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We put up a Wind Generator

DSC_0858 My father bought a wind generator and we erected it Sunday afternoon. He is a HAM radio guy and RF engineer so he had a antenna tower that was perfect for the wind generator. This generator is made by Sunforce and can output 400 Watts in a strong wind and cost about $600 at Amazon. Come see some pictures or the generator going up on a tower.

The first picture above shows the wind generator mounted a top the antenna tower. It was very simple to install with clamps to mount to a standard pipe. We adapted the pipe to the pole and mounted the wind generator with the pole laying down. See the picture below.

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The antenna tower has a cable system to lower the tower to the ground and it also telescopes to 50 feet. For this installation we have the generator mounted at about 30 feet.

With the tower lowered it was easy to install the wind generator and pass the electrical cables though the tower. There was some trouble the first time we erected the tower as we forgot to feed in cable as we telescoped the generator up when the tower was raised. This pulled the connections free so we had to lower the tower and reconnect the power cables.

DSC_0830The picture here shows the Sunforce wind generator mounted on the pole with it lowered. This unit has a built in microcontroller to take care of the generator. It will short the generator to feather the prop if the speed gets to high. After put it up and with no load the prop would spin up then slow down as the microcontroller limited the RPM.

The blades are made from carbon fiber and are thin and sharp. You would not want to take a hit from one of these blades when they are spinning.

The pictures below show the tower being cranked into position.

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The low cost and realistic small size of this generator means that you could just buy one every month or so and install them along a fence line if you have property. They would need to be high enough that no animal could get hit by the blades but ultimately you could get a lot of power with a relatively small progressive investment.

We hope to build a data logger to monitor the wind generator. Maybe we could do an online graph or something showing its performance.

This unit is designed to charge 12V batteries. You could install a power inverter from the batteries to power up appliances. I figure we could run an appliance that uses about 100 Watts from this setup. The wind does not blow all the time here but even so, we want to get some benefit from the wind. It was not a cost-savings investment that led us to installing a wind generator.

Comments Please:

  • If you have a working wind generator we would love to have a link to any information about your installation.
  • Any recommenced equipment? Inverters etc…
  • Other wind power projects, especially those where someone is building a DIY generator.

Posted in Discovering, Projects.


9 Responses

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  1. robodude666 says

    Try building a VAWT (Vertical-axis wind turbines). They are fairly simple and can produce some good power, even under light wind or a small breeze. You seem to have a mighty large open area, so its worth a shot. There are some designs which can generate 90-300w of power. Pair them up with a few battery banks and you have enough to power the house or at least a few toys! I’d also go with Berni’s idea of using an Arduino to read the voltage/current and display on a simple LCD. If you want to go further, put an ethernet port or wifi on it and network it so you can access battery information from the network or away from home!

    Would make a nice weekend project!

  2. John says

    I am looking for something to run my air conditioner in the summer… I’m wondering if this can handle the load…

    Does anyone know? if so can you please email me at cowboysdude @ stny.rr.com

    Many Thanks!!

  3. Daniel says

    You could modify something, to turn it into a flagpole 😉

  4. Berni says

    It would be cool if you would use the arnudino for reading the voltage and meshure the current useing a shunt resistor.Then meaby write it in to a eeprom or send it to the PC.Also you could have it display evrythyng on a simple text LCD, since those are very easy to work with, since all you do is send the text directly to it and it displays.

    Also on the PC you would use exel to make a graph or the power produced and other stuff like batery voltage and load.

  5. dfowler says

    Seems like it would be fairly easy to make a short tower that you could errect on a campsite. Or maybe have it fixed to a truck so that you could stand it up once you made camp.

  6. dfowler says

    The tower we used was designed to be lowered so it had built in pullys and cranks for this. It can be lowered and raised as seen in the pictures and it can be telescoped to 50 feet. We only went up about 30.

  7. dfowler says

    Good ideas all. First thing I want to do is build a monitor that will keep track of the power received. I’m thinking one of those mechanical counters rigged up to show kilowatts collected.

    This wind generator has a automatic load system so that it is safe in high winds. It automaticaly loads down the generator to keep the blade RPM under control.

    It should be fairly robust and reliable.

  8. Berni says

    Would be nice to deisgn a cool controll system with a MCU to like log and display all the voltages,currents etc… and controll it all.

    As for the inverter, id try getting something cheap off ebay.

    Also dont foget a dead load.It is bad to leave such a generator without a load, since it might reach realy high speeds in strong winds and literaly fly a part.Normaly this is a realy big power resistor.Could be esaly made out of a lot of wire. Then simply when the baterys are at full charge have a relay click over from the baterys to the dead load. so insted of chargeing its makeing heat to use up the energy from the propeler and so it cant reach a high engugh speed to self destruct.

  9. Daniel says

    The site doesnt allow direct linking. Probably because I dont have a cookie for it. Anyways this looks very cool. Did you have to contruct the wood pully system for your tower?

    Doubt I have that kind of wind here, but seems like it wouldnt be very hard to attach one to a chimney somehow. I have 4 chimneys. haha.

    Anyway, wonder what kinds of things you could do to it, to make it more efficient. Seems like something could be done to make it collapsible to take it camping, maybe get some power out in the woods. I know alot of you fellow electronic nerds would love to have power out camping.