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Wind Generator up and running!

Discussion in 'Members Lounge' started by tcmtech, May 18, 2009.

  1. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I thought I'd show off my project I have been working on the last few weeks when I had time.

    It's a rework of my home made wind generator.
    The generator is a 1.5 hp DC motor that I picked up on eBay for about $30 with shipping. I also bought a 6:1 gear reduction PTO box on eBay for about $40 with shipping. It was originally on a 12 hp Kohler engine.

    I machined the end of the electric motor shaft and the gear off of the engine to fit together so that I could bolt the gear box up to the motor and use it as a speed increaser.
    I have had 10 -15 mph winds all day to day and it has been running at 80 -100 volts with peaks of 150+ !

    The blades are stock commercial 8.5 ft WindMax units from eBay. I machined out a new hub and spaced them to now be 9 ft dia.

    The main support is a 5/16 high strength plate that I cut slots in and made it adjustable to fit on any pole from 7 to 10 inches in diameter.
    Plus each corner has about a half inch of adjustability in order to level the plate and generator when its on the actual pole.;)
    The center support shaft is a 1.75 inch heavy wall pipe that just fits inside the generator frame pipe. The pivot bearing is a standard clutch throwout bearing with a 1.8 inch inside dia. ($25 at the auto parts store)

    The blade balancer is just a shaft and some bearings I machined out to support the blade and hub assy for final balance. I took the bearing seals out and cleaned all the grease out of them and replaced it with a few drops of automatic transmission fluid. The support shaft will now spin with the weight of a dime at .5 inches off center! This home made balancer is so accurate that it can sense when one additional nut is placed on the root of one blade. ;)
    Even surprized me too!

    I still have some detail work to do yet but the system is up and running.
    I finally have a real life working conditions power source to test my 1.5 KW high voltage GTI with. :)

    Total investment for this project is around $750 and about 80 hours of time. Thats for the whole buildup including the pole, metal for the generator frame and misc parts, machining and fabrication time, plus the 275 ft run of 6 gauge aluminum cable bringing the power down the hill.
     

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  2. JimB

    JimB Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I am impressed!

    A few questions:

    How do you prevent the cable between the head and the mast from "winding up" as the head turns with varying wind directions?

    What is the four legged mast for?

    What is the single wire mounted on poles for?

    JimB
     
  3. bryan1

    bryan1 Well-Known Member

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    Hi TCM,
    That looks like a lot of work for a genny that will fall over when the first real storm hits. Is the tower wood as thats what it looks from the pictures. The guy attach points look like coat hanging rings and the guy cable looks way too small. Also there isn't ant furling installed so when the mill is really overspeeding how will it stop from self destructing?

    I know a few people who tried stepping up the ratio above 1:1 and not 1 guy has had any real sucess. Anyway you did say it was running at high voltage but what current were you getting out of it ? DC motors are considered good 100-200 watt gennies and the amatek DC motors are the most popular.

    To get real power from a wind genny it is best to go 3 phase AC and there are heaps of idea's on different types on the net (and in my sticky).

    Sorry if I seem critical in this post but I have seen my earlier towers bend, buckle and guy wires snap (1/4" high tensile wire).

    With all the hard work you've put in can I suggest
    1. redo the mount with furling
    2. remake a solid mount for the guys and use decent sized cable
    3. get rid of the speed increaser as with those blades they will provide the speed you need or even better make a 3 phase genny- a motor conversion or dual axial flux.


    Cheers Bryan :rolleyes:
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. gramo

    gramo New Member

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    If I were building one, its comments like that I'd be looking for to improve on it - I'm sure tcmtech will walk away with someone from it for sure :eek:

    tcmtech - Great job mate - I'm thinking about doing something similar myself, but I clearly do not have as much land space (your pictures imply you have a nicely sized property!) and will have to settle for something quite a lot smaller that complies with the council's rules in this area..
     
  6. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    No little and under built machines here!;):D

    This is North Dakota. Everything I build is designed to stay standing at 100+ mph wind speeds due to the fact we get that in gust fronts at least once or twice a year. I have never had a tower failure yet and I dont plan on ever having one!:)
    The only blades I have ever lost on my designs have been damaged by hail or ice storms.:(

    The tower is a standard utility power line pole. 12 inch at the base and 9 inches at he top, and 5 ft in the ground. The guy wire are 3/8 inch aircraft cable rated at 6000+ pounds working load. The anchors into the pole are 5/8 inch x 5 inch lag bolts with 3/8 inch chain links welded to the heads. The ground anchors are 4.5 ft long and screwed in 4 ft.
    Its hard to get a good size comparison but the tower is 20ft tall to the top of the pole and the hill is nearly 100 ft higher than my yard elevation.

    Every generator I have built has been DC output and since I run GTI systems its not a problem. This DC motor is a commercial 1.5 hp rated at 15 amps and 115 volts continuous duty.
    I have high winds today and right now I am dumping into a 1500 watt infrared quartz heater. It still topping 160 volts with that load on it. The peak watts are well over 2500! I am a little concerned though! The peak amps are well over the motor rating too. I did not expect that much power. :eek:

    The gear up works well but right now the motor is new and the bearings and brushes are still tight so I do have to bump it to get it to start if the wind is under 15 mph. That hopefully will were off in a few days. If not I built the system so its some what modular and all I have to do is swap the generator head.;)
    I have several Getty's servo motors rated at 60 volts per 1000 rpm at 50 amps. They work well for direct drive applications. I may have to switch to one of them if the gear drive does not loosen up any better.
    If I rewind one I should be able to get the same output power and voltage I have now but they whey around 150 pounds and are a pain to work with at that hight.:(

    I dont use that flimsy and weak crap. Everything is over built to typically 3 -5 times the structural capacity of similar factory made systems of comparable size.
    I am lazy so I am only going to build it once. So that means its going to be done right the first time!:)
     
  7. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Right now I dont have my slip ring assembly done so its just got a few extra feet of cord to work with. If it gets wound up to much I will just toss a rope over the tail and spin it around to unwind it. But I have had several generators on the smaller tower in front of it for about 6 years and I have never had any problems with cord wrapping issues.

    Which part are you referring too? the small tower in the one picture or the adjustable base plate to pole adapter?

    What wire on poles? The fence line?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  8. JimB

    JimB Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    See my edit of your photo.

    JimB
     

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  9. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    The four leg tower is my old 10 ft tower. The new blade set was to big for it and was pulling it out of the ground. Plus it had weak air flow from the north and east sides. I decided to move the new generator design up to the pole. That was built with the capacity to hold a much bigger system. Plus it has good air flow from all directions.
    That was really what most of this project was about. Just doing a generator design change and a relocation to get better wind.

    The wire is just the top line on a fence. Being that wire is old rusty iron it shows up in the picture better. The other three below it are galvanized and blend in with the back ground.
     
  10. JimB

    JimB Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    OK, if I look carefully at the photo, I can just see the other wires on the fence.

    JimB
     
  11. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I thought I would take some pictures of the view I have from where the wind generator is sitting. I dont think I could ask for a much better location! The pictures are a rough panoramic going full circle from S, SE, E, NE, N, NW, W, SW.
    The hill ramps the wind up from the local primary wind directions very well.

    It survived one full day of 20 -25 mph winds with no observable trouble.:)
    Now they weather prediction is 20 -30 mph for tomorrow! Normally when I change the wind generator design the wind will go dead calm for days at a time.:(

    During some high gusts I did see I have an inch or two of pole movement yet so hopefully I can get the guy wire tensioners in place tomorrow as well. Its fairly solid with them just hand tensioned and wire wrapped with tape over that to keep them in place.

    The pole is more than adequate for the size of generator I have now. I just wanted the guy wires there to act as stabilizers so the pole cant get to wobbling to much.;)
     

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    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  12. killivolt

    killivolt Well-Known Member

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    I like the view. What I see is country livin with a twist. ha,ha.:p

    Good luck with the geni.


    kv:)
     
  13. Andy1845c

    Andy1845c Active Member

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    Where did you get the pole? Do you have a friend that works for the power company? It has always been my understanding that they don't give old ones away for liability reasons.

    I kinda want a few for an antenna setup someday. :)
     
  14. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Utility poles? Anybody can get one!
    Put an add in the paper saying you need some.
    Good used poles go for about $10 - $25 each.
    $100 - $200 for one of the big grid line poles. 30+ inch's at the base and 50+ feet tall!
    Stop by any big electrical contractors place that does work for the local city or utility companies. Around here they have loads of them stacked up.
    Or just ask your local utility company if you can get some old ones to cut down to use for fence posts or retaining walls.
    Or stop by an abandoned farm stead and cut off the old yard light pole. :D

    Mine came from the neighbors yard. He said if I pulled it out I could have it. 10 minutes with a spade and a tractor and I had a good 30 ft pole.:)
     
  15. Andy1845c

    Andy1845c Active Member

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    I have heard ham radio guys talk about them being hard to get because the power company doesn't want to be somehow found responsable when some idiot gets hurt with it. :rolleyes:

    One of those tall high-line poles would be an awesome antenna tower. But then again I guess wood peckers like to peck them, and I don't think I could set a 50'+ pole on my own, so it might be one of those deals where its better to just buy a steel tower. Seems to me there was an artical in CQ magizine that kinda came to the same conclusion.
     
  16. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Possible, but how many things can YOU hurt yourself with that could be considered liabilities to the original owner?

    I cant come up with a single item that I could not hurt myself with in some way!;)

    Unrestrained stupidity with enough motivation makes anything deadly! :D
     
  17. Andy1845c

    Andy1845c Active Member

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    Oh I completly agree, lol, but in this day and age of lawsuits, can't you just see some guy setting one a foot and a half deep and then trying to sue the power company that sold/gave them the pole when it falls over on their house? :rolleyes:

    Kinda spoils things for the rest of us!
     
  18. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    Screw the electric company, I doubt they make them, find out where they buy them from. All they need to do is sign a simple disclaimer and it's all 100% safe for the company selling them.
     
  19. tcmtech

    tcmtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    As I said. Put an ad in the paper. You will be over whelmed!

    Or a Sunday drive around the country side with a long trailer and chainsaw will get you a load of poles too!:D

    A few hours just driving around your local towns and doing some treasure hunting will likely get you in touch with someone that has a pole or knows someone that does.
    There are millions of them used for city lighting and every now and then they change out a few. My local city departments have no problem with letting people buy used stuff.

    As far as getting a big one set in place on the cheap and low down, check with your local sign company maintenance truck crew. They use big poles for some signs and thusly have equipment that can pick and place one easily. If you get the pole on site and the hole made for it you may be able to bribe a sign crew to stop by and set it for you! And with most crews you will likely get the cash equals no questions asked install policy.
    I worked for a sign company for a few months and we got a few side line dollars for 'picking up stuff and putting it in places' with our boom truck.
    $50 cash will get a very big pole put in a hole for you no questions asked!

    And dont worry about wood peckers they dont like the chemicals that they treat the poles with. There are no bugs for them to eat so they wont do much destructive drilling! ;)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
  20. forumlicker007

    forumlicker007 New Member

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    Wow. That's great tcm. I think you've got the motor at a good deal ;-)
     
  21. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    tcmtech,

    nice job. Want to start mine soon. It is not apparent if you have a furling mechanism to govern of the speed. How do you govern the speed?

    Andrew
     

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