1. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Ask him if it's still true about 12V if you don't use 240V? Most of what I run uses 12V not 240V. Is that still inefficient?
     
  2. stevefarmboy

    stevefarmboy Junior Member

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    Pebble , from what I have learn't
    As far as battery wear goes .... it is the case that if you do not use them enough , they will die quicker and if you allow them to discharge to , to very low levels they will wear out quicker .... It seems as if it is a bit of a balancing act as far as to how you use any particular sized storage setup to gain maximum use from any batteries ....

    So as far as I am concerned , I am going to make sure that I setup enough storage to cope with at least the fridge and lighting ... for 3 days without recharge and watch the levels of the batteries quite closely ..

    LPG apparently cost around 1- 45kg bottle every 3 mths or so for an average sized freezer .... that ain't cheap really ...but it is not prohibitive either ...I again, personally think to have to buy gas seems a bit of the rails as far as reducing energy cost goes ...

    I know many will argue this point , but I feel personally that to try to run no power overnight is a little impracticable or doggy ...
    ( and ye, r all the purist will trash me for saying that prolly :)

    Refrigeration if done using the method I posted above is used (a chest freezer turned into a fridge ) the power used on those is so little that even the most modest power storge should cope ...
     
  3. stevefarmboy

    stevefarmboy Junior Member

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    Yer I did Pebbles ....he said all these calculations regarding needed storage capacity and the benefits of the higher voltages were based primarily on the loss or draw caused when inverting from 12V or 24 or 48 ....and the different advantages of the higher Voltages as apposed to the 12 V ...

    He personally thought that 12 V was not the way to go full stop though, ...which as I said, surprised mer a bit at first...until I read into it a bit more ..
    His advice was based on simillar reasons to what some of the others here have already said about the effect of voltage when it comes to wiring , heat buildup and power loss over relativly short distances ... He is an avid supporter of 48 V ....


    Steve ......
     
  4. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    For a generator you might consider a 24v (trucks often use 24v) or 48v (harder to find) alternator - (Ebay! check out international sellers, maybe get a wind turbine alternator and a slow diesel motor/ pulley system to slow it down) - connect it to a 2nd hand diesel engine and use your inverter to get to 240v. This also means no battery charger required as the regulator on the alternator will take care or this bit too
     
  5. stevefarmboy

    stevefarmboy Junior Member

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    Yep , Springtide, , I have thought of going down that road , but as wee will need a gen more or less straight away , I am still stuck with shelling out for a bought one to start with ...

    I spoke to a guy that did try to explain to me, that the power an AC alternator off a vehicle produces, may be would not be worth the effort ??? but if you have any more specific info on using them , I would be very great full ... :)

    I am definately the guy to take on the task of manufacturing one myself ...for sure !!! LOL
    I do love to build things ...always have ....
     
  6. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    D. Griffith (off grid, 12v system central Tas.) - if you read this thread can you offer any suggestions?
     
  7. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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  8. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Just as a thought for those who like the independance of off grid but find they are too energy dependant to "cut all the fat"....

    The house we are building is a hybrid house, i am installing the standard 240v wiring (3 phase as we are 300m from the grid) with a dozen 24v 5-10w led lights and a couple of extra power points run off an inverter in the shed as a back up for the fridge, pump, etc (where i grew up the power went off quite often - no pump = not flushing toilet!). The shed has 500w of solar and 200ah of lead acid batteries (friend of a friend services mobility scooters for elderly) i might add a wind turbine when i can afford it, then eventually i will take more of the house off the grid and feed any excess back with a 24v grid tied inverter.

    I would love a biolytix septic system but that will cost 14k or more so i am hoping to get away with a standard septic tank with the grey water and black water kept separate until it leaves the house slab then i can safely hack into all the grey water with 1 pipe after we have been issued with our occupancy certificate.

    We are going to have a header tank for the garden (in case someone leaves a tap on) with a cross over tap to the rest of the house (just in case). livestock up hill, veggie patch/food forrest down hill and a small timber/wildlife forrest/sanctuary at the bottom.

    It is possible to do both... (i hope!)
     
  9. stevefarmboy

    stevefarmboy Junior Member

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    Sound like you are well on the way to having a nicely balanced power set up Springtide :) I definitely agree about adding the wind gen as another source ...
    Me , well om still trying to get a full grip on a few things here regarding Generators ...

    Q / Assuming that I cannot afford a $4000 diesel pure Sine gen ... and I am not in a position to build my own at this time ...
    What should I do ?? or what would you do ?
    1/ Setup a cheaper gen and use it to just charge the batteries ? then run everything through the upgraded inverter ?
    2/ Risk a cheaper Pure Sine petrol gen till I can afford the better one ?
    3/ Buy a less costly Diesel gen (NON Pure Sine) and some how run it through the inverter ? if so HOW ? .. any clues appreciated ...lol
    4/ Buy a less costly Diesel gen (NON Pure Sine) and use it to charge the batteries only?
    5/ Spit the dummy and take the chance of running everything off a cheaper Modified wave gen ? :-(

    I hasve been paying attention to what everyone has been saying all through this thread , so I do realize I can do quite a few things to enable us to use most of our appliances , one way or the other , but this specific question of the Gen? , which Gen? and how to connect it to the house? is still bending my head ...LOL
     
  10. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Kerrip, I'm completely off the grid, gravity flow water, composting toilets, gray water runoff into compost piles, solar, backup generator, gas BBQ (because of fire danger here, charcoal BBQ's are too dangerous), wood stove (the "fireplace" kind), solar oven for 10 months out of 12, passive solar shed for drying clothes, oil lamps when all else fails, no 220Volt applicances because solar is just too inefficient. Solar takes a real commitment, and it's expensive to set up. But if you live really rurally, the power probably goes out enough to make it more convenient.

    There are good solar calculators online.

    https://www.findsolar.com/index.php?page=rightforme

    If your house presently uses approx. an average of 400 kilowatts a month, (check your power bill) you might get by with a small system 3,000 watts worth of panels - thirty 100-watt panels!) that could support a *small* refrigerator, (the new ones are way more efficient than the old ones,) so buying bigger panels takes up less room. So the odds are you'll try to get by with fewer panels, and see what I mean about no 220V? I do have a small microwave and a small infrared oven that runs on 110V. Absolutely no ghost power users, no equipment on "sleep".

    And where to put the panels? They need to be cleaned, because layers of dust lower their efficiency. It's too hard to get up on the roof once a week with a mop and clean them. Birds poop on them. But they aren't attractive, yet they have to be close to the house, because the longer the distance the power travels, the more you lose, so the more power you have to produce to make up for that.

    They might try to sell you solar tracking devices to move the panels into the sun all day, but they aren't reliable. Manually moving them is better, but you have to be home when a wind storm hits, because they are vulnerable. Facing them into the sun at noon is your best bet. Those panels will only be pulling in the most power from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM, approx, because the sun is not directly on those panels the rest of the time. They'll pull in some power, but this has to be taken into consideration in your calculations.

    Find somewhere where they will take your old, kaput batteries and recycle them. You'll have plenty to donate!

    DC power can travel farther distances, but the appliances are small and super expensive. Not worth it for my purposes, but I have to live with a view of panels out the back door.

    Batteries are expensive. You'll start out with the cheap ones, they won't last long. Some people don't mind replacing the batteries often, I guess it's personal choice. But if you'll realize you'll need to put out the bucks for the good ones, $500 apiece, and they're 6 volts, so they need to be doubled up, you'll need twice as many, and a shed to put them in. Our 6x8 foot shed barely holds enough. You need to keep them full of distilled water, so you have to buy that separately. You need a torque wrench to make sure the connections are connected correctly. You have to make sure the connections don't corrode. There has to be plenty of ventilation around the batteries because they are always off-gassing acid, which can eat the wires of the equipment you use to control the power.

    LP gas is nice to have around, but you've got to keep getting it, you've got to have lots stored up, because psychologically it's just more comfortable. The price of it seems to go up and up, and I'd rather put it into solar and get my power that way. Relying on gas is a type of reliance. There are some refrigerators that will run on DC power and gas, so if you start with gas and want to change, you can still keep that appliance.

    it's a commitment. But I really like being independent. I can't turn on a light switch and not think about it. If a storm is coming I try to be supplied for at least a week, just in case. If the clouds last a long time, you'll probably need a secondary source of light and heat because the panels aren't able to bring in enough power.
     
  11. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    PS, about the generator, they are expensive (3500 watt generator doesn't run a fridge as well as everything else, but is about $1500.) and a tank of 4 gallons will last maybe 12 hours? Keeping 20 gallons of gas around to get you through a weekend is work, gas isn't getting cheaper. And running a generator 12 hours a day really uses it up. It's also noisy, so you don't want that roaring noise going on all day. So the farther away you put it, the farther you have to go to turn it on and off (the longest remote on device I've seen is only about 60 feet, and I can still hear the generator inside a shed 100 feet away), so you still have to go to it, especially to keep it full of gas. It needs a shed big enough that you don't have to stand in the cold, dark or rain to fill it with gas. it can't be in the same shed as the batteries because of the acid coming off the batteries. I don't like being all warm and cozy at the end of an evening and still need to go outside to shut the generator off. :)
     
  12. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Well... where to start. Firstly my standard 340 litre upright house fridge runs on 175 watts and peaks at about 400w for 1/2 a second during start up and runs on a good quality modified sine inverter. My question is why do you need the 6kw? If you can get by without the 6kw running all the time i would try a 2-3kw (quieter, less petrol, cheaper, etc) and using a large battery charger to top up the batteries in the morning or arvo for a few hours with an inverter to run your house, that way the generator is only on for a few hours a day.
    Definately do the energy audit, most smaller houses use 6-10kw/day - this will give you a goal to aim for.
    A supplier told me once that a good modified sine inverter is probably going to be better than a cheap pure sine, but if you can afford a good one then go for it, it will give you the base to a system you can build on and add batteries, panels, etc.
    As for brands my dad has a portable 2.2kw kippor inverter gen (i think) which runs tv, convection microwave and a 20 amp battery charger (all bought off ebay).

    One other note for cheaper generators is that the sine wave generally (very) is good at half load and gets worse from then on, so if you are at 3000watts load on a 3500watt generator and add a 200watt plasma tv then the tv is not going to be happy. The motor also struggles to get the rpms to match large start up loads (eg. It takes 2 seconds for the generator to get up to max speed and the device needs it in 1/2 a sec)
     
  13. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    I agree with sweetpea on the solar trackers - i have seen a few broken ones and the cost of installing them to get the extra power...well its often the same price as buying a few extra panels (which last 25 years or so).
     
  14. bilnrobn

    bilnrobn Junior Member

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    I was thinking like Rob Windt; a Coolgardie safe could mean you could probably organise yourselves so a fridge wouldn't be necessary. When I was very young I had an uncle running a dairy farm, (country Western Australai), and it got pretty hot in the summer. His only means of keeping things cool was a Coolgardie safe and their meat, vegies and dairy products were all kept in it. If, as Rob suggested you had an efficient freezer you would be one up on my uncle as you could keep food in there and transfer it to the Coolgardie safe for the period it was being consumed.
     
  15. marnsred

    marnsred New Member

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    Hi Kerri, I was very ineterested in your post as we are also in the market for a stand alone system. We are building at Glengarry (not far from you) and as yet there is nothing on the property. Once a shed goes up we will look at having a system installed. I have asked loads of questions to many different people and somehow seem to get differing answers. I am interested to know what kid of system you have chosen and how it is performing. I'm not sure how many people in your household. For us, there is 2 adults, 2 kids. This is one I am still working on. Look forward to hearing how it goes for you. Marnsred
     
  16. kerrip

    kerrip Junior Member

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    Hi Marnsred,

    I just replied to your other post. Glengarry is a lovely spot and you should be very happy there. We didn't end up buying that particular property because we couldn't get the finance for a place over 100 acres! I think that turned out to be a good thing because we found something better. It is about 35 acres, with lots of bush for beauty and firewood, a couple of good dams, and it has a couple of transportables joined together for accommodation. It is completely off grid. Electricity could be connected if we wanted to spend the $30,000 to do it, but we'd rather not.

    The property is in a place called Bet Bet which is about 5 minutes from Dunolly and about 10 minutes from Maryborough. This is the goldfields region of Victoria which is a lovely area from what we have seen of it so far. (I am more of Gippsland person so it will be interesting getting to know a new area and I am going to see if I can find some gold, lol)

    We currently have 8 x 80w BP solar panels, 6 x 2v lead acid battery system a very large Honda 7kva generator and a 1kw inverter. To upgrade all this, we have bought 3 more batteries (200ah 12v gel) a new inverter (pure sine 18kw). We are planning on installing a 1kw wind turbine or two, and maybe a couple more panels and more batteries. We have a 50,000 litre rainwater tank and a couple of dams and are thinking of getting a bore. We're not paranoid!!!!!

    All our current fridges, tv's and computers won't be much good to us off grid so we are changing them. We bought a new 171 litre 12/24/240v fridge/freezer a couple of laptops with LED screens (and we will buy a couple of spare batteries for them) and we need to buy a new LED tv. (LED uses way less power by the way, that's the reason for them).

    It is all so exciting and I can't wait to start work on the property. It will hopefully sustain us when it is established. Until we actually live there we won't know how everything will work but like you all our research led to some very confusing information. Everyone seems to do things slightly differently and I think it comes down to what you will put up with (or what you can do without) and how much you can afford.

    I hope this helps but please post your thoughts on how you see it could happen because I am really interested in how everyone is doing it.

    Kerri
     
  17. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Hey Kerrip - out of interest since you are in the 30k for power scenario did you apply for a RAPS (remote area power scheme) grant?
     
  18. Bala

    Bala New Member

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    We have lived on stand alone solar and genset backup for four years.
    Some of these tips have been covered but heres my experience.
    We lived in a basic house with mains power, gas hot water and stove and still used about 10kwhs of power a day, we now liv on about 3kwhrs of power per day.
    Stand alone is a lifestyle!!
    So fisrtly if you are going to set up a house (not just a weekender) then you need to seriously work out how much you can live on. some second hand panels and 12v batteries are not going to suffice if you cant live very frugally powerwise as someone above is.
    If i could get mains for 30K i would jump at it, it will add value to your property.
    Our sytem cost 35K 4 years ago and i made the battery box, inverter and controller boxes and the panel brackets and istalled it all.
    Our battery bank cost 7k and will last 10 years if we are lucky/good with our power use.
    SAP is not cheap, about the only good thing the power never goes off.
    if you dont have big enough battery set you will not get long life from your batteries.

    There are a lot of questions being askes about what type/size set ups but the first thing is to really!! work out how much power you will need to live on, until then you are only geussing with cash.

    With the question on the Plasmatronics charge controller and boost, there a 3 things that affect boost, boost returns volt setting, boost max volt setting and boost frequency in days,(assuming a PL unit). you can get the manual online, let me know if you dont know how to configure these settings.
     

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