Sunday, April 30, 2006

K.I.S.S.

Just a note that Andrea has posted some pics and stories from her recent vacation to Enee Land. Go here to see them!

We have a KISS wind generator. No, this doesn’t generate wind, although that would be nice, it is a wind mill type thing that generates electricity in the wind to recharge the batteries. We always welcome free energy! There are two problems with this unit. When the wind is light there is too much static friction in both the bearing that allows it to turn in the horizontal plane to align itself with the wind (it has a tail like an airplane) and also the prop shaft itself which cannot get spinning even though if I give it a start it will spin just fine. The solution to the light air problem is probably to take the unit down, take it apart and grease whatever bearings I can find. The other problem is when the wind is heavy, say 15 knots and up, the unit spins great and generates nice high currents. The problem is what comes with current is heat and at some point the unit gets so hot that it shuts down. That is, it quits generating electricity. The company said this is because the permanent magnets inside have overheated and it is supposed to shut down like this and it is normal. Now there is no load on the propeller and it freewheels. This is scary as to how fast this thing is going. Usually to stop it I can flip a switch and short it out. This extreme load (0 resistance) grinds it to a halt. But now when it is freewheeling that doesn’t work. The only way to shut it down is to reach behind the unit with a boat hook and turn it off of the wind then jump up and grab a fin and lash it to the post.

In staring at it the other day (yes I'm always thinking! Sometimes it just LOOKS like a nap.) I realized that one problem was the solution to the other. When the unit is off of the wind it doesn’t spin efficiently. Well, when the wind is high it is spinning TOO efficiently! So I tied a long line to the tail and brought it over to a cleat. Now I can force the unit off of the wind when the wind is high until I find and angle where it will generate electricity but not go nuts and start free wheeling!

It really is a KISS brand wind generator (made in Trinidad) and this is a nice K.I.S.S. solution!

In other news we await the return of our front sail probably tomorrow. The sail maker in town has been repairing the roller furling cover. The parts to repair the cable that runs from the SSB radio to the tuner should be in today and maybe I can finnaly have a full functioning SSB radio. We require that to work before we head to Mexico. Speaking of Mexico, we’ve ordered the charts we will need for the Mexico/Belize/Guatemala coast. That’s about $200 and, I know, why not quit sinking (don’t say sink!) money in paper charts and buy electronic charts for the laptop? Because I don’t trust the laptop! If I ONLY had electronic charts and the laptop goes on the frits (which it has) I’d be totally screwed. Especially in foreign waters!

A couple dingyed up to our boat yesterday to say hi and tell me that we were the reason they were there! They typed in Flemming Key in a search engine and it directed them to this blog where I described the adventure of getting hooked to the mooring ball. Sometimes I forget that you guys are actually reading this! Weird how things are connected now via the internet. So keep reading and we'll try to think of things to write while we prepare for Mexico and points south.

1 comment:

brian said...

That's why God made shorepower.