And that is saying something.
One person that I know of has used
my Prairie Star AL in a 3 to 1 gear up on and Ametek 40 generator.
I am still waiting for the “exact data” on that build but
they sent me a note and said it worked great. Still I figure 2
to 1 is a good ratio for that 5-foot rotor.
Extreme has plenty of power for a gear up job but then it is a 9
foot 1 inch rotor and will handle about any load you want to stick
on it. The power it
produces is closer to what one would expect from around a 12-foot
diameter rotor. Likewise the
Tri-Nado Elite, and
Disc AL rotors have incredible torque and power with even more
speed than the Extreme.
There are systems you can buy that are pre-built and ready to go. If you choose to buy one ready to go make sure you look at where it reaches it rated power. If you see that it takes 45 to 70 mph winds to reach its rated power, and in winds of less than 20 it does basically nothing, then ask yourself this. What's the point in that? Make sure that with their ratings you can reach useable power in the wind you commonly have. There are systems that are pre-built and will work for you, then there are some that will just take your money and leave you with a lawn ornament. It is up to you as a buyer to figure out which one is right for you.