Dio’s ideas VS Reality: Round 3.45X10to the 5th
One subject that always comes up in conversation between m’self and a few others is “Hard Knock” or “Life Lessons”. I won’t ever claim to be the smartest person in the world, I have far too many mistakes under my belt to ever make that claim. Sadly, I also tend to have to make them myself to truly learn from them.
Yeah, I am talking about wind power this go-round. This has been one expensive learning curve. And I do consider it an investment of sorts as the parts and pieces I have gained, along with the knowledge, are still viable for future returns. I do see the potential, I just haven’t the means at this stage to implement the changes needed.
What did I learn? (besides the fact that I can be quite Quixotic 😛 )A lot. I am going to lay some of it out here for others to see (and hopefully learn from) So, in no particular order, here y’go.
(it’s all cumulative adding up to fail. Duh! And its a self-inflicted wound so to speak.)
1: Single pole towers are good, but there needs to be LOTS of re-enforcement and support attached to them to make them work properly. Cost wise, it may benefit a person to go with a truss and pivot tower to make this work. I plan on my next endeavor to be just that. As said, I haven’t the means at this stage to make that move. (I am trying to build a house and that is a higher priority to me at this stage.)
2: Invest in LOTS of research on generator design. Know the product you are buying very well, and find alternatives if needed. In this case, the cogging effect of the PMA is the killer I can’t afford. I need a PMA with a lot less or zero cogging effect so that even slight winds could get the blades to turning. This problem is actually two-fold, hence, the disappointment I am experiencing.
ALTERNATIVELY: The same research could should be applied to the blade designs. The problem I am running into with the current blades is not enough drag to start the blades to turning. Wind generator blades work on both drag and lift. The raptor is designed to use some drag to start the turning process, but then the lift is what gives you speed. Too much of one kills the other, and not enough of one can eliminate the other. It’s a fine balance and one determined by the wind itself; low winds need a tad more drag, high winds need more lift. And I understand the multiple blade concept; more blades = more torque, less blades= higher speeds. With the multiple blade system, there should be enough drag to start the motion, but in this case, I need either more blades to overcome the cogging effect, or wider blades to increase the drag to overcome the that effect. Either way, both the cogging and the lower wind factor are inhibiting actual motion in the blade system which brings us to the next problem.
3: Location. Really spend the time investigating your location. In my case, winter, when the winds are typically out of the north, I get a lot of ground turbulence, that gives the impression of high winds, but there is very little that hits ‘tree level’. I am on the leeward side of a ridge line for Northerly winds, therefore, I get next to nothing useful. It took setting a tower up at 40′ to realize this. The few times the wind has came out of the south, were the few times that this genny actually did anything other than flutter about trying to get wind in its teeth. I am leaving it up for that purpose alone as something is better than nothing at all.(which is the whole point of trying to capture the wind.) I am hoping that with spring and summer coming on, that I will see more action up there. The one downside to my planning though: I was hoping to supplement the solar power during weak sun months with the winds and that is just not going to happen at current location.)
More on location: Being three phase, one could set the unit up ON the top of the ridge and run a long three wire feed to the rectifier from there. Sadly, with the price of copper and aluminum right now, that is just not justifiable to me. I really can’t afford a several hundred yards of 12/3, just to gain 800 watts of power and intermittent power at that. I am not even sure that it would be worth it with the power loss of that run. (Hmm, maybe a step up transformer from there? Hey, I am starting to sound like a major power company with that thinking! Again, way more than I can afford to invest in this, at this time.) Now, if one were setting up a several KW unit with a swept area of 8′ or more, than yeah, that profile would absolutely work best. (and those units put out three-phase in the three digit range so power loss is less noticeable.) (Side note: Those units are also able to be seen for miles, kinda kills the whole hidden redoubt, Galt’s Gulch idea. Just sayin’)
It’s funny, but when I start writing, my ideas start flowing a little. I actually can see using a step up/step down transformer group for a long run and even where to get said units without a lot of cost. (think old battery chargers!) Granted, the end result would look like something out of Weird Science, or Old Frankenstein movies, but,,,, Muahahahaha!!!!!!!!!
Just not sure it would all be worth it; power loss everywhere in that set-up. Only true way to be effective were to use that on a micro-hydro system that was at a distance. One where the power was constant but not conveniently located. Here I am thinking again. Just like our current infrastructure, just scaled down to personal levels. I gotta get out of this box!
—————————————————————————————————————————-OK, enough about the current power failures, on to another subject that has been burnin’ my ass the last week or so.
Y’all might remember I was getting some OT in at work, and that there was a handful of whiners that ruined it for all of the rest. Seems that this past Thursday, a couple of ’em got mad and walked out, quit on the spot. I don’t know the full story, but word has it, they were gunning for pay raises and were told to fuck off and didn’t like it. I heard one of them say that they “can’t afford to work”.
Now, it is a tad premature in the collapse to hear that, at least in my opinion, but I can see that time coming when the gains are far outweighed by the overheads. I know in my case, the cost of fuel and insurance to keep Lexi legal are a serious drain on what I earn. Getting OT would help tremendously (whiners screwed the pooch there) or a pay raise, but I am not at a stage where I would risk a position for that. Another thing, I see these same guys watching all the spending I am doing on “toys” and complaining that they don’t have the room in the budget to do the same. What these guys don’t see is that I spent money on this project instead of spending it on building materials for the house/shop. They also do not realize is that I have had to make major changes in my lifestyle to get to a point where the only overhead I have to worry about is fuel, insurance, and food. I would love to get to a point where I could do away with the first two altogether, but current priorities aren’t ready for that move yet. (A horse isn’t gonna take me to work everyday, not when its 30 miles one way. Not without putting a serious strain on that horse and hooves, as well as myself and the time needed to make that trip everyday. But I digress) That third group (food) is in process and is labor intensive. One of those things that I would have more time for without the headache of having to earn FRN’s. Of course, we all know, that right now, there is little room for the barter market in things like Lumber or other building supplies. (eventually, that statement will be “there is no room for using toilet paper FRN’s to purchase building materials, whatcha got in food, skills or metals?”)
What I see when I see situations like the above mentioned whiners, is mirrored in society at large with our current welfare state. Far too many want the perks, but they don’t want to actually have to work for them. I have talked to others that want to go off grid, that freak out when I start talking about what they have to do without to get there OR what they have to purchase to be able to keep the frills they want. If you want the plasma screen and surround sound system, you are going to have to purchase that much more power up front to keep them running. And when you start buying your electricity up front (which is what you are really doing when you go solar or wind or hydro or any combination thereof) the cost is gonna cause your sphincters to clench. This shit ain’t cheap, and its full of things like maintenance, as well as a need to watch even more closely what you are doing with the output. (and I thought mom and dad were light Nazi’s way back when, ROFL, they don’t have shit on me now!) When you are tied into a grid system, the cost is there as well, but it’s spread out over the entire populace and time. People bitch when the cost of electricity goes up, but they don’t pay attention to the fact that transformers, lines, line poles, generation of, etc etc etc all go up the same as everything else does in an inflation economy. Heck, the guys that keep that system running want the same pay raises (and typically get them) as the rest of us out here. No, they don’t see the sacrifices that I made (some happily, some grudgingly) to get to the point where I don’t have the operational expenses of a ‘regular home’. The operational expenses that would not allow me to do things like experiment with a wind generator (and yes, it is an experiment at this point for me, but one I intend to collect on, hopefully sooner than later) or to build a house on a paycheck to paycheck basis.
They want the cookie, but they don’t want to have to buy or blend the ingredients, or run the oven to get the cookie. And when the cookie isn’t as sweet as they would like, they get mad and throw a tantrum walk out.
Just like a spoiled child.
Here is one fear I persistently have to work with. I know that gains are made with sweat (and blood) equity. My sweetest possessions are those I have busted my ass, brain and knuckles to get or to hold on to. I very rarely have anything ‘given’ to me, and usually, if it was given to me, the end cost is far more than I would have been willing to pay if I had worked for it to begin with. (TANSTAAFL!) I am at that point in life where if anything is ‘given’ to me, it had best be an opportunity, not something physical or material. I will work for what I need, and want nothing I haven’t earned. I especially don’t want anything from the state!
But my fear is that I will bust my ass, knuckles and brains out, building my stead up to a working model, and that some goon squad will come by to ‘collect’ on “what I didn’t build”. That will be the last day of my life as I won’t go down, nor give up what I have built with my own two hands, or from the sweat of my brow by earning the cash to pay for it, without a fight.
Worse yet is some ‘independent’ goon squad coming by to collect on my ‘not paying my fair share’ on what I have. The way I look at it, we are all born equal, what we do after that is up to us, and not everyone is going to put forth an equal effort. You gain by your efforts, not by ‘existing’. Unlike those whiners that walked out last thursday, I do put forth an effort, I do strive for a better station in life (maybe not by their standards, but hey, to each their own.) and I do NOT expect someone to just hand it to me. When they come calling to collect on ‘their share’, I hope they realize that lead is poisonous, because that is the only thing I will be willing to share.
Of course that makes me dangerous. While I am currently ‘Slave” status, I don’t intend to remain there. There are some taxes I don’t begrudge(sales tax), but there are far more that I see no sense to(income tax), except to help those in power to maintain that position and keep the remainder in servitude (buying the votes.) I know what freedom is, and I know that there is a lot of work attached to it. Work doesn’t scare me, slavery does. I work with that fear everyday, and yet, I still manage to make the efforts of moving ahead with my plans. Slowly, some-days it seems glacially slow, but there is forward momentum towards my goal.
(and maybe that is part of the problem with the whiners: Maybe they don’t have a goal in mind. It’s a might hard to have a success if you don’t have a target to hit. Or maybe their targets are so soft and inconsequential to anything other than momentary pleasures, that they continue to feel empty after ‘success’. Now I am getting all philosophical and shit, Time to go beat on some wood with a heavy sharp object and make it into smaller chunks of wood. I am so Neanderthal. Uggh! Grunt grunt.)