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Author Topic: Solar for dummies  (Read 6969 times)
buswarrior
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2010, 06:41:31 PM »

Perhaps by combining wants and needs, some of our busnut equipment can, in some way, help pay for itself, and provide some security of power?

Using the coach as a power supply when it is parked at home?

The design goals for boondocking with an electric coach would allow you to wean the house refrigerator and perhaps freezer off the grid?

A good inverter to make 120VAC with utility power pass-through, a nicely sized solar array, a generator with ample fuel supply, an auto generator starter to charge the batteries when the utility power has failed and/or the day is too cloudy, a good sized battery bank, and a heavy gauge wire between the coach and the house loads/refrigerator/freezer being weaned from the grid.

Will it completely pay for itself? No, but if I'm going to buy all this equipment, it would nice to defray some of the costs, and keep it all operational, while it sits there waiting for the next outing.

happy coaching!
buswarrior



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cody
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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2010, 08:37:25 PM »

Just got home from doing a benefit for a burned out family, was great, we raised over 2K for them tonight, nice couple with 2 small kids, not sure what the final tally will be but at 10 it was 2100 and still had the place hopping lol.  We had to shut it down at 11 cause thats the rules at the armory but it was fun anyway.  To get back to the thread, private power generation is not illegal in michigan, as a matter of fact it is very common, REA has a major problem with it because of their need to control who has access to power and it has to be on their terms.  They successfully fought a ruling that was designed to bring them under the governship of the utilities commission in Lansing back in the mid 70's, because they are all privately owned and not a public utility the court ruled that they existed outside the regulations of the commission, the same thing would apply to me if I had a large enough array of panels to supply power to my neighbor (if I had one lol) I could charge whatever I wanted and if they wanted my power they would have to pay it.  I"ve still got enough of the radical in me to want to go against them and live on my terms, thats why I can't deal with HOA's and other organizations.  I'm kinda like the native american that found out that the government hadn't gotten the ok to build US41 thru the reservation, so he set up a toll booth. He charged everyone a quarter to pass thru, he made a fortune, even the state police had to cough up a quarter before they could go in a negotiate a new treaty lol.  He even charged the federal officials a quarter when they came in to sign the easement the tribe had drawn up, was kinda funny at the time lol.
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philiptompkjns
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2010, 09:20:21 PM »


I am planning to put LEDs in my bus.  I bought the LEDs last year, but didn't install them yet.  I like the fact they are dimmable compared to the overly bright flourescents I have now.

belfert, what sort of LED's did you get for your bus?  I'm going to use LED's as well but haven't bought any yet, I'm looking though.


I bought a 5 meter strip of LEDs that are warm white.  They are sold by many sellers on Ebay.  See http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/5m-Warm-White-SMD-3528-Waterproof-Flexible-LED-Strip_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5ad6957464QQitemZ390147175524QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories for an example.  The usually ship from Hong Kong.  Some ship from the USA, but they usually cost more.  I bought the dimmer seperate.

Someone here recommended this type of LEDs.


thanks, I was thinking about this one:
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.3422
that is Hong Kong direct, lol.  I think yours is a better deal though.
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belfert
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« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2010, 11:40:38 PM »

I don't quite understand why a private power company wouldn't be regulated and a public one would be?  That is government for you I guess.

I thought the whole reason for regulating power companies is they get a monopoly on power, but they get regulated in exchange?  Government decided they didn't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry running power lines all over the place.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2010, 07:12:16 AM »

Brian most power companies were created back in the 30's as part of the governments push to electrify america and bring power out to the farmers who were largely still living as they had for generations with oil lamps, some power conpanies were formed by becoming co-operatives where a group in a region banded together and with the government grants ran lines and hooked into the larger system, our power company up here was formed by a coalition of the owners of some of the copper mines, they had the money to go ahead without a penny from the government and because they never got big enough to be a threat to the income of the larger utility companies they were left to exist and to flourish or die out as needed.  The larger power companies actually liked having them around because they served a purpose for they, they bought up large blocks of power at exhorbinant rates that enhansed the coffers of the shareholders of the large companies. Our power company has resisted offers to be bought out many times by the larger companies and even tho they charge an arm and a leg for the power they provide, they keep the power on for around a thousand people and exist as a 'for profit' utility and do it quite nicely, however, it's on their terms all the time, not part of the time, but all the time and without any government money, most power companies wouldn't exist today without the influx of government money, this one won't take a penny from the government and pays every penny they owe in taxes, it's kind of an example of capitalism at it's brightest and darkest moment.
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DaveG
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« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2010, 08:22:09 AM »

Wow Cody, interesting plight...does seem like REA has gone a bit overboard...maybe time for another state review of their practices?

Sean-thanks for your professional insight/knowledge and input...this board is a terrific place.
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cody
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« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2010, 09:51:53 AM »

OK, I've got a dumb question and please don't condemn me for it, but I'm wondering if I were to take my honda 3000 generator and make a new cord where I could plug it into the 30 amp outlet on the generator and then plug the other end into the 30 amp outlet on the wall of the house would it back feed power thru the breaker box and power any lights or outlets in the house.  I know I'd have to create a custom cord and I know that an electrical inspector would have the big one and flop around on the ground like a dying partridge but I'm just asking if it would work.  The wiring to the outlet on the house is overkilled and I have some very heavy cords.
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NewbeeMC9
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« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2010, 10:50:44 AM »


You can buy those plugs and wires.  Even with the auto transfer switch built in. Wink
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cody
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« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2010, 10:58:06 AM »

Without grid connections I'm not sure if I would need the transfer switch and I've got a lot of 8-3 wire and even some 6-4 wire.  For the solar and wind i have an inverter/charger that has a transfer switch built in.  I'm 12 volt, not 24 volt.
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NeoplanAN440
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« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2010, 11:09:46 AM »

you can backfeed with your gen no problem!

you just have to know what you do!!!
the phase of the gen and your grid have to be insinc.if not it can kill you!!!!
also if your gen will shortly change rpm frequency it will get out of phase and booom!
that basicly the same what a grid tie inverter does.he checks the grid for power and phase,then sincs the output to it and connects.they have safety features to not feed if the grid is down or out.

so dont do it if you dont know what you do and let nobody know!!

im running slow speed listeroid and old oilfieldengines as gens and there its fun to see how stable we can get them!!

there is a nice site


www.utterpower.com

the guy is also a little crazy on diy
lots to read and learn,but please dont try it all!!
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Sean
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« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2010, 12:04:55 PM »

OK, I've got a dumb question and please don't condemn me for it, but I'm wondering if I were to take my honda 3000 generator and make a new cord where I could plug it into the 30 amp outlet on the generator and then plug the other end into the 30 amp outlet on the wall of the house would it back feed power thru the breaker box and power any lights or outlets in the house. 


Not only is this illegal, it is also extremely dangerous.  My advice to you is: don't do it.  The extra parts to do it the right way are not that expensive.  No need to buy the fancy expensive generator panels; all you need is a transfer switch, a cord, and some miscellaneous connectors.

you can backfeed with your gen no problem ...

... let nobody know!!


Look, folks, this kind of advice will get someone KILLED.

It is not legal to backfeed the grid with anything other than an approved, inspected, non-islanding device, and for good reason.

First off, synchronizing a generator to the grid is a non-trivial task.  You need a special regulator board to do it, a special governor, and a way to quickly disconnect should an out-of-synch condition develop -- within milliseconds.

Secondly, you absolutely need a way to detect islanding and disconnect within just a few milliseconds.  Otherwise, not only could you kill someone working on the lines, but your generator will suddenly assume the entire load of the island, however large that might be, which can not only damage the generator, but anything in the island that might be sensitive to power issues.

Do you really want to be on trial when you're hokey system kills someone three blocks away who uses a ventilator, or some other medical device?

DON'T DO THIS.

If you really want to generate power and sell it back to the utility, generate it in DC and run it through a UL-listed non-islanding inverter.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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cody
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« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2010, 12:12:27 PM »

Sean, the only way I could kill someone 3 blocks away is if the electricty could leap thru the air and hit them, the power company has taken the meter, there is no longer any connection of any kind to the grid, I'm told they will even be taking the wires that used to run the power from the road to the meter.  I'm asking questions and just not getting answers to my questions.  What I'm saying is simpley this, how can I hook the generator into my breaker box, if I cant backfeed 30 amps thru an outlet that is wired with 2 guage wire, how do I do it, can I run it directly thru the mains?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 12:16:10 PM by cody » Logged
belfert
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« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2010, 12:18:51 PM »

I think Sean made the assumption you were still connected to the grid.  You still reall ought to get a manual transfer switch for that day you go back on the grid.  I think they sell for about $60.

Doesn't REA want to make money from selling you power?  You don't have solar or wind today so I can't figure out what they are complaining about.  You can't be the only customer with a backup generator in case the power goes out.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
NeoplanAN440
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« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2010, 12:19:07 PM »

yes you are right !!!

dont do it at home!!!

but its possible,and sometimes to read about how things work can help understand the system!!!
ist always such a secret whats about selling power or grid tying or how to backfeed!!!
so most people get scared even asking about a solar or alternative system!!!

it has to be done right and by the code!!!!


as for the grid itself

here in new mexico its pretty unstable and by trying to sell via approved xantrex inverter!!!
so its legal!!!my friend had to find out that 30% of the time the grid was out of specs,so the inverter wouldnt connect and sell!
i bet nobody blames the power company for their fried motors or pumps?Huh??

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philiptompkjns
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« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2010, 12:21:15 PM »

Sean, the only way I could kill someone 3 blocks away is if the electricty could leap thru the air and hit them, the power company has taken the meter, there is no longer any connection of any kind to the grid, I'm told they will even be taking the wires that used to run the power from the road to the meter.  I'm asking questions and just not getting answers to my questions.  What I'm saying is simpley this, how can I hook the generator into my breaker box, if I cant backfeed 30 amps thru an outlet that is wired with 2 guage wire, how do I do it, can I run it directly thru the mains?
Yeah It'll work cody, people do this all the  time  down here when power goes out for the hurricanes....
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1990 102a3... Just got started, don't  know  what I'm doing.
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