Wind turbines are most often installed at high altitudes along a coastline or on offshore platforms. Turbines are built to handle severe conditions and environments, but still require constant monitoring to maintain performance and avoid failure. This is where wind turbine sensors become very important. Sensors that accurately monitor the operation of the turbine and provide reliable real time data to engineers is vital.

Wind turbine sensors help manufacturers and wind farm operators meet the requirements for high quality environmental measurements to maximize performance and fulfill industry standards. These needs include weather sensors for control systems, wind speed and direction monitoring, weather condition monitoring directly on the turbines, and visibility sensors that dim obstruction lights in clear weather to improve community acceptance of wind farms. The motors in the turbine that generate the electric also need sensors to monitor bearings and motor temperatures.

The most common is the temperature sensor. To convert wind energy into electrical energy, wind turbines utilize copper to carry the current output by the generator. In challenging environments, generators normally will continuously produce large currents. The components that carry that current load can overheat and burn, resulting in danger to communities, economic loss and environmental damage. Temperature sensors monitor those components handling the current load and respond immediately when the temperature exceeds a designated limit. This preserves the safety and operation of the turbine.

Probes can customize wind turbine sensors and offers resistor temperature sensors (RTDs) for accurate measurement of temperature range.

Other common types of wind turbine sensors include accelerometer and inclinometer sensors.
An accelerometer usually monitors an increase of speed i.e. acceleration as the name implies. It is placed in the wind turbine nacelle with the other equipment (gear box, brake, generator) to monitor speed or, in some cases, the vibration of rotating parts. If the acceleration or vibration reaches a specified limit, the sensor will respond to prevent failure and trigger an alert to be followed up on by engineers.

An inclinometer sensor measures the tilt of a particular machine or product. They can be used for vehicles, elevators, excavators and other equipment where staying level is important for safe operation. Similarly, for wind turbines the sensors monitor if the tower base maintains the correct position to ensure the wind turbine operates smoothly in a stable condition.

Wind power has been in usage for many decades and it continues to generate value for for business, communities and our environment. However, over the years there have been serious incidents due to mechanical failure, natural disasters and human error. Utilizing effective and accurate wind turbine sensors, remote monitoring can help ensure safe operation of the wind turbines. That is in every person’s interest and explains the value the wind turbine sensors provide.

Please contact Probes to find out more about the selection of wind turbine sensors and for help finding the optimal solution for your application.