My Halifax wind mill

Discussion in 'Post Your Photos' started by redmapleleaf, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. redmapleleaf

    redmapleleaf WindyNation Engineer

    Hi all,

    I just got my windmill up. I used windy nation pma 500W and a set of their hyperspin blades. My tower is about 20' tall. I am on the Atlantic coast line in Halifax, Nova Scotia so I am hoping not having to build a high tower. As it is, it is already difficult for me to setup this tower as I am using way big and heavy steel pipe (about 4' pipe) so it is really hard to raise and lower.

    I didn't have time to get a real charge controller so I bought a Sunforce solar charge controller at a local Canadian Tire store. It doesn't have the load diversion feature like other windmill charge controller. I was hoping that it can help to keep my battery from overcharged for now before I could get my hand on a real charge controller for wind generator.

    Some results: first before I hooked up to the charge controller and battery, I noticed that the blades was spinning real fast. As soon as the battery is hooked up then it spins a lot slower. I guess this means that the battery load is slowing it down, am I correct?

    second, I noticed that it didn't get a lot of charge. I had good wind (15-20mph) for the whole weekend and the battery is never fully charged. When I switched the charge controller to show current display, it only showed 0.1amp and less. This doesn't sound right because I would thought that a 500w pma at 12V should give me in the order of 10-40amp. I wonder if you have any idea that can help me?

    Thank you for your help

    Attached Files:

  2. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    I will try to help by going off what I can see.

    First off, we recommend using the 35 inch WindGrabber blades for our 500 Watt PMA. They are 7 inches longer (14 inch more swept diameter) and wider throughout compared to the HyperSpin blades. The HyperSpins do not have the torque to really drive this PMA to its full potential when it is under load. So, using the larger blades will definitely help.

    Next thing I would say is that your charge controller is not correctly reading the amps or you have the controller hooked up wrong. 0.1 amp is probably what the controller reads when nothing is hooked up to it. Even with the HyperSpin blades, your wind turbine is going to hit over 0.1 amp in about 6 mph wind (the cut-in wind speed).

    Try bypassing the controller and hooking up the + and - output wires from the rectifier straight to the + and - on your battery bank. Then try measuring the current.

    You can shoot us an e-mail at if you want one on one help with getting things working.
  3. mark99

    mark99 WindyNation Engineer

    redmapleleaf, I like your set up. I bet being on the water you get a great deal of wind. I have a windynation 500 watt PMA and I am I am very happy with it.I also had a hyperspin 28 inch blade set to start with.I went to a 35 inch set after a tower failure and saw an improvement.I noticed from your picture that your wire set seemed to run a long way.One of the reason I went to a PMA was that it generated AC in stead of DC electrtiicy. I know it travels better over a distance, I started with DC motors as generators. I had the bigs improvement when I moved my battery bank and inverter close to the windmill.The inverter voltage is much higher and travels over a distance much better.This is something I learned by trial an error.I have been down this road and wanted to share what I have learned the hard way. Good Luck mark99
  4. BeachBum

    BeachBum WindyNation Engineer

    Looking at your second picture, it appears you are using 12 or 14 AWG Romex between your PMA and your rectifier. You might consider using an insulated three wire larger guage wire. There are many things that can make you loose amps. Using too small a wire is huge. Also heat will cause you a problem. This heat can come from high ambient temperature (hot sun on your Non-UV rated Romex) or too many wires close together (like in a conduit). Long distances between your wind turbine and inverter setup also demands that you use a larger wire. How far is this distance? Depending on the distance, you could even go to a #8 3-wire Romex rated for UV or buried (if that's how your wires go).
    Also, I agree completely with Windy about using the process of elimination to determine were your problem is. After you've ruled out your components (controller, inverter, rectifier) as being the source of the problem; and if raising or lowering your tower is a problem, you might consider bringing your inverter rig, a ladder, and one battery to your wind turbine. Bypass the wire in your pipe. You can use a shorter 3-wire romex (or heavy duty extension cord) outside the pipe to test this part of the rig before having to lower your tower or spend money on replacing the long 3-wire run between your wind turbine and where ever it is you inverter normally is mounted.
    If I had to bet, I would think your wires are too small. I hope this helps you, and good luck. Let us know when you figure it out. Thanks for your post.
  5. redmapleleaf

    redmapleleaf WindyNation Engineer

    From your input, I guess that first I need to figure out why my amp is so low. From Mark99 and BeachBum comments, I think I may have a problem with the wiring. The distance that I have is about 60'-80' from the PMA to the rectifier. I used two types of wires for connection. First was the power cord from a spare vacuum cleaner (20' from PMA on the tower to the ground), the remaining second part of the wiring was a home electrical cord. I know my wiring is not to the best code standard but I am still wondering if this would cause such a big drop in the current???
  6. BeachBum

    BeachBum WindyNation Engineer

    You may be right. I just looked at your second picture again. You appear to be using a WindyNation 80 Amp 3-phase Bridge Rectifier. If so, it appears you have the DC connection reversed. Look at the diagram on the rectifier. I'm looking at your rectifier mounted to a piece of plywood with the terminals toward the wood. You have the 3 AC terminals to the bottom (hooked to a small Romex), and the 2 DC terminals to the top (hooked to a black and a white wire). The black (+) positive wire should be attached to the top right positive DC terminal. The white (-) negative should be attached to the to left negative DC terminal on the rectifier block. If you have the wiring backward, it would explain the extreme current drop. Make sure to check the polarity on everything before you energize your system. Once you correct this, I think you will still need to use a bigger wire to get the most from your system at the distance you described. Google the National Electric Code (NEC Table 310.16) to study wire size and Amperage loss. Please let me know if this worked for you.
  7. TomT

    TomT WindyNation Engineer

    Those connections look like they run under the rectifier. They should be on top as not to short out on the fins. Unless you have a cutout under the rectifier.
  8. redmapleleaf

    redmapleleaf WindyNation Engineer

    BeachBum: not sure if I understand you completely. The rectifier has a 3 connectors (AC) on the one side and 2 connectors (DC) on the other. I connected the 3connectors on the bottom to the 3 phase inputs from the PMA. The DC output at the top go into the charge controller. The output from the charge controller then connected to the battery. Did you see a problem with this? the charge controller is the one with the voltmeter and amp reader that tell me about the battery status.

    TomT: I used a looong screw to screw the rectifier to the plywood. The screw is long enough to raise the rectifier enough off the board so that the rectifier connectors don't touch the wood surface. I didn't want to turn the rectifier upside down for aesthetic reason ;)
  9. murray2paddles

    murray2paddles WindyNation Engineer

    Hello Redmaple

    If you could turn your rectifier around for just 2 sec. we could have a look at your wiring, please tell us if you used black or white as your positive.

    Your wire distance is about the same as mine on my 500 and the same as yours feeds my batteries. I used # 12, 3 wire and it works fine. BUT as the others have said, if you have access to a heavier wire like the # 10 or # 8 go for it in cause if your set up changes in the future and requires braking of your turbine, then due to the heat build up the heavier wire is needed.

    For now looks good. I am not familiar with the solar controller you are using but due to it not having a dump load and your battery bank not being too big in amp hrs., I would not put off to long in setting up a proper controller with a dump. I think when you get your Volts feeding correctly you are going to fill up those batteries real fast.
    Then all you will need in the future would be a furling mount to take care of big winds.

    It looks so beautiful where you live. Is that a salt water inlet ? If so you and Beach will have lots in common due to the salt water / air conditions.
    Great location for your tower, I bet you are raising lots of looks and questions from others.

    Good job and thanks for sharing
  10. BeachBum

    BeachBum WindyNation Engineer

    Swap the 2 wires that connect to the DC side of the Rectifier. You have them backward. Looking at the way you currently have the rectifier mounted (with the cooling fins out, and the DC on the top) the top-right terminal is the positive (+). You should have attached the black positive wire there. The Negative terminal (-) is the top-left, the way you have it currently mounted. Attach the white wire there. This is supposed to be a picture of the rectifier the way you have it mounted (with the fins out):

    (White wire here) (Black wire here)
    DC (-) DC (+)
    ________________________________ <------------- RECTIFIER
    AC AC AC
    (3-wires to wind turbine attach here)
  11. BeachBum

    BeachBum WindyNation Engineer

    The picture didn't turn out great. I'll try to send you a photograph if you still don't understand what I'm saying.
  12. TomT

    TomT WindyNation Engineer

    I understand.
    Just by the photo it didn't look like it.
  13. BeachBum

    BeachBum WindyNation Engineer

    Did you ever get your system working, and what turned out to be the problem?
  14. redmapleleaf

    redmapleleaf WindyNation Engineer

    Hi Beachbum,

    Thank you for asking. No I have not able to get the system to work yet. The main problem is that I am away at work in the US and could only ask my dad for help with the windmill in Halifax. The technology is a bit difficult for my dad to grab so this project is on hold for now until I have a chance to come home and work on it again. I think it must be something simple that I have messed up. The fact that whenever it is spinning the blue charge led indicator lit up tell me that the charger correctly sensing that there is current coming in. So unless the incoming current is very weak or the connection from the charger to the battery is bad are all that I can think of. I will definitely keep every posted whenever I get any new update on this problem.


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