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  • Re: Energy efficient and secure routers?

    I'll be in the market for a new wireless router / hotspot soon too. Cell provider options are limited, and totally lacking in meaningful documentation. I want lower level control than some webpage/GUI will give me, and also want to make sure it will support 700mhz. High frequency 5g may not get to the cabin in my lifetime, but 700mhz is likely in the next couple of years. 1900mhz doesn't work, and 5g is even higher. 700mhz should theoretically work better than 850.

    They're expensive, but I'm considering something like a MultiTech wireless router/modem. I've used their stuff in the past and it was pretty solid.
  • Re: GE washing machine won't run off inverter power

    May not be applicable here, but I've occasionally had such wierdness happen with my inverters going into search mode unexpectedly. If the machine was just counting down a timer or waiting to fill, and no other loads running, maybe the inverters went into a search cycle, with the first pulse causing the machine to wake up and start drawing enough to keep inverters awake, but having lost track of the wash cycle in the process?

    Just another thought to toss into the mix.
  • Re: Battery sizing for 600W panels

    Depending on the size and type of inverter, using a 12v car charger could save a fair bit of power. Inverters can be pretty inefficient powering loads that are small relative to inverter capacity. Some use a lot just being on.

    The only reason I can think of to use an inverter would be if the loads are a long distance from the batteries (120vac will have less voltage drop), or if the inverter is on anyway for other loads.
  • Re: 3 months no grid power, you all saved me

    Good to hear it's working out. At 12.7v min overnight, your batteries are staying nearly full, and should last some time. Still, the batteries are likely to go before panels or electronics. When they do, it would simplify things by replacing them with a single bank, ideally with large enough batteries (eg 2v cells) to make a single series string of whatever capacity you need.

    In the meantime, I'd recommend checking individual battery voltages regularly (and specific gravity if they're flooded). Having lots of batteries in parallel can lead to some batteries losing capacity faster than others, which is difficult to detect by monitoring overall bank voltage alone. If caught early, these imbalances can be remediated to some extent by giving extra charging to the problem battery and/or changing the order of batteries in the bank wiring.
  • Re: Newbie ready to go off grid

    Flooded lead acid batteries will take a charge of ~15-20% of bank capacity during the bulk stage (to ~85% full), then take another 3-4 hours with diminishing current to fully charge. Some other types (sealed lead acid, lithium) can take higher currents, but have trade-offs in cost etc.

    I sometimes use a 2000w inverter generator with eco mode to finish charging my banks, which is much more efficient than finishing with the diesel. Your friend may be doing something similar by bulk charging with the 28kw generator and finish charging with pv. 8 panels might produce ~1.5-2kw.

    In considering off-grid, a key factor is getting a good handle on what your loads will be in terms of total daily consumption, and at peaks (starting well pumps etc). A kill-a-watt meter is a useful tool to help get a handle on this. For example, you could plug your tv etc into it for a few days to get a realistic view of how much power that will take in actual use. Then plug your fridge in for a few days. Actual consumption on these sorts of loads can be highly variable depending on use and be quite different from published ratings. Things like satellite systems can take surprising amounts of power to run. Once you have a good handle on this, a preliminary design can be costed out and trade-offs understood.