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> Trying To Go Off The Grid, Solar, wind, etc
BlueVanACD2005
Posted: December 31, 2016 11:24 pm
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I can keep an eye on them... Make sure they stay even by checking them periodically (once a month or something). A quick check revealed nine of twelve were 6.14V, two were 6.13V, and one was 6.15V.

I have a log sheet I use to track how much power I make every month (day to day). I can start writing on the back battery voltages monthly. If one starts to get out of wack I can take some kind of action.. trying to bring that one back up with the others or discharge it a little.

Four more batteries did help stabilize the overall voltage under large loads though.

Only a few more months and I can start building a tower for the wind turbine lol
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BlueVanACD2005
Posted: March 14, 2017 04:30 pm
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Just a quick update:

I have since installed more batteries, for a total of (24) now. https://goo.gl/photos/9sLi9kAHhuUomNvHA The system is very stable, and can last for several days without charging even using all appliances.

I also changed out my electric 50 gallon water heater for a natural gas tankless - this was a great upgrade. Not only does it use almost no electricity, it fits in the closet with the furnace (the 50 gallon was out in a room).

Then I got a new dryer, also natural gas. The inverter can run the electric motor (little trouble starting sometimes, but it makes it), and all the heat is gas.

I am considering using a 25 foot existing tree trunk for the wind turbine, and using lag bolts to attach uni-strut and a pole to stick up another 5 or 10 feet. A tower is a little more work than I'd like at the moment, but it may still happen at a later time.

All in all, I haven't used any electricity from the grid in almost a month.

I still have a little more space on the roof, so I ordered another 1000W of solar panels and a charge controller to add to the system. The sun has been coming out more now this time of year, and its no big deal to top off the batteries each day.
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kellys_eye
Posted: March 14, 2017 07:07 pm
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Nice to see and read about someone that can 'stick it to the man' and go their own way on energy production - even if it's a case of must rather than want.

With a combination like you've described you seem to have covered all the bases thumbsup.gif


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JoOngle
Posted: March 15, 2017 12:09 am
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Interesting indeed, keep us informed! thumbsup.gif


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AwesomeMatt
Posted: March 15, 2017 08:31 am
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I envy your independence.

In other news..

Got a power bill the other day. $85/month, apparently for the last 8 months. For a property without a power meter, power panel, or even a power cable to the building.

Apparently here, if you own a property, the power company can pull the land title, add your info to its billing service, hook you up to the default retailer, and start billing you. There is no ability to cancel it or just say "No thanks, no power, I'll let you know when I want it turned on." Suppose then that they make a typo in your address, so the bills they're sending you get returned to sender as they're being sent to a non-existent address.

Doesn't matter, still liable. ZERO KWh used for 8 months, and I owe something like $700 for the privilege of such. Now, I can change the power retailer (infrastructure is owned and built by a legal monopoly, the retailer that bills you is competitive)... maybe gone with one as cheap as $65 (base fee they'll have to pay the infrastructure company)... had I known I was getting charged. But no, because of their error, they've written themselves a cheque for all the future business until *I* figured it out.

I also might have asked for the power at the location to be "salvaged", where they may come and rip out the transformer and charge you for it (charge you extra if it's new and they haven't had time to recoup their cost). But, that's the only way that you can "turn off" your power and avoid the base fee. You own a property with power run to a pole? You're stuck paying it forever.

I'm so overdue (having just found out about it) that my power is about to be "shut off". I said "Great, that's what I would have asked for 8 months ago." But I think what happens is that they shut off my power AND KEEP BILLING ME.

Actual power here, is like, 1.5 cents/kWh. Ludicrously cheap.

Twenty five years ago the government passed a law where any home generated green power (solar, windmill, water, etc), pushed back into the grid, had to be rewarded at the same billing rate the power company was charging. So if they're charging $0.30/kWh, they have to pay you that much for the power you're adding. Soon after, non-scaling "transmission charge" and "administration fee" started making up more and more of your power bill.

I'm seriously considering a car or forklift battery powerwall. Used but tested-good car batteries are $10 at the junkyard, forklift batteries are generally garbage if underperforming. I figure, get a big inverter, and plug a battery charger into a neighbor's place, pay them for the actual kWh usage in a month, and let it trickle charge my off-grid. It'd pay for itself in about 6 months, but more importantly, screw them, rip off jackasses.
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kellys_eye
Posted: March 15, 2017 11:29 am
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Don't know what the legal status is where you are AM but here in the UK you 'could' argue your case on Maritime Law in that debt can only be created when there is a CONTRACT between the individual parties - if your power company can't show you a contractual agreement (signed by both parties) then they can't make any legal claim for loss against you. They CAN stop providing the power to you but since that what you want anyway then.... meh.

Another method is to send THEM an invoice for YOUR time and trouble reading THEIR meter. Your invoice will, of course, equal what is owed - or exceed it if you feel aggrieved enough! Once they have an invoice they have to enter it into their accounts (legally) and cannot ignore it.

Far too often big business and (increasingly) local government seem to think themselves above the law and rely on the ignorance of the public to press their claims for monies when, if you are intransigent enough, making the right noises and being a bl00dy nuisance in return can often get them to back off. We do this almost on a 'monthly' basis (feels like it anyway laugh.gif ) for one thing or another and have NEVER LOST.

e.g. Our local council are far too quick off the mark to send any outstanding debt to the local 'debt collection' companies who then use intimidation and fake court orders to pursue you - we took them to task and and (at first) had the debt collection agency refer the 'supposed debt' back to the council who then 'discovered' it wasn't enforceable and, since we pushed even further, we got a REFUND for previous years 'bill' too!

Corporations and .gov are far too up themselves and confident of public 'ignorance' which allows themselves the power to deceive and, for the majority of people, get away with it.

Stand up and be counted!


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BlueVanACD2005
Posted: March 15, 2017 12:52 pm
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QUOTE
Got a power bill the other day. $85/month, apparently for the last 8 months. For a property without a power meter, power panel, or even a power cable to the building.


That is insane! How is that legal? It seems like it should be easy to defeat in a small claims court or something.....
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BlueVanACD2005
Posted: December 10, 2017 03:17 pm
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I've been slowly working on this still.... Currently trying to make a battery charger for it. The idea is to charge the batteries from the grid if solar and wind can't keep up. (Then if the grid isn't available, start a 24V generator.....).

At this point, I salvaged a 5000W inverter for parts (user posted image). I kept the case and original transformer (FETs blew up for some reason). The idea is to keep it super simple - I have a voltage-controlled relay that will turn the charger on if the batteries get low, and off once they are charged again. (Module)

The general idea is to use the inverter's transformer and run its output directly into a 100A bridge rectifier, and right to the batteries. Originally, this inverter was supposed to be able to charge the batteries at 80A. I'm wondering what I will get when I hook it all up with no regulation. Putting 240VAC into the XFMR, I get 32VAC. Figuring on 1.4V drop through the rectifier, that leaves about 30.6V to charge 24V batteries. This doesn't seem too out of character for a non-regulated battery charger.... Think about the open circuit voltage of a standard car battery charger vs the battery voltage.

What I'm getting at with all this is: until I functionally test it, I'm not sure what to expect. I'm trying to come up with a plan to regulate it if I have to, but want to keep it simple. I thought about using a dimmer type PWM circuit on the 240VAC side (Like this: Dimmer).

Any ideas?
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BlueVanACD2005
Posted: December 18, 2017 02:00 pm
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I ended up buying a cheapy dimmer module. It works alright, I can adjust the current from 0-100 Amps (any more and I will trip the DC breaker).

I set it for about 25 Amps right now, just to make sure everything works right. It seems pretty good. I have it set to come on at 22.8V and off at 24.2V. It seems to cycle quite a bit. I am thinking about turning up the current a little (maybe 35-45 A) and setting the cut-off voltage to 25.6V (the next available setting). It seems like it's easy for it to push the voltage up temporarily, but then it also falls back down fast.

Spenser
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MacFromOK
Posted: December 19, 2017 12:03 am
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Have you considered a variable charging rate according to battery voltage or load level, rather than just on/off with a relay? Maybe use an FET or IGBT.

Dunno, might be more trouble than it's worth. Just a thought.

Thanks for the update. beer.gif


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AwesomeMatt
Posted: December 19, 2017 10:34 am
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30.4v is too high for a 24v system. Max out I've seen is 30v, and if you actually hold them there most batteries will boil.

29v should be fine, 28v would be fine indefinitely. 24.8 is too low, that's a mostly-dead battery I'd say. At least 27v to even hit full charge, though.. I'd target 28.
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BlueVanACD2005
Posted: December 20, 2017 01:33 pm
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I do like the variable thought. I just make this sort of quick-and-dirty to keep the batteries up. I could see this as a future improvement. smile.gif

QUOTE
30.4v is too high for a 24v system. Max out I've seen is 30v, and if you actually hold them there most batteries will boil.

For sure. That is the open circuit voltage from the transformer. The voltage relay cuts out the charger before it gets this high.

Its been working pretty good. I did turn up the current to about 30 amps, and have it set to come on at 22.8V, and off at 25.6V. The intent is not to fully charge the batteries... I just want to keep them somewhat charged to get by until solar or wind power takes over. It beats using the distribution panel to switch feeds from the inverter to the grid, and then back - every time the batteries get low.

Spenser

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AwesomeMatt
Posted: December 21, 2017 06:50 am
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QUOTE
and off at 25.6V. The intent is not to fully charge the batteries... I just want to keep them somewhat charged to get by until solar or wind power takes over.


25.6v is so low you might even be damaging your batteries by letting them sit that low. They'll start to sulfate at that voltage.

https://www.powerstream.com/SLA.htm <-- 13.5 minimum for standby (27v for a 24v system).

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article...ad_acid_battery <-- "The recommended float voltage of most flooded lead acid batteries is 2.25V to 2.27V/cell. Large stationary batteries at 25C (77F) typically float at 2.25V/cell." ... Minimum 27v.
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BlueVanACD2005
Posted: December 21, 2017 07:53 pm
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These batteries don't get to float all the time, except during sunny days. The purpose of the charger is to keep the batteries from getting too low and causing damage.

For example, if today isn't sunny and the batteries do not get fully charged, then drop below 22.8V tonight - the charger will kick on. Then off again at 25.6V. Once the sun comes up, the solar can take over and charge them the rest of the way (seems to float at 27.5V).

This is more of a winter time issue, summer time is better. They end up fully charged and floating almost every day.

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AwesomeMatt
Posted: December 21, 2017 10:31 pm
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Ohhh.... I get it now.

That makes more sense to me.
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fangda
Posted: December 28, 2017 07:27 am
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