Update on Wind Generator Reflectors

By , October 30, 2010

Since I decided to go to all the trouble of climbing the wind generator tower recently, to head butt the machine back into position, I wanted to make the most of the trip, so I installed some new reflectors while I was up there.

reflectors on the wind generator

Like a beacon in the night. These longer flashes (seen as a wide circle in real life) indicate the wind is blowing from the south (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

I’d put “war paint” reflective strips on the generator last autumn to allow us to see what the wind generator is doing in the dark. At that time I hadn’t figured out what to do about the prop. In the past, I’d stuck reflective dots on the tips of the blades. These created a gorgeous luminous circle in the night when light played across it while spinning, but the blades’ high-tech material quickly shed the sticky tape. Later, I figured out that I could back out the bolts that held the blades, and pin reflective tape beneath them.

Before climbing the tower, I spent some time at the table, creating reflectors for the job. I took matching stainless steel washers from an older generator, and used them to trace reflective tape to fit. I cut these up, pressed on the tape, and set them on the woodstove hob to warm and bind. Three of these round reflectors would illuminate the back of the prop.

For the front, I cut longer rectangle strips and marked off two holes, one for each bolt head. I then cut the tape to the hole on one side, grabbed my tools, and headed up the tower.

I quickly replaced the washers, then fit the rectangles around the outer two bolts, which I’d loosened. This wasn’t perfect, and I had to warm the metal plates with my breath and hands to get the tape to adhere more or less effectively. Tightening the bolts pinned it right down, though, and I’m fairly confident they’ll stay.

Now, after dark, we can tell how fast the prop is spinning, and because of the different shapes of reflectors, we have more indicators of whether the wind is blowing north and south.

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