Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Free power

Free powerSorry for the lack of updates.

It's just that the wet and windy weather this last week has put a bit of a damper on things here.

Nothing constructive has been done on board for a while now.

All I have left to waffle about is the wind and it's fortunate, for me, consequence - free power.

According to my monitor, the wind generator produced 1,247,000 amp seconds in a week, which roughly equates to 9.5 Kwh.

It doesn't sound much, but that's the same as burning an old style 60 watt bulb for the entire week - for free.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Calm after the storm

Calm after the stormWhat a wild Saturday down on the River Itchen!

I don't think I've ever been on board Lady Jane when the weather has been so wild before.

I've also never seen the wind generator producing as many amps as it was doing on Saturday (14.7 amps was the top I saw, with an average of just over 8 amp hours = 0.224 Kwh).

Needless to say, the wind generator produced too much power. So much so that I eventually went out into the storm and stopped the blades. No point in wearing the thing out unnecessarily.

The picture shows my wind generator amp monitor on the Sunday, in the calm after the storm. It's showing 436 amp seconds produced in the last hour in virtually no wind.

Overall, I would guess the wind generator is now producing about triple the power than it was doing before.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Workshop space

Workshop spaceFor all kinds of reasons, this last weekend has been a lazy one for me, so far as progress on Lady Jane goes.

One thing that has been progressed slightly is the sides for the workshop space.

If you look carefully at the picture, you can see the bottom of the boards is slightly narrower than the top. This is in preparation for the sideboards.

The recent wet and windy weather has helped emphasise just how important the side pieces will be in keeping us sheltered from the elements when working in there.

I know it doesn't look it, but that was a full day's work for both Fred and I. Getting the first of the side boards on either side measured up and correctly cut.

Why is it, I wonder, that the tough looking stuff takes almost no time but the simple looking tasks take forever?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Wind generator yaw

Wind generator yawThis weird looking contraption is an easily reproducible experiment, to clearly demonstrate the issue I've been having with my wind generator.

The issue has been the wind generator turning out of the wind, reducing it's power output.

After an anonymous comment suggesting I try stopping the generator, then watching how it performs, I figured out that the generator was not turning out of the wind, but was, in effect, too sensitive to changes in the wind.

I've now tied a piece of rope around the mounting pole, using a clove hitch, then tying the other ends around the generator. This effectively dampens the yaw.

This had an immediate effect, with the generator now consistently pointing into the wind, yet still turning as the wind shifts over time.

As a conservative estimate, I'd say that I've doubled the overall power I'm now getting from the wind generator, as the blades no longer stop then have to run up again due to being pointed out of the wind.

I can only estimate the power output as, due to the nature of the wind, it's impossible to say definitively.

By way of a demonstration of the improved performance I'm now getting, I thought I'd setup an experiment so that anybody interested could get an idea of what I'm talking about.

I took a ballpoint pen, round, and using bungee chord attached a 2.5mm welding rod to it. If you are in the UK and have no bungee chord, just follow a postie for a while and you will soon collect yourself a rubber band you can use.

If you have no 2.5mm welding rods to hand, simply use squish a wire coat hanger to achieve the same effect. With the welding rod, I wanted to simulate the mass of the wind generator as it swung round, so the cross piece needs to be a reasonable weight and length.

The tail piece of the demonstration is simply a few pieces of duct tape stuck onto one end of the welding rod.

The whole construction I then put into a convenient piece of pipe I found, and taped that to the work table on board.

Because the ballpoint pen has virtually no resistance to turning, on account of it standing on the ball, it turns freely in the wind. Perfectly demonstrating the over-correction I see on the wind generator to tiny changes in wind direction.

For the second part of the experiment, I stuck some duct tape on the other end of the ballpoint pen, such that the duct tape gives some friction inside the tube (no sticky bits showing though), slid the welding rod to the other end of the pen and put the whole thing into the tube the other way round.

In the second position, the welding rod now consistently points into the prevailing wind without swinging wildly around, emulating the damping force the rope now gives the wind generator.

Rough and ready, I know, but it does the job.