Troubleshooting Tips for Small Wind Turbines

19 Nov

Wind turbines generate clean electricity and provide a cost-effective way to go off the grid. However, building homemade wind turbines through the help of manuals is different from troubleshooting certain natural problems generated by wind turbines like heat and noise issues. Here are some ways to reduce the noise produced by the turbines, as well as other concerns that you may find helpful in the future.

Noisy gearboxes

Modern wind turbine gearboxes are designed for quieter operation. However, if you still find it noisy, you must first identify if it’s mechanical or aerodynamic noise.

Here are some steps that you can follow to avoid and reduce mechanical gearbox noise:

•    Before purchasing industrial gearboxes, make sure that the gearbox has steel wheels with slightly soft and flexible core. The surface must be hard and durable for longevity.

•    Make sure that the metal wheel’s surface has high carbon content. This can be done by heating the gear wheels and letting them cool slowly while the surface and core are packed with a powder with high carbon content. This carbon should migrate to the metal’s surface while leaving the interior soft and flexible.

Aerodynamic noise of homemade wind turbines

Aerodynamic noise can be an effect of surface vibrations made by rotor blades. To transfer energy from the rotor blades, the blades must break the wind, which in turn causes a white noise. Most rotor blades are very smooth for aerodynamic purposes and must emit minimal noise.

Noise increases with the speed of the blade. Reducing aerodynamic noise can mean sacrificing rotational speeds and energy generation. Aerodynamic noise is a minimal problem compared to mechanical noise that can lead to mechanical failure as well.

Temperature problems

Wind turbines have minimum temperature operating limits. It must be protected from icy weather as the auto sensors can be damaged and work inaccurately. Low temperature can also cause mechanical damage.

•    Lubricate gears and bearings regularly especially during cold weathers

•    Check for bacterial growth, oil and water emulsions, and other solid contaminant that can induce mechanical failure

Electricity loss

To make the power generated by the wind turbines usable, it must first be inverted to match the frequency and voltage of the grid. However, inverting electricity amounts to 10% of electricity loss. If the line is farther from your home, there is also electricity that will be loss in transmissions. The farther the system is, the higher the transmission loss. This is due to the wire resistance. The longer the wire and the higher the resistance, the higher the electricity loss would be.

While transmission loss also applies to electricity from the grid, the rate of electricity loss in wind turbines is quite high considering the energy generation and storage of the wind turbines.
Aside from electricity loss, there can also be a case of excess of electricity. Here is what you can do the excess energy generated by your homemade wind turbines:

•    Sell excess electricity to electric companies

•    Store excess energy in batteries for future use

•    Connect it to your hot water storage tank or hot press tank. This is especially useful in cold weather

•    Install an internal heating system to protect the sensitive power electronics in the gearboxes and CPU


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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in RENEWABLE ENERGY


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