Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: tjnamtiw On: Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:15 pm

McGiever wrote:Is your 2000 watt inverter "surge rated" at the typical 2X normal max running watts? (4000 watts surge in your case)

Curious as to the in-rush current causing this tripping. As you say, 1/0 wire is never going to be any issue.
What's the DC voltage? Are the 6X6 volt batteries all in series? If so, this can possibly be a "bottleneck" for peak amps.
Larry has his 4X6 volt batteries in series but they are physically huge in size with equally huge lead plates inside, but only has #3 wire size jumpers throughout.

How did you make a chest freezer be a fridge? Did you just make/allow a higher temp setpoint on it?


Yea, it's a Xantrex Pro SW with 4000 amp surge but as a later poster confirmed, fridges and freezers can, on occasion, demand huge starting currents. I even went as far as to put one of the 'miracle' surge capacitors on the freezer but no go. It only happens once a week or two but you need an alarm to warn you that the thing has tripped.
As for the freezer to fridge conversion, I bought a digital temperature control from Aliexpress in China for around $12 including shipping! Wired it to a solid state relay for higher current (also from Aliexpress) and enclosed the whole thing. Ran the sensor into the freezer/fridge and taped it to a bottle of water for a more constant temp source. Works great to keep my beverages and a few other things at 35 degrees. Since it's a chest freezer, opening the door doesn't lose all the cold. It cycles maybe once every 1/2 hour to hour for 5 minutes max sitting out in the 100 degree garage.
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shi ... 92327.html

Oh, I have my 6 batteries wired as 12 volt and three sets in parallel. It can go about 3 days without sun. Gotta watch the specific gravity though as getting below 50% on any deep cycle battery is death on longevity.
tjnamtiw
 
Other Heating: Sopka Cook stove


Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: davidmcbeth3 On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:28 am

McGiever wrote:Everyone else without your car will have to do it another way.
But thanks for stopping by to say so.


You can use any car to keep the frig stuff cold ... run it off the car battery when running ... every 4 hours or so.

Just an option for folks to know about. Who wants a generator? Gotta run them at least once or twice a month etc. Pain in butt.
davidmcbeth3
 
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea/anthra
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:13 am

Looks great Larry. Keep us posted on the performance.

Have to run a generator once per month? I am not sure what you are doing, but my experience over the last 6 years has been quite different. I start my 5000w generator about every 6 months, and replace the gas annually. I have used it for 2 power outages in that time, and it performed as expected. 5000w requires some thought about what to run in the house, but at least it allows us to have water.

If we were not on a well I would probably consider an inverter for my truck.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: tjnamtiw On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:13 am

davidmcbeth3 wrote:
McGiever wrote:Everyone else without your car will have to do it another way.
But thanks for stopping by to say so.


You can use any car to keep the frig stuff cold ... run it off the car battery when running ... every 4 hours or so.

Just an option for folks to know about. Who wants a generator? Gotta run them at least once or twice a month etc. Pain in butt.


You still need a sizable inverter and good, heavy duty leads AND gas. Without the heavy leads, you'll drop so much voltage across the skinny leads when a big current is drawn, that the inverter will shut down on low voltage. You will often see this scenario on forums where people can't understand why their inverters won't work. In the case of a major electrical grid attack, there won't BE any gas for a long time. People will literally be fighting to get gas for their generators and cars.
tjnamtiw
 
Other Heating: Sopka Cook stove

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: McGiever On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:44 am

People on parts of the east coast still have very vivid memories of Hurrican Sandy and the losses of basic living necessities.

When strife hits elsewhere it is a darn shame...when strife hits YOU (or yours) it is a friggen tragedy. :o
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:06 am

My generator has a total run time of about 50 hours, it's 12 years old and I run it for 30 minutes every 6 months roughly. It's important to shut it down by turning off the fuel valve so it uses up any gas in the carburetor.
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Overmodified/Bored out Clayton 1537
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Awesome Size

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: lsayre On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:03 pm

Rob R. wrote:Looks great Larry. Keep us posted on the performance.

Have to run a generator once per month? I am not sure what you are doing, but my experience over the last 6 years has been quite different. I start my 5000w generator about every 6 months, and replace the gas annually. I have used it for 2 power outages in that time, and it performed as expected. 5000w requires some thought about what to run in the house, but at least it allows us to have water.

If we were not on a well I would probably consider an inverter for my truck.


I don't even own a generator. I do have a rectifier (battery charger) as part of the solar install. It will only be used when the sun can't charge the batteries.

So far (since Sunday) there have been no issues with the system keeping up with running our refrigerator/freezer and our deep freezer. I need to find more loads to apply to it.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: lsayre On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:07 pm

Come to think of it, in a round about way the batteries and inverter serve as our our generator, and (thanks to the 4 solar panels) the sun is our generators fuel supply.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)


Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:27 pm

SOunds like a decent system.

I converted my sisters farm house from Wind (broken turbine) to Solar. I am using 2 x 230 Watt panels right now (4 x 250 watt panels yet to be installed). FM60 Outback Controller, and 12 x 6 volt golf cart batteries. 690aHr total. Run into 2 x 2000W Xentrex? Full sine wave Inverters. The house is completely OFF GRID. We do have a generator backup if needed. never had to run it. Mostly a weekend get away. Been running for 2 years now, check the water levels every month or so, but very efficient use of hte controller and the batteries stay charged nicely.
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WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: tjnamtiw On: Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:25 pm

Nice setup WNY! Once you get those last 4 panels on there, it will be ready for full time use! Plenty of battery capacity, which is what I lack. Those MPPT controllers are great. Mine is a Morningstar 60 amp, which I have hooked to a laptop for monitoring.
tjnamtiw
 
Other Heating: Sopka Cook stove

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: Rob R. On: Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:25 am

lsayre wrote:
Rob R. wrote:Looks great Larry. Keep us posted on the performance.

Have to run a generator once per month? I am not sure what you are doing, but my experience over the last 6 years has been quite different. I start my 5000w generator about every 6 months, and replace the gas annually. I have used it for 2 power outages in that time, and it performed as expected. 5000w requires some thought about what to run in the house, but at least it allows us to have water.

If we were not on a well I would probably consider an inverter for my truck.


I don't even own a generator. I do have a rectifier (battery charger) as part of the solar install. It will only be used when the sun can't charge the batteries.

So far (since Sunday) there have been no issues with the system keeping up with running our refrigerator/freezer and our deep freezer. I need to find more loads to apply to it.


My comment about the generator was directed at davidmcbeth, who had stated that generators have to be run once or twice per month...which is not accurate.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: davidmcbeth3 On: Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:45 am

Rob R. wrote:
My comment about the generator was directed at davidmcbeth, who had stated that generators have to be run once or twice per month...which is not accurate.


My generator's manufacturer says once a month for 30 min .... what your generator's manufacturer requires may vary.
davidmcbeth3
 
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea/anthra
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: KLook On: Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:25 pm

At the correctional facility, the generators were started and run for 30 min every week with a load test being done every month.
I built several homes with generators built into the system from the start, mostly propane fired. These units ran every week on a timed schedule. Buying a generator and calling it a back up generator may not be what the manufacturer had in mind for it.

Kevin
KLook
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Other Heating: Gas boiler backup/main
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: lsayre On: Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:06 pm

Update: Roughly one month plus one week of running the homes refrigerator/freezer and deep freezer (simultaneously) on merely a 1,500 Watt inverter, and not a single inverter "trip" (from these sources) so far.

And along the way we have ran the following items off the inverter several to multiple times:

Vacuum
Microwave (the only thing that has caused an occasional inverter trip, it being a 1,500 input and 1,100 output Watt microwave. Our Kill-A-Watt meter says 1,460 Watts.)
Bread Machine
Washing Machine
Portable Induction Cooktop
Coffee Pot
Coffee Grinder
Toaster
Others I can't even remember right now

Plus so far we have not had to run the battery charger once. The solar panels have been doing all of the battery recharging.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)

Re: Small off grid solar system ... I'm taking the solar plunge

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:51 pm

Larry - Good Job. Just takes a little conservation, but looks like you are mastering it. !
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon