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Author Topic: Solar Power  (Read 4441 times)

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Offline Tom Sawyer

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Solar Power
« on: June 29, 2005, 06:38:49 AM »
My family and I are moving to Aceh Indonesia at the end of August to work with a development organisation in the rebuilding process after the tsunami last December.  The town that we will be living in has electricity from 6pm to 6am.  My question is for those of you who have experience with solar power.  Can you help me figure out a system that uses solar or batteries during the day, and then the grid during the night?  The load would not be huge - DC fridge, computer, maybe a fan or two, radio/CD player.

Can you point me to good websites that would help?

Thanks!

Tom

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2005, 07:27:33 AM »

  Most of what you want, can be purchased to run on 12V DC (Auto or RV stores). An inverter will be required for the computer, but, the modified square wave, MAY cause problems with the monitor or programs. 

  A battery back-up (UPS) might be the way to go, if you jumper from the battery in the UPS device to your regular battery system.

  We used to use Golf Car Batteries, Telephone booster Batteries (LARGE)
and on occasion, Heavy Equipment Batteries.

  It will take several Solar Panels to keep things charged to full potential.

  135 Watt panels = 11 Amps charge potential. At 12V, the amp draw can be the highest. Haven't messed with Inverters in years, but, solid state (Electronic) component might offer less amp draw with 120V appliances.

  Have you done a "Google" for Solar applications ???
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline submarinesailor

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2005, 07:58:20 AM »
Tom,

Back when I worked at the Pentagon, we had a temporary installation of a solar concentrating system.  On the system we had, the solar energy was concentrated on one side of a Stirling engine heat receiver the Stirling engine converted the heat to mechanical motion, which in turn was convert to electricity, about 25kw.  The other side of this receiver had a set of natural gas burners.  So, during the day it was solar powered and at night it was powered by natural gas.  BTW, we were told it could be propane powered instead of natural gas.  This was about 7 years ago and I know that the National Sun Lab at Sandia National Labs has been working on better models. 

Check out their web site:  http://www.energylan.sandia.gov/sunlab/overview.htm#dish.

In addition, they have a list of vendors currently supplying this market, http://www.energylan.sandia.gov/sunlab/industry.htm.  We worked with SAIC and STM for the Pentagon project.

If you have any questions about this technology, sent me a PM and Ill send my phone numbers/call you.

Bruce/subsailor

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2005, 11:00:19 AM »


  Good link, Bruce. I am familiar with Sterling Engines, --Models.  Never thought they would enough power to run a generator.

  Gotta nother project to think about.  8) 8) ::) ::)
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2005, 11:24:30 AM »
Tom
Unless electricity is TERRIBLY expensive when the grid IS on..........I would not recomend using solar power...............rather buy a trickle charger and a series of batteries once you are over there.......... AS stated you have 2 options, to use 12 volt appliances, or to use an inverter.........inverters have an internal drain of thier own..........BUt 12v stuff is kinda costly , I recon I would buy RV microwave and fridge etc. then just run off your batteries in the day and charge at nigt , simple........ :)
Also run a freezer at night.....freeze ice and it will hold all day.........a fridge is the biggest drain on your batteries ;)
    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!

Offline raycon

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2005, 11:30:51 AM »
If you're near a big body of water check out your marine salvage yards for sutff. Local boat classifieds sections can be a gold mine for solar panels and small diesel generators.

Maybe dump the desktop PC and get a newer laptop with DVD, TV-tuner (if available) and nice set of battery powered speakers. A few frosty screen savers may help as well.
Lot of stuff..

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2005, 11:36:12 AM »


  Good link, Bruce. I am familiar with Sterling Engines, --Models.  Never thought they would enough power to run a generator.

  Gotta nother project to think about.  8) 8) ::) ::)
I have to think it was about 7 feet tall to power 25kw gen?
Also I have been planning on building one to run off of my wood boiler..........along with the chiller ;)
    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2005, 11:44:52 AM »
You need to also calculate how many things in total you will be running add it up and then well help you figure how many batteries you wil need........As far as a computer, if you go 12v just use a auto adapter....

the newer vector square wave inverters have overcome difficuties runnig this kinda stuff also.
    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2005, 12:34:58 PM »

 I kinda figgered ole Buzz wood know some.  ;) ;) ;D

  A 1000 watt output, continual, = a lotta lektrik.
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline twoodward15

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2005, 02:34:48 PM »
Hmmm. why not buy a small 3 kw generator and put 3 galons of gas in it every day????  Cheap electricity for sure.  I'm guessing even a 2kw machine would work fine!!!  I have an Onan 5kw and it will run 12 hours (not at full load, it runs 8 hours at full load) on a tank of gas (almost 5 gals.) and have a bit left over.
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline beenthere

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2005, 03:18:30 PM »
My family and I are moving to Aceh Indonesia at the end of August to work with a development organisation in the rebuilding process after the tsunami last December.  The town that we will be living in has electricity from 6pm to 6am.  My question is for those of you who have experience with solar power.  Can you help me figure out a system that uses solar or batteries during the day, and then the grid during the night?  The load would not be huge - DC fridge, computer, maybe a fan or two, radio/CD player.

Can you point me to good websites that would help?

Thanks!
Tom

Sounds exciting. What is the town and house like that you will be living in? And will others be there with you who are also 'foreigners'?  What do the locals use in this town for fan and fridge and radio during the day?  How much 'equipment' can you lug along for your family versus how much can you purchase once you get there?  How long will you plan to be there?  So many questions - sorry - but they seem relative to your upcomming experience.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline ADfields

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2005, 05:56:48 PM »
You need to get the frig off the plug and get an old Serval gas frig.   They (Serval) still make them but the new ones cant be rebuilt when they kick the bucket 50 years or so down the road.   I have 3 of them at our house now running on natril gas but tey will run on LP or even just a candle flame. ;)   Also 2 of the three I have I use as a deep freezer just by turning up the flame.  The freezers are in our garage and the heat they give off to the room stops it from freezing in Alaska temps down to around 30 bellow if we keep the door shut. :P  I pay $34 a month (buddget billing) for the gas, thats for cooking, heatting watter, the 3 Servas's and back up to my wood heat.

Good luck to you. 8) 8) 8)
Andy

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2005, 06:31:54 PM »


  Had a Servel in Arkysaw. It had a ice cube maker, but, we turned it off.

  1 fill of 100 gallons of Propane would run us all year.  Took it into town to get it working. They had NO clue. My Dad looked at it and found a spider web-cocoon across the venturi, so it woodn't let the miniscule gas flow out. Took that out and it ran for many years. IT was a 50's Model.  ;D ;D ;D ;D
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline Tom Sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2005, 09:00:55 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  There will be other foreigners there as well.  I am doing this research for them as well as us.  I have never been there, so I don't know too much about what it will be like.  I don't think that locals generally have fridges (or computers!).  We pretty much have to buy everything once we get there, but I know that there are a few companies there that sell DC appliances.  We are planning to be there for 2 years and after that we will decide if we will stay longer.

Buzz, the foreigners that are already there are doing exactly what you said - bank of batteries and charge them at night.  However, they way the have it set up, they have to switch cables every morning and night.  Is there some way to set it up so that all you have to do if flip a switch?

The generator is another option, but wouldn't the noise be a problem?

Thanks again for your help.  What a great place this is 8) 8)


Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2005, 10:09:40 PM »
Sure....you can go as far as to build/buy a setup that will do everything automatic!!!
BUT if you want cheap and simple  we can set ya up )).............

First we need to know the line voltage there.....and weather you want to run an inverter or 12v. An inverter to do what you said and a bit more will be $230 or so. ;)
    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!

Offline Tom Sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2005, 11:04:35 PM »
Buzz,  they use 220V, 50hz.  I am thinking that we would be using an inverter for most things, with the possibility of buying a DC fridge.  There is a company there that specializes in solar power and DC appliances that sells fridges.  They also sell wind power stuff and at least one hydro power generator.  Their web site is http://www.containedenergy.com.

We want to keep this as simple as possible - flip a switch in the morning when the electricity is switched off and then flip it back again in the evening.  I don't think we would need battery power for lights, as the electricity comes on when it gets dark.

If we would be running a DC fridge, my laptop computer with a printer, 2 fans, and a CD player for music, charging the batteries with a trickle charger at night, how many batteries would we need?  The laptop could also be used with its own battery much of the time.

Tom

Offline Jason_WI

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2005, 01:50:59 AM »
First thing you need to figgure out is how much juice (DC current in Amps) all you DC stuff is going to take at 12Volts. Add it up and then multiply that by the number of hours you need to run off of battery. This will give you the amount of amp hours your battery capacity needs to be. Multiply this number by 50% and add it to the total for a cushion.

They sell auto switches that will switch from grid to off grid backup power. They are a few hundred bux depending on the wattage.

For solar the best price I could find is $3.30 a watt for prefabbed panels. You really don't save much by building your own.

They sell true sine wave inverters now that should work with monitors and switching supplies.

Jason
Norwood LM2000, 20HP Honda, 3 bed extentions. Norwood Edgemate edger. Gehl 4835SXT

Offline twoodward15

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2005, 07:44:40 AM »
Generators are extremely quiet now.  you can get one of those little portable hond/yamaha/ brand x 1.5 kw totaly enclosed generators (about the size of 2 car batteries maybe a bit bigger and really light, and they are so quiet that you can talk in a normal tone just a couple feet (as in less than 10 ) away!  They are really efficient and quiet, should last you a couple years no problem.  They are expensive but you can find them cheap on e-bay sometimes or you could buy one there.  If you are going to spend $500 to $1000 on solar, you can spend it on the generator and take it anywhere. I'm sure it would run all day on a couple gallons of gas.  Check them out!!!  You could always get a bigger generator for the same money and run a window air conditioner with it to keep cool!!!
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline Tom Sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2005, 08:26:05 AM »
Towardwood15, the more I look at it, the more it seems to me that the generator might be the best way to go.  The company in Indonesia that I mentioned above sells Honda 2KW generators that run on LPG gas.  Not sure of their prices though.

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2005, 10:32:39 AM »
Tom
Do what ya like ..but.........
Be aware that any GAS burning generator on the market only produces the stated amount of power at its MAX rpm 3600. (high speed wear out quickly)
Most all of the generators available to consumers are NOT rated for continuious duty.
You will wear out one of those little 2k units in a month or two.
a small fast running genset on propane would last a little longer....cleaner /cooler/ but will wear out quickly.
the generators that will hold up to continued service are ALL diesel and all 1800 rpm
Regardles , I want a report after you have run the generator for a month :D
The big picture is at    utterpower.com
From my experience ...you have a great advantage in your set up with some grid power.............MIght want to make provisions to air condition at least on room to get away to.
 :)
Most conventional engine driven generators are fueled by either gasoline, diesel, or natural gas.

Gasoline generators are generally the most common and can be very inexpensive. Many however, are not of the highest quality and may not provide a very long service life. When buying a gasoline generator for all but the most temporary aplications, try to select one with a pressurized lubrication system and an overhead valve train. These models will last longer and be more fuel efficient than their lawnmower engine type counterparts. Some of the high quality gasoline powered units ($1000)will provide 1000 hours or more of dependable service.
A high end gen will run for 83 days at 12 hours a day, before it pukes.

    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!


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