Here is the story in Pictures and words.Most recent events at the top
|January 11th 2018 I took the turbine down, this was the first nice dry calm day since the storm. The damage to the stator can be repaied fortinately by cutting out the damaged fibreglass and recasting. Time for Carbon Fibre Blades I think......|
|January 2nd 2018 Storm in the afternnoon was strong enough to make the blades wizz round, despite bing turned off with the Brake. The wind did abate in the evening so I took the plunge and turned the turbine on. Hugh Piggot tends to leave his running in high wind, because if the blades do turn with nothing to power, it can burn out the stator. The following morning a Blade had been blown off and another broken, with damage to the Stator visible.|
|February 22nd 2017 Well the turbine had been working for a few days only when storm Doris appeared. I turned the turbine off, but noticed that it was not turning nice and slowly as it should. I thought that it might be rubbung the stator, so kept it turned off and took it down on February 24th only to find that half the stator had disintegrated. I have no idea why, there was no rubbing to be found when it was erected, and nothing had come loose. In the photo on the right you can see right through to the other side in the bottom left of the image. The damage is quite dramatic!! Ho Hum, make another one.|
|February 6th 2017 I decided to replace both discs, so had two new diss cut and galvanised. Bought a set of 24 magnets which were coated, unlike the original ones with a mild steel disc and magnets not galvanised. I also added a surround of stainless steel seizing wire to reinforce the unit. Here the unit is in the mould, ready for the fibreglass casting. I finally got the turbine up again on February 19th.|
|January 2nd 2017 The cause of the loss of power was ALL the magnets coming off the inside disc, caused by the magnets rusting, and forcing the fibreglass mould off the metal disk, which then split and came off the turbine as potentially deadly missiles, sticking well into the ground nearby!! The disc itself seemed ok. The outside Disk appeard to be fine, and in fact was.|
|January 1st 2017 1600 I noticed Turbine had suddenly lost power and increaed RPM at about 1145. Putting the BRAKE on the trubine did not stop it, so I left it on. It was too late in the day to take the turbine down, also it was quite windy. Taking the Turbine down the following day was dangerous, because it was windy and the blades were wizzing round, even at ground level. Below is the relevent graph of the Turbine Output showing sudden loss of power at about 0200hrs with little change in wind speed. However at about 1600 the RPM Dropped and output fell, but wind speed ramined stable. On the right is a photo of one piece of the magnet mould.|
|April 2nd 2014 The mast is repaired, a new Blade made and balanced, and a Gin Pole fitted. "Michael, are you winching?", "Yes" came the reply. We looked up, and all that was happening was the Gin Pole was bending under the compression force of the lift!! So a stronger pole was made, and fitted to the mast base frame rather than the mast itself to reduce pressure on the mast.|
|March 10th 2014 After a long run of very stormy weather, and some procrastination, the bent mast is repaired, the Blade replaced and ready to erect. The Hydrolic Ram System was struggling to lift the mast with the additional weight of the reinforced pipe. When it got to 45 Degrees, it broke in the middle at a weld point. Fortunately no-one was injured. The ladder broke the fall, and the heavy blade I had used to replace the broken one smashed on the ground, another blade was buried quite deep, but only split and the tail a little bent. No other apparent damage was found. Very Lucky!! So the mast went back for repair, I had to get some Dutch friends who were visiting the following week to bring wood for a new blade with them, because I could not source any Red Cedar in Cork. I decided to change the lifting method to a Tirfor Winch and Gin Pole which will put less strain on the mast when lifting. So another fitting into the rock for the winch, and more wire for the Gin Pole wasa fixed up. Here's hoping it works now!|
|December 26th 2013 a severe storm during the night caused the mast to bend which resulted in a broken blade when I restarted it 2 days later. We had gusts of 70knots (80mph or 127kph). Turning it on again at lunchtime on 27th with winds gusting to 45 knots (normally no problem) everything seemed OK. However problem came to light during the afternoon. Major repairs are necessary.|
|19th April 2013
Took Turbine down. Apart from broken blades, the Stator has cracked round one of the fixings. Araldite and fibreglass required here, and new blades will need to be carved.
|17th April 2013 Storm force winds gusting to 67knots (just into force 12) caused all three baldes to break off at the root. The bits of blade were scattered around, some well embedded into the ground. Thanks goodness no-one was nearby at the time!|
|9th April 2013 Turbine stopped suddenly as if the brake was on. It turned out to be corrosion of the small bit of exposed copper wire from Stator. Easily cured by improved insulation.|
|28th September 2012
Here on the left is the working electrical/electronic enclosure. (See the electronics page for more details)
There are 2 LDRs to allow the turbine to be switched between the Solar Hot Water Tanks or the Buffer Tank as determined by the Solar Tank Temperature. On the right todays plot. Heat going into the Solar Hot Water Tank is shaded blue, into the Buffer Tank is shaded green. Wind Speed is the blue line, Turbine RPM is red, and Solar Tank Temperature is green. (See the electronics page for more details)
|16th September 2012
Finally the dual element immersion arrives for the Solar Hot Water Tank. This has a 1Kw 48v DC element and a 3kW 240v AC element. This allows me to heat the tank from the turbine and or the mains. The Solar Hot Water Tank also is heated from the Solar Panels. I am writing this 2 weeks after I got it installed and working, and the mains immersion has not been used at all. Our hot water coming from Solar Panels or the Wind Turbine only.
|30th April 2012
Yet another Challenge!!!
Yesterday teatime the system went wrong again. I had switched off the turbine to change some wiring for the arduino, and when I came to switchon again all I got was a very slow turbine RPM with Output Volts at 5 or 6 and Amps at 2, so no output really. I checked the Immersion and all was OK, so the only thing it can be is the LDR 48-30 Load Controller is not working, so the poor turbine is having to push against the 1kW Immersion Load. Despite winds at about 20knts it cannot do that. I have added the output graph for the day up to the problem starting, and also my graph of Twists and Turns calculated from the wind direction recorded by my weather station. More on these on the Electronics Page. I await a new controller.
|24th April 2012
I am getting there!
With a new LDR Controller in place (see photo on left), a proper Shield I have built for the Arduino Monitor, and wiring re-routed all I was waiting for was a new Immersion Heater.
The new one arrived and the old one taken out. Nothing to see on inspection, but you can see the considerable difference in quality between these two items. The new one is the bigger heater fitting flush inside the tank, unlike the other one which is smaller, has very tight bends, and is not flush with tank, so I think would risk overheating. A possible cause for it's failure. 29th April 2012
The turbine has been running all day in winds from 5 - 35 knots. It is producing about 1kW when wind is above 20knts, so doing really well...... Watch this space!
|4th April 2012
Yet another challenge!
Susy heard a big bang and smell of burning from our plant room this morning at 0745 UTC. On inspection it turned out that the Load Controller for the Wind Turbine had blown a fuse, and fried a varistor on the LDR 48-30 controller board. The rather charred result is seen in the pictures left and right. On Hugh Piggott's advice I checked for an earth problem and discovered to my horror that the Immersion +ve was conducting to earth. Must be a fault in the Immersion as the root cause of the problem. So I need a new LDR (unfortunately it did not work!) and I need to investigate the immersion further.
Will I ever get this thing to work for more than a few days at a time? It was certainly pushing a good 1000 Watts into the tank with 20-30knots of breeze, so working above spec. Great!
|1st April 2012 continued
On the left is the turbine in place on the top of the mast with the tail supported on the back of the quad bike. My friend Michael and I were able to get the turbine erected between us very easily in the end. And finally on the right the turbine can be seen working in only 5 knots of breeze. Not enough to produce energy, it needs nearer 8 knots to do that, but it does start turning at this wind speed. I have just got to get the circuit for monitoring the Amps calibrated, and then see how much power we are getting out of it. More on this when I have it sorted.
|1st April 2012
At last I have the three new blades carved, balanced and painted up. The Hydraulic Ram has been moved under the mast. I discovered that pushing is more efficient than pulling, and it proved correct. Using my compact tractor and a light push up on the mast up it went. The ram can be seen on the right, however, because it would not extend to raise the mast through 90 degrees, I put a rope with a 2:1 purchase on the upper wire guy rope to pull it up the last 20 degrees or so by hand, which proved to be very easy to do.
|22nd March 1012
On getting up today the turbine could be seen to be vibrating badly. I thought the balance weight had fallen off, but on stopping the machine I could see two of the blades had broken overnight. The maximum wind had only been about 12 knots.
I found the tip of one blade which revealed the problem (see closeup photo on the right). The blades had hit one of the wires. I know they are close, but not that close! They must have flexed somehow to hit a wire.
I will have to take it all down, extend the mast a little and make two new blades. Watch this space.........
|19th March 2012
The blades were attached and we were ready to hoist. Unfortunately my tractor refused to lift the mast with the weight of the turbine on the top. We managed to get a neighbour with a bigger tractor to come over (Many thanks indeed to Doni and Michael), but the bigger tractor would not lift it either! We resorted to the tractor and man power, and up it went!
The cables were connected, and having tightened up the guy wires, we switched the brake off and away it went. In around 10+ knots of breeze it is producing over 250 watts. Not bad! The software for monitoring the output is working, but does need some tweeking, so nothing ready to go up on the net yet.
|19th March 2012
The mast base is in place, and mast is back from galvanizing, so was fitted on 18th and all the wire guy ropes set up. It was an easy job with the hydraulic ram to raise and lower the mast using my compact tractor.
On th 19th the turbine was placed on the top with the cables running down the mast as can be seen on the right here.
|Mid February 2012
Wooden shuttering in place for the concrete base has metal reinforcing drilled into the rock to hold the mast nice and steady. On the right is the mast undergoing testing in the yard up at the forge. I am using a hydrolic ram to raise and lower it powered by the tractor. We tested the mast with JJ who weighs 75kg hanging on the top, and it went up with no problem. The mast will be galvanised and have wire guy ropes for support.
|Mid February 2012
Holes are drilled into the rock for the guy wires. Mike is busy squirting the Chemical Fixing prior to knocking the metal loops into place.
|Mid February 2012
Now for the ground work. Fortunately I was able to find a position about 30 metres from the house where a concrete base could be made for the mast, and the fixings for the wire guy ropes could be put directly into the rock. On the left is the site looking west across Dunmannus Bay into the Atlantic Ocean. It should be windy enough! On the right Dan is busy getting the levels correct using a laser gismo.
|Late February 2012
The Turbine Control and Monitor is finished. On the left is the outside showing the Brake Switch, AC Volts, DC Amps, DC Volts and LCD from the Arduino Monitor. The wind speed at the time was about 4 m/sec (8 knots) Inside the unit the LDR 48-30 controller is in the middle with the PSU for the Arduino and the Arduino 'Stack' bottom right. The rectifiers are just out of shot on the far left of the pictures fixed to a big heat sink.
|Mid February 2012
All balanced and painted up the finished turbine is on the big stand for testing once the electronics have been done.
|31 January 2012
The Blades are fully finished and put onto the Turbine Assembly for the first time, ready for balancing.
|The Very End of January 2012
The blades are finished and ready to be assembled. They need to be set up nice and level before screwing together.
|Late January 2012
On the left the front face of each of the three blades has been carved out. On the right the back face is nearly finished on one of them. You can see how thin the blade has become. There is a lot of wood chippings. Great for starting the wood burner!
|Late January 2012
The blades are carved by hand from 3 planks of Red Cedar with no visible knots. Precision and patience are required. We used a mallet and chisles, hand planes and a small orbital sander to do the job. Here are the very early stages of carving the first blade.
|End January 2012
Here we have the inner magnet disc in place on the hub, and the Stator set up ready for the outer magnet disc to be slowly let into place using threaded bars as a steadying device. The magnets atttract so strongly there has to be very good control or they will crash together possibly severing wayward fingers!
|End January 2012
There are two 10mm metal discs to hold 12 magnets each which will spin round on the hub either side of the Stator holding the coils producing 48 volts AC. These magnets are placed on the discs using a template cut from plywood. Once in position they are cast in fibreglass for protection against the elements. On the left there is some fibreglass in the mould. On the right the mould is full and ready for the lid.
|Late mid December 2011
The coils are placed in a mould and connected correctly before being cast in fibreglass
|Mid December 2011
There are nine coils in the stator, all have to be hand wound on a frame made from plywood. The photo on the left shows a coil just started to be wound. There will be 110 turns per coil. On the right is a finished coil; weight 374 grams.
|End of November 2011
The frame with the trailer hub (on the left) is finished. The tail is made also. What a mess the workshop is in!
|Late November 2011
After the course, I did a good bit of research, finally deciding to construct the 3000 Turbine. On the left welding begins. On the right the frame is set up for welding the tail hinge inner pipe. Difficult to get the angles correct!
These images were taken on the course I did. Here is Eddie Connors showing a small turbine with the tail in the normal position on the left, and 'furled' for when the wind is blowing hard.