Axial Flux Generator Self Running

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Salvaged Jacobs wind-electric units, with an estimated output of 2,500 W under the same analysis with 4,000 production hours in a year, have a present value of US$12,712. The cost of the three units we are running now was only US$1,050. Our batteries were also salvaged from microwave installations. These bargains made generating electricity with the wind economically appealing.

Over time, we have recovered various wind generators—Paris-Dunn, Wincharger, and Jacobs. The units were recovered from Kansas, the Dakotas, and Montana over a period of ten years. Most were lifted from towers, though several were off the tower and inside garages and barns. The preferred unit for our system is the 2,500 watt, 32 and 110 VDC, long case Jacobs. We now own four, 110 VDC and three, 32 VDC Jacobs units. Initially, we had three, 110 VDC units in the air, but we've recently converted two to 32 VDC.

Battery & Power Conversion—Take One

Our initial battery bank was 120 VDC, with sixty C&D LS-600 cells (regulated valve type) connected in series. A major design consideration in this arrangement was safety and maintenance. These cells are popular in large uninterruptible power supply systems. They did not

A DC motor / AC generator combination provided 120 VAC initially.

A DC motor / AC generator combination provided 120 VAC initially.

Convert Motor GeneratorAvig Fuelless Free Energy Generator
The DC power panel with breakers and meters, kilowatt-hour meter, and Tripp Lite 2,400 watt inverter.

have the deep-cycle capability of the lead-calcium or antimony type cells, though they required minimum maintenance. But these batteries proved too delicate for wind charging and even modest discharge.

The wind gennies powered a 500 W Exide inverter, a 5,000 W motor-generator set, and 1,500 W of incandescent yard lighting. The Exide inverter has a 120 VDC input with a six-pole sine wave output. The unit is an early '80s inverter, and has the critical features such as low voltage shutoff and overcurrent protection. The unit was used for fluorescent lighting in a high-bay garage area.

The motor-generator set used a large, compound-wound DC motor, coupled to a 5 KVA, permanent magnet, 1,800 rpm alternator. The compound-wound motor manages frequency control, which can vary from 55 to 65 Hz. This unit can be run directly from two or more Jacobs units, or from the 120 VDC batteries. Idle wattage was about 650 W. With all three Jacobs machines on-line, we can use the motor-generator without the battery.

At first, the motor-generator set was the preferred DC to AC converter. The energy conversion was not as efficient as the inverter, but inverters tend to be sensitive

Axial Flux Wind Generator
Individual 30 amp fuses for each series string of lead-calcium batteries.

to momentary overloads and lightning. Also, many inverters are hard on the batteries and wind generator brushes, since they tend to draw high current in millisecond periods. It's difficult to filter these impulses, especially with long wire runs (several hundred feet) between the wind generators, batteries, and inverters.

Our motor-generator set weighs around 600 pounds (270 kg). The heavy motor and permanent magnet generator store a lot of energy as inertia in the rotors. This smooths the output of the wind generators, so that frequency varies from 55 to 65 hertz on windy days under load. This stored inertia allows loads of all types—refrigerators, electronics, and well pumps—to coexist.

Battery & Power Conversion—Take Two

In the fall of 2001, we obtained a contract to remove all the lead-calcium cells from a 6 GHz industrial microwave system that was being taken out of service. We recovered five dozen, 450 amp-hour; seven dozen, 480 amp-hour; and one dozen, 2,016 amp-hour lead-calcium cells, complete with cables. The estimated cost for travel and meals was about US$5 per cell.

We made the painful decision to convert our battery bank from 120 VDC to 24 VDC. This was done so we could take advantage of the availability of high powered but inexpensive inverters. It was painful because the 120 V required less ampacity and could power lamps and some heaters directly. But we had grown beyond simple uses, and needed to power standard AC appliances.

Homebrew Ampere Hour Meter
Peter's packed battery room holds over 5,000 amp-hours of lead calcium-batteries at 24 volts DC.

Our 24 VDC battery banks add up to a capacity of 7,626 amp-hours. The battery cabinet has three tiers on each side, with ten series strings of the 450 and 480 amp-hour C&D cells. (Two of the 450 and 480 AH strings are inside the garage with the big 2,016 AH batteries.) An aisle provides access to all cells, buses, and conductors. The electrolyte levels are easily viewed, and there are good working clearances, which makes filling the batteries easy.

We are especially proud of the massive C&D DCU 2,016 amp-hour batteries. As can be observed from the photo, these units are about as big as they get. Each cell weighs 400 pounds (180 kg). Basically, they are a plastic case with 5 gallons (19 l) of electrolyte and 300 pounds (136 kg) of lead. We used hoists, slings, and lots of luck to get them into the building. Only one small puncture of a case was sustained, and that was later repaired permanently.

A large 24 VDC battery bank such as this, with its low impedance batteries, needs adequate fusing and grounding. Fault current is in excess of 100,000 amperes. Positive leads have fuses, and copper conductor is used to and from positive and negative buses. Ground conductors are #6 (13 mm2) copper.

Axial Flux Machine
Twelve huge 2,016 AH batteries make up a single series string at 24 volts DC.

They are sized as power conductors, and are connected to the negative bus.

A major effort was made to arrange breakers in the main panel so that lightning can be isolated from delicate inverters and loads. Our practice is to shut down the wind generators and open the breaker between them and the rest of the system wiring whenever even a hint of lightning is about. This helps isolate the battery and inverter from possible lightning damage caused by a strike on the towers. Lightning protection is also provided between the inverter and house loads.

Wind Generators

The wind generators we use are 2,500 W, long case Jacobs units. Two of the units are single commutator, 32 VDC units, connected in parallel with diodes. The 110 VDC unit has the front and rear commutator arrangement.

These wind generators are low rpm, upwind, direct drive machines with 13 foot (4 m) rotors. Their centrifugal overspeed control is the original Jacobs flyball governor. We have the blades set to feather out and govern the machine at 200 to 225 rpm.

Axial Flux

Batteries: Seven series strings of twelve C&D 2 volt lead-calcium cells, 480 amp-hours each, for 3,360 amp-hours at 24 VDC.

Batteries: Five series strings of twelve C&D 2 volt lead-calcium cells, 450 amp-hours each. One series string of twelve C&D DCU lead-calcium cells, 2,016 amp-hours each. Total of 4,266 amp-hours at 24 VDC.

To dedicated 120 VAC loads

Batteries: Seven series strings of twelve C&D 2 volt lead-calcium cells, 480 amp-hours each, for 3,360 amp-hours at 24 VDC.

Batteries: Five series strings of twelve C&D 2 volt lead-calcium cells, 450 amp-hours each. One series string of twelve C&D DCU lead-calcium cells, 2,016 amp-hours each. Total of 4,266 amp-hours at 24 VDC.

To dedicated 120 VAC loads

Spring-loaded tail sections are operated with a hand crank, and direct the units out of the wind when not in use. The units are mounted on self-supporting, original Jacobs towers. The galvanized, four-legged towers are constructed with 2 inch (5 cm) face angle steel.


The three, 65 foot (20 m) towers are sited within a 16 acre lot. The elevation of two units on a hill is 1,003 feet (306 m), while the other is about 975 feet (297 m). The surrounding area is an elevation of 946 feet (288 m) above sea level. Average wind speed at the site is about 13 mph (6 m/s). The site is 2 miles (3 km) from the nearest airport and has no restrictions on tower height due to ordinances or flight paths.

Top wind gusts are in the 50 to 60 mph (22-27 m/s) range, though tornados can rage through the area during spring and fall. A key to safe construction and operation is the design of the tower footings, with consideration of the soil type in analyzing the "upturn" potential. The soil type where the towers are sited is clay, which is about the best for permanent anchoring.

The structural analysis of the tower needs to take into account the surface area of the tower face and an estimate of the swept area of the blades. The resulting moment or force against the tower above the ground results in an overturning force that can pull the piers out of the ground. Usually structures are overdesigned so that conditions such as rain softened soil don't result in catastrophic problems.

Placement of the tower is also critical. For example, we have three towers, all 65 feet in height. The first tower is in a location where the wind "wanders" when northerly winds prevail. The second and third towers are in an area where the prevailing southerly winds get a "boost" as they ride up the the face of a hill, free of obstacles.

Planet Tractor
At 65 feet, that tractor looks pretty small— we're glad Peter Kuebeck, Jr. is wearing a harness.

Consistent wind is needed for the best performance. Positioning the towers so that they have a clear shot at the prevailing winds results in good generator output. For instance, in Oklahoma, the winds come from the north and south 77 percent of the time. At least 85 percent of the energy from the wind occurs from these directions. We tried to take this into account when siting our towers, and then hoped for the best.

The towers use piers that are 3 feet (0.9 m) in diameter and extend 5 feet (1.5 m) below grade. The upturn moment in clay soil at 52 mph (23 m/s) of wind is strong enough that the force of wind against the blades and tower would pull the piers out of the ground. With the blades out of the wind or stalled due to the overspeed control, the tower is adequate for 100 mph (45 m/s) winds. The blades stall at around 225 rpm, which should leave some 30 tons of margin of upturn at 23 mph (10 m/s). Tower and anchor design and siting are complex design and engineering efforts, and vary greatly depending on soil type. Consult a professional prior to construction.

Expertise is essential. Installing a tower and turbine is not a "cookbook operation." It's a two-person job, and

Kuebeck System Loads


Rated Watts

Avg. Hours Per Day

Avg. WH Per Day*

Electric heat


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