and pulling the damn thing off the tower (which, because I don't like paying $100 an hour for a crane, requires a home made tower top adapter and a series of pulleys and ropes that I won't show here in deference to those with a weak heart) because the original manufacturer, World Power Technology developed a series of retro-fit upgrades in response to some problems that emerged with the design. To be fair, I must say that they were forthright about the problems and paid for shipping it from the factory a couple times in addition to labor & materials. And I certainly cannot fault Southwest Windpower (now called Xzres) who now owns the assets of World Power Technology; they have been very cooperative and helpful as they've assumed responsibility for this design (which they now call a Whisper 175). In fact, as of this time, we are acting as a beta test site for an improved blade mount that they developed to deal with an occasional blade cracking problem.. so far it works great and no other problems have emerged.
Now if you noticed the solar panels on the home page you might be wondering how they figure into this. Well, after a couple Summers of listening to the air conditioner hum while the electric meter spun and the turbine didn't in the mid-year doldrums, I concluded that some photo-voltaic capacity would be a nice addition to the system. So I ordered four BP SX 140 solar panels made by bp solar made a trip to my local steel warehouse,
The resulting installation put the turbine hub about 50 feet above the yard. At some point in the future a 100 foot tower will probably show up on my project list..... just please don't tell Willi; she doesn't like it when I climb and just doesn't understand that sometimes shit happens.....
BUT it didn't take too long for our neighbors, who knew of my interests (and perhaps considered me marginally nuts), to start asking if we planned to put up a modern electric wind turbine. While that wasn't the original plan, a couple beers and a 'what the heck' later, yet another home project was taking shape.
Now the folks at Home Power magazine would quickly and correctly point out that putting a turbine on a 40 foot tower near trees like we have is NOT a good idea because power generation will be lower than optimum and erratic due to local turbulence. However, (to borrow a phrase from the Car Talk guys) unencumbered by the thought process, I proceeded to put 13 feet of 5 inch schedule 40 pipe and a 3 kW Whisper 3000 turbine on the top of the tower.
.and LARGE yard ornament.
...it was ready to stand it up: And shortly we had a dandy lookout tower.
(because I may be a little nuts, but no where near as crazy as those old timers who wrestled with 100 + pound gear boxes while standing on four 1"x10" planks)...
Once it was to its new home with a little paint and a new, larger platform installed,
So on a foggy early morning in the Summer of 1995 I made a sprint down the highway with it in tow (well, at least as fast as the old Ford could go in 3rd).
"But officer, I was SURE it's OK to drive farm implements down a state highway................. isn't it?"
In addition to my penchant for major home projects and the other toys around here that keep me out of the bars (or at least minimizes my trips to the homebrew shop) I have a long standing interest in alternative energy sources.
Actually, the first such project got started as something else when I decided to drag home an old water pumper windmill to play with:
After a fair amount of planning and hacking it was ready to roll....
I tied it into the batteries using a SolarBoost 3048 charger from RV Power Products (now calledBlue Sky)which turned out to be another great product that works exactly as advertised pretty much right out of the box.
For those interested in learning more about alternative energy technology (and I recommend that you DO learn more before jumping into it like I did), visit the mid-west renewable energy web site or the Iowa renewable energy web site and plan to attend some of the conferences and seminars.
Yes, I know good trackers can be bought,
but what fun is that?
A little paint & concrete later, it was ready for final assembly and the panels to be installed.
The inverter, a 4 kW Trace SW4048 from Xantrex Technology has been a great, trouble free piece of equipment providing bumpless uninterruptible power for selected loads like the 'fridge, freezer & boiler.
I wish I could say the same for the turbine. Unfortunately I got pretty good at working aloft.......