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Red Squirrel 03-22-2011 02:53 PM

Wind turbines
Anyone here have a wind turbine at home for electricity generation? I've been toying with the idea of building one, though I don't really have money now and I still need to do lot of research as well as find out any bylaws I should need to follow such as maximum height of a structure, noise, etc.

I'm leaning toward a vertical axis turbine, as there is less moving parts and it just seems overall easier to build, but an horizontal does have a lesser footprint and the blade design itself is probably easier to build. I believe they are more efficient as well since with the vertical ones, the wind is actually going against the oposing blade that is coming back from doing half a revolution. This can be minimized by having lot of blades (ex: like a squirrel cage fan)

Also, if anyone has any, what are you doing as far as the tower goes? Steel tube construction, poured concrete tower? Block? Just mount on the house? It has to be able to witstand wind storms, or is it common practice to actually go out and remove the turbine prior to a big storm? Also how do they do in winter?

I also know I need a battery bank, but i have not fully researched that part yet, Not even sure where I'd put it as my yard is small. I do have room to build a small shed, so I'd probably build a battery house there. At first, I'd probably run the DC straight to the house and power a heater directly something, and expand later.

mickey cassiba 03-22-2011 08:29 PM

I've got a close friend down the road that has several small ones mounted on his house, outbuildings, and in the yard. Around here the wind is a pretty good bet for energy production, he actually sells electricity to the local grid in the spring and summer. But the noise in the house is a little overwhelming at times. YMMV

nap 03-22-2011 08:46 PM

Personally, I have over 800 of these in my yard

with a speedometer type cable hooked to each one and a little bitty generator.

this is the one I am working on getting set up right now. That's me in the orange vest.

mickey cassiba 03-22-2011 08:49 PM

:laughing: bet they don't sound near like the helicopter roar in my friends media room...

Red Squirrel 03-23-2011 07:51 AM

Woah I always forget the true size of those commercial grade ones. What is the power yield of a typical windmill like that? I'm guessing it's near the MW range at full wind speed. I think those go for like a milion dollars too. Some assembly required. I'll order 2.

The paper ones are not a bad idea either, they can have their own DC motor hooked up to it and then I combine all the output at the end. I can bring one down for maintenance with very little effect on the whole system. :laughing:

nap 03-23-2011 10:35 AM


Originally Posted by Red Squirrel (Post 615160)

The paper ones are not a bad idea either, they can have their own DC motor hooked up to it and then I combine all the output at the end. I can bring one down for maintenance with very little effect on the whole system. :laughing:

I like the humor.

Here is a link to a youtube video of a wind farm about 100 miles from me. Some friends of mine were working down there in 2009.
if you look to the list on the right, you will see a few more about the Fowler Ridge Wind farm. The capacity of each unit is 1.5 MW. There are enough units there to create a total of 600MW. I guess there are plans to add enough units to add another 150MW to that. So, that means there is like 400 units currently and they are going to add another 100.

I saw one website that claimed that is the largest wind farm in the US, already, without the added 100 units planned.

I wish I had the pic of the guy I saw of a guy working on one. The pic was taken with the photog on top of the nacelle facing the blades. He was taking a pic of an electrician, tied off of course, on the front side of the prop looking back at the photog. Not sure what he was doing but I guess he had to do it to every one.

To work on the units you had to "test" buy climbing a tower (I think they have a mock up tower for the test) in less than 10 minutes. While that doesn't sound like much, realize the tower is 260 feet tall, straight up. That's an average of 26 feet per minute, every minute, for 10 minutes. Harder than it sounds.

then you had to repel (yes, that's jumping off the outside with a rope in your hands). That was for emergency evac procedures should something happen in the tower where you couldn't come down the ladder.

rditz 03-24-2011 12:52 PM

blades for alternator style
Does anyone have a source where i could buy blades?? I am in southern Ontario...

I have a permanent magnet style that looks like a car alternator. I have lost the place where i originally bought it, and now need blades...



user1007 04-11-2011 09:00 PM

This company won a design engineering award for their approach to wind turbines for homes and buildings. It sits along the ridge of the roof.

Red Squirrel 04-11-2011 09:18 PM

I've seen those, a neat concept, though it wont work well if either the roof is "facing" the wrong way, or if you have a cottage style roof (though there is still a small ridge). something to consider though. My house is L shaped so I could possibly do that for the L part and no matter what way the wind is going at least one will be turning.

I also like the idea of the vertical "squirrel cage" style ones. Probably hard to balance compared to a standard turbine but I suppose with right building technique and precision it can be done. I could probably use lazy suzan hardware as the bearings too and either have a belt going to the alternator, or build the alternator myself into the bottom part. I'm guessing a premade alternator is probably better then anything I can make myself though.

I think I may start by getting a wind speed logger and log wind for a year or so before I even get too serious about this. Will give me an idea of it's worth it or not.

amyevans 05-11-2011 10:05 AM

Aren't solar panels more effective? Even in areas that don't get a huge amount of sun?

DrHicks 05-11-2011 01:28 PM

Several years ago I looked into wind generators. I really liked the ones that are vertical, and essentially look like a tall squirrel-cage fan. No matter what direction the wind is blowing, it turns. Also, as I understand it, they don't make that "far away helicopter drone" sound.

Problem was that the cheapest one was going to run somewhere around $20,000. The numbers just couldn't be penciled out to where it was a value-added project.

By the way, you'll want to check local codes before moving very far forward with a wind generator. Some places - especially anywhere near an airport - get extremely picky about these sort of things.

HomeInsulation 05-27-2011 09:00 AM

Thought About it but Solar looks better
I did a lot of research about wind power because I thought it was a lot cheaper than solar energy.

As it turns out, it was not much cheaper and the potential maintenance was a deal killer for me. The 80 foot high tower right next to my neighbors house also gave me something to consider.

Solar hot water and solar electricity just seem to be quieter and require less maintenance.

Red Squirrel 08-09-2011 02:22 PM

So I've been researching this on and off. One thing I found is the answer to lot of the things I was wondering about how to deal with the variance in voltage and frequency. The charge controller. They also don't look all that expensive considering they are the heart of the system.

Also, interestingly I found this:

Think that article holds some value? It does seem to be making a valid point. It's making me maybe reconsider solar. Only thing with solar is while there is no mechanical maintenance, there is lot of upkeep due due to having to remove snow almost daily for 8-10 months of the year. I also don't have a big yard though I recently cut a tree down that was dying, which opens up a little and I probably have room for a 1-2kw array. Decisions decisions. Not that I have money now for either plan.

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