Author Topic: Going off-grid in Idaho  (Read 3662 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline noneyabussiness

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 152
  • Karma: +4/-0
  • I think it works....
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #75 on: October 24, 2021, 02:43:18 pm »
sorry , yes I ment the lm393 op amp

Offline Pete

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
  • Karma: +19/-1
  • Mount Barrow Tasmania
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #76 on: October 24, 2021, 04:50:41 pm »
Thanks for the updated information. It was the 393 chip I removed, the inverter still played up a bit so i got rid of the op amp on the main board too. I did play with the overload yesterday so next time I try to use the bench oven I will know how it went.
Strange thing is I have a heat gun, it runs fine on full power but whatever they did to make it have a half power setting makes my inverters buzz and load up heaps. I am guessing that they have a triac in there to reduce the power, and it creates havoc.
No other tools have problems, it starts my air compressor instantly, runs all the other tools. So I think I will take the heat gun apart and disconnect the low power setting.
Thanks again for the help .
By the way not all the boards are the same, my board does not seem to have a short circuit adjustment pot, it just has three pots to adjust rather than 4.
It would be so nice if the manufacturers put out manuals for them but at the price they must figure it is not worth it.
Pete

Offline rossw

  • Senior Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 877
  • Karma: +35/-0
  • Grumpy-old-Unix-Admin
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #77 on: October 24, 2021, 08:01:13 pm »
Strange thing is I have a heat gun, it runs fine on full power but whatever they did to make it have a half power setting makes my inverters buzz and load up heaps. I am guessing that they have a triac in there to reduce the power, and it creates havoc.

A lot of them use a series-universal (brushed) motor which is perfectly happy with AC or DC.
Then for "half power" they just chuck in a diode so the heater and motor only get one half of each cycle. Cheap, nasty, effective.

The inverter however won't generally like having all the load on one half of the waveform only...

Offline Pete

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
  • Karma: +19/-1
  • Mount Barrow Tasmania
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #78 on: October 25, 2021, 01:00:47 am »
Thanks Ross, I will have a look and see if it is just the cheap nasty diode speed control. If it is I can just by cut it out and have just one speed. That is all I need anyway.
Thanks
Pete

Offline dochubert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • 11 powerjacks, 9 that run, 3 actually used daily
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #79 on: November 14, 2021, 01:36:54 pm »
It's almost the middle of November and we're only getting sunny days about one in three.  The batteries are handling the overnight (small) loads rather well despite less sun than I would like, and ever shorter days too.  Had to go to grid power once overnight due to 4 days of straight clouds/rain. The battery bank was down to 51v at bedtime.  I didn't want to push it any lower. 
 Since then have stayed off grid, so happy about that.  The larger battery bank plus the added winter-only solar panels are doing the job.  This time last year I was switching to grid power nightly.  Eventually I will probably have to do that, but want to put it off as long as I can.
Still have some winter-only panels to add to the 24v water heating bank.  So far water heating has been ok despite the poor sun, but need to get those extra panels set up and contributing.
We're all going to DIE!  (eventually)

USA = Communist former republic
---  dochubert --

Offline solarnewbee

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 228
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • Cayenne Dashboard
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #80 on: November 29, 2021, 09:34:43 pm »
Have you considered a windmill in your future? I finally got mine up. It groans something terrible and is probably the bearings since it sat in our extra bedroom at 30c for 6 years and the grease may have settled and the bearing corroded. Next month I will rent scaffolding again and hunt down bearing. I’m only get at most 11v from a dual 3 phase generator so it can’t be moving as fast as it could be.
SN

Any day above ground is a day for potential mishaps

Offline dochubert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • 11 powerjacks, 9 that run, 3 actually used daily
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #81 on: November 30, 2021, 04:22:21 pm »

Hi SN,
Windmills?  I have a couple.  One is mounted just over the shed.  Produces nothing.  I realize it should be higher but wanted to see if I could get anything before I put the work and expense into poles and guy wires.  Was so disappointing I never put any others up.  Sadly, there is almost no wind here about 99% of the time, then we get 60mph winds for a couple of days.  Just not worth it (at least here).  Hope you get your windmill working well!

I did get four more winter-only solar panels up and added to my 24v water heating battery bank.  They are making a difference on these short days.  Sometime in March I'll take down all the winter-only panels and store them until next October.  Angled for winter sun they will be useless in summer, and some of them will be in the way of pasture irrigation, which starts again in late March.

I'm having to switch to grid at times now.  Been very cloudy recently in addition to short days.  Switched to grid on Thanksgiving so the wife could cook without me worrying about batteries.  Using grid power in winter is inevitable but I still hate doing it.
We're all going to DIE!  (eventually)

USA = Communist former republic
---  dochubert --

Offline dochubert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • 11 powerjacks, 9 that run, 3 actually used daily
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #82 on: December 13, 2021, 12:15:02 pm »
Rain and clouds now for days.  Been entirely on grid for several days now. Hate it!  I am able to continue heating water from solar but not enough to run the house.
Also those winds I just said we almost never get?  Been blowing like crazy for 2 days now and supposed to continue for several more.
Times like these I wish the windmills were up....
We're all going to DIE!  (eventually)

USA = Communist former republic
---  dochubert --

Offline dochubert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • 11 powerjacks, 9 that run, 3 actually used daily
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #83 on: February 10, 2022, 07:00:04 pm »

Almost the middle of Feb now and we're finally starting to get some partial sun.  I've been able to run the house during daytime hours all week (so far!).  The really gloomy days of winter makes me gloomy too.  Hoping they are mostly past for this year.  The days are already getting noticably longer.

I have been able to keep the water heating going on solar power exclusively all winter.  Couldn't do that last year so it has to be the larger battery bank plus the additional winter-only solar panels making the difference.  So I must have done something right.
We're all going to DIE!  (eventually)

USA = Communist former republic
---  dochubert --

Offline lighthunter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 317
  • Karma: +11/-0
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #84 on: February 12, 2022, 08:11:02 am »
Yes. Youve done a lot of work to your system, good job!😊 You did it at the right time as batteries have become quite expensive with the politicians planned shipwreck of the economy. We really dont worry about being "off grid", some parts of the year we are but not winter months. It would require a few lifestyle changes during cloudy stuff. Water or any heating with resistive elements is a huge challenge in the clouds. Not so much in sun, we saw over 6kw coming in the other day with 7kw of panels so yes sun is getting powerful.  Its great to see your work pay off. A bit of humor, a few of my co-workers were talkin about heating fuels and one guy who has all electric resistance heating in his home says, "you should burn coal like i do". 😂
Health Warning: May contain traces of nut!
LH

Offline dochubert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • 11 powerjacks, 9 that run, 3 actually used daily
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #85 on: February 12, 2022, 04:20:46 pm »

Thanks LH,
We could all easily stay warm in winter if we could figure out how to tap the hot air all the politicians spout all the time.
We're all going to DIE!  (eventually)

USA = Communist former republic
---  dochubert --

Offline dochubert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • 11 powerjacks, 9 that run, 3 actually used daily
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #86 on: May 09, 2022, 09:00:46 pm »

Today, the 9th of May, we had heavy snowfall that lasted hours.  I found myself at just past noon shoveling snow off of my solar panels. IN MAY!  I needed them today too, as grid power went down around 8am and didn't come back until sometime around 1pm.  We were already on battery/solar and have been since late March so I didn't realize the grid was down until my wife came home from her volunteer work at the library and told me.
Sometimes it's nice to be prepared for the worst.
We're all going to DIE!  (eventually)

USA = Communist former republic
---  dochubert --

Offline Pete

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
  • Karma: +19/-1
  • Mount Barrow Tasmania
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #87 on: May 10, 2022, 02:39:28 am »
Good to hear you are still about Doc. Seems the site is very quiet these days.
I am guessing that some of the old timers are no longer with us on this planet.
Just wondering whether you use Grid tie inverters as a mini grid.
I am thinking of using one I have in the shed ( we have no grid power) but just wanted to hear how others have got theirs to work and how they regulate the output into the batteries.
I am thinking of using a small charge regulator to measure the battery volts and to open a relay to disconnect the GTI from the main inverter output when the batteries are charged.
I did see some stuff that OZ was working on when he was about but never saw the end result. It is hard to get through all the iterations of the boards and circuits to see which one actually worked.
Anyway hope all goes well with snow shovelling, it is coming into winter here so we will have a bit of snow, we dont' get much though
Cheers
Pete

Offline dochubert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • 11 powerjacks, 9 that run, 3 actually used daily
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #88 on: May 10, 2022, 10:09:25 am »

Hi Pete,
I did try hooking a grid tie inverter to my powerjack, just to see how it would do.  Didn't go so far as building safety circuits to regulate it.  Just watched it closely.  Didn't have enough solar hooked to the grid tie to worry too much about.
Anyway, it worked ok, but seemed to me to make the system more complicated and possibly unstable than it needed to be.  I can power the house with the powerjack just fine, and it's (usually) trouble-free.
As for those safety cutouts, my understanding from those who tried it, was to not disconnect the gti from the powerjack, because when it re-connects you get the 5 minute startup delay of the gti.  Instead you interrupt the solar to the gti, which leaves it connected but not producing.  Same result but smoother operation with no 5 minute deadtime each time it throttles back.  Same as if clouds blocked your panels.
I think lighthunter did some work on those things, with good results.
We're all going to DIE!  (eventually)

USA = Communist former republic
---  dochubert --

Offline Pete

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 380
  • Karma: +19/-1
  • Mount Barrow Tasmania
Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #89 on: May 10, 2022, 05:01:24 pm »
Hi Doc, thanks for the reply. I am only adding the new panels because I got them really cheap. They are a backup for the times that we have heavy cloud cover.( which happen a bit here on the mountain). So far we have heaps of power but I just want to make sure that the batteries come up on cloudy days in winter too.
I read the article OZ put up about his GTI connection and also looked at his home made PWM controllers. Pity he is not around to quiz and get the rest of the story.
Take care
Pete