Newbie Question

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
Hi - I am a superior do-it-yourselfer with skills in carpentry, welding, masonry, etc. but absolutely nothing (zero) in electricity/electronics. Here's my situation. I live on a small farm. I raise sheep. They need water every day. During the warm months I can just run a long hose from the house to the barn. No problem. In the winter that doesn't work. I have to physically haul the water from the house to the barn. 300 yards. I'd like to stop that. I can buy a water trough that has a heating element to keep the water at 40 degrees but there's no place to plug it in. No outlet. I'd like to install a solar powered outlet that I can use as an energy source for the heated water trough. Please tell me, where can I buy such a device? I've done a short websearch and while I find many references to "solar powered outlets" and other such search terms, I can't seem to find a nice package that suits my needs. I'm guessing that this is just because I don't adequately understand the technical language. C'mon guys, help me out, please. Oh yeah, also, I am also guessing that a small wind generator might also do the trick. Maybe even better since the wind works 24-7 but the sun does not. Any info is appreciated. Thanks, K
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,897 admin
    Re: Newbie Question

    I would suggest that you look into thermal based solar system... The panels are 1/10th the price (per watt collected) and about 4x as efficient per square foot (thermal panels are about 1/4 the size of solar electric) vs a solar PV panel system... Plus, if you wish, you can probably build a 1/2 way decent collector system yourself.

    Now, as always, the devil is in the details. First, insulation to prevent heat loss (efficiency is always the first step in solar systems). Also, heat mass ("large" insulated tank with only a small opening for animals to drink--for example).

    Second, your working fluid (air, non-poisonous anti-freeze, etc.). Next, thermal siphon vs an electric pump (a small electric circulation pump plus a dedicated solar PV panel works well--you have sun, you have heat, and the pump runs).

    Your thoughts?
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    A few more details would help the forum be able to be of more assistance. Included would be location, volume of water needed per day, average daily minimum temp, etc etc.

    I for one would look at a circulating loop to keep the water from freezing in very cold winter temps, burying the service line below frost level, a self draining tap/shutofff valve, a sheep actuated watering trough and not using PV for heat as BB suggests, it could be used for the circ pump though.

    HTH
    Cheers
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Follow this link, http://www.heatline.com/kompensator.htm

    These guy make all kinds of low wattage/high effeciency freeze protection stuff, including 12vdc and 24vdc heat tapes that can be super insulated. They also make 120 and 240ac heat tapes, as well as products that can be installed IN the pipe, as well as for drains etc. There are several US companies as well, including Frostex, and Easyheat, both have a good web presence.

    Good luck.

    Icarus

    PS This is what I use to keep my lake drawn water line flowing at -40.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Icarus, what amount of heat tape length are you using and what do you think the consumption (W) is per day? IS this on all year round, their site leads me to assume this as they refence 5 w / foot @ 50 degrees F? If one was to power this enitirely with PV it might be a significant load...

    Cheers

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Newbie Question

    You guys are fantastic! It's so nice that you're willing to help. I've got to tell you though, you're reallyreally over-engineering this deal.

    I live in New England. It gets cold, especially overnight. The temp goes into the single digits all the time during the winter. I have a dozen sheep. Not a thousand. Not a hundred. A dozen. I'm not going to put in a large volume water tank. I'm not going to put in a circulating loop or a pump. I'm not going to put in a sheep actuated trough. I'm just a poor (over-extended - I bought this beautiful little farm)) welding engineer who is trying to avoid hauling water all winter. All your solutions are great but they are all too expensive. I just want a solar collector to power an outlet. A wind generator to power an outlet. Then I can plug in my heated water trough.

    I have to give a shout out to my boy icarus. The heat tape is a great product. When I've saved enough pennies to make that installation I think it may be the way to go. All I have to do is rent a ditch-witch and lay the pipe with the heat tape and I'll be good for years. My thanks go out to you all.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    1st to Kizmet.

    If you bury and insulate, AND can keep just a bit of water flowing, you probably won't need heat tape to keep it thawed. If you use PEX tubing it will survive a freeze without damage, assuming the freeze is farther than 6" from a fitting. Some of the heat tape is pretty cheap ~$2.00/ft complete with cord ends etc. You can use it in various short lengths to keep the kw/hr use down.

    Tony

    Eric, There are a bunch of ways to do this. In the true confession mode; I am only now designing a system that has yet to be installed. I have spent a bunch of time talking back and forth with Brent Hiess of Heatline coming up with different solutions.

    Their heat tape comes in many different configurations, form 12vdc to 240vac. The watts/ft range from [email protected] 50f. They draw more when it is colder less to almost zero above 60f. ( THE 240VAC can be run on 120vac, but it will only put out 3 watts/ft, not a bad idea in some incarnation.


    The system I am building will run 120vac, but will be 240 (Probably)

    I will write more tomorrow, I'm being called away. (sorry!)

    Tony
  • SolarJohnSolarJohn Solar Expert Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    K,

    I'm guessing you have electricity in your house. Have you considered running a wire from the house to the barn? That may be the least expensive and most reliable solution.

    John
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    as interesting of a challenge for solar that would be, i too agree with solar john that the best solution is to run some utility ac wiring to used with either heat tape or a small pump. even at today's high cost of wire, it is going to be cheaper and more reliable than a solar install.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    K, sorry I didnt mean to scare you off, just giving you a few ideas. There is a wealth of (learned the hard way) experience here on this BB, we are hapy to share it, though it may lead to Over the Top engineering.

    My experience is in having ONE horse for over a decade and wishing that I had done something a bit better than what you are doing right now... also over 30 years living in an area that gets way below freezing for 6 months, suffering a frozen main water line and having a fire hose above ground for supply with a tap runninng 24/7 for 4 months until the water line thawed ( 6 feet down). Flooded the neighbour out below us too... as you are probably aware cold keeps going into the ground well after the air warms...

    the simplest thing , and cheapest, is to run a good grade garden hose overland to the watering spot, then after you are finished watering Drain the hose completely. A cold hose will probably freeze on you before the water reaches the end if > 100 feet... and the temps are near zero F, so you will want to keep it in a warm shed orr??

    I agree with SolarJohn too.

    Cheers
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • toothytoothy Registered Users Posts: 29 ✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Hello All

    I made a waterer out of a 2' well ring buried vertically with a cement bottom. I had water plumbed into the bottom with a modified toilet valve as a level control. It was set only a few inches above grade, the upper sides and top were insulated with a small hole in the top to give access to the water. I could have buried a pipe deeper and used it as a thermo-syphon heater, but where I was at the time wasn't cold enough to need it. Put a ball in the hole in the lid so the animals have to push it down to get a drink and it pops back up when their done.

    Wade
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Eric, To finish up the thoughts from yesterday. I got called a way, and I started to respond to another thread and got called away again!

    There are a bunch of ways to do this. In the true confession mode; I am only now designing a system that has yet to be installed. I have spent a bunch of time talking back and forth with Brent Hiess of Heatline coming up with different solutions.

    Their heat tape comes in many different configurations, form 12vdc to 240vac. The watts/ft range from [email protected] 50f. They draw more when it is colder less to almost zero above 60f. ( THE 240VAC can be run on 120vac, but it will only put out 3 watts/ft, not a bad idea in some incarnation.

    My situation is this. My building is ~8' from the shore. There is 20' from the edge of the house to where the the pipe enters the building. All the rest of the plumbing is in the heated envelope of the building.

    I am going to go with a 2 stage approach. The first stage, from the lake bottom to the shore: From the low water, low ice line to the shore, (above the high ice line) is ~ 50'. I will put a low point drain in there. From the shore down to the low ice line, I will run 3/4"pex tubing. Then I will use 120vac heatline, which is rated to be in the water, 3 watts/ft. This will then be wrapped in close cell foam, case in 1 1/2-2" pvc to protect against ice movement, with another layer of closed cell foam. This will make a super insulated line. My theory is that when I leave the building for extended time I will allow this line to freeze. When I return, I should be able to thaw this line in a day or so using my inverter or my generator. Since it will only be frozen for perhaps 10' of it's length I expect this to be true. (The water level rises and fall over the years, but the extent of the ice is about 3-4' on any given year). 50' of heat tape @3-6 watts will be 150-300 watts.

    The second half of the line, above the shore, above the low point drain will be dry when we are away. Once the lower portion thaws, the water will run freely through the second length to the tank. This line I will use inexpensive non wet location rated heat tape. This will pex tubing, put together the same way.

    In normal operation, the portion of the pipe under water and in the ice SHOULDN'T be as susceptible to refreezing; A because it is immersed in above freezing temp water in the lake, B: the temp of the surrounding ice is not likely to be as cold as the night air temp (We are talking extremes here, -35 or lower), and C: it is not exposed to the wind and therefore should loose less heat. As a result, I expect to have to run this tape rarely in day to day operation, perhaps a hour or so on the very coldest mornings.
    6 watts X 50' X 1 hour=300 watt/hours

    The second portion, into the house, because it can't be buried, except by snow, (never underestimate the insulating qualities of snow)! IS exposed to the air and therefore will be more likely to freeze over night. I expect to run this tape off and on over night on very cold nights. 30' of this tape @ 3 watts s 90 watt+-. I hope that I can run this a max of 20 minutes an hour to keep it thawed. 30 watts X .33hours x 12 hours=118 watt/hours.

    So if I'm right, (I'll let you know next winter, as I can't install this until after breakup next spring), I should use a max of 418 watt/hours per day, on the coldest days (nights) of the winter. Our current panel set up gives us 1100 watt/hours per day in good sun. (More when it is that cold AND clear)

    Warmer nights of course will use less power. The advantage of pex tubing is that if it freezes further that 6" from a fitting, it won't be damaged, and a bit of heat in the morning and it should be good to go. We have a large (for us) tank so we will still have water for a while.

    This has all been a giant learning curve for me. We have built a new house (cabin really) and are adding features we never dreamed up before. I have always carried water in buckets, showered with a stove warmed bucket of water. I am of an age (as is my wive) when the technologies allow us to continue to live simply, but we don't have to rough it.

    I realize this has veered far off the original track of the this thread, and I apologize, but if anyone has any notion that this won't work, I would love to hear from them.

    Tony

    Icarus

    PS. It is a big cool in out neighborhood tonight, -33c. I'm enjoying some balmy -5 weather in the Pacific NW however!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,320 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Forget solar electric heating, just use solar hot water heating. Of course, if there is not enough sun, you will still freeze the water.
    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 ,

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Eric et al,

    After much, (and I do mean much!) thinking about this I have come up with a change in the design that I think (hope) will be an improvment. It will also reduce the amount of heat tape required.

    The in the water portion remains the same with one exception that will be explained later.

    The portion from the high water mark into the building will be built with the same pex tubing, insulated the same way. The change is that this will be an automatic drain back system. I spent hours searching the web and talking to plumbing experts, and nobody could come up with a good way of doing this. I stumbled upon the solution quite by accident. On the inlet pipe, under the ice I will install a tee arm. At the end of the tee I will install an automatic drain valve. Searching for such a thing was difficult until I stumbled across underground sprinkler information. Orit of Utah makes a nice brass drain valve, 1/2"npt that closes @ 6psi, and most importantly OPENS @ 5psi ~$3. (There is a way more expensive version from the fire sprinkler guys but these are off the shelf at Home depot). The net effect is that when the pump runs, the valve closes, when the pump stops it opens and automatically drains the line.

    Of course this presents a second, (and perhaps a third) set of problem(s) If you drain the line each time, every time you pump water you introduce a lines worth of water into the system, which you really don't want. The solution to this is a simple hot water/hydronic radiator ball vent valve. Install this valve at the high point before the check valve at the tank, and the incoming air will blow out until the chamber fills with water, and then it shuts. These run about $15 at a plumbing supply house. The vent will eject a TINY bit of water each cycle. If that is a problem, you can clamp a piece of tubing and vent it to a drain or out the floor. The final problem is, like a drinking straw pulled out of a soda with your thumb on the end, the pipe won't drain until A: the pressure is relieved, and B: air is allowed to reintroduced to the line. I haven't yet come up with an automatic solution for this (at least not a cheap one) so I will contend myself with a manual bleed valve that I will have to open when I want to drain the system. (Now as I write this, there is no reason I couldn't install a cheap, normally open solenoid valve. It would close with voltage (pump on) and open with no voltage (pump off) Damn!! I'm a genius! (I couldn't use a solenoid on the low side as it is under water, so I discounted the idea before)

    The long and short of this is if all goes the way I hope, the only need for heat tape will be on the portion under the ice, as the water will drain back to the static water level of the lake each time, so there will only be 2-4 feet of ice to deal with.

    I see no reason that this system wouldn't work for a deep well application as well as a long water line between buildings. I am also planing on installing these automatic drain valves at all the low points of the building instead of manual drain valves. That way I don't have to run around and open/close the drains when I am going or have been away.

    I realize this has all taken us far from the original OP's question, but I think it is useful information for others.

    Icarus

    Now I need to find a normally closed 12vdc solenoid valve. My wife wonders what RE porn I spend all evening looking at!
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    tony, quickly, I can only think of one gotcha right now, make sure the valves are marked and accessible if repair needed, ie dont put them under concrete. I have underground sprinklers and each year minor repairs are needed somewhere...

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Eric,

    The automatic drain valve will be in the lake 365. Of course if it fails mid winter, it will be back to buckets until breakup. The ball bleed valve will be in the mechanical room with the p-tank. All the interior drain valves will be located in the heated envelop with drop tubes.

    One item I didn't mention, is that the total height of the pipe one is attempting to drain from top to bottom will determine whether these valves will work. The trick is to have no more than 5psi (preferably less) or they won't open. This translates to a maximum of ~12' of head. Any more and the valve won't open, ergo won't drain.

    If you have more than 12' of head you would have to put one in mid stream, with the requisite freezing problems.

    Icarus

    PS. Now the more I think of this the more potential problems I can come up with. I have bench tested all the components using grid pumped deep well water, and it all works fine in theory. My question now is will my little sureflo pump fast enough to CLOSE the drain valve, or will i just be pumping water in one end and out the other? I guess I will have to Beta test it with the pump and valve submerged to the proper depth.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Ttony, the rule of thumb we used to use for fire fighting hose pressure was
    .5 # per foot less flow resistance of the hose, which would bring you to 10 # / ft with a margin of error.. so you might need that mid stream valve...

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Eric,

    My net head is about 6' or ~2.4psi. Any friction loss in the pipe, (on the drain down side) would only serve to help the drain valve open. I have beta tested this with all the same material and it works great. I just haven't wired up the pump yet, but I guess I should before I drop it in the lake.

    The problem with an intermediate drain is that it would have to be above the high water mark, and then subject to freezing.

    Icarus
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Well,

    As threatened, I did the Beta test and here is the skinny. It all worked better than anticipated. I wired the shurflo submersible into a temporary p-tank and plumbing. Putting 12vdc to the p-switch and the pump started right on cue. The Drain valve spewed forth for about thirty seconds, then closed tightly. The boiler valve vented the air and then close with no leak, and the pressure began to rise in the tank. At 50 psi the pump shut off as expected, the 12vdc solenoid valve opened, and instantly the low point automatic drain opened and drained the entire line.

    While this pump is not fast, it pumps ~.7 gpm while drawing ~1.9 amps @ 12vdc. I have a large p-tank and anticipate being able to pump the tank in about 1 hour during the day, while using~2 amp/hours of power. This should allow me all the water we use in most days since we have only kitchen sink and shower. (No toilets) In winter now we use ~ 20gal/day but have now shower. (Thank god for snorkel hot tubs!)

    Now when I return home I'll install the heat tape, wrap the pipe with insulation, and drop in through a hole in the ice and hope for the best.

    Icarus
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Well, back at the ranch, (Or the island in this case)

    -31c last night, with 48" of ice. I built the system for real and put it all in.

    The water line is 3/4 pex tubing, covered with R-15 of tundra foam, covering 50' of heat line heat tape. All this in 6' black drain tile to protect it from the elements and the moving ice. Looks pretty strange, this giant black snake lying on the ice. I drilled a hole in the ice, fired up the pump and 40 minutes later my p-tank was full. The solenoid valve opened, the underwater drain valve opened and the line drained itself. (I have to watch the low points as the line just drapes over the snow onto the ice. I have to wait for breakup to put the line in the water for real). Fact of the matter is I don't think I need the pipe insulation at all. Since it seems to drain completely each cycle, but a bit of insurance non the less.

    I also installed the automatic drain valves at every fixture as well as the shower valve body as a low point drain. The cool thing about that is if I have to leave the house in the winter, all I have to do to drain the ENTIRE water system is open any faucet, and the pressure will drop to zero, and the auto drains will open and drain to daylight. It helps to open all the faucets giving them more air but it all drains none the less. I have drains on the cold and the hot side of the demand water heater as well.

    Now I have to wait a month or so for the ice to break up so that I can place the line in the lake permanently. I'm pretty jazzed since I now have hot and cold running water even at -30!

    Icarus.

    PS To moderators. This thread strayed a bit far from the original post. If you want to consolidated it in it's own thread feel free. I think that I have added some useful information here that may be hard to find other wise. (I couldn't even find it very easily.

    R
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    A bit of an update:

    After a summer of working on the system, I think I have worked out most of the kinks. The biggest problem I had was getting the entire shebang to sink! I should have (duh!) realized that 6" of tundra foam has a huge amount of floatation. Getting the thing to sink was a considerable challenge. I started on the ice, tying large boulders to the line over it's length. When the ice went out it sort of sank, but with the water temp ~ 33f I wasn't about to go in to get in in properly. Over the course of the summer I was able to procure a number of railway "fish plates" (the iron plates that the rail sits on). I tied them on to get the line to sink evenly. Then I was able to bury it under about three tons of granite boulders placed by hand over the line. The pump sits in about 15' of water, 60' from shore.

    We have now gotten to the place where we completely forget about it as it works so well. The pump draws ~7 amps 12vdc (we run it on 24vdc with a voltage doubler) including the solenoid valve.


    Tony

    
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    I'm sure there is an update somewhere else here, but since someone asked me off line, I will post this update.

    After two winters, with the inlet pipe frozen in the lake ice for a month at a time, I have been able to thaw the system in ~15 minutes. (the heat tape won't run on 1 EU 1000 however, but runs fine on 2 eu 1000s) After initial thawing, it won't refreeze if I use water every day. All things considered, it is perfect.

    Tony
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Tony, probably a dumb question... I assume you have the fancy Honda links between the two eu1000's, so..... how do the 2 do what one eu1000 can't? that is how do you get more amps to from one to the other? since the heat tape only has one plug.

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,897 admin
    Re: Newbie Question

    The smaller Honda eux000i family gensets can be run in pairs and the their AC outputs are connected in parallel for load sharing. Run two eu1000i (900 watts each) for 1,800 watt total load.

    You can use their special sharing cables and box (with up rated outlet and breaker)--or just use a "Y" cord with a pair of male plugs and one female receptacle.

    That "Y" cord has what are known as "suicide" plugs as they are connected in parallel so if one plug is pulled from one of the gensets, the other genset keeps the cord energized and the exposed blades "Hot".

    I am not sure that using a pair eu1000i is better than one eu2000i--but if you need a couple smaller gensets and only need the "high power" pairing on rare occasions... It does work pretty well.

    From reading the instructions, you plug the generators together, fire one up which sets the voltage and phasing, and then fire up the second which then "slaves" to the first one. You do not fire them up first then plug them together.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    thanks bill, I think I get it...I also wondered about the ground's etc and then remembered that 1) the plugs are of the polarized type and 2) the master/slave issue comes into play.

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,897 admin
    Re: Newbie Question

    I believe that the AC output of the small Honda's are floating--so there is no polarization when connecting the two AC outputs together (obviously, the safety grounds must tie together and not mix with the hot leads).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Eric, That is really a dumb question! LOL.

    As usual Bill has it about right.

    The parallel "kit"is nothing but a pair of wires with a female "banana jack" on each end. There is no "suicide plug" nor any polarizing issue. The output is restricted to 15 amps (since that is the receptacle rating. (not a problem with 2 1000s as the combined rating is ~1800 watts @120vac.)

    It is interesting, that my heat tape runs just fine on one genny in the summer, but in the winter, it draws just enough amps to trip the one 1000. I happened upon a second Eu 1000 this summer, NIB for $300 so now I can keep them both warm so when I get home the two together should run the tape. I won't be back for another couple of weeks and we will have the acid test then.

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,897 admin
    Re: Newbie Question

    Just to be clear--the $40 "shielded banana plug" is the factory/aftermarket "safe" solution.

    The suicide "Y" cable (two male, one female) is the one you do at 2am or on hot Sunday afternoon after a power outage and the banana plug dealer is closed...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dagr51dagr51 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question
    icarus wrote: »
    with the inlet pipe frozen in the lake ice

    Tony

    I'm curious, Tony, but what keeps the pipe from splitting if it's frozen?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,897 admin
    Re: Newbie Question

    From an earlier post by Tony:
    icarus wrote: »
    ... If you use PEX tubing it will survive a freeze without damage, assuming the freeze is farther than 6" from a fitting. Some of the heat tape is pretty cheap ~$2.00/ft complete with cord ends etc. You can use it in various short lengths to keep the kw/hr use down.

    Heavy insulation when cabin is in daily use keeps lines from freezing. Use drain back / drain water away from fittings to keep the above ground fittings from freezing, buried below ice level in lake?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie Question

    Wow,

    I don't have to even think any more!

    Bill has it exactly correct. Pex tubing has an unlimited ability to be stretched and then return to dimension without damage. In fact the original Wirsbo fittings install only by expanding the pipe, inserting the fitting, and then have the pipe clamp itself down on the fitting, no clamps or crimp bands required.

    So if the all the pipe in a building is laid out such that there is no low spot near a fitting, you don't have to be so careful about system draining in the winter. My house has automatic low point drains, the same ones that are installed in the pump line that allows the pump to automatically drain. When I leave, I kill the pump, and open all the faucets, the pressure in the tank drops to zero, and the low point drains automatically open, draining out all the interior piping, with out having to remember all the valves. When the system represurizes they close. So even if there is a some small amount of water left in the PEX somewhere, it won't be damaged. (It is most important to drain faucet bodies/shower valves , because most of them have low points, and being made of brass they will freeze and burst. I have drain valves on the bottom of all my faucets that drain out to daylight so the valve bodies drain automatically as well.

    I am currently working on a Magazine piece for publication (I need to get off my but and finish it!). that shows the whole system soup to nuts, when I finish I will provide a link.

    Tony

    PS Thanks Bill.

    PPS. One other thing to note, and it may seem obvious, but if you keep ALL the supply lines within the heated envelope of the building, you have very little to worry about freezing. Most cabins are built over crawls spaces, and the temptation is to run the water lines under the floor. Then you have to insulate them and heat tape them, and leave water dripping etc. to keep them from freezing. It is much simpler to bring the supply in from the pump/street/source, insulate (and auto drain as described in this thread)it, leaving that the only water under the house that is subjected to cold and wind etc.

    Plumbing a house with the pipes in the heated envelope is a bit harder to do, but in this day and age of PEX tubing, it is as easy as it gets. In a cabin, if you don't mind the look, just run the pipe on top of the wall finish clamping off the pipes as needed. Or you can enclose the pipes in the walls or ceilings (be advised that they are more likely to freeze in the wall and ceiling cavity, especially if they go through some poorly insulated void, or are subjected to air leakage. Personally I prefer as much of the plumbing on top of the finished wall as possible, both for freeze protection as well as if there is ever a need to repair, or to tap into a line you don't have to rip the house apart.

    In our house, the P-tanks and pump controls are in closet next to the shower, the hot and col lines snake behind the shower unseen, but still in conditioned space to the demand water heater. From there they go into the kitchen on the surface for a few feet before disappearing behind the cabinets, where they run to the sink.

    I have run pipes in false bulkheads, or above door and window jambs, all kinds of ways to hide them, but keep them in the conditioned space. (Always protect them against errant screws and nails however). For cabins that get drained in the winter, paying particular attention to pipe pitch, and making sure that every low point has a drain. Even with the aforementioned advantages of PEX I like to get as much water out as possible, if only because, if I return (when) it is still frozen, I can get running water without having to wait a day or two for the ice to melt in the inside of the house.

    Just a few thoughts..


    T

    T
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