Windtracker test update

An update 2 years on for my post on the Windtracker by Logic energy.

I put one of these windtrackers on a windmill tower (the Kestrel tower actually which is the right hand end one in the above photo) in March 2012, and to be honest I have not bothered to do anything in the interim. So I was a little worried that I would have lost all my data. The logger is still on its original batteries. voltage was 2.5. The LED was still winking gently. And I got the following data off the card for windspeed:


wind m/s hours
2  4,512
3  2,163
4  2,196
5  1,998
6  1,757
7  1,421
8  1,074
9  876
10  737
11  542
12 m/s average bin  329
13 m/s or over  467
average windspeed: 5.09
total hours  18,072

(I did not have a windvane connected but the logger also stores a useful windrose.)

The data is compromised by the fact that the anemometer is mounted on the west side of the tower and we have had a lot of east winds so it will have under-read those winds. But it’s a very useful clue to the site windspeed distribution.  Raw data on the card is the number of ten minute intervals for each windspeed bin as a text file.

Kestrel turbine with anemometer on short  boom on west side

Kestrel turbine with anemometer on short
boom on west side

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New edition of the French recipe book

Tripalium have completed the update of their “Manuel” for wind turbine construction (which is the French translation of my recipe book).  This is much improved on the older 2009 edition, with a lot of new material especially in the areas of tower construction and grid connection.  The 1.2 metre turbine is separated from the others to reduce confusion.  It’s a very nice piece of work, and I am honoured to have my name on it.


Tripalium  teach on average 15-20 courses per year, with an installed base of over 120
turbines, 25 of which are grid connected.

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Workshops in Austria

Jonathan Schreiber has a new website announcing his workshops in Austria this summer:

Jonathan is using my new designs for 2 metre ferrite magnet wind turbines (2F).

I plan to publish these soon.

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Havoc with 4.2 metre turbines in France

gilouGilou at Tieole writes from France:

This year, we are confronted with a lot of violent wind. And the 4200 model break a lot.

This winter, I think 8 wind turbines are broken. A lot of tails have jump and break blades.

Recall you the wind turbine we have built at L’ile on May. It’s broken but it’s really incredible. Blades, stator are broken and the top of the tower is folded.

I have use a 76 mm hydraulic pipe for the top of the tower.

It’s good to share pictures like this because damage does happen.  The hard thing is to find out what went wrong first, because most of the damage probably happened after the first failure.  For example when a tail jumps off this most often happens as a result of a broken blade ( being out of balance, the machine shakes the tail off), but it’s also possible that the tail broke the blade somehow.

When I look at the bent yaw pipe I think that’s most likely to be the first failure.  But the most likely reason for the pipe to bend would be gyroscopic forces so I suspect that there were strong gusts of wind and maybe the machine was also over-speeding at the time.  Then if the blades are spinning fast and the machine suddenly yaws away from the wind in a gust you could see a failure of the yaw pipe like that.  After that it’s easy to explain the blades and tail failing.  I suppose that the damage to the stator was caused by the blades.  But we don’t really know if the whole thing started with the stator coming loose, breaking, then overspeed, then bent yaw…

It’s important to analyse every clue to try to find out the original cause of the crash.  How to prevent it in future?

  • We can build the machine with stronger materials.  For example the 76 mm pipe maybe only had 3 mm wall.  You can also buy it with 5 mm wall and a higher grade of steel.  This is a good idea for surviving exceptional winds and turbulent sites.
  • Another idea is to run the machine more gently.  Use a smaller angle on the tail hinge pipe so that it furls more easily and does not run so hard.  Or modify the power curve in the inverter so as to run at lower rpms.  (You may also get less energy of course.)

The 4200 is designed as a low windspeed machine with large blades in relation to the alternator and frame.  The idea is to get maximum power in low winds so it works for us every day.  But it’s not the strongest survivor in storms as we have learned from the winter experience in France.

Comet-me build 4.2m machines using a design they have adapted from my recipes.  They put them on some very windy sites!  Maybe we can learn from their designs…  Noam has sent me a document and I am pasting a link to it below.  But the yaw pipe is only 73mm in these drawings.

4.2 m turbine frame make manual

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3.2 or 3.5 meter high voltage direct-drive turbine for use with MidNite Classic 150 controller

Chris Olsen has made a nice series of web pages and a video describing how to build a high voltage (48-150VDC) turbine with diameter around 3.2-3.5 metres.  This works nicely with the Midnite Classic controller to charge batteries.

More from Chris here.

Posted in construction, People, products/technical, Video links | Leave a comment

Endorsement from Wyoming

“Hello there from Wyoming.
Just a note to let you know we live in remote Wyoming at 7000ft.
We bought over 4000.00 in junk wind generators, all popped and fly off pole.
We have LOTS of wind, we can get 3 days and nights of 70 mph plus winds here.
My son bought your plans book and built your windmill. we now have two.
SO far they have lasted over 2 years no trouble at all. We get temps to 38 below Zero here and they still work perfect.
Here is a picture.

Thanks Very much ”



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Check out the new Eolsenegal site


Eolsenegal have a new web site giving details of their services. Wind turbines are built to my Recipe designs.

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Build your own windmill workshop course on Scoraig April 26th

I am planning to hold a course here on Scoraig at the end of April.  We’ll build and test a wind turbine as usual.  Accommodation is provided from Saturday 26th April to Saturday 3rd May.  These will be the arrival and departure days.  The course will run for six days from 27th to 2nd.  Your partner may be able to find accommodation here too without attending the workshop. Please ask for details.

See photos of 2012 course and 2013 course and a video.   Cost will be £750 including accommodation.  I may be able to offer a limited number of student discounts if there are enough people paying full price.

Contact me for more details and to book a place.  I do not plan to travel around teaching courses this year as I have done over the last 12 years or so.  This may be your only opportunity to be taught by me personally, although there are several other groups worldwide offering courses based on my Recipe Book or derivatives of it.

Posted in construction, courses, Scoraig | 5 Comments

“How to” get feed in tariffs with a Powerspout hydro turbine

Here is a document describing the steps to obtain Feed in Tariffs in the UK for a hydro turbine.  The process is not controlled by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme as for small wind and solar projects.  It’s still a bit of a paperchase, but you can qualify for these tariffs for installations using Powerspout turbines either on or off the mains grid.

Download guide to obtaining Feed in Tariffs

More about Powerspout turbines:


Powerspout turbines typically cost about £1000 including delivery.  However it is essential to get a turbine that matches your particular site conditions.  The turbine is only part of the whole system that can give you 24 hour power on or off the grid.  I can advise how to put a system together.  Microhydro is a very rewarding form of renewable energy in terms of what you get from what you put in.  I have designed and installed numerous systems over the last 20 years.  I would use one myself if I had a suitable site!

  Powerspout is a good choice for DIY installations. Contact me if you are interested in more info, and/or go to the powerful calculator site and enter your site details for a full design calculation.  Forward the calculation results to your email, and also copy me in by selecting “Scoraig Wind Electric” from the drop-down menu of dealers.

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News from Tanzania

With great success, the first partner project between I Love Windpower Tanzania (ILWPT) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) UK branch at the University of Warwick took place in September 2013 in the village of Kemgesi, Serengeti region, Tanzania.

The new partnership (facilitated by James Low of Wind Empowerment) saw the two groups install a 1kW wind turbine to provide electricity for a girls boarding school at the Dr Omar Ali Secondary School.

Read the whole story here at “I love Windpower”

Posted in construction, courses, developing world, People | 2 Comments