Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Whirligig update 2

Ah, the wonders of Kentucky weather. I have been many places, but this place seems to be the epitome of “If’n ya don’t like the weather, stick around five minutes”. Thursday started off with 6 inches on the ground and more on its way. By the afternoon, it was 55 degrees, and there was snow only on the northern facing hillsides. Friday started off in the dumps of cool with a fluff of snow hanging in the air, and by mid afternoon, danged near T-shirt weather.

Well, that being said, and the fact that we are no longer getting that OT, I was able to flub and get some stuff done this weekend. Wasn’t lying when I posted the last post, just didn’t account for KY weather or loss of OT. (Beware the Progressive/socialist/useful idiot amongst you. They will fuck up a perfectly good wetdream, like getting extra time in. Frickin whiners where I work, whined and waffled us out of OT. Long story not related to this post.)

So, Friday started by gathering the remaining parts to do wrap up on this project: Pipe for the tower specifically, and some other trivial stuff like paint and concrete. Then was spent with my usual tools of welder, grinder, torch, and hammer to make all of this stuff into something not originally intended by it’s designers. Heavy gauge rigid conduit becomes a mast, bicycles become windmill frames, etc. Granted, the PMA and the blades are exactly what the designer intended, but they are the heart of the project, they should be what they were intended for.

I spent the evening hours with wire cutters, screwdrivers and soldering iron putting together the junction boxes to bring all of the power sources together. A little creative electronics produces enough isolation that I can test each input without having to jump through hoops. And I can check system levels with the same gauges. Yes, they are analog, no they are not very accurate; but they give me enough to see if everything is Go/No-Go and the setup will show me where a problem resides. I have already used to it to spot an issue with my Solar panel placement. That is going to have to be addressed as well, though it may wait till next weekend.(just one shadowing the other towards the end of the day, correctable and an easy fix. And the problem resides at a time where power generation is down anyway, so no rush.)

I mentioned a ‘stop’ in comments to Spud in the prior post. The stop is just a way to keep the whirligig from pulling multiple 360’s. If you allow it to do that, and NOT have a commutator up top, you will kink up the wires, and that is all kinds of problems to deal with. The stop in this case is a couple of pieces of scrap. The upper part is a piece of spring steel left over from one of my ol’ X-1/9’s. It was just a prop spring for the engine cowling and God only knows why I held on to it for all these years, but there it was, and I found a new use for it, after the hack saw of course. The lower part of the stop is just a piece of 3/4”x 1/8” mild steel strap that I heated up and bent into confusing shapes, then welded into place. I only welded the top section of the spring steel as I didn’t want to ruin its springiness. This way, if the frame is really cooking around in circle, it is likely to do one of two things, hit that stop and slow way down then stop, or pop past it. Either way, nothing breaks. I would say if the last happens, I would rather it pop past then bend or break something. I doubt it would do that too often. (and of course, I am guessing. It may be fruitless, but the effort has been made. I will continue to watch and will correct as needed.) Since there is a stop in place, it has to have a particular position to be most effective. Seeing how the prevailing winds tend to come from the west in this particular area, I will be facing that stop into the winds. There it is less likely to have to pull duty.

Anyhoo’s, its Saturday night and I am spending it in typical hermit fashion tapping away a future post (Monday, I swear!) and tomorrow is just as busy for me. I plan on lifting the mast to finalize the guyline/anchor placement, then lower the mast and install the genny and re-raise it and finally have a working wind-power system. Pics will be taken, but not video as I will be the stuporvisor on this gig. When all is said and done, I will try to get a vid of the blades whirling around, but lately the wind has been most powerful after dark. Kinda hard to film in that lighting condition.

I will tap out more tomorrow after all is said and done.

Bum deal. The weather being what it is, the concrete surrounding the base post was not cured. Still a bit too plasticy for safety-sake. It may be fine, but why chance it. I have far too much money tied up in this to risk screwing something up. Funny how low temps can do things like slow up cure rates and the like. But I digress. I will be doing so this weekend, four days from now. I even went so far as scheduling the helpers.

I was going to do a dry run without the head on it, to set the guy-lines, but the help is strapped for time in two cases, so we are going to do it all at once. Not the best way to do things, but doable. Anyway, Today was spent doing menial tasks, like laundry, and dogfood run, I also set the anchors and eyebolted them. Busted the handle on my sledge hammer in doing so, but not from ill-use, just age. It snapped like it had dry rotted and is likely the case. It spends a lot of time out of doors. Luckily, my splitting maul is shaped like a sledge on one side so I finished up the last anchor with it. Amazingly, I only hit one rock while doing this, and it was at three feet depth which was my target for the anchor. What amazes me further, in hind-sight, when I was digging the hole for the base, I didn’t hit any rocks either. That may or may not be a good thing, but it sure made for easier hole digging. I never had to use the spudbar.

More later, here are some pics from the weekend for your enjoyment. Base curing Bracket 1 Bracket 2 Carnel Octopi Genny gettin paint Junction 1 Junction 2 Junction box 1

Nuetrik connnector.  I love these things.   This is one left over from my audio days.

Nuetrik connnector. I love these things. This is one left over from my audio days.

Stop 1 Stop 2 Tower level 2 Tower level 3


5 responses

  1. Karen’s got us working on solar. Will do on garage roof. Also need one for gate and irrigation pump. We’ll be paying for our system. Will let you know and compare notes.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    • Just make sure to use a certified electrician or your insurance will drop you like a used uranium rod

      February 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

  2. Spud

    Hmmm, seems we have multiple things in common Dio. I too was deeply involved with the lil wedges AKA X-19…. How many valve jobs did you do ? I got pretty darn good with the bucket and shim thing lol.

    February 19, 2014 at 4:23 am

    • Valves! LOL. I couldn’t tell you the number, but this might give you a clue. I had a box of shims in .002″ increments and the tappet tool. Yeah, I remember the shim and bucket dance quite well.
      Also, before I gave my last one back to Marnie of Midwest X, my count was 11. Mostly as parts cars, but several real screamers too.

      February 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      • Spud

        Nothing like trying for two hundred horses outa those itty bitty things. My last one had 4 Weber downdrafts and ported 4 independant pipes…. Lots a bucks lol….Boy was it ever fun on a mountain road though !

        February 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

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