Jeff's Blog

My daily (well I am trying to update daily now) weblog covering topics such as wind power, embedded electronics, software development, CNC Machines and some fun stuff like travel and sailing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A grid-tie inverter for the rest of us

Grid-tie inverters have become egalitarian today. You no longer need thousands of dollars or a licensed electrician to take advantage of the newest generation of micro grid-tie inverters. These devices let you hook your small wind turbine or solar panel to the grid for around $250-$350 US. In our latest Youtube Video, my colleague Paul Gelling puts one of these inverters through the wringer.

Click here to view the video: Youtube Video

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Old Information can be Good Information

If you are interested in making wind turbine towers from schedule 40 or schedule 80 pipe and fittings, some very good information can be found using a very old source: a 1958 copy of Popular Science which I was reading from Google Books:

Brown, S. (1958), "Machined Pipe and Fittings", Popular Mechanics, May 1, pp.197-200.

Its amazing that you can find so many old magazines on Google Books which still have relevancy today. Even using a CNC machine rather than a lathe, many of the ideas in this article are still transferable. I am interested in making a telescoping wind turbine mount inexpensively and found the discussion on telescopic uses of pipe very interesting.

Equally amazing is how much material was in a monthly magazine back in the day. Go buy a Popular Mechanics today and compare it in quality and quantity to the 1958 vintage equivalent. I bought one in an airport and had finished everything of value before the plane reached altitude. Same goes for most other magazines like Popular Science that are but a shadow of their former selves. They mostly help you buy things now rather than make things.

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