Wind Turbine Information

 

AIR403 Power Curves

AIR403 Basic Wiring Diagrams


General Operation

1. "Won't it short my batteries when I use a stop switch?"
2. "Will it hurt my AIR 403 to short-circuit the output?"
3. "Can the output of my AIR 403 be changed by the potentiometer?"
4. "How does the AIR 403 regulate my batteries?"
5. "Can I use an external charge controller to regulate my 403?"
6. "The open-circuit voltage of my AIR 403 is far above my batteries. Is this normal?"
7. "I'm not ready to attach my wires to the batteries. Can I simply leave the AIR 403's wires unattached?"
8. "I have multiple turbines installed on my system, and they seem to regulate erratically. Why is this?"
9. "I can measure a small amount of current back-feeding to my AIR 403. Is this normal?"
10. "What is the difference between a Land and Marine AIR 403?"

Accessories

11. "Can I use household AC fuses or breakers to fuse my AIR 403?"
12. "I just installed my AIR 403 with an automotive style amp meter, but I don't see any current. How can this be?"

Wiring

13. "The recommended wire sizes on your chart seem small for 400Watts output. Why is that?"
14. "What is the difference between copper and aluminum wire?"
15. "What is the difference between welding cable and standard stranded cable?"
16. "Why does my AIR 403 regulate before my batteries are fully charged?"
17. "How does wire sizing or voltage drop affect the regulation of my AIR 403?"

Batteries

18. "What kind of batteries should I use with my AIR 403?"
19. "Why shouldn't I use automotive batteries in my DC system?"
20. "Why do you recommend a 400Ah or greater battery bank?"

Lightning

21. "Is lightning protection necessary?"

Radio Interference

22. "What effect does radio interference have on my AIR 403?"
23. "What effect does my AIR 403 have on radio transmissions?"
24. "Will it affect the regulation of my AIR 403 to install an RF filter?"

1. "Won't it short my batteries when I use a stop switch?"
When a single pole, double throw switch that is rated for proper current and voltage is connected as shown in the manual, the turbine positive is disconnected from the batteries BEFORE being connected to negative. It is important that your stop switch be of the type that opens the circuit between positions. This is commonly referred to as a "break-before-make" switch.

2. "Will it hurt my AIR 403 to short-circuit the output?"
No, the AIR 403 is designed to be short-circuited as a normal shutdown procedure. The function of the stop switch is to both disconnect the turbine from the batteries as well as short-circuit the output of the turbine. BE SURE NOT TO SHORT YOUR BATTERIES!

3. "Can the output of my AIR 403 be changed by the potentiometer?"
The Air 403 produces 100% of the power of which it is capable according to the wind speed. The potentiometer only changes the voltage setting at which the Autobrake engages. Changing this setting will not increase the ampere output of the machine but may overcharge your batteries.

4. "How does the AIR 403 regulate my batteries?"
The internal circuitry monitors the voltage at the output of the turbine. When the maximum charging voltage is reached (adjustable by the potentiometer on the side of the turbine) the Autobrake is engaged. This cuts off the turbine output, and the blades are braked to a slow rotation. The Autobrake remains on until the voltage drops to a level slightly below that of a fully charged battery (12.6V for 12V, 25.2V for 24V, etc.) At this point the Autobrake releases and the turbine resumes charging.

5. "Can I use an external charge controller to regulate my 403?"
We recommend using only diversion load type charge regulators with the AIR 403. These regulators divert excess power to a heating element or power resistor when the batteries are full. This excess power can be used to assist in hot water or room heating. PV type regulators should never be used. Series type regulators that disconnect the power source when batteries are full will often give undesirable results such as causing the Autobrake to fluctuate on and off when the batteries become full.

6. "The open-circuit voltage of my AIR 403 is far above my batteries. Is this normal?"
When connected to batteries, the AIR 403 spins freely until it reaches the battery voltage. When the voltage of the turbine rises above battery voltage, current (amps) begins to flow, as current is a function of a difference in voltage. The greater the difference in voltage, the greater the current is.

If no battery is connected, then the turbine will continue to increase in voltage (provided there is sufficient wind) until almost double the rated voltage is reached. At this point the Autobrake is engaged and the turbine slows down. For a 12V turbine this happens at about 23V.

It should be noted that, when the turbine is open circuit (not connected to batteries), the Autobrake will slow the blades, and the voltage from the turbine will drop. The Autobrake will release until the blades spin up again, and then re-engage. This leads to an oscillation that is more strenuous on the turbine than normal operation. For this reason you must short the positive turbine output wire to the turbine negative wire whenever it is not connected to a load to achieve the maximum life from your turbine.

If you observe your turbine oscillating in the manner described above, check the fuse or breaker for the turbine as it may be expired.

7. " I'm not ready to attach my wires to the batteries. Can I simply leave the AIR 403?s wires unattached?"
Always short the AIR 403?s negative to positive when it is disconnected from your system, and the blades are installed. BE SURE NOT TO SHORT YOUR BATTERIES! The turbine will prevent itself from over-speeding and over voltage, but as explained above, this is a high-wear condition for the turbine and should not be left that way for any substantial amount of time.

8. "I have multiple turbines installed on my system, and they seem to regulate erratically. Why is this?"
Check your wire sizes to be sure they are at least as big as those specified in your AIR 403 manual (bigger is always better, but more expensive.) Be sure all of your wire connections are very solid, have no gaps, have no corrosion, and no crimp terminals are used. If your turbines are at various distances from the batteries, make sure farther turbines have bigger wires.

There will be some variation at what voltage turbines will enter into regulation based on the relative wind to which each turbine is exposed. Small differences in line loss can be significant in strong winds. (see also FAQ #17)

9. " I can measure a small amount of current back-feeding to my AIR 403. Is this normal?"
The AIR 403 internal circuitry consumes a maximum of about 16 mA, or about the same as a small clock. If you are concerned about this small amount, you can install a stop switch and switch to ?OFF" to disconnect the turbine.

10. "What is the difference between a Land and Marine AIR 403?
The AIR 403 Marine has been fully protected against harsh, corrosive, salt-water environments. The entire exterior of the Marine body is powder-coated with a UV and corrosion resistant coating. The unit is completely sealed to prevent water entry, and stainless steel hardware is used throughout the machine. In addition, a Teflon corrosion inhibitor is used on all fasteners.

11. "Can I use household AC fuses or breakers to fuse my AIR 403?"
You should only use DC rated devices with your AIR 403, as AC components are typically sized differently.

12. "I just installed my AIR 403 with an automotive style amp meter, but I don?t see any current. How can this be?"
Given that all wiring has been done correctly, and other precautions have been heeded, chances are that the amp meter is wired backwards and the needle is attempting to move in the negative direction. If ?zero" is on the left-hand side of the meter, then the needle cannot move and looks as if the unit is not producing. Simply reverse the leads on the meter and see if current will register.

13. "The recommended wire sizes on your chart seem small for 400Watts output. Why is that?"
Because the output of the AIR 403 follows the cubic power in the wind, the output increases rapidly with increasing wind speed until flutter occurs and the output power drops off to about 150 watts. The wiring could be sized for the maximum current output of the turbine, but this output is seen primarily in gusty conditions.

We have recommended wire sizes that are intentionally small to save the customer from spending a lot of money on wiring, while still experiencing no more than a 5% annual energy loss due to resistive line losses. In most cases this will be acceptable for local electric codes - please contact your installer or local electrician to be certain of your area?s specific requirement.

14. "What is the difference between copper and aluminum wire?"
Aluminum wire is less conductive; so generally it must be bigger for the same amp load and resistive losses as copper.

15. "What is the difference between welding cable and standard stranded cable?"
Welding cable is typically very finely stranded to be very flexible, where as standard cable will typically hold its shape. Always be sure that the environmental rating of the insulation of your power cable matches the application.

16. "Why does my AIR 403 regulate before my batteries are fully charged?"
This will happen if your wires are too small, as discussed in the voltage drop section above. This can also happen if the AIR is connected in parallel with another charging source, and there is some distance between this connection and the batteries. The other charging source can create a voltage drop because of its own current output, which will raise the voltage that the turbine sees".

Be sure to check ALL of your wire connections. All connections should be soldered, split bolted, or secured in a terminal block. CRIMP-ON TYPE CONNECTORS MUST NEVER BE USED! These are poor connection for high currents and will almost always have some resistance at the male/female connection that will increase your voltage drop and line loss. (see also FAQ #17)

17. "How does wire sizing or voltage drop affect the regulation of my AIR 403?"
When current (amps) passes across a resistance (ohms), it creates a voltage difference (voltage drop). Higher current or higher resistance causes a greater voltage drop. All wire has some resistance to it; the smaller the wire the greater the resistance. If you use undersized wire, then the turbine will see a higher voltage than the batteries as it?s output increases, even though the battery voltage may remain the same. If the voltage at the machine exceeds the regulation set point of the control circuit, then the turbine will regulate even though the batteries are not fully charged.

Example: A 12V AIR 403 is connected to a very large battery bank via 75 feet of 10g stranded wire. The battery bank is at 12.0V.

The resistance of the wire is 75ft x 0.00129 ohms/ft = 0.097 ohms, multiplied by 2 conductors for the positive and negative = 0.194 ohms. When the turbine is producing 1 amp, the voltage drop across the wires is 1 x 0.194 = 0.194 volts, which isn?t that much. But at 15 amps, the voltage drop becomes 15 x 0.194 = 2.91 volts. This means that while the battery bank is at 12.0V, the turbine thinks it is at 14.91V. If your turbine is set for 14.1V (the factory setting), the Autobrake will engage. There will then be no voltage drop, the turbine will see 12.0V, and will begin charging again until the output climbs again. The turbine thus cycles in and out of regulation, even though the battery is not fully charged.

18. "What kind of batteries should I use with my AIR 403?"
Only batteries intended for power system applications should be used. This means ?deep cycle" type batteries, and not the Marine deep cycle type as these are not intended for the same application. Typically ?true" deep-cycle batteries will be rated in amp-hours and have some indication of the number of charge-discharge cycles that are available. Beware of the dubious claims of "deep-cycle" claimed by the manufacturers of inexpensive batteries.

19. "Why shouldn't I use automotive batteries in my DC system?"
Automotive batteries are meant to discharge a large amount of current in a very brief time. The lead plates are thinner and often porous to allow rapid discharge. They will also wear faster and are not intended to be discharged far below their normal voltage. True deep cycle batteries are intended for more moderate loading and deeper discharge, and are made with thicker, longer lasting plates. The casing and construction of batteries intended for renewable energy systems is typically much tougher and of higher quality than automotive batteries.

20. "Why do you recommend a 400Ah or greater battery bank?
Very small battery systems have a high resistance value that causes a surface voltage increase at the batteries. If the battery voltage is already high, and high current is on the line, then the internal regulator on the 403 may "think" the batteries are fully charged and will regulate prematurely. (see also FAQ #17)

21. "Is lightning protection necessary?"
Lightning protection is ALWAYS a good idea when erecting a metal tower. The Delta Lightning Arrestor (model LA 301-DC) is widely used in outdoor power and antenna applications. While this is still no guarantee that Mother Nature wont find a way, these arrestors are not very expensive and may save some very expensive equipment.

22. "What effect does radio interference have on my AIR 403?"
The internal circuitry of the AIR 403 is shielded and filtered to prevent radio interference, and has been tested to insure electro-magnetic compatibility.

23. "What effect does my AIR 403 have on radio transmissions?"
The AIR 403 normally does not affect radio transmitters. Care should be taken, however, to route power lines from the AIR away from the power and antenna lines of a radio transmitter. An old ham radio operator?s trick is to twist positive and negative wires together to provide an even distribution of EMF noise across both wires, which serves to cancel out the electrical noise created. This technique can be used on the AIR power lines, on the radio?s power lines, and on transmission wires. Transmission lines should always be kept as far from power lines as is practically possible. Proper grounding of the AIR and other system components must also be observed.

24. "Will it affect the regulation of my AIR 403 to install an RF (radio frequency) filter?"
Any electronic devices placed in line with the AIR must be rated for the proper current and voltage. The filter will not have any significant effect on regulation UNLESS the filter is between the AIR and the batteries. If the filter has any internal resistance, the regulation of the turbine will be affected in the same manner as undersized power lines (that being increased line loss and voltage drop, leading to pre-regulation.) It is best to place any line filters on the power lines for the load device (transmitter) that requires it, and as close to the device as possible.

 
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