Scam Alerts

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Comments

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    "Everyone else, looks exactly like the Earth 4 Energy scam... [edit to add spaces to get past spam filter.-BB]

    I fell for one of these. It was a series of videos (which contained very little useful information) and a series of "books" that probably add up to about 40 pages total, most of which seems to be photocopied from magazine articles or lifted from other scam sites. I did get one valuable piece of information, though. You cannot legally integrate home-built solar panels into the grid, so any homebuilt project is strictly limited to a battery charging system.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    So for someone new to this game, like myself, just trying to learn what and how to set up a system, the scamers are pretty frightening. I need to be sure and avoid them. So is dealing with reputable comopanies the only way to steer clear of the scams?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,873 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Getting yourself an education helps--asking questions (here and elsewhere), comparing various components/systems, researching vendors for reviews/problem reports, etc. (reviews can be real or a combination of unhappy customers and vendors seeding reviews)...

    Going with known good vendors helps--but there are real deals out there too... But the possibility of scam certainly goes up with the "it seems too good to be true" prices. However, there are some pretty expensively priced scams out there too.

    And, even if you finally get all the right components at the right price--you can still end up with issues... Not understanding the load vs available power from a solar system is one (most people underestimate their loads and over estimate the solar PV systems output power).

    Another is improper mounting/operation... Improper wiring blowing components, under/over charging/over discharging/boiling dry/etc. the batteries, portable panels blown over and shattered, etc. can all happen too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Anyone have knowledge or experience for paint that has insulating values? thanks jc
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts
    Anyone have knowledge or experience for paint that has insulating values? thanks jc

    Yep. We've done that. :D

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=3731&highlight=insulating+paint

    Turns up in a few other threads too.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,873 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    So far, except for some seriously technical uses (like space shuttle)--Painting things light colors will keep the surface from getting as hot under the sun and better reflect UV (colors towards red tend to degrade faster because of UV absorption).

    I don't think there is any paint out there that you can slap on the side of a home and save any money on your heating bills.

    From this thread:

    Cooling Solar Panels for Improved Power Output (clipped from thread)
    BB. wrote: »
    Niel is correct... Generally what radiates heat well also absorbs heat well.

    I remember years ago that NASA spent a bunch of time and money trying to find the right "paint" that would reflect heat from the sun well and radiate heat to space well... If I recall correctly, the best material was not much better than any of the other options.

    In the case of solar panels, I am not sure that it would make any difference at all... You have a slight insulation effect (paint is not a good conductor of heat, plus the back of the panels are plastic--also not a good heat conductor). And, you may end up with warranty problems--paints have solvents and additives which could attack the membrane materials on the back of the panels.

    If you want to keep your panels cool--ensure there is at least 5-6 inches of airspace behind/under the panels and a way for air to circulate.

    Ah--found one NASA report from 1983 (PDF file)... Has a whole bunch of information about colors/materials and their absorption and emission of heat. Hmm, looking at the results--I would probably be more tempted to paint the back of the panels white than black... Very similar emission results, and much less absorption with white.

    But of so much variability (materials, coating thicknesses, the way it is applied, mounting differences, etc.)--You would really have to do A/B testing of your specific panels and coatings.

    Don't think it is worth doing it...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SolarSailorSolarSailor Solar Expert Posts: 49
    Re: Scam Alerts
    don't think there is any paint out there that you can slap on the side of a home and save any money on your heating bills.


    Take a look at this stuff.....SuperTherm

    It's termed a 'coating' since it's a ceramic mixture.

    http://spi.graggadv.com/products/supertherm/

    R-Equivalent "RE" 19.2

    Cost: $1.00/SqFt for 10mil dry thickness (16mil wet)

    Used for variety of applications, including steel buildings and ships.
    Becomes the right stuff for Shipping Containers, for shipping or housing.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,873 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    See post #30 above from "Russ"... He tried it on a job and found SuperTherm did not add any measurable insulation effect.

    I find it difficult to believe the claims myself.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SolarSailorSolarSailor Solar Expert Posts: 49
    Re: Scam Alerts
    BB. wrote: »
    See post #30 above from "Russ"... He tried it on a job and found SuperTherm did not add any measurable insulation effect.

    I find it difficult to believe the claims myself.

    -Bill


    To be sure, we do need to be conscience of what difference there may be between 'Supertherm like materials' and actual 'SuperTherm'.

    Can Russ confirm actual 'SuperTherm' was used?

    One claim we can empathize is there would be a difference between it and simple 'reflective' paint materials.

    otoh, I've not actually used/tested SuperTherm, so would wish for anyone who has to speak up.
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Scam Alerts

    In the world of insulation and refractories there is no scientific manner in which the stuff can do as it claims. A thin layer (say 1mm) of anything does nothing.

    I was told that before we tried it but the cost was minimal and we had a major shutdown coming up anyway - nothing to lose. We also gained nothing except experience.

    Supertherm, Ultratherm, Savetherm or any other name the paints work on the same principal.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    The latest in the "free energy" scams (that have of course been suppressed by the evil corporations and/or governments) www dot magniwork dot com
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,873 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    We had a thread here about 1 year ago:

    Magniwork

    I still like my comment: Your money will power their home for a month...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • TypeDrTypeDr Registered Users Posts: 13
    Various Power Savers (Redux)
    Windsun wrote: »
    Looks like we might have another one - this one looks like it might be an MLM type thing. Their claims are a "bit" exaggerated, to say the least.

    http://www.power-save1200.com/index.html

    Hi Everyone,

    Please bear with me as I am a total newbie here. I should have figured that there would already be discussion and consensus regarding the Power-Save 1200, the KVAR PU-1200, and others, all in the $350-$399 price range.

    There's also one brand, the Electric Saver 1200, which says it does the identical job as the first 2, but for $97.75.

    My questions are:

    1. Would whatever savings (if any?) on the electric bill be worth 1/4 the price? Or are the whole lot of these just hollow promises?

    2. KVAR posts a Fact Sheet from the Program of the U.S. Department of Energy, which is attached at the end of this post. Is this really from the DoE?
    .................................

    In case you'd like to read samplings from the 3 websites, here's another pdf of my own notes as I came across these sites.

    Thanks very much for your consideration!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,873 admin
    Re: Various Power Savers (Redux)
    TypeDr wrote: »
    Please bear with me as I am a total newbie here. I should have figured that there would already be discussion and consensus regarding the Power-Save 1200, the KVAR PU-1200, and others, all in the $350-$399 price range.
    For the unit its self (motor run capacitor inside a metal box with wires and a pilot light--Probably ~10x -20x its retail worth.

    Now--I am not sure, but that cost may include a person coming out to your home or business and sizing the unit to your needs... More on your "needs" later.
    There's also one brand, the Electric Saver 1200, which says it does the identical job as the first 2, but for $97.75.
    Only 3x-6x over priced...
    1. Would whatever savings (if any?) on the electric bill be worth 1/4 the price? Or are the whole lot of these just hollow promises?
    As with any good sales job--there is a bit of truth that is, usually, spun way out of proportion to any real return on investment.

    Short answer, in the US, probably no utility charges for "poor power factor" for any home, and probably most small businesses...

    If you owned an oil refinery with megawatts with of electric motors--you bet your bottom dollar that utilities charge utilities based on VA and kVA/kVAR (all basically the same thing) and if you could cut ~45% of your industrial power bill, you would install banks of capacitors to reduce VA/kVA usage.

    So the simple answer is you will save zero to pennies or a dollar or so per month on a typical home power bill.
    2. KVAR posts a Fact Sheet from the Program of the U.S. Department of Energy, which is attached at the end of this post. Is this really from the DoE?
    Possibly--The claims are true--as far they go... If you have big motors (A/C, industrial pumps, agricultural pumps, etc.), and your motors are not already power factor corrected (more small appliances are coming with power factor correction), and you are a (typically) large business that is charged for poor power factor--You will hire an electrical contractor to measure and calculate how much capacitor to place you each of your loads--and most likely these PF correction capacitors will be switched to turn on and off with the load.

    Note that "bad power factor" from a running motor can actually become "bad power factor" from a capacitor that is permanently "on".

    So, if you have an A/C system that runs during the summer--and put a big capacitor on there but don't switch the "Power Saver" unit--When the motor is running, you are near PF 0.95 --- But now during the winter you still have the capacitor connected so instead of a "-"0.65 power factor, you may have a "+"0.65 power factor--the utility will still charge "extra" if you follow their rules to run the capacitor load.:roll:

    Plus you can have bad power factor because you have lots of computers, florescent light bulbs, etc. -- And the capacitor will not help at all--because these are "non-linear" current loads:

    attachment.php?attachmentid=1557&d=1294163849

    A capacitor will do nothing to change the power factor of this type of load (Note: 120 VAC voltage is yellow line. The Blue Line is current from the load...)

    Anyway, we can go down the details if you have more questions. AC power and all of these issues are actually a very complex set of mathmatics.

    Take a look at the discussion about power factor, power supplies, and generators. It does matter--but you have to understand the underlying issues and how they affect your particular setup.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Two points -

    1) The Energy Star site has a post from the US Gov stating that these things (PF correction devices for residential use) do not do what they claim - that they are frauds.

    2) If you really want to spend a few hundred bucks on something like this please just send it to me and I can send you a box with wires going in and out, a couple of LEDs (say red and green) painted any color you choose. If required I could add a buzzer and a phony LAN connection (at additional charge).

    At least you would make me happy and it would have the same effect on your residential power bill. This is essentially the same thing power save 1200 is doing.

    Industrially, as Bill says, they are very important. In the last plants I ran we had our own power plants (over 550 mW when I left - now triple that) - in my section we consumed well over 100 mW and we went into capacitors for PF correction big time. A very different world - nothing to be compared at all.

    Russ
  • TypeDrTypeDr Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Too funny, Russ!

    Thanks for clarifying the issues, and giving me a chuckle re the wired box.

    This is an amazing BB-site full of generous and KNOWLEDGEABLE real-world experts. I am so glad to have wandered into Wind-Sun Forums.

    Best, TypeDr
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Three sources to back up the comments I made.

    1) The following is from http://energystar.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/energystar.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=4941&p_created=1204908170

    ENERGY STAR does not qualify any Power Factor Correction Devices. Please send us an email at logomisuse@energystar.gov if you see one that claims to be ENERGY STAR certified.

    2) A supporting document for the above from NIST (you would have to do a web search - I don't have the URL.

    NIST Technical Note 1654
    Regarding Electric Energy Savings,
    Power Factors, and Carbon
    Footprints: A Primer

    3) NIST Team Demystifies Utility of Power Factor Correction Devices http://www.nist.gov/pml/quantum/power_121509.cfm

    Russ
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts
    Kellan wrote: »
    You cannot legally integrate home-built solar panels into the grid, so any homebuilt project is strictly limited to a battery charging system.

    My utility company told me that I could build my own panels . The only thing I could not build is the grid tie inverter as it has to be UL approved.
  • TypeDrTypeDr Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Thank you. Russ.
    Best, TypeDr
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,873 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Interesting.

    Where is your planned installation?

    It may be that the utility does not care (if you have a listed GT Inverter)... Usually the local building department/fire insurance company cares about using listed components for Home/Business electrical wiring including the solar array.

    I know some folks live where nobody really cares or does electrical inspections--Or, in many (most?) cases, the building inspector may not even climb on the roof to check if Listed components are used.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    I am in SE Missouri. I am installing 10 KW of panels they will be pole mounted. There is no building inspector needed as I'm in the county not city , tho the electric company has to inspect it to make sure it all works correctly before I can turn the system on. Plus they reinspect every year.

    The utility company does care ....You have to have a UL listed GT inverter.

    They did try and talk me out of putting it in ...their argument was it wont pay for itself before I will need to replace parts....ha ha poor attempt to talk me out since they raised rates 4 times in the last year.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    as i've said many times it all depends on who does the inspections as it is up to them. the nec is not the law. one problem area, however, may be insurance companies as they may insist it be by the nec and like your inspector, they can mandate what they want.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts
    niel wrote: »
    as i've said many times it all depends on who does the inspections as it is up to them. the nec is not the law. one problem area, however, may be insurance companies as they may insist it be by the nec and like your inspector, they can mandate what they want.

    my insurance company said as long as the electric company passes it it fine.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    get that in writing or it means nothing.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Scam Alerts

    it is in writing on their letterhead and signed
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Your insurance agent or your insurance company - big difference.
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 508 ✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Over the years, I've heard that most insurance companies have so much
    fine print in their policies, they really don't have to pay out for anything.

    But, they do make pay-outs, because they don't want the bad PR and
    state regulators on their case.

    I once knew a man who had his furniture store burn down.
    He wasn't covered because his son had set up a drill press and grinder in an unused office.
    They weren't the cause of the fire, but they found the motors etc in the rubble and didn't want to pay..
    It was a very large store/warehouse.

    The man lost everthing. Ended up killing himself.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 7,308 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts

    Bummer . Reminds me of insurance joke #28, How do you cause a flood?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • RobertMfromLIRobertMfromLI Solar Expert Posts: 34
    Re: Scam Alerts
    crewzer wrote: »
    Here's a new one I cam across today: http://www.heatsurge.com/overview.cfm

    It's a 1,500 W heater ("...an amazing 5,119 BTU's") starting at $249!

    :grr
    Jim / crewzer

    One of my servers does better... at 624W max, generates 2,662 BTU.
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 508 ✭✭✭
    Re: Scam Alerts
    One of my servers does better... at 624W max, generates 2,662 BTU.

    It must be a heat pump, because 624 watts is 2129.176 BTUh,
    2,662 BTUh is equal to 780.1552 watts. :p
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