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Forum Index : Windmills : wind gen history

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windhistory
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Joined: 14/11/2011
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Posted: 10:51am 14 Nov 2011
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After more than 20 yrs collecting Australian wind generator history, i have become
frustrated with the lack of information out there; heck i have even started on 32 volt radios ! Most of us that have been around for a while would have come upon a
Dunlite or Hannan Freelite or perhaps a Webb Winlite but other companies left little trace. Sure most companies tried to emerge in the difficult time between the wars, but
with rebranding etc there are nearly a dozen wind generator brands around before WW2.
Any traces left?
 
Gizmo

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Posted: 12:08pm 14 Nov 2011
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I agree we need to document our herritage. Once 32v was the standard for small scale power generation, but little remains.

What sort of information do you have Michael, and what are you looking for? The town I now live in has a strong interest in its history, and I think if I do some digging around I can find some examples of 32v gear.

Glenn
People say 2020 is a terrible year, with the bush fires, COVID 19, and riots. But I see it as the year we woke up to ourselves.

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Madness

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Posted: 01:00pm 14 Nov 2011
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Not that many years ago I looked at house for rent at the top of Stockyard creek not that far from where you live now Glenn. The house was still on 32V with a petrol motor, no wind generator, would not have worked there at the foot of the range anyway. Jondaryn Woolshed has a collection of 32 volt gear.
There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.
 
Tinker

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Posted: 03:11pm 14 Nov 2011
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Just out of curiosity (I did not grow up in Australia) why was "32V" chosen?
Its an odd ratio for 12V batteries so what kind of batteries were used for 32V gear?
Or was it used without batteries - straight from the generator - only?
Klaus
 
windhistory
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Posted: 08:35pm 14 Nov 2011
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Well with the history side of things , i would love future generations to know that for a brief period in the 30's
wind power was very popular, a bit like the revival of alt energies during the mid 70's.
Established windmill companies like Alston put out a range of mills with a 'Bosch' generator to get in on the
wind electric story, Saunders Engineering in Adelaide manufactured the' Standard Lite'.
Clutterbuck put their name on a wind generator as did the Adelaide Implement Co.
Others were out there also.
32 volt origins anyone? My knowledge of the origins of that eclectic
voltage are limited to what you can find on the net.
 
MacGyver

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Posted: 09:03pm 14 Nov 2011
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Crew

From memory, Jacobs Wind Electric used a 32-volt system as well. As to why 32, I have no idea. My hunch is it rode in on the coat tails of an existing industry, such as the automotive industry, but that's just a hunch.

Early car batteries, like the one in my 1930 Model A Ford coup were 6-volt, so there again, 32 is not divisible by 6 without a remainder, so like I said, maybe the auto industry wasn't the one upon which wind generators were based.

EDIT: I called a couple battery manufacturers asking about 32-volt systems and the concensus seems to be as to why 32 volts was chosen is the initial application was likely that a 32-volt 4-pole engine starter motor was used as a generator. This thought would fall in line with the founders of wind power bringing in something already in production rather than reinventing the wheel, as it were.

I asked how 32 volts came to be used and again, the concensus was it was from a starting motor. By using 32 volts, it was easier to up-size the amount of amps the thing could take. Apparently, gasoline engines back in the day were a lot heavier than those of today's cars and trucks and the engines needed more "umph" to turn them over at start up. Using 32-volts instead of 24 or 12 apparently workd better.

On a similar note, all the manufacturers I called said each cell puts out 2 volts, so getting a 32-volt platform was merely a task of putting 16 cells in series. It was my thought that cells put out typically 1.5 volts, so I was having a hard time trying out how to configure the right amount to make 32 volts.

Hope that helps.


. . . . . MacEdited by MacGyver 2011-11-16
Nothing difficult is ever easy!
Perhaps better stated in the words of Morgan Freeman,
"Where there is no struggle, there is no progress!"
Copeville, Texas
 
Gizmo

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Posted: 10:36pm 14 Nov 2011
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32V is may have been chosen because its still a safe voltage, and high enough to minimise wire thickness, compared to 6V ( common in vehicles at the time ) or 12v.

Many of the telecomunications companies use 50V, but this can be lethal in certain situations, its enough to give a muscle twitch. The shock wont hurt you, but the reaction to the tingle can. I once worked on a MDF for Telecom, and 50VDC, or the 75VAC ring current, would make your hand jump back if it made contact, I still have scares on the back of my hands. 24V wont have that effect, and I'll bet either does 32v.

Also, lead acid batteries were usually supplied as 2 volt cells. So 32 volts means 16 cells, a nice number to work with.

Glenn
People say 2020 is a terrible year, with the bush fires, COVID 19, and riots. But I see it as the year we woke up to ourselves.

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MacGyver

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Posted: 10:42pm 14 Nov 2011
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Glen

You and I must have hit the "Enter" button at the same time, eh?


. . . . . Mac

Nothing difficult is ever easy!
Perhaps better stated in the words of Morgan Freeman,
"Where there is no struggle, there is no progress!"
Copeville, Texas
 
MrDelanco

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Joined: 12/11/2011
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Posted: 01:00am 15 Nov 2011
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Hello:
I have some info from a family member who has passed that served in both wars. He also gave me some old boat items and light bulbs that are 30 volts and I know he said that the early aircraft used 32 volt generators, And during the 1st war 32 volt generators were used to charge a bank of glass batteries in HQ up to 30 volts, they needed 30 volts to run the old tube radio's I still have an old 30 volt radio in my collection. They would also use 5 banks of 6 volt hard rubber cased batteries in the airplanes because the glass bottle battery would break. I think he said there was a 2 volt per cylinder ratio on the ignition systems. But that was a long time ago. with today's 12 volt systems you use 14 volts to charge so with 30 volt systems it could use 32 volts to charge.

Hope this info helps.

Regards Bob.


MrDelanco:Project Videos
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windhistory
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Posted: 08:35am 17 Nov 2011
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Hi group,
i think 32 volt as stand alone voltage is a bit caught up in the original AC/DC debate.
I know 32v was used in mining and marine ....also steam loco's. Aircraft used 28v which was often
wound up to 32v for many war surplus applications.
A major focus of mine is the smaller companies that popped up to fill the demand for small scale power
demands after ww1..... eg/radio battery charging.
Has anyone heard of Dick Spry who made the Sprylite originally in Parkside (Adelaide.)?
Wunderlite was also made in Adelaide...a wheel that looks like its of windmill origin. ?
Impcolite...was it Hannan Bros Freelite based??
 
yahoo2

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Posted: 02:17pm 17 Nov 2011
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I can have a chat to a few people around me and see what was here. There are quite a few in their nineties that would remember the first ones in the district, it might take me a while as I wont finish harvest for 6 weeks. I do remember being told farmers would take their batteries to a blacksmiths in the local town to be charged and swap them for a fresh set(1920's and early 30"s) after the wind turbines were introduced he built a motor driven equalisation charge gadget that done the rounds. The last time I started a 32 volt lighting plant myself was 1979 at the old police station at Fowlers Bay. output was 43 volt no load 32 volt fully loaded.

65 volts is regarded as the DC limit for safe working conditions but has not been practical to go that high in the past as severe arcing would melt and burn older materials used for switching (the modern 48 volt system just scrapes under 65 volt limit) i know 32 volt was the standard in 1909 so it probably dates back to Edison himself.

I see quite a few hannan freelites around but no 12 volt ones.

Was walking through the scrub last year and come across a 4 blade hub with galvanized blades still in pretty good nick but no tower or genny so no idea what it is.

I have a lincoln tractor pac that puts out 32 volt. there are some seriously heavy duty bits of kit that it drove, I remember drills that looked like jackhammers that could break your arm if you were not careful.

yahoo
I'm confused, no wait... maybe I'm not...
 
windhistory
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Posted: 09:16pm 19 Nov 2011
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Automotive starter / genies were desirable for early wind electric....had the physical space for more windings.
Lucas A900R was used by Hannan Bro's. Dodge North/East was rewound by Dick Spry amongst others.
Le-Jay had a blade kit to go on the North /East genie. Hannan Bro's used the same generator( which was first on a Morris Cowely) for voltages from 6,12 and 32....different windings/gearing same genie.
I think i recall the origins of 32v being some sort of early DC standard which was a compromise between voltage drop and high arc switching.
The 4 blades up on the tower could be Gilco, Hannan, Dunlite , Standard Lite or even homebuilt...the Hub remains
should be a good identifier. Cast hub for Gilco and Dunlite and steel tube structure for the others.
I have seen a blacksmith built frame for an A model Ford generator , was made in low volume in around the Nhill
district in the 30,s. A neat unit complete with a tail as i recall. See Alton electric below. Cheers M.

 
windhistory
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Posted: 09:32pm 19 Nov 2011
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In reply to Yahoo2 ( i didnt read it fully) as far as i know only Dunlite and Standard Lite used gal blades.
From what l know Gilco used only aluminium and the 4 blade Hannans Freelite G51 i have only ever see on pics
with 4 wood blades. Has anyone ever seen one of these?

 
yahoo2

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Posted: 03:11am 20 Nov 2011
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I can probably find a G51 hub and Genny, the blades look like a regular version, not one offs for low wind. Bit busy at the moment. i remember seeing a lot of four bladers in the early 70's but I was too young to know what I was looking at, people called everything "freelite's" then.

they have deteriorated a lot since I last looked! I might ask If I can pick them up, need to brace them to move or they will fall apart. Any ideas what they are, its a cast hub with a steel insert?





Edited by yahoo2 2011-11-21
I'm confused, no wait... maybe I'm not...
 
windhistory
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Posted: 08:25am 20 Nov 2011
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Hi , the blades pictured are Model L 750w Dunlite. These are the earliest curved version.
You could possibly find replacement blades , but they would need repair and come from diff
machines. The days of finding a box of unused ones (curved version) are probably long gone.
The hub would need rebushing i think after cleaning up the rust and most of the blade bolts
may have to be punched out and retapped. Try to keep one blade intact for a pattern.
I would love to obtain a G51 ...at least the gearbox which is different to earlier models.
See early Quirks brochure...they sold Dunlite in NSW.

 
yahoo2

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Posted: 03:20pm 12 Sep 2012
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Well the hunt for a look at the elusive Hannan Bros model G 51 freelite continues.

After visiting quite a lot of farms with freelite and dunlite towers still standing, I had drawn a complete blank. So I had a talk with one of the men that fitted 32 volt systems to houses after ww2.
His recollection was that there was very few 32 volt wind generators before the 50's in this area, most of the work he done was for petrol gen sets. The up front cost of the tower and generator was beyond the means of most people.
His opinion is that I need to find an area that has more reliable wind and that had cashed up farmers in the late 30's and 40's, that is going to be tough.

The combination of the depression and poor years between 1927-1929, 1933-1936 and droughts in 1940, 1943-1946 means I am looking for pockets of farms that got rain in the droughts or that were established prior to the boom years of the 1900's to 1920's.

One of the things I have sadly noticed is how many of the old buildings and sheds have gone now. I used to love the pictures and drawings in the middle of Jollife's outback. Almost all of the ones I remember that were standing in the 1970's have collapsed or have been demolished.
I'm confused, no wait... maybe I'm not...
 
Warpspeed
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Posted: 12:22pm 14 Sep 2012
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  Gizmo said   32V is may have been chosen because its still a safe voltage, and high enough to minimise wire thickness, compared to 6V ( common in vehicles at the time ) or 12v.

Glenn


That would be my answer as well.
When you are building something from scratch, and there is no precedent or existing standard, you do whatever seems reasonable at the time.

There are some pretty odd railway gauges that have been used for a similar reason.
If you are laying the rails and building the rolling stock exclusively for your own use, you just make it any way you want to make it.

I wonder why +5 volts was decided upon for the very first electronic logic chips? That is truly an odd voltage not used anywhere else, but it still survives.Edited by Warpspeed 2012-09-15
Cheers, Tony.
 
oljunkman
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Joined: 20/11/2013
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Posted: 06:29pm 19 Nov 2013
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Hey Guys, I'm new to this forum, hope I can shed a light on Freelite stuff.
I have a nearly complete G47 but never tried it out as I was told they were slow to start & were never a big seller. Aparently the D46 with a 32 volt gen. was more sucessfull if you had a good windy spot.It was my grandfather Les Hannan who developed the Freelite in the mid '20s & the G51 must have been one of the last models. When I was an apprentice in the early '70s I worked in what used to be the Freelite Dept. in Franklin st. Adelaide. There was still lots of Freelite stuff lying around including the generator test benches which still worked. I still have some of the original drawings & old tools. I'm now 60 & my father died about 5 years ago but he told me lots of stories about his early days at Hannan's & the times he spent at the Freelite test site out at Virginia.
 
Gizmo

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Posted: 06:59pm 19 Nov 2013
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Hi oljunkman, welcome to the forum.

Would be great to hear your stories about the Freelite windmills. A lot of the older technology is forgotten too easily, which is a shame as we often find ourselves re-inventing the wheel.

Glenn
People say 2020 is a terrible year, with the bush fires, COVID 19, and riots. But I see it as the year we woke up to ourselves.

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fillm

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Posted: 07:02pm 19 Nov 2013
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Hi Oljunkman,

Welcome to the forum , sounds like you have some good stories, info and experience to share ,keep droppin in to see whats going on.

I have also sent you a PM about the Freelite G47 or you can contact me through the signature link or phillm6@gmail.com

PhillM
PhillM ...Oz Wind Engineering..Wind Turbine Kits 500W - 5000W ~ F&P Dual Kits ~ GOE222Blades- Voltage Control Parts ------- Tower kits
 
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