Please don't ever forget the EXXON VALDEZ and what reliance on fossil fuels really costs us before and after the pumps. I helped pick up and catalog too many of my dead, wild, friends from bears to puffins and everything in between. It still really hurts.

Keep up the excellent work and drop a note if you plan on visiting Kachemak Bay on the Kenai Peninsula Alaska. Sincerely, Dennis W. Wade, POB 1848, Homer, AK 99603-1848

Well, Dennis, I wish we could say we have the noise problem totally licked, but we don't. Standard solutions like additional filtration of the secondary side of the units power supply work. Line filters work. And sinewave inverters work. All these solutions are either difficult or expensive. Best thing is to pack a small inverter into the stereo store and see if the stereo you are buying is quiet. You can cure the buzz on 12 VDC stereos by adding a choke like the RS# 273-104 found at Radio Shack. Add a large capacitor (100,000 yF. or more) to the power leads after you wrap each in its own choke. This usually does the trick on 12 VDC audio gear. — Richard

Battery Containment

I disappear from social interaction the day Home Power arrives. Richard - I placed a large piece of swimming pool liner (free from the pool store backyard) in the bottom of my ventilated battery box to contain any spill before it leaked into the ground. Thanks for the tip on Muriatic Acid - the folks at Minn. Pollution Control here had NO idea how to handle such a spill as Potassium Hydroxide and Cadmium. Jim Marquarat, 1500 Duluth St., St. Paul, MN 55106

Thanks for the pool liner tip, Jim. The credit for any science I know goes to Wally Novak, my Physics teacher at Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth, NH. While the acid will neutralize the caustic electrolyte, it dosen't deal with the for the cadmium, so look sharp and dispose of the neutralized residue properly. — Richard

Modified Windcharger

Dear Home Power Folks; I want to share some of my experience with a modified Windcharger in response to Peter Donovan's letter on Pg. 92 of HP #27.

We have an old Windcharger with 6:1 gear ratio and an 11" blade. The generator that was with the unit was rewound from 32V to 12V. However this proved unsatisfactory as the commutator was unable to take the increased amperage at 12V. It was a two pole generator. I would think the chance of success of rewinding a four pole generator would be much better.

While I haven't mated an alternator to the unit, I have successfully adapted a different generator to it. It is one I found in a surplus catalog 10 years ago. It was listed as being four pole, 24V 40A. The four field coils were wired in series for 24V so I reconnected them in a series-parallel combination for 12V. By running the generator at 1 2V I get the same amperage at 1 /2 the RPM.

To adapt this generator to the Windcharger I used the front end plate off the original generator in place of the front end plate of the "new" generator. Luckily they both used the same bearing, so that fit fine. The new generator had a 1/2" larger diameter outer case so I made some spacers out of 1/4" square steel rod to go around the circumference of the original end plate. This centered it in the new generator. My machine shop consists of a hacksaw, a file and a drill and that's all that was needed. A friend with a lathe turned down the shaft a small amount so the gear could be attached.

This unit has been in use for about 10 years. It now supplements our PV system, but at first it was our only source of power. It starts charging in a 7 MPH breeze and puts out 40A in an 18 MPH wind.

Over a year ago I obtained a blade activated governor from Thomas E. Hill Jr. (mentioned in HP #17 pg. 30). It's a ruggedly built unit and operates like the governor on late model Jacobs machines. Unfortunately it still hasn't made it to the top of the project list. So I can't yet report on adapting it to the Windcharger. The Windcharger air brake governor works reasonably well to 30 MPH or so, but I wouldn't trust it in a storm. We keep the Windcharger furled whenever we're away from home and there's any chance of high winds.

Hope this might be of some help. Thanks for the great work you are doing. Bruce Johnson, 7605 N. Post Rd., Spencer, OK 73084 • 405-771-3551

Hi, Bruce, thanks for sharing your wind generator expertise with our readers. — Richard

City Solar

Dear Sirs/Mdm; Now that my favorite magazine newsshop has grown unfamiliar with Home Power I'm pleased to give you the business directly. You have one of the most interesting magazines on the racks. And it's so full: if you have to choose one day between a skinnier monthly and this fat bi-monthly, please know that the product as published today is well worth the wait.

I'm curious. How many "dense urban" subscribers do you have? I would imagine that most of your readers live

Letters to Home Power

"remotely". But I would hope that I'm not alone foreseeing a variety of applications of ideas from the pages of Home Power here in the city. The appeal of ingenuity and independence isn't strictly a rural, back-to-the-land phenomenon, as I'm sure many of your readers already know. Considering the price of electricity and the waste of energy here on every block, there must be some grid inter-tie or even energy independent living going on somewhere in New York City. I've understood that NYC code and insurance requirements (to cover elec. utility workers) are the highest hurdles here, after cost-effectiveness. But there must be some pioneers. How about an article? At the very least, your readers should understand that PV powered emergency phones line the Beltway beside the Verrazano Narrows and the drive through Prospect Park (Olmstad's best park) in Brooklyn, just as they do in more "likely" (remote) solar territory. The message that cost-effective applications of solar technology are here now even in New York is lost on most New Yorkers, of course. But therein lies the opportunity. As much as I feel compelled to applaud our local utility (Con Edison) for its conservation efforts and programs (compact fluorescent light-bulb giveaways, free energy audits, etc.) it would give me great joy to see a group of independent-power visionaries give it a run for its money right in the heart of the grid. If Home Power has inspired other urbanites, perhaps you could even give us a column. Keep up the good work (and grow slowly). Sincerely, Bill Epes, 246 Union St., Brooklyn, NY 11231

Well, Bill, about half our readers live in urban areas. The other half live in some of the most remote places you could imagine. Most of the core HP crew, those who actually do the day to day grunt work on this magazine, live in the outback. We can only write about what we know. So how about it urbanites, let us know how you are using RE and conservation in the city. — Richard

"Don't be a fool," says Hijo the mule, "Eventhough I'm barely able, I still read

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Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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