The power produced by the generator must be
transferred down the tower to your power system. Since the actual wind generator must yaw to keep pointed into the wind, the main power wires must be able to handle this. There are 2 options...
- Pendant Cable--Our personal experience
up here in Colorado is that it is much easier to simply use a length of flexible
cable and a steel safety cable instead of slip rings. Use the highest quality stranded, flexible cable you can find and attach it in a loose loop from the wind generator
power terminals to where your feed wire comes up the pole. Use a length
of wire that allows about 3 or 4 wraps around the pole. Or, run the wire down the center of the tower pipe and let it twist inside. Our experience is that while the cord
can eventually wind itself around the pole, it will also eventually unwind
itself. Some of our models have flown for years with this kind
of system and required no maintenance. With a properly designed wind turbine and furling system, you should hardly ever see the mill make a 360 degree yaw. We simple use a power plug and socket at the bottom of the tower and unplug it once or twice a year to untwist the wire. We've seen commercial turbines on 120 foot towers that successfully use the pendant cable system.
- Make or Convert Slip Rings--Slip rings can be salvaged from old car alternators and converted to wind generator use, or built from scratch using copper pipe, PVC pipe and graphite brushes. Home Power Magazine has had articles in the past about both methods. We have never felt the need to use them and they make for another potential failure point, so we have not experimented with it.
Recommended reading list for your 'homework':
- DanF's series on Small Wind Turbine Basics, published in the Energy Self Sufficiency Newsletter:
- Part 1 -- How wind turbines work, power available in the wind, swept area, average wind speed and what it really means. The basic essentials!
- Part 2 -- High wind survival mechanisms, wind turbine types, drag vs. lift machines, HAWTs vs. VAWTs, tip speed ratio, blade design, and lots of cool pictures and diagrams.
- Part 3 -- Choosing a site, good and bad site examples, anemometers, tower types, lightning protection, power regulaton, birds and bats.
- Our article The Bottom Line About Wind Turbines is an essential introduction to wind power. It covers the basics of how wind comes to us, how much power different size wind turbines can make in different wind regimes, and has a very handy section on detecting wind turbine scams.
- Otherpower.com's Wind Turbine User's Manual should also be considered essential reading, especially BEFORE you take the plunge and buy or build a wind turbine. It will fill you in on exactly what you are getting yourself into with wind power, including towers, installation, controllers, and troubleshooting. It can be downloaded for free from that page, and is available in printed form through our Online Store.
- Wind power information from homebrew wind power guru Hugh Piggott's website. We've learned a BUNCH from Hugh.
- Hugh Piggott's book Windpower Workshop is an indispensable reference for anyone that's thinking about building a wind turbine. His Axial Flux Alternator Windmill Plans are very detailed and highly recommended.
- Homebrew wind power infomation from Ed Lenz's Windstuffnow.com, a highly informative website.
- Read the Renewable energy FAQs on the Otherpower discussion board, and Search the Otherpower.com discussion board. It's highly active and populated by windpower experts and hobbyists worldwide. If you still can't find and answer, by all means please join the board and ask your question there!
- Join the AWEA mailing list for more discussion with wind power experts worldwide.
- Explore other wind power websites from worldwide on our Links page.
Wind Turbine Seminars and Renewable Energy Fairs
These can be a very valuable resource for learning about all facets of renewable energy! You'll be able to learn from and network with experts and other interested folks.
UPCOMING WIND TURBINE CONSTRUCTION SEMINARS
Wind Turbine Parts and Kits
We offer for sale a large variety of the 'stuff' you need to build your own wind turbine.
It's all available at our Online Store.
- Complete wind turbine kits
- Welded metal frame kits
- Flat metal parts kits (you weld it together)
- Pre-wired and cast stators for 12, 24 and 48v systems
- Carved wind turbine blades
- Magnet wire
- Stainless steel hardware
- And more!
Wind Turbine Design and Construction Articles: