20 Foot Page 7 - Erection

assemling the machine

Pictured above the tower stub is on, and we've mounted the chassis of the wind turbine. Not mentioned till now is the fact that we a few grease zircs into the yaw bearing so we can grease the yaw bearing without removing them machine (which weighs over 500 pounds once the blades are mounted).

magnet rotor on

One magnet rotor on. It's nice to have the tower right down near the ground to assemble such a large machine. The beauty of this wind turbine is that 1 person can carry any single part. I was able to assemble the whole thing without help.

assembled alternator

There we have the whole thing put together except for the blades. This is a good time to test the tower again/make sure everything is OK. The blades will add about 150 more pounds but we're getting close to the final weight.

alternator raised

The alternator went up without problems. When we started raising it I also had a person sit on the tower to approximate the added weight of the blades. It looked promising, the winch had no problems. So now to lower it and fit the blades.

blade hub

There are two blade hubs. They are identical, expect that one of them (the back one) we welded bar stock to the sides that fit the blades very tightly (we actually had to hammer the blades into the hub). In my mind this provided a bit more insurance that the blades wouldn't move side to side. All the holes in the blade hubs are 5/8" diameter to accommodate 5/8" grade 5 hardware.

one blade mounted

There we have one blade mounted to the back hub. They fit very nicely.

finishing the blades

Dave applies the 3rd coat of linseed oil to the blades. After lots and lots of coats the linseed oil builds up into a nice thick, but soft finish and does very well for us. It requires at least yearly maintenance after that though (a quick coat once or twice per year seems to keep things nice).

almost done...

We raised it this high so that we could balance the blades. It looks rather large now with George standing next to it!

up she goes

Up she goes! Everything is working well. The guy wires tighten as it goes up and it comes into adjustment when the raising is finished. Again, raising it takes about 7 min and it's so easy it's almost boring.

Up and running

It went up with no problems. So far so good. It starts to furl around 2KW output (a heavier tail would help with this). The alternator seems to stall the blades a bit (which we expected) in higher winds. The best output I've seen yet is just over 3KW in 'moderate winds' (we've not had any real winds here yet) and in low winds it seems excellent. In low winds its producing about twice the power that my 17' machine does. I attribute that to more swept area, a higher tower, and a better tower location. In higher winds they do about the same. The blades always turn pretty slowly and you cannot hear them ever - you can hear the alternator grumble though -but it's not annoying. I don't think I've seen over 200 rpm from it yet - though I've yet to check. I'll do a bit more testing at some point and update this page. Since putting this up I've moved my power system and unhooked my PV solar. It seems that even in the calm summer winds this machine is producing all the power we need, and between the two wind turbines I have surplus.

The total cost of this project - I figure the machine itself cost me around $1800 to build (magnets, wire, steel - and water jet costs) and the tower comes in around $3000. It would've been a bit more expensive and a lot more time consuming without all the help from friends and neighbors... local and online.