Need help with a wind voltage (diversion) regulator

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by n8ure, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    I am putting up a wind generator up at my cabin and I need a little help. Its a simple 400-500W 50ft system, and the alternator is nothing more than a stator/rotor and a battery terminal. It has no rectifier bridge, diode trio, or voltage regulator on it. It also has no stator/field terminals on it, only a battery output. My goal is to add a voltage diversion regulator on it, so when the batteries are charged I can divert the power to another dump location. Trying to save money, a friend of mine gave me an old Ford voltage regulator he had. The wiring schematic can be found here:

    http://www.junkyardgenius.com/charging/ford02.html

    I think the regulator shown is designed to shut off the generator instead of divert it, but my wind generator does not have this ability. Is there a way to hook this voltage regulator up to my system and have it act as a diversion regulator without buying an actual voltage diversion regulator such as this one on ebay?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Wind-generator-Solar-Power-Diversion-Regulator_W0QQitemZ160301109110QQcmdZViewItemQQptZElectrical_Solar_US?hash=item160301109110&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318
     
  2. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    bump.

    And really all I want to know is if I can use the old ford regulator or if I have to go buy a diversion regulator to serve my purpose. Any ideas even?
     
  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    I don't know why you removed the rectifier bridge. Without it, all the alternator can do is put out 3-phase AC. However, if the stator windings have been left disconnected, it won't generate a thing.

    The diode trio's function is to supply power to the internal regulator, and thus the rotor windings. If the rotor is not powered by a regulator, no current will be generated in the stator windings.

    An alternator needs at least several volts to begin generating power.

    Or is what you have really a generator?

    I presume you want to "dump" power to prevent overspeed? You might accomplish the same thing by changing the angle of the blades to the prevailing winds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  4. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    Either I have a few things mixed up, or you misunderstood me. I didn't disconnect anything. The windmill has no internal rectifier bridge and it has no voltage regulator. I assume there is no diode trio because I have no voltage regulator in it, but either way the point was that it is a very simple windmill with no extra goodies in it. Most wind generators have a stator and a field terminal on it, whereas mine only has a battery terminal. The faster it spins the more power is output. I need the voltage regulator to not only control the voltage level, but also to act as a diverter so I don't overcharge my batteries.

    The old Ford regulator is basically an on/off type regulator. When the battery is charged it shuts off the generator/alternator. My windmill cannot be shut off. This is where I need to see if I can use the Ford VR to act as a diverter. Make sense now? I am a noob when it comes to electronics, so I'm doing my best. I have a feeling someone is just going to tell me I have to buy a voltage diverter regulator.
     
  5. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    OK, it sounds like it is a generator instead of an alternator.

    No, the regulator won't work for what you want to do. You need to switch the power output to a shunt load.
     
  6. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    I looked back and didn't realize until now that I used the word alternator in my first post. Sorry for the confusion. I probably made this sound a lot more complicated than it should have been. I'll have to just buy what I didn't want to have to buy.

    By the way, other than ebay does anyone know where I can find a "cheap" voltage diverter regualtor? I want a 50 amp relay min. rather than the typical 30 I have seen thus far.
     
  7. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    Why don't you describe your whole system first?

    Do you have a large bank of batteries?
    How many? What kind are they?

    As far as relays, power MOSFETs would be a better way to go. Some of them have very high power capacity, and require very little energy to turn on/off - unlike a relay, which must be energized constantly to stay on (unless it's a latching type).

    If not overloaded, power MOSFETs will last far longer than relays. They are also noiseless.
     
  8. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    I'll have to come back on later tonight or else tomorrow to give you some more specs, because I really would appreciate some help putting my system together. Let me know more specifically what all information is relevant, because I had thought I gave enough the first time (but what do I know). I hate EE stuff, which is why I am a mechanical engineer not an electrical engineer.

    But for starters yes I have a battery bank of 5 or 6 12V batteries hooked up in parallel (not sure if deep cycle or not and various brands I think).
     
  9. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    OK. If your batteries aren't deep cycle, they won't last long when attempting to use them that way. Automotive-type batteries have very thin plates, designed to give a short burst of power for starting, and then need to be charged back up right away to prevent sulphation.

    If they don't have the same rating, you'll have a problem trying to charge them all in parallel.

    If one of them goes bad (develops a shorted cell) it'll drain the other batteries, unless you have a way to detect it and isolate the bad battery.
     
  10. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    Ok here are some more details for you.

    I have 6 deep cycle batteries. Some are lead acid, some are gel, and one is glass.

    The only thing I really know about the windmill is that its a Hornet 12V model, with about 400W power output maybe a little more, but its relatively small. 50 ft tall.

    Lastly, after some thought, I don't need anything to handle 50 amps, 30 should be fine. I forgot that 30 amps DC is way different than 30 amps AC.

    So now that I think the details are pounded out, can you help me figure out the best way to A)Voltage Regulate (since my windmill has no VR in it) and B)Divert the power when the batteries are charged. I also would like to keep this as cheap as possible, for the record.
     
  11. leftyretro

    Active Member

    Nov 25, 2008
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    As you have already been told you will not be able to design and build a effective charger that can charge all those batteries because they are connected in parallel. They will all have different AH ratings and therefore reach full charge at different times. At best you could only use a charger set up to have a fixed output voltage, usually a mode only used to trickle charge an already full charged battery. It would take forever to charge a nearly exhausted bank of parallel connected 12volt batteries that way.

    I have seen wind power user forums on the web before. Perhaps you could search out for them as they can probably steer you to more specific solutions and design ideas for your system.
     
  12. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    No, I have already been told about using automotive batteries, which I am not using. I haven't been told anything about different kinds of deep cycle batteries. And I came here instead of a wind power forum because I had questions about a voltage regulator, which certainly fits this forum. Now the conversation turned into talking about power MOSFETs. Is that not something this forum would be more knowledgable about than most other people? Should I go post on the other voltage regulator topic in this forum and tell him to go somewhere else? Douchebag.

    And second of all, let me play dumb for a minute. I have had this battery bank set up for a couple years now. I have a gas generator that I run once in a while for power tools and such and I have a 12V battery charger that I leave plugged into it all the time. When I run the generator, it recharges the batteries. I don't trickle charge them either. Up to this point, they have worked fine. I have not had problems with overcharging or bad batteries. Why would it matter if one battery became fully charged 30 seconds before a different one? Or even a minute? or 2 minutes? What would happen if I hooked the system up with either a voltage reg. or a power MOSFET? Would it work any differently than I have it set up with a 12V charger? What's the difference? You say it won't work, but it has worked so far......
     
  13. leftyretro

    Active Member

    Nov 25, 2008
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    I'm sorry if I offended you, that's was not my intent. It's just that your questions are jumping to solutions that most likely will not produce good results.

    I don't doubt that your collection of different parallel connected batteries have functioned for you, but are they delivering their rated capacity?

    If you have say four 12volt batteries connected in parallel that have say 40AH, 20AN, 10AH and 30AH ratings that would be 100 AH of total capacity. However can you say that you are able to utilized all 100AH of total capacity? I say not. If it does not matter to you and you don't need or require that total capacity for your load needs then OK, however it's not a something a design engineer would recommend.

    Good luck
     
  14. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    The point is that the three different types of batteries have different maintenance requirements.

    Lead-acid cells require occasional overcharging to stir the electrolyte. Gel cels won't tolerate overcharging, as bubbles will form in the gel. AGM (glass mat) batteries have another unique set of requirements.

    If your batteries have been deeply cycled over the last couple of years, they're probably about shot. Your lead-acid cells are probably heavily sulphated. If you've been charging the gel cells too quickly, they probably have bubbles in the gel, causing them to lose capacity.

    It's a bad idea to mix sizes and types of batteries. Their lives will be shortened significantly.

    It would probably be better to start over with a fresh set of AGM-type batteries. These don't sulphate as much as the lead-acid types, and can be recharged more quickly than the gel types.
     
  15. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    Well sorry I jumped too, but your attitude from the first words out of your mouth needed some adjustment. I told you I am a noob, but I'm not stupid either. You don't need to reiterate things that were never said in the first place.

    I can't honestly say they have. But I can't say they haven't either. They have all most likely been overcharged, but they are still functioning very well. I don't trickle charge them, but I don't rapid charge them either. And as for rated capacity, I am not rich. Most of these batteries came third hand as freebies. If I get any power out of them at all, I am ahead of the game.

    That's funny. I am a design engineer. And even funnier, I make flexible PWBs but I don't know jack about electrical stuff.

    So moving on here. I have a terrible bank of batteries that should have failed a long time ago, but still works. I don't have money to buy a new battery bank, but will certainly keep this info in mind if I have to replace batteries (so I can keep them separate and extend their lives). But as for the moment, I am not worried about the best bang for the buck, so forth and so on. I want a system that functions. And I would assume that whether I had this terrible battery bank or a brand new set of absorbed glass mat batteries, that it shouldn't affect the voltage regulator diverter/power MOSFET that will complete the system. I could be wrong. But can we move past the batteries and move to completing the system I started this topic about?

    I'm really interested in this metal oxide superconductor thingy, but I can't really understand all the jargon I see when I try to read about them. Nor do I see anything about voltage regulating. Nor do I even know if I will need a voltage regulator if I have a diverter. These are the questions I came to a circuits forum to have answered. We cool leftyretro?
     
  16. mattwind

    New Member

    Dec 3, 2008
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    :cool:You may want to check out hurd solar he has a dump controller that is simple and works great I have it on my wind turbine.
     
  17. leftyretro

    Active Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    394
    2
    Yea, we cool. And good luck with the superconductor thingy, but beware even the experts at the Cern complex in Europe recently blew up their superconductor thingy :cool:
     
  18. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    SgtWookie, I am still interested in learning a little more about the power MOSFET if you would be willing to either explain or suggest a specific product that I could take a peek at. Since I don't know what they are I would probably fail miserably if I looked for one.
     
  19. n8ure

    Thread Starter Member

    Nov 27, 2008
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    I actually looked at this, and it is certainly cheap and build it yourself style. But my question is, would I still need a voltage regulator or not? Because remember mine has no VR built into it. your windmill might. And by reading the descriptions of the hurd charge controller it doesn't say it regulates voltage, but only that it is a hard switch for the battery at a specific voltage trigger you set. Am I understanding that correctly?
     
  20. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    Sorry, there's so much going on both on the forums and where I am that it's hard to keep up with everything.

    A power MOSFET is basically an electrically-controlled switch. They are 3-terminal devices. The three terminals are:
    Drain
    Gate
    Source
    In a MOSFET, current flow between the source and the drain is controlled by the voltage on the gate relative to the source, referred to as Vgs.
    In a standard N-channel MOSFET, if the Vgs is 0v, there will be no current flow from the source to the drain (ie: open connection).
    If Vgs is 10v (or somewhat higher), there will be very little restriction to current flow from the source to the drain (practically a dead short). Once the gate is charged or discharged, there is VERY little current required to maintain the MOSFET in an ON or OFF condition.

    N-channel MOSFETS are slightly faster and have somewhat lower resistance than their P-channel counterparts; N-channel MOSFETs have therefore become the dominant MOSFETs.

    One power MOSFET worth looking at is an International Rectifier IRF3205. This power MOSFET is in a 3-terminal TO-220 case, and when Vgs=10v, the resistance from the drain to the source (referred to as Rds) is nominally 8 milliohms (0.008 Ohms) and is capable of carrying 75A continuously (it's rated for 110A, but the TO-220 package can only handle 75A).

    Newark carries versions of this MOSFET for around $2.20.

    Try buying a relay that will handle that much current, is totally silent, and doesn't require constant current to maintain it's ON or OFF setting.
     
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