Micro Wind Turbine Project

by Matt Lesak

In the fall of 2014, I wanted to experiment with wind power after reading Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business by Paul Gipe.  I HIGHLY recommend investing time educating yourself on this topic.  There's a lot of variables to consider and more importantly, I felt it set the proper expectation for my property (less then ideal for wind power).

I didn't want to spend more then $300 since this was my first implementation.  After searching and talking to several people, I ended up purchasing a Cyber 250 wind turbine generator from USA Wind Generators.  A word of advice I cannot emphasis enough: research before you spend your money.  There's a lot of mis-information and mis-leading companies in this segment of renewable power and I'll just leave it at that. 

The unit arrived about 10 days after I ordered it in a US Priority Mail envelop.  There was some basic assembly required and several items I had to go and pickup in order to assemble everything according to the instructions.  I was skeptical when reading the instructions and it called for using an epoxy to bound the hub to the generator shaft.  The epoxy bond would end up failing after a few weeks of use, so I ended up going to my local hardware store to seek some advice.  After explaining my project, they recommended I try Pliobond 25-LV .  It ended up working perfectly.

After the generator was assembled, I needed to figure out how to best assemble a mast for the turbine.  I purchase two 10ft sections of ridged electrical conduit.  Here's everything fully assembled:

I ended up supporting each 10ft section with 3 straps that are angled 120 degrees apart.  I ran 10 gauge wiring down the pole and then terminated it to an iMeshbean® 12V 300W 300 Watt Micro Grid Tie Power Inverter stored in a marine grade battery box.  From the inverter, I ran an outdoor rated extension cord to the house to a kilowatt meter.  Here's a short video showing the turbine in action:

I recorded the above video to showcase the noise level of the generator.  I was able to block the wind so you can hear it.  The turbine is about 19 feet off the ground.

Final thoughts:

This is a hobby turbine, nothing more.  Set the right expectation for yourself before investing in any project you undertake.  I've disassembled my turbine and after only one season, it wouldn't have lasted much longer.  The winters are tough where I live and my property isn't ideal for wind.  If I was serious about generating power from wind, I would have to invest in a mast that's 60-80 feet high in order to get nice prevailing winds.  Going with something that high changes everything.