2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2, Page #35[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home-Built Windmill Works "Better Than New"
McDonald ended up doing the job himself at no charge just to see if "the damn thing worked." It did. Better than he ever imagined and cost less than commercial units which are high speed low voltage DC units which are a lot less efficient and have a shorter life span, says McDonald, who tailored the home-built windmill to average local wind speeds.
To find accurate information, he contacted the national weather service and the local military base for the local average wind speed and also bought a wind speed indicator to double check it.
He constructed a 40 ft. steel tower. The 20-ft. long vanes are wooden because he says they were less expensive to make than aluminum ones and more reliable than fiberglass.
He also made his own generator. "I took an electric motor apart, took all the crap out of it and used the motor's case with my
own windings and rotor in it," he says.
The blades turn at up to 210 rpm and generate 110 volts AC, which McDonald says is more efficient to transmit than DC power. The wind turbine has a maximum rating of 4,950 watts, although any size unit could be built.
The power runs to a bank of batteries in the shed where it charges batteries. The battery bank is fed to an inverter that converts the DC battery power to AC. The AC is used to power lights and small hand tools. "By doing it this way we can have power even if there's no wind for a day and it eliminate voltage and frequency variations due to a change in wind speed," saysåMcDonald, adding that the windmill should last about 60 years with proper maintenance. It works so well he now sells completed units or parts. A completed unit without tower sells for $1 per watt (Can.).
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Stan McDonald, 402 Mudcat Road, Foxboro, Ontario, Canada K0K 2B0 (ph 613 968-9516; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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