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12-15-2009

How I home-built an electricity producing Wind turbine. Part 8

This web site has become very popular. Thank you all for your interest and encouragement. I am getting tons of email questions from people about all sorts wind power related (and not so related) issues. Many are the same few questions asked over and over again. Unfortunately I simply don't have the time to answer them all. I do try to read them all, but my busy schedule simply doesn't allow enough time to respond to most of them. So don't take it personally if you don't get a response. I'll instead post responses to the most commonly asked questions here as time allows.

Question #1: How do you prevent the power cable coming down the inside of the tower from winding up over time?

Answer: This is by far the most asked question I get from people. The short answer is I don't do anything to prevent it. The cable really doesn't wind up all that badly. The wind is as liable to spin the turbine head around one way as it is the other. So there is no real tendency for the cable to wind up badly. If it does wind up over time, it is no big deal to simply disconnect the wires at the bottom and manually unwind it. I have an idea for a fairly easy to build slip-ring system that would prevent any possibility of winding up the cable. At present though, there is little need to actually try implementing it. Maybe I'll try it out on a future turbine.

Question #2: Can you help me design/build a wind power system that will power my whole home/farm so I can get out from under the thumb of my evil electric utility company?

Answer: The short answer is no. Not just due to time constraints, but also because my system isn't designed to produce enough electricity to power an entire home or farm. My system was just designed to provide a couple of hundred Watts tops in an area where no other electric options were available. I am working on design and construction of other wind turbines and even solar panels to increase my power production beyond the current minimal level. However, even if successful, these new additions would still not power a typical home or farm. My ultimate goal is to have enough power from wind and solar sources to power a small cabin and observatory on my remote property that will only be occupied occasionally and won't have much need for electricity. If you need a bigger system, then you need someone with experience with bigger systems to help you out.

Question #3: What are you working on now?

Answer: As time permits I am reworking the charge controller. It is going to be mounted in a weather-proof case with automotive-style voltage and amp meters installed on it. I have all the parts I need, but time to work on it is lacking. I am also working on a new design for the turbine head that will automatically turn out of the wind if it gets too strong so as to prevent over-speed damage. I have also started work on building a solar panel out of cheaply acquired solar cell seconds (from Ebay ) and commonly available construction materials. Once there is any progress on that project, I'll post it to the web site, but probably in its own section, rather than here on the wind turbine page.

To be continued

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