This is my Southwest windpower Air X. It has been in waiting for some time while I worked out how to get it up in the air. The machine produces 400 watts peak. I bought the 24 volt model as we have a 24v system in the house. They are also available in 12 and 48 volt.
I had acquired (scrounged) a street lamp pole some time ago and had spent some time working how I could fit a 6 meter scaffold pole in side it and raise it like a telescopic radio aerial. To fit them together I made a collar from an off-cut of nylon. The idea is that the pole slides through the collar and is clamped in place with a scaffold clamp. I also turned a ring and fitted it to the bottom of the inner pole to hold it centrally in the outer and to make sure it wouldn't rattle as the wind changed direction.
I raised the poles in a single Herculean effort and temporally braced them with two other poles clamps and chains.
I used a harness and climbed the ladder and lashed it to the pole. The wind picked up on one occasion and I remember clinging to the pole and wanting my mammy. I spent the rest of the day fitting and tensioning the guy wires which are 5mm stainless steel rope. The whole thing was much more stable and less frightening to climb. I left the other poles in place anyway.
Next I had to get the machine onto the pole but first I had to devise a way to support the cable. The wires are 4mm sq in a rubber outer and 7 meters of it is quite heavy. There was no way that the connectors could hold the weight and anyway it would be bad practice to even think about trying. I came up with this idea. It is a sleeve which fits inside the pole. At the top there is a lip which will not allow the sleeve to fall into the pole. At the bottom there is a strap with a cable grip (Jubilee clip). I was able to do all the wiring on the ground and tucked the connectors into the sleeve.
I dropped the wire down the inside of the pole and using a rope I hoisted the machine and sleeve up to the top of the pole. The sleeve dropped into the top of the pole and the Air X followed it onto the top. The 4 Hex bolts on the clamp were tightened and I retreated for tea and a self administered pat on the back.
Now the Air x is supposed to be a quiet machine but if you read some of the yachting forums it seems not everyone agrees. There are after-market blades made by a firm called Spreco which are much quieter. They also usefully modify the power curve increasing the output in moderate winds. The blades are made from carbon fiber and look quite different from the originals. They were expensive but as our house is down wind of the machine we would have to suffer any noise it produced so I bought them. The black blade is the original.
I fitted the blades to the hub and welded an extension to a 3/8'' hex key. The latter is needed to hold the input shaft of the machine still while the hub is tightened on to it.
Fitting the hub was straight forward apart from having to rely on the harness while I used both hands to tighten the hub. The nose cone just snaps on. PANIC. The thing started to turn faster and faster. I had omitted to fit a load of any sort. I raced down the ladder and I don't think I have every stripped wires as quickly. With the red and black wires twisted together the Air x slowed to a graceful spin.
Next I needed to raise the inner pole out of the outer one. In the photo the grey square thing on the side of the poles is a jack from a Citroen 2CV. I welded a scaffold clamp to the end and the hook on the jack which is designed to attach to the jack point on the car, rested on the nylon collar. To use this contraption I fitted it as you see in the photo and screwed the jack up to take the load. Then I loosened the holding clamp and jacked the inner pole up until I reached the end of the jacks travel. After tightening the holding clamp I loosened the clamp on the jack and screwed it back to the start, tightened its clamp again, loosened the other and repeated the process.
Here is the temporary switch gear and wiring to charge a bank of gel batteries. The turbine output is wired to the junction box on the left. The piece in the middle is a 25 amp fuse holder and an isolator switch. The old 'knife' switch is the stop switch. It disconnects the batteries from the turbine and shorts the output wires together to stop the machine.
I haven't raised the pole much because there is an adjustment on the turbine to set the output voltage. This allows some compensation for the inevitable losses in the wiring to the batteries. When I have finished the wiring I will set that and jack the pole up another 4 meters.
The machine is not silent at all and the sound will take a bit of getting used to. I hate to think how loud the Air x blades are if these are considered to be 'silent'. I don't have a very big load on the output so perhaps the machine is over speeding. A greater load may improve matters so I will reserve final judgment until such times. That is it. Any comments or questions will be welcome
It sounds like you have been having a bit of an adventure with this :-) It looks great.
I'm just wondering about the sound, is it the air in the blades or the motor that makes the noise, or maybe the wind in the guys or a vibration in the pole/mounting.
Can you also give us a bit of context in relation to the volume, are we talking huricane volume or gentle breeze. For example I stopped at the side of the road a few days back at a large turbine in someones back garden. I stood in the road almost directly under this thing (It was pretty big, like a mini version of the big industrial types) and even though it was going round at quite a speed it raised little more than a gentle breeze in noise (albeit a bit higher pitched) In fact there was a couple of birds tweeting that kept drowning out the noise.
Looking forward to hear how this works out for you in the longer term.
Hello Jim, It is very quiet. The sound is a fluttering purr and it only happens when the blades are moving at their fastest. That is why I need to withhold judgment until I have a decent load on it. There is some structural vibration at the generator hum frequency but the noise I hear is from blade tips which is why I think it may be running too fast.
One of the biggest complaints I have heard about turbines, apart from the 'They spoil the scenery' complaint is the noise, I have heard people complain about the terrible noise from them. Every chance I get to listen to these things I take as I intend to have one someday. I have listened to dozens of them now, from tiny to huge, and none of them I would consider as being loud, the worst I think are some of the smaller ones when they are going like the hammers, but most of the time I doubt youd hear them if they are 10meters+ away, so not exactly loud.
Hello caveman I had one of these units a few years ago imported direct from America(cheaper then) I agree they are noisy at high speed I hate to be the one they may burst your bubble but I found the performance a bit disappointing. Their main problem is the software that controls the blade from over speeding it lets the blade run up to maximum speed and power then shuts it down so you do not get the claimed output unless you can arrange for the wind to blow at just below the rated speed for maximum output. So I found the output was very poor at our average wind speed. I think you could class it as a high speed wind turbine if you could modify the software to be less on or off, but unless you live in a very windy area I think you may be disappointed at the output in lower wind speeds ie less than 20mph But for all I know they may modified the software to correct this fault but I think they have recently stopped trading Sorry to be a dampener I hope it works for you