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wbrownell9 09-16-2012 09:24 PM

Wind generator help request
When I bought Carina (PSC 37) she had an Aero6gen wind generator but it wasn't wired in. Apparently at some time in the past, the dump resistor had suffered a catastrophic failure and the PO removed every scrap of wire associated with the installation, leaving nothing but the mast and the generator, and let it spin for 3 years, until his price expectations had moderated... According to the owner's manual, just letting it spin with no load in high winds is a bad idea, so until I can check it out and wire it in properly - winter project - I've just tied it off.

Now I'm looking at charge controllers. It appears that the available controllers just regulate to 14.4 volts, or dump to the resistor. Ideally I'd like a "smart" controller like the one I use when on shorepower that can do constant current, then constant voltage, then float to keep the battery from self-discharging. Or am should I be looking at it differently, not as a replacement for shorepower but as real-time makeup for what I use? Right now I'm just sailing weekends with one or maybe two nights on the hook before returning to the marina.

PBzeer 09-16-2012 10:09 PM

Re: Wind generator help request
I put a wind generator on my boat when I bought it, thinking that, if there's enough wind to sail, it will spin the wind genny, and if not, I'll be on motor. If I had to do it over, I wouldn't bother with it.

jubliado61 09-17-2012 01:05 PM

Re: Wind generator help request
I had an Airbreeze generator installed on our PSC31 in 2010. Have had good service from it. It came with a remote toggle on-off switch. When not using the gen I set the switch to off position and that puts a load on the device and then it spins only slowly if at all. I have tied it off when a big breeze was expected.

The voltage regulator is built into the Air Breeze and has performed as designed. Not sure how old the generator your vessel has installed, but I suspect that the technology as improved over the years. Perhaps the cost/benefit might indicate a new wind gen?

Sorry I don't have any other info for you respecting the missing controller.

chucklesR 09-17-2012 01:43 PM

Re: Wind generator help request
After 3 years of free wheeling I'd test it out before I put large sums of money into it.

The 14.4v is fine - plug the output into a suitable MPPT controller - I say suitable because you don't mention the model so I don't know the output amps.
The one they advertise here on sailnet:
WIND GENERATOR - LVM - AERO6GEN - LVM612 - Sailnet Classifieds
says 30amp so figure you need that to be sure.
The MPPT will take the 14.4 - and depending on battery type you've set up for and charge state - convert voltage to amps / amps to volts to make it charge the system most effectively and efficiently (again, based on state of charge as read by voltage level of the battery.
Doing it that way adds another piece of gear but makes it safer and more efficient. It also adds monitoring capability.

As to whether or not air gens are useful - that's another thread, but who anchors in high wind areas?

samchristo 09-17-2012 05:58 PM

Re: Wind generator help request
We have an Aero6gen generator with a Flexcharge NCHC-60 controller using 2 of the LVM dump load resistors in parallel. The idea behind a dump load controller is to keep a load on the windgen while diverting overcharge current to the resistors as needed. The Flexcharge folks contend you don't need another controller as theirs does the job. We've been using the windgen for several years and have been very satisfied (except for spare parts - there are virtually none available).

If you attach the windgen to a solar-type (MPPT) controller it will simply disconnect the windgen output from the battery when the batts charge up, allowing the windgen to free-spin.

On good side is that the Aero6gen is a solid piece of machinery and will last a long time. However, you might need to replace the bearings if they feel loose or make noise.

We use both solar and wind to keep up our batteries while cruising but use a battery charger when plugged in (for AC/heat/microwave, etc.).

Good luck,
s/v Grace PSC34

chucklesR 09-17-2012 06:38 PM

Re: Wind generator help request
Why would you not dump the excess to a useful source, e.g. hot water?

Resistor dump is just heat - inside the boat.

samchristo 09-18-2012 08:37 AM

Re: Wind generator help request
I looked into diverting excess power into a water heater - it's a good idea.

But that would mean I'd have to add a water heater. One with a purpose-built 12v heater element as the 120v heater elements don't offer enough resistance.

My solar shower heater and my tea kettle are still in use...

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