iDRY Vacuum Kilns


Solar electricity to power a Nyle l200m

Started by OutlawB52, January 18, 2024, 01:19:26 PM

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Has anyone in our group tried powering a Nyle l200m with solar ? Thanks


No direct experience, but it would certainly be possible if you threw enough $$ of solar panels and batteries at it. I guess the question becomes if it's economically practical?

From what I can see the unit uses about 2,000 watts with the compressor running, and maybe 200 with only the fans. I'm not sure what duty cycle the compressor would run though. Auxiliary heat is 4 kw, but that's only used to get the kiln up to temp faster or run a sterilise cycle. I guess you still need that amount of power available though.  Nyle publish some general power use on their spec sheet that says 250kw/h per 1,000 bd/ft of pine, or 450 kw/h per 1k of Oak. So it looks like your would need ~250 kw/h per week.

From my back of a napkin calcs it seems like it would need a sizeable solar panel and some serious battery storage to run reliably.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Joe Hillmann

You could supplement it with solar at a much more reasonable cost.

You could feed it hot air from solar heat panels and run your fans from a solar electric panel.  I have one that moves air with a 12 volt radiator fan out of a car wired directly to a 36 volt 320 watt panel.  Any time the sun shines the fan spins, the brighter it shines the faster it spins.   It works very well with the solar heat panels because the more sun, the more heat they make and the faster the fan is pulling air from them.  With less sun they make less heat and the fan automatically slows down as well. 

I had the fan connected to the solar panel for about 4 months.  It self started every morning when the sun started shining, it sounded like turbo ready to explode any time the the sun was shining fully on it but it and the wiring never got hot.  I only stopped using it because I needed the solar panel for another project.

Another option would be to connect the output of electric solar panels directly to heating elements in the kiln.  Nichrome wire is cheap and works well for this.  Any time the sun shines the wire will heat up and warm up the inside of the kiln.  This method works well with a solar kiln because the panels can be placed to the side of the kiln where they aren't shading it.  That way the kiln and solar panels are all getting full sun.

All 3 of the methods I suggested avoid the cost of expensive controllers, batteries, and inverters.  Often you can find second hand, 36 volt solar panels for 20 cents a watt.   So if you can avoid the cost of all the other expensive components it can be done fairly cheap.


The least cost is if your local utility has net metering is just install panels and grid tied inverter. Effectively the utility becomes the battery to run the kiln when it needs to without worrying about sun at the sametime. If your utility has a bad or no program than you are looking at a battery based system. There are commercial packaged systems including some that allow panels to be hooked up to them or DIY systems that could cost less if you know what you are doing (or burn your house down if you dont). DIYSolarforum is probably the biggest forum for DIY battery systems but its hard for a beginner to start from scratch. Will Prowse the owner of the forum has multiple YouTube videos.

I believe that if the battery is capable of being connected to the grid that the 30% federal tax credit applies to the equipment and the installation.


I have a massively oversized solar field. So that may work Nyle has advised me to hook up my unused outdoor boiler. Not sure.


Quote from: OutlawB52 on January 23, 2024, 02:47:04 PMNyle has advised me to hook up my unused outdoor boiler

As the supplemental heater needs 4 kw vs ~2 kw for the rest of the system it would make sense to use wood heat for that, especially if you have most of the system already.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)


I have a ~5kw solar panel array on my home and 9kw-hr li-on battery for storage. The system is integrated with utility power so anything the panels don't supply is provided by the utility. It's made by Generac and uses SilFab 380 panels which are very nice and very efficient.

Link if it comes thru:

The biggest issue with motors is the initial current draw to get the shaft moving from stall speed. Usually that about 5x the steady state current draw. So if you have a 5kw motor, you're going to pull 25kw for less than about a second to get the motor started. My 1/2hp flue gas and 3hp blower motors on the furnace cause a noticeable voltage drop (lights dim) when they start, but they do get going and run fine, and so I think as long as you are also utility integrated into the system, you can get the start up current you need.

If you don't have utility power available to integrate, then it gets more interesting. You will need to size the battery and panels to provide the initial current and get the motor going. 30A is not hard to get out of those batteries. So check your compressor and any other motors and see if you can align to those values, and you should be good. If not, capacitors offer a solution. But you'll need to get an Electrical Engineer involved I think.

Oh, one more thought...
If you've got multiple motor loads to run, think about sequencing those motor loads on startup to avoid breaker trips. Start the biggest draw motors first, when there is plenty of power available and no other load to contend with. Let them get started and up to full speed. Start the next highest draw motor second, and it will draw less, and ideally will be under the full available limit on current / power. And then 3rd largest draw, etc. etc.
Best of Luck



Eric's correct about the startup current being considerably larger than the run current for a normal electric motor, and if you are running from an inverter it needs to be able to supply that peak load for that first 1/2 second or so. One way around that may an electronic Soft Start that limits the inrush current as the motor starts spinning. May take a couple more seconds to come up to speed, but it's only drawing slightly over the run current as it does it. That of course is an extra cost, but if it takes your inverter size down from ~8 kw to maybe 3 kw, it probably makes sense.

I know our house heap pump and new refrigerator are both "inverter drive" . Basically soft start / variable speed on their compressors / fans. So there is no sudden power spike as they cycle ON / OFF, and they vary speed according the temperature measured. But the control system for that would be a little more complicated than the "on/off" that the kiln controller provides. But a soft start can probably be wired into the existing circuit to simply ramp up the motor over X seconds. 

Sizing components would be something like...
Solar panels - Able to generate the needed kw/h over the week. 
Batteries - Able to supply the kw load for overnight, and several cloudy days. How many watt / hours do you expect to need before the sun comes out again?
Inverter - Sized to be able to handle the peak load. 

Locally it would be problematic as sometimes it's overcast / raining for a week... So solar panels aren't as popular as in some other areas. A few miles further from the Mt and they get a lot more sun, and even a commercial solar plant. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

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