Portable wind power!

Gearspoke

Adventurer
http://windpax.com/products/the-breeze/ Just went ahead and pre-ordered 2 of these puppies. I was thinking of doing a more solar based power setup until I found this web site. With the weight of this unit, coupled with the fact that I live in a not-so-sunshiny area (Northwest Washington), this will work wonders for our camp. Has anyone tried similar products? Why isn't portable wind more prevalent in remote power?
 

Yarjammer

Wellreadneck
http://windpax.com/products/the-breeze/ Just went ahead and pre-ordered 2 of these puppies. I was thinking of doing a more solar based power setup until I found this web site. With the weight of this unit, coupled with the fact that I live in a not-so-sunshiny area (Northwest Washington), this will work wonders for our camp. Has anyone tried similar products? Why isn't portable wind more prevalent in remote power?
Those look pretty interesting; definitely post up a review when you get yours! Any idea of the lead time? I would pre-order as well at those prices, but I am wary of the fact there are no real specs available, particularly the output for a given wind speed. The great thing about wind is that your ability to generate power doesn't cease when the sun goes down.
 

CaliMobber

Adventurer
Sorry to burst your bubble butI highly highly recommend staying away from something like this. Vawt (vertical wind turbines) are aways scams or just failed ideas. The reason being is that wind turbines rely on constant steady wind from one direction at a time.

Even Hawt turbines only work in very select places and solar is even giving places with great wind a run for their money now that cost is so far down.

Vawt are supposed to rely on wind from any direction but they end up only catching the turbulence and bad wind. They look like they are working since you will see them spin but they wont be spinning fast enough to generate any real power. They are always fighting them selves and the wind.

Hawt the common ones you see, the blades are shaped like airplane wings and actually speed up spinning much faster then the speed of the wind allowing the RPM's to get high enough to make real power.

Like I said sorry to shoot down the idea but trust me and do some research, solar is a much better idea even when you don't have much sun. Ive built wind chargers before and the spent lots of time reading and experimenting.


That link also has no graphs showing its power curve or even when its supposed to be making 100watts or even a price for that matter?
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
Why isn't portable wind more prevalent in remote power?
There are are few reasons why "small wind power" isn't more prevalent.

The first is that wind power doesn't scale down very well. There is not a lot of usable energy in wind unless it's really moving fast, or you capture the energy from a large amount of it, and to convert useful amounts of it into electricity, you need a lot of "swept area". For example, "The Breeze" in your link claims 100w output. Here is something said by the guy who builds TLG Wind Turbines, which have been well-known performers for a long time. The guy who builds them also doesn't play games with words or marketing - he's got a lot of integrity:

"Q. I saw an ad on ebay for a set of blades that some NASA scientist designed and approved. There was a comment in the add that said something like (some cupped sets claim to have power below 10 mph and there is no power below 10 mph.) I assume that was aimed at your blades since yours are the only cupped ones I have seen. Is it true that there is no power to be had at 10 mph or below?
A. I will try to answer this in a way so that it doesn't sound like a mud slinging presidential debate... If that comment from the NASA blade people was really a pot shot aimed at me and my design then that makes me feel pretty dang good. :) In trying to figure out what was meant by the comment you read, if these NASA blades were only 12" to 24" in diameter they may not able to give out any power at below 10 mph and could be where that reference came from. I don't know? If not then maybe the next ad may read "Aaaah Houston we've got a problem" :)
All I know for sure is I have a lot of "customers" that will say yes there is power below 10 mph with my blades. And our TLG-500 with its 5 foot diameter rotor delivers 1 full amp into a 12 volt battery bank at only 5 mph, and almost 4 at 10 mph and it goes up drastically from there.
I can safely say that all owners of the TLG-500 will strongly disagree with the statement about there being no power to be had below 10 mph."


Okay, so with a 5 foot diameter rotor, a TLG (rated at 500w) can produce only 1 amp at 12 volts, or 120 watts with a wind speed of 5 miles per hour. So, small swept area doesn't get you much.


The next problem is "hunting". Turbines with propeller-like blades have to be turned into the wind. With small turbines, this is usually done with a "tail" so the turbine just naturally "weather-vanes" into the wind. Most small turbines will (at least on land) spend a lot of their time hunting, and that cuts down on what is already a pretty small amount of power available for the thing to capture.

The reason they hunt so much is...

Turbulence. At ground level, even in a desert, there is quite a lot of turbulence, which corrupts the laminar flow of the air - which not only causes small prop turbines to hunt a lot, but also further reduces the energy available to capture.


A vertical turbine design, such as The Breeze, is intended to reduce the negative effects of hunting, and (hopefully) producing more minutes of useful power per day. That's a good idea. Unfortunately, it doesn't do jack to reduce turbulence at ground level, and if you raise it up high enough (60' - 100' above ground level) to start to get out of the turbulence, then you might as well go with a good-sized prop-type.


There IS some useful power to be had from small wind at ground level. Just not much. If you look at the "camping" video on the WindPax site, you can see that A) the turbines aren't spinning very fast, and B) those tents show that the wind IS going pretty fast. Basically, if you need ChapStick due to the wind, then you might get 100w out of a small wind generator. Maybe. Probably a lot less.


Jay Leno installed a vertical turbine on one of his buildings, and then later, added 5000 watts of solar as well. In the video, he's talking to the guy whose company built the generator, and the guy says the generator can do 12,000 watts, and that Jay can expect around 2000w on average.

And that generator is HUGE compared to The Breeze.





Let's take a guess by using the same ratio of max to average - the big genny is 12,000 max:2,000 expected average at Jay's site. So a 6:1 ratio of max:average. The Breeze is (presumably) 100w max, so dividing that by 6 gets us just under 17 watts. That would be a fair guess as to the average output we could expect under the same wind conditions Jay has in Burbank.

Now let's take 17w and divide by the voltage. First 17w / 5v (USB) gets us: 3.4 amps. That's a respectable amount in terms of charging something like a phone from USB.

Let's do it over using the 13v that is the minimum needed to top off a 12v battery: 17w / 13v = 1.3a. Um...not great. It's not *nothing*, but it's not much either.


And I'm being REALLY optimistic here - the fact is that when scaled down, the max:average ratio is probably going to be a LOT worse than that ratio is for the big generator. 6:1 for the little one is actually extremely optimistic.

10:1 or maybe even 20:1 would probably be more likely. And if that were the real performance...then the thing would be pretty much useless.

Not *totally* useless - just close enough to totally useless as to not make it worth the time or money.
 

CaliMobber

Adventurer
Why isn't portable wind more prevalent in remote power?
Mainly because it only works in very select spots and most places it needs to be very high in the air to get above all trees and structures to access the good wind. so cost of an expensive tower than can handle the wind

and yes Noise is very bad, we tried this unit many years ago and it never really seemed to make any power. It was either not spinning or the wind was to strong and the blades would be foiling to control the speed and making a extremely loud noise. many times we had to even ground out the wires to lock it from spinning since the blades would flex and hit the pole making it even louder

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0GV2RJKE74DS7HSFK6DT


You just cant beat solar these days. cost is so cheap, no noise and the sun shines more than the wind blows.
 

Yarjammer

Wellreadneck
You just cant beat solar these days. cost is so cheap, no noise and the sun shines more than the wind blows.
Except on the Washington Coast.

I really appreciate hearing what you guys had to say about this. It seemed a little too good to be true, but I didn't imagine it would have been that bad. It makes sense after reading the above explanations.
 

CaliMobber

Adventurer
HAHA yea thats true you guys in Washington seem to have cloudy days non stop. Id prob get a honda generator with the 5gal tank add on.


Before the solar we used to bring a Honda 2000 with a 100ft extension cord camping. We setup a box with thick foam and put the generator inside and ran the extension cord to camp. It was almost dead quiet unless we ran the microwave and it kicked up to full throttle.
 

Gearspoke

Adventurer
I guess I should clarify a few things: Your points are well taken and I agree, for more steady higher output power, I would use solar, or a genny after reading your explanations. My thoughts behind this kit though, is something that I can throw on my pack, with relatively low weight, and hike it 5 miles into the field. It's something that would be used on long photography trips I like to do. I have several batteries that need recharging when I'm on a trip, and I think something like this could charge things all day for use the next day. Washington is just too rainy to rely on solar alone, and a genny is just too much to pack for me and where I live, wind is never at a deficit.. Given those circumstances, I think these should do the job fine. Either way, at least I will be able to post a review of them once they arrive :)
 
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