DavidOH wrote: »
A great exercise guys. Even if it's just to run one item. One minor note, I replaced the light bulb in my fridge with an LED. Every little bit helps!
niel wrote: »
for awhile on an older refrig that i had the bulb burned out and i never bothered to replace it, but that was in my days as a bachelor.
inetdog wrote: »
If the bulb is burned out, you spend more time looking for the food with the door open, unless the fridge only has beer in it. :-)
Cariboocoot wrote: »
Nothing wrong with the Trimetric meter. You do have to program it correctly from the start. But do you really need it? For daily use systems it is quite an asset, and nearly a necessity for AGM batteries. For occasional back-up use you might save money and buy MidNite's battery meter http://www.solar-electric.com/mnbcm.html (not as precise as a battery monitor). Particularly if you get flooded cell batteries - and a hydrometer. I don't know what kind of budget you're looking at. Victron also makes a good battery monitor.
Cariboocoot wrote: »
The connection between charge controller and batteries is one circuit. The connection between the batteries and inverter is another. Each need the proper wiring and circuit protection. The inverter circuit (usually) has much more current potential than the controller circuit. As such it would have heavier wiring and higher fuse rating accordingly.
Not sure what model inverter you have. If it is not a true sine wave inverter then you have issues with grounding.
There are also concerns with NEC regulations regarding the AC wiring, DC wiring, and grounding for both and the panel frames.
The shortened version of "good practice" grounding:
Panel frames & mounts are grounded to reduce the possibility of lightning energizing. As such the wire is run outside the building straight to its own ground rod.
The (-) of the DC system is grounded, as are the (metal) cases of the charge controller & inverter. This would usually be the same ground rod as the AC.
On the AC side, the neutral line is bonded to the ground. If it is not a true sine inverter do not do this, as MSW inverters often go up in smoke if you do.
NEC regs complicate things. They now require DC ground fault protection on the panel wiring. There is argument against this.
Skippy wrote: »
how big of a wire for the ground ?
Skippy wrote: »
I have three more batteries - same size and type - but the test time for those three - with that load - is something like 5 min. - 15 min - and 20 min. - since these were given to me free, I may hook these three together, and leave them connected to the panels for a few days, to see what happens. . . since I am concerned with overheating and such, I will probably do the first day when I am home and can keep an eye on things. . . although, someone told me that all three solar panels are the equivalant to a trickle charger. . .
inetdog wrote: »
For FLA batteries:
For logistical reasons (limited sun time each day, and minimum required charge rate) giving a string of batteries an equalizing or reconditioning charge is best done using either POCO power or a generator. That way you will be able to keep a high current, at the gassing voltage, for long enough to potentially do some good, and you will be able to circulate potentially stratified electrolyte.
For AGM batteries: Ditto, except that "equalization" in its simplest form is not really applicable to AGM, since too much gassing will cause the cells to vent, permanently losing electrolyte.
But a long conditioning charge at the current and voltage recommended by the manufacturer is again easier done with an AC or generator driven charger.
westbranch wrote: »
Skippy, can you post the make and model of those batteries, each manufacturer uses slightly diff charging specs... especially for EQing
Skippy wrote: »
a few questions for you guys.... in trying to decide how big of an inverter go get, I came up with the idea, that if I picked one up that would put out the same power as a household 120 V outlet (20 amp breaker in basement ) that would be (?) 120 V x 20 amps = 2240 watts ? . . . if I went this route, anything I could plug into my house, I could plug into the inverter. . without worry about overloading the inverter. .
The weak spot in the system would then be the battery capacity/panel output . . . I did do a little test on my toaster oven, it plugs into 1 - 120 volt outlet, and it draws 1200 watts at 10 amps - on and off - . . the one that I would really like to run is the washing machine, since I am already using renewable rain water, it would be nice to use renewable energy as well, but as soon as I turn on the washing machine, the killowatt meter overloads on the start up surge . . but it still only runs on a 120 V - so I cannot quote a power figure.
1. ...1.2 kwh ? 10 amp hours ? How would that dent a 400 AH battery ? If correct, that would use a bit more than 1 full day of "fridge time" for 1 hour of cooking. . Can't really guess at the washing machine, but if it draws the full 2240 watts continuous, would that kill the battery as well ?
2. Correct me if I am in error here, but in the summer time, when there is a month straight of sunlight, and I have sized the battery to run the fridge for 3 days (no sun) would it be possible to run something else in there ? So, let the batteries charge all week (while running the fridge) and on the weekend do 1 load of laundry? Or am I running into the newbie mistake of "writing checks my panels can't cash"
3. I just recieved an email advertising solar panels at 89 cents a watt. . . 220 watt panel for 189 $. .could get another one of these to "help out" so too speak . . would the extra power fit into this idea ?
As for the fridge system, I managed to switch the inverter directly to the battery bank, and wow what a difference. . . before, I would get the output up to around 300 watts, and every second, it would flash - on - off - I figure I was overloading the "load" center on the charge controller. . NOW, I have been able to run a continuous 500 watt load, with surges of 725 watts. .
Last night, I heard the fridge autodefrost come on, so I went in and plugged it into the batteries. The killowatt meter was reading 689 watts just for the autodefrost, then that clicked off, and the fan was running for 6 watts. Shortly after that, the compressor kicked on, and for a couple of seconds it was drawing 700 watts, then dropped down to 150 watts. So, total "possible" power draw, if both the defrost and the compressor come on at the same time would be a surge of a bit over 1,400 watts - for two seconds - enough to fry the 700 watt inverter I have. . . but if they don't run at the same time, like last night, I have run my fridge off it for a short time. The only reason I pulled the plug and switched back over last night, was the killowatt meter was reading "dc" when I checked the "hz" . .not good. .
4. "A store" has an inverter on sale right now, 3000 watt - modified sine wave - 179 $ - considering that I need an inverter to run my fridge motor (and possibly surge to run my washing machine) - is it a good deal ? or leave it there. Keeping in mind, that I am still a bit miffed at "this store" for selling me a misslabeld unit, so if its not a good deal, no problem leaving it there. The misslabeling is still happening by the way, I went in under the same premise as last time, I had the criteria that I needed a 700 watt inverter (continuous - NOT surge), and sure enough, they have a unit there labeled 700 watts. BUT - when you look at the specifications, that is the units MAXIMUM surge output, not the continuous output. . . I call that mislabeled :grr
One of the guys at work tells me that installing a solar system is just one big "math" problem. . I think he's right
The midnite meter is ordered and on its way !