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Old 03-30-2017, 09:12 AM   #1
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Wind turbine? Thought about or got one?

We are liveaboards working down in St Thomas for the next two months and find ourselves considering a wind turbine. I'm installing 1,740 watts of solar in the next few days but a turbine is appealing to slow refrigeration, desktop computer, ice maker, TV, and other nighttime draws.

Home Depot here has a few coleman 400w turbines for $375, yet at 12mph they only put out 35w. We plan to return to the east coast of the US in June and maybe winter in Nashville.

Do you have any experience with wind turbines? Is there sufficient wind outside the trade winds to justify turbines? Thanks
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:17 AM   #2
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I studied them and decided that solar was better on the East coast unless down in the trades.

When anchored out, I look for spots where the wind is blocked...not accelerated to run a turbine.

If they were at least 10 amps at 10 to 15 knots I would rethink....
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:21 AM   #3
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I think about them everytime I hear one.
Licky me though I haven't heard one for a long time.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:43 AM   #4
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Solar has gotten cheaper and wind turbines require decent wind to be useful, so the cost/benefit equation favors solar with enough batteries to carry you through the night and cloudy days.

I understand that you liveaboard and have lots of nightime power users, but with 1,740 watts at work during the day all it takes is more batteries to get you through the night. And the wind speed always drops at night so the usefulness of a wind generator is limited.

1,740 watts should produce 750 amp hours of power during a sunny day and maybe 400 amp hours on average. If you use more than 400 amp hours a day, you really should be running a genset some of that day.

Also it would take a big wind generator that costs thousands of dollars to make much of a difference even if the wind blows 15 kts at night where you anchor.

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Old 03-30-2017, 05:53 PM   #5
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I appreciate the opinions, thank you! I agree. Wind doesn't seem like a good option.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:03 PM   #6
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I keep hearing how noisy wind turbines are, but anything built in the last 10 years is very quiet. There is one on a boat 20 feet from where I am docked and I can't hear it unless the wind is >20 knots and I am outside.

I'd consider a wind turbine if I was a liveaboard and had more requirement for electrical power but my little boat is fairly power frugal the way it is.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I keep hearing how noisy wind turbines are, but anything built in the last 10 years is very quiet. There is one on a boat 20 feet from where I am docked and I can't hear it unless the wind is >20 knots and I am outside.

I'd consider a wind turbine if I was a liveaboard and had more requirement for electrical power but my little boat is fairly power frugal the way it is.
I agree how quiet many have become...often the (they are still noisy) comments come from those really not around a big variety of boats and those that have the newer ones.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:25 PM   #8
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I guess the perfect balance is a multi source. When you can enjoy a sunny warm summer day you just run out of your solar panels while when you strive in a cloudy windy autumn day you can count on your wind turbine. Even if not as much efficient as solar panels it could help keeping your batteries alive at night when t is windy or am I wrong?
And what about tide turbine that can run from tide or currents?

L.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:30 PM   #9
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You are correct...alternative power doesn't have to supply the full load, even a 50 percent supplement can be a great help.
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:02 PM   #10
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I have both. Primarily the solar takes care of all my power needs. Those days when it is cloudy are often accompanied by winds. I win then. Also those night winds are just perfect at topping off the batts.

In a breezy location a wind generator is an option I would recommend. Solar first, and also wind as a second power source. I like mine. I have an Air-Breeze incidentally.

Having dual charging is great.
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Old 03-31-2017, 06:42 PM   #11
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I have 390w of solar a 400w wind generator 440ah of batteries and no genset. It works for me
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:31 PM   #12
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4.5kw generator

I have a 4.5 kw diesel genset and large house battery bank. I usually run the genny for an hour in the am and pm if not underway. It makes hot water, cools down my 5 cubic foot freezer and charges the batteries on days I am on the hook. It has a water cooled exhaust and operates in a sound shield. Not a nuisance.

Otherwise engine coolant heat exchangers and alternators do the job while underway. No substitute for a genny.
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I have 390w of solar a 400w wind generator 440ah of batteries and no genset. It works for me
You have the exact setup I want to end with.
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:41 AM   #14
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We live aboard in the Eastern Caribbean at anchor for four months each year. We have both solar panels and a wind generator.

The solar panels only produce power for eight hours or so each day. The wind generator is working 24 hours a day. On a trawler we don't hear our wind generator.

First choice would be solar, then wind. Best choice is a combination of both.
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Old 04-02-2017, 06:27 AM   #15
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Thanks!
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