Planning to cross the line

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Spidermonkey, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Hi Grant

    We allowed for a load of 10,533 Watt Hours per day. We allowed for the place to have an electric oven, air con, pool pumps and to have the house lit up like an airport. The reason is that batteries degrade over time and we are completely off the grid so we wanted to ensure that the specs far exceeded our needs. We know that the system we have installed will last us a lifetime and it cost about $41,000 which sounds a lot but is only the price of a car when you think about it and will last a lot longer.

    Sweetpea,

    We have an indoor two chamber system. It's ok when you are only using the place weekends but if you stop there for a week or more then emptying it isnt much fun but you get used to it and it's still preferable to a water toilet as you save 10s of thousands of liters of water a year. I have a compound set up in the forest and give the waste a regular light coating of forest mulch to help things along. View attachment 3033 View attachment 3034 View attachment 3035
     

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  2. grantvdm

    grantvdm Junior Member

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    Thanks SM.

    Where did you get the load calculator, and radiation charts from? Looks good. We are also planning to go off grid, but I doubt that I will be able to afford a system anything close to yours. Do not know much about solar yet, but I have a suspicion that I will need to get a backup generator, and that we will be playing a lot of board games at candle light at night..lol! I LOVE BOARD GAMES!!!
     
  3. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Hi Grant,

    They were supplied to us by the Rainbow Power Company when we requested a quote. You could always ask them for a copy: https://www.rpc.com.au/
    A back up generator is always a good idea and we have one as part of our system. We haven't needed it yet but we run it up every couple of weeks to keep it in good order. We quite like board games too.
     
  4. grantvdm

    grantvdm Junior Member

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    Thanks SM
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    if only being used for lighting LED is efficient enough these days that you can get by with battery power or even a small windmill generator or even small hydroelectric.
     
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  6. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Spidermonkey, have you lived on solar before? So you probably know, or the battery people told you, the batteries shouldn't go below half full so you can get the most years out of them as you can.

    We use the BBQ as a backup cooking appliance. We just went through 2 weeks of overcast, so we've had to keep an eye on the batteries the whole time. Several years ago we burned out one refrigerator not realizing that the batteries were getting too low, and then downsized the fridge. We couldn't hear the alarm on the inverter, so we got a Tristar TS-RM2 monitor that is inside with us.

    I meant to mention, on our metal storage shed we had to fill in those places where the wall meets the roof (the light shows in your photo). I've found that hornets, wasps, honeybees, even mice have found their way into the metal shed through that space, not to mention moisture. We also had to watch for inside condensation on the ceiling dripping down on things.
     
  7. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Hi Sweetpea,

    This is our first time living on an off the grid system and we are certainly learning a lot from it. so far we have only dipped below 50% twice as we were caught out by how much power some items consume. Lucky for us we do have a huge generator as backup. I bought a 15kva generator that was wired into the system when it was installed. While over specking the system I asked myself, what is the most energy intensive thing I might ever need / want to do? Apart from running computers (it seems a desktop pc and monitor pull more power than most white goods combined) I thought what if I wanted to re use metal and weld things (anything from repairs to animal cages to fossicking at the dump for useful metal things that could be repaired or re-purposed and maybe even do a bit of an art project?

    While it seemed a great idea to buy the most high power generator I could get, there is something you should all be aware of. A 15 Kva generator produces so much energy that you have to put a significant load on it to get it to synchronize with your solar system and charge the batteries on days when there is low light or you have had higher than normal power needs. In order to get our system to sync with the generator we had to buy two 2000w flood lamps and turn them on for about 2 -3 minutes when we start the generator so the charging system can "tune in" and start charging the batteries. Once the light turns green we can turn them off and we can (if we wanted) turn on anything in the house as there is enough energy produced by the generator to charge the batteries, run everything we own and then some! However going forward it is a waste to use such a beast of a generator in this way. It is rare to need the generator so my plan now is to have a lower power generator wired in, in future when the workshop is up and move the large generator there to support occasional high energy activities. While the high powered generator is certainly an asset, if I was doing this again I would have started with a much cheaper 3Kva generator to charge the batteries, and picked up a large generator then the workshop is up and ready.
     
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  8. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Latest development - Two Alcacas

    Hi Everyone,

    This weekend we picked up two Alpacas to keep the grass down, provide protection for our poultry (when we move here full time) and to provide the most excellent fertilizer. Alpacas by nature tend to select latrine areas which maks gathering it easer and reduces the risk of diseases and worms being spread should one fall ll. Their manure can be applied directly to the garden with no need to rot it down first as is the need for other manure types like chicken poo.

    The young black male - Kusco is fascinated with our dog Missy. The white female - Sweet pea is more reserved and she may or may not b pregnant, time will tell...
     

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