Wind Charger

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paulworden

Guest
Hello We have a wind generator on the farm, three blade with a fairly large generator housing. My father in law moved on to the place in the 70's, and it has spun,but done no work. A close examination with binoculars reveals the name "JACOBS" on the tail, it is on a 48 foot tower, so that is as close as it has been examined. Anybody have any info on one of these? It really bothers me to see it spin when it could do some work. thanks for your input Paul.
 
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Orrin

Guest
Generally, these machines produced a 32 volt output. It's hard to justify getting any work out of your Jacobs unless you are willing to put in a 32 volt battery bank (expensive) and start looking for 32 volt appliances (old, hard-to-find, primitive, and expensive).

If the wind blows long and hard enough at your location (usually not the case), you'd be better off getting a modern system that would use an inverter to produce 110 volt a.c. off the battery bank. You'd not be able to get that out of a 32 volt system.
 
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Russ Hughes

Guest
The Jacobs Company built many wind generators of all sizes some years back for farm electrical systems and they were quite popular then.

My main concern would be that the device has not been serviced for a long time. What would be the condition of the bearings, shafts, etc. I would bring the generator down off the tower and carefully inspect the workings for damage or wear before attempting to place the unit into service. If it has been turning over in the wind for many years, I would suspect that the brushes have worn themselves down to a nubben and the bearings would have gone more or less dry as to lubricants.

As for being able to use it for some useful purpose, I agree that finding appliances that operate on 32 volts might be difficult although 32 volt systems still exist on some commercial fishing vessels.

The other option is the 32 volt battery bank feeding an inverter to provide 120 VAC standard house power. The more efficient wind generator systems are using voltages higher than 12 volts with 24 and 48 volts being common. Four eight volt lead acid batteries connected in series would probably provide an adequate battery bank for the 32 volt Jacobs wind generator depending on what your power demand needs were.

For further information, there is a publication called "Home Power" that publishes many fine technical articles on the subject. The only problem with the magazine is that the publishers are very opinionated in the direction of environmentalism and it is necessary to take some of what they write with a few pounds of salt. Otherwise it is an excellent publication and well worth reading. They also have an internet web site for the magazine.

While I have not had an interest in 32 volt systems and have not paid much attention to this area, the trend towards higher voltage wind and solar power systems has produced an increase in equipment for these voltages. While this Jacobs wind generator may have been designed specifically for a 32 volt system, other voltages are not impossible from this unit.

Some years ago I had a Wincharger wind generator system rated at 150 watts at 12 volts.The unit came mounted on a ten foot tower. It had a two blade wood propeller. The generator was a three brush type, similar to the older automotive three brush generators. It also had an centrifugal spring loaded air vane govornor that opened above about 26 miles an hour wind speed. The govornor vanes when open, destroyed the air flow over the blades to keep the propeller speed at a reasonable rate in high wind conditions. When the wind speed dropped to a lower speed, the vanes would then retract under the spring pressure and normal operation would then continue.

We experimented with this unit and found that it would also charge 6 volt and 24 volt batteries just as well. There is no reason to not expect that a 32 volt system might not be able to charge a standard 48 volt system's batteries as well. If it has a voltage regulator, this could probably be re-adjusted for 48 volts, or to 24 volts as needed. Operating a wind generator away from its design parameters will probably reduce the efficiency somewhat, but not beyond still being a usefull function.

Many of the new serious wind power systems have gone to 48 volts, and occasionally higher to 120 volts, for the purposes of increased efficiency. With a higher voltage you can use a smaller gauge wire, or transmit the power over a longer distance with less losses. The inverters are somewhat more efficient at higher input voltages. When the source of power is limited as to capacity,(ampere hours) overall efficiency becomes a very important factor. If your are just playing around with such a system just for the fun of it, then there are many more options available for you.

These larger wind power system are in demand among those wanting free wind power, particularly where the need for power is located some distance from the nearest power line, or someone just wants a non-poluting source of power to feed their green orientation.

If it wasn't the fact that I live in a city on a standard residential lot, I would have a wind power system in service. The problem would come from neighbors who would probably object on esthetic and nusance grounds because of the sound of a close by propeller spinning in the wind. They do make a little noise when operating.
 
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Dale Burkman

Guest
Jacobs built wind generators from the late 1920's until 1957.These were considered the Cadillic of wind generators.These were slow speed goverened at 325 RPM. The most common ones were the 1800 watt and the 2500 watt sizes a lot of the later produced ones were 120V systems. The easiest way to tell which voltage the system is is to check the volt meter on the power panel.32V systems use a 50V meter 120V systems use a 150V meter. There are several manufactures of inverters to convert 32VDC to 120VAC. These inverters use a battery bank. There is also a type of inverter that is called a synchronous inverter.With a synchronous inverter you don't use a battery bank. The synchronous inverter uses a grid [power line] interface.The excess power you produce is delivered to the power grid.Some power companies will buy this excess power from you at a reduced rate.With a synchronous inverter when the power line is down the system won't produce power. As was stated in previous messages the generator should be checked out for brush and bearing wear.There is still some repair parts being produced inculding props.
 
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paulworden

Guest
Thank you all for the information. I figured on bringing the unit down,first. I already own three Delco Lightplants, so I was planning on investing in a small 32 volt battery setup. If I can tie this in that would be great. I have been told that the REA came to this area pretty late and the people who broke this ground did so with out the use of commercial power. Given what is happening in California a little bit of free energy would be a good thing. I have a couple of 32 volt electic motors and I am looking at solar water heat, wind energy to run the pump sounds like a good thing.

Well thanks for your help if we drop the tower and rebuild I will be sure to pass along the details. Paul
 
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Russ Hughes

Guest
Another use for these systems is for directly pumping water from a well. As soon as the wind generator produces enough power to run the pump, up comes the water which is then dumped into a tank. These systems do not use any battery bank, depending entirely on the output of the generator. I understand that they even pump water from a deep well as well.
 
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Brian Triebner

Guest
I have been reading this thread with great interest.My forte is engines but I have always wanted to belt one to a generator but assumed it had to be DC . It has been writen that an inverter could supply 120v AC . I have a 10 kw ,125 volt DC 80 amp generator @ 1600 rpm . What horsepower is req'd and what would this inverter cost ? Would it been possible to use this on modern electrical household appliances ,standby only ? Thanks Brian
 
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Orrin

Guest
Ten kW sounds big. I'm guessing a 10 kW inverter might cost big bucks. If you want to consider the expense as being the cost of backup power, you might be able to justify it. However, if you are hoping to save money by generating your own power, by the time you buy fuel and amortize the cost of the inverter, you probably won't.

Besides the cost of the inverter, you'll need to install equipment that will prevent you from feeding back into the line. That's to prevent electrocuting the linemen when they need to kill the power for service or repair.
 

Harry

Administrator
Staff member
What horsepower is req'd and what would this inverter cost?

I'd say a 15HP engine, throttle governed, with heavy flywheels would be in order and at full load, it had best be in GOOD order.

As for the inverter, even if you were inclined to home-brew it, the parts could be pricey. Maybe something on the surplus market, but this would be in high demand. By the time you consider safety features, good regulation and surge suppression, you may be better off looking for a good commercially built AC generator system.

One thing overlooked in the DC department: you northern folks should consider that DC can be used to run resistive heat strips to supplement your home heating costs. This under wind or water power would be even better.
 
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Russ Hughes

Guest
I agree with the other statements about the cost of a 10 Kw Inverter. If you could find one it would probably cost several thousand dollars.

Your 10 Kw rated generator translates to about 13.4 horsepower One horsepower equals 746 watts so 10,000/746=13.4 Hp. The problem is that practice has shown that while a 13.4 Hp electric motor might drive a 10,000 watt generator, a 13.4 Hp gasoline engine is not up to the task.

I have a 5,000 watt comercial generator and to drive it there is a 10 Hp gasoline engine. A ten horsepower rating electrically is 7,460 watts, so you can see that they have left a safety margin of 2460 watts. The unit is rated for 6,500 watts for a surge rating such as for motor starting.

The additional horsepower rating for driving a generator from a gas engine has to do with the generator being able to produce its rated power without the engine having to run at a wide open throttle setting. In addition to straining the engine, operating the engine at its maximum output horsepower rating would allow for no reserve to accomodate a dynamic response such as from a changing load at or near the maximum horsepower rating of the engine. The generator, or alternator in an ac system would also have poor frequency response at a wide open throttle setting and the 60 cycle frequency would be all over the place.

So to meet a reasonable horsepower rating for the engine driving the generator (alternator) one would expect the engine to have a reserve horsepower rating of anywhere from 50% to 100% over the requirements for the generator (alternator) horsepower rating itself.

The other option is to use the 10Kw generator, but not draw its maximum rated output so you could use an engine with less than the normal horsepower rating for this size of a generator (alternator). If you are extracting less electrical power from the generator (alternator), the required engine horsepower rating will also be less by the same percentage.

They do make inverters that use 120 volts DC for their source to produce 120 volts AC. Most of the larger inverters also have circuits that syncronise the inverter output frequency to the power line frequency they are connected to. They also can have the capability to sense when the commercial power is not present such as during a power outage and they will automatically disconnect them selves from the commercial power line at that time. This way you could feed back into the commercial power line if you had excess power and draw power from the commercial power line as needed. There are some legalities doing this sort of a thing that need to be observed.

The problem with this scheme is that you can not produce electrical power with your small engine driven system cheaper than the power company can supply the power. It will cost you more than you can save by driving the power companies watt hour meter backwards. These systems that back feed the commercial power lines are usually using solar cells or a wind generator where the cost of the fuel (solar or wind) is zero. Gasoline cost you out of your pocket and it would be cheaper to buy from the utilities at todays rates. I don't know about next years electrical rates.

So if your idea is to be able to generate some electricity using an engine in the event that the power goes off line, then do it if you want. If just seeing an old restored engine of yours being able to do something potentially usefull is your thing, then do it. Just be sure that your system has the provision to disconnect all connections to the utility systems power lines when you are running your own power system.

You could consider supplying your own power in the event of a power outage to some limited loads or appliances such as a food freezer and selected lights with a seperate power system in your house that has no possible connection to the utilities own power lines.

A final thought. If your goal, or need is to provide backup power in the event of a utility power failure, I would drive the generator with a more modern and efficient engine and keep the fuel cost down. You can use the cooling system of the engine to provide hot water heat for the house also.

If you goal is to just have fun messing around with an old engine/generator system just for the heck of it, then you can do it most any way you want, because it is not something that you will be using, or needing on a regular basis.

If I can ever see my way to move out of the city and into the countryside, I will have fun doing all these things, just because that is what I want to do, not because I have to. An old engine put putting along out behind the garage doing something usefull would sure be music to my ears. My present neighbors would probably lynch me if I tried to do that here and now.
 
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Guy (GUS) Simms

Guest
As a generator collector ( I have about seventy or so), the most frequent comment at an engine show is "I'll bet you don't have to worry when the power goes off". Truth is, I do. In my arsenal I have only two units that are AC and produce enough wattage to be useful during a power outage. Secondly, they are usually buried under a pile of junk and it takes a while to dig one of them out and get it running, that is if I have any fuel and if they will run. :("> On top of that I have no automatic switchgear which means I have to open the main on my panel and backfeed it from the panel in my garage, which means I don't know if the power has come back on unless I call a neighbor to find out. It's usually much easier and a lot less stressful to light a couple of kerosene lamps and the herosene heater if it happens to be cold and wait the maximum hour or two until the power comes back.
 
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Brian Triebner

Guest
No,I wasn't planning on selling or using it during an ice storm . I have a little Honda that will do that. My thought was take my Electrc White & Middleton to a show and run it and if it was easy and inexpensive use the power from the generator to run the AC inthe trailer .From the comments posted here that seems not very practical. So I suspect I'll just go back to my original plan and hang some lights and run it in the evening. I've been told I can use regular AC bulbs right ? Thanks Brian
 
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Russ Hughes

Guest
Regular incadescent light bulbs work fine on AC or DC, but the new small flourescent mini bulbs only work on AC.
 

rufus13

New member
Surplus true-sine inverters can be had as surplus from large high-quality computer UPS up to 5KW in handtruck portable packages. I've seen the big APC models sell for a few hundred dollars on e-bay and less at real-people auctions. These are not plug-n-play like an Alt-Power specific model from Outback, but cheap can be good.

I've long thought that ICE generators ought to charge a correctly-sized battery bank that can run 80% of the loads-of-the-day (either DC or inverted) and run only to charge the battery array or to run heavy machinery that the inverter/battery can't or shouldn't (welder). Gasoline gensets have the same run efficiency that cars do in that they make more power using less fuel-per-KW/hr when run steady and at above 1/2 maximum capacity. If this technique can increase system efficiency to about the same as a Diesel engine...I'll let you know if it works for me in any repeatable way.

Adding a little bit of solar PV and/or wind generation to a correctly sized battery bank will trickle charge the battery bank and even if the trickle is fewer Amp-hours less than the output, the generator will run less often to top-up the batteries. If a person was off-grid (permanently or dry camping), this could stretch the fuel supply in the tanks and save some money (reduce noise signature, heat signature, etc.). Of course, if we insist on mid-day dual rooftop air conditioning at ~3500W. each, all of this savings is moot. Just bring lots of extra genset fuel or plan on stopping at the fuel dock pretty often.

Cheers.

sorry for my repetitive redundancies and speeiling. Is there a post-edit feature on this forum?
 
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