Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Word of Warning on Chinese Wind Turbines


Caveat Emptor

I received an e-mail a few days ago from a very disappointed user of a Chinese VAWT (Vertical axis wind turbine). I am reproducing the correspondence here. In doing so, I am omitting, by request, the name of the writer, and I am also making no evaluation or personal comment on these turbines.

I sure hope you haven’t bought a mill (wind-turbine) from Shanghai! I did, it was the biggest mistake of my life! I was even there to visit them; they just don’t produce anything besides a lot of costs and headaches! Sorry I can’t give any tips on what works, but just wanted you to know these mills from Shanghai should be avoided at all cost.
K …

Thanks K … - Can you be a bit more specific about the model and the problems? I would like to report it but I need some specifics. I will not publish anything pointing to you or your email address.
Tony McGinley

Hi Tony,
Thanks for the mail, My mill is a 1kw from SAWT, the first problem was that the spring to hold the brakes apart was placed too close to the axle, which in turn made a terrible scraping noise when it turned. I ended up having to take the mill down and fix the brake system with my own ideas. The next time was a magnet that got loose in the generator - that stopped the mill from turning; again I had to take down the mill.

sent a new generator and controller, but to get it through customs I had to pay 700 USD, which is not reimbursed. The mill then worked, but after 2 weeks of good wind it had only produced 0,8kW totally, then the controller collapsed and now its not working again.

At the same time I believe it must be possible to get this system working because it’s relatively simple. I have been warned about another make of VAWT, which comes from China, it has no plates on the top or bottom of the wings, it sounds even worse!

I would be grateful if you didn’t publish my name, as it may affect my guarantee... its more for your own information.

Hope it helps,
K ...



Stephen Cahill said...

Hi SAWT is known for poor products.
Their products are not built to any standard.
I looked at them and did some research. Sorry for your expensive lesson.
By the way what are your local wind speeds? Let me know if you get it working right.
There are DIY kits out of the USA that will make good power if you got the wind.
The thing one has to also look at is the certification of the electrical components. NO CE, UL or CSA stay away from it.

Stephen on the right side of Canada

Jimi said...

Should always look for ISO and CE certifications, especially on the factories. I wouldn't settle for anything less than a ISO9001.

There's a chinese government insurance policy for international trade, I would check to see if your purchase falls under this. They will reimburse a lot of the cost.

I've talked to some guys at

They are doing some interesting things with magnets and vertical turbines. During a phone call, they mentioned something about hydraulic horizontals but nothings on their site at the moment.

As for the production that could be your site position or the equipment quality.

When I was talking with Maglev UK, they suggested that a lot of wind turbine suppliers don't get involved enough with installation and site anaylis. If you want the best from a product it's always best to ask for the suppliers advice.