In Hugh Piggott’s website, there was a link to a website in Ontario for Bob Budd and Andrew Masse, the Canadian distributors for the North American version of the brake drum design turbine. We contacted Andrew Masse, and he directed us to Bob Budd. We contacted Bob and made arrangements to visit him at his home and after meeting Bob and seeing his turbine actually up and running, supplying all of his power, along with a few solar panels, we were very excited!
Bob explained to us all of the details of how the turbine was built and about what electronic components were needed to run the system. He also explained that this turbine was not easy to build and that there were challenges involved in finding the right parts at a decent price. He was very helpful with that part of it, offering us advice on where to go to get the parts that we would need. He was also very frank about the fact that most of the people who came to see him never managed to actually build a turbine and get it up and running properly. This did not deter us at all! He had no idea how determined we were to do this! By the time we left, we had a set of plans in one hand and some of the metal parts for the tail boom in the other!
And so began the task of hunting for the parts we would need to build the turbine. This took months of making phone calls, visiting scrap yards, digging through piles of electric motors to find the right size stator that would fit inside the brake drum. It was a real challenge, but we were determined!
In the meantime, we were working hard at reducing our energy consumption in our home. This was something that Bob had stressed that we needed to do first if we were to have any hope of ever getting off the grid. We never were large consumers of electricity anyway, about 600 kilowatts per month, but we needed to get our consumption down to a level that the turbine, along with some solar panels, could produce.
Saving energy became a sort of game to us to see how low we could go and still do everything that we had always done before. The arrival of the monthly electric bill became exciting instead of something that we would have normally dreaded! By the time we were ready to put the turbine up, we had our monthly consumption down to around 100 kilowatts!
We made several trips to Bob Budd’s house during this time to pick his brain about the turbine to make sure that we were doing everything properly along the way. He had great advice and was extremely helpful! We were also, while building the turbine, gathering all of the electronic components that we would need to run the system once the turbine was ready to go. We did a lot of research to find out what components were the best and then we tried to find them at prices that we could afford.
In 2002, we began to work on our tower design. this took over a year! We went slowly with the design. We read articles about tower failure and tower design an we designed and re-designed the tower until we felt that it was perfect for our needs.
In the summer of 2003, we began digging holes for the tower. Thankfully, we had two strong nephews that didn’t mind coming to our house to help dig. They were a huge help to us and they worked for food! Bonus!
In the fall of 2003, the turbine was almost ready to go up. We really wanted to get it up before the nasty winter weather set in or we would have to wait till spring, but there were a few problems with the turbine and we didn’t want to put it up till it was running perfectly.