Wednesday, August 2, 2017

HAWT DIY July 2017 Light Array Experiment

Trying to have an "its doing something" machine I looked long and hard for an LED array voltage meter but to no avail. I need / want something that covers around 4 - 35 volts DC and most everyone is using them for battery charge indicators; they just don't have a wide range.

The object is to have something real time active that can be seen from shore.

I am going to try the LM3914 but getting the range I want is still a challenge for me.

I went old school electro-mechanical, like might have been found around WWII

As voltage rises the little 9mm bayonet bulbs slowly brighten and then the relay shuts down and lights up the next one.

Its working perfectly within the component constraints

The 1st relay is a 6V which switches at around 3.5vdc
That lights up the second relay, a 12v which switches at 7vdc
And that lights up the 3rd relay, a 24v which switches at 13vdc
That turns on the last one.
 And I learned that using relays like this is troublesome; their switching voltage is different from their rated voltage (need spec sheet for each) and they remain switched until the voltage drops substantially below the switching voltage.

The incandescent are great because they go dim to bright and back unlike LED.

They are using some serious amperage too so the start up wind speed is around 3 - 4 mph


You can hear the little stepper motor grinding away its pretty cool. I can't get video at knight but it steps thru each bulb as designed, mostly stays on bulbs 3 and 4

The people at BulbTown were very bad at notifying me regarding my order, I needed a progression of bulbs to make this contraption work and they didn't get them out to me yet.
when I get a 3 volt bulb the 1st stage will light up to the max, and when I get a 24 volt bulb the 4th stage will not burn out!

Its looking like I get very roughly 1 volt per MPH

I am going to try to get amperage / wattage numbers next

I started to look at the wagon-wheel effect too, I should be able to get a more accurate TSR by videoing the windmill and the anemometer at the same time. I think that when the blades appear to stop with 6 blades showing that means 60 RPM

Convinced now that I like the incandescent bulbs because they put a heavy load on the machine.
I have figured out where to get a reliable series of 3v, 6v, 9v, bulbs (Mag-light)
And am going to figure out the Arduino controller with relay pack some how.

Best results from a day of readings

Friday, August 19, 2016

HAWT DIY Aug 2016 Data Collection

Made all the upgrades to the drive couple and have made some new runs.

The beautiful new couple.
Not visible is the spacer that takes the axial load from the spring part of the couple and transfers it to the end only.

Now that I don't trust the RPM meter I did some bench testing to get numbers to compare to the field tests.
Set up in the order that I write them down I have the meters.

I went with the INSPEED VORTEX "POLE MOUNT" ANEMOMETER a dramatic improvement over struggling with the lacrosse weather station.

So now the RPM meter is the weak link, it is so erratic that I can't use it. At home the bench tests are perfect but in the field it is terrible .

I'm not sure what to do about it.

The TSR is pretty steady at 5.2 so I'm happy with that.
And it looks like I can get to 13V @ 7MPH

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

HAWT DIY July 2016 Data Collection

Currently I am trying to figure out the refresh rate and the mode (such as Avg, or Peek) that the WS‐2813U‐IT La Crossei is set to, it seems to refresh every 15 - 30 seconds or so.

My analog volt meter is nice because is does the "averaging" for you with its slow and steady movements. (mounted in my old IPhone 3 box, saved for some such purpose)

So for a start I decided to assume that the La Crosse was averaging between refresh and so I would mentally average the volts thru that time.
This image shows 6.2 MPH and 16 VDC

 The data as collected (with about 50 data points) is Wind Speed x Volts

FYI, I'm going to say that start up speed is about 4 MPH

 I crunched the numbers and came up with a TSR of around 5.25, not bad.

Next step is to get a full length jumper cable to bring the Tach on shore and then to call La Crosse and see if I can get a tech to tell me the w/speed mode.

Success today!
Yesterday not so much, the couple between the generator and the main shaft cracked as soon as I applied the dummy load. I discovered that I nicked the spring like milling when I drilled it out to receive the main shaft and a week of spinning got it all ready to snap as soon as I applied the load.
This is very good because it shows the weak spots in the design and all of the winter fixes whould be major improvements.
I replaced the couple and all is well for now, I do not expect the new couple to last much longer... we shall see.
With the ammeter spliced in to the system and my dummy load box set to 10 ohms I got a really nice correlation between vdc and amperage, unfortunately the tach is acting very flaky and so now that is harder to get a good number than it should be.

This chart starts to confirm actual output.


The new couple lasted about a day but I got some more data from it before it broke.
With new couples and a redesigned main-shaft I will try again in a month.

I have ordered a wired anemometer so that part of the puzzle will be addressed.

I am already planning how to install a bigger stepper generator, I feel that this one will not get me to the 16vdc often enough.

This chart indicates that it should take 12mph to get to 16vdc but I know this data is vague, might be more like 16mph.

I am missing a beautiful 16 - 18 mph day due to the drive train failures so I hope we get some wind in August.


Repaired in one 3 hour session in the shop back at home.
The old couple was hand made (not by me) and both cracked.

Ordered two new ones and installed one with some significant detailed changes to limit the stress on the couple itself.