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anyone make a wind generator ??

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  • anyone make a wind generator ??

    i have to live with all the wind, i figured it would be nice to put it to work for me. i can run my house off a 5500w generator when power goes out so i figure it would not take much to make a wind powered one to get me off the grid. anyone done anything like this ??? or know any good places for research or info on them ?

  • #2
    "Make" quarterly magazine

    [I replied to your post on the Motosports board, but, I'll add it here, since this is a better place for it.]

    They ran a piece last year on making a wind generator. Not sure of the output. Looks like they sell back issues for $15.


    • #3
      I always think about how to use a car's alternator to do this. The problem is that you'd need a battery just to generate a field current. Depending on the size of the alternator, wind speed, and wind mill blade size- you could realize 500 watts at 120 volts once it is converted. The reason I want to use an altenator is because its already AC current. (No inverter required.. A pricy item especially if you want some serious power.) All you'd need to do is regulate it, step it up and away you go. Now if you can get 10 of those going and synchronize them, you could run a small welder or most of the lighting load in your home..but you need the space.

      Keep in mind that as you draw power from this rig, the magnetic forces inside the alternator will tent to make the windmill want to slow down. Ever notice that when you put a huge load on a gas genny, it will bog and then come back up to speed? I cant remember what this is called but its inherant to any generator that has a load.

      If you could find yourself a series wound dc motor, hook that up to your windmill with some ten foot, well balanced blades you could really make some serious power- depending on how large a dc motor you find.. ANY DC MOTOR CAN BE MADE INTO A GENERATOR. A series motor will however continue to create more and more current until it finally burns up. This is what A.G.Bell put into service to light up the late 19th century - until Tesla showed him up that is. the problem is that you need to convert this power to AC if you want to be able to run it any distance. (voltage drop-line loss)

      Ive got a hybrid solar system running on a cabin up country. We talk a great deal about adding wind to our setup. The problem is that we are surrounded by 50 foot trees so we would have to build a pretty high tower to get up into the prevailing winds. If we did though... Ooooh weeeeeeeeeee! We could have tv, microwave, kettle, PC, etc.. pretty much any 1500watt appliance.
      Our system is 12 volts, 200 watts and charges a bank of 6 volt series/parallel lead acid batteries which in turn goes through a 750watt inverter. This will run a small 12inch tv, battery chargers, small electric tools and our lighting load without worry of going flat dead.

      A "hybrid" system is one that has both solar and gas generator on a common circuit. Through the use of a transfer switch, we can use one or the other to charge our batteries or use the gas genny or the inverter to run the lights

      Search out solar power and you will be sure to come across some wind generation ideas.

      I hope this helps you out and these links will give you some more ideas:
      Last edited by SignWave; 12-04-2007, 10:19 PM.


      • #4
        kits & book


        • #5
          nice looking rig, but how long would it take to pay it off?
          thats the real queston behind "getting off the grid"

          My electricity bill avg's a 100/month (give or take depending on time of year and work being done)

          5 years (on the inside) is a long time for 5.5 Kw. the avg electric stove requires 10Kw @ 240VAC.

          None the less this is still a nice looking rig. Most of the parts look easy enough to fab. even that micro porcessor controller isnt too hard to make if you have the right setup


          • #6
   this site is one of many on the net.just search alternate energy,DIY generator,ETC. good luck Don


            • #7
              paying off is the real problem. seems getting off the grid is more expensive then staying on. the thought i had was maybe pick up a surplus generator head and making a wind mill to turn it. then i would have to find a way to hook to the grid switched so i gave back when i had plenty of wind and took when none was to be had.
              the veggie oil version would be cool but thats a lot of oil, i would need to find a source and then the Lil diesel motor is a high $ item.
              i was kinda hoping to unload my mercedes-benz 450sl to finance whatever i decided to go with. i think i better look into possible veggie oil options wile I'm at it.
              i suppose doing a partial power situation, like just lighting would be a good starting point. but with all my light bulbs being the lil florescent ones i don't suspect its much of my bill any way.
              maybe i should look into making a green car first as its about to be my biggest problem anyway. although if i could get my house heater to run off veggie oil that would save me about $3,000 a year. as its an oil heater now i wonder how much would be needed to make the conversion?? or if it's even doable ???
              i guess i gotta do a lot more research and decide on one project to concentrate on. as hybrids start hitting the market gas prices are going to go up, even more so as usage declines i suspect. thats really going to hurt the low income guys like me. guess i better build the car first.
              thanks for the input guy's. my first thought was wind power as i am always getting blow around out here anyway, no shortage of wind. that and i saw Jay Leno went wind powered on his shop. nice unit. high teck and very cool.

              just thinking out loud and wondering if any of you all have done any of the above.


              • #8
                conserve gas, _ _ _ _ in a jar...

                Ive been there over and over and over.
                some hairbrained ideas i have had include the watercar, waterboat, geothermal heatexchange, solar, and human power.Some are do-able but expensive to build , run, and maintain while others are just a dream.

                Perhaps if you were to put all of the above together.... then maybe the sum of the parts would add up to something significant. i dunno.

                Like you, I am devising a way to heat my home with alternate sources. Right now the list is topped by a wood burning fire place that has a water system plumbed into it. the idea is to heat water, store it in a large brass tank which i could get from the local salvage yard for a 1.50/lb , run pipes to a radiator(s) of sorts with the use of a circulation pump and also benifit from the hotwater made to suplement the shower or bathtub uses. Unfortunately my house doesnt lend itself well to the type of fireplace i want to use so I must iether find a different approach or get a different firebox.

                My home has the chimney on the outside of the building and so it suffers from "cold flue syndrome" and because of this, the house would always stink of smoke and whatever else went through the fireplace. Chances are too that smoke would come into the house until the chimney was warm enough. This isnt the most enviro freindly way of going abou things either...Theres always some sort of challenge and nothing is easy...

                on the subject of "environmentally freindly cars..." a car whoes emmisions have been lowered to the point of non exisitance still produces massive quantities of CO2. Same goes for propane and CLNG. These fuels may burn cleaner with less hydrocarbon emmisions but the resultant compounds of perfect combustion is still and always will be water vapour and carbon dioxide.

                This is why we need to make cars run on water. this is the only reaction where the resultant product(s) of combustion does not contain CO2


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SignWave View Post
                  Like you, I am devising a way to heat my home with alternate sources. Right now the list is topped by a wood burning fire place that has a water system plumbed into it. the idea is to heat water, store it in a large brass tank which i could get from the local salvage yard for a 1.50/lb , run pipes to a radiator(s) of sorts with the use of a circulation pump and also benifit from the hotwater made to suplement the shower or bathtub uses. Unfortunately my house doesnt lend itself well to the type of fireplace i want to use so I must iether find a different approach or get a different firebox.
                  its funny you say that.. a guy at work just built his shop and installed the radiant infloor heating .. tubes inside the concrete slab that are hooked up to a manifold and to a boiler.. heat the water,, circ it through a circ pump and heat up the concrete..the nice thing about the concrete.,.when insulated well.. holds heat for a good time.. when i build my garage.. i plan on expanding on this.. i will have a boiler (natural gas/propane fired.. small/home unit) to a manifold and then to a heat exhanger that will be heated by a wood burning stove as well.. so when im actually in the shop i can fire up the stove and heat the water in the floor with the stove.. ALSO.. i was thinking.. every now and then ill see a house with 3 or 4 LARGE banks of water tubes on the roof.. backed with black material with small copper pipes run through it.. the water in the pipes heat up from the sun and manifold that source into a switching bank.. so theroetically, have 3 different sources of energy to heat the garage..

                  i know.. alot to do just to heat a shop....when i was young (and sometimes now still) and starting out..doing hours of work on my truck in my driveway with no garage in western NY in my carharts chapped my a$$ and i vowed to myself when i get the chance ill have a nice heated garage ..


                  • #10

                    I hear ya on the open carport work. Ugh. I'll give ya a great big homer shiver on that one. I still have to deal with that and im so not liking it any more. Actually i never liked it , but had (have) no choice. It would be really great to be able to rip up the slab, repour with radiant tubes in place, enclose the space with the fireplace in there somewhere and be free of the winter shivers.
                    I think it would probably be better or easier to sell the house and find something better suited to the idea i have in mind.

                    As for windmills, that 5.5 a few posts back could theoretically run a couple of thousand watts of electric baseboard heat. 2Kw is sufficient to heat about 800 sq feet fairly well in a reasonable amount of time, provided the wind is blowing..


                    • #11
                      heating the house is definitely the largest expense i have. and the heated water/fluid threw the floors was one of my first thoughts. but to do it by a boiler system or to try to soler heat it?? soler would be nice but in NY winter can you make hot water with soler?????
                      another big problem i have is poor insulation ( trailer) so thats a big hit there. i thought about building a tire/earth wall across the front of the place as wind comes in that way hard all the time. just stooping the wind would help. new window (better ins. value) and adding a 3/4 furring strips and a layer of sheet rock helped big time on that wall. but the rest is still in big need.

                      as for the car idea, i do have one advantage. most all my trips are under 40 miles round trip........if i could just get the wife to peddle.....


                      • #12
                        Funny that this topic has come up. I've been thinking bout tinkering around with some of these same ideas. From my research, wind gen up to about 1Kw -1.5Kw are typically permanent magnet type units that are direct driven from a turbine. There's two main draw backs about the alternator applications. (these are from reading, not personal trial). First, car and truck alts don't reach their rated power until about 3K RPM. Because of this, a gearing system has to be employed. Any additional steps add more drag in small increments from belt tension to gear lube viscosity. The other neg part of alts is that they are inherently parasitic in their nature. They require an external supply to run the field coils. Now that you have done all this work to harness precious wind power, a percentage of it gets eaten up just to make it work. That's the beauty of Per Mag designs. Although an up side to alts is that you can get a three wire style unit with remote voltage sensing and have it sense at you battery bank and therefore overcome loses in the commutator from the turbine to the tower and any line loss that is present.

                        Of course, I'm a born tinkerer, so here's my idea. I'm looking at picking up a 24V truck alt (either by Delco or maybe a Leese Neville). Building up a large enough turbine to handle the gearing and the alt load. Then, here's where it gets tricky. Pull the diode block out and put in a 3ph buck/boost transformer to step it up so that the current is low and the transmission cabling will be reasonable. Then buck the voltage back down at the battery bank and run it through the rectifiers and at that point connect the sensing lead to run back to the unit. Then, if I can afford it, hook up a grid synchronizing inverter system. Couple this with Net Metering (where your meter actually runs backward when your are putting power back into the grid and "storing" your watts as credit with the power company) and in theory it should work. Now, how long it will take to pay for itself, I don't know, but that's not the point of tinkering, now is it??

                        On the subject of radiant floors, a friend of mine plumbed his shop floor in various zones. That way, when he was working on a car the area under the mechanic bay could be turned on and have a toasty floor to lay on.

                        Last edited by SkidSteerSteve; 12-05-2007, 09:54 PM.


                        • #13
                          you cant obviously boil water with solar... but its gotta work some how.. i see them on roof tops often around here..especially out my way where its less crowded... and your really not boiling the water.. just heating it up enought to transfer that heat from teh water into the concrete.. heck.. you could use an effeciant hot water heater.. only draw back with that is you really dont want to store teh water and heat want to heat it and start pumping it right away.. overseas in japan..wall mounted electric/gas "flash" heaters are the rave.. super effeciant,, and work awesome... you could even use one of them...

                          as for the sun warming up the water.. on decent days.. even in cold weather..UV rays should still hit the black backdrop of the pipes,, and warm them up that way.. may jus tbe enough to take some of the load of the boiler... i plan on keepin my dream shop at a toasty 50deg's at all times..and crankin her up to 80 when im in there working... welding and fabing in a hoola shirt and flipflops in janurary!!!

                          you all are welcome for the februrary cookout BBQ and spades tourny


                          • #14
                            Boiling water with solar is unrealistic due to the time over which the needed energy would be produced in order to be transferred into the water (the water would dissipate the heat before you could achieve the temp).

                            Solar assisted hot water heat would be a good idea.

                            What we found in my 9th grade science class, was that via solar and a concave mirror focused on a black or olive green pipe, we were able to raise room temp water up to 120F. So that's as good as a typical hot water heater. Not bad for free. But this was also with an ambient temp of 60-70F. In winter, that same 60 degree differential would only get you back up to 60 if it was 0 outside. However, that's still comfortable if you're augmenting a furnace.

                            Enclosing the mechanism prevents convective losses as well as conserving radiant losses which boost efficiency. This is what has become typical of permanent installations. It also keeps the mirrors clean.

                            If I were trying to heat a big building with a flat roof, I would definately invest in solar hot water assist with in-floor heat.

                            The only reason I didn't do in-floor radiant heat in my shop is because I didn't want to limit my ability to anchor to the floor.


                            • #15
                              sounds like using a soler water heater to heat the water then running it threw some radiant heater units in the house could definitely reduce the over-all house heating $$ several radiator heater units threw-out the house with 120 degree water in them would have to add some heat to the house.
                              sounds like a good place to start. do some more research on how to make a nice big soler heater over the winter and get it built this summer. next winter it could be useful. the big question would be $$ invested VS $ saved. but at $3.89 a gal for heating oil, it seems like even a 20% decrease in oil usage would cover a good bit of build $$. 20% of my heating bill is like $600.oo thats a lot of build $$. i'll definitely have to look in that direction wile looking into wind generators. a 10K generator head is only like $400. the problem is getting the wind mill to keep it at speed, and then the $ for the hook up a grid synchronizing inverter system. Couple this with Net Metering (where your meter actually runs backward when your are putting power back into the grid and "storing" your watts as credit with the power company). that part is a must for any real savings in the electric bill. any other wind electric could only be used to power battery's witch would just cover lighting. helpfully but a very small part of the over all bill.
                              well i'll keep looking at options and let you all know if i come up with any that seem do-able and low $$ in parts. if i can afford to do it then it would most likely be very do-able for the rest of ya. even if you just use it to keep the back yard shop a little warmer wile you are not in there.


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