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ahh the rains finally came

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Posted by z on November 10, 2010, 2:39 am
Good news -- the sky is pissing tears!  Salmon are running up the creek and
I put on the winter nozzles for the ol hydro system.  SHe's showing some
wear finally, only throwing 150 watts at full bore.  Seems like it was
higher last year.  Gotta tweak some things maybe.. but still glad for the

But here is the wonderful thing.

In summer, yeah it's nice, but you gotta run the gen in the mornings till
the sun hits the panels -- which means getting your boots on etc and
dealing with that before you can grind your coffee.

In winter with the water, you can leave the inverter on and just cut power
at the house when you go to bed, so ALL NIGHT LONG she's charging your
battery bank -- when you wake up it's good to go.  So in the cold wet
mornings you just go out on the porch, flick a switch and have a full
charge -- get your coffee, get the news and start your day still in your
bath robe!  Do love the hydro -- making power in the dark while you are
sleeping simply kicks ass.

hope things are well with you guys

gonna get me a salmon or three here tomorrow if time allows

-zachary in Oregon

Posted by Jim Rojas on November 10, 2010, 3:37 am
z wrote:

Why not just add another smaller hydro setup to run at night?

I have 2 small RPM setups in a small shed outside my home. I only run 1
unit 24/7. During the day I run both. They each produce 2.5KW at 800RPM.
During the hot summer months, I kick them all up to 1000-1200RPM for a
total of 10KW. This is more than enough to run my central AC.

This spring I am adding a throttle servo for the times when the clothes
dryer, hot water heater, and the stove decide they all want to run at
the same time. Right now the lights start to flicker when we are using
too much juice. Since everything is electric here in Florida, I really
need to add 2 more RPM setups, so I can run them at 800RPM all year round.

Jim Rojas

Posted by z on November 10, 2010, 3:53 am

Not sure what you mean there.  Night has nothing to do with it, but that
I shut all my power off so i'm bulding power for the morning.  Did you
mean summer rather than night?


wow i'd kill for that.  Sounds like you have a LOT more water available
than me.  What are your flow, head etc?  

I do have this big creek I could tap if I ever got around to trying.. the
issue there is that it is too big.  Without some significant money I
there is a high risk of losing it down river in high high water.  Aslo
the distance to my house is an issue .. even using wild AC and rectifying
locally i'd still have to spend some $$ i don't have just for the wire,
not to mention the rest of it.  So i'm working on it.. during winter the
power is only limited by the size of the generator if a guy could get all
that water into a turbine.

that sounds like a kick ass system.  I think I live on a lot less
electricity (don't think I wouldn't use more if I had it!)

You must have a very good source .. i'm jealous!

tell us about it man!

Posted by Jim Rojas on November 10, 2010, 5:22 am
 z wrote:

To create a good amount of power, you basically have to think outside
the box.

Don't use car alternators, they have a very short lifespan when running
them 24/7.

Don't use solar panels, they cost way too much.

Several well placed VAWT is a good choice, they can produce 150-500
watts each on winds as low as 5MPH. Take a look at the Windspire design,
or Helix VAWT.

Hydro is great if you have access to some moving water. If you have a
good drop in evelation between the water source and your setup, you have
it made. Start off with a 6 inch PVC pipe from the source to your setup.
Then half way, drop to 4 inch PVC. Then 3/4 drop to 3 inch, then drop to
2 inch. Depending on your elevation, this can produce all the power you
can ever use...just remember to channel back the discharge back to the

1-5HP, 1-3 phase, Industrial AC motors are as good as you can get. They
can easily be converted into high output, low RPM power generators. They
are designed to be continuous duty. You have to bascially open them up,
and place 2 sets of N42-N52 Neomags on the armature. If your motor has 4
poles, you must add 2 rows of 8 magnets.

If the motor is rated at 480v, 3amps @ 1700RPM, by adding the magnets on
the armature, you reduce that amount considerably. Since I used the N52
Neomags, I get a steady output at 800RPM.

If the motor is rated for 3400RPM, it will still produce power, but only
at a 1/4 of its rated amount. This type of motor will run forever. By
adding an automtove rectifier & voltage regulator, it will provide you
with alot of juice to charge batteries.

You can use 1-3 phase power as it is, no conversions needed. You only
have to add a couple of capacitors to smooth it all out.

If you are charging a bank of batteries, I suggest you stay away from
deep cycle, golf cart batteries, and instead use old forklift, or pallet
jack batteries. Many are 36-48+ volts, but they can be taken apart and
setup for any voltage you need, and can be configured in parallel banks.
A used set of pallet jack batteries will last you 40+ years. You can add
battery isolators and switching relays to keep them all topped off.

Adding some Epsom salt to the battery water cells will keep the plates
clean, thus providing you with tons of more power. Try not to discharge
your batteries any more than 25 percent. A simple relay or timer can
switch between battery banks to keep each set topped off at all times.

My setup is quite unique. I am using 2 sets of 12v batteries to run a 3
phase AC motor drive. The AC drive can be considered a pulse width
modulation (PWM) system, which changes the frequency & speed that the 3
phase motor can run. It converts 60Hz into 100-300Hz. I use a standard
750 watt inverter to run the AC drive. My main drive is a 5HP 3Phase
480V 3400RPM 60 pound motor. (yes you can run a 480v motor on just
110VAC) The AC drive uses 1.2Amps to spin my motor in upwards to 6000RPM!

As one set of batteries is being slowly drained by the inverter, my
motor is spinning a small 12V permanent magnet motor (PMA) to charge the
2nd set of batteries. A timer and a relay alternate the batteries every
hour. So for 1 hour battery A is supplying power, while battery B is
getting charged. The next hour, battery B is supplying power, while
battery A charges...etc.

Now comes the interesting part...

My main drive motor, PMA battery charger, and the rest of my AC motor
array in which I produce power, uses no belts, no chains, and do not
touch each other in any way. Each motor does have a pulley. But it is
not your standard setup. Each pulley is a 2 to 9 inch wheel which has
N42-N52 magnets placed approxiametly every inch of each other. The force
of the magnets becomes the driving force. Since there is no drag from
belts, gears or chains, the system is free to produce alot more power.
My main motor shaft does have a direct drive 100 pound flywheel attached
to it, this is used to help offset any heavy load draw.

Jim Rojas

Posted by z on November 13, 2010, 11:36 pm

Yeah that is good advice.  I use a PMA in a GM shell .. 3 years now and
it's still running strong.

I use solar simply because in the summer there isn't any water (or wind).  
However, I do shop around a lot.  Sometimes you can find good deals..
anything less than $ a watt

I"ve been looking into this design for a buddy of mine who needs to pump
water in the summer.  Very slick.

We're thinking a short plastic barrel design on a trailor so he can drag
it in during the winter.  He doesn't need much power and it'd let us get
him going without building a large instalation.  He's down closer to the
ocean so he's got all kinds of wind.

I have very little wind where I am, unless a storm hits .. then it can go
as high as 100+ mph gusts .. but day to day it's very calm here so wind
isn't really an option where I live.

I have 2 inch all the way down from source to turbine.  There are some
advantages with reduced friction for starting with larger pipe, but that
stuff isn't cheap!  As it is my 2 inch pretty much maxes out the water
available.  I could up the size if I put in some more feeder pipes to my
collection pond from some other sources but I've done all the practical
improvements for now.  

this is good info.  I played around with a few AC motors but eventually
went with the PMA from windblue.  

Yeah the pallet jack batteries or even better those electrical fork lift
batteries are pretty good.  I saw a sweet deal on a forklift battery but
sheesh.. it weighed like 2000 lbs or something.  NO way I could get that
where I wanted it.

I use l16 type six volt batteries which seem OK.  At the moment I only
have 2 -- looking to buy four new ones and put them in at some point
replacing the aging l16's.

I've heard about using Epsom salt but never tried it.  I wasn't convinced
that it wasn't one of those battery myths or not.  

I just keep mine toppped off with distilled water and make sure to
equalize twice a month or so.

wow.  Sounds complicated dude.  I just charge one bank with the hydro +
solar and then when it gets low I switch to generator (which also charges
the batteries).

Clearly you are in a much higher power situation than me.  My total house
draw with everything on is about 400 watts.  If I pare down I can live
with a lot less than that. Like most of the time I don't run all the
lights so it's a lot less than that. But i cheat by using wood heat,
propane stove, hot water and fridge.  So it's really just lights,
computer, TV and boot dryer (only 25 watts!).

I'd be cool to check out your setup in person to get a better idea of how
it works but it sounds impressive!


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