I am thinking of using iPage, looking around for reviews.

It’s been a couple of years now since I put up my first Wind Turbine. I live in a windy spot – the wind rushes over the hills about 2 kilometers away and across the valley. It’s not windy all the time, but when it is, it’s really windy.

It’s far too costly to connect to the grid where my farm house is, so I put together a rather crude solar system. It’s way too small for my needs (about 1KW), but somehow I get by. It’s amazing how creative you can get when you need to. :)

I was admiring my handy work one day (and I am a woman, so it’s not really my thing playing with batteries and regulators etc.) when I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to have power trickling into my system over night, just to help keep it topped up”. The rest of my thinking was that when it’s really cloudy here, it’s usually windy, so a wind generator would really suit my purpose.

Now I had only seen a couple of Wind Turbines before so I didn’t really know what I was looking for, so I started researching. I knew I needed something that would tolerate the kinds of gusty winds that we have here. I also knew I was running a 12V system, but may upgrade to a 24V system in the future. And I wanted to convert as much wind to power as possible. The farm still had an old windmill tower in pretty good condition, so this provided the perfect location for the wind turbine to get maximum use of the prevailing winds as it is about 10 meters tall.

But… I had very low funds.wind generator - my 1st

It seemed to me that a marine grade wind turbine was most suited to my situation. I had been watching wind turbines on eBay for a while and found some that had an option of 12V or 24V. Interesting! This particular generator also produced up to 600W and it started generating power in relatively low air flow. This looked like the one for me so I bought it. I think it was somewhere around $900 at the time, but of course there was an additional $200 or so in electrical cable. I was very fortunate to have a friend come and help me wrap my head around all the technical jargon, but it wasn’t too hard.

You can see it running in my previous post (which was ages ago). Don’t get too excited though (although I really was at the time), it’s not the end of my story.
So we mount this shiny new wind generator at the top of the old windmill tower. It’s all wired up. A gentle breeze starts to blow. The blades start to spin….. and yes! I can see the little red LED on the underside of the generator – it’s producing power. Success! I tell you, it really was an amazing feeling knowing your producing power from a natural resource. Over the next few weeks I was even loving hearing the blades spin. I thought it might annoy me, as I bought the property for the serenity. But no, the sound of free electricity being produced was music to my ears and put a smile on my face.

However, this free power bliss was very short-lived. It seems that the strong winds in my area were just too much for this little turbine. The specs said it could handle 200km/hour winds – not so. It had a braking system inside the motor. When winds reach a specified speed (can’t remember how much now) the braking system slows the motor to a stop, assesses the air flow after 1 minute and then if the air flow has reduced it allows the turbine to reengage. This was one of the reasons I chose a marine grade wind generator – something that will cope with the strong winds here.

It didn’t take long. The first really stormy night destroyed my 1st turbine. I woke up next morning and it was making a strange noise. Not the noise I had previously been enjoying. I kept trying to see if the red LED was lit up, but no. The generator was no longer running. How heart-breaking.

We got it down from it’s tall lookout and I had someone look at it. He said that there had been a fire in the motor and suggested it was caused from the friction of the braking system. I contacted the eBay seller I had bought it from and to his credit he said he’d exchange it as long as I posted the burnt out one back to him ($80 postage).
The replacement generator came and I got excited again, although it’s quite scary being 10m off the ground trying to reinstall a wind turbine! Yay! We’re in the power making business again! Sadly, I think this one (which was a slightly different model to it’s predecessor) lasted only 3 weeks. This time the motor failed and the blades actually blew off, which according to the specs is impossible! Go figure!

Unfortunately I’m not the only one who’s had this kind of experience with the smaller wind turbines. A friend of mine installed one on top of his shed about 100km from my place. It also failed within about 4 weeks.
The original unit I bought was an AirMov S-600 Wind Generator – made in China. I’ve just done a search for it and can’t find them anywhere online, so I’m guessing they’ve gone out of business.

From my experience with them, it looks to me that the wind generators that have the spring mechanism in the tail that turns them out of the wind when it becomes too windy are probably the way to go. They are more expensive, bigger, need maintaining, but also produce more power. If you’ve had a good experience with a wind generator, please leave a comment as I hate to can the idea – but it’s just been my experience that the smaller turbines for home use are not a good option and have left me more than $1000 out of pocket.


Leave a Reply