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

21-30th October: “Build a small wind turbine” construction course in Nea Makri, Greece

Kostas is holding another course near Athens in October.  The course will be held in English and it follows the usual pattern – predominantly practical work learning new skills and gaining a deeper understanding of the concepts.  More here

Posted in construction, courses | Leave a comment

Workshop story from TU Delft

Here’s a nice concise description of a course run by Tripalium in France using my design.

Students from TU Delft Energy Club went to France for a practical workshop. They came back with a working wind turbine that they now want to install somewhere on campus.   More
Posted in construction, courses, France, People | Leave a comment

Low cost MPPT heating controller for wind turbines

Schams Electronic in Germany make some neat little MPPT controllers for solar and for wind.

The Windmax MPPT controllers are modular, built from 500W units, with capacity up to 2.5kW.  These controllers have built-in protection against over-voltage when the battery is full, diverting surplus power to a dedicated heating element.

Mostly when people ask me about using heaters directly on their wind turbines, I offer them a Solar Converters LDR circuit.  This acts a bit like a battery because it works at a fixed voltage.  Sometimes I recommend putting a heater in series with the supply cable from turbine to LDR.  This allows the voltage to rise and achieves a low cost MPPT effect.  But you need to have two heaters: one for the LDR control and one in series.

Schams also offer an MPPT heating controller for those who don’t need to charge a battery or connect their wind turbine to the grid.  It’s not on the web page but it is reasonably priced.  If you are interested then please contact Schams Electronic.  This controller provides MPPT control of the wind turbine and puts the output into a single heater.

Posted in products/technical | 1 Comment

Alex Burgos’ overvoltage clipper

Alex sent me an email:

I hope you are well
I am writing to show my CLIPPER
I tried it with my 12 volt turbine
I have the Tristar ts-60 dc and ac Clipper
The CLIPPER use it to control excess voltage in the inverter and works quite well
The clipper is to avoid disconnection of the inverter at 15 volts
The inverter disconnects low battery to 10.5V  It also disconnects 15v overvoltage
The CLIPPER is for strong winds or gusts that disconnect me the inverter
But the clipper also use it to see how it would be for example by connecting the midnite 250.
When the wind reaches 80 km / hr with gusts surprise wind turbine and not enough to avoid fast the wind. The Tristar which is scheduled to 14,8V can reach approximately 15v and disconnects the inverter. So the Clipper acts to prevent excess volts
I send images as I did.
Use a shunt regulator Chris Greacen


Here is the pdf of the Homepower article that Alex used to make the control pcb that drives his clipper.

Posted in construction, People, products/technical, wind systems tutorial | Leave a comment

Enasolar grid-tied inverters for hydro turbines

enasolarEnasolar inverters are made in New Zealand.

They are fully compliant with UK grid standards G83/1-1 or G59/2.

These inverters are the ideal choice for connecting a PowerSpout hydro turbine to the grid in the UK and other 50Hz AC countries.

Many solar inverters are not compatible with hydro, nor do they come with any warranty or support in this application.

Enasolar inverters are a proven solution for grid tied hydro, with support from both the manufacturers and from PowerSpout.

Scoraig Wind Electric sell these inverters at the prices below (increased in September 2016 due to exchange rate).

Features & Benefits

  • A more efficient design means longer life and less call outs.

  • Wide operating voltage range allows more flexible solar power system design and panel use.

  • Lightweight inverters with integrated lockable DC and AC isolating switches which reduce installation time and cost.

  • Independently monitor and verify your installed solar power systems with the included built-in Wi-Fi.

  • This truly is one cool inverter with a front mounted heat sink which allows more airflow, easy care and cleaning.

For more information about Enasolar and/or PowerSpout hydro turbines, please email me

Enasolar inverter
Maximum volts No. of
Delivered price excl. VAT
1.5 kW 500 V 1 £949.26
2.0 kW 600 V 1 £969.30
3.0 kW 600 V 1 £1,121.13
3.8 kW 500 V 1 £1,072.87
4.0 kW 600 V 2 £1,515.43
5.0 kW 600 V 2 £1,394.20

Download the latest manual: EnaSolar-GT-Inverter-Manual v2-3

If you need the configuration software, USB Mini-B cable or sundry spare parts,  please contact me.

Posted in PowerSpout hydro turbines, products/technical | 1 Comment