Frequently Asked Questions
Is There An Alternative To Using Batteries?
Yes. You can connect the wind turbine to a 'grid connect' inverter which is cheaper than batteries (an SMA WindyBoy is one such example). Alternatively you can use the wind turbine for heating only.
Why Use A Heat Sink?
Aluminium heat sinks are used to stop the rectifiers from burning out. This wouldn't take long in strong wind conditions. A heat sink compound is used between the rectifiers and heat sink to aid heat loss.
Why Use A Stop Switch?
The stop switch basically shorts the wind turbine's three incoming phase wires. This stops the blades from turning. If there is extremely strong wind or you are raising the turbine for maintenance then this switch is essential.
How Tall Can I Make My Tower?
These instructions show how to construct a 6m / 20 ft tower. If you wish you can make the tower 9m / 30 ft high which should catch more and less turbulent wind.
My Blades Are Turning Very Slowly?
The wind turbine will start turning in winds of 6mph+. If there is enough wind but the blades still turn slowly then check that the stop switch is not off. There is probably a short somewhere - disconnect the rectifier and see if the blades spin freely. If they turn then replace the rectifiers. If it still doesn't turn freely when connected then use an ohm meter to check the resistance between the three phase wires. If one phase has much less resistance then there is a short between those leads OR a defective stator. As well as these measures check that the stator has enough gap away from the rotors. If the magnets are allowed to rub against the stator for too long then they will lose magnetism and the stator and rotors will both need to be replaced.
How Long Will The Turbine Last?
Wind Turbines can last as long as twenty years when they are properly maintained. The rectifiers (diodes) and batteries may also need to be replaced. The wires in the tower will need to be untwisted fairly regularly (once every couple of months) too. If the wind turbine hasn't had it's bolts fixed with 'loctite' then parts may become loose. Bearings can also fail meaning the hub would need to be replaced. The magnet rotors may also rust if they are not properly coated with rust proof paint.
Do I Need Power Tools To Make The Wind Turbine?
Only a drill. These build your own wind turbine instructions are designed to be used by a hobbyist and thus no welding or hole threading is necessary. All the cutting can be done with hand saws. Having said this, any power tools that you do have would be a bonus and speed up the build process.
My Blades Are Spinning Very Fast?
Use the stop switch immediately! This could mean that the breaker has tripped (unlikely but could happen) or the rectifiers have blown and need to be replaced. Another possiblity is that one of the rectifiers has partially blown or one of the leads has become disonnected. Use an ohm meter to check that the resistance in each of the three phase wires is equal.
Should I Use 'Leading Edge Tape' On My Wind Turbine Blades?
It is not essential but doesn't cause any harm to your wind turbine.
Why Haven't You Used a Gear Box?
A gear box would cause friction losses which would affect how much more efficient the wind turbine is at generating power. However they are a good idea and can almost double the power output but would have made these instructions much more complicated to follow. I am considering doing a second set of instructions with a gear box if time permits.
Can I Use Stainlees Steel or Aluminium For The Magnet Rotors?
Absolutely not! The mild steel in my wind turbine instructions is part of the magnetic circuit - stainless and aluminium simply don't conduct well enough to work.
Can I Use Different Magnets From The N40s?
No. Different grade magnets will make the blades turn either more easily or less in the typical wind range of 10mph to 20mph that the wind turbine has been designed to be optimized for.
Why Use Powder In The Resin Moulds?
This prevents the resin from heating up too much during it's reaction. If the resin heats up too much then when it cools it might warp or crack.
What Size Fuse Should I Use For The Wind Turbine Voltmeter?
For the voltmeter use a 1 amp fuse.
Can I Build My Own Wind Turbine Charge Controller?
Yes, but unfortunately I'm not an electrician so won't be able to help you with this.