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Review: SMART WIND Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAT)
UPDATED: 2018-04-11

I thought that the SMART WIND Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAT) deserves its own review so here goes.

Without repeating why I chose this VAT Turbine, you can read my full blog here: www.computersense.co.nz/forums/showthread.php?tid=205
Here is a link to my YouTube Video showing it in action: https://youtu.be/lD5yic_TPB8

The particular one I have been testing was ordered with additional three blades (6 blades in total) and rated at 750W 0-36 Volt 3-Phase AC Output.
I was stung pretty hard with import tax but that is because I got the Turbine and additional Blades at the same time which pushed me past the minimum "free" import duty total.
This was my first lesson learnt.

This VAT was advertised as having the ability to install on a deck or balcony so I thought that it must be a good Turbine and would be able to generate power in low-wind conditions.
After receiving the Turbine and some testing at ground level with very stormy weather, I became disappointed in its output.
Spinning the Turbine with an electric drill was the only way I could make it produce any significant power but nowhere near the rated output of 36 Volt (unless I disconnected all load while spinning with an electric drill at full speed).

OK, so now I realize that the Turbine's advertising was based on the Turbine Generator's "theoretical" output - the Generator might be capable but the Turbine is simply not efficient enough to drive the Generator.
It seems that all Wind Turbines are rated by the Generator they use and not the Turbine itself which is very disappointing - they all shout about their low-wind speed startup but this is pure fiction and totally unnecessary in the real world when maintained high-speed is necessary.
This was my second lesson learnt.

Feeling very disappointed with this Smart Wind Turbine I decided to carry on and install it on a mast in a permanent location above the garage roof.
I felt that maybe I could live with a lower-output if I changed the Inverter to match it's lower-voltage (actual) output - more on this below.


I was thinking about changing the blades from these "bucket" types to a "wings" but there is not enough evidence that they would produce enough to warrant the cost of changing.
What I have learnt so far is that Vertical Axis Turbines (VAT) are useless compared to Horizontal Axis Turbines (HAT) - a scientifically and industrial proven fact.

So far, for this review, I will give this Smart Wind Turbine a rating of 2.5 out of 5.
The reason why I have not given it a higher rating is because I have not yet tested the other cheaper Chinese "lantern" type Turbines (that are getting really bad reviews).
VAT are seemingly and seriously low in efficiency - but, what does one do in a residential area where Turbine noise could be a real issue?

To compensate for the lower-than-advertised Turbine Output (and total failure of a DC input Inverter - as per my Blog linked above) I have ordered and will be installing an even smaller Inverter with lower start-up voltage (12V instead of 24V) and lower Wattage (300W).
Theoretically, the smaller Inverter will at least produce "something" (based on measured output) rather than spinning away doing nothing.

Last night we had hurricane-force winds (with tornados in surrounding regions).
One blade was found disintegrated in the garden this morning.


I know why this blade disintegrated and I will not tell you publicly because it is embarrassing Smile

Anyway, I removed the other 2 corresponding blades to balance it (the original 3 blade configuration on purchase of the Turbine) - I have another spare blade that needs slight repair (due to damage in transit).

Today, with only 3-Blades I noticed that the Turbine had difficulty in starting and getting to a decent rotational speed.
So, for this type of VAT, you DO need a minimum of 6-Blades if you want it to generate any type of output.
I replaced the broken blade today and installed a WiFi Weather Station so I can further gather information.
I managed to successfully repair the Blades that came broken in transit. I used a soldering iron to stich-melt the pieces together and used pieces of the above destroyed blade to melt over the stitch - worked out well.

I must say that with a week of running with the default 3-Blades the VAT had a difficult time in starting and maintaining rotational speed with unusable output.
The VAT starts at a wind speed of 2.7m/s.
I have just noted that on the seller's eBay site that the it only needs 1.4m/s to start with 6-Blades- far off the mark and false advertising (like all Wind Turbine sellers).


Now its a waiting game to see what (if anything) can be produced in my location.
I should receive smaller 300W AC Inverter and emoniPi (http://www.computersense.co.nz/forums/sh...p?tid=210) next week so I can conclude this review.

So far, VAT in my location is not looking good even though I have direct sight of the prevailing wind from the ocean (seen in the distance in the left-middle of the above photo - ocean is exactly North and winds blow from North-South).
Maybe if I had cleaner and sustained wind speeds this VAT might pay for itself over 5-years.
If I was using this installation to charge batteries then this review would be somewhat different - this is a pure Grid Tie installation and thus maintained (constant) generation is required.
Our winter months are nearly here so it will be good to see what the final outcome will be with smaller Inverter (our Winter months are very windy).
Hi Mike.

Do you have any update?

I need to buy a 1000w Grid Tie like yours to try with my VAWT....

HiYa Jose

I have not spent any more time on this project because of the long winter months.
I am planning to carry on with this project soon as winter is nearly over and the days are longer.

Even with strong winter wind the turbine has been useless.
Many people ask about the success (some strangers stop at least once a week when driving past to ask me - even taking photos) but all I can tell them is that it is a major failure but that I am not giving up yet.
I still have a 2 meter extension pole to increase the height that I will be installing - I will be making a hinge at the top of the mast so that I can drop the 2 meter extension and turbine for service. So this is still something to come.

The 1000W inverter is NOT good enough for this 750W turbine (which only produces about 200W in high wind).
I like the 1000W inverter but the turbine does not generate enough power to trigger it - this is why I currently have only the 300W 3-phase inverter connected to it.

Today I started to upgrade some Solar Panels with Micro Inverters with fantastic results!
I will shortly be posting about this.

I have invested so much money in this stupid project with ZERO results.
This summer I will be spending much more time on this project by maybe even changing from stupid Vertical Axis Turbine (VAT) to normal Horizontal Axis Turbine (HAT).
Many people ask about noise from my VAT - no noise at all.
Maybe HAT will be more efficient and not disturb neighbours - this is something I must still look in to.

It seems, you have a wind turbine with 1 sqm rotor. 200 W seems to be the maximum. The VAT Design brings about 50% of a horizontal turbine only. Chinese lying scumbags tricked me to buy a VAT by advertising much better efficiency than a horizontal one. The VAT they lied, will start rotating at 2 m/s and will bring 400 W at 10 m/s instead of 13 m/s at a horizontal turbine. Additional VAT advantages are self limitating RPM and low noise. My turbine has 1/2 sqm only and I hope getting 100 W at best. The problem of the VAT derives from the self limitating effect. The driving differential windspeed power (windspeed minus rotation speed) counts with v^3 and at the parasitic power of returning blades increase with v^3 since the rotating speed unfortunately adds up to the diff. windspeed. So at a rotation speed of > 25% of windspeed, no driving force remains. The VAT performs well at rotationspeeds of about 12% windspeed only.

Different windturbines also have different maximum windspeeds :

HiYa Rainer, thanx for that and welcome to the forum.
Yes VAT is so over-rated and I am shocked how sellers of these things have the balls and get away with outrageous claims of their efficiency.
There should be a law banning them from being sold to stupid people like me!
I installed mine as a hobby-project to see if it could actually do anything for me in a grid-tie configuration - this is not possible (it's maybe good enough to charge a cell phone or a rechargeable torch but nowhere near as efficient as HAT or Solar).
The money I spent on the turbine, mast and 3 different Inverters will never be made back unless I do something major like switch to HAT or totally give up on wind power. The money is better spent on adding more solar panels to increase efficiency in low light conditions.
At the moment, this project is a monument to failure - it looks good and attracts a lot of attention but that's about it.
I'll be lifting this turbine up another 2 meters soon but I fear that it still wont produce anything significant. If I don't try my best then society will question my attempt Smile

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