AIDG Update: Small Scale Wind Development in Guatemala [Windbelt]

Humdinger Windbelt - Remix from Popular Mechanics site
Humdinger Windbelt – Remix from Popular Mechanics site

Windbelt Closeup
Closeup of table top windbelt

In spring 2008, AIDG and Xelateco began contracts with Humdinger Wind Energy LLC to scale up its Windbelt system from tabletop size to tower size. As you may recall, the Congrats to Shawn Frayne, One of Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award Winners. The Windbelt won a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award last year. The system stands poised to become a prolific cheap option for small scale rural electrification.

While Xelateco was responsible for the tower and mechanical systems design, AIDG took on the software and electrical systems.

The tower developed by XelaTeco
The tower developed by XelaTeco
Off to see the tower
Off to see the tower
JShawn Frayne, Kurt Kornbluth, Jose Ordonez (AIDG), Jordon McRae
Shawn Frayne, Kurt Kornbluth, Jose Ordonez (AIDG), Jordon McRae
Jordon McRae, Santos Pelechu (XelaTeco), Kurt Kornbluth, Shawn Frayne, Jose Ordonez (AIDG), Werny Lopez (XelaTeco)
Jordon McRae, Santos Pelechu (XelaTeco), Kurt Kornbluth, Shawn Frayne, Jose Ordonez (AIDG), Werny Lopez (XelaTeco)

The custom data logging electronics and software designed by AIDG record wind speed, angle of attack to the belt, and a number of other characteristics important to our research.

Information is available as a log or in real time via the internet. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and screen control, team members can interact with the tower data collection system from Guatemala, Boston, or Hong Kong.

Part of Data Collection Setup
Part of Data Collection Setup

The integration includes a custom Skype interface that provides a simple way to determine system status. A user can skype “weather status”, “electrical status” or a host of other commands to the tower and find out whether a system visit or data investigation is in order.

The system can also alert users to significant data events such as wind or power spikes, storage space alarms, etc.

AIDG is adapting this system to handle multiple types of logging environments and is cleaning the code for an initial open source release for use by other groups this fall.


Mock data from tower, available over the internet and through Skype

This tool can be used by students and researchers alike. AIDG, in informal surveys, has found a strong desire among researchers for remote communications with lab and research equipment through simple interfaces like Skype.

Related posts:
Congrats to Shawn Frayne, One of Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award Winners
More pics from the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards
Check us out on Discover online

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