Maybe a sticky is needed?

Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
I can't help but notice a lot of "newbies" post here asking for basic advice regarding systems and how to size them. Unfortunately they often do this after they've bought the wrong panels/controller/batteries/inverter.
Would there be any point in a "START HERE" thread listing the fundamentals of system design? Nothing too technical: just the basics using nominal values.
The number one rule of which is, of course, how much power do you need? People would be a lot better off if they figured that part out first before they started spending money. And realizing that those requirements will inevitably go up, not down. It's just too easy to buy an inadequate system to begin with, then have to scrap practically all of it when you find it doesn't meet your needs and can't be expanded.

So ... Would this sort of thing be of any real value? Or is in inevitable that people will buy first, then ask why it doesn't work later?


  • Windsun
    Windsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?
    So ... Would this sort of thing be of any real value? Or is in inevitable that people will buy first, then ask why it doesn't work later?

    We are looking at adding more to this site, perhaps a section just devoted to some basic things, with FAQ's or links to FAQ's. Problem with adding too many sections is that you fall below "critical mass", and don't get enough posts in that section to keep it going, and it dies.

    BTW, probably half the calls we get for tech support are from people that bought systems from somewhere else...
  • homerramirez
    homerramirez Solar Expert Posts: 102 ✭✭
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?

    cariboo is correct, also there is a reason for that, There is no intention from federal, state and local goverment to support or aid in any form to solar or other alternative energy technology, istead, they make it harder on whoever wants to try, by adding more regulation and inspectors that are ready to fine the DIY.....I read in another thread about an EE that he vow to " protect" society from it's self, like some body beg him to do it so. I believe that they trying to protect their job security, people come to the forum to learn and is nothing wrong with that, city fire departments require for business to have a wet fire sprinkler systems but there is more fires in the US than Canada or Mexico, same goes for residential buildings, an arquitect is required to sign off the building plans and a master electrician and a certified plumber to finish the job only to be inspected by a fireman that knows nothing about buildings, plumbing or calculate loads and the power to change all. is that sounds awfull wrong?

    we can not have a moderate wind and you will see fying debris from their city approved buildings...

    Regulation, regulations and more regulations will give'em more job security and big money.

    that's the way is it.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,439 admin
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?

    To a degree, I am not sure people read stickies and "Read Me First" threads...

    And, even when people post "help" type threads (such as "off grid cabin in the woods!!!" and "Newbie Setting Up 1st System")--neither person has been back since their first (post date 12/21/23) to even read the follow-ups (and respond).

    Which is OK... Not everyone spends every waking moment watching a thread--but even when the questions are asked and answered within an hour--for some reason, the format (or whatever) of a Bulletin Board does not seem to hold much attraction.

    I believe allowing posting of naked iguana pictures will help attract readership.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RWB
    RWB Solar Expert Posts: 168 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?

    I check in every day or so. I'm very interested in solar technology and enjoy your advice given to others. Just don't have much to share myself right now.

    What are the other popular hangouts for solar system discussion? I've been to outback's forums but haven't found much else. I'm interested in small portable or semi portable Solar systems.
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?

    from bb, "I believe allowing posting of naked iguana pictures will help attract readership."

    sad to say you may be right. the start here is to read and it seems many of the posters of the same questions never read the previous guys' threads on the same thing. as bb said, they don't even come back to read the answers they've gotten from their own posted question. go figure.:confused:
    i know what the answer is they're looking for. it's a picture guide explaining everything they want to know about solar and wind pictorially narrated by many naked iguanas.
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?

    I used to moderate a VW Westfailia site. We very tightly moderated the site, such that there were very few new posts. In point of fact, even on this site MOST questions have been asked and answered multiple times,,, it is just that people are too lazy to do a search.

    What we did was rule with an iron hand. If a post was found to be a duplicate, the post was deleted, a e-mail sent to the poster informing him/her where the information could be found. If a post was in the wrong thread, it was moved and a note also send. This makes for a very clean, very organized site. The problem is that it takes tons of moderator time.

    If people could be taught to search first, read second and ask questions last, the sheer number of questions would be reduced. Not likely.


    I confess my own guilt to asking questions before searching,,I too am lazy
  • nigtomdaw
    nigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?

    Also remember That fresh posts which cover previously answered topics evolve as new products and ideas come to market, therefore the answer today maybe be slightly different to an answer a few months back.

    This year has seen the launch of new small MPPT charge controller from Morning Star,

    Power Factor Corrected Inverter Chargers are relatively new and plentifull from Magnum and Xantrex

    Midnight Solar have launched several new interesting products to compliment the Main Players they also have there new MPPT charge controllers in Beta testing .

    Plus if we had no new posts it would get boring and I too admit not searching for answers b4 posting a question because Im lazy :blush:
  • Mangas
    Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Maybe a sticky is needed?

    I'm working on an Off Grid Solar Planning Due Diligence check list based on my own experiences. People who looked at mine consistently asked what I ran into planning and building it.

    Maybe a checklist which lists the "trade offs" before committing to a system as well as listing a few key Best Practices to consider when undertaking an off grid project. Should result in someone being able to better manage their expectations ending up with a system that realistically meets their needs.

    Lot's of knowledgeable "nuggets" sprinkled throughout this site too. Can never be all inclusive but maybe a starting point.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers