Customer Review

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Buy it and skip straight to the footnotes and index pages, December 29, 2010
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This review is from: Serious Microhydro: Water Power Solutions from the Experts (Paperback)
I stopped reading this book at about page 200. I found it a disappointment. It's basically a collection of reprinted articles from Home Power, mostly from the 1990s. I'm a fairly intelligent fellow living in the Ozarks so I already had a pretty good common sense idea of how hydroelectric works, after all I have seen a few commercial power plant dams at our local lakes. What I didn't know was some of the terminology of the field directly relating to the turbines and generators, I have a strong electronic background already. I was looking for some relevant data such as brands, companies, and contacts. What this book offers in this area can be found by searching the back of the book, and that info is from the 1990s. Yes, the 1990s. While water, gravity, and electromagnetism haven't changed since then, electronics have and make no mistake, an alternative energy system isn't squat without electronics.

While all the stories are inspiring, that's about all they are. (Maybe that's all they were supposed to be.)

This book contains a lot of dry info reciting brands and models of equipment, boxes, panels, controllers, inverters, batteries, and turbines etc., that were available at the time the story writer built his or her system.

As to the money, you need lots. Whether it's worth it or not is up to the souls involved and what it is they want from microhydro. If you want to feel good about your energy source, your personal microhydro plant would undoubtedly help you sleep better. The real cost savings would happen ONLY IF you're building your castle on land that is well, a mile or more, off of the beaten path away from existing utilities. Then a properly designed system could rock, assuming the "global warming" farce doesn't leave your locale drought stricken.

The book could have made more use of good photography (color, not black and white), diagrams, as well as more definitions. AND LESS ACRONYMS! Why acronyms, you had plenty of pages to fill? Lose the lists of what appliances the folks have to use in their homes if word space is/was tight with the publisher.

However, a plus is the continual usage of a couple of brand names, Trace inverters and Trojan batteries, as well as the name Don Harris, which leads me to believe that these are the brands and the person to use should you actually have the money to do this, and should they and he still be in business. After all, it's been nearly twenty years since most of this information was current.

As I said, a disappointment.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 9, 2011 7:39:34 PM PDT
Wolf says:
Sounds to me like this guy is working for big oil ! No doubt a out of touch Baby boomer. I built a hydro system around 92 for very little money to power the lights on my pavillion deck ( about 7 ) and a pump and electric fan using a deserted water wheel a generator a inverter a set of batteries ,and a used air handler with a old a/c coil to pump the water through . The result was free a/c and no charge to run the lights at night. I lived on a pond with springs feeding it so the water always ran . All I had to do was wash out the filters once in awhile . I used a old circulator pump to move the water so as a contractor I invested very little but this same junk could be picked up at a scrap yard or dump for free (90%) atleast . Hydro is cheap and easy depending on how far you want to take it. The more you want it to do the more it can cost but with a little thinking you can cut costs and make it work. As far as global warming being a farce he may want to rethink the political bs ! Out of 453 of the top scientist in the world 453 know its real and its been proven . Again hes more out of date than the book . If your looking for basics you have to start somewhere so you might as well start with something simple and go for it. I even made the blades for the water wheel from scrap sheet metal and found changing to a design simular to that of a squirrel cage fan blade but much larger allowed the wheels speed to go at a greater RPM. Everything you can do to improve your life and life for others is worth the investment.
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