Homebrew Wind Power

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Do you live next to an open field?  Are you someone who enjoys building things by scratch or learning all the what, whys and hows of a mechanical system? Wind Technology may be a great path for you. Here is a book that was recommended by my professor: Homebrew Wind Power, A Hands-on Guide to Harnessing the Wind. The Authors Dan Bartmann and Dan Fink found a Scottish wind generator (by Hugh Piggott) that could stand up to the punishing North Colorado winds. They have an amusing website called otherpower.com about making your own electricity from scratch.

Even if your goal is just to learn the basics about electric and wind power, this book explains all that. It goes over how to find a good place, measure the wind, and rate how much energy is expected to be had. It also goes over common problems and how to address them. You’ll learn more than you could ever expect about magnets, generators and alternators (there are diagrams galore!). Plus, you will know how the built in protection systems on the turbine work.

After the physics basics are explained, the fun part begins with safety. Be prepared for working with electric, metalworking, rare earth magnets, chemicals, and woodworking. The “Dans” show you how to create a mold for the rotor and stator (parts of the alternator). You’ll see how to make a coil winder for stator (the stationary side of the alternator). Their is a chapter on the frame which holds the blades and the alternator to the yaw, the part that helps the turbine turn. Then there is the chapter on how to build the tail. The next two chapters cover how to put together the rotor and stator. They even show how to make a rectifier, or a component that changes the alternating current to a direct current that can charge batteries. And you’ll learn how they create and assemble the blades to the rotor.

In the last part of the book the turbine is ready to be installed on a tower. This book covers everything you could ever want to know about towers: from buying a tower to making your own, to raising and lowering them for installation or maintenance. It doesn’t end there though, they go over mounting and wiring for all the components in the control system from turbine to dump load. This book is like a wind bible except you may need a NEC code book or an electrician to translate that for you.

This book gets a 10/10. Dan and Dan have a simple and hilarious writing styles that most people can appreciate. So whether you are a homeowner looking for a way to charge a battery bank, a student willing to dedicate your time and concentration to create energy, or an experienced builder/mechanic with all the tools needed you will enjoy this book. One thing to keep in mind, many skills are needed to build one of these from scratch, so it would be helpful to have a network of people to build one of these. But even if you goal is just to understand how to harness the wind, and what each component is and what they do, this book brings your through the entire process.

 

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