Author Topic: Power Furling Revisited  (Read 4727 times)

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kitestrings

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Power Furling Revisited
« on: March 27, 2017, 08:00:03 AM »
I’ve decided to dust this off
http://www.fieldlines.com/index.php/topic,148112.msg1027005.html#msg1027005

and take a stab at adding a bit of automation to the (manual) furling on our turbine.  I found this actuator that has a built-in potentiometer.



It is rated for 150# and .59”/sec.  The control unit allows for three programmable presets.  And, what drew me to this particular one is that it has an “auto return” option.  It is tied to a typical ignition wire for systems with a keyed power up, but with the feature enabled it will:

travel to preset #2 with a 12V+ signal
return to preset #1 with loss of that 12V+ signal



This seemed like an ideal fit to me.  The Classic controllers that we are using have an (unused) Aux1 output.  They can be configured to provide a 12V signal directly (up to 200 mA), or by shifting a small jumper can act as a dry contact (up to 2A) for say a generator start circuit, fan or some such.

Right now we have just a hand winch mounted at the base of the tower.


My plan is to install this on the furling line.  Aux1 can be set to operate above a preset Vin to the controller, or when the charge mode goes into float.  It can also be operated in a manual ON/OFF mode.  So, on a day where the wind is too high, or in combination with PV output unneeded, we can have it shut-down for the day or until the condition subside.

Thoughts welcome as always...

Mary B

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 01:33:30 PM »
Make a rubber boot from an innertube to cover the arm or they can ice up and jam. It has to go from the attachment point of the moving section back to the fixed tube, especially if mounted facing up in any way.

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2017, 07:01:54 PM »
Thanks, that's great thought.  I did buy the manufacturer's matching rubber boot.  I figured it couldn't hurt, but inner tube durable and priced right.  If you look close you'll notice I have some covering the which reel & ratchet.  I'll add it before next winter.

It will mount vertically in the center of the tower, just high enough to be out of the snow.  I'm fashioning a piece of galvanized angle iron to attach it to the tower.  The key pad can be removed from the control once it is programmed, so the controller can easily be mounted in a weather-proof box.  I just have to get power and control wiring to it.

SparWeb

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 10:19:39 PM »
Good find!
In the past I had priced other types with the position sensors built-in, but come up with much more expensive equipment.
Thanks
No one believes the theory except the one who developed it.  Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

System spec: 135w BP multicrystalline panels, regulated by Xantrex C40, DIY 8ft diameter wind turbine, regulated by Tri-Star TS60, 800AH x 24V AGM Battery, Xantrex SW4024

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 07:57:41 AM »
Yah, I'll let you know how it works, and holds up, but I thought the price was pretty reasonable and it would seem to simplify the control aspect.  Essentially one contact action should allow it to go from furled to unfurled.

In our case this is not the primary means of control.  The turbine furls as it will at a given wind speed and loading independent of this effort.  And, we have load diversion and a 'clipper' load bank.  I'm finding overall, however, that (battery-tied) wind works best in bulk "filling of the tank".  Certainly it has filled a gap for us when there is no sun.  I honestly can't remember the last time we ran our auxiliary generator.  When the sun is available though, it makes a better match IMO to provide absorption and float charge stages using the PV.  With wind, if you 2, 3, 4 kW available it either has to go somewhere or the turbine is unloaded (or you end up cyclically dumping it into heat).

We've got a pair of ~#6 CU field wires from our old Sencenbaugh turbine.  One I'm using as a ground, but this should make a means of getting the control wires to the actuator.

Oh yah, this controller also has a "retreat safety" feature.  If enabled, it allows the system to detect if something is preventing the actuator motion (based off speed checks thru the motion).  I had thought we'd just put a large spring in series with the pull line, but this may be another option.

~ks

SparWeb

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 12:57:56 PM »
Hmmm
Not necessary to use the actuator in an ON/OFF manner either.
Could be driven proportionally, with feedback, to throttle the turbine at times of high wind + full battery + no need for diversion.
Maybe more complicated than you need!
No one believes the theory except the one who developed it.  Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

System spec: 135w BP multicrystalline panels, regulated by Xantrex C40, DIY 8ft diameter wind turbine, regulated by Tri-Star TS60, 800AH x 24V AGM Battery, Xantrex SW4024

DamonHD

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 07:14:53 PM »
FWIW I like to have the *simple* binary on/off option as a backstop, but then work some finesse in proportionally when I can do so and the system is well within normal operational limits.

But make the fallback simple and robust and you'll scarcely care if the proportional bit is working!

Rgds

Damonb

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2017, 12:51:17 PM »
Well, in this case I actually see this function as a binary task, though this is good to think/talk thru.  When the turbine is running normally, the furling and loading options allow for the full spectrum, proportional realm of loading; and off-loading.

When the winds are predicted to be unusually high, or rough (or both), or when we have ample solar production is when I head to the tower to shut things down manually.  This is by far the softest method - crank up the tail, and close in the the load bank - now I'm ready for most anything that comes our way.

What this will do is allow me that option function in a more automated way, and even as a manual choice from the house, and even form the laptop I suppose.  The finesse I think will be more in finding the best conditions at which to stop or suspend production; I'm thinking input (PV Vin, voltage in to CC) right now.

I had a couple hours the other day, so I started on the mount for this thing.




I'll add a small support at the top to keep it vertical.  I'd bought a couple tube mount brackets if needed.

Running a pair of wires to the CC will truly take finesse.  Things are a little tight as I recall.

~ks

Mary B

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 04:00:10 PM »
Tower rungs are not designed to take much vertical load, I have seen them bend with a heavy guy go up a tower. Be better to put the load out on the legs with a plate...

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2017, 06:42:18 AM »
M,

Good thought, but doubtful it will be an issue.  The turbine pull line takes about 60# to begin to furl the tail (less as it moves closer, as the moment arm gets longer).  The steps are designed, among other requirements, to support a climber, and 'normal' activities (torquing bolts, lifting another 100# section during erection, etc.), plus margins of safety.   In this case the load is split between the leg of the tower and the step, so the unsupported point load on the step is likely under 40#; and under 90# at max load on the actuator (150#).

My broader concern is the one you pointed to earlier, however, whether, the actuator will work reliably, long-term with all the assortment of weather conditions it will encounter.

Thx for your contributions, ~ks

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2017, 06:54:17 AM »
...early on I had thought about using some sort of break-away, or shear device...or maybe just a large spring that would yield just before locked rotor on the actuator.

I need to understand and experiment with the "retreat safety" feature.  II understand it correctly, if enabled, the controller monitors the travel speed and goes into a fault condition if it changes significantly (how significantly I want to better understand).  If a fault is detected, it extends to the original preset (unfurled position in this case).

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 07:04:06 PM »
Getting closer.  I made up the top bracket this weekend, but didn't have much time; sugaring season here.  I've assembled the miscellaneous hardware components needed.  I also picked up one of these fence tensioning springs.  I'm leaning toward adding it in line with the pull-line so I can get the full range of motion with no hard stop if I overshoot, or if the line length is affected by twisting about the SO cord.

http://www.agrisupply.com/fence-tension-measuring-spring/p/11310/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=NB_PLA_AllProducts_BING&zmam=77232640&zmas=1&zmac=2&zmap=11310&utm_content=0CU9k6LK_dc|pcrid|11231445313|pkw||pmt||&eid=ms020116&sid=bing

I had an extension spring, but what I like about these - we've used them on fencing - is it actually is a compression spring with a limited range.  With an extension spring if the thing fails, things go flying - you may have had an overhead door spring fail?  These are heavier, but if they do fail the only fallout is that the line goes slack the length of the thing ~8-10".

With 150# on it it gives about 4-5" of additional length.

I also found a roller chain offset link that will make a nice transition from the dyneema line to the actuator rod.

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 02:31:14 PM »
I figured I better give this thing a try before I went to all the trouble to get power and control wiring in place.  It seemed to work pretty slick.

The actuator is the right length and it seems to have ample power to do the job.  I just need to have my truck parked nearby for the battery ;)

This is the offset link that fit pretty tidy on top.  I think I'll put a snap-hook or beaner in somewhere so it can be removed easily.

For power (12V) I've got to either run a fairly lengthy line from the garage (live with the voltage drop, but be done with it), or use a small Li-ion cordless pac I suppose.  I figure a 3Wh pac might do about a dozen operations.  Or, perhaps a small weatherproof 12V trickle charger - it needs only a max of 5A.

clockmanFRA

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 03:17:23 PM »
Hi KS, that looks nice, those actuators look smart.

My 5 year old Tracker actuators are nearly vertical.
 
I have lorry inner tubes completely covering my Tracker actuators, its not the Ice or the Snow, its that Water stuff again. Even my motor units have a sealed rubber cover.

And even now once every 18 months, I tip the water out of the Actuator it self.

I still don't now how it gets in. 

1st Pic shows very loose Lorry inner tube, this works well with lots of grease.
2nd pic shows early tube cover, but this was to tight and the actuator would nip bits out of it after a year or two.
Everything is possible, just give me time.

OzInverter man. Normandy France.

3off Hugh P's 3.7m Wind T's (9 years).  .. 5kW PV on 3 Trackers, (5 yrs) .. 9kW PV AC coupled Used/SH GTI's, on my OzInverter created Grid, and back charging with AC Coupling to the OzInverter to my 48v 1300ah batteries.

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2017, 07:07:08 AM »
Except for tidying up a few lose ends, I pretty well finished this project up over the weekend.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to make sure it would be well protected form the weather.  There's a boot over the motor:


but I am more concerned with water following down the arm, so I added these (2) steering arm boots:


The wiring was a bit more challenging than it might have been.  It starts with a pair of conductors from the charge controller operating thru a dry-contact relay on Aux1 (non-MPPT relay output).  You can see the terminations below.  The jumpers (to the left) can be configured for 12V output (both to the left), or dry contact (both to the right).  I have one in each position in this frame.


Here's the overall schematic, but in our case it goes to a crawl space, then UG to the garage via an phone line I'd pulled years ago.  We pick up the 12VDC source at the garage and I'm using fairly heavy SO cord thru the garage and out to the tower base to try to keep the Vdrop reasonable.


The wiring at the tower:


It seems to work pretty well so far.  I can manually start or stop it form the house now, but I have Aux1 configured for PV V High, or input voltage, active high, from the rectifier in this case.  I'll have to experiment with the setting, but I'm starting out at ~125V.

~ks


kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2017, 07:26:37 AM »
Aux1 allows you to set a input voltage that you want to operate, and program a delay time in seconds.  This is the amount of time it must be at, or above, the setting before the relay operates.  It also has a hold time that the controller will wait before turning Aux1 off after reaching the V Low (reset) set-point.

A couple more pics:






I tried to set it up so that if the circuit was opened, for any reason, the fail-safe would be to furl the turbine.  I also kept the hand winch in place just in case...

SparWeb

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2017, 11:25:34 PM »
Hi
Looks great!

How long are the two delay times?
No one believes the theory except the one who developed it.  Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

System spec: 135w BP multicrystalline panels, regulated by Xantrex C40, DIY 8ft diameter wind turbine, regulated by Tri-Star TS60, 800AH x 24V AGM Battery, Xantrex SW4024

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2017, 12:40:23 PM »
I don't know what the upper limits are, if that's what you're asking, but generally it is programmable.  I have it set right now to operate at 123V (Vin to the CC) for 1 sec.  The low set-point, I dropped real low to start with - like 38V IIRC, again for 1 second.

We have the resistive load bank on Aux2 programmed at 120V with a width of 5V.  My thinking is when the voltage is high enough to fully engage this 'homemade clipper', it's likely the batteries are charged and our diversion load satisfied, or in combination there is more wind and PV than available load.  The Vlow, reset would be reflective of a condition where we're somewhere back to nominal battery voltage, so something's changed (wind died down, overcast weather, more load, etc.)

We may have to tweak a bit.

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2017, 12:53:07 PM »
Just an update on this project -

We've been running this thru the summer without too many problems.  It works very well so long as the power supply is solid.  I have an ungodly wire run though, so I've added a constant voltage converter that helps to keep the actuator happy.  I'm also moving the DC source a bit closer as the control is sensitive to current losses.  I'm going to add a small battery and an auxiliary isolator to block it from [other] load.

The concept seems pretty well proven, just want to make it a bit more bullet-proof now.  Tucked the wiring in PVC flex conduit; tidied up the wiring a bit more.





kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2017, 06:23:03 AM »
I thought I'd post a quick update for anyone crazy who may have followed this post.  The final version now looks like this:


I changed the circuit so that the load driver is boosting both the actuator and the control circuit back to the Classic charge controller. The control wires are some ~400' away, and we're using just a double pair of phone wires for the UG section to the house.  I found that the signal wire had just enough voltage drop that it was affecting its reliable operation. Also, in cold weather the actuator motor needs a “stiff” somewhat elevated voltage to get it moving. Monday night got down to about 5 degF (-15 C) and it worked fine. It’s rated to -15C, but I suspect the white lithium lube is a bit thicker at the lower end of spectrum.

The schematic appears busy, but the concept is not. We have a small, existing 12V battery bank that runs the OH doors and a few lights in the garage. It is tied to our old, tried-and-true Trace inverter. I wanted to avoid having a battery or power supply outside at the tower, due to all the weather/temperature considerations. So, we added a single 12V battery in parallel with the Trace bank, just inside the shop closest to the tower. This battery is isolated from any load(s) by the diode, but it can be charged from the existing sources – primarily the little Rutland charger, and periodically from a trickle charger.

The control wire is long, but is really just an “ignition” signal to the actuator control operating through a dry-contact relay. With the “auto-return” function enabled and 12V+ present, the actuator travels to preset 2 (out, unfurled); with the 12V+ removed, it travels to preset 1 (in, furled).

SparWeb

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2017, 02:26:10 PM »
Thanks for adding a new chapter (the plot thickens).

Do I understand that this was an opportunity to use the existing batteries in the garage for a new purpose? 
If so, was the addition of the inter-tie between the two battery banks motivated by this new function, or was it needed anyway?
The reason I ask is that have had batteries charging from batteries (and still do) but the results are not spectacular.
No one believes the theory except the one who developed it.  Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

System spec: 135w BP multicrystalline panels, regulated by Xantrex C40, DIY 8ft diameter wind turbine, regulated by Tri-Star TS60, 800AH x 24V AGM Battery, Xantrex SW4024

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2017, 08:32:33 AM »
Yes.  The bank in the garage is just three automotive/marine-grade deep-cycle batteries.  It is pretty centrally located within the building.  When we ran power into the building from the house (years ago) I ran an extra direct-burial, shielded, 4x copper phone wire.  This wire comes up thru a conduit where the batteries and inverter are located.

My initial thinking was to use the existing 12V source, running both a 12V supply to the actuator and a “loop-wired” switch circuit to the Classic using the phone wire.  I realize that no one under the age of ~50 will relate, but it used to be that ‘loop-wiring’ was a pretty efficient use of copper when you needed a remote light switch (it’s no longer code-compliant).

The problem is that the existing battery bank has loads and therefore the voltage varies.  And, the distances involved proved to be too far with the sensitivity of the potentiometer controller.  My solution was to add a “coach battery”, closer to the tower (but still inside) that was isolated from any loads, but that could be charged from the same existing sources.  So now the more stable source is closer to the actuator, and the loop-circuit is longer, but starts at a higher voltage at the pump driver.  I think the control signal has only about a 1.6 mA draw IIRC.

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2017, 08:46:04 AM »
Mechanically what I also considered doing was flipping the actuator over for better weather protection, but that would mean either having to have enough play in the wire for its full travel length, or adding another pulley.  A second pulley was also briefly considered, as one could anchor one end, double the actuator length, and gain a 2:1 mechanical advantage.  This cuts the load on the actuator in half (excluding added friction), but introduce more moving parts.

SparWeb

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2017, 03:52:35 PM »
"loop wiring" to a remove light switch... yeah, I know all too well what that is...  have LED overhead lights in the garage that glow when OFF to prove it...   :-\
No one believes the theory except the one who developed it.  Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

System spec: 135w BP multicrystalline panels, regulated by Xantrex C40, DIY 8ft diameter wind turbine, regulated by Tri-Star TS60, 800AH x 24V AGM Battery, Xantrex SW4024

bigrockcandymountain

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2017, 05:50:56 AM »
Now you have me thinking.  I just did a quick google on loop wiring.  I just wired my whole house lights that way. What is wrong with it?  What is the alternative?  Is it actually not code?   Seems to be an efficient way to wire a light only circuit.  My led's don't glow. 

I'm not worried, just curious. 

Thanks

Derek

bigrockcandymountain

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2017, 05:59:38 AM »
Oops now google suggests i didn't do loop wiring.  Such is the internet.  Great job on the furling system kitestrings.  I plan to go wireless with mine.  We will see how that goes.  Your system is the main one I'm basing my system on so keep up the posting.  It helps a lot. 

Derek

kitestrings

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Re: Power Furling Revisited
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2017, 07:38:37 AM »
I don't see any reason that LED's would glow do to a loop-wired switch.  Loop wiring is just where you take one piece of Romex and re-code the neutral , so in effect it becomes one long hot leg, black wire to, and from, the switch; let's say down on the original black, and back on the re-coded white.  It saves one length of wire.

From a code perspective I believe there are two issue: re-coded/coloring wires & you have no neutral at the switch.  The latter can become a problem if you want to later add an outlet.

I used to scavenge bits and pieces of wire from various jobs where they would have been scrapped, so we have some creative choice and color coding in our house.  I joke that I don't want to make things to be too easy too for my wife's next husband ;>].