DIYers love to study gear failures, and here is a great study!


Many of us have studied the Indian Clones, (Listeriods) and we know that almost all of the failures are related to poor workmanship. Most all failures can be traced to errors in cutting the gears, wrong materials used, inaccurate locations for the crankshaft, cam shaft, or idler gear, and more! We’ve all seen the newbies arrive to market their remedies, and two of the more memorable were a bloke from the UK who advertised that the gear he sold would fix it all! Then there was a certain Willem who didn’t understand the value of the bronze idler and condemned it! We know the bronze gear was an effort to mitigate a not so perfect set of conditions, and it did an impressive job in a lot of machines under study.

If there is an opposite to the Listeroid Clone gear failures, it might be the commercial wind turbine gear box. Those on the bleeding left edge of Alternative Energy were born with the knowledge that anything painted green is good, and if it’s not perfect a few trillion printed dollars will likely fix it.  We do know that dark hunter green is a most pleasant color, but beyond that, green is sold to us DIYers on merit alone.

Wind energy on the commercial scale is far different than the personal wind investment, DIYers strive to erect designs that survive in their environments, the commercial industry may benefit from building to the more impressive installed cost per KWH figures.

The facts of wind energy include wind events that arrive on occasion, and test some of the best designs of nature. If you’ve ever taken a drive along the west coast of Washington State, you can drive mile after mile through forests that lie flat to the ground! No doubt, these wind events don’t arrive often, but they only need arrive once to literally tear down a wind farm. 

We expect to see a man or a company offer up the simple solution, like monitor the weather and park the machines when it’s coming, but we learn from aviation that predicting the arrival of these anomalies is not so easy.  


As we read the study, we know the Authors might be most optimistic, as we grow older, we become more skeptical not because our brains become less elastic, it’s because we have seen so many men worship the source of their paychecks.

Wind power is a most difficult and expensive endeavor when you abandon the principles taught by folks like Hugh Piggot.  He and others are more focused on building low cost machines, that sacrifice efficiency and power production to assure the machine survives long enough to provide a return on investment.

It wasn’t long ago, I talked to a real Lube Engineer, he was sure that man had not yet designed a lube capable of addressing the needs of a current commercial wind machine gear box.

We need limit the speed of the blades, we need limit the torque through the box, it’s not so easy to design a system to save the gear box when the wind energy could easily overspeed the turbine and cause the total destruction of the machine.

In some machines the lube has reached temperatures high enough to gas off, at some point they permanently lose their engineered properties and they contribute to the destruction of the machine.

I reflect on Chrysler, they’ve put the Cummins in their 3/4 trucks for years, and never seemed to address the fact that the transmission was marginal for the job.  The engine develops a little more torque than the trans can handle, and it’s very normal to lose a transmission long before the engine needs replacement. Why is that? My answer.. the remedy is very costly.

In another post, I pass along the obvious, the Wind Energy Investors maybe minimizing their risks, by piling part of that risk on your back. But they assume that the power they produce will be given the highest priority in conduits they don’t own, and we’ll sit back and watch those who have all the answers attempt to give the highest priority in the grid to AE production. They’ll say “It’s all so simple really”, and of course we know that is was because they are so simple that they overlooked the problem in the first place.   

Shouldn’t those who grow our food have the same privileges? When their crop is ready, they call the FEDs, the trucks arrive, and haul their products to the market. But.. if the feds don’t arrive right on time, we’ll allow the farmer to sue the FED (that’s us tax payers). 

I got a call the other day from a Friend, he knows a group of people who have no jobs, they are very interested in getting into Windpower or Solar. I told him my research finds that many of the folks that have been selling services into this market find themselves un- employed. And that the majority of the work nowadays is done by limited skill construction workers, for solar..bolting together mounting racks, attaching panels, and simply plugging the connectors together. Travel is part of the job, and since there’s no rocket science involved, job security is not so great, it’s often easier to hire locals than to pay to keep you in a motel with a food allowance.

In wind energy, you need ask, where are these machines made? Where are the parts manufactured, and how many permanent jobs are there? One guy I know manages several huge cranes that are used in the installations, he has trained to know every part of the crane, the electronics, the assembly of the crane and take down, the certification of the procedures. He’s no wind energy specialist, but he may have the more reliable job BECAUSE he is not so easily replaced by a man off the street.

The free market was designed to sort all this out, but our youth mostly are so wise… they see the wisdom of handing the decisions to our elected officials who most often have the same mechanical aptitude as used car salesmen and occupy wall street attendees, and of course they often do for themselves first. 

As we study the efforts of the NREL, we note what looks like the blatant promotion of Amonix, a real Lab would be most anxious to follow the product and know how it’s working in the field. These Multi Junction Cells, highly efficient they say! And of course we DIYers are not so impressed with a Lab experiment, we want to know how that cell performed in the field, it’s what real Labs do I think.  So you disagree and i’ve got it wrong; that’s what the comments are for.  Just how long will the entire world ignore the results of the NREL and Amonix and the corn they planted in that field? Did it ever grow?  




This entry was posted in Alternative Energy Sources, Critical Thinking, DIYer Skills, Earth & Energy, In The News. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to DIYers love to study gear failures, and here is a great study!

  1. Bill knighton says:

    I am impressed by direct drive turbines like a siemens 6 mw unit turning 10 or 20 rpms. There must be enormous magnetic forces involved if something turning only once ever 3 seconds can convert 6mw.

    • George B. says:

      After more than 20 years, they arrive with the KISS answer? If it’s not part of the design it doesn’t contribute to the failure 🙂 Maybe Siemens has been following DIY windpower?

  2. Bill Knighton says:

    I think many of the manufacurers such as ge and enercon also sell them, even while still selling the gear drives. I don’t understand why the gear units are still sold if a company is making direct drives.

  3. bob g says:

    anyone got a link to a direct drive unit?
    i am totally unaware of such an animal, it would have to be freaking enormous to produce 6mw at 20-30rpm! probably nearly half the diameter of the blade set?

    sure would like to see more on that one

    bob g

  4. bob g says:


    whatever the working voltage of one of those megaturbines is, no way i would want to be inside the nacelle with it in operation! i can’t imagine being inside what is the equivalent of a junction box with a 6 megawatt generator humming away!

    can you imagine?

    something goes wrong? where do you go to hide? bet there ain’t room for a broom closet inside the nacelle housing of one of those machines. it would be the equivalent of hugging a top fuel nitro burning engine while it blasts down the drag strip, at least in my thinking.

    bob g

Leave a Reply