Well, finally. Mark four, two years is the gestation, and in the end so simple. We started out with a Rainbow (Aust) pelton wheel (they call them ‘runners’) made of plastic. We mounted it on a car alternator, used a stainless shower-tray, and positioned three nozzles.
It sat around for a long time – as projects hereabouts can do. Often it is because the manifestation of the idea is somehow wrong, and it’s left aside to be cogitated upon some more.
Mark two was a second-hand commercial metal runner, built in small numbers by a fellow in Roxburgh, a couple of decades ago.
Ish mounted a small stepping-motor on it, and it certainly spun. We have a little vid clip of it, and will get it up on Youtube shortly.
It’s problem was a fall in voltage when you applied any load.
So to mark three. The well-popularised Smart-Drive F&P motor, chopped-down from a second-hand washing-machine. Ish did an excellent job of the machining, but it looked too big for the runner, and the mounting and waterproofing looked difficult.
Another pause, and a visit to Mike Laba, who builds vertical-rotor wind generators. He shows me a Gentle Annie WM motor, a General Electric , all-metal, permanent magnet motor, and the penny dropped.
I left with one in the boot (thanks Mike) and now own a dozen. With a kit circuit-board from Oatley Electronics (Aust) it looked the berries.
We mounted it on an aluminium ladder, which held it over the creek and above flood-level. Voila, it spun and charged. We are nudging 2 amps now, not much for most folk, but more that we use by a good margin. I think there is scope to double that, certainly in winter, when we get least sun.
It appears to rev 3-4 times a second – which is a good speed, not one likely to wear the bearings out. Nor is it neighbour-noisy, not that we have any within earshot! It started charging a very flat (4.6 volts) 12 volt battery, and started out at 36 volts. Over time, it dropped to meet the battery at 13.6. Just fine.
So – Eureka. Ish, of course, has bagged the Smart Drive, and turned it into a windmill. We’re on a growth path…..
I think we’ll redesign the cowling, to have three good nozzles, good f low, and no release friction.
Watch this space – we’ll get a couple of youtube clips up shortly.
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