Wind Turbine Disasters

Windmill ready to be raised
The windmill ready to be raised...everything looks A-OK. The mast is 35 feet high with 3" steel pipe at the base, and a 1 1/2" pipe jin pole with a brace welded to the bottom. The windmill has an 8 foot 3-bladed rotor, powering our homemade permanent magnet alternator (in tests, 60 amps in 40 mph winds!).

And, be sure to check out our book Homebrew Wind Power for more small wind power information! Almost up there!!!

We just about got it up! Note that the end of the jin pole bent from the stress, but held on past its point of maximum stress, enough to get things vertical. Everything appears to be going good, BUT SOMBODY FORGOT TO TIGHTEN THE CABLE CLAMPS ON ONE THE SIDE GUY WIRES. Everything tilted hard to the side opposite the unfastened guy wire, and the mill came crashing to the ground. No injuries to humans, dogs or trucks.
The sorry aftermath
Fortunately, there was no damage to the alternator itself. The cowling, made from a plastic bucket and wooden spacers, saved the alternator's stator coils! Ward's nice rotor, lovingly crafted with flawless, knotless and very expensive Douglas Fir and finished with about $40 worth of cyanoacrylate, is toast. Though one blade did survive!
The moral of the story? Double check ALL your guy wires, anchors and cable clamps before starting to erect a windmill! And don't drink beer during or immediately prior to the erection. We plan to sue the breweries involved. ;-) We are starting into another set of blades tonight. We plan to fix the hinged base (it was ruined also) tomorrow by drilling into the concrete and pinning in a new baseplate. So maybe in the next couple days we'll be able to try again!