In a previous post (Chacmool Power), I mentioned that I thought my solar panel wouldn't be enough to power my project and that I'd ordered a wind turbine from China through Ebay:
It's the three-blade model and rated at 100 W, 12 V with a three-phase AC output. I actually wondered about getting one of those little jokers you see on small yachts and house boats - but they're pretty pricey and have built-in charge controllers. As I have previously mentioned, I have already invested in an over-engineered combiled 1 kW solar / wind charge controller so I wanted a turbine that could wire straight into that. This was the smallest one I could find that fitted that bill and seemed physically small enough to stick on a wooden shed.
Actually, i think it's that bloody charge controller itself that's using up all my precious, hard-won solar charge. Ironic that the charge controller is running down the battery. So I could:
- Get a more sensible charge controller
- Fit more solar panels
...but where's the fun in that? Much better to blunder down the course I've set for myself with my stupid power-hungry 1 KW combined charge controller and erect a breezy power harvester that's more likeley to pump the electrons round when the sun's not shining.
Anyway, the wind turbine arrived. Seeing it in the flesh so to speak, I realised it's bigger and heavier than I thought it would be. I'd foolishly wondered about mounting it using am aluminium TV arial pole from B&Q, cleverly reinforced with a wooden dowel down the middle. Composite materials! But looking at what arrived in the post, I quickly realised that I'd need a bigger metaphorical boat and that my clever composite pole would probably have been snapped like a twig at the first sign of a breeze.
So what could I use as a mast? The turbine has a big, meaty looking metal mounting flange (you can see in the picture above) so I'd need to accommodate that. I Googled about for "wind turbine mounting", "mast", etc. and found little of use. Then I found out about these tube clamps you can get (Google for tube key clamps, or "kee klamps" to see what I mean). I could build my own robust mast in sections of galavanised steel tube, joined and fixed with these tube clamp fittings. The other bonus is that wall plate that matches the 42 mm tube (there are several diameters available) also matches the flange on the turbine! Awesome!
...so I ordered a wall plate for the turbine, a base clamp to fix to the ground (the concrete shed foundation) and a T-piece plus another base plate to brace the whole lot against the shed. All I need now is the steel tube. More on this later...