"Home Power" magazine Closing doors!

PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,782 ✭✭✭✭
I just received notice that Home Power is going out of business.

I subscribed in about 1990, maybe their 3rd or 4th year in business. They did a lot of good insightful articles. I only subscribed for a year and then moved near the end of that year and didn't forward the subscription. 

I became active on Solar forum Bulletin boards on line, the old 'Usenet' bulletin boards. "Home Power" articles would often be brought up. I actually thought they were flourishing, but apparently they weren't. 

When I was building my last solar array for my new place 7 years ago, my mom wanted to do something for me that showed support and choose to a subscription to "Home Power". 

I enjoyed flipping through it, but most of the info was old hat for me. Sometimes comparisons would frustrate me, as you must look at equipment from a particular point of view rather than just give facts, but I almost always found it interesting.

They will be missed by me...
Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol

Comments

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭✭
    By chance did you ever have access to their archive? One year when I renewed my subscription They made it available, online. I sat for literally days and downloaded the entire thing. It's a wonderful source of info. Also it's interesting watching the RE world evolve from it's infancy, so to speak. Cant find #1 but here's #2 from January 1988

    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.

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,782 ✭✭✭✭
    First, it would be simpler today, I think Microsoft 10 has a download manager. If not get one and it will download in the background until done or your hard drive's full...lol

    I might even today. I still get notifications to when the new issue is released, though I haven't had a subscription for 5 years or so.  Maybe i'll spend some time figuring out if I have access. It would be nice info. 

    It's the price points that amaze me. In 2000 I happily paid $3 a watt for very used old panels, In 2006 I paid about $3 a watt for new blemished panels and in 2012, 90 cents a watt for New blemished panels. This year I paid about 26 cents a watt for some new unused panels from a large install. (1 had a slightly bent piece of frame was pulled and a different panel installed, 1 had a tiny peck in the backing, that I covered in liquid electrical tape/tool dip)

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,510 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Was Home Power a paper publication which suffered it's demise in the digital evolution, much like many newspapers, magazines and music for that matter?  
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    900W  3 × 300W No name brand Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal as a backup system. 
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergencies and welding.
  • solardadsolardad Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭
    Bummed they are closing their doors.. I was an on and off again subscriber in the late 90s early 2000.. and ironically this is the year that I have the chance to be putting in a real system. Years ago I had the fortunate chance to meet one of the staff members, Joy?.?, in the early 90s while in college. 
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,782 ✭✭✭✭
    mcgivor said:
    Was Home Power a paper publication which suffered it's demise in the digital evolution, much like many newspapers, magazines and music for that matter?  
    I'm sure that was part of it. They had started digital subscriptions at least by 2003.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,199 ✭✭✭✭✭
    They just got too old and hired alot of young people who really did not live the life. My opinion.

    There is a huge amount of industry competition out there also.

     Richard taught me about tracking when I was trying to make a Telcom ste charge itself without me going there B)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Graham ParkinsonGraham Parkinson Registered Users Posts: 44 ✭✭
    Yikes - Homepower shutting down, egads!   I was a subscriber too.  Just found out that SolarPro magazine is shutting down too.  This forumn is just getting too good at getting the info out that is needed I guess.

    Offgrid in cloudy PNW

    MacGyver'ed museum collection of panels, castoff batteries and generators - ready for state of art system install ....

  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    .....
    There is a huge amount of industry competition out there also.
    .............
    Sign of the times I guess. There was a good youtube video by Outback on trends in the industry. Particularly interesting was the evolution from primarily off grid, then to grid tie and now to grid tie with batteries. Outback's product offering has lined up with that trend. Especially now with the introduction off the Skybox and the rapid deployment of Tesla Poweralls. 
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,199 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Rapid deployment is not something I would associate with Tesla Powerwall. Maybe rapid orders that get cancelled by unhappy consumers? It is an interesting product but talk about half baked. 
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • WaterWheelWaterWheel Registered Users Posts: 296 ✭✭✭
    I still have a subscription and they sent me a renewal offer a few months ago which I declined.     The Code Corner and Home and Heart sections were my favorite parts.  

    Conext XW6848 with PDP, SCP, 80/600 controller, 60/150 controller and Conext battery monitor

    21 SW280 panels on Schletter ground mount

    48v Rolls 6CS 27P

  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    Dave, 
    I probably should have used another term instead of 'Rapid Deployement".Tesla actually doesn't say how many have actually been delivered but I know a Southern California installer who has sold over 50 and his customers are extremely happy. One of his customers is a good friend of mine and all he knows is what shows up on his Android. He doesn't even care if he gets his SGIP payment. LG Chem has also been selling a lot of their battery packs according to one source I read. 
    The industry trend I was referring to earlier is the use of batteries in a grid tied system to shift loads to more favorable off peak times. Another example is the trend for batteries and solar combined to result in load departure from the Investor Owned Utilities. These are not issues usually discussed on this forum. Perhaps those are examples of what you call "half baked" solutions. For some, who can't legally go off grid, those are real economic benefits. 


  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,199 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2018 #13
    I agree with what you wrote Ampster. I think your comment about it not being discussed much is part of the trend with forums and blogs. Alot less folks are skilled enough to take most of this on, are too busy, and it is easier to write a check.

     There is the danger also of NMC lithium (car batteries) not being used in a safe way in a home. Youtube disasters coming soon, I am sure!

    The Power Wall is an excellent value ($ PER kwh)  but until recently few worked right after a 2 day outage. You are stuck with their inverter. It is hackable and I have done that with an XW. The half baked to me is they have promised for 3 years now an offgrid powerwall...

     The LG in NA is 400vdc and unuseable for 48vdc.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    edited November 2018 #14
    ......
     There is the danger also of NMC lithium (car batteries) not being used in a safe way in a home. Youtube disasters coming soon, I am sure!

    The Power Wall is an excellent value ($ PER kwh)  but until recently few worked right after a 2 day outage. You are stuck with their inverter. It is hackable and I have done that with an XW. The half baked to me is they have promised for 3 years now an offgrid powerwall...

     The LG in NA is 400vdc and unuseable for 48vdc.
    I have been playing with lithium batteries for 8 years now and agree with you about the dangers.  I have had several experiences where the smoke escaped but maybe I was lucky. Some LiFePOs went to zero on a car conversion with no issues except swelling. I have never tried LIPOs and have heard horror stories from the Helicopter hobbyists. I think the key with lithium is to use a good Battery Management System with conservative cuttoffs for low and high voltage and some temperature alarms. My current Orion BMS does that and allows me to see if a cell is heading for disaster. 

    I am a Tesla Fanboy but Elon is the master of hype. When the first Powerwalls were delivered it took them six months to deliver the promised TOU programming. There are also service horror stories. Now I understand your concept of half baked. I can't understand why people have to jump start them after a prolonged power outage. I have had excellent service and support from Outback and that is another reason for my shift back to their solution to my needs. 
    LG does make a 48v battery and it is supported by Skybox. I was intrigued by that connectivity but the total cost was the issue for me especially since I want to incrementally add capacity. I also had my old Orion BMS hanging around. I think the challenge with be interfacing that with the Skybox but Outback has already demonstrated that they have worked with others like LG, SimpliPhi and others so I am confident I will get the support. 
    I apologize if this is a hijack of the OP's thread.


  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,782 ✭✭✭✭
     The half baked to me is they have promised for 3 years now an offgrid powerwall...
    Has it really only been 3 years? I thought originally the off grid version of the Powerwall (version 1) was going to be released first. I think since then they have switched the voltage to something lower, but the elements should be pretty close to the Grid tied version. 

    Will you be an 'authorized dealer/installer'?
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,199 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2018 #16
    :Ampster said:
    LG does make a 48v battery and it is supported by Skybox. I was intrigued by that connectivity but the total cost was the issue for me especially since I want to incrementally add capacity.
    I wish you were right on that. They say they do, but I was in on the testing of Bridge a Schneider 48V/LG 10 kwh/20kwh project. LG pulled the plug on it because they were afraid of surge with well pumps offgrid. Lots of warranty failure in Germany and Australia. I still am using the system with some mods I did. LG has since come out with a 13.5Kwh model but no-one can import anything 48V into NA. I am hopeful that LG will make it work for 48V. Schneider did more than one could ask to make it work. We tested everything down to direct inverter DC input shorts. The LG breaker and class T fusing combo was an innovative way to protect their battery. 

    To me,  LG is the best 48V lithium I have seen to this day.  The 400V LG  bank is a grid toy in comparison, my opinion.
    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOgnmWeNVSyRaxa_K8_EBtE6L5rOuvpNgiU1ATXyTlrJbmVEfZp00mNowopQbi0Hw/photo/AF1QipN-MPL8rPFmEMBdH25fyNoB530TtUOoC-U-JUzz?key=Y0dDeTlVbmV5ZmhJV3B6Z3ZKNjZ6ZmU5WnhCUkV3

    So, I was in the Skybox training webinar and the guy from Outback tried to say they would have the 48V LG. Kind of embarrassing for him...

    I like Tesla also and Space X is amazing. The SEC is going hard on him for breaking some pretty basic financial laws. Their battery is still a series parallel nightmare to me. I would think they could do better.

    I am sure Photwit will cut some slack on this hi-jack ;)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,782 ✭✭✭✭
    I am sure Photwit will cut some slack on this hi-jack ;)
    Cut you some slack...
    ...I'm encouraging it...lol.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,199 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Photowhit said:
     The half baked to me is they have promised for 3 years now an offgrid powerwall...
    Has it really only been 3 years? I thought originally the off grid version of the Powerwall (version 1) was going to be released first. I think since then they have switched the voltage to something lower, but the elements should be pretty close to the Grid tied version. 

    Will you be an 'authorized dealer/installer'?
    You might be right as I really only started looking back 3 years when LG was trying to do a 48V in NA.

    I have a few friends who are dealers, but No I can't work that hard anymore and going to the big city makes me sweat. If I can't buy gear from my suppliers who stock or drop ship I am out. Paying state sales tax is worse than going to the city for me.

    The model 2 is low voltage, mid 50's. It has a cooling loop and all kinds of reasons not to use it offgrid, including too many series parallel connections for Hi Rel offgrid, IMHO. It is the perfect size/pricing at 13.5kwh though....
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    :Ampster said:
    LG does make a 48v battery and it is supported by Skybox. I was intrigued by that connectivity but the total cost was the issue for me especially since I want to incrementally add capacity.
    I wish you were right on that. They say they do, but I was in on the testing of Bridge a Schneider 48V/LG 10 kwh/20kwh project. LG pulled the plug on it because they were afraid of surge with well pumps offgrid. ,,,,,,,,,,
    Well that demonstrates the value of forums like this. I have seen two installed but they were probably the high voltage versions since they were running with Solaredge inverters. 
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,051 ✭✭✭
    Back in the c-band satellite days, there were satellite hobby channels that had interesting guests. The owner of Home Power magazine was on the show a few times and that is how I found out about home power magazine and you got a discount if you told them you heard about them on the satellite channel. That is where I got interested in alternative energy. I subscribed for many years till the subscription got too high for me. I miss the c-band days and the home power magazine. 
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,782 ✭✭✭✭
    They sent out a Email saying they would make the archives public in January!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭✭
    Photowhit said:
    They sent out a Email saying they would make the archives public in January!
    That is awesome. I downloaded the archive when it became available to me a few years ago. I'm not too computer savvy and so  it took me a couple days to get it all in. Might be a faster way but I will say there's a lot of data there.

    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.

  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 953 ✭✭✭✭
    It's too bad the magazine has come to an end.  It had some great issues. Unfortunately the magazine took a turn several years ago that kind of sort of doomed it to failure eventually. Of course, Richard Perez passing away didn't help either I think.  So long HP.
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 822 ✭✭✭✭
    boB said:
    It's too bad the magazine has come to an end.  It had some great issues. Unfortunately the magazine took a turn several years ago that kind of sort of doomed it to failure eventually. Of course, Richard Perez passing away didn't help either I think.  So long HP.
    What turn do you think it took that doomed it?
  • PorschephanaticPorschephanatic Registered Users Posts: 49 ✭✭
    Too few subscribers?
  • AmpsterAmpster Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    Too few subscribers?
    That is not a choice they made, it is a result of market forces. The turn they made was probably not to recognize that it was happening and not developing a strategy to deal with it.
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