Small Shed System for Chickens...Your POV on What's Needed

shedpowershedpower Posts: 3Registered Users
Greetings! Would really love some advice about specs fo a system for my 7'x12' chicken coop. We live in Southern California and the shed roof is pitched but has pretty good solar exposure. Not particularly cost sensitive (but don't want to throw stupid money at the problem either).

I have a basic knowledge of circuits from HS physics back in the day but am not technical, so have attempted to calculate what it needs to power on a daily basis (assuming 12v all around) - essentially, a fan to keep the girls cool, a nest cam to check in on them remotely, and lighting to make the coop look cool. Bonus points if I can power a heater from time to time (for baby chicks). Details below.

1. 1 amp exhaust fan x  max 10h / day = 10 amp hrs. *running on AC power (link here: TPI Corporation CE10-DS Direct Drive Exhaust Fan, Shutter Mounted, Single Phase, 10" Diameter, 120 Volt https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083ISI4G/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_wWOkzbQASWQ3E)

2. 0.2 amp Nest camera x 24h = 4.8 amp hrs * running on AC power; there's a DC power option if I use this but don't know how much power it saves me (Ginsco Cigarette Lighter Socket Splitter 12V Dual USB 2A/1A Charger Power Adapter Outlet DIY Kit (Black) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B79F8CW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_wROkzbQ8KVTFM)

3. Three 0.9 amp LED low voltage wall sconces (10w bulbs) x 12h / day, running on a photocell = 33 amp hrs

**IF POSSIBLE, would like to also operate a heater for a few weeks at a time - though i can run a temp extension cord from elsewhere during brooding periods instead if need be**
4. 0.9 amp brooder heater x 24h = 21.6 amp hrs * running on AC power (100 watts, for what it is worth)

So...
1. What solar panel(s) is / are needed?
2. What size battery (or batteries) are needed? Hook them up in series or parallel?
3. What specs for charge controller do i need?
4. Other stuff...?

THANKLS IN ADVANCE!!!

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,038Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    I think you may be mixing up a bit on the amp-hours numbers. For example, the 1a fan is 1amp AC @120v. That's [email protected] + inverter losses, so more like 110-120ah/day.

    Running the extension cord or a permanent circuit is going to be your cheapest option.

    As an example, say loads turn out to be 250ah/day ( the heater alone is about that) and you want to be able to go a couple of days with no sun. 250x2=500ah storage. We don't regularly run batteries down more than half so 1000ah total. You would want ~100a charging, so maybe 6 250w panels.

    Rough cost:
    Batteries 800
    Panels + racking 2000
    Charge controller 600
    Inverter/charger 2000
    Wire, breakers, etc 500

    So ballpark $6,000. Maybe 10,000 if you want to heat (inverter wil handle, but everything else doubles). The panels are ~3x6' so the shed roof may not work to mount.

    We would probably design it a bit differently (eg maybe 48v instead of 12v) which might save a bit, but that's the order of cost you're at.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 812Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    If you can feasibly run an extension cord then you can run an underground conduit and circuit from the same source. Bound to be a lot cheaper than solar. Don't forget you will need to replace batteries every 3-4 years.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • shedpowershedpower Posts: 3Registered Users
    Thanks so much - my takeaway is that cost will far outweigh benefits! I'd like to keep on solar as much as possible (permitting issue). So, new ideas:

    Anyone have experience with DC exhaust fans? The fan only needs to run when there is sun beating hot on the coop roof (or a solar panel!), so wondering if there is a hack where I can connect a large D.C. fan directly to a charge controller? Advice for doing so if so? And thoughts on a D.C. Powered fan?

    How should I think about a system to power the nest cam? Will that be as costly?

    The lights are totally optional, so I can forget them for now.

    Thanks so much!!
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,211Super Moderators admin
    You can find 12, 24, and 48 volt DC fans at used electronic "junk yards". Those will work just fine when connected to a solar panel of the appropriate wattage/voltage. No batteries needed (unless you need to move air when the sun is down/behind clouds).

    Or just search EBay or Amazon.

    And there are solar fans for green houses and such:

    https://sunshineworks.com/pages/solar-fans-for-greenhouses-exhaust-ventilation-with-brushless-motor-super-fans

    Avoid "brushed motors"--The brushes will wear out in a year or two and need replacing (if replaceable).

    Ideally, you want the ones with ball bearings (or better) for longer life. Sleeve bearings will not last that long (perhaps a year or two?).

    Note that small "computer" fans that move lots of air can be very noisy. Avoid the high volume/high power/small fans.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,038Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    It would help to know more about the nest cam. I assume the 0.2a draw is 120v, so would be [email protected], so 48ah/day?

    Going DC would avoid inverter losses, which can be significant with small loads. An issue with doing that is the wide range of voltage (~11 to 16v) the cam could see. The adapter you linked to may convert proportionately, but the cam may be damaged with much voltage up to ~7v( I'm assuming the cam is 5v). OTOH, it may convert variable input voltage to a fixed 5v output. It states an input range of 12-24v, which suggests the latter.

    If the 48ah is right, the system could look something like this:
    2x6v golf cart batteries ~225ah, ~$200
    2x150w 12v panels, ~$300
    Pwm charge/load controller, ~$100
    Battery charger, ~$100

    If you did the solar direct to fan thing you would add more panel. If you got a few cloudy days, you would drag out the extension cord and use the battery charger (or carry the batteries to the house.

    For the chick heater, you may want to consider solar thermal to mass heat. Basically a pool solar heat unit warming a water loop. The mass could be a water tank, concrete base, or whatever. The mass becomes your "heat battery" to keep the chicks warm at night.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • dennis461dennis461 Posts: 99Registered Users ✭✭
    edited May 2017 #7
    shedpower said:
    Thanks so much - my takeaway is that cost will far outweigh benefits! I'd like to keep on solar as much as possible (permitting issue). So, new ideas:

    Anyone have experience with DC exhaust fans? The fan only needs to run when there is sun beating hot on the coop roof (or a solar panel!), so wondering if there is a hack where I can connect a large D.C. fan directly to a charge controller? Advice for doing so if so? And thoughts on a D.C. Powered fan?

    How should I think about a system to power the nest cam? Will that be as costly?

    The lights are totally optional, so I can forget them for now.

    Thanks so much!!
    You could consider a turbine ventilator for the roof, no electricity. Any fan of decent size will require a pretty large system.
    Small ones can be bought as standalone;  google roof solar ventilator attic fan.
    You want something simple, trying to mount a DC fan not designed for wet weather could be more trouble than you want.


    We set up a web cam in a coop trying to find a predator and had to use wifi laptop to view remotely some 100' away.
    Also needed a light to see it.
    How did you plan on hooking up  a camera? Make model...

    Camden County, NJ, USA
    19 SW285 panels
    SE5000 inverter
    grid tied
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 812Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    You can hardwire a small, (50 watt) ,solar panel to a couple generic 12 volt radiator fans. Worked great  for me in my garage in Baja.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • shedpowershedpower Posts: 3Registered Users
    Thanks!! Is a solar roof ventilator fan unit more or less powerful than the 12v radiator fan idea? Open to either one.

    The camera is a nest cam. It's currently working perfectly via wifi but on an extension power cord. There is an automatic night mode.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 812Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    shedpower said:
    Thanks!! Is a solar roof ventilator fan unit more or less powerful than the 12v radiator fan idea? Open to either one.

    I couldn't tell you what is more powerful. I will say this, radiator fans are made to move a lot of air. Here's what I ended up having to do. I took a 65 watt 12 volt panel and connected it to one of these inexpensive radiator fans. The fan is rated at 80 watts. When I hard wired it to the solar panel it started spinning so fast I knew I had to do something different. I hooked up two of them in parallel to the single solar panel and got a real nice speed out of them. They increase speed when the sun is the strongest and slow down as the sun settles into the west.  They are going on 3 years old now and haven't missed a beat.

    link to the fan I bought,  http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-Inch-Universal-Slim-Fan-Pull-Electric-Radiator-Cooling-12V-Mount-Kit-US/252638170568?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid=2220072&algo=SIM.MBE&ao=2&asc=40130&meid=965b7dcb5bce49b4934a848cfcf30dc6&pid=100005&rk=2&rkt=6&sd=282499599980

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

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