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Author Topic: More panels!  (Read 6325 times)

glort

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More panels!
« on: February 19, 2018, 08:58:31 AM »

Continuing with what has turned out to be a solar obsession, I bought another lot of panels today.

20x250W or 5 KW.

The offerings have slowed down a bit of late with not too many coming up and most of them wanting stupid prices. That said, I did miss out on another setup of 20x 250W panels and inverter etc the other week for $400. Buyer had to take down but for that, well worth it.

This last lot of panels I got for $500. The seller had advertised them for $1500 which was well more than they were worth.  This has been working well for me. I know sales and the flip side of that is knowing how to negotiate. it's taken a little working out but is now working pretty effectively.  I put in some low ball offers, wait, come back with a slightly higher one after a week or so and they are in a lot more negotiating demeanour generally.
Of course some are just arrogant and indignant twats that stick to their stupid prices and abuse you for your offers but you see them still advertised a month later. I get a mate to send them another offer and they still stick to their unrealistic prices. Hmm, whos the time wasting idiot now 'eh?

It IS starting get get hard keeping track of what I have now.  My Dad wants me to put some on his place seeing I have now changed his mind. He thought they were bit of a gimmick but on hearing how much I'm saving on my power bill, has now given him a change of heart. I think I'll donate him my original set of 1.5Kw worth of 190's and my slightly limited but still working fine 3 kw inverter with one tracker out of action.  Regularly puts out 1900W with the array I have it connected to so will do full tilt on this lot.  There are a lot of the 180/ 190W panels around so if the 1.5kw isn't enough It will be easy to get more and bump the system another 1.5 and get him another inverter.

My plans will be to keep the existing 5.5KW on the north side of the shed, put the 4 Kw on the south side that are still sitting on the back retaining wall, the new 5KW on the north side of the house and the other 3Kw of 180's on the west side of the house.
The shed is only 5 and 13o pitch so even though the south is the wrong side for panels here down under, I have been getting very good performance out of the ones up there. I will run the numbers again to check but I think they will still be better up there than on the west side of the house.

Our power bill came in today which was interesting. I'm recovering the cost of these panels almost straight away. Instead of years with a new system, it's  one quarter's billing at worst for each set and the way I am getting them cheaper all the time, sometimes as little as 6 weeks.

The one phase I haven't been back feeding so far and only has the AC on it was by far the highest at $180. Being a 3 phase system, that means the total bill just for the Ac would have been $540 alone.  The total bill with over $100 " supply charges" was $362. Hot water was $44 which was a lot lower than I expected.  I have set up a control box now and am feeding that from the phase
I'm currently pumping the most solar into . The box has the voltage switch on it and a PWM controller limiting the 3800W element to just 1500W so the standard circuit is not overloaded.  Although the bill was low this time, I expect it will be a lot higher over autumn and winter. I'm convinced the water heater copping the afternoon sun on the 40o++ days we have had so many of here does completely neutralise any heat loss or even add to the water temp. Going to paint the thing black to make the most of this theroy.  Might even see if I can find some shiny material of some sort to put on the wall behind it and curve it round a bit.

These used panels really have been a great thing.  The ROI is so quick and they have given me a new interest and something to take my mind off things. Now I want to get this all set up for winter and the new wiring done to handle it all.
I'll look at a way to feed the other phase with the AC but other than that for heating it might just be a case of going back to the little fan heaters we used at our other house. Not exactly efficient but as long as we can keep up with the power they use, not really a concern.

For those that can get used panels, I highly recommend even a small setup plugged into the outlet. "Powerjack"  brand inverters are designed specifically for this and come in decent outputs that would make a worthwhile difference to ones consumption.

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 04:39:46 PM »
Amazing bargains on 250 watt panels, Glort.  That much affordable power makes me start dreaming of home hydrogen electrolysis and storage or a micro aluminum smelter.

I'm just about ready to install my upgraded 120VDC battery bank controller to better handle my upgrade to 2375 watts from 875.  I couldn't resist upgrading my individual (12v) battery regulators to new pcbs also and that was 10 plus 2 spares boards to assemble, solder, and seal by hand.  I have to wait for the wind to stop- can't think straight on windy days so it's not the time to work with 120VDC and custom electronics.






glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 11:14:37 PM »

Sounds like a wind turbine should be your next project! :0)

Got to admit, turbines sound like a LOT of work and cost for the amount of power they produce!

I think I'm going to have a lot of excess power.
I have been looking at this bitcoin / Crypto currency thing.  Couple of days research/ reading/ watching vids and I still don't understand how it's creditable but seems creditable people take it seriously so must be something to it even though to me it still seems to scream "scam!"

There are all these people from backyarders at home with a computer to vast warehouses full of machines all " Mining" these things which really means running very complex calculations to either try and generate these " coins" out of thin air or do the processing of transactions with them.
Because of the supposed security codes, the calculations are very complex and require huge amounts of electrical power for the computers working on it.  Because of the way the machines are set up, always with Multiple graphics cards to do the processing, ( still no idea why a graphics card when the machines often don't even have a screen attached) a computer can easily be pulling 1300W and they run them 24/7 and anything from 1 to thousands at a time.

Some bright sparks have got onto solar for powering them.
They might know a lot about Crypto currency but many seem to know beans about solar and electricity. Many throw a couple of panels out on the back lawn with a powerjack or similar type inverter that goes back to the mains and think they are getting free power.
Ya! Just wait till the bill comes in!
Others have invested in solar farms that would power towns and are a huge chunk of capitol in themselves.
One thing is for sure, if this crypto crap ever doers fall over, there are going to be a LOT of computers, Videocards and Solar equipment going REAL cheap.

I was thinking this could be something to put all my excess power towards but spending thousands on a machine to get back $20 worth of suspect " currency" a day is not my idea of a good investment.  Looking at what some of these guys spend in equipment and the returns they get, I'm left with the sure feeling they would be better off putting their money in poker machines or filling out and entering Lotto forms.

For those that aren't familiar with this, Check out these eye opening vids of what sort of scale all this Crapto currency is having thrown at it computer and power wise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUBMV93NsrI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGo1bS2LVLY


I never knew things like this even existed and think it's rather disturbing they do!

the other thing I have been looking at is the DIY power walls made from used 18650 batterys generally sourced from laptops and some battery powered equipment.  Seems a bit of stuffing round but I have time on my hands so would like to give it a go at least.

First thing is just like the old veg oil thing, you have to get your source of batteries first.  I think without having an "in" like a friend in the recycling business or doing computer refurbs etc, this would be a real hard first hurdle to over come to get the amount of cells you'd need.
They also seem to have a value now by demand and it appears that sourcing the cells is just the first part of where the investment starts.  You might get the storage cheap or even free but you still need all the other support equipment like chargers and inverters not to mention wiring, switches, cabling etc just like you would any other type of battery.

I think while grid power is still available, it's still going to be a lot cheaper than this  over a decent long term.

Already have the hot water on solar, what else am I going to do with the excess power I expect to have?
I know! Maybe I could grow Pot! Uses lots of power I believe and certainly seems to be profitable. The 5-10 years thing if caught seems a bit of a downside however!  :embarassed:  Besides, I hate stoner's. Only thing they are good for is punching bags.

Might just invest in a green house and grow tomatoes and lettuce and other mundane but legal crops. Might get a good price at the farmers market for out of season fresh produce.

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2018, 12:16:13 AM »
Part of my justification for the power increase was having power for a greenhouse.

For the climate here,  evaporative is cooling needed for greenhouses despite out elevation at 5600 ft. Our summer days are commonly 90-102F, and typically single digit humidity until August, when we have our afternoon monsoon showers.  There are hot weather crops but as luck would have it I can't eat them regularly.  Our high desert climate is a study in extremes, but passive solar greenhouse growers do fairly well except in summer. Summer greenhouse crops are heat stressed and sapped by bugs.  Outdoor growing is limited to masochists; I did it until my entire crop was destroyed by hail three years in a row after being carefully nursed in cold frames, hotcaps, wind walls, etc. through the spring. 

Evaporative cooling is a good sunny day load if your humidity is low enough to allow it.  I did find gardening to be very good therapy and I miss it.

I'm interested in hydroponics also -  as a means to reduce greenhouse bug problems since I can't be around pesticides.  It requires someone with a more technical inclination but that's me anyway.


glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 08:14:44 AM »

Moving here, I had great delusions of Grandeur for my garden.  To say it has been a dismal failure is an understatement.

I know what you mean about lack of Humidity. Combine that with 40+ degree days, many in a row and it's gardening hell.  I thought I was just too full of my own admiration for my gardening skills but a chat with the guy next door whom has a quite elaborate setup had him telling me how he had given up this season and his gardening had been a total and utter loss and the first year his garden had failed in as long as he could remember.
He too despite watering morning and evening has had plants just burnt, wilt and die.  He too was quite proud of his gardening skills and being a lot older than I has had plenty of time to refine them but concedes his tried and tested methods have fallen flat this summer.

We have had about 1/5th the annual rainfall we are supposed to get here over the last 9 months and the cracks in the ground are huge. As in big enough to be a significant danger to breaking something on the ride on mower going over them.  Everything thing else is Burnt including 20+ yo hedges, shurbs and trees.

The only thing that did any good for me this year was the sunflowers I put in for my Daughters Birthday party. They were in full bloom and looked great in teh garden. Next summer I'll put in a load more. Only thing was, they got completely raped just after the party fortunately by the Cockatoos.
that's what they are fed in captivity and obviously something they love in the wild as well. They destroyed the flowers and took all the seed I was about to harvest to replant next year.  Still should have enough from the other plants for that although I spose it's ironic the seeds I raised came from some bird mix my wife put out and the wild birds never touched!

Corn Looked great but a few hot days just decimated that.  The cobs were large but the corn was only like a handful of grains and the rest was like it didn't mature.  Looked great in the garden for a while but fell disappointingly flat in production.

It's been so dry that even my aeroponics setup has struggled and is producing a fraction of what it did even when I first started and didn't have a clue.
Forget the fact it gets watered every hour, the plants just cant get the water from the roots to the leaves quick enough even though I moved it to a completely shaded spot after having it all wiped out the first hot day.

You should look up Aeroponics Bruce. My setup is nothing more complicated than a plastic barrel with  pockets I made in the side heating it with a heat gun and a bit of wood I shaped and jammed into a slit I cut in the hot plastic. this holds the little mesh pots so they are inside the drum mainly. Inside I have a submersible pump that simply shoots a jet of water straight up that spray every where and wets the base of the 50mm mesh pots which protrude inside. It's controlled by a $10 ebay industrial timer. I cut a little flap in the side of the drum and hinged it so I could get the pump in and out and top up the nutrient. there are a lot of expensive Nutrients out there, I use a seaweed based fertiliser I get at the hardware store cheap as chips.  Put in a bit of epsom salts for good measure and it goes like gang busters..... Well up to now anyway!

I was using an arduino at first for the timer and that worked perfect,  it's just the push button timer is easier to adjust and does not need a laptop.

the setup did produce beautiful lettuce fast, as well as kale, mint and I have even done strawberry's with it that worked a treat. One day I'll get around to doing the long planned vertical tower setup.  Should get onto that sooner rather than later. It would look beautiful along the shed wall and be decorative as well as very functional.
It's very easy to do Bruce and a man like you would have a lot of success with it.


We got 10MM of rain last night and 16MM about 2 weeks ago. That's been the most significant rain we have had since we have been here from August.
I think the greenhouse thing is a good idea.  I was looking at heating elements last night and a gardening site that was talking about having black painted barrels to absorb the heat through the day and radiate it back out at night.

Even though the solar fall off is significant through the winter, I reckon I should have some power to spare that I could throw at this.
Might start with a corner of the shed and a couple more aeroponics towers.  I could get some More LED light bars that were working so well before or those LED strips. 
I have cut up and IBC tank with a door in the side I'm going to fill with dirt or sand, and give that a go as a mini greenhouse.  I was thinking of having it outside as I have noticed with teh plants in my old fridge I use for a seed starter than the plants don't mind 40o+ heat, it's the dryness they can't tolerate.  Keep the fridge door closed on a hot day after watering everything and when you open it that evening, I's virtually raining inside and hot as hell but the plants ( corn, lettuce Varietys, sunflowers and tomato plants) all are thriving.

I also bought one of those plastic storage tubs with the snap on lid to try. When I got it home I noticed it seems to have standoffs in the lip of the lid as if to purposefully make it non airtight.  I'll have to see how that goes and if it leaks too much humidity or not.  Even if it does let some moisture out, I'm sure replenishing it every few days will be fine.


Had a look at the latest batch of panels today and they all look very good. The guy selling them said he didn't get much interest at all. I'm sure that was in no small part to the fact he had them so overpriced and I got the impression I could have got them cheaper still. Not to worry, $25 a panel for ones as in good condition and clean as this in 250W is a bargain.  Was bit of a drive to get them but it was worth it so i'm happy.

Next thing is to get them all on the roof.
That will be 36 to put up and 8, maybe 16 to take down and another 8 or 16 to put up at Dads place.

Dad knows beans about electricity. Gun Mechanic but like a lot of people, Volts, amps and watts are a foreign language to him.  I'm thinking of making up a project box with a few meters, maybe an indicator light or two and some other unnecessary  things just to put on the wall and look impressive.
I'm expecting that to be a pain in the butt to wire up.  How many people do you know that have a country property, decide to extend the shed for all the new toys he got ( I bought for him) and have the handy man who built it line the thing with plasterboard, sand and paint it to a home like finish and even put in New LED Down lights??
OK, he didn't put a cornice on it but the guy that did it used the plaster with a tool to give it a nice rounded edge 50mm wide from roof to ceiling anyway.
I was surprised he didn't tile the damn Floor!

He's going to have to put up with Conduit running along the outside of the walls because buggered if I am going to try and run it through the studs and in the wall cavity.

I guarantee he will paint the conduit and saddle clamps to match the walls though. 
Better get onto fleabay and order the DIN rail enclosure, Breakers and whatever.  Lucky I got a batch of connectors in the other day ( and ordered more again) as those things are Dear as poison locally but are less than a buck a pair from fleabay and I like the fleabay ones better actually.

LowGear

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2018, 05:51:44 PM »
Aloha glort,

Will you, in a couple of easy to read sentences, report what your utility might have to stay about your hooking all these panels up to their grid?

And then a couple more easy to read sentences report what your building permits and zoning agencies might have to say about this as well?

Casey

Also: can you do this without bringing to light their maternal genetic heritage?
NPR Tipper/Dump Truck
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BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2018, 07:15:24 PM »
Glort has already covered that issue quite thoroughly, Casey, and discussed it with a lawyer, which he also related on the forum.  He's probably right in that he will only get a verbal spanking if played as overzealous patriotic greenie. 

Reminds me of the "big" fines levied on large US pharma corps when they get caught in outrageous deceit (like promoting antidepressants for kids when their own unpublished data showed it would likely cause many to suicide)...those fines were a tiny fraction of their profits from same (criminal) deceit.  This is hardly in the same class and is entirely a civil contractual matter.  Glort might have to pay for a few months power...

About greenhouses, Glort.  I do like aeroponics, widely recognized as perhaps the highest producing method, but not being able to be near electric motors and being off grid makes other hydroponic methods that are less energy intensive more appealing.  While I can insulate and run pipes and remote what pumps are necessary, things like homemade version of the autopot (gravity fed only from a raised tank) start to look more appealing. Other schemes with less water movement such as Bato buckets or Nutrient Film (gutters) also use less energy- important for night and dark days where batteries must provide energy.

Because motor noises stress me greatly, I'm thinking more along the lines of the Persian windcatcher tower with passive evaporator added up near the top of the tower to have convection flow on windless summer days, which are common.   I have found some models for calculating convection driven flows and this is viable with very large passages. About 6500 CFM minimum is needed for a greenhouse of 20x40 feet.  A 24 foot (8M) tall tower with 3x6 foot ID would suffice for that flow rate.  Agriculture buildings are not inspected in my rural county so I have unfettered freedom to do as I wish.

I have an extensive library on greenhouse design and hydroponics...armchair construction is actually better suited to my present physical capabilities.  The greenhouse has been a dream project for many years.

 










glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2018, 11:41:45 PM »
Aloha glort,

Will you, in a couple of easy to read sentences, report what your utility might have to stay about your hooking all these panels up to their grid?

Just for you Mate....

They would likley say I cannot do it and I have to disconnect them. They would undoubtedly fit smart meters to my home which is a gubbermint mandate to be done in any case.
What I am doing is not illegal, just may be against their supply " agreement" although there is NOTHING in the paperwork they gave me which says I cant do it. Only thing they do say is I can't do anything that would affect the stability of the supply or impact other customers. As I am using proper OEM inverters as fitted to original certified installations, I am well and truly clear on that aspect.


Quote
And then a couple more easy to read sentences report what your building permits and zoning agencies might have to say about this as well?

There is no permits or building codes relating to the fitments of solar panels here. You do not need to get a DA or any other permission.
The only codes are electrical and what I have done does NOT comply. The actual panels themselves do not comply now because they seem to change the rules about every 2 years with stupid irrelevant things that are nothing to do with safety or anything other than what could only be explained as trying to stimulate the industry. You are allowed to have old non compliant panels on your roof, you just are not allowed to take them off and refit them as I am doing.  Makes perfect sense right?

This is why the stuff is available used.  An inverter dies on your 5 Yo system, rules say you can't install a new one, you have to replace the entire system.
Panel gets cracked by hail or a cricket ball, Cant replace it, have to replace the ENTIRE system. Those are the regs.


I know I am well taxing your reading and comprehension abilities now, but why do you even ask and in this way?
Just seems like an attempt to put down what I am doing and discredit it. If it were anything else you'd be asking about the setup itself because it does not matter a fig to you what the rules are here or what I'm doing on my place.  Just a smoke screen to try and put shit on my efforts is all.
If that's what you want to do, fine, just come out and have the balls to do it up front. I care about that as much as I give a damn about the underhanded way of doing it and jealous prats going on about rules and regulations like it matters an iota to them. 

To spell it out, I don't give a Fk about idiotic and worthless rules and regs that serve no purpose other than to give bureaucrats who polish a seat with their arse a job whom have no idea what they are talking about anyway. If other people are scared of their own shadows and won't do a thing that they are told they can't and think they have to have qualified sparky in to change a fuse, Good on them.

These rules and regs are no guarantee of safety or reliability, I can point to many specific documented cases where compliance has been the CAUSE of fires and safety issues. They just changed back a rule with isolators here to what it was previously after it was worked out how many fires had been started in systems due to compliance with the "new" regulations. The fire dept were the ones who came heavy on the gubbermint to change it back after they saw an instant veritable explosion of fires on these new installs No one knows why the rules with that were changed in the first place but it was a hell of a stuff up that caused a LOT of problems that's for sure.

And if you are still with us, to prempt the next inevitable excuse for the concern about rules and regs, No, it won't Violate my insurance unless they can PROVE it was the cause of a problem.  If a fire is started by a gas leak in the house, they can't write off the claim because my solar setup isn't compliant.
Maybe where you live they can get away with that and have you bent over a table with your pants down but it does NOT cut it here. 
Unless they can prove a fire started as a result of a FAULT in my solar setup, everything else IS still covered.

My setup has more breakers and disconnects than any Compliant system and they are all rated to trip the moment something goes wrong by very tight tolerances for the power going through them. To turn it round, I'd challenge anyone to leave the protection I have in place and manipulate the rest of the system in anyway TO cause a problem if they tried. It won't happen.

But thanks for your legitimate concern.



glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 12:21:35 AM »

Reminds me of the "big" fines levied on large US pharma corps when they get caught in outrageous deceit (like promoting antidepressants for kids when their own unpublished data showed it would likely cause many to suicide)...

I have been on and off anti depressants for the last few years. Always struck me as ironic one of the main ( among endless) warnings on the info/ packaging was may induce suicidal tendencies. That was part of the reason they gave me the damn things in the first place because they were worried about that! Seems ludicrous to give someone something to combat a problem when the thing you are giving them may make that problem worse!
common sense would say avid it at all cost but if that interferes with profit, then that a whole different thing and we'll just bury it under the table best we can and deny all knowledge of it in the first place. 

I have long given up being scared of getting in trouble for any minor wrong doings I do.  I have seen so many people get away with so much including murder that the law has become a joke to me.  Any little pissant authority wants to come after me, bring it on. The world has gone so PC these days  that rules and the law mean nothing. The violent crimes people commit often more than once and are still walking free makes the law a joke. Pretty much every single day here!

The way big business knowingly does the wrong thing because they know any penalties they may be unlucky enough to get hit with are cheaper than doing doing the right thing makes me sick and there is SO much of it these days.

By the same token, the rules that should be abided by like moral standard have gone completely out the window.
It's all too screwed up for words. If people are going to worry about conforming with every stupid rule and reg out there on their own property, more fool them I say.

 Reality I have discovered though is the people that whinge the loudest are frequently the people that are breaking the most rules themselves.

A while back You asked Bruce how I kept track of all the panels I had.
Have to admit, with recent acquisitions, I am having trouble now. Just trying to plan layouts and repositioning has me confused.  Some sets will go together with similar voltages and outputs and others won't. Also want to put the best producing panels in the best spots and I'm going to take down my original play set and take them up to Dad. They seem to do much better per watt rated than one of the other larger sets.

Last night a mate asked me how many panels I had now and what sort of power they could generate?
I worked out in total I have 80 panels now.
In total they are 17.5 KW worth. If I take the daily average power generation as a x4 factor which is conservative as the standard here is 5X and I regularly exceed that, I would be getting 70 kwh a day.  That's significant power.  Even if I take the winter generation which I am most concerned about as a modest 40Kwh day, still should be able to run whatever the heck I want without worry.

Even if they do give me a smartarse meter tomorrow and pull the rug from under me, I think I'm in a good starting position to go off grid.
Most years we get about a fortnight of non stop cloudy/ rainy weather ( at least at the old place that did actually have rain) and even for that, I think I would not need to depend on a generator too much anyway.  I have a 12/2 with a 6KW head waiting so with that, I'd say I definitely have the generation side covered And that's without the other little Diesel/ low voltage alternator setups I have NOT counting the jack hammer CS.

I'd like to look into building some DIY power wall packs with 18650's but sourcing the cells seems like a big Obstacle. Just have to keep my eyes and ears open and see if I get lucky with a source.  Other thing will be to watch out for inverter/ chargers.
More I can learn and set up for going off grid while I'm still on grid, the easier and cheaper the transition will be if I decide to go that way. 

For now, Putting the excess power into gardening seems about the best option available.

I'll look up some of the other methods you mentioned. Not familiar with them but sure they will prove interesting and inspiring.




BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2018, 02:25:48 AM »
Glort, I just remembered the hydroponic AutoPot system is an Australian invention.  Check it out:

https://www.autopot.com.au/

Clever valve for gravity flow hydroponics with no pumps or electronics needed.  Interesting invention and it's widely acknowledged success shows that cyclic watering/feeding with the right growth media provides sufficient aeration of plant roots without the energy needs of bubblers, spraying, contiuous circulation, etc.  Their special float/drip irrigation type valve doesn't allow the "pot" to get another trickled in filling of nutrient solution until the last fill has been consumed.  The same approach could be used with an electronic control system with float switch type sensors, also.

My primary interest in hydroponics is due to the widely acknowledged reduction in bug and disease problems due to the lack of soil and sterilization of growing apparatus after each crop.  (Like the glory days of your first year garden every year.) The reduction in water use is also a plus but the need for evaporative cooling makes that seem a relatively minor benefit. 







ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2018, 07:32:18 AM »
Hey Glort, I`ve been following this thread for a while, astonished that you are able to generate that amount of power for so little investment. Your suggestion of using all this power in the garden interests me. Many years ago I was a computer geek and spent a great deal of my time building super fast computers using cheap/obsolete parts, generally this was done by overclocking the computer chips. I discovered that by using a thermocouple and pumped water cooling we could run chips at nearly twice there recommended speeds. I even built one machine on which I could run every Microsoft product ever sold as an application on a Unix based platform.

The thermocouples we used were cheap as, if I remember right they drew about 30 watts. when powered up one side became hot and the other side ice cold. I have thought for a while that these could easily be set up to harvest moisture out of the atmosphere, much the same as a cold beer glass will leave a puddle on the table in our climate. I suspect that with all the excess power you have available you could probably produce all the water you could ever use. I even considered making a prototype, basically a small solar panel driving a heap of thermocouples which you could place at the bottom of a fruit tree to automatically water it when ever the sun was shining. Crazy? probably, but I have one thing most people don`t a signed hospital release saying I am perfectly sane.

Bob

ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2018, 08:59:56 AM »
Further to my previous post please have a look at these https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/10pcs-40x40mm-TEC1-12706-Heatsink-Thermoelectric-Cooler-Peltier-Plate-12V-TE610/262966651378?hash=item3d3a08a9f2:g:3koAAOSwVqlaMOhi

I suspect that a piece of 4" box section, raised of the ground, with some of these mounted on the inside would cause a down draft pulling in humid air which would condense on the heat pads and then drip onto the ground below. A bit of experimentation would be required to asses how many to use per panel. It would also be important to avoid getting down to the freezing point of water that could be problematic.

I have no idea how much water this would capture in a day but I have seen tables running with water from just a few cold beers.

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2018, 09:55:02 AM »
So many ways to grow things!

My position is basic that the plants need light, water/ nutrient AND oxygen to the roots.  How you achieve that is fairly irrelevant, just depends on your preference and what you find easiest.  Soil is just to hold/ supply the nutrient normally and hold the plant in position.

This is an interesting way of doing things. It seems it's based on allowing the growing media to dry out before re watering. My belief is it is neccary to get oxygen to the roots  and to do that you have to pretty much let the water go away. I think that is really what this system ultimately achieves and the dryness is not quite so important.  I'm only a failed backyarder of course but many other successful systems do work on the principle of allowing oxygen to the roots and some like Fogging don't really allow the roots to dry at all but have the plant suspended so they are always exposed to air AND water.

The Kratsky method where you put a plant in an amount of water and just let the roots grow down to the water as it is consumed therefore exposing the roots to air at the same time seems a a similar sort of basis for this method. The roots are always wet with the Krastsky but dry at the same time and able to get oxygen.

There is a thought..... Do an electrolysis setup with my extra solar power and feed the oxygen to the plants. That would give them a boost! As everyone knows, by feeding the hydrogen into the engine of my car,  all the fuel will be burned not just the normal 10% and I'll get an extra 500 HP and 127 MPG going up a mountain range at 120 Kmh  towing a 5 ton trailer!..... With the handbrake still on and 2 flat tyres!
 Either that or I can pipe it into the lister which I'm sure will then settle down and go from running like a jackhammer to Turbine like smoothness!  ::)

This concept is interesting though and gives me an idea for the IBC setup I want to do. I was thinking of something like a wet and drain system and this backs that idea up.  I think if I used fine gravel/ vermiculite as the medium and had the water/ nutrient drain out and then refil it would  work the same way.  I know you can get those soil moisture meters for arduino but I think they are basically toys.  As far as I know, all one would need would be a couple of separated conductors and when the resistance across them fell sufficiently, IE, they were virtually Dry, then the controller could trigger the pump again.

I didn't see any prices for things on the Auto pot site.

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2018, 10:25:38 AM »

Bob, not only am I aware of those peltiers, I have a bunch of them sitting in my electronic stockpile boxes sitting behind me.
I got a bunch last year and sandwiched them between 2 CPU heat sinks  to see what sort of cooling power they had.  With a fan on the hot side, the cold side iced up pretty Quick.  I wanted to improve on my little car fridge which uses the same devices and add a number of them to an old esky and really give the thing some cooling power. They aren't light on the juice but if you were running them from a panel or the car as you were going along, Who cares?

There is a YT vid I saw a while back about a town in some very remote High up place that gets absolutely bugger all rainfall. the peasants have to carry water literally miles up this steep mountain they live on. A bunch of smart do gooders came along and saw loads of water the inhabitants never noticed.
the place is blanketed in a pea soup fog every morning and many evenings. The Clever ones Set up all this shade cloth type stuff on wooden poles and made like a trough out of split and hollowed out local trees.

When the fog blows through the screens, it hits the shade cloth, condenses and runs into the trough and then into the peoples water jugs.
Fking Brilliant! One of the best things I have seen and I always remember it. People went from a poor back arse village where water was the bane of their life to having enough now to actually grow gardens and all the pure water they can drink.  Cost bugger all, no power at all required and produces loads of water and is infinitely expandable.

When I came here I had another dillusion about drilling into the ground and getting the seepage water. A well here would have to be bored about 160M to hit the water table, I was thinking something like 3m to just get the surface seepage.  Yeah!  :embarassed:

I Bored some holes the other week to build a bush shed for my daughters party. Went down about 2 1/2Ft and the dirt was just dry dust. Had to pull it out the hole by hand as it was too dry to stick to the auger.  Was telling a nearby mate and he laughed. Said he had been boring holes 2.5METERS deep with his excavator and hit the shale layer and  it was still coming up as dust. He had to go get a tank of water and put it in the holes to wet the dirt so it would stick to the auger so he could pull it out because like me, the dust just fell off otherwise.

I would be keen to give the thermo idea a go but I think it would be useless just now. There is just no humidity at all which is the problem with the garden.  I have already looked into this in another way... The AC Evaporator Drain.  Thought I'd harvest the water from that as they can put out some good moisture but all I have got lately is barely a trickle. That thing has a cooling capacity of 15 KW and it's still not making any moisture!

I had a split at my other house and I had to extend the drain on that to the storm water drain. I had it dropping just under the house and there was so much condensation coming out it started to give moisture problems in the house. Once I moved it, the ground dried out again and everything was fine.

By the time there is some humidity I spose the rain will come and then won't need to humidity harvest. Always the way.

Spoke to the neighbour today. He was busy putting in some extra storm water drains in the back yard.  He reckons it's been so dry, when the rain comes it will be for Forty days and forty nights so he's getting ready.
I'm in little Doubt his prediction will become essentially true.  Drought always seems to be broken by flood.
Always one extreme to the other, never a nice happy medium.

I tried messaging you and put it on another thread somewhere. I found a real cheap supply of panels not far from you. If you are interested in getting any let me know and I'll put you onto the guy.  I'd jump at them if I didn't have so many and they weren't 500Km away. In the off chance you are interested,  I'll give you the details and you can chase them up. 

ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2018, 11:37:38 AM »
Hey Glort, be careful what you wish for, hope you are not in for some sort of biblical flood, I had one just before Christmas and I`m still trying to clean up the mess. On the bright side I won`t have to cut firewood for five years. Trouble with rain fall in Australia is that it lands on dead dry land and washes the top soil away, best thing you could do is drill the paddocks/gardens so some soaks in.

I saw the video of dew harvesting, very cool idea, I think it was in the mountains in Bolivia. Sadly not much dew or condensation here, just heat and humidity, that said we have had the best rainfall I have seen in the last five years. Trouble is I have to spend too much time cutting the grass and not enough time building engines and playing with my toys.

I did reply to your message, if you didn`t get my reply it`s probably due to the problems with the mail server. Please feel free to email me at ajaffa1@yahoo.co.uk, yes it`s a UK address, I kept it when I came to Oz six years ago, strangely enough I now get next to no spam email because the spammers in Oz don`t recognise my address while the ones in the UK know there is no point emailing a bloke in Australia.

Bob