Calling all boaters, campers and caravaners!

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 15:22
ThreadID: 137967 Views:2936 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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Hey everyone!

I am a university student doing a research task for one of my courses, where I have to interview a specific market. I was wondering if boaters, campers and caravaners would be able to tell me their thoughts on a small scale wind turbine for their electricity when they go out?

The turbine is capable of taking wind in from any angle and is a small, lightweight design.

Would it be more or less convenient than how you get your electricity now? Does the turbine have to fulfil certain requirements for you to consider it?

Stuff like that, just need you piece!

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Reply By: Keith B2 - Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 16:07

Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 16:07
I looked at one for my caravan build some years ago but gave them a miss for the following reasons:

inconvenient to set up
not practical when underway
often quite noisy
expensive for the output
not as practical or cost effective as solar panels.

I know a lot of ocean yachts have them, particularly if there is not enough deck space for solar. But I couldn't get excited about them for a caravan. Good luck with your research Alex.

AnswerID: 624455

Follow Up By: Boobook - Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 16:16

Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 16:16
Same, Plus you tend to look for places away from the wind for setting up.

Solar Panels have come down in price so much, and the new thin ones weigh almost nothing. You can afford to get extra to cater for cloudy days.
FollowupID: 897947

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 17:32

Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 17:32
Ditto that.
Check the wind velocity required to make most of them useful. When that velocity is available, we would generally have moved to somewhere else that is more sheltered.

Solar on the other hand is cheap and more importantly, set and forget. So the answer is to install lots of solar so that even in poor sun conditions there is enough power being generated to maintain the "house" electrics.
Note also that in poor sun conditions, electrical loads for refrigeration is also typically lower.
OKA196 motorhome
FollowupID: 897949

Reply By: RMD - Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 17:10

Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 17:10
To take wind from any angle simply means it isn't fixed on it's axis because/all ARE pointed into the wind from whatever direction it blows from.
A Savonius generator rotates on it's vertical axis but accepts airflow from any direction because of it's unique design.
Do you mean both concepts?
Any wind device attached to a caravan, will make noise transferred to the van = unhappy sleep.
A propellor whizzing around will make a noise for the whole camp area. It may not be serviceable/operating in the morning. Most likely buried somewhere.
Who is going to carry additional frames or poles to make it happen?
Only after a certain size will it be of use output wise. At low windspeed there is little energy.

If it was practical you would already see Chinese ones all over the country.
AnswerID: 624457

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 17:35

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 17:35
Well, I don't know about "Chinese ones all over the country" but they are all over the internet.....'Domestic Wind Generators'.

This one almost tempts me! lol

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FollowupID: 897958

Reply By: Aussie1 - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 13:31

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 13:31
In terms of your question "more or less convenient than how you get your electricity now?"

I do not believe a wind system would be better than what we have now.

We get our electricity in the right conditions from our solar system.

In not so good conditions we use our generator.

Both of the above are very convenient for us.
AnswerID: 624462

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 14:48

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 14:48
We have no need for a generator.
In the rare times that lots of solar can't do the job, we have an alternator that can provide huge amounts of power for battery charging. And it is already there.
OKA196 motorhome
FollowupID: 897954

Follow Up By: Aussie1 - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 16:31

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 16:31
Alex R4,

As you will read there are many and varied opinions on what is most suitable.

Fortunately we all have "choice". And you will also note the differing opinions are sometimes stated as being "the only and correct" method. All "experts" mind you :)

I wish you well with your project and do hope you publish on this "Forum" the outcome and possible recommendations following the completion of your project.

That way you will no doubt become as "expert" as all of us members :)
FollowupID: 897957

Reply By: eaglefree - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 15:32

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 15:32
Hi Alex,
Like the others I've toyed with the concept and gone solar. BUT, that doesn't mean you should give up because those that give up don't get anywhere. You should continue with the study for many reasons.

For example there are many wind turbine designs out there. I might be wrong but a propeller type turbine with blade made out of solar panels could be one concept. Or solar panels attached to the blade. I'm not saying it will work but thinking outside the box is what makes inventing fun.

Noise- the biggest issue apart from value for money. Some are noisy, the others are bearable noisy. Some delivery vans and dog trailers have those disk shaped vents that spin at the slightest breeze and don't seem noisy...what about a few joined together with a micro generator?

Height- The higher it is the more wind they source. Can you include a telescopic pole? maybe one with a screw internal 12V so it auto screws upward (like a screw jack) and can be mounted on the wall of the van? Must be lightweight.

Remember, there are many people that sit for weeks in the one place. They don't want to start up their car to charge their batteries by the alternator or use a generator. The best objective might be to consider wind generation as a supplementary source of power, not the sole source.
Good luck
AnswerID: 624464

Follow Up By: RMD - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 16:25

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 16:25
Thinking inside the practical box, a solar panel blade has to have some way of energy transport to the battery. Spinning makes a magnetic transfer possible, but the energy loss associated with it will largely negate the input and be quite complex.

A dog box vent is, a Sivonius generator, if a magnetic induction generator/energy transfer system is attached. Has to be large area for it to generate anything significant for battery charging though. A magnet on one and driven to the greyhound track might see enough energy to run an LED inside for the puppies.

Any telescopic method realistically can only rise less than double the van height or it comes apart. There may not be much more breeze felt if standing on the van roof. When on a relatively unsupported single structure, a wind generator creates harmonic frequencies which vibrate anything and if the design can't dampen those, the whole thing begins to sing and or fatigue the structure and disintegrate. Ship drive shafts have a zone where they "cannot operate in for any time" other than quickly passing through the resonant frequency.

A small output device may, as you mentioned for long stays, be possible if there is constant enough wind often enough. All a gamble but not to be relied on.
Lots for Alex to consider.
FollowupID: 897956

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 22:01

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 22:01
Another alternative for electrical power generation is the fuel cell.
We had one in a motorhome that we toured Europe in for 3 years, 6 months per year as a back up for the solar and for when the batteries failed.
It was a wonderful devise.
It only generated 90W, but did so without much sound, no pollutants and would operate 24/7. It was small and light and was under a seat inside the motorhome. Current purchase price and limited fuel selections constrains their attraction, but I see real potential for ongoing development of a devise that would be a boon to RVers.

OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 624468

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