About ewandm

Studying Enviro-Mechanical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Scotland. Though am actually on my study abroad year as an ERASMUS student in Lulea, Northern Sweden.

powerspout tripping, advice anyone?

Hi all,

A recent problem has developed that i cant quite get to the bottom of. One of the turbines will not hold its power output. The water pressure remains good and there is no obstruction etc at the jets, so i feel it must be electrical. After 20mins of being on the turbine just stops generating and must be tripping to heater. There is no fault shown on sunnyboy and the other turbine is operating as normal. An inspection revealed damp conditions which i dried up and also some excess grease turned to hard resin on the copper coils, but cleaning up has failed to resolve.

Any advice, thoughts welcomed on this, many thanks
Ewan

Powerspout update

Still generating strongly, though now down to 1 turbine through summer months. Thought about changing the nozzle size, but dont think the difference will be that significant. The power output is slightly down from what it once was per turbine, now about 440W, whereas about 500W was possible initially. I think this may be signs of bearings beginning to need changed, but reluctant to do overhaul until the output drops more significantly. noise been an issue, due to closeness to house (approx 50m), and outside hut reads about 65db, but it seems to be the nature of the frequency that carries the sound, like a constant hum in background. Have severely insulated the internals of the shed with noise insulation foam, polystyrene and planning to use more expanding foam between floor and ground. Additionally, created log stack to act as wall between house, but still the sound persists at low level. Anyone, got any good ideas, would be interested to hear. The other idea was to try create some background noise off the burn with a small waterfall or something…

Update Feb 2014

Project going strong, with one main fundamental improvement, have removed coanda type intake cylinders which seemed to be aerating the water and causing shutdown after a few days. Since this improvement and fine tuning of pipe levels the turbine have produced steadily for months, output overall is now 3000+ units (since Oct 2012) but the improvement was only made approx oct 2013.

Other improvements were to insulate the air vents and increase the pool height.

Very dry… but working now for 3 weeks straight!

There has been an unbelieveable lack of rain for the last 3 weeks, but nevertheless we have had 1 jet (285W) running for 20 days with no reduction in power. One of the main solutions to our air bleed was that the air bleed valves reverse and suck air in when air is allowed to build up (e.g. if you are running two jets when there is only water for one and thus the head of water above intake is less than the requiref min about 0.4m). This is very annoying as overnight the system can lose all pressure. However, a simple one way aquarium pump valve (£2 off ebay) and a small piece of 8mm plastic pipe fitted to top of honeywell air vents seems to solve the problem. The re structure of the dam also helped a great deal, as we increased the head of water above pipe intake nicely

 

 

Finally some joy

Feel we have cracked air locking issues now having done extensive re working of the intake design and raising the whole dam. To make sure the pipe is not running horizontal in first 5m and that there is at least 40cm of water from surface to intake. After much trial and error have also installed 2 x honeywell ea122 air vents at the section of pipe that seems to lock out. They are bleeding sufficient air slowly to stop build up and we are getting the power output consistant for several days

air bleeding

having some difficulty with a build up of air in the pipes which leads to them being locked out after about 2 days and they need reset, by turning off, waiting an hour then bleeding air out for like 3 hours. Been looking into check valves or air bleed valves, but can’t find any that would work at low pressure and only allow air not water to bleed. Also been drilling 3 small holes then sealing with self tapping screws and ptfe tape to find the best location. It seems you need a least  a few metres of head to allow a sufficient jet of water to come out the hole you have drilled, otherwise once the turbines are running it has an negative effect by sucking air in and equalising out the system, thus locking the pipes out much quicker.

I am looking at these at the minute to trial, but open to any suggestions or links found online of solutions, please!?

http://www.topsellings.com/en/10-x-one-way-check-valves-co2-system-aquarium-air-pump-p10927.html?language=en&currency=GBP

Ground fault solution!

Finally got to the bottom of the very anoying red light on my sunnyboy 1200, indicating a ground fault. By working back, i first found it was only one of the turbines, then not the cable, then not the circuit board, and finally found it was the heater element that was causing the issue, as when disconnected (with turbine off) the error disappeared. On closer inspection the resin type stuff on it seemed very saturated and was very sticky. I took it out and ramped 3 car batteries in series through it in a small beaker of water. It didn’t get very hot, so i added boiling water to it, in the hope it would clear any water lodged in it. It seems to have worked nicely, as now the error has gone, and i am quite delighted to be back to reading almost as before. About 1020W total, the slight loss (of 20W) i reckon is due to the increase length of pipe i have used in pumphouse to avoid tight bend angles, though i may be able to optimise it further by bleeding more air out after leaving them sitting overnight. Will see.

Back online!

Very glad to say the project is back on track with a few key lessons learned and thankfully no damage. Though initially when i turned it on there was a concerning ground fault in the sunnyboy, which turned out to be moisture in the plugs. The replaced pipe seems very solid and the bend radius is now within the tolerance (206mm), the pipe is rated at 10bar and has steel wire meshed into it, it is also for oil so i doubt there will be any issue with it. I’ve got one turbine running as normal, but have yet to get the other one back up to pressure, as it is air locked out…

Burst burst burst!

Another leak on same turbine as burst before, the orange pipe as shown must be defective, as i cant see why it should fail!, the bend radius was more than the min of 20cm and the pressure is well below the rated 4 bar, also the temperature inside hut doesn’t get lower than say 15C and the water temp at worst has been 8C, Its a real nuisance and doesn’t give me much faith to leave the system running overnight etc, so i think a new solution of heavier duty pipe will need to be sought.  Im also praying that no damage was done to the turbine that was on while the pump room was flooded to 10cm depth, i wont know until all is fixed and re-pressurised which looks to be at least a week off. Which is also a week down in our energy production! Not good news, but another steep learning curve!