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My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 4:17 am
by turning green
The mast consists of two 6 meter 100mm channels that are welded together (boxed) that can swing at 3m high between two 150mm diameter machined wooden poles on a 24mm diameter steel shaft. The box is extended by a 2.5 meter 60mm diameter steel pipe at the top end. The turbine has it's own 1.5 meter 40mm diameter pipe attached to the 60mm pipe. Overall height is 9.6 meters. The turbine will be raised and lowered by a simple winch that I bought at a boat shop for R250.

It's erected and should soon be working. The problems associated with the project were the erection of the two 6 meter 150mm diameter wooden poles and then the erection of the boxed channel between them suspended in the middle on the 24mm diameter steel shaft. I had no access to hydraulic lifts or lots of labour and had to rely on my own ingenuity. I built a supporting structure to jack up the two 150mm poles and grout them in and then use those poles (stayed) together with the structure to winch the boxed channel into place. It all worked !!!

I'll post a photo but I just can't figure how to attach the photo right now.

I bought six 3.6 meter wooden poles and four 6 meter 125mm diameter machined wooden poles. The six machined poles cost me R2000 and the six ordinary poles R650. The two steel channels had cost R500 each (used). The cost of the big items were R3900 (including the winch) which I felt was reasonable considering I had quotes for R10 000 for the mast alone and some R25 000 for a turbine. That's why I came to this site to buy the turbine and decided to erect my own mast. I'm hoping to come out between a third and a half of the original quoted price from the other manufacturer or somewhere between twelve and eighteen thousand rand. I'm aiming for as close to twelve as possible.

So far it's been great fun and I'm hoping to have endless hours enjoying the turbine when it's up and working.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 4:52 am
by turning green
Picture of the mast. The extension pole has not been added yet.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 8:04 pm
by turning green
My Huge Heavy mast takes a bow.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 8:10 pm
by turning green
Side View of the mast bending down - ready for the turbine.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 8:14 pm
by turning green
Boat Winch in Action.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:28 am
by turning green
Well I'm on my way to Texas where there are some big wind farms and my son has promised me a tour of one !!! I'll post a pic or two if it materialises but mainly I'll share with you my impressions. I know I'll fly over hundreds of turbines with him in his Cessna Cardinal. There is a good chance that I'll be given a look-in at the engineering section at Boone University in Boone, North Carolina, involved with green technology. I'm going to try to see their Biology section involved with sustainable agriculture as well if at all possible. Should be interesting to see what can be done with youthful zest and intelligence with adequate financing ???!!! My efforts at going green will probably look embarrassingly primitive. If it's at all possible I want to see a Concentrating Solar power station (you know, with all the mirrors) and maybe even a photovoltaic one in California where my other children live. You've probably realised where my interests lie at this time.

To return to my mast. I've built the access platform and I've put on the final 2 meter stainless steel extension to take the turbine, which incidentally I already have. It's all got to wait now.

My huge heavy mast now stands at it's full majestic 9.5 meters. Unfortunately the final 2 meter stainless steel extension is not shown in the picture as I took the pic immediately after completing the access platform.

Funny actually - I'm talking as if I'm leaving you guys as well as my friends and neighbours. Not so !!!! All my children have broadband and there's no reason why I can't post while I'm there. Still old-fashioned I guess.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:03 am
by windgat
Rob, all the big green things are worthless without the small guy doing the small things - 4 billion small things would add up to more than any big project, so never be embarrassed no matter what you see!

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:55 pm
by turning green
My Overseas Trip ........

....... was a disaster !!!! I had a huge heart attack in Texas and was repatriated home to South Africa soon after discharge.

I saw very little of the planned stuff. However I did see the NASA control centre in Houston. I had two days with my son after being discharged and he took me on the guided tour. It was an unexpected bonus and I have photos of the exhibits and photos of us - fond memories. It's unlikely I'll get another trip over there - the risks are simply too high. Medical costs are beyond ridiculous.

This event had consequences in that I sustained damage to the heart muscles and recovery has been slow and I'll probably never fully recover anyway. I am relinguishing my greenkeeper role at the bowling club.

I think it all comes down for me to living from day to day. I worry about Peak Oil and Global Warming but in a sort of disconnected way. The global economy also gets my attention but again ........... So I'm going to get my turbine working properly and keep you guys informed about my progress - I enjoy that. I'm also getting two more photovoltaic panels because my regulator is designed to handle six panels and at the moment I only have four.

Believe it or not, I'm quite content with my life and it wasn't always that way. My solar geyser is a real winner and I'd do it again except this time I'd go for the glass tubes. My friend had this new high-pressure glass tube system installed and it beats mine - I'm slightly envious but still satisfied with my geyser's performance.

You'll have to put up with me a while longer. Enjoy life while you can --- like me !!!???? :wink: :mrgreen:

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:59 am
by turning green
Teething troubles.

Windgat said I can test the 1.5 meter blade set that he got. I'm honoured.

He showed me what they had done to the swivel on his mount. It was bent like a drinking straw and I immediately realised that BIG forces were involved. I should have taken a picture - I'll have to learn how to recognise a "kodak moment". Anyway he said my two meter 38 mm stainless steel pipe would not serve and neither would the swivel joint, unmodified that is.

So I put a pipe within a pipe in both instances. Easy it was not. The materials alone had to be got and then inserted. Windgat had a piece of 34 mm stainless pipe and while I was there we inserted a small piece into the 38 mm pipe and it fitted, just. We already knew that the pipe for the tail would just fit inside the swivel.

I first tackled the swivel. The only problem was making it stick and the problem virtually solved itself as I found that after cutting the pipe with an angle grinder the ends of the pipe were left with a crude rim on the one side. I ground the bottom side clean and only tidied the top side, then inserted it into the swivel and the side with the swarf became the top. Done and dusted !

Inserting a 34mm pipe into a 38 mm pipe was another story entirely. TWO METERS !!! The first half inch was a cinch but then it stuck and I realised I had a problem. I went to my friend Dries and we started hammering CAREFULLY !!! We used a rubber mallet and a block of soft wood and parrafin. We found that by putting the one end of the 38mm pipe into the ground at an angle it eventually stopped dead like a pole vault stick. We put the wooden block over the end of the 34mm pipe, "painted" the 34mm pipe with parrafin, and then whammo with the mallet ! One doing the hammering and the other supporting the "join".

It worked !!!! The ss pipe has printing on it an we could see that it moved about 2 mm or 3 mm with each good swipe with the mallet. We hammered, rested, swopped roles, had coffee inbetween and eventually it was done - so was the afternoon and the day.

It was fun !!

It got me thinking though. If such an event became "work" or a "schlep" or simply too much hassle then only a technician installed commercial product will ever work. I count it as a blessing that I enjoy every minute "working" at my projects. I empathise with those who love sport, cars, pets, hobbies etc etc.

Now to the next problem, whatever it may be. :D

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:05 pm
by turning green
Turbine in test configuration.

I felt nervous trying to put the turbine on the mast at first go so I built a test rig and put it up there. I has it's brake fully on and it's locked North-South so it cannot run away. It turns slowly but it turns PERFECTLY. I could have gone for broke.

Anyway certain lessons were learnt. I had had wedges made to force the blades forward away from the mast. It was impossible to assemble the blades and boss AND WEDGES with the turbine mounted - I would have had to assemble the blades and boss and wedges on the ground and then mounting it as a component. I could not have kept Dries here with any further delay so I left them out - maybe one day. The magnets did not touch the stator as they had previously.

I posed in front of the turbine with the mast in the background. I am in my "ready" pose.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:22 am
by windgat
Looks good Rob!! :clap:

How about some close ups of the hub?

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:14 am
by turning green
The irresistible force meets the immovable object.

Wow and double WOW !!!!

Without any load my mast looked and felt like solid steel pin probing the Heaven's but it turned to rubber once it was tested with a real load. The turbine weighs in at about 14 kg and when that is placed at the end of a 6 meter long lever and that lever is nearly horizontal then things change. Even my 10 cm boxed channel deformed, 60 mm pipe bent (within elastic limits) and the stainless 38 mm steel pipe with 4mm walls also deformed and the turbine was pointing slightly downhill which it does not like and I was on top of the platform. The blades have not been mounted yet !!?? My boat winch groaned lifting that turbine to the vertical position and the winch cable was so tight it would have played an inaudible note had I plucked it. In fact, I'm seriously considering replacing that cable with a heavier one today.

Even vertically the whole structure was wobbly. When I tightened the two stay wires that attach just below the stainless steel pipe of the turbine then the structure became more controllable and I'm seriously contemplating two more stays at right angles attaching to the same point. I had already shortened the stainless steel pipe to just longer than the blades so I'd already felt slightly under-designed which is unusual for me.

Thinking back I can see that the platform was absolutely essential for this configuration - the forces involved to bring everything up from the ground would have been prohibitive. With hindsight I can see that I should have made the platform slightly higher, even a half meter would have helped a lot. It's handy having a mast that can be taken down and the raised fairly easily. Actually I'm reasonably happy with my planning so far. With a bigger budget I think I'd go for stronger and lighter materials. If I'd had enough money ............ I'd have had it installed .............. maybe I'll always be on the edge !!!???? ........... maybe ................ :problem:

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:47 am
by turning green
Not thicker cable - a sheave wheel.

My friend Dries was an engineer before his current occupation which is the same as mine - RETIRED.

Picking up my mast was becoming a VERY risky exercise ! I was thinking thicker cable but not Dries. "Sheave wheel, Stupid !" was his only comment.

He showed me his engine hoist that he calls a "Come along". Anyway look at the picture and you will see the sheave wheel is always there as part of the hook arrangement - you can choose to use it or not but it's always there.

Ping !!! Lights went on in my brain. It will halve the strain on the cable and double the capacity of my boat winch. Of course I'm only interested in reducing the strain in the cable at this time.

Well I'm going to take the morning off from the turbine and spend it on constructing a sheave wheel.

When I'm finished I'll tell Dries that sometimes , only sometimes, engineers can be useful. Don't want him to get a swollen head but dammit - he's right.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:51 am
by turning green
My Sheave Wheel and I'm quite proud of it. :yay:

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:21 am
by turning green
It all works as planned. Thank Goodness !!

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:34 am
by turning green
These two pictures tell the story.

It's up !!!!!!

Not a breath of wind - NOTHING !!!!

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:55 am
by turning green
The wind turbine is up !!!

There was almost no wind. Dries and I put chairs in the shade of the solar geyser and simply gazed upwards --- hoping.

Suddenly there was a slight breeze and ..................

................. the turbine would not turn into the wind and the blades rotated slowly the wrong way. From where we sat we could see his "ornament" (old turbine not generating) pointing in the right direction and spinning happily ?????

We looked at each other and virtually simultaneously said "The tail is too small and too short !!!!".

We packed up. He went home.

Back to the drawing board, tail-wise that is.

Anyway. It's up and I'm happy. It took nearly a year to get there and a lot happened inbetween and I nearly didn't live to see it. :D :thumbup:

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:28 pm
by windgat
Great! :yay:

Maybe the weight of the tail is more important than the size. Longer and heavier!

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:47 am
by turning green
Tail Spin

We were blessed with wind and even a little bit of rain. We are in a declared drought disaster area looking for an upgrading to catastrophe so you can imagine how welcome it was.

BUT I was in the happy position that the turbine was up and Controller, Dump Controller and batteries all working and connected. Ready !!!!!!!!!!

Well it seems the tail was designed for smaller blades and was not up to the task of handling the bigger blades.

Before we go there I want to point out a HUGE success. I have the N42 magnets which are the strongest ones and when Windgat and me tested them at his place about eight months ago with one meter blades it was as if the output was clamped no matter how strong the wind got - the blades simply couldn't deliver more power. We decided at that stage that perhaps longer blades would solve that problem and it has !!!! These 1.5 meter blades spun up to 30 V with no problem whatsoever, it was as if they were saying to the wind "Bring it on Man, Bring it on, I can handle it.". It was pure pleasure for me to see the voltage climb and climb and ........

BUT then the turbine turned itself out of the wind with great drama. If one considers the spinning blades as one solid disc then you can see that the wind wants to push against that huge area and it does (it's not solid so the force is diminished but you get the idea). The mast is slightly offset from the centre-line of the "disc" so there is a force tending to rotate the turbine about the mast. As soon as it does this it exposes the tail to the wind which wants to rotate the turbine back into the wind. The tail was too small and the turbine turned out of the wind and the gyroscopic forces of the blades came into effect. Ever tried to deflect a spinning bicycle wheel ?? The wobble and vibration was something to behold - fortunately everything slows down and finally the tail lines the turbine up for a repeat performance. I went through the performance about 10 times (I am persistent) and then applied the brake and shut down. :surprise:

Well I contacted Windgat and he diagnosed the problem as the tail (vane) as too light and not long enough. I must confess that Dries and I had already concluded that the tail was too small but then our imaginations ran off into ......... If you go to "BRACKET" in the forum then you'll see a watered down description by Windgat of an under-designed vane which was exactly what happened to us. I have my marching orders so to speak so we'll see how it all works out. I intend to make a quick fix in that I'm simply going to extend the current vane, which is sheet metal, by pop-riveting an extended sheet on the current one. It will be heavier, bigger and longer all in one. When it all balances then I can make a more aesthetically pleasing one.

Basically it all works !!! I'm having huge fun. Wind was the "right" choice. PV panels do the job but they just sit. :D

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:18 pm
by windgat
Sounds good!

I am a bit worried about the 30V. Have you measured the current going into the batteries? Also, you should measure the voltage at the battery terminals. That voltage should not go above 28.5V, as higher voltages can damage the battery.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:15 pm
by turning green

The fuse in the Control Box was blown. This was giving all sorts of stupid and confusing signals. Worry no more about the 30 V and also there was NOTHING getting to the batteries - they are unscathed.

It's not the first time and probably not the last time that a fuse will bite me in the posterior. I could wish that I was smarter but at my age and health it's really not going to change the price of eggs in Russia. One of my expressions that means it's really not all that relevant. :oops:

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will try the modified tail and I should have lift-off. :yay:

By the way, once the fuse was replaced, as the voltage from the turbine exceeded that of the battery I got between 0.01 and 0.03 amperes going to the battery but then the tail problem would spoil everything. Still it all makes much more sense even to me. :roll:

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:27 am
by turning green
Fire !!!!!

We had BIG wind yesterday, Easter Monday. I turned my back on the turbine and went up to Dries's house and an unusually strong gust attacked the turbine in my absence - not fair !!

Anyway when I opened my front door a cloud of pungent plastic smoke greeted me and I knew ............ :shock: :wtf:

With handkerchief over my face I opened doors and windows and then surveyed the damage. Actually very little - Thank Heavens !! Two 12 V EnergySaver lamps that I'd wired in series to make up 24 V had burnt out and open-circuited and only the bases of the lamps themselves burnt, their sockets did not. It could have been the whole house ??!! I was grateful.

Still I've got the story backwards because to get that amount of current we must have got the turbine working.

I'll get all the photos sorted out and I'll post them but yes, it was the tail.

In the morning before the wind got pumping we brought the turbine down and pop-riveted on the extension, got it back up and ........ only slight improvement ?? :problem:

It appeared to us that the wind force on the tail was being dissipated in swaying the tail instead of pushing it so .... we brought the turbine down and tied the tail so that it could no longer sway much (cable ties are not the perfect solution). Hoisted it back up. Big improvement !!!! Now the turbine found the wind direction much easier and started turning however, as the wind picked up it eventually started to break away. Sometimes it recovered and sometimes it did not.

My brother has come down to visit and I felt duty bound to pull myself away from the turbine. The fire still provided for a bit of excitement though.

Before I packed up I put two 60 W 12 V filament type globes as a load on the battery. I felt that a big contributory cause of the fire was that the battery was fully charged and the turbine only had to overcome the dump controller, 300 W, before being able to run away with the voltage and burn the EnerySavers. That appears to have worked and even though the wind was pumping my periodic checks revealed that all was working OK. When the wind died I switched off the load because 120 W continuous at 24 V means a drain of 120 / 24 = 5 amp and that's quite considerable.

Got to attend to my guests so everything's got to wait but now the turbine stays up and can do it's thing. I'll only attend to it if the wind builds up but right now, Tuesday morning, it is dead still.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:54 pm
by turning green
This turbine performs !!!!!!

I'm still a bit old-fashioned and expect the worst and anyway expect to struggle.

I didn't understand the Controller Switch that has Divert and On as the options. I interpreted it as the Divert was ON when it was On and the Divert was Off when it wasn't On. Not so !!!!!!! What an idiot I am sometimes. :oops:

So I start fires and get all sorts of wrong interpretations etc etc. After the fire I knew there was a lot of unaccounted for POWER lurking around !!!!! Imagine my surprise when I left the multimeter on reading Amps when I switched the Divert to what I thought was "Off" and I saw over 2 amps !!!!! I knew instantly I had found the missing power - if it had been a snake then I would have been dead long ago. Now I don't venture out of the house (we have quite a lot of wind right now) without putting the 120 W lamps on.

I have seen readings of up to 7 amps and I tried to take a picture of it but the flash flashed and the reflection killed the reading but I'll capture it yet and you'll see.

To summarise. The turbine and blades are functioning beyond all expectations. I am as happy as a flea !!!! The 38mm mast (just below the turbine) and the tail can be improved. The Dump-Controller can do with a bit more resistance or some other solution found to put the "Fire Hazard" to rest.

This turbine performs !!!!!!! :yay:

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:13 pm
by turning green

I really haven't got one of the tail tied with cable ties and that must wait till tomorrow.

I got one photo with 2 amps charging and the battery at 25.2 V. I'll try and capture bigger amperages but that depends on the wind which has subsided.

Re: My Huge Heavy Mast is Up

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:13 am
by turning green
The Hub.

When I got the 1.5 m blades from Windgat he also gave me the two drilled discs that form the hub for the blades. They are made out of marine ply. I just "knew" that would not do for me. Something would break and calamity would surely follow. I know that place well.

I went to the Co-op workshop and they have an extremely talented fitter and turner there that can and does make anything. Here in this small town that does not even boast one traffic light we often have to make stuff. Anyway they pointed me to Hannes and we duly talked turkey "Gobble, gobble, gobble" and settled on a price for doing the two discs in 8mm steel plate and making 6 wedges (I know now that these were entirely unnecessary). The price was steep but I thought "What would I do if everything flew apart ???". I gave the go ahead and a week later (it was planting season and the farmers get priority) I took delivery.

The discs are heavy and Windgat felt that with the under-designed shaft of 12 mm things might go awry. I had Hannes make a 36mm hole in the middle of the lower blade disc to clear the bearing housing so that I could bring that disc as close as possible to the outer magnet plate. There is now just more than a nut's width between the outer magnet plate and the lower blade disc. I had to modify the cover to clear the heads of the bolts holding the blades. In other words the blades are as close to the turbine as I could possibly make them.

This also brought the blades closer to the mast pole !!?? I took the chance and left out the wedges - I was lucky and it paid off.

Anyway. Here's a picture of the hub.