Just when I thought the general weirdness of our wind generator had finally settled for a bit, a new twist appeared.
One morning, a breeze developed from the north, but the wind generator remained facing south. We’re used to fluky winds. Often there will be a strong breeze on the water, but it won’t rise high enough to affect the generator. But, when the blades began to turn slowly counterclockwise, I realized something was amiss.
I climbed the tower and faced the generator into the wind. I noticed some resistance, but none that couldn’t be attributed to pulling a wind vane through the airflow to face the opposite side. A day or so later, when I had to climb up and turn it back to the south, I confirmed that the pivot had grown stiff.
This troubling development isn’t covered in the manual’s trouble shooting section or anywhere else. This appeared to be something new.
Lucky for me, we still have the old wind generator. I’ve been repairing it in hopes of using it while the current machine goes south for maintenance. I had a theory, which I tested on the old unit, and confirmed my idea.
To operate, the wind generator pivots 360° around three wires that feed power to the batteries. Apparently the design assumes that the unit won’t turn consistently the same direction long enough to tangle those wires; testing proved that doing so does eventually wrap the wires. I believe that we had a period of wind shifts that pivoted the unit clockwise long enough that the wires tightened the pivot down on the tower!
The solution: climb up and manually turn the unit counterclockwise until it pivoted freely. I tried this, it loosened up, and has worked ever since.
It may be that the rain that started about this same time lubricated a stuck pivot, but I doubt it. I’m amazed this possibility hasn’t been addressed on some level in the manuals. I’m afraid, though, that this oversight is consistent with the company’s overall attitude toward customer care and service. On the other hand, this is the first instance of this in more than seven years of using these machines. It’s probably just a fluke. Who knows if or when it might happen again?