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Looking over how wind turbine controllers work, it looks like they use something called "Maximum power point tracking", or "MPPT".

As I understand it, that involves changing the load on the wind turbine to extract more or less energy, and thus control the speed. I'm presuming that you could also use that to electrically brake your wind turbine.

How would you control the load from a microcontroller?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The controller calculates the power (by monitoring voltage and current and multiplying). Then finds the optimum power point by a preturb and observe and some kind of PID control usually. I'd start by reading up as much as you can about MPPT algorithms \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike
    Dec 23, 2016 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, I'm familiar with MPPT. It just didn't occur to me that you could use a boost/buck converter hooked up to a load as a variable load. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2016 at 21:12

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First you need something that you can dump power into. Useful sinks are a battery bank that can accept charge, or a grid tie inverter to push power into the grid. If you simply want to brake the turbine, then a bank of heaters will dump power, but you don't get anything back! Of course a battery bank can get fully charged, and then you may want to dump power into heaters anyway.

Then you put an inverter between the turbine and the load (or the battery charger or grid tie inverter is programmable), program the inverter output so that it will deliver X amount of power to the load. The MPPT algorithm adjusts the programming so that X is maximised.

If you simply want to brake the turbine, MPPT may not be appropriate, and you'd alter the inverter programming until the turbine speed was what you wanted.

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