Friday, November 16, 2012

Wind Generator - Installed

When we are not in the marina and are spending time at anchor or sailing we have to charge up our batteries by running the diesel generator (the genset) or by running the engine. If we aren't motoring somewhere, this usually means running the genset for a few hours every few days. Now that we have a wind generator we are hoping to run the generator less while we are at anchor. 

Close-up of the wind generator
Ken finished installing the wind generator about three weeks ago. It's a Superwind generator - high quality and known for being quiet. There were quite a few steps involved in installing it. To make it solid Ken wanted a backing plate underneath the hull and a teak block to above decks to spread the load appropriately. Ken had to have a 3/8" stainless steel backing plate made for it in Puerto Vallarta and then had a special piece of teak cut by our neighbor and master teak carpenter, Ron. Then he carefully sanded away the teak block until it fit the curved hull perfectly and still allowed water to drain around it. You do not want the strains of supporting a significant load on a nine foot lever arm to damage the deck or to leak. Drilling a bunch of holes in the deck always makes a boat owner nervous. Not to mention, patching up a mistake would be ugly (we didn't have any mistakes). The mounting does not look like much but a lot of work went into it. 

The teak base plate and the electrical wiring
After the wind generator was securely mounted, Ken ran the wires under the cockpit and down to the batteries. It is always fun to wiggle around all the stuff under the deck in hot weather. Ken said it makes him feel like Houdini. It's good he's not a 6'2" linebacker.

Then he installed the charge regulator so as not to over charge the batteries. The charge regulator is supposed to be close to the batteries to sense their temperature. Of course there is no easy place to install it near the batteries so he had to wedge it in. Ken had to use his special Dremel right angle head to drill the mounting holes in the tiny space. Dremel tools are a must on a boat. This reminds me of the Car Talk guys - Click and Clack. They liked to say, "Each project is an opportunity to buy new tools!" Luckily Ken already had all the necessary tools.  

Waiting for wind

The machine shop guys who made the backing plate and some pieces for the hatches.

The on/off switch inside the boat 

Since the wind generator generates power whenever there is enough wind (more than 11 knots) Ken also had to install and wire the dump resistors. When the batteries are full the charge controller sends the energy to the dump resistors where it is turned into heat. 

Now that the wind generator project is done, hopefully it will stay together and minimize our use of the noisy, smelly genset so we can live at anchor in tranquility and still be able to power our computers and all that other stuff. We are very pleased with how quiet it is. 

Of course right now we are still pretty happy to be in the marina where we can use shore power to run the air conditioner on hot days and easily get in and out of La Cruz to take Kyle to school. 

Our schedule - Ken just sold the truck in Arizona and is flying back to Puerto Vallarta on Monday. Within two weeks we hope to be packed up and will set sail. First stop, about 70 miles South of La Cruz - Mexico's Costa Alegre - Tenacatita, Bara de Navidad, and other great spots.  

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