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The Return of the Plague...

February 15, 2008 10:44 AM

Both my wife and I are sick again. That nasty cold thing that everybody around us seems to have caught. I blame evil spore-spreading aliens.

*cough*

So I’ve been looking at power generation things for the new house and I’ve settled on the idea of a long Savonius vertical wind turbine with a right-angle drive at the bottom and a simple DC generator. I found a drive on E-Bay for about $100 that has the right capacities and most importantly a thrust load that is good enough to handle prolonged use with the turbine on top of it. A 130V DC generator is about $40+shipping so that’s not too expensive.

As for the wind turbine itself it can easily be made from a long piece of ductwork or 4“ PVC pipe cut in half and sandwiched between two circular plates - probably plastic. The bottom plate can be attached directly to the end of the right-angle drive style I’ve located and then the generator can connect right to the output shaft of that drive using a coupler and if necessary a reducer. (Google for ”Savonius wind turbine“ for what it looks like.)

The drive I found online is a 50:1 so that’s one large revolution for every 50 small ones so I think that’s a good ratio to start with for testing purposes.

And I can place it at the far corner of the garage where any wind can hit it from either direction. That’s the nice thing about this design too in that it can accept wind from either direction without a problem. About the only thing it wouldn’t be able to do is accept wind from both directions at once under certain conditions.

There’s still quite a bit involved with that setup. For instance acquiring the necessary batteries, charge controller, and inverter not to mention wiring it all. And I have to make the whole system pleasing to the eye - at least outside - and safe. Painting it red and black to match the house should be easy enough and if it’s made out of PVC then it shouldn’t have enough force to hurt anybody stupid enough to put their hands in it.

I suppose I could put a simple screened box around it but I’m certain that would affect its output a bit. Still it may be worth it if the neighbors complain.

I should take a drive to American Science & Surplus and see what they have available in the way of sealed lead-acid batteries. I should also check with the local hospitals to see what happens when they replace their lead-acid batteries - which for safety reasons they have to do on a regular basis regardless if they are dead or not.

Overall the wind turbine is going to be less expensive than solar to initially set up but solar is likely going to be more consistent. A combination of both should give me a useful charging capacity on a good battery bank. Depending on how good that is I might be able to run the servers off that bank and remove that drain from my grid usage. After all my entire rack only uses about 250W to 300W with all the currently in-use servers powered up and running so that should run for quite a while on a large battery bank. The big question is how fast can the bank be charged and how easily is it going to be to maintain that charge.

Currently wind is not too much an issue as there is a fair amount of it in winter but come summer I better have some sort of solar thing in the works or I will be charging the bank off the grid - which kind of defeats the purpose there.

I like the wind turbine idea. It is simple, costs a small amount to make the actual generation assembly, and can be made quiet and ”pretty“. Sounds like a plan...




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