Small wind turbines no longer worth it?

rhino

Solar Enthusiast
I've gone through two 1kw wind turbines (African wind power and a e300 Kestrel) and both have failed after only 2-3 years of use. At this point in time I am wondering if it makes sense for any land based installation to spend money on a mechanical system that is inherently less reliable then a passive system such as photovoltaics. The price for slight increase in number of panels + battery storage seems like would outweigh the hassle of any wind turbine. I assume there must be special cases but otherwise does it make any sense now-a-days?
 

upnorthandpersonal

Administrator
Personally, I think wind is too much hassle, too much maintenance, too fragile - and noisy. Solar has become so cheap that I don't see the point of putting up a windmill, even if I am not able to use solar here in winter and a wind mill could off-set some of the fuel I use for generator-charging the batteries during these dark months.
 

chrisski

Solar Addict
I would like a wind turbine, but what I want doesn't seem to exist. I think mine is a special case.

I'd like a portable wind turret that can produce at 12 volts between 10 ah and 20 ah a day, or about 10% of my daily use. That is 120 watt hours to 240 watt hours. This would be to get through the few cloudy days better, and perhaps even extend myself to 4 days with no sun.

Places I go would have enough wind between one and four hours a day. If my RV is rocking back and forth due to the wind, I think there's enough to spin a turret. These winds are the on the edge of the desert mountain winds that pick up for between one and four hours between sunset and sunrise. Next to no wind the rest of the time.

I think, if what I say is even possible, would qualify for what you mentioned as a special case. A generator would certainly be easier and exponentially cheaper, but I don't want that.
 

chrisski

Solar Addict
I’m camping now and don’t have the bandwidth to watch, but I’ll take a look later.

I think a vehicle mounted turbine would be good. I really can’t come up with another way to secure it.

Other than a vehicle, I think it’d be ripped out if the mounts of my pressboard RV roof. Ground mounting would attract too much attention, and I’m afraid of a kid sticking there hand in it.

I am considering mounting something on a roof rack of my crew cab pickup that is somewhat detachable.

I am overlooking the lake at a drycamping site at sunset, 5:30, now. Winds are calm. By 10 pm, the winds will be 15 mph. First night I stayed, went from calm to 25 gusting to 35.

This and the other place I stayed were similar. I think 10 to 20 ah three to four times a week is a reasonable goal.

I’ll be completing my RV build with phase 3 next week. I’ve got 600 watts of panels on the roof and 400 watts of ground panels. I will be adding 350 more watts on the roof in a few days.

After that, I’ll look at either decide on a 24 VDC upgrade or adding a small wind turbine.
 

Steve_S

Offgrid Cabineer, N.E. Ontario, Canada
There is a heap of MisInformation about Small Scale Wind... Unlike the Big Boys which are so thoroughly tested & abused even before considering deployment this does NOT Exist for small Turbine systems. Sadly this area is a Wild West situation with MANY Shlock dealers and they have NO SHAME whatsoever.

TWO Manufacturers who make Small Scale Turbines which ARE Certified & Tested properly are here:
Wind Power Systems, Wind Turbines :: Primus Wind Power
Home - Bergey Windpower Co.

CERTIFICATION ORGS:
AWEA | American Wind Energy Association
Wind turbine type certification - DNV GL
Small Wind Certification
** Small Wind Certification CERTIFIED LISTING

PLease read the following Article:
The Truth About Small Wind Turbines - Solacity Inc.

Hope it Helps, Good Luck.
 

chrisski

Solar Addict
Hope it Helps, Good Luck.
Initially does not look good.

An 8’ wide rotor at speeds I’m seeing would produce about 200 watts of power at 15 knots of wind. To fit on top of my roof on my truck without warping or pulling the roof off in a strong wind, I’m hoping for two to three foot turbines.

If the relationship were linear for rotor width, I would think my goal of 120 wh to 240 wh would be realistic. That would mean my 2 or three foot wide rotor would produce 50 to 70 watts of power, and for three hours of wind, that would hit the goal I wanted.

Something tells me rotor width, or maybe its called blade length versus power production is not linear, but inversely proportional, in the wrong direction of what I’m looking for.

It’ll give something to do after I put the panels on The roof and finish this phase of the project.
 

martyfarkle

New Member
If (and when) I have a play with Wind turbines I am impressed with Missouri Wind and Solar (https://mwands.com/). They seem to have pretty reliable and solid products. They are not cheap, but not super expensive either. They have a lot of very useful videos as well. Solar is definitely a nicer way to go, but wind in some areas is 24/7 and churning out AC allows long distance (lighter wire) placement, then using a rectifier to convert AC into DC inside the 'shed'. But the open can of worms means needing a tower, braking system (or dump load: water heating/pumping) to utilize extra power not needed yet to keep a constant load on the turbine to prevent freewheeling. Their turbines can take lots of wind before they have problems.

Just some thoughts, as I am still learning the whole solar setup/running science and have not tried any wind turbine science yet.
 

noenegdod

Solar Enthusiast
There is a dozen different ways you can accomplish this same principal but since rotation is directly proportional to wind speed instead of a multiple they can tolerate substantially higher winds than a "normal" wind turbine.

 

12VoltInstalls

New Member
On the tiny side of wind power- what’s being talked about here- the scale of small wind power equipment generally yields an installed cost that’s low enough to not destroy us if it doesn’t work. Sorting through the garbage is the problem. And low cost doesn’t mean pocket change either because you’ll probably have $500 to $1000+ by the time you’re charging batteries depending on what you buy. Sadly, there’s very few small wind turbines worth buying - though there’s a lot of them selling!

anyway, the “internally braked” wind turbines (shorting phases) isn’t a good idea imho. A switched ‘dump’ or diversion load can control a wind turbine in most circumstances and not burn the thing up. In heavy winds/storms the internally braked turbines can create enough heat at the generator shaft and windings that it can self destruct. The motor isn’t designed to ‘waste’ off heat, but resistance dump loads and water heater elements are.

What I would like to do is build a vawt and was planning to do that based on some plans by an outfit called Lynx Wind but they seem to have disappeared. My attempts to contact them have garnered no response and the website was down.
This design did not boast a huge output but it makes ‘some’ power at a low wind startup speed. Steady 15mph just doesn’t happen at my location but it’s seldom ‘still’. The plans are (were) a diy hand-wound alternator and vanes, and apparently doesn’t (didn’t) need a brake because at high wind speeds it had an inefficiency of design that essentially stalled it before it could reach any unsafe speed. VAWT doesn’t have huge prop diameter nor the propeller speeds needed by more familiar designs, but in spite of its lower output potential it offers some advantages for circumstances like mine (where a few amp-hours overnight would be useful)

I would love to obtain the plans for this design. Might have been called the “Gull” from Lynx Wind.
Anyone have a source for these plans or know where to buy from Lynx?
 

chrisski

Solar Addict
I have been looking at wind turbines. So far, Primus https://www.primuswindpower.com/ is the only company I’d consider. 150,000 installs and around since 1995. No VAWTs, but 1 meter wide turbines. Also fairly expensive at $1500 for the turbine itself, no mount. Also comes with a built in charge controller That can hook directly to a battery. I’m basically looking for something that can make 10 to 25 ah at 12 volts, when my consumption ranges from 110 -165 ah a day. So, more than I want to pay for that few amp hours.

I can’t find any VAWT that is marketed that seems successful, unless I count the E-Bay ones that seem to look the same but are marketed by different companies that have widely different claims,
 

terrango

New Member
I put up a 400w 27 ft pole with 2 6v batteries very cheap. Yes the turbine is only good for lights but it was more of a test for how it would work in -40c manitoba winters. It does work if you are not requiring it to power big loads. My batteries never dropped below 12v even with it being so cold outside. I also have solar powering my chicken coop with bigger loads. That works better than my turbine, but its also not a fair comparison as the panels put out way more power combined. I am upgrading my turbine this summer. I will be putting a 1.5kw turbine and extending the pole to 40ft. So we will see how that goes.

As for noise my turbine is super quiet.
The only way you will know for sure if a turbine works for you is to spend the money and time to put one up. If you don't feel there is enough wind in your location then dont bother. Just i wouldnt recommend a 400w unit as it wont provide what you need.
 

chrisski

Solar Addict
The only way you will know for sure if a turbine works for you is to spend the money and time to put one up.
That’s a shame. Would be nice if more people posted in this section about their experiences.

I’m really only looking for 150 wh to 300 wh a day. I think that’s a small goal. Wish I could find a wind site as active as this site.

With the little out there about it, you’d think I’m the first ever to try this. I doubt that’s true, but if no info is out there than that also tell me those who tried failed.
 

curiouscarbon

Solar Addict
warning: this is probably a bad idea

attach one heavy duty servo to each wheel/arm

when your RV rocks back and forth, enable regen and the servos will both stabilize the movement and extract a small amount of wind power


like this but in reverse

it’s technically wind ;)
 

terrango

New Member
Id be happy to share photos and info on what i did to anyone who is interested. Mine is simply testing purposes right now. I have a power meter monitoring how much power i am collecting. Im trying to see if i can do a solar/wind system for my new house. And i honestly didnt spend much.
 

chrisski

Solar Addict
I'd be happy to share photos and info on what i did to anyone who is interested. Mine is simply testing purposes right now. I have a power meter monitoring how much power i am collecting. Im trying to see if i can do a solar/wind system for my new house. And i honestly didnt spend much.
If you were to start your own thread about your wind turbine experiences, either in this section, the show and tell, or any section I would like that.

I feel like I'm at the end of the internet when I'm searching for the data you mentioned. the 150wh to 300wh per day of wind power, I feel I can hit that goal with and 200 watt windmill kit, but the only thing I read is E-Bay and Amazon windmills don't perform, so if one of those kits would work for me, I'd rather start at that less expensive route than the $2k route.

The places I've set the RV up at are on the edge of mountains/plains and the 8 or so trips I've taken to those two locations, It's calm 22 hours of the day, but the two hours winds are not calm, at sunrise or sunset, there's at least 15 knot winds during that time.
 

Hedges

Photon Sorcerer
warning: this is probably a bad idea

attach one heavy duty servo to each wheel/arm

when your RV rocks back and forth, enable regen and the servos will both stabilize the movement and extract a small amount of wind power


like this but in reverse

it’s technically wind ;)

You're on to something here, but you really need to think bigger:

 

Pyke13

Solar Enthusiast
Look into some of the marine turbines, they have come a long way in the last few years. The problem with vehicle mounted systems is they vibrate. That vibration will keep you awake, it did me anyway. I had one on a 6m pole, i removed it for travel and carried the pole under the chassis. The pole was mounted to the rear of the truck, and the turbine was removed/refitted to the pole as needed. It gave ok amps, think it was about 8-10ah. Handy overnight in winter but not worth the vibration or the effort to set up unless I was parking up for a few days. I just use a petrol generator now, less hassle and better power supply
 
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