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The Windwalker Wind Generator

Above: The tail fin, tail fin boon, blades, and wiring.

wind-generator-Kit-3

Above: The ladder mount bracket hardware (left) and Windwalker assembly hardware (right).

As we opened the kit, we found the Windwalker housing, motor arbor, tail fin, blades, hub, quick disconnect wiring, hardware, and assembly instructions.

wind-generator-Instructions

Above: Jack and Crystal have assembled a clear set of instructions with photography.

From the Priority Mail box to the clear instructions, I appreciated the no-nonsense approach to a no-nonsense product.  No-nonsense means no unnecessary added cost.  A custom Windwalker product box would be nice, but it would add cost.  No thanks.

wind-generator-Running

Above: A Windwalker mounted in a ladder mount bracket.

When we were done exploring the kit, Jack took us through the assembly and installation of the Windwalker wind generator.  He started by showing us the two mounting solutions that he and Crystal developed to attach a wind generator to a truck camper; a ladder mount bracket, and a horizontal mounting plate.  Naturally he had both brackets on his truck camper.

The horizontal mounting plate attaches to a roof rack system, common on many truck campers, but certainly not ubiquitous.  The advantage of the horizontal mounting plate is its location.  Unless your roof rack system is immediately next to your ladder, the horizontal mounting plate allows you to have a wind generator installed and operating and still use the camper ladder for roof access.

In person, the horizontal mounting plate made more sense as the stiff wind at the Overland Expo field had the Windwalkers really going.  When the wind generator fans are turning in even moderate winds they could potentially be dangerous if you get too close.  Imagine getting too close to a running open room fan and you get the idea.  None of us are afraid of room fans, but we certainly aren’t about to stick our fingers or face near one.  I remember a guy in college who stopped one with his tongue, but he was an idiot.

According to Jack, the ladder mount is the more popular mounting bracket.  Almost every hard side truck camper has a roof access ladder making this mounting position more available, and accessible, for most truck camper owners.  The installation of the ladder bracket is simple and installing and uninstalling the Windwalker from the ladder is more convenient than the roof mounted horizontal mounting plate.

We observed Jack and Crystal installing and uninstalling the Windwalker in the ladder bracket a few times during our conversation.  Again, the winds at the Overland Expo really had the Windwalkers turning and I was amazed that they were able to safely approach and handle the Windwalkers as the blades turned at speed.

wind-generator-Demo

Above: Jack demonstrates a dismounted Windwalker wind generator.

When I asked Jack about this, he demonstrated how the Windwalker will quickly come to a complete stop if it’s turned away from the direction of the wind.  It was actually quite interesting to see the generator fans turning at speed facing into the wind, and then almost immediately stop when Jack turned the fans sideways and out of the wind.  When installing or uninstalling the Windwalker, the trick is to turn the Windwalker sideways to the wind and gently hold the fan blades steady.

Due to our aggressive Overland Expo schedule we didn’t have the time to actually assemble the Windwalker ourselves, but Jack and Crystal did take us through the steps.  The kit comes almost completely assembled with most of the assembly consisting of bolting the eight PVC plastic blades to the hub with a 7/16” wrench.  Jack assured us that this takes no more than a half hour.

The rest of the Windwalker kit consists of the housing, motor arbor, tail fin, and quick disconnect wiring.  There are no, “What could that be” parts in the kit.  It’s very clear as to what piece goes where.  For example, the tail fin looks like a tail fin.  The instructions are visual and explicit and the kit components are CNC machined for precise fit.  Jack and Crystal have done everything they can think of to make the assembly quick and easy.  If you can build a set of turnbuckles, you can handle this.

The only needed component that’s not included in the Windwalker kit is the mast, a 7/8” diameter steel pipe readily available at your local hardware store.  Jack explained that the size and weight of the steel pipe would be prohibitive for shipping.  If he included the steel pipe, the kit’s cost and shipping fee would increase dramatically.  With the availability of 7/8” diameter steel pipe, Jack decided to save you money and give you the option to choose what length pipe you need.  More evidence of Free Spirit Energy’s no-nonsense approach.

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