Conversions to PowerSpout Turbines

Conversions to PowerSpout Turbines

It has been an interesting few months, with a surprising number of conversions of other maker’s turbines to our PowerSpout products or Smart Drive PMA parts.

UK Stream Engine LH

Original system – some equipment missing due to failures:

Revised system:

Click here to read Westflights case study on this job.

The SMA "smartload" boxes protecting against over-voltage were prone to failure on this site. (Manufacture has since been discontinued.)  These failures would tend to kill the connected inverter and turbine from excessive voltage. The PowerSpout LH turbines were designed not to exceed the maximum voltage limit of the inverter.

Original equipment comprised:

  • 3 turbines, 3 SMA voltage limiters, 3 SMA inverters

Replaced with:

  • 2 PowerSpout LH turbines, 0 voltage limiters, 1 Enasolar inverter

The cost to replace all the turbines and electronics was only about 25% of the original total job cost.

So if you are aware of any failing or sub optimal small hydro sites where the earthworks and pipes are sound then the cost to get them going better than before is often only a small fraction of the original cost.

Client testimonial:

...for the first 24 hours during which time the meter in the garage was showing 25.9 KWH generated during that period …… I have replaced the block to maintain a -3.5 level which is keeping the new turbines at 1.1 KW. The old turbines would have been producing approximately 0.7KW.

UK with a PowerSpout PLT upgrade

This site was recently upgraded from a 15 years old Stream Engine.  That is a long run for any small turbine so well done. What is different about this job it that it uses a PLT80 turbine and a Victron 250V MPPT, this solution allowed for an easy integrated monitoring system.

Installer Jamie Robinson stated:

…just to let you know Garvan is working just fine. The turbine is working really well…The Victron 250V MPPT works well. There is no option to mess about with the MPPT settings as there is on the Midnite Classic so you can hear the RPM of the turbine changing slightly as the MPPT works its way through the voltage range. The power output is pretty steady. Using this MPPT allows the entire system to be monitored by the colour control panel, which gives a total system monitoring option (inverter, PV Battery state, and hydro) all in one place. It can be remote monitored or remote configured if WIFI is present.

The Tristar follower is chucking out a ton of hot water. Everyone really happy with it…Finally a few pics of the install...

UK PowerPal

Replacement for a failed PowerPal generator with a SmartDrive PMA.

LH PowerPal bottom end

New belt-driven Smart Drive HP top end

Before and after comparison graph

  • Smart Drive power is adjusted down 5% (0.95 factor) to allow for GT Inverter losses
  • Previous peak power had been 650W on the PowerPal PMA.  
    Smart Drive HP PMA output was 850W from GTI

Comment: If you drive your SD with a V-belt you will have a high bearing side force that can be hard on the bearings over time. A toothed flat belt can be a better option and is also more efficient.  Keep the pulleys as close to the bearings as possible to reduce forces. I would also advise you fit an auto grease can to keep moisture ingress at bay. Most hydro failures of turbine bearings are due to moisture ingress.