A basic system will require the following essentials:
An inverter. The inverter changes the DC power coming from your
batteries into AC power so that is can be used in your home. Almost
everything in your home runs on AC power. Again, the size of inverter you
buy, depends on what you are planning to have it run in your home. One
thing that we would like to stress is to buy a sine wave inverter. Sine
wave is the same as the power that comes into your home from the grid.
There are inverters called modified sine wave. These are alright if you
are only planning to run a few lights, but they do not work very well for
most appliances. The majority of appliances in your home require that
smooth sine wave power to work properly. A sine wave inverter will cost
you more money, but it won't damage your appliances!
Batteries. Batteries are used to store the power that comes in
from your turbine and or solar panels. Batteries come in a wide range of
sizes and prices. Remember that you need enough batteries to mach the
voltage of you turbine. For example, if your turbine produces 12 volts and
the batteries that you buy are 6 volt, then you would require a minimum of
two batteries to store the power. If the batteries were 2 volt, then you
would require four, and so on.
The batteries required for the best
performance of your system are true, deep cycle batteries. That means that
they have really thick lead plates in them that are capable of holding a
charge for a very long time. marine batteries are often referred to as
deep cycle batteries, but they do not have as thick lead plates in them as
do true deep cycle batteries. It has often been said that if you don't
give yourself a hernia trying to lift a battery, it's not a true deep
The battery system for your set-up is very important.
Most people will tell you to not go cheap with your batteries. We know of
people who have started with used golf cart batteries, but soon had to
replace them because they were almost worn out when they bought them.
Start with the best batteries that you can afford. There are some very
good, moderately priced batteries out there that will serve you very well.
Charge Controller. The charge controller controls the battery
voltage. It is hooked up to your battery system and when your batteries
are full, the charge controller sends the excess power from your system to
a dump load to protect your batteries so they don't over fill. This is
very important, because if your batteries get too full, it can severely
damage them and could possibly cause them to explode! Not good!
charge controller will have different settings on it that you can change
depending on what voltage your system is putting out and at what voltage
you would like to have the charge controller kick in to send the extra
power off to the dump load. Please, if you have never done this before,
get some advice from someone who is familiar with the controllers. some of
them can be tricky to set and if it's not right, it can lead to a
potentially serious problem!
We also recommend that you have a back-up
controller, hooked up in series with the first one, just in case the first
The charge controller also has other settings on it to float
the batteries and to equalize them occasionally. These two functions are
important to keep the batteries happy and performing their best and to
last as long as possible.
Dump Load. Also known as a diversion
load, is a unit that is set up to the charge controller to take the excess
power from the system. It is usually some kind of a heating element,
either for air or water. Just make sure, again, that whatever you choose,
matches your system voltage.