Wind Generator Selection

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by captainjsw, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. captainjsw
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Perth Western Australia

    captainjsw Junior Member

    Hello everyone,

    I am looking for recommendations on which wind generator to buy. The main criteria is that it needs to be quiet. Seems to me the 3 blade type are the best. Other things I consider important. Reliability, high output, worldwide parts and service.

    Boat is a 17.5m sailing catamaran - intending to do a worldwide trip in 18 months time, just need more power than the solar panels can supply
    Thanks John.
     
  2. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Never met a "Quite" wind generator. The small blade high rpm ones howl...the large blade, slow rotaion ones are whosh whosh quite, but chop your head off.

    For sailing power you might investigate one of these

    http://www.wattandsea.com/hydrogenerateur_en.php


    The oceanic racers use them.
     
  3. captainjsw
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Perth Western Australia

    captainjsw Junior Member

    Right Michael - hehe thanks for the input - I had sort of thought of water generator - I will look into it - the problem is with the fridge, freezer and autopilot I'm using close to 20 A even on a sunny day - so needs something else, its a shame to run the motors when the wind is blowing
     
  4. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Buy more solar panels. More power per unit of money spent. Wind generators are noisy, have low power output and only work well in strong winds. A good anchorage, by definition, doesn't have strong winds. In the real world, the wind gen only works well while crossing the ocean or in trade winds in a bad anchorage.
     
  5. captainjsw
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Perth Western Australia

    captainjsw Junior Member

    Thanks for the input, I do not really have room for more panels, I have purchased what I thought were 2 of 200 watt panels, but only get around 10 amps of output - for the 2 of them, which could be right anyway - the previous boat I had 2 of 64 watts and the output was low too - would be interested to hear if anyone is getting over 10 amps from a 200 watt panel
     
  6. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    10 Amps is approximately what you get; with clean glass and the sun at the right angle 12 Amps is a peak value. The panel has 36 cells, so it generates 18 V @ 12 A which is 200 watts. In a 12 V system the difference is more or less wasted.

    There are 2 reasons for this: to get some output at lower light conditions extra capacity is needed and to charge a battery 12 V is not enough.
    With a switch mode converter instead of a regulator you can get 15 Amps from the same panels.
     
  7. captainjsw
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Perth Western Australia

    captainjsw Junior Member

    OK CDK thanks a lot, I will do some checking over the next few days. The panels are 1306 x 888 and I think they do have 36 cells but most of the time on sunny days in Western Australia I am only getting 10 amps (max). Both panels are wired parallel into a 30A regulator and I thought maybe one panel was open circuit - broken wire or similar, but have disconnected one panel and the current roughly halves, maybe its as simple as cleaning the glass a bit. I will look into a switch mode converter, have not heard of that before - thanks again for your input. - Johnny
     
  8. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I think the secret is a well thought out energy collecting system which incorporates wind, solar, water and diesel. Each has its use. You can always kill the wind generator when you want peace and quite...so get a big one and use it when needed. If your diesel generator goes down and needs one week for repair, you will be a happy camper as you listen to that wind turbine howl , vibrate your teeth and keep the ship alive. .

    Solar is perfect for leaving your boat unattended...silent...and keeping batteries in condition .

    Concentrate on making all your energy consuming systems efficient. for instance Cold plate top load Refrigerators with excellent insulation. Use keel cooling for the refer...the circulation pump required for a sea water cooled system is an energy maintenance hog...a silent captive cooling circulation pump draws very very little dc energy and virtauly last forever. Ive been running mine for 15 years.. http://www.johnson-pump.com/jpmarine/products/circulation/cmco.html

    Ive done away with FREEZERS years ago...way to much energy required to keep things frozen.

    Design your generator, main engine , battery charging, household services system to extract one hundred percent out of each engine hour run. Hot water, via the generator cooling system heat exchanger for instance, allows you to harvest more electric output from the generator .... or belt a refer air conditioning compressor from a car ,off the main engine, to keep the wheelhouse watchkeeper and electronics cooler on long motoring passages. Install effective sun blocking curtains in the wheelhouse. .

    Keep modern electrically driven systems like water makers , air conditioners, chart plotters and gizmo's ..... to the absolute minimum. For airconditioning Use dc computer type fans to silently circulate cool air from the bilge into cabins ....garrentee that this simple low energy system will moderate the heat in your cabin and keep you bilge stores dry and fresh

    I have a water maker...650 hrs of use in 250,000 miles over 15 years...I never use it, to much energy required. Build BIG water tanks...put them everywhere...on deck..in the bow. everywhere.... No one says that you must put to sea with odd water tankage in poor locations. But that extra ton of water carried sure comes in handy when on a one month island hopper cruise and relieves a huge burden from your energy generating gear.
     
  9. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Oh and I recently saw a clever solar panel storage method on a 20 meter french cruising cat. The folding leaves of both the main saloon table and cocpit table were solar panels. When used as a table they faced down. When needed for energy generation these leaves were freed from the tables then errected on the foredeck useing stantard stantion bases and a ss steel yoke . Substantial extra solar capacity when needed.

    Perhaps the back side of hanging locker doors would also be useful for carring solar panels.
     
  10. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    All good advice here above.

    Just to remind you, a 17 meter cat has many square meters of space. 2 solar panels is quite a small setup for such a boat.

    My new 17 meter cat will carry 8 with much room to spare.
     
  11. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    All good advice here above.

    Just to remind you, a 17 meter cat has many square meters of space. 2 solar panels is quite a small setup for such a boat.

    My new 17 meter cat will carry 8 with much room to spare.
     
  12. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Also, you won't see 20 amps from the wind gen. How about a Honda eu2000 if you don't want more solar capacity?
     
  13. captainjsw
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Perth Western Australia

    captainjsw Junior Member

    Thanks for the input - Michael has hit the point, make sure all your systems are working 100% - mine are not. I may have room for a couple of solar panels on the cabin top, will measure up this weekend. But at the moment I am only getting (most of the time) about 10 amps from 2 x 200watt panels - or thats what I purchased, the volvos have 115A alturnators and I suspect the wiring from the engine battery to the house bank is too thin, as I am only getting around 30A max per engine - will replace the wiring on one motor in a day or so. The Genset does not have a alturnator, could maybe fit one - but I have a 50A charger that runs from 240v so use that when the gen set is running. Am sort of moving away from the wind generator idea and will try (over the next couple of weeks) to get the existing systems working better - John
     
  14. captainjsw
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: Perth Western Australia

    captainjsw Junior Member

    CatBuilder - 8 panels would solve the problem - how big will each of your 8 panels be ? most 200watt ones I have looked at are around 1350 x 880mm - have you any experience of actual measured output from a 200watt panel, if my panels are 200 watt, well it seems that I am only getting one third of the rated current, maybe they are 100 watt each - I am going to get someone experienced to look at them next week. Thanks for your comments I am finding them most useful - making me think more "outside the box"
     

  15. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Well, several years back on my old catamaran which had a pair of 120 watt panels and a Xantrex standard charge controller (not MPPT), I would get about 20 amps on a bright sunny day and 10 amps or so on a cloudy day, if I recall correctly.

    I also had an Air-X wind generator on the boat that would put 5 amps here and there, except when there was a huge storm, then it would put out up to 15 amps (if I recall) during gusts. It had to be over 10 knots wind to put out anything more than 0 amps. That's the real rub. They don't work well at all unless you're in a bad anchorage or out to sea.

    Take a close look at the panels yourself. They are (if name brand) labeled with their manufacturer and their wattage. It will be there, on the back of the panel.

    I have only browsed some solar panels online for the catamaran I'm building now. I don't have exact models picked out yet, but I have a 45' (17m) catamaran with a 25' beam. I also have a full hard bimini covering the entire cockpit. There is room enough for a dozen panels up there! :D So, I haven't been too specific about exact panels. I will get the ones that offer the most power for the least money when the time comes.

    The above poster is right though... electrical systems must be approached in a holistic sort of manner. Unfortunately, you have to do the math. Add up the amps for each item running, how many hours it runs per day worst case, and come up with a daily amp draw for your boat.

    Next, look at your batteries. How many days do you want to have of your daily amp hour draw in reserve? If your amp draw per day is 200 AH and you want only to last one day before recharging your batteries, you need 400AH of batteries. If you want to go 2 days without a charge, you need 800AH of batteries. Why? Batteries can only be drawn down to 50% of their rated capacity. (modern, expensive batteries excepted)

    So, then after all that, you take a look at your charging sources. You see how you can put those 200 AH back into the batteries (and then some) every single day.

    It's great to have multiple sources, as was said earlier in the thread.

    So with that 200 AH example number (use your real number) start to see what you can do to your charging systems to make that kind of power per day.

    That's really all there is to electrical systems. It's all about conservation of energy and knowing exactly how much you use in a day, how much you can store, then how you will replace what you use.
     
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