Author Topic: More panels!  (Read 8955 times)

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #75 on: April 18, 2018, 03:01:41 AM »
Alas, double pole switches (AC commercial grade ones which I tested on 120VDC) have the same problem on DC. I only found one out of about 6 or so that worked, and only at current below 3 amps at 140 VDC.  I hord them for special project needs since that model is no longer in production.  Ditto for my Cooper brand 150VDC rated wall switches (a duplex switch).

High voltage DC relays do exist.  Here's a german company that makes them starting at $132. each.
https://www.spselectronic.com/us/products/details-us/relay-rl-42-l-1/
There may be better suited ones out there.  The problem is that once you leave standard, high volume products, prices soar. 

The issue with higher voltage DC at currents in the 10-20 amp range cannot be solved by trickery and using a $3 AC relay to the best of my knowledge.  You can buy a suitable solid state relay for $200 at Digikey, or make one for about $20 in parts; an opto isolated gate driver and a few 600V IGBT transistors in parallel plus the smallest (<50 ma) 12VDC power supply. 

What you CAN do with cheap AC mechanical relays is provide zero current switching of DC; you can redirect from one load to another with the current off.  Just do it in steel enclosures so that no matter the failure there won't be a fire.

It might be useful for you to play with some switching at roughly 230VDC from some panels using resistive heaters or heat lamp loads to see what DC arcing is really like.  Just get one Midnight Solar DC rated breaker to use for a reliable kill switch.  US AC outlet plugs and sockets were originally designed for DC, and can also be used for a kill switch...just use a high current one and don't pull the plug out slowly! The contacts were designed to be "self cleaning" with a good wiping contact surface.  I don't know how your plugs/recepticals in Australia are designed.







« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 03:58:23 PM by BruceM »

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #76 on: April 18, 2018, 04:08:18 AM »

It might be useful for you to play with some switching at roughly 230VDC from some panels using resistive heaters or heat lamp loads to see what DC arcing is really like. 

I have been thinking ( and planning) the same thing.
Going to wire up a DPDT relay on both sides of the panel output and switch a load and then one load to another and see what happens.
If I set fire to a $3 relay on the table, who cares?

Cloudy again today so my easy access array is only doing About 300W@ 360V but I can still pull a good arc when i short the wires and pull them apart.  If I can get to it today that will be a first test and then If its Sunny tomorrow I'll tap into the main array and do about 8A @ 340V on each pole and combine the outputs for full power.

If I can switch that back and forth a dozen times with no issues i know I'll be onto something.
I can then set it up with a timer to switch on and off every 10 Sec say and see how that goes.


I did just test the High voltage, low wattege theroy for the elements. I connected a 500W light across the solar output which was doing about 250w/ 360V open circuit and the light appeared to glow about half brightness. As a halogen light is the same as an element, I'm not wondering about the idea of the total power rather than the voltage being the concern with an element?
Might do the test again and see what the Loaded voltage is which is probably the key. If the voltage didn't sag then I can see where there might be an issue.

I did find some 300A/ 900V DC relays for electric cars that are nitrogen filled. Way overkill for what I want but $175 which for this sort of capacity is quite reasonable.

ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #77 on: April 18, 2018, 12:06:18 PM »
Hey Merkland, yes I speak from experience. In the early 1990s I was married with three daughters, all horse mad. I was talked/bullied into buying a farm for their hobby. The four bedroom property in Herefordshire England came with an oil fired Aga, for cooking/hot water and solid fuel heating Coal/wood for everything else.

I set about modernising the property, I installed a new oil fired central heating boiler feeding heating radiators in each room and the old Aga was dismantled and sent away for restoration. The new kitchen I built and fitted had an electric fan oven and an LPG cooktop, The plan being to only use the now reinstalled Aga in the winter months.

That year we had a very cold winter and surprise/surprise the cost of heating oil went through the roof. To add insult to injury the government also decided to start taxing heating oil driving the costs even higher.

I experimented with a lot of cheaper fuels including WVO. Basically these vaporising burners are little more than a glorified candle and they will burn just about any hydrocarbon (I never tried animal fat) The tray at the bottom contains the hydrocarbon which then flows up the concentric wicks where it burns. The heat generated heats the tray full of fuel to the point at which the hydrocarbon fuel in it starts to vaporise (imagine a deep fat fryer on fire). The temperature control is achieved by increasing/decreasing the level of oil in the burner tray. There is an electric thermostatically controlled float chamber normally mounted on the left hand side of the Aga which controls the level of the fuel. If I remember correctly the static/unlit level in the tray is supposed to be around 6mm of fuel and can be adjusted/levelled by winding the mounting bolts up or down. The control unit has adjustment screws which allow you to determine the maximum and minimum rate of burn. It is imperative that once lit and hot these adjustments are made to ensure a clean burn. A clear blue flame on the top of the vaporiser on maximum and a clear blue flame inside the vaporiser on minimum.

I had a lot of problems with this and found that a smoky flame would quickly cause clogging in the flue pipe. Experimentation and constant vigilance overcame these problems. I also found some fuels difficult to light, a mixed air and propane gas blowlamp sorted the problem.

I eventually converted everything to run on red diesel because as a farmer it was the cheapest and tax deductible. Bob one/ government nil.

For those of you who have no idea what red diesel is it is a tax exempt fuel for farmers, industry and construction machinery, it`s also used by the military. If you get caught using it on the roads expect a very large fine, repeat offenders go to jail. The military also use a red petroleum. These fuels contain a dye which stains the inside of fuel systems and is easily identified by government inspectors during routine road side inspections.

Strangely enough my experiment with farming worked out very well. At the time the British government and the technocrats that run the EEC had the common agriculture policy in place. This was a system of subsidies which assisted farmers in producing foods that were in short supply. No surprise then that we ended up with beef and butter mountains, lakes of wine all being stored at huge expense to prevent a fall in wholesale price.

Rather than reduce or redirect the subsidies, which could have adversely effected farm revenues and votes, the gubermints decided to introduce the set aside scheme where they paid farmers not to produce anything. We were expected to maintain our properties and destroy weeds but grow nothing.

60,000 dollars a year to not farm is the sweetest deal I have ever had! I also received government grants to plant trees and hedges. All capital expenditure was tax deductible as were machinery/fuel purchases and the costs of any outside contractors. Bob two/government nil.

At the time I also ran a construction business and the cost of machinery hire became negligible as I simply purchased the equipment through the farm and claimed it back as tax deductible expenditure. Bob three/government nil

I probably drove my accountant to a near nervous breakdown but there is a huge difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. No farmer that I ever met ever paid the government a cent in tax on any profit they made, It was all redirected back into their business. A call from the accountant and we would run down to the local agricultural supplier to by a new tractor, even if we didn`t need it.

Bob 

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #78 on: April 18, 2018, 02:04:29 PM »

You got me very interested in these things Bob!
I have emailed aga for a price on the things as a spare part. bet that will cause some butt clenching when that email comes back.  I looked them up on YT and they are very simple devises though.

I do know where Merkland is coming from. Ordinarily WVO is virtually impossible to burn with a wick. I have put some effort into it and failed.  Cotton wicks burn to nothing in short order. I tried steel wool and woven metal pads and other things and got no where. It looks like the wicks on the aga are very shallow and the rings probably reflect the heat and thin and vaporise the oil which would allow them to work.  Very interesting especially since it as probably figured out 100 years ago.  I wasn't aware they existed till you mentioned them which makes me fell pretty ignorant given my oil proclivities.

Are these things sort of ducted into the bun chamber and the main part stays in another cooler area in the stove or could you say place them into a normal Slow Combustion wood heater like the glass fronted type?  If they could be fitted like that, I don't care what the price is, I'm buying one for my father and one for me.
He has a supply of engine oil in his back yard literally he has to get rid of and if it gets me out of cutting wood for him, it's worth it. I don't think there is much left to cut now anyway. I think we have cleaned up pretty much all the dead stuff there is.  I can get as much veg as I need so would be no problem to take him a couple of barrels of veg at a time for an oil fueled burner if he ran short and I could probably collect more around his town anyway.
I get the feeling the restaurants would probably be hanging out for the collectors to take it away up there. 

Put some offers in on some of these cookers. Might be the one thing to do with fire that the mrs and I would both like to own. If I could get one that ran on oil.... Happy ( and warm) days!!

That said, I think you are right about an electric given my solar proclivities. A new "Total control" electric model is about $15K new. 
It certainly would be a centerpiece of a kitchen and a home though and would even get me excited about something as boring arse as an electric stove.

I saw on the Website that Falcon is an off shoot of Aga. My inlaws round the corner have a falcon we have admired for a long time and my sister in law Loves it understandably. Might be the reason one of my nephews has a huge talent for cooking different pastrys.  Keep telling him I want to set him up in business cooking his tasty indulgences.  I could make a fortune with him with those gingerbreads, shortbreads and other things he cooks.

Going to have to Build myself another Wood fired Pizza oven. With winter coming up I'm really starting to miss not having one.  The things even I can cook in my wood fire oven are incredible and so simple. Not just the best Pizzas everyone we know says they have ever had and ALWAYS want when they come for dinner but also fantastic roasts.

My former Italian Neighbor always used to say the Food in Oz asn't as good as what she got back home.  After I built my wood fire oven she drove me nuts till I built her one, even ordering a Pallet of bricks and bags of concrete and then telling me she had them so now i HAD to build her an oven.
I built her a whopper so she could do the baby Goat she so craved.
After she had the oven a couple of months she told me she was wrong. It wasn't the food that wasn't as good as home, it was the way it was cooked. She said at home they always had a wood fired oven they cooked everything in. Here it was all gas or electric and that was the difference.
got to admit, the flavour she got out of every day Vegetables and meat in simple dishes was great and inspired me to follow the way she did it.

So easy to do even a pelican like me and wow people as a chef.  Might only be a few things I can cook but they are good enough you'd never get sick of eating the same 5-6 dishes over and over.

 

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #79 on: April 18, 2018, 02:30:45 PM »

Quite surprised with the consistency of the output from my panels. Today was another dull overcast day and today I got the exact same power yield as yesterday, 24.5 Kw. Probably putting us a bit in advance atm given we are not running the AC which seems to be the biggest power draw.  The wife getting Busy in the kitchen with 2 ovens and the stove going sucks some juice as well.

I was thinking today I might put a meter in the kettle as well. I try to limit myself to about 10 Coffees a day and I'm wondering how much power that adds up to. I'm thinking it's going to be a surprising amount. Mrs has a habit of filling the kettle every time she boils it and I cannot get through to her to only boil enough for the cup she wants, not fill the bastard with 3L of water.

Going back to early feb, I see I was making more than double the power I am now and I had about 6KW worth of panels LESS than I have now. Still, that would have been a bright sunny day so I should probably be thinking more along the 38 Kwh I did the other day. Still a fall off from my max of 55Kwh as my High so far.  Shows the solar yeild estimates I got off the website were accurate and why I do need to put so many panels up.

I haven't started heating yet and when I do, that's really going to tax my generational capabilities.  Better work on getting that other north facing 5Kw up ASAP. Got to get the sparky in to run a couple of new 20A Circuits to take it and the 4KW array I just put up so I can expand and run that flat out as well.
I could add another string to the Shed as well and pick up another 1.5-2KW there. haven't bothered so far as I was taxing the wiring up there but now the solar radiation has fallen off, I could run ano0ther string and just disconnect it in the summer or see if I could put it to something to use up there and use it on sight rather than run it all the way back here. Maybe a Giant Freezer and make blocks of Ice i could bring down to the house in tubs to cool the place down??  :0)

Actually a party Ice business would be a winner in the summer months!

I'm wondering If I am going to get raided or investigated by the cops?
I live beside the flightpath of a pretty busy general aviation airport and all the planes, including the copper choppers would have a perfect view of the house covered in panels. I have heard pot growers are getting onto putting up large arrays to hide their growing operations so it's not a stretch to Imagine I might get on the radar.

Can't even get my Vegetables to grow with this dessert like dryness, hot wind and scorching sun. They are going to be pretty Dissapointed if they come looking for any other " crops" .






BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #80 on: April 18, 2018, 05:19:16 PM »
"I was thinking today I might put a meter in the kettle as well. I try to limit myself to about 10 Coffees a day and I'm wondering how much power that adds up to. I'm thinking it's going to be a surprising amount. Mrs has a habit of filling the kettle every time she boils it and I cannot get through to her to only boil enough for the cup she wants, not fill the bastard with 3L of water. "


My off grid 120VDC home/lead acid battery bank was powered by just 875 watts of panels until recently.  On sunny days I do mostly electric cooking, and very quickly I learned that excess water heating is your energy enemy. For tea, I use a 300 watt immersion heater.  Works fast and efficiently, even faster if I start with 130F solar heated hot water.  For cooking, I have crock pots and a small modified 600W toaster oven, and a 500 watt hot plate.

My favorite for general DC cooking is a modified  Aroma brand 300 watt rice cooker. I added a mechanical timer and changed the wiring so that the magnetic scorch switch on the bottom of the stainless cooking pot turns it off.  (The magnet looses strength and releases from the bottom of the pot if it gets hot, which opens a switch.) A single 250V MOSFET and resistors do the power switching, the timer and magnetic scorch switch control the MOSFET. This rice cooker is my favorite, as I can add just barely enough water in the bottom (1/2 cup) to cook/steam.   It also has a steamer pot that sits above the 6 cup pot.  I have serious short term memory problems and the biggest plus for me is that I can never burn up a meal with it, and even if I go out to the yard or shop and forget, when I come back there will be something edible and not a mess.

I've also learned that there is a good 10 minutes worth of slow cooking for free after the power times out. For a bachelor meal the timer is set for 25 minutes and food is ready in 30 minutes.  Just under 1/2 cup of water in the 6 cup cooking pot is sufficient.

300w x 25 minutes= 125 watt-hrs  or about 1 amp hour at 120VDC  for a meal.  My battery bank is 110 AH at modest current draw so both early breakfast and evening meal on battery power is not a problem.  I use the gas range on dark days and for most baking and cooking for groups.

It really doesn't take much electrical power to live on very comfortably if you are heating with solar hot water space heating and have no need for air conditioning due to super insulation with enough thermal mass and cool night time temperatures despite 100F days.








glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #81 on: April 18, 2018, 08:59:58 PM »

You Know Bruce, You really should document all the things you have done so that others may replicate and benefit from it. Maybe a website with pics and descriptions/ schematics. I know you share a lot here but it's a pretty small audience. There would be a lot of people very interested in your efforts and achievements.

Your knowledge could help so many other people and is just not easy to come by.  You have a practical, simple and straightforward outlook where most people of your experience and knowledge just want to make things complicated as hell.
I don't know if you can use a Video camera without it affecting you but if you did a YT channel, I'm sure it would take off and I would give you whatever help I could to make sure it did. There is a formula to it like anything else but your subject matter would be of interest to a LOT of people.

I like your way of thinking. You know you have a bad memory so you allow for it.  i'm a big believer in that. People seem to want to ignore the " Constant" and modify the variables rather than allow for the other way round.  If you know you forget things, then allow for that as you have and work and ajust to it. 

This is something I butt heads with my wife over all the time on simple things.  She complains because she leaves bread on the bench and the cat gets  to it and it has to be thrown out. I tell her, you know the cat is going to do it, don't effing leave the bread there. I bought her a bread box to put it in.
No, she thinks the cat shouldn't get up there and that's it. One of her many Concocted rules that she dreams up like a law of physics that she thinks is inarguable because it's the way she wants things.
I know this is a piddling thing but it is typical of other things she and others are like which frustrated the guts out of me.  If you know something is going to happen through repeated experience, forget if it's right or wrong or should or shouldn't happen, allow for it and take measures so when it does, there is no problem.
Bugger me, how easy is it to put the Damn bread in the microwave, cupboard or in the bread box I bought?
I literally tell her to shut up about the bread now, I don't want to hear about it. If she is stupider than the cat to keep doing the same damn thing, put up with it Quietly!  ::)

Unfortunately many people just won't think like you and I.
When I was in the Veg game, people on forums were always chasing the holy grail of fuel line that didn't perish or weep with Veg or bio.  They would spend stupid money on the stuff and it ALWAYS weeped or went soft. Me being a tight arse but maybe a bit more savvy didn't worry. I worked out the cheap/ common stuff lasted over a year. I do all my yearly things between Chrstmas and new year including car servicing. I just change the fuel line, what little of soft line there is and that's it. Costs me about $4 a year and I don't have to worry because I know it's got about 15-18 months life so I do it aircraft style, change it before it fails even if it's still good. People paying $30 ft are lucky to get 2 years and then it's well past it's use by anyway, they just don't want to throw the expensive stuff out and admit they spent too much and it's little better. :0)

Really would be good if you were up to it to put all the things you have done in some sort of archive particularly in relation to your EMF sensitivity.
Could be the basis for a lot of people to help themselves in the future if you are right about the increasing effects which I think you are.

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #82 on: April 18, 2018, 11:21:20 PM »
Thanks, Glort.  Now that I am no longer able to help disabled individuals with their homebuilding issues as I did for many years,  I would like to try and leave some sort of "leg up" for others so they don't have to learn it all the painfully hard way as I did.  Most people with seriously disabling MCS and/or ES have a unique pattern of brain damage (clearly visible on SPECT and FMRI) and have a hard time learning and visualizing complex things, so I think video clips with a more "hands on" demonstration might be more effective, though some sadly have no computer access at all. 

Truth is my writing skills are not great, besides being very mentally challenging for me.  I don't know how to write for non-engineers.  Over 20 years ago I wrote a 16 page condensed article on home EMF mitigation for a friend of a friend's book. (University professor writing about coping severe MCS disability.) She found it too complex, she had hoped it could be like a cookie recipe!  Some years later I was contacted by a newly disabled electrically sensitive guy (Phd in Biophysics who worked at Los Alamos). I sent him the article and worked with him via phone for first home and car EMF mitigation. He was able to improve his home situation by 90% and got back some health and is able to do some contract research work now, though he can't work full time in a typical office anymore.  A few years ago he wrote me to tell me how every time he reads the article, he has learned more and can apply more of what I wrote. 

This was intended as a compliment, but since I had attempted to write the article for lay people, I was pretty discouraged. 

I have attempted to find a co-author to help humanize my writing but so far they lacked enough technical savvy and so could contribute little more than correcting grammar and spelling.

I do have a digital camera that does video and sound that is exceptionally low in emissions and I can tolerate it for short periods.  I made 3 short videos about my prototype ultra low EMF inverter design for a civil engineer who has moderate ES and was interested in how it was even possible to have an inverter be low EMF.

I now have upgraded my rear projection workstation to a WXGA (1280x 800) projector over the last couple months; I had to add an external IR remote controlled focus adjustment since the Qume Q5 optics aren't temperature stable.  My old SVGA - LED pocket projector in a shielded enclosure would not allow me to use any video editing software at all- they are all designed for XGA as the minimum display.

I would much appreciate any advice and/or assistance in getting me going in a fruitful direction. I'll PM you with my email address.

 







glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #83 on: April 19, 2018, 02:45:20 AM »

I get what you are saying about the writing Bruce.  Often you leave me behind but I would not put that as your fault.  there is always a base knowledge required to understand most things and this is not simple. You have to remember that most people think someone who can wire in a light switch are some sort of black magic magicians.  I put a new Rectifier in my mates pool Chlorination, Miracle! Another mate I changed the pool Pumps, " Saved his life".

I'm sure the other chap you wrote for is gaining knowledge and then understanding as he goes. I do that all the time with things I read.
It's not easy when you are at a high level coming back down to the very beginning. Believe it or not there are some things I am quite proficient at and I struggle to help others as well because what is as basic as can be to me is something they have not yet learnt.
Like explaining how to wire that light switch, you'd say make sure the switch is capable of at least 5 amps and you lost them right there because they wouldn't know an amp from their elbow.
My near 80 YO father has been working on and fixing cars all his life. Rebuild an  engine with not much thought but ask him to put in an extra set of speakers or wire a trailer plug, forget it.

The beauty of this is you can do it as you feel up to it. If you can put in an hour or 6 one day and nothing for the next 3, so be it.  I had a bad day yesterday and did nothing but sat on my arse here but today I feel better and have been up since 4am and doing useful things since 7. Just came in for a coffee now.

Whatever you could share would be a huge help to someone and even if like you have with me many times, You give me a bright idea of my own that worked even if I don't follow a lot of what you have said, it's a help. A bloody BIG help!

Would be my honour to help you in any small way I could.   :D

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #84 on: April 19, 2018, 06:09:53 PM »
"Amps from elbows" pretty much nails the problem. 

I'm not sure how tackle that problem.








LowGear

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #85 on: April 20, 2018, 08:24:48 PM »
Panel Price Alert:

I saw previously installed 250 Watt panels in the local craigslist (Big Island Hawaii) for $100 each.  I phoned and found the seller had eight inquiries in the first hour.  Not the screaming deals glort reports from Australia but still pretty darn good.
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BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #86 on: April 20, 2018, 09:39:39 PM »
sunelec.com often has panels at 0.50 to 0.60/watt.  Decent outfit.
solarblvd.com used to be the bargain king but they seem to have fallen on hard times lately. 


glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #87 on: April 21, 2018, 12:32:08 AM »

250's are the used panels of Choice. there is always interest in them here and they do get the higher prices as well.

Last lot of 250's I bought was about 2 months ago now.  Can't remember what I paid for them, I think it was 350 or $400 for 20,  5Kw worth. They are the next lot I have to get on the north side of the house. Going to get a sparky in to run a HD Circuit so I can drive them flat out and not fry the house wiring.
 Will get him to put another circuit on the other phase while I'm at it so I can load the other side of the house facing west as well.
Lucky I have 3 phase so I can pump all this power back in or I'd already be maxed out with what I have on single phase.

While I was initially disregarding anything other than 250W panels, I am taking anything I can get hold of down to 175's now. There is a fair difference in mounting but other than that. 4 kw in 250s is 16 panels, 4k in 175's is 22 but the area they occupy in much the same. For those with limited roof space, the smaller panels may actually be better. They are physicaly smaller so you may squeeze that one more panel on the end of a run where a larger one wouldn't fit where the roof line changes etc.  Apart from a few more brackets to hold them down, no difference really.

My benchmark for used panels was $200Kw or .20C watt if looked at that way.  I still might pay that for really good 250's or above but for anything else,  under $150 KW is more what I'll pay now.

So far my best score has been the 4KW set I bought early this year. 240W panels, micro inverters and rails.  $550. I did in hindsight think I went a bit overboard on those but they turned out OK. I didn't want the micros after testing them so put them back on dumbtree. Sold the first 8 for 250 and the second 8 for 230. Panels ended up costing me $5 ea or about .2 Cents per watt!

I have found buying systems is cheaper all up than just buying panels ... when you can get them.  What often happens here is the inverter dies, the panels have to be replaced as well due to our BS policy of old PANELS not meeting current safety regs and the racking gets reused on the new system.
That just leaves the panels.  Not always of course but a lot of the time.

Actual tilt, orientation and things like shading are going to make more difference between a bank of 250's and 190's (as is a popular output here) in a bank of the same size.  Efficiency Drop off of older panels is inconsequential.  Amount of bird droppings on the array will probably make more difference to the final output than difference in efficiency in used panels sizes and age.

I haven't found a lot of panels on offer the last few weeks. Lot of people thinking their old panels should entirely fund the new system and trying to sell them based on what they paid for the things 7 years ago rather than what the system they just put up cost.
People never cease to amaze me in how they will bitch and complain that they have had 10 offer's in 3 months on something they have been trying to sell and that everyone else is at fault for not offering what they want rather than realising that they are the ones at fault for the things not selling because of their stupid pricing and greedy mentality.

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #88 on: May 05, 2018, 04:30:16 AM »

Haven't had a score of panels in weeks now. The offerings seem to have dried right up but for a number of hopeful people selling systems for stupid prices By anyones measure.  $3500 For a used and non compliant ( can't legally connect tot he grid) system is unrealistic here by a long way and there have been quite a few little  1.5KW systems  going for $700-1000 with the sellers not being prepared to budge on price.

We are now officially in winter and even though I have started running the Ac for a bit of heat at night, during the day it's still real easy to break a sweat in a t shirt doing not much at all.
I am generating  mid 30Kwh pretty Consistently on sunny days and sometimes not cracking much over 10 on the really overcast ones we have had. Sadly those days are a double loss with no solar generation and no rain either.

The hot water is now completely solar fed and I have moved it permanently to one of the normal phases which is back fed. I'm going to put it on the same circuit as the 5Kw north array on the house and get a weatherproof box and put the Voltage monitor, a PWM and a relay in it with an RCD. Even though I don't have to limit when the heater comes on, it's advantageous to do so. By having the heater come on when the solar is feeding, I can even out the line voltage which is a bit problematic here. It will be interesting to see if this HD Direct circuit will be more stable than the normal power circuits I have been using. It's slightly heavier wiring and is one uninterupted run back to the fuse box. I'm hoping the lower resistance of the wiring which is also half the length of the run to the arrays on the shed will be better clamped by the grid although testing it the other day  straight from the pole showed that was pretty high anyhow.

 I'll run the heater at a lower output as well to spread the time it runs to give me more voltage smoothing.  I might even look at adding a timer so in summer it waits till about 10 am to kick in and covers the max generation period.
It was funny when changing the circuts the other day. My sparky mate asked how many amps was the solar I was going to install and when I said up to 20, he became alarmed. He said you can't have 20 amps on the heater and 20 amps on the solar at the same time!!
I asked why Not? He said you'll be at double the rating of the circuit.  I said actually, I'mm be lucky to do 3amps difference.  I reminded him the solar was a supply not a load and that would power the heater if they were both operating and the actual loading back to the breaker would be next to nothing.

Take a little getting ones head around when you are used to everything being a load.


 I am still making more power than I'm using but the home heating has been minimal due to the still beautifully warm weather. I put the AC on the other night as it was a little chilly siting here in just a T shirt but the thing didn't run for long and then would only kick in for a short while about every 20-30 min.  Also confused my Daughter and made her happy when she complained she forgot to hang out washing she wanted to wear the next day.  I told her, stick it in the dryer.  She said I would but you'll go nuts about me using it. I said No, we are plenty up on power atm, won't hurt to burn some off.

For me, this is what this solar caper is all about. Paying for your little luxuries in advance and enjoying the investment cost and guilt free thereafter.  :laugh:  She was also happy but a bit surprised when I told her, feel free to have a long hot shower now and then as well. Heating the water is costing us nothing and I'm pumping the output into the IBC's so I can water the garden with it as I have to use water for anyway so may as well enjoy yourself and get 2 uses out of it.  I certainly have been taking my time relaxing in the shower of late and I don't have to give the Mrs the hurry up when she washer her hair which seems to take about 20 Min to accomplish as well.  Can get in there after her and there is still a load of hot water.
Dunno why the previous owner put in such a big tank seeing there was only his wife and himself here but I'm happy he did!

I'll turn the solar off tomorrow before I head up to my fathers place for a week. hHave to finish the 3 Kw install I didn't do much on week before last due to a quick trip and rain when I was there.

It has been an easy job so far.
I stacked the panels in the back of the ute on top of some ratchet straps. I then snug the straps up which are each end of the long side and one top to bottom so they form a big block that does not move.  I took a lifting sling and when I got there, slipped it under the straps.
I got the forklift, Put the times together and got Dad to slip the sling  over the tines as I bought the fork forward so the straps were straight up and not pulling.

Just lifted the 18 Panels straight up and out then took them over tot he roof I wanted to put them on. Lifted them right up and went in close to the eaves and left them there just above the roof to avoid the concerntrated weight. From there I just got up and grabbed them and laid them out where I wanted.
Sure beats pulling them up with a hook on a strap like I have been doing here!

I still have another 5Kw of 250 Panels to put on the north end of the house. Looking a little while ago it's perfect pitch and orientation for winter.
Being a 35o Pitch tin roof,  I have spent some hours now on the ground and on a ladder looking and trying to do the mental arithmetic of how to get the panels up there and survive the exercise.  I have an idea in mind and think I'm just going to have to start doing it now as although I'm very unsure of how well the plan will work, I'm also pretty sure than I'm going to have to actually do it from here to work out if it' is workable and the real difficulties of the job.

Meter read is Monday week and I'm about 20 Kwh ahead on each meter. I'll turn the solar off tomorrow or I'll have the power co out her wanting to put me on a smart arse meter If I have used less than I started with.
I am reading that there are changes coming to the power industry and the way they are allowed to charge and meter in July so just maybe it will be something that works in my favor.

I am not happy with some panels I bought and their output. They are 180's and seem to be performing well below what I would expect.  I have half on the shed roof and the other half on the verandah.  I thought the ones on the shed which I put up first were a bit on the low side but it is the south side of the roof and they are nearly flat and I also had not put anything else up there to get an idea of what to expect.
I have 1.5 Kw worth on the verandah and am lucky to see 700W out of them. Further back on the house, I have other panels  at the same direction and pitch, 3 KW worth and the 1.5 set is not producing anywhere near half what the others are despite having more clearance and about an hours longer exposure in the late hours of the day.

I'm going to take them down as the are easy to get at and put up some 250s and see what the difference is. I have enough numbers now out the 180s to know what to expect and can work out the power difference to see if it adds up.
The 180s were a set I bought that came with micro inverters and rails. I paid $550 for the set and then sold the Micros which I didn't want for $480.
If these panels are low producers, I only paid $5 ea for them so I'll put them on the south end of the house or use them as a roof for a chicken Coop!  :0)

I missed out on a set of 40x 250s which was a bit dissapointing but the guy got an offer I wouldn't have gone near so good luck to him. There will be others along. Even though there is a bit of a drought now, I'm sure that will be rectified by a flood of the  things soon as seems to happen.





glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #89 on: May 20, 2018, 01:21:43 PM »

Coming into the lowest generation month here and still doing OK.
Put another 2.5 Kw on the other day leaning against the hedge as a temp setup. This 2.5 North at a steep angle is making about 1 Kwh more than the 4Kw of panels on the west house roof.  Max output I have seen from the 2.5 so far is 1.7Kw which isn't bad at all considering.

Realizing just How much power the Ducted aircon uses.  Left it on the other night to kick in and out on the thermostat and used about 13KW on each 3 Phases! Turned it off last night when I went to bed and booted it up this morning at about 6 and at the end of the day had caught up again with the solar to where I started a few days back. Lucky the weather has been pretty sunny here.  This morning I was up at 6 and the grass was crunchy and  noticed there was Ice all over the cars.  Who says it never gets cold in Oz? Of course 3 months ago we were getting days in the 40's pretty regularly.

It's been dry here so I have been running the sprinklers over the weekend. Figured I'd really try and saturate everything so there was some water in the ground which would hopefully stay there a bit in the cool weather.  When I got up this morning to move the sprinklers, there was steam coming off the streams of water and the lawn and garden.  Seemed the water was a reasonable amount warmer than the air.

Noticed the AC condensor had Iced up so I put the hose Nozzle on the back of it which would have given it a lot more heat than was in the air at the time.
Very tempted to Revisit some oil burning heating options. I'd have a ton of power if it weren't for the AC.  Probably be ok though if I got the other 2.5 of panels up on the north roof.

That said, the weather has been very good through the day and apart from the freezing mornings, it hasn't been that cold either really.  If we get that week of overcast/ rain, no way I'll come near making enough power.

I am going to test a few days heating with small fan heaters. at least with those we can localise the warmth where we want it a bit more instead of having to heat a large master zone where no one is. Even at 2Kw Hr, we'd still probably be better off with 3 heaters going. after the first hour, they can be turned down to 1Kw and just bounce off the thermostats as needed. 

Only take a few days to see how that works out consumption wise.