thoughts on mounting small wind generator - SailNet Community

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Old 09-25-2010
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thoughts on mounting small wind generator

I recently purchased a southwest windpower 400 watt generator and am pondering how to mount it on a Pearson 10M. The only spot for it seems to be the transom rail about 9 feet up on a pole. I've seen the mounting kit they sell but its almost 200. I was thinking of getting a pipe of the right diameter at a hardware store and Ubolting it to my transom rail and adding some stays to add lateral strength perhaps out of nylon to minimize noise (though may stretch too much?) And corrosion. The other option it to make a hole in the transom but I'd like to keep the number of holes to a minimum. I think the generator is like 16 pounds. The rail seems very solid. Does this sound like a bad idea? It seems a bit quick and dirty but far cheaper then buying the mounting kit from the manufacturer. All advice greatly appreciated.
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sounds like a reasonably good idea to me however i recomend placing a flange on the bottom of the pole and some rubber bedding compound under the flange use galvanized pipe and floor flange Shop LDR 1-1/2" Galvanzied Floor Flange at Lowes.com this is just to give you an idea what im talking about
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I'd suggest a pipe length so that the blades are a couple feet above you head or boom or davits. You can use galvanized pipe or aluminum and I recommend thick wall as the weight that high up can stress the material.

You're going to have to attach at least 2 support pipes (forward and abeam) to keep the mast vertical and secure. Many folks use stainless steel but any good metal should do the job. Attaching the support tubes is going to take fittings and most of the ones I see are stainless that are designed for biminis and dodgers. I recommend through bolting and double nutting everything as opposed to set screws or nylock fittings. Vibrations can cause nut movement at the worst time. I'd also suggest some kind of plate and padding to reduce the stress on the boat (plate) and attenuate some of the vibrations (padding) from the wind generator to the hull.

It's important that the main tube be as vertically plumb as possible. If the tube is canted then the wind generator may favor that position especially in light winds.

You're going to have to drill a few holes depending on the base plate. You'll have to add one more for the wiring from the wind generator. Make sure these holes are prepared so that water can't migrate into the laminate. Use some kind of chafe protection for the wiring passing through the deck and you may want to consider a waterproof fitting.
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Last edited by oceanscapt; 09-25-2010 at 12:38 PM.
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I'd be reluctant to rely entirely on the pushpit railings for support.. a sold base will help a lot. For our radar mast we made a drilled plate that bolted to the perforated toerail...

However, no matter how you 'stay' the pole if it's attached to your railings there will be constant loading/unloading on your pushpit bases as the 'pendulum' created by the pole and the generator swings around due to wave action and heeling.

This kind of action can lead to stress cracks and leaks at your deck mounts for the entire railing assembly if you rely solely on that structure for support.
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Through bolting its own base and stays would be ideal however there is virtually no room for a 4'' or so base with the stanchions, exhaust vents, lights etc. Would reinforcing the transom rail mount points with beefier backing plates be okay? Am reluctant to make swiss cheese out of the transome top its already got a ton of fittings. Can only see this generator aft of the boom or it would interfere with sailing. Am debating if I should scrap the project though I've already bit the cost of the generator. A 9' pole with a 16 pound turbine could probably exert a lot of force in time esp in a blow. Space is tight what about a small mast base and then the stays being bolted to the rail? Was hoping to maybe squeeze in another solar panel on the mast but the more I think about the reduction in seaworthiness the less this appeals. What about making it easy to take down with wing nuts and only deploying it while moored/ anchored?
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The mount they sell includes rubber bushings both for the base of the pole and where the angled supports attach to L-shaped mounts on deck. The result is that all three points of attachment are buffered by rubber so noise and vibration is less. If you could source the rubber bits it would be fairly easy to do something like the mounting kit.
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Having struggled with sourcing the parts for my wind generator "tower", I'd get the $200 kit in a heartbeat.

I'm having problems finding the bracket that holds the vertical pole on the transom and allows the pole to pivot down so you can service the wind generator. (I haven't called Garhauer yet though, I only checked the products on their website.) Also, the vertical 1.25 inch pipe (outside diameter is 1.66") is very expensive -- like $750 for a 12 foot length in shiny stainless. There's been plenty else to work on, but I'll have to bit the bullet sooner or later.

Note that I got a 20 foot length of shiny 1 inch tube from West Maine. It cost about $200 just for that. I plan to cut that roughly in half to make the fore/aft triangle support and port/starboard support. The 20' tube is tied down to my deck right now and shows rust splotches all over it. I'm starting to think the WM stainless tube is crap!! Anyone else have experience with that?

(Tube is very different than pipe by the way.)

So I'd LOVE to be able to buy a mounting kit for $200, like you can. Go for it.

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Brad
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A trip to home depot reveals three mast options. Galvanized heavy pipe, black painted pipe and electrical conduit pipe. I want to minimize the forces and weight would prefer to lose the turbine then damage the deck. Am inclined to go with the conduit pipe and stays. It is probably strong enough this is the smallest wind generator I saw in terms of dimensions. I am looking for a deck fitting piece. Am I kidding myself? The heavy pipe seems obscenely heavy for a land installation that would be one thing I could always get a new bit of conduit every now and then as it corrodes. Two smaller diameter pipes pounded flat on the ends with holes drilled in them can serve as stays. Am thinking MTB tire or inner tubing at each interface to serve as vinration dampers maybe several layers of it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
.... The 20' tube is tied down to my deck right now and shows rust splotches all over it. I'm starting to think the WM stainless tube is crap!! Anyone else have experience with that?

Brad
Sounds like 304 SS... really likes to rust esp in a salt water environment. I ended up using a 2" SS tubing for my radar pole, but all I could get locally was 304 to a 180 finish.. it takes some attention to keep it looking OK.
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see if they make a kit to suspend the unit you have in the rigging some companies do. also see if the company makes a water kit for it
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