Christmas Is Over – It Must be Time for Wind Generator Trouble!

By , January 19, 2010

I recently told my brother that I am not the master of our off the grid power system, I am it’s most humble and dedicated servant. Recently, I’ve had another opportunity to express fealty to my master.

Right at the end of our Christmas celebration, we realized that the charge controller on our wind generator wasn’t regulating properly. Normally, after the incoming power reaches a preset level, it should automatically switch to regulation mode, dumping the incoming power to a heat sink radiator, and slowing the revolving blades until they eventually stop. Instead, while the mechanism tried to go to regulation, incoming power continued, and the prop didn’t slow at all.

I called the manufacturer’s tech support, and they sent out a new circuit board, which I could install myself instead of shipping my unit off to them for testing and repair. I installed that board on Sunday, and immediately found that the board had not been the problem.

That means I have to send it away. I’m not at all happy about this for many reasons. The controller is a new one that we installed six months ago. It will be repaired under warranty, but I have to pay to get it there, about $30 out of my pocket that I’ll never see again. Plus, I have to haul the unit out to town for mailing, then pack it back in when it returns.

Mainly, though, I’m unhappy because it requires another round of messing with electricity. This is something I truly dread. I’m finding, however, that the more I work with it, and the less often I’m killed by it, the more confident I become. I spent a couple of hours disconnecting the charge controller and replacing it with the old, original homestead, never-let-me-down-unless-I-did-something-to-it-first controller. How I came to need the new one, trading reliability, information, and adequate back lighting for the new model is a long, sad story, one I’m not quite ready to relate. Suffice it to say that there’s a little bit of relief to have the old one in charge again for the time being. I say that even after we hooked it up, and it began to divert our entire battery charge through the dump load! I quickly disconnected the batteries, found the problem (a frayed wire) fixed it, and got everything back on track, but it was a tense moment.

As you’ve no doubt learned from reading this blog, I love traditions, and the cyclical quality of life. I just figured out that we’ve had trouble with the wind generator at the end of three of the last four Christmas seasons. This is one tradition I’m eager to quash for good!

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