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Old 06-05-2002
Don Casey Don Casey is offline
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The Right Wind Generator

I'm shopping for a wind generator, but there is very little independent data available. The most important features I look for are amp output at 10-knot winds, low noise, and unattended operation. If you have an opinion on a specific model, I would love to hear about it.

Don Casey responds:
I have a book called Sailboat Electrics Simplified, and it does cover alternative energy sources, including solar and wind power. There is a graph in the book that predicts output based on blade diameter and wind speed, the main controlling factors.

You are right to look at output in light winds, where most of us anchor. I prefer alternator types over generator types because they tend to be more trouble free, are easier to regulate, and do not burn out in high winds. They are also quiet—with the notable exception of Air Marine. The Ampair 100 has an excellent reputation for silence and durability, but the little Rutland—913, I think—may have slightly better light air output. Rutland has been building wind generators to power English farms for decades.

When the wind gets above 10 knots, big blade units win hands down as far as output. But leaving them unattended is a bad idea.

I hope this helps.