Buyer Beware of PMA wind turbines

I recently had a reader complain about the performance he was seeing out of his PMA (Permanent Magnet Alternator) wind turbines he purchased from Missouri Wind and Solar.  He said their units were not producing close to the power that the company claimed and he said he was getting zero support from the company.  His videos are below:

And so after doing research, I realized he wasn't the only one having problems with their PMA wind turbines from Missouri Wind and Solar.

After doing a little of looking around on YouTube, I found this hilarious video of a PMA wind turbine and a guy who thinks he is producing a lot of power, but really isn't producing much power at all.

He's excited about 3 Amps, but the voltage is only at 14 V, which means he's producing less than 75 Watts, barely enough to power 1 incandescent light bulb? But this amperage is only instantaneous, and it usually hangs around zero.  So maybe over the 3 minute video he has produced enough energy to keep a bulb on for about 10 seconds!!!

Missouri Wind and Solar tries to impress people with a graph of power output vs. RPM, but users don't need to see RPM, they need to see power output vs. wind speed, or at least a table showing how the RPM's vary vs. wind speed?

In the above video, Jeff keeps saying "look at all those Amps" but remember, you don't care about instantaneous Amps, you care about total energy produced, which is Amps multiplied by Volts multiplied by time (for more info on this, check out our post on What is a kWh).  In the video, at about 18 mph, there are 3 turbines connected to produce a max of 125 A at about 15 V for a total of 1.875 kW.  Since there are 3 turbines connected this comes out to an average of 625 Watts per turbine.  But remember, these are just during the wind gusts.

Over the 3 minute period of time that Jeff is looking at his Volt and Amp meters, I would guess that the average Voltage is about 13 V and average Amperage is about 30 Amps (and that is being generous).  So if we assume these were the averages, his 3 turbines were producing about 390 Watts, or 130 Watt per turbine.

Maybe it's just me, but this is not that impressive.

This excellent video on YouTube shows why PMA wind turbines just don't live up to their rated claims:

Here's the point:  Many of these small wind turbine dealers and promoters will try and impress you by showing you graphs and videos of their turbine's voltage, or amperage when the wind gusts, or how fast they spin, or how many unicorns their turbine can power, but there is only one value you need to be concerned with: Power output vs. Wind Speed.  You then need to consider what the average wind speed is in your location and only then can you decide if a wind turbine makes sense.

You don't care about instantaneous amperage output when the wind gusts.  You care about total power output of the wind turbine, and as I covered in my post on Solar PV vs. Wind Turbines, wind turbines just don't make sense for almost all locations in the U.S. because the average wind speed just isn't high enough.  You don't need gusts of wind, you need steady, strong wind to produce a lot of energy from wind turbines.  Don't get suckered in by "fancy" YouTube clips.

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I guess people really want to believe in what they've bought. On the 100 watt solar panel review: <blockquote>I have 3 of these up on my garage. They have cut about $50 a month off of my electric bill even though I have a few trees blocking some light during the day.</blockquote> Really? $50 off your bill with 300W solar capacity? A 3 <i>kW</i> array in Phoenix or San Diego might make at most $40/month of juice. But not 300W, with "a few trees" blocking it. At least they sell the kill-a-watt, they can't be all bad. :)
If you want to get a good idea of what works and what doesn't, the city of Reno installed half a dozen small wind turbines and are publishing all of their output and wind data live. It's a great resource. &amp; hint: most of them work just was well as this PMA turbine.
ckmapawatt's picture
Good point. That's why I always say: NEVER trust customer reviews you read on websites. Look how easy it is for me to write a customer review: Joe from Omaha says, "My wind turbine is producing enough energy to power my WHOLE HOME!! WOO HOO! Also, if you plant a tree right below it, the tree will grow money. This is the best thing I've every purchased!"
ckmapawatt's picture
I'll have to compare their wind energy data vs. what they could be producing with solar.
That's awesome! Too bad it doesn't seem very easy to get, say, a 30-day production total... I can see pretty day-by-day graphs, but all I see is lifetime totals...
Chris, you are a very perceptive man. It is a disgraceful pathetic sh*t throwing contest that has spilled over on your forum from you tube and because it is a page rank 5 site and valuable real estate to someone with an agenda. I am curious how they got you to take part in their self serving plot to put one man out of business because they can't beat him on e bay. We have here a group of men acting like a bunch of 12 year old girls. I am disappointed that you would allow this to continue although find it very odd that as long as we had a lets Dog Pile Jeff @ Missouri Wind and Solar it was ok but now it's a sh@t throwing contest. moderator Definition At a forum, someone entrusted by the administrator to help discussions stay productive and within the guidelines. "I can only assume the definition of productive is hey let's make as many damaging and defamatory comments about a guy as possible"? I dissent from the opinions of the other group of people who are spamming your blog with their self serving interests and agenda. In other word I call it how I see it. You drive a ford this guys drives a Chevy, they want to import a Kia god bless them. There is no need to personally attack one man and his family which is the act of a coward.... When the Antleman's lose they are cry babies who enlist the help of people who are desperate and will do anything to make a buck. Steve Lott made 34 videos in 10 days. Tom Rent has pretended to be and engineer and made god knows how many garbage videos that are so boring I would rather watch old people do it. The problem for them is the more he talks the more he is found out. Especially when he has posted in forums that he is a "consultant for Windy Nation" Engineers use "Empirical data " I have never seen someone conduct an experiment by posting , "Hey if anybody has some data please send it over". Data plots and made up screen shots do not prove anything as you stated Chris ; show me your data over time. This reeks of the antics of a desperate unemployed man with too much time on his hands, trying to represent himself as something he is not. If the guy has ever constructed a wind turbine I would be surprised. Further A growing number of Americans are sick of all of this. The guys in here purport to be vigilant defenders of the truth that merely want to warn people of "getting burned" by unscrupulous people. All you have to do is follow the self serving motives and money to figure out what all of this is about. Do you really believe Chris that Steve Lott made 34 videos in a few days because he is that concerned that someone else may get burned? Just maybe there is a likelihood something else is the motive? What do you think? Therefore those above be on notice any harassment of individuals trying to conduct their business as they have a right to do will have their wrongs revisited to them and the self serving interest they promote by a tenfold. Yes you have it correct here, we are not only holding the people responsible for this behavior accountable but the puppet master himself. Funny thing I observed this week conducting an experiment conducted with empirical data is this. When you hook up a 3 phase motor to a 3 phase power source the damn thing spins. Of course people with products that are not "repurposed" won't have to worry about that video coming to you tube soon...... Till next time Regards,your friend Buck Naked
ckmapawatt's picture
Thanks for the comment Buck Naked. Yours is the last comment I'm allowing. Unfortunately I can't tell who has had a genuine bad experience vs. who has ulterior motives, but I believe that information needs to be put out there, and readers can judge for themselves. Personally, I think all PMA wind turbines under perform, and I would advise readers to always consider solar first. With that said, if Jeff or anyone from Missouri Wind and Solar would like to send me some test data from a certified engineering company or laboratory, I will gladly post it.
ckmapawatt's picture
Thanks for the comment Buck Naked. Yours is the last comment I'm allowing. Unfortunately I can't tell who has had a genuine bad experience vs. who has ulterior motives, but I believe that information needs to be put out there, and readers can judge for themselves. Personally, I think all PMA wind turbines under perform, and I would advise readers to always consider solar first.
I purchased a missouri wind and solar 800 Watt wind turbine about 2 years ago. It makes about 1% of the power Jeff promised me. The missouri wind and solar wind turbine is WORTHLESS. The company is SO HORRIBLE. Jeff is a rude, lying idiot.
Thank you chris for reveiling this matter, I'll almost order a unit from them thank you very much


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