Author Topic: Going off-grid in Idaho  (Read 221 times)

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Offline Pete

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Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2019, 10:10:57 pm »
Hi Doc, as far as I know the site has been fine, I check it most days for activity, as you say pretty quiet.
We don't have wind power, so far we have got by with just sun.
Most days our battery bank is regulating by around 10:30 am.
Even on cloudy days we manage to charge the batteries fine.
Our regulators are MPPT and I have the panels connected in 3 strings of 60 volts or so. Batteries are 12 volt 660 amp hour.
We get a lot of wind but are surrounded by forest so turbulence is pretty strong. A vertical axis mill may work but so far we don't need it.
I have a standby charger made with a 5 hp honda clone motor and an old alternator from our Subaru. The internal regulator died in it so I fitted a new one to the car and adapted the old car one to the charger.
Basically I gutted the alternator, pulled all the diodes and regulator our, leaving just the brush gear.
Then brought out the 3 main phase wires to a 200 amp three phase diode block. ( they are really cheap on ebay)
I used a rheostat to set the charge current on the field and usually set the current to around 50 amps.
So far I have only used it twice for a couple of hours in the last year since i made it.
As I say our power consumption is tiny. Just lights, some music, laptop computers, phone charging and power tools.
Hope your system does the job for you

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2019, 04:33:41 am »
As far as I know, the site was only down for a short time when the local area was having massive power problems.
The fault was mostly do to the ISP nodes not being able to outlast the outtage. But the down time was measured in hours, not days or weeks.

You can check if a site is down by visiting
Type the site to be checked and enter.
Trying to make power from alternative energy any which way I can.
Just to abuse what I make. (and run this site)

Offline dochubert

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Re: Going off-grid in Idaho
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2019, 09:09:57 pm »
Thanks for that link Wolvenar!  Hopefully won't need it. 

Life is good.  That 2015 style 15kw powerjack I got on craigslist locally is now powering the house.  It is one of the 3-transformer models like my original 15kw (currently DOA).  Seems to be reliable, its quiet, and it showed up just when I needed it.

All the roof solar panels are now hooked up and producing!  On good sun days (for a november winter's short days), the batteries get fully charged with some left over to dump load into water heating.
On not-so-good-sun days, (snowing yesterday) I shift half the house back onto the grid.  Even cloudy days provide enough charging to handle half the house.

Hi Pete.  That alternator charger sounds perfect for your situation.  We're not as economical with power as we should be so we use the grid as back up instead of a generator.  At least as long as it lasts.  When they shut it off for good we'll get suddenly efficient and thrifty with power use I suspect.  Until then this setup should do the job.  I have a couple of generators but haven't messed with them in some time.
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." -- Unknown

---  dochubert ---