Installing a Wind Turbine: Complete Wind Power Systems Explained
Windmills have come a long way from the days when they were big, bulky contraptions used, primarily, to grind grain and pump water. Today’s windmills, now typically referred to as wind turbines, are small, quiet, and efficient, and they are primarily used to generate electricity, some powering entire cities and others simply providing backup power to those in rural areas. If you are reading this article, you are probably interested in building or buying a wind generator of your own. More than likely, however, you are only familiar with the turbine Controller itself, when, in actuality, a complete wind power system has three important components, the turbine itself, a charge controller, a power storage system, and a converter.
Wind Turbine Parts
Residential wind turbines are not particularly complex. They have three main parts, blades that harness the power of the wind, a motor that generates electricity, and a tail assembly that keeps the turbine facing into the wind. If you want to buy a wind turbine, you can have one up and running in just a matter of hours, once you get it home. Another option is to build a kit, which comes with all parts necessary and only needing assembly. Or, if you want a rather large DIY project, you can construct the entire thing by yourself, including fabricating blades and a tail assembly, and even designing and building your own motor. How much, or how little, work you want to do is completely up to you.
Power Storage Devices
You were probably already familiar with the basic parts of a wind turbine, as there are pictures of them everywhere. What people usually do not see, however, are the power storage devices that are essential for a properly functioning wind turbine system. These power storage devices are, of course, batteries. Not just any batteries, though. The batteries needed to store the power created by your wind turbine have to be what are called deep cycle batteries, which are often found in marine vessels or golf carts. These special batteries are designed to be fully depleted and then charged up, over and over again, abuse that standard batteries cannot withstand. Of course, one battery is not enough, so you will need what is called a battery bank, a set of batteries that are all wired together.
If you continue to send electricity to batteries that are already fully charged, you will destroy them. Unfortunately, your wind turbine cannot regulate itself; it will continue force feeding electricity into the system for as long as the wind is blowing. It is necessary, then, to install a device that regulates the flow of electricity driven to the batteries. This device is called a charge controller. Charge controllers measure the charge of the battery and either let the flow of electricity headed to your battery bank run freely, or shut it off completely, keeping the system fully charged yet safe.
Your wind turbine is great at producing electricity, and your batteries do a wonderful job of storing your power. Unfortunately, they work together to produce and store lots of 12-volt power, something that is quite useful if you want to power the electrical system in your car, but totally unusable for powering household appliances. Why? Because household appliances are, usually, 120-volts, depending on which country you live in. This is where voltage converters come into play. Voltage converters take the 12-volt power in your batteries and convert it to 120 volts, or whatever volt amount you need.
A Complete Wind Turbine System
When considering installing a turbine Controller, it is important to realize that a complete wind power system consists of more than just the turbine itself. You need your turbine, for sure, but just as important is a power storage device to hold your energy, a charge controller to regulate the flow of your energy, and, last but not least, a voltage converter to change your energy into a usable form.