Your first question is probably, what's a Turbine Development Charge Controller?
It is a Charge Controller that can be used for both wind or solar and has been further developed so that it measures wind and rotor speed, the resulting amps and watts, and records the data, every minute, to a data stick. This device has proven invaluable to me in assessing the effectiveness, or otherwise, of any modifications or changes I have made to the turbine.
This Renewable Energy project, designed to help contribute to the running of a 600litre Reef tank (Marine fish and corals), was started way back in March 2014, it is now December. Delays have been frequent and for many different reasons but the version you see above, when connected to a load, starts to move in winds of 1 mph, easily spins in winds of 2-3 mph and starts to produce a charge from the F&P generator in wind speeds of 6-7 mph. This produces a rotor speed of around 55 rpm.
The entire project is a Hybrid, Wind and Solar. but I have cheated with the solar panel because I could purchase a 100W panel for less that I could make one, plus I'm crap at tabbing solar cells. This Instructable therefore concentrates on the wind turbine.
It is already well documented that a VAWT is not as efficient as a HAWT. However living on a housing estate, surrounded by sheltered, turbulent wind and neighbours, a VAWT had to be used. Please don't make the mistake that I made of researching the average wind speed in my area on the Internet, rather than using an Anemometer to do actual measurements. Take it from me, living in an urban environment has a dramatic effect on prevailing wind speed. The average for my area is documented on the Internet as being between 11-14 mph. The actual wind speed at the bottom of my garden when winds of 11-14mph are blowing is more like 4-5 mph!
The Instructable outlines some of the other difficulties I have encountered over the months caused by a lack of wind, the limitations of a VAWT, and a great many design flaws resulting in misalignment and resistance issues.
The version you see above is the first one following a radical rethink of the design. As can be seen from the images it starts with a vertical pole connected directly to the F&P motor. The connection between the two elements ensures alignment and is totally resistance free.
Please read on, and one thing I can promise is that this turbine WORKS. It generates a charge to the batteries in winds of 6-7 mph. This wind speed produces a rotor speed of around 55 rpm at which point the F&P generator is producing around 1/2 an amp. The F&P generator is capable of producing a maximum of 10 amps. That's 120 watts from a washing machine motor!
If anyone is interested in the Turbine Development Charge Controller, the guy that made it for me had a small quantity made prior to making it available commercially in the near future. I will happily pass on your messages to him. He has a small quantity left.
This project has been on going since March 2014 and this Instructable shows some of the modifications and changes that I have made over the months to try to achieve my objective of a "renewable energy system" producing free electricity, 12 months of the year. The images show some of the previous versions of the VAWT.
When I started the project I knew nothing about renewable energy so turned to the internet for information. One thing that became very obvious from the outset were the plethora of opinions and approaches that had already been tried. This Instructable sets out to explain how I decided to approach the subject and I make no claim that it is the best approach, but what I can assure you is, that it works!
There can be little argument that to achieve some FREE electricity 12 months of the year requires a combination of approaches, or a very large, geared turbine. This fact alone was the reason I chose to build a Hybrid system so capitalizing on the resources of Sun and Wind.
After a few weeks of research I initially decided to purchase and use an Ametek30 on what I now know is called a HAWT. Further research, after purchasing the Ametek30, clearly indicated that I would need to use a VAWT and so my difficulties started. I believe it is appropriate to say that an Ametek30 is great as a generator on a HAWT, but not on a VAWT.
After a couple of months of trying to overcome the issues of torque and lack of speed, I decided to ditch the Ametek and purchase a Fisher Paykel washing machine motor. A few weeks later the F&P had been modified as shown later and work commenced to optimise the rotor. This increasingly involved overcoming the issues of misalignment and resistance between the 3 separate elements of the turbine, tower, generator and rotor.
A radical rethink of the design saw me create the version you see on the previous page. It works far better than previous versions and already exceeds the output data produced by a company involved with modifying and testing the F&P motor some years ago.