Brian’s Morning Newsletter for April 28th 2009
Yeah, really good
our wind turbine is in the wind.
I know some of you were worrying why we would stand the tower up with no wind turbine, when in reality we knew exactly what we were doing. You see, Kevin and I are ecstatic about the tumultuous pinnacle of events of late, but at the same time we are excruciatingly weary, because of the heightened level of work involved.
Yep, the turbine whirly-gig thingy, as some of you called it in yesterdays correspondence, is now in its rightful place atop the tower. After the dry run, or as noted, tower raising without the turbine, we determined that, oh about a hundred things we designed and fabricated, worked well enough to merit installing the wind turbine on the tower. Namely, the cables were all the proper length for the tower to pivot on the base hinge to the vertical and back down to the ground, without snapping anything loose.
We of course are elated that everything worked as well as it did, and after final assembly of the wind turbine on the tower with cable run up the middle of the pipes we soldered and bolted everything together for the big test, one which I’ve been not so enthusiastically anticipating. It looks cool flying, no doubt, and that makes up for a look of anxiety I have about the hundred interconnected sub-systems, so that’s some kind of hairy balancing act of nerves and excitement, which I hope time will sooth.
After all, it’s all about time, with wind power. How long can the mechanisms we built withstand the torments of the wind? How long is acceptable? Let’s see, it took a year to build, well less if we discount the time it took to build the shop to build wind turbines in, but anyway, yeah, two weeks? Two months? We already made it through one night, and wouldn’t you know it? It is dead still outside right now. Not even a wisp of a breeze. Figures.
Okay let’s get on with the pictures.
Kevin in what will doubtless be a common position of the wind turbine observer; head leaning way back for hours on end. At the moment this is pretty much the extent of our data logging abilities; observation.
This is what we had in mind all along. A workshop with a wind turbine spinning in a light breeze, doors open to the views, Kevin inside checking electronics, perfect.
Speaking of electronics, you may recall that one of the snags we hit was the inverter we got from Jonathan converts 12 volts DC to 110 volts AC. Our turbine is wired to put out 24 volts DC, whoops. While Kevin and I were working late in the shop the other night, he said, "We (referring to Jona and Kevin) tried to make one of the battery backups (UPS) work as an inverter, but didn’t have any luck." Using the UPS Kevin pointed to I recalled that the good guys from Desertgate have been collecting dead battery backups for me. I hauled the UPS we have been tripping over in the shop for months to a pile in the yard destined for the dump, and retrieved a battery backup from the old shop. That’s it there in the image, kind a white faced blur, although to me it looks like a box with the cover off, exposing a butt load of electronics. The important thing is that this particular box has the capability to convert a small amount of energy at 24 volts DC to 100 volts AC, just like we need.
We had the small refrigerator in the image above, as well as a small fan, two 75 watt incandescent lamps, the stereo, and for a while one power tool running from the batteries which in turn are being charged by our wind turbine. 8-)
I went out to the shop at 2:00 AM to see how things were going, and noted that there wasn’t any wind, and the batteries were down to 23.5 volts from 24.5 which they were at earlier in the day yesterday. SO yeah our system was using more energy than the wind turbine was delivering. Another minor nerve irritant lingering in the dark recesses of my head, what happens when the batteries are fully charged and the wind really starts to blow?
It turns out this isn’t something we need to let bother us at the moment at least. The turbine alternator for reasons which won’t be clear until we preform more test today isn’t putting out anywhere near the power we hoped it would. It may be something as simple as a glitch in the way the ammeter is wired in, again we don’t know, for sure, we will figure it out, because I’ve been telling people this turbine ought to put out 25 to 35 amps in a good wind, and we saw only 3 to 5 amps output in a great breeze yesterday.
Ah the learning curve, what fun it is. Always making us think, think, think. What if?Test the idea, see if there is merit, repeat.
So yeah, we are pretty excited, but possibly just over-tired, but not to worry, I’ll be takin lots of pictures for ya.
Don’t forget to see the YouTube video I made this morning of the wind turbine in action. It is short and sweet.
Don’t worry be happy.