The video and blog post was Part 3 of the Experimental Wind Turbine Tower Project.
As seen in a previous video, the support tower was raised up into place. The 23-foot support tower would make the process of erecting the towers easier and safer. The plan was to come back, lower the tower for maintenance and remove some of the blades. But, as life goes, we had some commitments on the home front, lack of funds for gas, we didn’t get away for weeks.
But the delay did have a perk, the snow and ice finally melted on the logging road short cut that runs over the mountain. (shaves 45 minutes off the 4-1/2 hour drive.)
We finally arrive for the weekend and I notice right away that the wind turbine was missing a blade and the end of the support pole is really hacked up. Odd, the blades should have not have spun. The auto brake was applied to the controller before we left. I was really miffed, was the controller broken? The electrical cable looked OK. Read on to see what happened.
1. Search for the Missing Blade
I was curious to see what it looked like. Did a walk around and couldn’t find it. Decided I needed help, so I put a $10.00 bounty on the missing blade and my children suddenly got interested. A few minutes later, my son found it about 50 yards from the wind turbine. It had wedged itself into the ground by a bush. It hadn’t hit anything (or anyone) and my worse fears melted away.
2. Lower the Tower
The next step was to lower the old metal tower and figure out what went wrong. Used the existing tall, wooden, black pole already attached to the building. Attached a pulley at the top and a few feet below. Did a nice slow lower of the tower with the aid of the car.
During the time we were away from the cabin, we were told there was a big wind storm. A neighbour claimed he saw the wind turbines just spinning like crazy. The result was all the ends of the blades were all chipped and broken. The longest blade was 22-inches and the shortest was 17-inches. Thought it would be best to have all the blades the same length. It would prevent excessive vibration and wobble. Grabbed my hacksaw with a fine tooth blade and cut each blade the saw length.
4. Tree for a tower
As seen in previous videos, the thought was to use an existing dead/diseased tree for the tower. It didn’t cost anything and it was easy to find. If it didn’t work out, I could just cut it up and use for firewood. Most of the trees in my area are called Lodgepole Pine and stand about 50-feet in height.
During the winter, I found a fairly straight tree with hardly any branches. It was dragged out of the bush and laid up to dry. I measured the tree tower and figured it was about 53-feet long. I cut it down to 42′ feet and should work great.
5. Base for the tower
Didn’t have much time to rig up a proper base for the tower. Decided to use what was handy and utilise the existing 6 inch by 6-inch cedar base of the support tower.
Used a chainsaw to cut two notches for the 3/4″ threaded support bar. Drill a hole through the end of the tree tower and inserted the rod through. The rod would then sit in the groove.
6. The Black Knight
In honor of my younger days of watching Monty Python movies, I named the injured wind turbine, the Black Knight. The Black Knight would endure many fatal injuries, but would declare them “flesh wounds” and continue on. Thought it was a good fit for this project. Here’s a link to a clip about the Black Knight: https://youtu.be/zn82OJKrzzs
I also felt the wind turbine needed a spruce up and gave it a coat of black, rust proof paint.
7. The No Power Puzzlement
The tree tower would be 20 feet taller than the previous water pipe tower. The 10/3 SOW wire cable had to be removed and reconfigured to work with another cable. As I was unwrapping a piece of duct table from a joint, I saw that the male and female connect had come lose. Not sure how it happened, maybe when the ice pulled the tower over a bit and the vibrations just worked everything loose. It also explained why the blades were “free spinning”, there was no load from the battery bank and the turbine could do whatever. The best way to fix the problem, purchase a new 60-feet of heavy-duty cable. But, reality kicks in and I don’t have spare cash to spend on cable. (The cost is around $2.39 per lineal foot.) The piece I have now is 25-feet long and I’ll search Craigslist and garage sales for more. I would have to figure a new way to connect the cables and add a strain relief.
8. Raise the tree tower
The next step was to raise the new, taller tree tower. Attached ropes to all the pulley points. The other end of the ropes were then attached to tow hooks on the cars. Took the necessary safety steps and planned my route and add support in case the tower fell. I then proceed to test the tower out for sag. Tried twice and the tree tower bent like an archer bow. Hmm, a lot of weight there. I got this feeling that it wasn’t a good idea. I needed to add more support, change the place of the ropes on the tree tower. An extra pulley wouldn’t hurt either. As I was standing there working out the extras, it started blow a cold rain and I decided it’s going to have to wait for another weekend. I’d rather do it right the first time and prevent a disaster. I dismantled the tower, bunched up the wires and put the tools away. There will always be another weekend for projects.
Thanks for your patience and following our adventures.
Well, I am proud to announce I finally got the big turbine up in the air and working. A neighbour came over and gave me a hand to raise the wind turbine tower. It wasn’t super heavy, but with two people it made it a lot easier. What also helped was securing a winch and a pulley to a tree next to the guest cabin roof. The extra height really helped to raise the tower and keep the tower pipe from bending.
The only set back was the tower is not as high as I wanted. A 40 foot tall tower would be ideal, but I’m having a hard time sourcing long water pipe. The metal scrappers in my area are snapping up all the metal for recycling. I did find a 30-foot clothes line pole on Craigslist but getting it home and then to the cabin would be an ordeal. I could see it striking another car if it was strapped to the roof of my car. The “experts” claim that the best, undisturbed wind, is 20 feel about the tree line. The trees in around the cabin are called Lodgepole Pine. Very tall and skinny tree with the average height of 36 feet. My only hope is to build a platform up in a tree and then erect a wind turbine mount on it. A hard task, since I’m a little afraid of certain heights. Never used to be like that… something must have happened when I turned 40.
Picked up a Sunforce/Coleman 600 Watt 3 Phase Charger Controller from eBay. The controller is MPPT, 12 or 24 volts, rated for 600 watts, has AC hook up and an optional DC hook up for a solar panel or wind turbine and a brake switch. It was part of a $700 wind turbine kit that included a wind turbine, meter and charge controller. The seller said his tower had collapsed and he was selling off the components separately.
Before raising the tower, all the wire were connected and fuses installed for safety. Sorry, don’t have any exciting amps/voltage numbers to share. I’m still messing around with the proper hook up to the wattmeter. I hooked it up wrong and it displayed the wattage the equipment is consuming, not producing.
Did manage to hook up the charge controller/brake mechanism. I’m curious to see how it works out over the gusty winter months.
The wind turbine is located in the same spot as the previous smaller wind turbine. It’s close to the battery bank and out of harms way from people traffic. As mentioned before, I wish it was a lot higher, but that will come in time. Made a nifty mount to the side of the guest cabin for the tower pole. Since this type of wind turbine and blades generates a lot of vibration, I didn’t want it touching, but still wanted a snug fit. Found an old tube from a portable generator and inserted it between the pole and the wood brace. Then, with a bicycle pump, put about 10 lbs of air in the tube. It inflated and filled in the void. Should provide a nice tight fit and minimal vibration.
Take a peek at my base, used 4 hockey pucks to suck up some of the vibration. Works pretty well!
Never know what to find when you arrive to an off grid property. Drove up with the family on Friday night and saw the small wind turbine tower was at a serious list to one side. Didn’t see damage from a tree branch or a broken guy wire. The small tower is located on top of the bunk house. What had happened was the ice on the roof was melting and slowly creeping off. A portion of the roof snow (like an iceberg) had grabbed a hold of a guy wire and was tugging it in one direction. I managed to knock off a large chunk of snow and ice without falling off the ladder or breaking window below. The next day, I went back and straightened out the tower and added another guy wire. It’s good for now, but changes will be made for next years winter.
Finding a suitable location for the big (600 watt) wind turbine tower has been an ongoing project. One of the main problems is our location was surrounded by 40 foot tall trees.
I also want it relatively close to the cabin for security reasons and close to the deep cycle batteries.
In a previous video, I mount the tower to the side of the cabin, but the sound of the vibrations was way to loud. The next step was to mount it on top or right next to the new deck, but my spouse said it was an eye sore. The next idea was to mount it on the side of a large tree
The tower is made from two 10′ long by 1′ in diameter water pipes.
All the construction materials are from other projects or recycled material.
Feel free to makes suggestions.
Finally had a need for the big wind turbine. This was the 600 watt wind turbine I was working on back in 2012. Never had a use for it until I scored a deal on four, used, deep cycle batteries. The plan was to use this turbine to charge up a separate battery bank for the main cabin. Rigged up a basic tower out of 1 inch, inside diameter, galvanized water pipe. Connected a 3 and 10 foot long sections together with couplings. The main tower was supported by two “legs” secured by a pipe flange to the wood deck. Would like to make the tower taller and add guy wires, but the height will work fine for testing.
The next step was to set it up on the corner of the cabin and see how it functions. Did not want it hooked up to the batteries yet. Just wanted to see how the location at the corner of the cabin works. One of my concerns was the vibrations that travels through our cabin (and eventually our neighbours cabin next door). Also would all the nuts and bolts stay tight?
So, that night, after I got some of the other chores knocked off, carried out all the parts and started to assemble the tower. Used a pulley and a large log as a counterweight. The counterweight made it possible for one person to easy lift the tower. Once it was in place next to the cabin, used a 4 inch U-bolt to secure it to the fascia board. Did not use any rubber material, like an old tire, under the floor flanges. (I was in a rush and didn’t take my time). So, I got it up in place without any problems. The next day, I would keep a close eye on it and see how it does. But, according to Murphy’s law, the next day had no wind. Dead calm. Didn’t get to see it work. By the end of Sunday night, it was time to head back home.
The next weekend, I headed back up to the cabin to finish off a grey water drainage and insulation project (videos to come next week). It was a good weekend, the wind was gusty almost everyday. Nice! Finally heard the turbine turning from inside the cabin. It sounded like the Star Trek Enterprise going into warp drive. The vibration sound started out low and then would reach a super high pitch and back down. But, it was not consistent. As much as I would appreciate the power it would be generating, most people would find it VERY annoying.
So, the next plan is to find a spot to move it too, but keep it close enough to the battery bank. Haven’t found a permanent place yet. Some of the best spots are right in the middle of where people walk are difficult to attach guy wires to. So, the search is still on.
Here’s a link to one of the earlier videos
Part 1- Recycled Mount for Wind Turbine
Thanks for watching!
This video is a shout out to SolarShedParts.com.
A few months ago, I received a present from solarshedparts.com and didn’t open it until now. It was a box full of hard drive, rare earth, magnets for the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine project. Sweet! Totally appreciate the effort and time involved stripping all those hard drives.
I’ll make sure to return the gift with some solar cells and EVA backing. Hopefully they can be used for another contest SolarShedParts puts on for their subscribers.
Be sure to check out solarshedparts.com YouTube channel and website.