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  #1  
Old 08-08-2010
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Wind Generators

I'm looking into adding supplemental power via either wind or solar. I know there are lots of debates about which to add first, or whether you need both, etc. Let's avoid that discussion and just look at wind generation (we could do a separate thread on solar if we want...).

We are planning on cruising from the Chesapeake Bay down to the Bahamas and back over the next year.

What wind generators have people used and liked? So far I have found the following:




























12V Amp @ 10 knotsPrice
KISS 4.5 1200
Ampair 100 1 ? 1100 (700 pounds)
Air-X can't find in specs 900
Fourwinds 5.5 2300
Aerogen
Rutland
Duogen
Windbugger


Things that I'm considering include amount of noise generation, ease of install, can I use the pole to add a motor hoist, does it come with necessary voltage regulation, availability in the U.S. (a lot of those at the end of the list look like they are European companies), ...
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Last edited by EpicAdventure; 08-09-2010 at 09:32 AM. Reason: table formating
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2010
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Wind Generator

I have a Kiss and it has been flawless. It is mounted on the same pole as my OB hoist. It rarely gets going under about 6-8Kn of wind. Noise wise it only gets really noisy with the wind around 20Kn. Above that, unless I need it, I shut it down.
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Old 08-08-2010
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Without getting into brand issues, it's important to know that the output of a windgen will be roughly proportional to the square of the blade diameter and to the cube of the windspeed.

I looked at manufacturers' claimed outputs a couple of years ago when I was going through the buying process. Their claimed outputs at a given windspeed were all about the same once one adjusted for blade diameter. To put it differently, fit the largest propeller you can, and the output should take care of itself (within the limits of the available wind). Calder's book has a good table comparing the claims, or at least my older edition does.

So your decision (after prop diameter) will hinge on other things: reliability, weight, ease of installation, service, price, etc.

Based upon what I've seen for the last couple of months, I expect that the output of a windgen would disappoint in the Chesapeake, though I know from personal experience that they're much more valuable in the Trades.

FWIW, I bought an AirX for ease of installation and light weight, given that it had the largest prop I could fit. Since then, I've been impressed with their customer support.
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Old 08-08-2010
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My favorites on your list are the KISS, Four-Winds and the AmpAir. I don't know what the (700pounds) refers to by the AmpAir on your list, but it's not a heavy item. The Kiss produces more power of the three, The AmpAir is the quietest. The Four-Winds runs in the middle. The AmpAir doesn't need to be shut down in winds up to 85mph. I decided on a mount high on my mizzen and I also have solar panels and a 7Kw diesel generator. I was looking for maintaining an LED anchor light while away and operating my autohelm while under sail. I'm pleased with my AmpAir, but I probably would have been well suited with one of the others. The only one on your list that I really don't care for is the Wind Bugger,- just to big, heavy and awkward for me. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 08-08-2010
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I think 700 pounds is the UK price.

What output does anyone actually get from their wind gen?
real output - not manufacturers specs
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Last edited by mitiempo; 08-08-2010 at 05:25 PM. Reason: add
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Old 08-09-2010
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I have the D400 and don't monitor the output directly, but in the Caribbean it covers the daily energy use of my fridge and freezer (when the freezer is switched to fridge mode). The unit is silent but is rather heavy. See D400 Wind Generator for some details.
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Old 08-09-2010
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Windbugger is out of business. Duogen is very expensive. FourWinds, good units but service iffy at times.The bigger the blades the better the output. The old Aerogens and Rutlands had very little output. That's why they were so quiet. I understand they have some better models now. Kiss is simple and sturdy with parts available at any auto parts store. Also their support (John and Libby at svhotwire.com) is very good. I have had a Kiss for six years. No problems so far. Also have a Windbugger, the pioneer of this bunch but too much can go wrong with these (magnets unglued, brushes etc.) and parts are hard to get. If you're looking for advice go with a Kiss.
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Old 08-09-2010
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I installed one of these "Low Wind Generators" last week:

WindBlue Power - The best wind generator parts and PMA Permanent Magnet Alternators on the web

Unfortunately there hasn't been any wind to test it , but its only $450.
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Old 08-09-2010
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My AmpAir starts in light breezes puting out just one or two amps and 5 to 7 amps a 15 to 20 kt winds. The regulator and ampmeter supplied as well as the entire unit was an easy installation. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 08-09-2010
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I have a Ampair 300 its output is about 75% the rated current for wind speed.
This I believe is caused by the yacht sailing on anchor or mooring. If the unit can get clear air this increases the output to spec.
This unit run quietly and I have had no issues with it operation.
Good luck
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