Wind Power Basics/Opinions









The following are my opinions on what to do based on what I've learned.

1.    Document your projects.  

You'll be amazed to see how much you have learned when you look back over what you've done.  Also it makes your project more "professional".  It also seems to help your planning, and deciding what you should do next.

2.    Safety and Security.

Make safety the first thing you think about.  The first thing I did when I put up my tower was to buy a safety harness.  I wear it and use it every time I go up.  Always use a fuse in your circuit.  And make sure people are out of the way when equipment is being hoisted.  You can never be too safety minded.

3.     Put up an Anemometer.

This will help you determine if you really have enough wind to be practical.  12 to 16 mph is very nice.  Here is a link to a good affordable one.   Keep in mind that the wind speed is different at 30' up then it is on the ground.  And by the way 30'-40' off the ground seems to be a good height for a mill.

4.     Determine your needs.  (Mill size)

The popular Ametek motor (for me) puts out 75-150 watts of power.  The larger 60 volt tape drive motors put out 200-300 watts. (12 - 18 mph) A blocking diode is necessary to keep the PM generator from turning into a motor when connected to the batteries.  You'll lose about 1/2 a volt pushing current through the diode.           

5.     Use large enough wire.

The resistance of 10 gauge wire is 0.001 ohms per foot.  Remember there is always two wires going up that tower or pole.  The higher the voltage, the more power can flow through the same size wire.  

6.     Use a regulator.

Even though a small wind generator may only be "trickle charging" your battery bank, there should come a time when the batteries are fully charged.  A regulator circuit with a "shunt" load appears to be the best system.  Here is the link to where I bought mine.  I'm not sure he is still in business, but you can give it a try. The one pictured above is actually a 150 watt solar unit manufactured by Aerovironment which seems to be perfect for the smaller Ametek generators.

7.     Look into a furling method.

From what I've read, the most damage done to wind mills is not from just high winds but wind gusts.  A method to pivot the tail or furl it seems to be a good solution. 


If you come up with other bits of wisdom, please email them to me.