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  • Off the grid in SoCal

    Hello folks,
    After a couple $270 power bills over the winter to keep my ALL electric house warm, I installed a wood burning stove (my second one) and decided to build my own solar system. My only requirements were to not touch the existing on-the-grid house wiring so I can "call" it a back up, emergency system. Especially since my power has went off over a dozen times in the last year (long story). I wanted to be able to plug in a few extension cords and power up my "usual 110V stuff" like the swamp cooler, fridge, space heaters, washer, tv, internet, light, coffee pot, microwave, etc and my 220V stove and dryer when the power shuts off regularly. I also wanted to be able to track the sun east to west and the north to south azimuth somehow to get the maximum out of my panels. The two month build by myself was ever changing as I came across deals on the parts and learning just enough knowledge to be dangerous. After my Frank Sinatra I DID IT MY WAY, I've ended up with two separate, pieced together, off-the-grid systems.
    System #1 is finished and online 24/7: 450W from 9 (3 new, 6 used) Grape poly 12V/50W RV panels in parallel, three Grape 10A PWM CCs on battery 1, 4, and 8, eight 29DC 12V batteries in parallel and a 1500/3000W 12V to 110V modified sine wave car type inverter on battery number 4.
    System #2 is still a work in progress but I have all the parts now finally: 1860w from 6 used REC 36v/310w poly panels in parallel, one (so far) 36V/60A MPPT CC, 12 29DC 12V batteries in sets of three in series all joining in parallel at the inverter, and a 1500/3000W 36V to 220V pure sine wave Reliable inverter.
    I'm still working out the tracking system. The panels frame is mounted on three posts and pivots for east west tracking and the posts can be moved up and down for the north south azimuth. For now, I'm manually tilting and locking down the panels 3 times a day. The goal is to set up a non-electric, ancient gravity/hydraulic tilting system that I can set in motion once every morning in 5 minutes and forget it. Or just leave it locked down flat when I wont be home.
    The 110V system powers up most of my "usual 110V stuff" that are within a few feet of each other. The 220V system is going to power up the stove and dryer one at a time hopefully. And, I'm splitting off a 110V from it to run the finicky microwave with pure sine wave and the swamp cooler because of it's remote location. Cant wait to have that system up and running this week with a little luck and good weather.
    My TV let's me know, long before the 110V inverter builtin warning does, that my batteries are getting low because the TV shuts off when the fridge kicks on. When that happens, I just swap one 6-way 110V plug and I'm back on the grid.
    I stayed within my arbitrary budget of $3000 and ended up with 2.31KW, hoping to say goodbye to the power company 90% of the time. The 20 new batteries alone were 2 grand with tax after giving Walmart and Pep Boys (Price matched Walmart) 20 old battery cores I already had in old cars and trucks out back. I have a lot of junk. I bought good used panels wherever possible. I built the frame out of old scrap I had laying around out back on my two acres, including using two old aluminum sail boat masts for the frame's backbones. I stole car battery cables and made my own battery cables out of several old jumper cable sets double, tripled and quadrupled up and 100A aluminum supply wire that I had left over from when I handbuilt my house over 30 years ago. I'm old.
    My only regret is that I didn't do this 30 years ago. Better late than never.
    I'm also I may try to build two wind generators out of old ceiling fans I have, since it so damn windy out here.
    Now I'm gonna read all your posts over the summer and realize all the things I did wrong. Several of my so-called friends have conned me into building solar systems for them. I guess I better learn how to do it right, for them.
    James


    Attached Files

  • #2
    Originally posted by onesmallonebig View Post
    Hello folks,
    After a couple $270 power bills over the winter to keep my ALL electric house warm, I installed a wood burning stove (my second one) and decided to build my own solar system. My only requirements were to not touch the existing on-the-grid house wiring so I can "call" it a back up, emergency system. Especially since my power has went off over a dozen times in the last year (long story). I wanted to be able to plug in a few extension cords and power up my "usual 110V stuff" like the swamp cooler, fridge, space heaters, washer, tv, internet, light, coffee pot, microwave, etc and my 220V stove and dryer when the power shuts off regularly. I also wanted to be able to track the sun east to west and the north to south azimuth somehow to get the maximum out of my panels. The two month build by myself was ever changing as I came across deals on the parts and learning just enough knowledge to be dangerous. After my Frank Sinatra I DID IT MY WAY, I've ended up with two separate, pieced together, off-the-grid systems.
    System #1 is finished and online 24/7: 450W from 9 (3 new, 6 used) Grape poly 12V/50W RV panels in parallel, three Grape 10A PWM CCs on battery 1, 4, and 8, eight 29DC 12V batteries in parallel and a 1500/3000W 12V to 110V modified sine wave car type inverter on battery number 4.
    System #2 is still a work in progress but I have all the parts now finally: 1860w from 6 used REC 36v/310w poly panels in parallel, one (so far) 36V/60A MPPT CC, 12 29DC 12V batteries in sets of three in series all joining in parallel at the inverter, and a 1500/3000W 36V to 220V pure sine wave Reliable inverter.
    I'm still working out the tracking system. The panels frame is mounted on three posts and pivots for east west tracking and the posts can be moved up and down for the north south azimuth. For now, I'm manually tilting and locking down the panels 3 times a day. The goal is to set up a non-electric, ancient gravity/hydraulic tilting system that I can set in motion once every morning in 5 minutes and forget it. Or just leave it locked down flat when I wont be home.
    The 110V system powers up most of my "usual 110V stuff" that are within a few feet of each other. The 220V system is going to power up the stove and dryer one at a time hopefully. And, I'm splitting off a 110V from it to run the finicky microwave with pure sine wave and the swamp cooler because of it's remote location. Cant wait to have that system up and running this week with a little luck and good weather.
    My TV let's me know, long before the 110V inverter builtin warning does, that my batteries are getting low because the TV shuts off when the fridge kicks on. When that happens, I just swap one 6-way 110V plug and I'm back on the grid.
    I stayed within my arbitrary budget of $3000 and ended up with 2.31KW, hoping to say goodbye to the power company 90% of the time. The 20 new batteries alone were 2 grand with tax after giving Walmart and Pep Boys (Price matched Walmart) 20 old battery cores I already had in old cars and trucks out back. I have a lot of junk. I bought good used panels wherever possible. I built the frame out of old scrap I had laying around out back on my two acres, including using two old aluminum sail boat masts for the frame's backbones. I stole car battery cables and made my own battery cables out of several old jumper cable sets double, tripled and quadrupled up and 100A aluminum supply wire that I had left over from when I handbuilt my house over 30 years ago. I'm old.
    My only regret is that I didn't do this 30 years ago. Better late than never.
    I'm also I may try to build two wind generators out of old ceiling fans I have, since it so damn windy out here.
    Now I'm gonna read all your posts over the summer and realize all the things I did wrong. Several of my so-called friends have conned me into building solar systems for them. I guess I better learn how to do it right, for them.
    James

    1. You have a lot of reading to do.


    2. Time to sell all your electric appliances that could be operated on gas.


    3. While the array in the photo looks nice you will get very little power from those large panels with the small ones shading them.


    4. There's a lot more about your set up that's wrong that without being corrected will result in premature failure, if not an outright flaming disaster .


    5. When in doubt, go back to #1

    2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

    Comment


    • #3
      I live in (cold winter) northern ILL in an all electric home. Without a doubt the best way to
      accomplish this is with net metering, no batteries. Burning wood works for some, I do not
      care for that labor intensive, constant attention, dangerous method.

      There are energy star appliances where they can help, but the key is matching up the
      energy generation to use. That means knowing how many KWH are involved for each
      item. Today my latest Mii-Split heat pumps with up to 33 SEER are saving huge amounts
      of energy. There exist units directly powered by panels, with line backup if you have line
      outage issues. It all works, minimum attention, no panel tracking or troublesome batteries.
      Read all about it here. Bruce Roe

      Comment


      • #4
        See/reread Littleharbor's post several times, especially #1. Avoid sales pitches and pay attention to reality.

        Depending on how serious you are, the following order of priorities will produce the most use reduction which is the first step taken before any serious attempt at lower energy bills:

        Then, get on a war footing with energy use:
        - Turn stuff off.
        - Turn stuff on only when needed.
        - Try not to need to use stuff. Instead, and before turning something on, use your head and some of what you'll learn from doing # 1 of Littleharbor's post.
        - For tasks that can only be done using electricity (food preservation, lighting, communication, etc.) find energy efficient appliance, but be mindful of high(er) initial costs that can make such chaneouts cost ineffective. Then, avoid using those appliances as much as possible.
        - Do not use electricity for tasks that can be done by other energy sources. For example, heating water, or most anything with electricity is the thermodynamic and cost effective equivalent of cutting butter with a chain saw.

        Before you do anything else, depending on how serious you are about it, learn about PV and residential applications. What you have now looks like and probably is a lot of fun, and while it's hard to impossible to offer serious and helpful particular comment from a few paragraphs and a photo, it sounds (reads) and looks like you need more education in the basics and practical aspects of residential PV applications.

        Welcome to the neighborhood and the forum of few(er) illusions. Or, try the brand X forums if you want less candid comment.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by onesmallonebig View Post
          Hello folks,
          After a couple $270 power bills over the winter to keep my ALL electric house warm, I installed a wood burning stove (my second one) and decided to build my own solar system. My only requirements were to not touch the existing on-the-grid house wiring so I can "call" it a back up, emergency system. Especially since my power has went off over a dozen times in the last year (long story). I wanted to be able to plug in a few extension cords and power up my "usual 110V stuff" like the swamp cooler, fridge, space heaters, washer, tv, internet, light, coffee pot, microwave, etc and my 220V stove and dryer when the power shuts off regularly. I also wanted to be able to track the sun east to west and the north to south azimuth somehow to get the maximum out of my panels. The two month build by myself was ever changing as I came across deals on the parts and learning just enough knowledge to be dangerous. After my Frank Sinatra I DID IT MY WAY, I've ended up with two separate, pieced together, off-the-grid systems.
          System #1 is finished and online 24/7: 450W from 9 (3 new, 6 used) Grape poly 12V/50W RV panels in parallel, three Grape 10A PWM CCs on battery 1, 4, and 8, eight 29DC 12V batteries in parallel and a 1500/3000W 12V to 110V modified sine wave car type inverter on battery number 4.
          System #2 is still a work in progress but I have all the parts now finally: 1860w from 6 used REC 36v/310w poly panels in parallel, one (so far) 36V/60A MPPT CC, 12 29DC 12V batteries in sets of three in series all joining in parallel at the inverter, and a 1500/3000W 36V to 220V pure sine wave Reliable inverter.
          I'm still working out the tracking system. The panels frame is mounted on three posts and pivots for east west tracking and the posts can be moved up and down for the north south azimuth. For now, I'm manually tilting and locking down the panels 3 times a day. The goal is to set up a non-electric, ancient gravity/hydraulic tilting system that I can set in motion once every morning in 5 minutes and forget it. Or just leave it locked down flat when I wont be home.
          The 110V system powers up most of my "usual 110V stuff" that are within a few feet of each other. The 220V system is going to power up the stove and dryer one at a time hopefully. And, I'm splitting off a 110V from it to run the finicky microwave with pure sine wave and the swamp cooler because of it's remote location. Cant wait to have that system up and running this week with a little luck and good weather.
          My TV let's me know, long before the 110V inverter builtin warning does, that my batteries are getting low because the TV shuts off when the fridge kicks on. When that happens, I just swap one 6-way 110V plug and I'm back on the grid.
          I stayed within my arbitrary budget of $3000 and ended up with 2.31KW, hoping to say goodbye to the power company 90% of the time. The 20 new batteries alone were 2 grand with tax after giving Walmart and Pep Boys (Price matched Walmart) 20 old battery cores I already had in old cars and trucks out back. I have a lot of junk. I bought good used panels wherever possible. I built the frame out of old scrap I had laying around out back on my two acres, including using two old aluminum sail boat masts for the frame's backbones. I stole car battery cables and made my own battery cables out of several old jumper cable sets double, tripled and quadrupled up and 100A aluminum supply wire that I had left over from when I handbuilt my house over 30 years ago. I'm old.
          My only regret is that I didn't do this 30 years ago. Better late than never.
          I'm also I may try to build two wind generators out of old ceiling fans I have, since it so damn windy out here.
          Now I'm gonna read all your posts over the summer and realize all the things I did wrong. Several of my so-called friends have conned me into building solar systems for them. I guess I better learn how to do it right, for them.
          James

          James,

          If I may add some more? I started with a 4 decade old all electric home somewhat like
          you. Of course do what you can to minimize heat loss. After I moved in, I noticed the
          electric meter was just sailing around to the tune of 300W (every hour of the year, annual
          2600 KWH) with everything turned off, fridge and furnace not running. Using a Kill-A-Watt
          meter over a couple years, the phantom loads (using power when turned off) were tracked
          down. It was a hundred small things. Poor efficiency control transformers for the door
          bell, garage door openers (3), furnaces (2), printers, older TVs, smoke detectors, CO
          detectors, and other electronics, battery maintainers, more. The trans in the microwave
          actually used more energy in the off state, than was used for a few minutes cooking each day.

          My fridge-freezer was found to be using 2.4 KWH a day. I replaced it with an identical
          looking Energy Star unit using 1 KWH a day. By replacements, modifications, and simple
          turning off, I was able to pare phantom loads down to about 60w, for things like GFIs and
          security devices. Repurposing scrap happens a lot here too.

          The main problems here are minimizing energy use, and generating that much with
          solar. Small wind can contribute little for most locations. The Mini Split heat pump technology
          has dramatically reduced my HVAC energy consumption. Some here can operate down
          to -25 deg F with a 25 SEER. Others with a -13F limit are 33 SEER. Some mini splits can
          be run directly from solar panels (covers outages) or from the line.


          OcHpN.JPG


          Solar panels can generate lots of KWH, this one does 28,500 KWH annually even under
          ILL clouds. The energy is not of much use unless it is available when needed. You will
          discover the amount of energy batteries can store is tiny, for me my net metering storage
          is infinite, free, zero maintenance, and 100% efficient.


          Ap18PV1.JPG



          Trackers are a lot of trouble for a sizable array, esp for extreme weather. My fixed array
          was designed around performance under clouds, but I claim it out performs a tracker by
          using extra panels.

          The only batteries here are hand held or for starting Internal Combustion engines. If
          outages are not too extensive, a generator will very simply cover them. It will be needed
          anyway for a battery plant.

          I would be very cautious of running space heaters on extension cords, even if the ratings
          seem OK. Subject to long, heavy use, contacts warm up, oxidize, warm up more and
          so on till failure. I once observed an extension send flames a couple feet in the air
          (fortunately outdoors) while carrying a big but legal (?) load.

          By all means do it your way, but safely. And have fun. Nobody EVER accused me of
          being conventional. But do thorough research to benefit from others, and less from
          spending your own money.
          good luck, Bruce Roe

          Comment


          • #6
            BCROE... I dont like quoting.
            Oh my God!!! You have enough panels to light up a small city. I'm so jealous, That's it. I'm buying more 310w panels tomorrow
            Anyway, I have Energy star appliances and unplug everything I can when I'm not using it. No red standby lights and no courtesy clocks.

            I spent summers in Athens on my great granddad's farm chasing piglets.

            Not interested in net metering with my power company.
            My goal is being independent and self contained. No way around batteries off grid that I know of when the sun goes down, except windmills.

            Always loved fireplaces and campfires. Love the smell, the smoke, the danger, and using my solar powered skill saw to cut 16" pieces I finally have one again after 12 years. Its staying. Plus, I have an unlimited supply of free firewood.

            To be honest, I dont really care how much juice each item uses. I want to use these items, no matter what they use. I like them. I'm back engineering the system. If I find that I need more power, I'll make my solar system bigger.

            The tracking is optional really. Most of the time I just leave them locked in the noon position, I'm old and lazy. I dont use much energy normally, except when I'm cold to power 110V space heaters. No way could I live in northern IL.

            I have no clue what this stuff is... yet.
            "Mii-Split heat pumps with up to 33 SEER"
            But I will soon. I'm stuck with this 2 grand of batteries for now, but I will look into that for upgrade later. Sounds cool. Thanks for the info Bruce.

            BRCOE part 2...

            Add away Bruce, that's why I'm here... To pluck your guys brains.

            I originally built my house all propane... stove, dryer, water heater, wall furnaces in each room, etc.

            I even minimized heat loss by insulating the interior walls of my raised floor house too.

            I've heard about Kill-A-Watt meters. I'll get one soon.

            No phantom loads here.
            No garage, no central furnace, no printer, new TV, smoke detectors are battery operated and long ago dead, never had CO detectors, other electronics unplugged, Okay, two battery maintainers 24/7 so my cordless drill and lipo headlight always work on demand, microwave
            always unplugged.

            I bought the smallest ES fridge-freezer I could live with. Security devices? Do the make electric guns?
            I live to repurpose scrap. It's my hobby. My life. My love.

            Small wind? Here a small wind is the daily 20-30 mph breeze. Thats why I have always had a nice view of a million wind generators. And now ten million solar panels.

            Huh? Mini Split heat pump technology?
            Its on my reading list. Sounds like some kind of thermal vulcano stuff. An Old faithful geyser?

            No HVAC either. DRY West Coast... Big window swamp cooler that will freeze me if I leave it on too long.

            SEER? Are you psychic?
            I had to look it up...
            Seasonal energy efficiency ratio
            Okay, I needed to work on the winter season for sure
            That's what the fireplace is for. Couldn't have one for the last 12 years because I was the sole caregiver for my handicapped mother and she didnt like fireplaces. So out it went, along with most of my stuff. I moved my mom and dad in with me when my dad was diagnosed as terminally ill in '07. I moved into my den. He died in my master bedroom 6 months later. 12 years later my mom died at 90 in my master bedroom too, last November. Now I can do what I want again in my own house that I built... finally.
            I have a roasty toasty fire going now. I would post a pic of it, but its the wrong forum
            SEER Winters are handled. Now to kiss the power company goodbye the rest of the year, except for the occasional one night stand.

            For the first month I had 12 batteries hooked up to only 300w of panels and it was lasting 3 days, with minimal usage of the power company for big wattage appliances, like the dryer and stove. So I'm thinking 450W will cover my daily 110v usage. I stole 4 batteries from it to build the 1860W system. I think I will need more storage than just 19 batteries to play housewife (single father of two dogs and a cat) and cook and clean though.

            I clicked on your pics... Invalid File Specified. Then I logged in and saw them. Again wow!

            Yeah, I'm rethinking this PITA tracking. Froze my butt off last night in 40 mph winds to manually pivot them from 6pm to 6am position. I think I will just leave them at the noon position for a month and see what happens when I get the 1860W panels online.

            Oh yeah, space heaters are a lot more dangerous than fireplaces. Especially the new ones. I use 50 year old ones that are lucky to put out 750w. A good test for my new kill a watt meter.

            Okay wait. Heat pump? I had to look it up. Are you talking about running hot water all over your house to get the radiant heat from it by blowing fans through mini radiators in each room? I saw those at home depot. I think they were mini ACs though. Same principal. So you use solar to heat water to warm up your house? Cool!!! No wonder you have 4000 panels. I also boil a pan of water of the stove and put a fan behind it. Caveman heat pump? I actually like the warm moisture in the air. Its like your heat pump with a leak

            Comment


            • #7
              LITTLEHARBOR...
              1. You have a lot of reading to do.
              True.

              2. Time to sell all your electric appliances that could be operated on gas.
              No. I bought a small Energy Star fridge, dryer and stove ten years ago when I converted to all electric. Going back to propane is not an option for so many reasons, unless I can get it out of the ground on my property myself? Also use a on-demand (warm with slow flow) 110v 1100W 7 gallon electric water heater with a GFCI outlet. Think of me as a dumb DIYer, hermit, doomsday prepper living in a, to code with all the necessary permits, three bedroom shack, on 1000 acres (no neighbors nearby) in the middle of BFE, 12 miles from a Walmart

              3. While the array in the photo looks nice you will get very little power from those large panels with the small ones shading them.
              Thank you. Its they way it came out. No aesthetics intended. No, they dont shade each other. They are all on the same plane and all pivot as one FLAT unit. See back build pic __0002.


              4. There's a lot more about your set up that's wrong that without being corrected will result in premature failure, if not an outright flaming disaster.
              Everything is outside except two extension cords, so let it burn. I'll build another one the next day. I waste too much money on home owner's insurance anyway But I am curious to read your top ten list as to why you think it could end up a outright flaming disaster? That's about what the pros said when I decided to build my house myself instead in 1986.. and saved 70 grand.

              5. When in doubt, go back to #1
              Will do.


              Attached Files

              Comment


              • #8
                J.P.M...
                I'm reading, I'm reading lol.
                But a little late now too abandoned what I've got. I'm broke now.
                I dont allow sales pitches to exist in my world. I'd rather juat give them money to go away

                How serious am I? I'm willing to die trying to go off the grid. Is that serious enough?

                I've been lowering my energy bill as much as I can for 30 years. Except when I'm cold. Then screw it, the price is no object.

                - Turn stuff off. - Turn stuff on only when needed.
                Done. I only have one lamp, the tv, the satellite tv box, internet box, my laptop and my fridge on now and that's it 90% of the time. But that other 10%... ouch!
                My power bill is $50 to $100 a month. Last month it was only $27. Thanks to my dinky 450W solar and more so the new fireplace.
                I'm not a housewife living in surbubia with 6 kids. It's just me. And I'm thriftier then most everybody, always have been. You learn to be very fast when you are poor.

                - Try not to need to use stuff.
                This is great! Big difference between need and want. I love manual labor, aka hobbies. I'm a retired bum. I dont even use my air tools. I would literally rather turn wrenches and bust my knuckles. I'm even sharpened my axe to split my own firewood. But, its so nice smoking a cigar and sipping whiskey while sitting in my lounge chair sawing wood in half with a skill saw. I NEED a solar powered skill saw lol.

                I could spend an hour telling you how I save every drop of $energy$ I can. You are preaching to the choir my friend. Now I want to be able to waste energy for free, aka solar lol

                I definitely NEED more education in the basics and practical aspects of residential PV applications... two months ago. My system is a work in progress. Who knows where it could be in a year from now. Could even be a ten acre solar farm on the adjacent property I own. Ok, I lied. I'm not poor. IM CHEAP.

                Thanks for the welcome JPM. I appreciate and respect cander. And dont worry, I have have really thick skin. I love to be told I cant do something and go do it anyway. And I'm not talking about cognitive dissonance, more like just plain stubborn.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by onesmallonebig View Post
                  LITTLEHARBOR...
                  1. You have a lot of reading to do.
                  True.

                  2. Time to sell all your electric appliances that could be operated on gas.
                  No. I bought a small Energy Star fridge, dryer and stove ten years ago when I converted to all electric. Going back to propane is not an option for so many reasons, unless I can get it out of the ground on my property myself? Also use a on-demand (warm with slow flow) 110v 1100W 7 gallon electric water heater with a GFCI outlet. Think of me as a dumb DIYer, hermit, doomsday prepper living in a, to code with all the necessary permits, three bedroom shack, on 1000 acres (no neighbors nearby) in the middle of BFE, 12 miles from a Walmart

                  3. While the array in the photo looks nice you will get very little power from those large panels with the small ones shading them.
                  Thank you. Its they way it came out. No aesthetics intended. No, they dont shade each other. They are all on the same plane and all pivot as one FLAT unit. See back build pic __0002.


                  4. There's a lot more about your set up that's wrong that without being corrected will result in premature failure, if not an outright flaming disaster.
                  Everything is outside except two extension cords, so let it burn. I'll build another one the next day. I waste too much money on home owner's insurance anyway But I am curious to read your top ten list as to why you think it could end up a outright flaming disaster? That's about what the pros said when I decided to build my house myself instead in 1986.. and saved 70 grand.

                  5. When in doubt, go back to #1
                  Will do.

                  Not going to waste much of my time here as you sound like the type who learns best by learning the hard way, even inviting it. Anybody who wants to use 20, 12 volt batteries in a 12 volt system using stolen car battery cables and jumper cables for your connections is inviting disaster. Learn why higher voltage systems are safer and why your battery cables need to be properly and carefully made. Also you need to learn why larger, lower voltage, deep cycle batteries are used in off grid systems. A properly designed battery bank will have a single string of batteries, not 20 .
                  2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by onesmallonebig View Post
                    2. Time to sell all your electric appliances that could be operated on gas.
                    No. I bought a small Energy Star fridge, dryer and stove ten years ago when I converted to all electric. Going back to propane is not an option for so many reasons, unless I can get it out of the ground on my property myself?
                    You'll end up going back to propane. A lot easier to get propane delivered than haul ten tons of batteries into your place. And you'll need the propane for your generator anyway. Solar will reduce the need for propane so it will last longer.
                    Also use a on-demand (warm with slow flow) 110v 1100W 7 gallon electric water heater with a GFCI outlet.
                    Yeah, that's gotta go.
                    Oh yeah, space heaters are a lot more dangerous than fireplaces. Especially the new ones. I use 50 year old ones that are lucky to put out 750w.
                    That too.
                    Think of me as a dumb DIYer, hermit, doomsday prepper living in a, to code with all the necessary permits, three bedroom shack, on 1000 acres (no neighbors nearby) in the middle of BFE, 12 miles from a Walmart
                    Sounds fun. But unless you are made of money, you'll have to do things a little more intelligently. And that means heat (and backup generator) from propane.
                    Everything is outside except two extension cords, so let it burn. I'll build another one the next day.
                    Again, if you are that rich, great. But a prepper whose power system burns down the first time there's a high wind isn't much of a prepper.
                    You learn to be very fast when you are poor.
                    You have a serious disconnect here. You are making a plan that is going to require lots and lots of $$.
                    To be honest, I dont really care how much juice each item uses. I want to use these items, no matter what they use. I like them. I'm back engineering the system. If I find that I need more power, I'll make my solar system bigger.
                    That is, by far, the worst (and most expensive) way to put together a system.
                    For the first month I had 12 batteries hooked up to only 300w of panels and it was lasting 3 days, with minimal usage of the power company for big wattage appliances, like the dryer and stove. So I'm thinking 450W will cover my daily 110v usage. I stole 4 batteries from it to build the 1860W system. I think I will need more storage than just 19 batteries to play housewife (single father of two dogs and a cat) and cook and clean though.
                    Budget for replacement of all those batteries once a year. Massive parallel 12V batteries last about that long. And if you stick with that amount of solar, make it every six months, since you will never fully charge them. (Unless you have a generator, but that's a lot of propane.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the great info littleharbor. I don't want to take any more of your time. I'll just get to learnin' what you've said. Thanks again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by onesmallonebig View Post
                        J.P.M...
                        I'm reading, I'm reading lol.
                        But a little late now too abandoned what I've got. I'm broke now.
                        I dont allow sales pitches to exist in my world. I'd rather juat give them money to go away

                        How serious am I? I'm willing to die trying to go off the grid. Is that serious enough?

                        I've been lowering my energy bill as much as I can for 30 years. Except when I'm cold. Then screw it, the price is no object.

                        - Turn stuff off. - Turn stuff on only when needed.
                        Done. I only have one lamp, the tv, the satellite tv box, internet box, my laptop and my fridge on now and that's it 90% of the time. But that other 10%... ouch!
                        My power bill is $50 to $100 a month. Last month it was only $27. Thanks to my dinky 450W solar and more so the new fireplace.
                        I'm not a housewife living in surbubia with 6 kids. It's just me. And I'm thriftier then most everybody, always have been. You learn to be very fast when you are poor.

                        - Try not to need to use stuff.
                        This is great! Big difference between need and want. I love manual labor, aka hobbies. I'm a retired bum. I dont even use my air tools. I would literally rather turn wrenches and bust my knuckles. I'm even sharpened my axe to split my own firewood. But, its so nice smoking a cigar and sipping whiskey while sitting in my lounge chair sawing wood in half with a skill saw. I NEED a solar powered skill saw lol.

                        I could spend an hour telling you how I save every drop of $energy$ I can. You are preaching to the choir my friend. Now I want to be able to waste energy for free, aka solar lol

                        I definitely NEED more education in the basics and practical aspects of residential PV applications... two months ago. My system is a work in progress. Who knows where it could be in a year from now. Could even be a ten acre solar farm on the adjacent property I own. Ok, I lied. I'm not poor. IM CHEAP.

                        Thanks for the welcome JPM. I appreciate and respect cander. And dont worry, I have have really thick skin. I love to be told I cant do something and go do it anyway. And I'm not talking about cognitive dissonance, more like just plain stubborn.
                        You're welcome for the welcome. It's refreshing of have a non snowflake show up 1X/a while. BTW, I share your comment about the rate of learning being directly proportional to the distance from financial insolvency from experience. But poverty does more for expediency than elegant of design. Take the longer and more global view and you'll use what you've gained more efficiently.

                        But, I'll share Littleharbor's comment and follow his lead about not wasting my time and doing little more than pissing you off in the process and having your stubbornness drive you forward like a powerful stem locomotive with no flanges on the wheels. I would respectfully suggest you consider rereading and internalizing Jeff's comments.

                        At this time, ignorance is your worst enemy.

                        Good luck in your future endeavors.
                        Last edited by J.P.M.; 05-24-2019, 09:48 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wood heat - look at the Vermont Bun Baker with soapstone cladding. One or two fires a day in the firebox and the soap stone levels the heat, instead of trying to keep a smoldering fire going 24/7
                          https://www.vermontwoodstove.com/vermont-bun-baker/
                          Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                          || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                          || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                          solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                          gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So jflorey2 basically, everything I've done my whole life is wrong. Wait, it's more fun to respond point by point.


                            You'll end up going back to propane.

                            LOL damn. I still have all the pipe plumbing and furnaces that i originally built into the house.
                            But what happens when the fuel to deliver the propane costs $10 a gallon and the propane costs $5 a gallon?
                            I'll be heat pump heating my home and cooking and watching TV with "almost" free solar as the truck just keeps on going by
                            It's actually not easier to have propane delivered to my house. I've been through three companies over the years.
                            I'll go back to hauling my little tanks myself to the local market first.

                            My 7kw generator runs on diesel.

                            No way, the cute little portable water heater stays. I use it to heat my jacuzzi water too. I know I know. buy a propane jacuzzi water heater lol

                            The space heaters are long gone since I put in the fireplace, I promise.

                            Okay, I admit that I'm dumb. But is propane really a miracle fuel as you claim it is?

                            But a prepper whose power system burns down the first time there's a high wind isn't much of a prepper.

                            I didn't say I was a prepper. If it burns down then I'll just call my insurance agent and make 10 grand. We play golf together.

                            You are making a plan that is going to require lots and lots of $$.

                            No I'm not. I've spent the last dime ($3000) that I'm gonna spend on this project.

                            That is, by far, the worst (and most expensive) way to put together a system.

                            I build stuff backwards all the time. It's fun to see where it goes.Like a small snowball rolling down a mountain. If it doesn't work... next project.

                            Budget for replacement of all those batteries once a year.

                            Now this upsets me. I was hoping for two years, if I'm careful.

                            Massive parallel 12V batteries last about that long. And if you stick with that amount of solar, make it every six months, since you will never fully charge them. (Unless you have a generator, but that's a lot of propane.)

                            Please define massive? OMG Six months? I'm going out tomorrow and buy a GD propane generator :")

                            And a heat pump thingy

                            And a big ass battery and a 100 brand new #2 marine battery cables

                            Oh, and a propane water heater, stove, dryer, coffee pot, fridge, fireplace insert. Am I forgetting anything?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                              You're welcome for the welcome. It's refreshing of have a non snowflake show up 1X/a while. BTW, I share your comment about the rate of learning being directly proportional to the distance from financial insolvency from experience. But poverty does more for expediency than elegant of design. Take the longer and more global view and you'll use what you've gained more efficiently.

                              But, I'll share Littleharbor's comment and follow his lead about not wasting my time and doing little more than pissing you off in the process and having your stubbornness drive you forward like a powerful stem locomotive with no flanges on the wheels. I would respectfully suggest you consider rereading and internalizing Jeff's comments.

                              At this time, ignorance is your worst enemy.

                              Good luck in your future endeavors.
                              Somehow I missed a few messages. Too busy arguing with some people to see the trees for the forest. But it's been fun and didn't piss me off at all. Opinions are like a..holes, everybody's got one. Two so-called experts will fight with each other endlessly trying to force the other to change their mind. I'm not here to change anyone's mind. And no one can change mine. Ignorance is what drives me to learn more. But I dont want to learn too fast. The journey getting there and the little stumbles along the way are the best part, not the end result. But both systems are up and running now... My way. I'm happy, even though it's completely wrong.

                              The journey continues

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