Simple tips and methods for wind turbine troubleshooting. Answers to common problems, advice for where to install your turbine, etc.
Testing Wind Turbine Output:
Do not use an AC voltmeter or ammeter for checking turbine output. Only check the wind turbine with a DC voltmeter and/or ammeter on the DC side of the rectifier. Our wind turbines may produce variable voltage. Only check the DC voltage of the turbine when it is disconnected from the battery bank and/or charge controller.
You can charge a battery or bank of batteries only if the wind turbine is producing more voltage than the battery’s voltage at that time. This will show up as amperage and most likely show a slow battery voltage increase. It is possible to see your battery’s voltage rise quickly with a strong gust of wind and then fall back down to the original voltage or just above the original voltage. This is normal because a battery is a large storage tank of energy and it takes time to fill with light to medium winds.
Make sure all electrical connections are clean and tight. If you are using the tower as part of the run of the negative output, make sure it has good, clean metal-to-metal contact with the housing of the PMA which is the negative side of the turbine.
Do not use solid or undersized cable for the turbine’s power cord(s). Solid cable will not twist and flex well and is also a weaker conductor. Undersized power cable is subject to heat damage and will reduce power output substantially. Your power cable can be as large as you want.
Do not use outdoor extension cords, they do not stand up to wind turbine applications and are not designed for permanent outdoor use.
Our Freedom PMG and Freedom II PMG do not require blocking diodes. Blocking diodes reduce power output and are not needed after the bridge rectifier. In the DC models, the rectifier is built into the inside of the case.
Reducing Wind Turbine Noise and Vibration:
A slight hum may be normal from your turbine. If you have severe shaking with vibration, this usually means one or more blades were installed backwards. If you have a blade or two with a heavy bend backwards or forwards, heat the blade with a heat gun or blow dryer until it is extremely hot without melting. While the blade is still hot, put some weight in the middle of the bed and let it completely cool in an opposite bent direction. All Raptor Blades have a twist from the butt to the tip and this is normal. Bent blades, however, usually do not create a problem.
Wind Turbine Siting:
Turbulence will severely reduce power output and is usually caused by structures swirling and blocking the wind before striking the blades and tail (usually noticed by erratic left to right pivoting of the turbine on the tower, sometimes with heavy vibration). The best place for a turbine is well above the trees and structures (homes, buildings, etc.) closer than 200 feet away. Doubling the height of your tower can increase power by up to 34%.
Usually in the heat of the summer there is very little wind. Fall, spring, winter and stormy seasons produce much more wind power. If you are having a hard time maintaining power production, another turbine or the addition of solar panels may be necessary.
For more information on wind turbine siting, see our guide, Where to Install a Wind Turbine