Sunday, August 14, 2016

Let there be... trouble

And behind this little plug was big trouble!

Inside was the coupling that connects the gear box to the generator. What I saw was not pretty.

After some wrenching I got the parts separated and just knew this was going to be a learning experience. The parts on the left are the worn out Browning three pin coupler. One pin in each half had worked loose and started to wear the holes. I would learn about Browning, Dodge and Lovejoy couplings, solid and thru spiders, plus their load torque ratings. I selected a Lovejoy sized to handle a lot of torque load.

Good news on the torque. Bad news on the fit. Looking thru the inspection hole there was no way to tighten the 5/32 set screw. A thru spider would have lowered the torque so I went for the next size smaller coupling and made the fix.

Last but not least. Do you see that blue dot on the back end of the generator? Now you would think I was done and had learned my lesson. Not so. So I pulled the blue plug out to have a look and sure enough, this coupling was also bad. However this time it was the key and keyway that were worn. The set screw had worked loose and the key wallowed out the keyway. After some head scratching and web searches I decided to go with a new key and Loctite 660 and make the best of it. After I put it together I bench tested it with 10 one minute run cycles and it was still tight. 

I ended the day by making some nice bird proofing screen grills that will keep my feathered friends out of the nacell in the future. Wheeled the unit down to the base of the tower and mounted the blades. Tomorrow I'll call and schedule the crane.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Repairs and more fix'n

Disaster! Avoided. Had I not heard the clicking noise coming from my Enertech 1800 last winter and taken action for sure I would have had some horror pictures to blog of the unit folded over with its blades smashed against the tower. It was close to failure. I was able to break off this third of the support with a vise grips.

So first up was the repair to the main mounting plate. A 3/8" thick plate was bored and welded to the cracked original. The the cracked areas and hole for the power cord welded. Plus new stronger brace pieces welded in. Looks very, very strong.

Next was the repair aka "fix" to the blade mounting plate. The design of a single 1/4" thick plate with flanges bent to stiffen it was not a good one. All the stress from the blades was concentrated on the 3 bolts that attached it to the center hub. They used 1/8" thick 1" diameter washers to help but it was not enough. The original plate, 15 years ago, had the same cracking failure around these bolts and here it was again. What to do?  Belt and suspenders! I cut and drilled a new 1/4" plate that was welded and bolted to the original. Plug welds and edge welds were made. Six grade 5 bolts were threaded and nutted along the welded edges. Finally 1/4" thick 1.750" diameter washers were made and fitted for the 3 hub bolts. Belt and suspenders!

Then it was on to the blades. At first I thought the wear at the holes was a big problem. After some discussion it was determined that the holes were most likely drilled out to make them fit the plates that secure them. This was backed up by two of the blades having different ID numbers. However the splitting along the grain was a concern to me.

I decided to drill cross holes at the bottom and install 1/4" stainless steel rods to give them some support. Time will tell if this was a good idea.

It's the little things. Really. The nose cone is held on by three threaded bolts with their nuts held secure in the plates that hold the blades on. Imagine the problem with one of the nuts breaking free and spinning. How would you get to the blades and hub bolts if you could not remove the nose cone? The designers must have though of this as one of the plates had this small notch in it to mate with the nut, Then it was staked in place. One of the others had a weld and had almost broken free.

As I moved on to the slip ring assembly I thought I could avoid messing with that as the assembly has many parts and is a wiring nightmare. It was not to be as I inspected it I could tell that the ground wire was loose. Bummer. So I took is all apart and re-soldered in all new wires. Tricky but a good job done.

Then there was this groove cut around the main yaw shaft. This is right at the point where the three part flat thrust bearing sits. I could see no wear of marks on the thrust bearing parts and cannot figure out how this groove got hear. I greased her up and put it back together deciding to live with it for another 15 years.

This is getting to be quite a project. Hey I wounder what is under this little plug between the gear box and generator? Oh, Oh...
To be continued