Paranoia Surrounds a Dark Homestead Anniversary

By , January 10, 2011

Sunday morning we listened anxiously to the wind generator, trying to sort out sounds that seemed new, but also uncomfortably familiar. As usual, since the factory installed “marine” lubricant in the furling shaft flushed out soon after installation, the machine moaned and roared in certain wind angles as the prop angled through the wind. In addition, at certain wind speeds we could hear a vibration that we haven’t heard lately. Typically, as we listened for the new sound, the “normal” sound morphed into something different, something more sinister.

We’d become alert in the morning, when I turned off the brake that had stopped the generator through the windy night. It took too long for the generator to start back up again. This may have been become the north wind at the moment I turned it on came from over the ridge, an angle that baffles the wind too much to drive the generator properly. That might have been it, but it’s hard to tell. When it did start up, I was paying attention, listening for changes, and of course, I found them.

Compounding the whole issue is the date. These first weeks after the end of our Christmas celebration have not been good for our wind generators.It seems as if almost all the trouble we’ve had with the wind generator has occurred at this time of year. In fact, most Januarys have brought some sort of trouble with the system. That makes me suspicious of trouble as the “anniversary” rolls around yet again.

It’s extremely difficult to objectively observe changes in a machine that operates in the wind. The wind itself is a variable that makes it almost impossible. Also, in an area full of these wind generators, it’s hard to remember is a sound is familiar from our machine, or a neighbor’s.

There’s a good possibility that there’s a simple cause to the problem. I went out at first light and examined the wind generator with binoculars. I notice that one of the pieces of reflective tape installed on the front is loose at one end. It could be that it’s causing the vibration. Or, it could be that the wind is blowing from an incrementally different quarter than usual. Until I can be certain, we have to keep listening, watching, and hoping I can find the cause, and a solution.

2 Responses to “Paranoia Surrounds a Dark Homestead Anniversary”

  1. Sherry says:

    We had a piece of anti-chafe tape come loose on an aircraft wing root under the fairing, and at a low airspeed with the flaps down, it made a heck of a racket….a very weird, high-pitched sound. It took us awhile to figure out it was the loose tape end that was vibrating in the relative wind.

    Hope your fix is just the loose piece of reflective tape!

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Sherry,

    That’s frightening! My grandfather trained civilian ground crews to service B-17s during WWII. He talked about the weird, terrible things a tiny loose piece of tape or fabric could do to a plane.

    As I mentioned in the next post, we seem to have fixed it, but we’re not able to establish yet if the vibration has really gone away or not. Likely, the next time it’s calm enough to climb the tower, I’ll “run” up there and clip it, just to be sure.

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy