Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Windy" is Alive Again!!

"WINDY" as we like to call her, our windmill needed some attention.  When I go outside, I almost always look up at "Windy" and see if she's spinning.  One day I noticed that she was spinning but I couldn't hear her.   When she spins she makes a high-pitched whining noise (that's the motor turning really, really fast) and she wasn't making any noise at all.   She was spinning but no noise.    So I took her down...and in the midst of that, the hub fell off!  So I looked closer, and found that the set screws had come loose.  So I retightened them and put her back up in the air.  Just shortly after that, I could hear 'Windy' and she was back to making power.

About a week went by, and I noticed that she wasn't making any noise again.   This time something just didn't seem right at all,so I check the volt meter and found 0 volts.  So that means the set screws have come loose again OR something worse.

Before purchasing "Windy", I found an Indiana General motor on ebay, purchased it.   I had done a little bit of research and the Indiana General motors are great for windmills, if you can't get a good Ametek motor. So I thought I could use the IG, because that's what I purchased it for anyways.  I contacted the man that I bought "Windy" from about an arbor to fit the shaft on the IG.  The IG had 5/16" shaft and "Windy" had something else, he said he'd make me one.   Well I got it and mounted it, and did a test run on a small pole out back.   The test did go so well, the most I could get out of it was 5 volts!  Now it could've been the location, or the size of the pole (only 3 ft off of the ground), or it could've been that the IG needed time to break in?   Well I was discouraged by the results, so I decided to take a better look at "Windy".   So I got out my screwdriver and dismantled "Windy"..and 3 gears fell out onto the table!  OK, I know what the problem is and is it possible to fix?

A buddy of mine, John Hall, is a jack of all trades, so I took it to him for inspection.   He found that a pin had broken into, and that's why the gears fell out.  Because the pin held in place one of the gears, and that gear kinda kept all the others in line.   John told me to find a replacement pin.    John took some measurements, and I began my search for a replacement pin.   Of course, I started with google, and I didn't know exactly what to specifically search for so I started with "steel pin".   After a couple of tries, I came across, "steel dowel pins" and they were at Fastenal.   Wow!  This would be great if they had them, I could order them and get the ball rolling.   I come to find out, that we have one in town, so I went out there, and of course they didn't have them in stock.  They had them there the next day!  These pins were only $.70 each, so I got 5 of them!!

So I called John and we worked out tentative plans to put this thing back together.   We had great success, with a few minor bumps along the way.  The pin was bit longer but the right width, longer is ok.  We greased it up with lithium grease and put it back together.   We did a hand spin test, and got good results.  But we noticed that the motor part of "Windy" was wobbly and loose.  So we took her back apart, and John found that hold the motor to the gear box was a couple of screws with hex key tops.  He torked them down and then reassembled it one more more wobble!   This time he put the vice grips on the shaft and spun it that way, at one time he spun 15+ volts!  So "Wimdy" is alive!!  So all I had to do now, was remount Windy and put her back up in the air.

Below is a video of the process!  For $10 ( pin = $.70 + grease $9) we saved "Windy"!!  Woohoo!!

Til Next Time
Remember We're One Day Closer

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