Whisper 200 wind turbine FYI

97 Posts
Jul 11, 2010 10:46 pm
Whisper 200 wind turbine FYI

This week, one of my Whisper wind turbines apparently suffered a lightning strike.  The symptom appeared as a severely reduced output from the turbine, as though the Stop Switch had been turned on.  After winching the turbine down and disconnecting it from the tower, a Ohmmeter test showed leakage from two of the output wire brushes to the case of the unit.  The case ground path goes through the bottom brush in the brush assy, and the only path for a lightning strike from the case to the mast is through that brush.  There is a bolt securing the brush assy's to the yaw shaft, and a plastic insulator isolating the bolt from the output wire brushes. The lightning arced from the ground brush to the bolt, passing through that plastic insulator tube around the bolt, carbonizing it and creating a carbon resistor path of about 7 ohms on both ends of the insulator tube and effectively grounding two of the three outputs from the turbine.  To avoid a return shipment and a waiting period to Southwest Wind Power Co., I cut a piece of 3/16 inch polyurethane fuel tubing to act as a replacement insulator, and got the turbine back online the same day.  So far, so good.......It's working for me again. The turbine mast is probably the highest structure on most Alt E properties, so I'm thinking that others have suffered this same situation, and perhaps this will help with some diagnoses.  Jon C.
220 Posts
Jul 13, 2010 12:40 am
Re: Whisper 200 wind turbine FYI

 holy cats Jon!

you must be living a "clean" life, buying cases of girl scout cookies and helping busloads of grey haired ladies across the street to be treated so kindly by the lightning gods. that could have gotten real messy and expensive!

think there is a chance the machine was engineered to fail in that mode? me neither.

great info for others searching for the same problem.
and an innovative homebrew fix! thanks for that.

cheers, Dave

edit: spelling
« Last Edit: Jul 13, 2010 12:46 am by david ames »
97 Posts
Jul 13, 2010 10:06 am
Re: Whisper 200 wind turbine FYI

I like your sense of humor, David. :-))  I don't know about a clean life........but, perhaps a green life?  The lightning God must have been a God Child, since it was a small strike?  I did send the insulator back to Southwest Wind Power and asked them if they would consider using a nylon bolt in place of the metal one to eliminate the path for stray currents. The future might hold a product improvement?  I am making a note to buy some girl scout cookies the next time they come around.  :-;  Jon C.
28 Posts
Jul 16, 2010 11:14 am
Re: Whisper 200 wind turbine FYI

Be vewy careful with Girl Scout cookies! I've just heard that the Thin Mints will be regulated by the FDA because they're addictive.
97 Posts
Jul 16, 2010 11:08 pm
Re: Whisper 200 wind turbine FYI

Isn't that a bummer, John H.........Anything that is fun, or addictive is regulated or illegal?  I see formation of a new agency now......ATF+GSM (Alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and girl scout mints). Oh, well, we are still having fun with alternative energy and I think that's legal so far.  I did hear back from Southwest Wind Power Co., and they were very helpful with replacement parts.  The insulator failure was chalked up as an uncommon failure and not subject to design modification.  So, as they said in the old horror movies........"watch the skies and be afraid"  I don't believe in luck, only destiny. :-;  Jon C.

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