Old Fashioned Windmills and Electricity

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by kathielee, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. kathielee

    kathielee New Member

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    :shrug: I might be very soon buying an Amish farm which has a windmill, of course. I am trying to understand how to produce electricity using this windmill. I will need to have power for a TV, telephone, computer and that's it. Well, maybe a refrigerator. Are there generators for this? Thanks!
     
  2. OntarioMan

    OntarioMan Rockin In The Free World

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    One of the problems with wind power (and solar power) is that power production is never predictable - so you need a few other things :
    - batteries to store the power when it is produced
    - a fuel powered generator to create power when you have none stored, none being produced and you need power

    The decision to use wind or solar power should depend very much on the location - i.e. do you even get enough wind or sun to make using these systems practical? Do you have grid power available?

    If you do not have grid power available, then you really have no choice but to use some form of "alternative" energy production. If you do have grid power available, it will be by far the most economical and least complicated choice.

    Some thoughts if you do decide not to, or you simply cannot connect to the grid :

    - refridgerators would be propane powered, as would stoves, furnaces, etc.
    - wood heat is an alternative to fuel powered heat
    - TV would be LCD or similar to reduce power consumption
    - appliances like washers and dryers would be out of the question, unless you had a fuel powered generator
    - land line telephones require no additional power aside from what comes in on the telephone line
    - computer would be a laptop to minimize power consumption
     

  3. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    If you were to get a place with an old windmill......

    Leave it alone.*

    They are designed to pump water . . . . . .no more no less.

    *maintain it



    wish I had one . . . lol
     
  4. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Back in the 20 -50's some farms in North Dakota before the REA had a windmill with a generator. Not much power i don't believe. Some of the real remote farm they are still standing, but no one has lived on the farm for decades. I still hunt those area occasionally.
     
  5. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    If the farm is Amish, that would be a water pump. They don't admit to liking electricity.
    They won't use it unless it's yours.

    Check into Home Power Magazine or Google wind power for more info.
     
  6. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    could you retro-fit the tower with a modern turbine or a homemade one?
     
  7. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    By far most old water pumpers are on towers far too short to be effective for a wind turbine.

    But if you can get water from it . . . .great.
     
  8. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    how tall is the tower?
     
  9. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    If it can pump water it can produce electricity wont produce much but it can .
    You would need to gear up for a geny or build one to fit the cut in average speed. You have a ton of torque but low Rpms
    If memory serves the older farm type genny mills were 36volt for the most part and were built like tanks . they weren't the most effeceint beasts but they were simple and rugged which is what homesteaders need .
    The hard part isnt producing power its storing it .
    Get a good battery bank and charge regulator first rather than building a genny then trying to get a battery bank together. a modern TV will put a constant amp draw even when its turned off ,same for a micro wave.
    with planning you can get all your lighting needs for a standard 3 bed room home down to 250 watts with every light in the house on.
     
  10. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    If the tower is good, you might be best off to replace the water pumping windmill with one designed to produce electricity.
    A good tower is one that is (roughly) 30 ft above anything within 300 ft.

    Some electric windmill suppliers:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Wind/wind.htm#Suppliers

    Gary
     
  11. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Well shoot, I've got an opinion too.

    Depending upon your well and pump you might need the tower to assist in pulling the pipe, rods, and cylinder from it. If that isn't the case you may find it would be to your advantage to sell the windmill and tower and invest in a proper wind generator and tip up tower of greater height. At least in some areas old windmills and towers are worth considerable bucks.

    Personally I'd keep the windmill as is and add a wind generator if so desired.
     
  12. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It is not worth the time and trouble to try to adapt a water pumping windmill to generate electricity. Too much would have to be modified and changed and then it would still be a 3rd or 4th rate generating system instead of a first rate water pumping system. The old pre_REA wind machines were 32 volt DC and were mostly 500 watts to 3kw in size. The old Jacobs machines were as good or better than anything built since, in the size range, which was 1.8 to 3 KW peak output rating. Our 1940s vintage machine still works fine, although it has had new bearings and blades since it was new--not bad for 70 years plus. We have been using it since around 1980. Newer machines are usually lighter in weight and of unknown lifespan.