[aprssig] WX and Wind and mountain tops...

bob evinger wd9eka at evinger.com
Wed Apr 26 20:58:13 CDT 2006

A couple of less pessimistic comments.  I have(had) and waiting on 
replacement parts for an Air 303, I assume for the purpose of this email 
that the 400watt gen mentioned is probably its big brother. RK is 
correct about the wind in general. However, i would argue that on a land 
installation that they are prone to breakage, even though mine is 
currently broken. I have an early 303, it had very flexible blades. It 
took 9 years before I had a failure. My anemometer is at just under 20 
feet, the generator is at approximately 50 feet. the weekend before 
Easter we had some, um, interesting weather around here, lots of those 
hanging down clouds that folks dont really want to see. I was watching 
what appeared to be an in air funnel. It went south of us, about the 
same time my anemometer recorded 5 minutes of high winds. peak gust was 
84mph, again at 20 feet. The 303 is supposed to be able to survive a 
100mph wind. I dont know that it hit 100, but I know it was at least 84 
and potentially 30 feet up the tower it could have been somewhat more. 
The blades probably flexed a bit too much, hit the tower and all 3 are 
now mia along with the nose cone.  They have redesigned the blandes to 
be a bit stiffer and they have changed the design of the housing to cant 
the blades out 5 degrees to help keep it away from the pipe mast, i am 
waiting on the newer designed replacement parts that were an extremely 
good deal compared to replacing the entire generator.  9 years and a lot 
of storms, I dont consider that prone to breakage. i could see at sea 
where it might be a different story.  The wind generator doesnt produce 
a lot but it helps, but I am in east central illinois, 50 miles north of 
here and I'd be getting a lot more juice from it. I am in an area where 
certain times of year the generator does make a difference, other times 
I get virtually nothing.  Its a hobby I dont regret spending the money 
on the wind generator 9 years ago, its been educational for me and it 
provides some power. 

Is the generator noisy, it makes noise, it definitely doesnt sound like 
a helicopter. Its up 50 feet though and that might be the difference 
when compared to being in close quarters on a boat. In a 30mph and 
greater wind it is noticable, but no worse than the interstate 1/2 mile 
away or the sound of the wind through the tree tops. But my nearest 
neighbor is over 1/4 mile away. If you live in town or subdivision you 
are always going to have somebody whining about something and trying to 
infringe on some past time. That is why I live where I do.

regarding solar panels, I would definitely argue the  "average 
milliwatts' statement.  I have about  470 watts of panels. I average 
quite a  bit more than milliwatts on an average day. Its just a matter 
of what one wants to spend. Most bean counters wouldnt touch PV or wind 
because they cant  get the math to add up. Its not just about what is 
economical at this instant in time. Its like that discover commercial, 
when the storms come and the commercial power drops my kids dont know 
what it means to not have electricity.  no I cant run my whole house 12 
months a year off renewable, but I can run my shack and have 110v  power 
available to every room in the house by throwing a transfer switch to 
put them on the battery banked inverter when there is excess power.

I have the occasionally really dull solar day, but on average summertime 
I can get over a kw a day, sometimes 2kw, in the wintertime I may be 
lucky to average 600 to 800 watts a day.  That is a lot more than  
averaging milliwatts.

If commercial power were to go out here for an extended period. We could 
get by with what the panels and the wind gen produce. Lifestyle would 
change but we would have light at night, be able to fire up some extras 
once in a while. It cost me but sometimes you just have to say bah to 
the bean counters and do what you want to do.

Bob, i dont know where you live. I assume it is in a residential area 
that makes it rough. But if you have never read homepower magazine, you 
should try it. take a look on line for it, they occasionally have some 
interesting in town installations. At least it gives you something to 
think about.

Yet another,

Robert Kirk wrote:

> Bob... A couple of pessimistic comments:
> At 09:18 PM 4/24/06 -0400, Robert Bruninga wrote:
>> Squirrels chewed through my entire APRS WX station
>> stuff years ago, and so I am pondering whether
>> to re-weather or.... not?
> A home weather station is great for your own entertainment, and as an 
> ex-meteorologist, I have two myself - one mechanical, one digital. As 
> far as putting the weather data on APRS, looking at a weather report 
> does beat looking at a boring QTH symbol, as long as you don't go 
> overboard on updates and bandwidth. But in your case, your data won't 
> add to the greater public knowledge since you live only 3nm from the 
> 1st class reporting station at BWI plus a couple of local CWO 
> stations. But what the heck, go for it.
>> Since my current interest is beating the 72% electric
>> rate hike looming this summer due to deregulation,
>> I have been looking at the cost of wind generators.
>> Interesting to note that a 400W wind generator is only
>> about twice ($599) what a new WX station costs...
>> I'm considering  spending my $$$ on getting back some pennies
>> rather than just watch the wind go by...  Just wish
>> I lived somewhere where there was more wind....
>> ARGH....  Oh well...
> A better investment for your money would be to take the kids' college 
> fund and buy lottery tickets.
> Look at the specs for that 400W generator you're considering. I bet 
> that 400 W is at something like 25 knots wind speed. Power is a 
> ***cubic*** function of the wind speed so at lesser speeds you're 
> lucky to generate milliwatts if the blade turns at all. Look at one of 
> your neighbors CWO weather report at:
>    http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/wxpage.cgi?call=CW0454
> and see what the wind really is at your place. (There's thunderstorms 
> forecast tonite, so he'll probably go thru the roof. But his steady 
> winds over the past few days have been around 5 kts when they weren't 
> zero. That wouldn't even turn the blades on a $599 generator. And 
> spring is one of the breeziest times of year. I've been sailing on the 
> Bay for days without wind in the summer. An expensive system with 20 
> ft diameter blades would have computerized blade pitch and AC-DC-AC 
> converters to optimize the power.
> Cruising boaters use the type of  generator you're considering. Their 
> main use is to charge 12V batteries and operate a few amps of 
> shipboard power. And they are at sea wherevthere are decent winds 
> available. None of the folks I know who have them, love them. They are 
> ugly on a sailboat, noisy, and break a lot.  Another problem is 
> overspeed in storms which can tear the blades off and fry the 
> generator unless you manually feather the blades and secure them. Your 
> neighbors will love the noise which sounds like a helicopter in the yard.
> For the best spin on wind generators see
>    http://www.awea.org/faq/tutorial/wwt_smallwind.html
> put out by the manufacturer's association, and see what  $40,000 can 
> buy you. Then the neigbors will really have a field day.
>> Or more sun..... or more running water... anything...
> Solar panels are neat and you might be able to extract a few 
> milliwatts on the average, or from the tidal action in your local 
> creek. But the governing factor in any alternate system is, what is 
> the energy density available. It's not in the wind around here.
> Bob Kirk

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