FAQs

Q: Can I plug the Human Power Generator directly into my television or laptop?
A: No, the Human Power Generator is designed for 12V battery charging. If you want to power a laptop or a television, you would need to use a battery and a small inverter that can take the stored DC power in the battery and turn it into 120AC power. A portable power pack houses both the battery and inverter and can easily connect to the Human Power Generator. In other words, any small appliance that you would normally plug into a wall socket in your house could be plugged into the inverter (power pack) and run from there. In order to make this scenario possible, the tv would have to draw under about 60 watts of power or about the same amount of power a person can produce by pedaling.

Q: How long can I expect my laptop to run from the power stored in the Power Pack or battery?
A: There are many power packs on the market but most have batteries that hold around 20 Ah (amp hours). These are small power packs that are designed to be portable. If for example, the power pack you are using has a 20 Ah, 12 V battery, the capacity is about 240 watt hours, give or take. We determine this by multiplying 12V x 20 Ah = 240 Watt hours. What this means is, that if you plug a laptop that required 60 watts to run. You simply divide 60W ÷ by 240 Watt hours = 4 hours of power. There are several factors that determine how long a battery will last. If the draw is high, like a blender drawing 300 watts, it will last a short time – perhaps 20 minutes. If it is a very small power draw like a compact fluorescent light bulb, it may last up to 15 hours.

Q: Can I use the Human Power Generator with my 48 V system?
A: Not really. Technically, the generator used on the Human Power Generator could be used with a 48V system, but that would require a higher rpm than is possible with the gearing on the Human Power Generator. All of our PM DC Generators can operate connected to a variety of loads, usually a battery. The rpm it takes to reach 12V is less than the rpm it takes to reach 24V and so on. For example, while it might take 600 rpm to reach 12V, it would take 10 times that rpm or 6000 to reach a 120V load. It’s not possible to pedal that fast with a Human Power Generator. Another alternative that is available but not terribly economical is a DC to DC Converter that will take 12 V and step it up to 48V. A battery is recommended in this application to stabilize the voltage.

Q: Can I pedal directly into an inverter?
A: A battery (even a very small one) is needed between the generator and the inverter in order to stabilize the voltage. The generator output will vary based on the rpm produced by the power source (usually someone pedaling). The battery keeps the output voltage constant, even when the generator output drops below or rises above the set voltage requirements of the inverter. Without the battery, the inverter output voltage would track the generator output proportionately, right down to the inverter’s low-voltage limit, and then simply shut down below that limit until the generator voltage came back up, even if the low voltage period was only a few seconds. The bigger the battery, the longer the stabilization period, but even a very small (5-20 ampere-hour) rechargeable battery will provide adequate stabilization. In practical terms, trying to operate an inverter directly from a generator would result in annoying and near constant on/off behaviour from the inverter, mixed in with low voltage warning beeps.

Q: Can the 443905 permanent magnet dc generator also be used as a dc motor? I’m interested in using it in an automotive application for braking/charging and for providing motive power.
A: The 443905 permanent magnet dc generator will also function as a dc motor, but with different voltage/current/rpm characteristics. Typically, used as a motor, full power output is obtained at about 90 volts. Accordingly, if the generator is to be used for automotive power and regenerative braking, the battery should be rated at 90-120 volts. In this case, the charging voltage from the generator would need to be boosted, assuming the same rpm range for both motor and generator. If the generator is operated in the 10-15 volt output range, a small 12-120 volt inverter can be adapted for charging purposes, electronically switched in by a current direction sensor. At 90 volts, the 443905 generator acting as a motor will deliver over 700 watts at 8.2 amps, about 3/4 hp. Regardless of the application, the amperage rating remains, the 443905 is limited to a charging current of no more than 20 A and for no more than 30 minutes. The 443905 can operate at 10A continuous duty.

Q: I have a small wind turbine called the Windstream Basic. I bought it back in 1982. I am looking for parts. Can you help?
A: Yes! Windstream Power LLC is the same company that manufactured the “Windstream Basic” .We have been around since 1974 and were also known as Thermax. We have our roots in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and then by the early 1980’s moved down to Vermont. Some early customers will recall purchasing from Van Kleekhill, ON, Canada but we are one and the same. We still carry several parts for the Windstream Basic. While we are no longer manufacturing the turbine, we can supply blades, fins, voltage regulators, springs etc. We also have copies of the original manual.

Q: I live in New Mexico and I want to have a wind turbine installed on my property. Can you do this for me?

A: We used to be a Distributor for Southwest Windpower and still sometimes show up on search engines that way. We are no longer acting as dealers for Southwest Windpower. You can go directly to www.windenergy.com and click on “where to buy”.

Q: I have a 3000 square foot house and I want to power it with wind.
A: That’s great! However, in order to match a turbine to your home’s power consumption, certain important factors must be established and known.

1. Where do you live? Some areas of North America have excellent wind resources and other areas do not. If you don’t have a good wind site, you might consider another renewable energy source such as solar or microhydro. In order to understand the available wind resource at your site, you or the dealer/installer must research the average wind speed at your site and then decide if it is worth pursuing.

2. How many kilowatt hours does your house use per month on average? You can find this information on you power bill.

3. It’s important to have an understanding of how much power a turbine can realistically provide. For example, the Skystream can produce about 400 KWh per month in a 12 mph average wind speed. In Vermont for example, the cost of a KWh is approximately .13 cents. 400KWh of power is worth about $ 52.00 a month.

4. We try to match the turbine to your needs and to take into consideration your wind resource as well as the average amount of power your home uses per month.