In recent years wind power has really taken off. With that recognition a lot of fly by night operations have popped up claiming that by buying their product and using a little spit a duct tape a wind generator of epic proportions can be fashioned that will reduce or eliminate the buyers power bill.In many instances these products will simply not work leaving buyer frustrated with a bad taste for wind power.
The first mistake or trap I find many falling into is buying inappropriate DC motors to build wind generators out of. For a long time it was cost effective to buy an ametek motor and a home made turbine could be made for 50-100 dollars. The problem nowadays is that the motors have gotten so expensive. The decent dc motors are running from 200-400 dollars. This is not taking into account the fact you will need brushes that will need to be replaced,a difficult task for an obsolete product.
The trend of DIY wind turbine building has been fueled by myths that originated in online booklets for sale that described the ametek 38 as an ideal motor " not true" and indicate that a home built wind generator is usually better than a prefab kit. That motor for instance will not even begin to charge a 12 volt system until the wind is in excess of 20 MPH. This is however good in relation to a lot of dc generators sold on e bay. 90% of the motor sold on e bay as wind generator motor come from surplus houses and are not suitable for wind turbine building. They either have brushes too small that will burn up or do not have the power curve to charge a 12 volt system.Here is an example. One motor that was sold at surplus center for 6$ is regularly sold on e bay for 100$
The advertisement will read something like as follows
They say do the "MATH" example: 130V X 5 Amps = 650 watts. Must be true right? They fail to disclose or take advantage of the fact many consumers are not aware it is not 100 percent efficient. Power curves are not linear and most important the output would be at the motors rated RPM. In this case 10000 RPM. The generator has to exceed 12 volt to charge you battery bank. Knowing that your project is not going to turn at more than 1000 rpm long story short the buyer paid 100 dollars for a 6 dollar motor that will not charge anything. Bottom line stay away from buying DC motors unless you know what you are doing.
Next I just want to say a few words about some of the other companies on the market. A second major class of small residential wind generators are the folks building with delco alternators. These work and are a better investment than blowing money on an incompatible dc motor, however most of those companies are stat boosting their outputs, some by gross amounts. I get calls from customers daily trying to match up our SWEA products with these turbines. Sometimes it is difficult to tell customers that they do not need the 1K grid tie they assume they need because the 1 K turbine they have just bought really only put out 250 watts.
If you do decide to experiment with wind power companies that buy cargo ship container loads of turbines from China with the cheapest components available you will get a working turbine. Unfortunatley with that is that it will not last. If you do not get a quality product with good bearings and quality coatings it will not pay for itself over time as it isn't going to be around long.
The purpose of this article is not simply to complain about other companies. As a matter of fact Terry over at TLG makes a great product. It is more an issue of I am in a position daily answering e mail and customer calls from people that have frankly been in my "opinion" scammed out of a lot of money. If you are in the market for green energy products take your time and do the research before you lay you money down. Besides saving the environment isn't the point to save money by going green?
Hi my name is Anthony Jones owner of Hurricane Windpower.A quality wind generator store. We are located in Roanoke Virginia. I hold a Master of Arts and have been in the alternative energy field for 5 years.
Visit us on the web at: http://www.Hurricanewindpower.com
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