New from VA with a question...

smcarysmcary Registered Users Posts: 2
Hi, new here - been reading and doing some research, but I am not finding a definitive answer.

We live in VA have a deep well (still need to find out how deep - was told, but have not verified 350').

Its a 6" metal well head, currently a 220V AC pump - no clue on the specs. I know...I am killing you with the details.

As I have learned over the past 4 years - my 5kw genny will not run the pump, and I was just reminded again on Sunday/Monday from the ice storms.

So - my question - what would be best, or most efficient, or least expensive (I just retired from the USMC and have not found work yet)

...keeping the 220 pump and getting an inverter and batts/panel etc - or ditching the current pump and going pure DC. My thought being that I could use this as the start point to solar power more of the house -as much as possible. I want to get as much of the house under DC as I can eventually - just don't have 15 grand to dump into this at this time - or anytime in the future, so I would like to build up a core capability and scale as I get funding.

thoughts?

Sean

Comments

  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New from VA with a question...
    smcary wrote: »
    My thought being that I could use this as the start point to solar power more of the house -as much as possible. I want to get as much of the house under DC as I can eventually - just don't have 15 grand to dump into this at this time - or anytime in the future, so I would like to build up a core capability and scale as I get funding.

    Welcome to the forum,

    If money is an issue and the grid is available, stick with the grid. If your primary concern is running the house in the event of an occasional power outage, just get a larger generator.

    Your idea of scaling up the system as you get funding will make it cost twice as much as it should. Turning a modest 12 volt system into 48 volt system that can run your house would be like converting a half ton pickup into a one ton dump. There are steps you can take when designing a system to make it easier for some future expansion, but they are quite limited and pretty much demand that you know where the system is going.

    Not trying to discourage you from solar, but you should go into eyes wide open... it can be an expensive hobby if the grid is available. Have you considered grid-tie systems? They can make economic sense with enough rebates and incentives.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: New from VA with a question...

    Welcome to the forum.

    If your 5kW generator won't run the pump I'd suggest you get it fixed/replaced. That's 6 electrical HP and it's highly doubtful your pump is in that power range even with a 350' depth. Look at the breaker that feeds the pump and see what the Amp rating is. Chances are it's less than 20 Amps @ 240 VAC.

    Running this or any other conventional well pump off solar will cost a ton of money and is impractical for back-up purposes. Likewise changing out the 240 VAC pump for a PV-powered Grundfos will cost a few thousand. A conventional generator should be able to run the pump and is the cheapest option for making it through the odd power outage.
  • smcarysmcary Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: New from VA with a question...

    Thanks for the replies...you are kind of validating what I thought, that a whole house genny running on propane should be part of the equation.

    I am mystified why the 5kw won't run it, an electrical engineer friend said the power from my genny may not be in phase with the pump - electrician friend said he didn't think it had the "ass" to make the run to the pump depth.

    What I do know - life w/o water is harsh, and I need to get this figured out!

    Thanks!

    Sean
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: New from VA with a question...

    I don't know what he means by "not in phase" with the pump. We're talking about an electrical motor load here; it doesn't care about power phase (even though it may have a lousy power factor) just so long as it can get the right frequency, Voltage, and enough current.

    It may be that your generator is sagging badly under the load (especially if long, small wiring is connecting the two) causing the current to exceed the gen's maximum. But as a rule a 5kW gen should be able to start any pump in the pipe unless the gen has got problems.
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