Windempowerment maintenance manual for Recipe Book turbines


have published a Maintenance Manual for my wind turbine designs,
in free PDF download format.
(Donations are also welcome.)

Particular thanks to Gael Cesa
of Tripalium in France
for all his hard work on this.

Posted in Books, construction | 1 Comment

Tashi’s Turbine on PBS

Latest news: This broadcast will also be live on Facebook here.

The film Tashi’s Turbine will have it’s broadcast in the United States on PBS on November 13th 10pm EST.

Tashi’s Turbine – Documentary 

Set in the grasslands of the Himalayan Mountains, Tashi’s Turbine is an uplifting tale of a small village’s attempt to harness renewable, sustainable energy — the power of the wind.

Friends Tashi and Jeevan journey from Kathmandu to Namdok with hopes of building a stronger Nepal, one wind turbine at a time. Their first site is a remote village that previously relied exclusively on flickering candlelight. As Tashi and Jeevan work with the villagers, the elements and landscape bring unforeseen difficulties for installing a turbine — increasing the struggle to realize the community’s vision of power created by windy nights.


Posted in construction, developing world, People, Video links | Leave a comment

Jimmy winds a coil for a grid tied machine

Thanks to Jimmy of Eirbyte for this nice video

Wind turbine coil winding with counter from Eirbyte on Vimeo.

Posted in construction, Video links | Leave a comment

WindEmpowerment Maintenance survey

Have you answered the survey yet?

Dear Small Wind Turbine User,

The main problem of small wind turbines is their maintenance needs. They require a lot of care and it’s much more fun to build the wind turbine than to maintain or fix it.
To our knowledge maintenance failures and their consequences are known only locally and rarely shared. To help with that issue we want to
to facilitate the maintenance operation by having a quantitative feedback of your maintenance experience with your small wind turbine through the questionnaire below.

This questionnaire will take around 30 minutes of your time. It’s divided in 4 parts :

  • User data/ user experience
  • General information about your system
  • General information about your maintenance
  • Failures causes and consequences.

You can start it, leave it on side (by registering it) and finish it later on. 

There are 41 questions in this survey.

You have until 28th to add your data 🙂

Posted in construction | Leave a comment

Interesting tower for 2.4m machine at Tempelhof Berlin

Thanks to Windrad THF for these pics of a nice 2.4m diameter recipe book turbine at Tempelhof.  Here is a link to the video of the erection process.


This video is a fast forward and plays 8 times as fast than the original!

The tower was developed 3-4 years ago at the University of Applied
Sciences in Berlin. In fact, the vimeo stuff shows the original uni

The wind turbine tower was being installed at the Technical University of Berlin (HTW). In the end, the height of the turbine is 10 meters. When the “moving leg” falls into position in the end, there are some white pieces falling off, which is just snow…

The tower is made of wood and steel pieces and follows very simple structural principles. Its design has been developed by students of the Civil Engineering department in cooperation with the department of Renewable Energy Systems. The “structural inspection-report” has already been successfully passed, which was the very condition in order to get the building permit.

More info:
English version here

Posted in construction, People | Leave a comment

Please make sure you give us your correct address

It’s a bit heartbreaking to think of this book going around to the other side of the world and back at great expense just because whoever ordered it failed to check that the address they gave us was complete.  It’s not the first time.  Please do check you have given the correct mailing address.  Thanks!


Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Wind turbine news from Belgium

Hello Mr piggott,

I’m Fabian, 36 years old, from Belgium.
First i want to congrulate you for the invention of this fabulous generator.
I’m a member from “atoutvent2000“, the most active group in belgium for self made wind turbine.
I send you pics from my stator (18 coils with 96 whorls of 6mm wire) it is now assembled between 2 discs (600 mm diameter)with 24 big neodyme magnets on each. This generator has been tested in july and can give 16kw power at 600 rpm.

20160805_111906 20160810_140948

Now it is placed in my personal wind turbine. It is 24 meter High with 12 meter diameter propeller. It works with gearbox 7.5/1 To multiply the maximum speed of 80 rpm (propeller)To 600 rpm  (generator).

20160723_141852 20160820_164710

It works very well and i did want to show us that your invention is always in way of évolution.

Now l want to try to assembly a generator that works direct 16kw at 80 rpm to avoid gearbox. A lot of whorls, very big magnets…

To follow..

With pleasure To read you,

Best regards,


Posted in construction, People | Leave a comment


Wind Turbine Design and Construction Workshop – October 31 – November 5, 2016 – at the Handy Village Institute, Graham, North Carolina

ALSO: Wind Turbine Towers Workshop – November 7 – 12, 2016 – at the Handy Village Institute, Graham, North Carolina

Both of these workshops lead by Dan Bartmann of Otherpower fame.  He has taken my designs and built them very large, and far and wide stateside over many years.  He even came and helped on a couple of courses I did in the USA in the days I used to teach over there.

The workshops are HANDS-ON, at a gorgeous facility hosted by awesome people dedicated to educating folks in how to achieve a sustainable lifestyle.

Please note:
The cost of each workshop includes instruction, book (Homebrew Wind Power), and light refreshments. Transportation, meals, and lodging are not included. If you are seeking scholarship support, please indicate this during registration. Bring work clothes and boots, safety glasses, hearing protection, dust mask, pencil or pen and paper, and calculator. Tools to bring, if you have them: tape measure, hammer, battery-powered drill, drill bits, rasp file.

Posted in construction, courses | Leave a comment

Tales of Woe

Over the years I lot of people have phoned me with tales of woe about small wind turbines.  I am sympathetic of course, because I know how it feels first hand but I have become hardened over the years.  I do it because I love it and I know that it will hurt at times but for me it’s worth it.  What saddens me is that most people are shocked and disappointed by wind turbine failures whereas those of us who work in the small wind industry are mostly well aware and have seen plenty go wrong.

I’d like to try to redress the balance of the sales hype a little by sharing a couple of photos I received from Fiona, a UK wind turbine owner the other day.  This turbine is only four years old and has had plenty of repairs done already.  It’s on a good site, and generates £2600 worth of feed in tariffs per year, but servicing is expensive.  Lately Fiona has fallen out with the company that installed the system.  The installer insists on charging for replacement parts even though the manufacturer has accepted that they are warranty replacements.

It’s tough on all concerned when a machine keeps going wrong, but it’s not a complete surprise to those of us who know small wind turbines.  Some work well but others (especially on high wind sites) are complete troublemakers.  My advice has always been “Don’t buy a small wind turbine to save money.  Do it for love, and enjoy the unique feeling but don’t expect an easy ride.”

It’s great to see wind turbines sited well away from public areas rather than on rooftops(!!) and close to school front doors.  But if this blade had flown the same distance in the opposite direction it could just have smashed a window and entered the house.  Personally I see this as a justifiable risk.  It’s about as likely as being struck by lightning or blown up by a terrorist so not worth losing sleep over but wind turbine buyers need to be aware of it and that’s the reason for my post.  Also to say that events like these can severely test your relationship with your installer, even though it is none of your making.

Posted in UK small wind scene | 7 Comments

How to make an AC heater act as a charge controller

I have just added a page about how to build a Tristar Follower (as I call it) that uses an AC heater connected to your inverter to dump surplus power (usually into heating water) when the battery does not need it.  It uses phase control to do this smoothly.

It’s a pretty simple electronics project with only a handful of passive components to wire up.  I have built quite a few of them now and they work nicely.  The Tristar is good at deciding when to dump power but DC loads are not so useful, whereas an AC heater in your water tank can produce a lot of hot water without having to burn any fuel.


Posted in construction, my own projects, products/technical | 1 Comment