Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wind Turbines Are Always a Mystery................

Is it too windy? Should I turn it off? Can it take these rogue gusts? These are only some of the many questions we ask ourselves during high winds and almost always during the middle of the night!

Sunday night we had some pretty substantial wind gusts but we kept checking the turbine with a flashlight and it seemed to be doing just fine. It wasn't tilting backwards or at a strange angle (both being good indicators to shut it down).

And yet, by morning's first light, it was barely spinning even tho the winds were still strong. Finally, around 9 a.m., I walked down to the pump house and looked at the controls. We were getting a zero readout with no green or red light. It wasn't generating electricity. So, I shut it off and waited and tried again later in the day - still nothing. I finally called our wind turbine guy who came by yesterday afternoon.

I explained what had happened and he hit the switch and VOILA, it was up and running. My mouth just dropped open! Even tho we had no red lights flashing, which can mean that the winds are too strong and the batteries are filled to capacity, the turbine still shut itself off on Sunday night.

Phil decided that it was either just a fluke or indeed, the batteries were maxed out and the excess power was being thrown out through a special black box just for that purpose. I guess the bottom line here is that if we're going to keep it going during high wind times, we should get up in the middle of the night and vacuum the whole house! Use that power! My husband thought that baking a cake would be better!

We've been living off the grid now for 5 winters and still are learning the do's and don'ts of offgrid power systems.

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