Author Topic: Blasphemy..... Solar power.  (Read 127714 times)

mikenash

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #315 on: December 17, 2017, 06:40:17 AM »
Yeah, well, I'm 60 - wouldn't surprise me if I am "younger" than the mean - though I'm not sure "young" is the right word

Where I live and work, of the people who are able to combine both skills and experience - say, for example, guys that can rebuild a high-performance motorcycle engine AND who know all the pitfalls after 30 years of seeing the insides of them, or guys who can machine the barrel of your CS, press in a cast sleeve AND know from bitter experience what the piston/bore clearance should be, what materials the rings should be to suit the bore and what the right gap is for those rings in that application - guys like that all seem to be at least my age.

I have a colleague here who casts and machines engine bits from 1920s/30s American engines that people send him from the US to do because they can't get them done locally, and another who restores expensive cars like old Rollers and Jags to better-than-concourse for customers in Europe and Asia who presumably can't get them done there

None of these guys are younger than '60s . . .

oldgoat

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #316 on: December 17, 2017, 01:32:41 PM »
I think that their skills were learnt in a time when things were repaired and not replaced. When I was a child my father used to replace the electric jug element with a new length of coiled resistance wire. These days we throw them away because the plastic goes brittle. I also remember getting the armature on my Wolf electric drill rewound but that was forty years ago.
 I had to rewind the armature on my s.o.m. because none of the rewinding shops were interested
Not a difficult job but a bit time consuming mostly because of the running around to find someone who could supply the correct materials.

BruceM

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #317 on: December 17, 2017, 03:46:04 PM »
Longevity is a problem with us humans with a more technical inclination.  By the time you get enough depth and breadth of experience to be able to competently tackle a decent range of problems, health and mental decline issue set in and the show is over.

Breadth is a big issue these days-  this is the age of specialization because the amount of information for depth on any topic keeps growing.  Fewer folks have the opportunity to span a large number of disciplines. 

Given the serious limitations of our "wetware" (mammalian brains) it is astounding what we have been able to accomplish, technically.  Socially and politically- our weaknesses (emotional responses largely direct our not very "rational" decision making) are going to be our demise as a species.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 03:53:50 PM by BruceM »

dieselspanner

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #318 on: December 17, 2017, 06:10:15 PM »
Terry Pratchett said something like

'Wisdom is gained through experience, experience is frequently caused by a lack of wisdom'

I guess it's the same gene that let's me now appreciate Franks Sinatra, who I detested 50 odd years back, that piqued my interest in CS Listers and all the other old crap I've surrounded my self with..........

Stef
Tighten 'til it strips, weld nut to chassis, peen stud, adjust with angle grinder.

LowGear

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #319 on: December 17, 2017, 07:19:23 PM »
As I've mentioned before I'm 73.  The world is changing on two fronts.  The one inside here and the one out there.

I actually mis-connected a 24 volt battery set for the Uninterruptible Power Supply.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Luckily I didn't fry the motherboard.  Soldered on a new connector and it's working fine.  But to actually put a red battery cable on a black connector.  Wow!  It's changing in here.

I spend an hour or two on YouTube a day / night.  We're cancelling the cable part of our package when they hike the prices next time or football season ends.  (Yes, I am a sports widower.)  I record everything that I watch from cable TV and binge watch one night a week.  I used to wait for new episodes each week.  I sometimes have four episodes recorded that I haven't watched and could with a little energy get it all on the internet.  That's just one of the changes that has occurred in the last year.  The outside changes are happening faster and faster as we march along towards the future.  How long will lithium be the battery element of choice?  What do you do with a gigafactory? 

I hope to watch the circus for many more years.  I will need to start being careful.  A tough trick for a lucky old guy to learn and execute.  I'm glad I've been doing some training for these years. 

A red wire on a black post!  What the hell is going on?

Aloha,

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mikenash

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #320 on: December 18, 2017, 12:23:45 AM »
 

A red wire on a black post!  What the hell is going on?

Aloha,
[/quote]

Casey, I have spent decades playing with motorcycles for a living and for fun - I sorta know what I'm doing, more or less (or at least imagine I do)

A while back I had a Honda ST1300 as a test-bike to write about for one of the local mags.  It had a good seat and a big tank and I said (stupidly) to myself "I bet I can do 400Ks in four hours on a tank of gas . . ."  So I came home from work on Friday afternoon, showered, emptied my bladder - since it's often the deciding factor in the "range" of a motorcycle - changed into leathers and headed north.  401 ks and 3 hours 50 later I watched my tired self on the forecourt of the Ngaruawahia gas station putting diesel into the tank of the bloody thing.  Got to meet the nice man from Honda etc etc and am sill reminded of this by colleagues from time to time . . .

So, yes, I understand

LowGear

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #321 on: December 22, 2017, 01:07:54 AM »
About noon this week is great for checking out where ole sol is finding South and how far the sun travels.

I take a 4" piece of ABS pipe and get centered on the suns rays so the walls don't show in the shadow.  I throw a dial protractor on it and there's the magic number.  I then look for an obvious sight point well beyond the solar collector station and it's done.  I like intellectualism but sometimes a bit of grit under the nails is a whole lot more reliable.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 01:11:43 AM by LowGear »
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mikenash

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #322 on: December 22, 2017, 03:48:55 AM »
About noon this week is great for checking out where ole sol is finding South and how far the sun travels.

I take a 4" piece of ABS pipe and get centered on the suns rays so the walls don't show in the shadow.  I throw a dial protractor on it and there's the magic number.  I then look for an obvious sight point well beyond the solar collector station and it's done.  I like intellectualism but sometimes a bit of grit under the nails is a whole lot more reliable.

Yep.  I'm with you there

We have a website here belonging to NIWA (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric or some such?) and they publish sun angles for latitudes etc - my lazy self just cribbed it off of that :)

starfire

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #323 on: December 22, 2017, 04:11:50 AM »
What with yours truly living in the wettest part of the country, like rainfall is measured in feet and meters, Im very happy just with it shining. I care not the direction, azimuth, lattitude....
The air is so clear of pollution the solar rays are as  potent as they are ever likely to get. the UV does well too. A well funded university study recently found that a  generic red plastic bucket will whiten and go brittle in one good summer. A red car will be pink in a just a few years.
Oh the problems we face.......

BruceM

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #324 on: December 22, 2017, 05:10:01 PM »
Hey Glort,
I enjoy reading about your solar grid tie experiments.

If the inverter trip out is for high AC voltage, measuring the drop on the inverter ouput to the panel might be helpful.  Since this isn't your first hookup, and you previously reported this issue with small wires, I'm wondering if your service drop wire size and length might be a problem for a larger capacity grid back feed.  Or perhaps you just have the bad luck of being at a relatively high voltage leg of the power co. distribution.

Looking at panel voltage VS inverter voltage on a clear day with high output might tell you the issue, and watching panel voltage on a day when the inverter(s) are tripping out might also be fruitful.   If neighborhood load is low and panel voltage is already quite high, this would limit your backfeed.  Normally, if you document a regular over voltage situation on your line, the power co would  change your transformer connection to lower your average voltage; some have multiple taps to allow this...though you'd probably not want the attention in your particular situation.

Do you share a transformer with other homes?  I'm not familiar with power co. practice in Oz...except that you have the same idiotic Wye distribution grounding practice that we have in most of the US which results in a great deal of current flowing in the earth, aquifer, and metalic gas and water mains.  They violate transformer isolation of the customer secondary with a "ground tie" wire to the distribution (primary) neutral.  It is an engineering abomination left over from the 1920s.  Zipse (PE, recognized as a Lifetime Fellow of IEEE) has campaigned much of his professional life to try and get this corrected.  He has many public papers covering this issue.

donaldwzipse.com/images/PID642277.pdf

This is just one major technical folly which illustrates quite clearly how humans need better supervision...we accept what we're taught and established systems as sacred and defend it despite all evidence to the contrary.



LowGear

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #325 on: December 22, 2017, 05:36:53 PM »
Quote
A red car will be pink in a just a few years.
So I'm betting the carpets have gone orange already as well.  Life can be a treacherous journey through Satan's jowls if not carefully planned and executed.
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BruceM

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #326 on: December 23, 2017, 12:57:10 AM »
Many US electronics will have a three prong plug and filter consisting of a common mode choke and some small caps to the safety ground, in order to meet our FCC specs for AC line conducted emissions.  This type of filter would cause your elevated voltage on the trailer chassis and ground if not connected to the power co. ground wire, since the AC line being a neutral and hot is unbalanced  and thus the capacitor to the hot wire is passing some 50/60Hz AC voltage to your trailer's formerly unconnected safety ground.

It is technically nuts to use the safety ground to carry this filter induced voltage/ current, but much of our power system is evolved and there has been more concern for cost and convenience  than anything else. 

The caps to the safety ground in the cheap line filters at products do work well for passing the FCC test, since an artificial ground plane is right below the equipment and all measurements are made relative to it.  In the real world, the inductance of the safety ground wire is so high as to make it relatively useless for high frequency filtering.  Its a case of  "Mercedes diesel emissions" engineering.

I think you're on the right track regarding the overvoltage resistance situation, and it's good that the actual line voltage is fine so the fix is entirely in your control.




BruceM

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #327 on: January 07, 2018, 07:48:39 PM »
We are seeing more 104F days here at 5600 feet in AZ in the summer now.  That makes it near 118F in Phoenix. 
When I lived down there I got used to it and anything less than 110F was OK to work outside, but over that, it was dicey. Now I'm a wimp.

I'm struggling health wise this winter but have been doing some planning for my PV upgrade, needed for the inverter, which is intended in part to run a water chiller for my home in-floor PEX system. 

Starfire had an interesting posts earlier about the relatively fixed voltage of PV panels at low light level that woke up some brain cells and I did some further reading on the web about the typical PV voltage vs current output plot.  Seems the whole power point tracking business is largely marketing hype, as about 36V (for the nominal 24V PV panel) is always where the sweet spot is within a few percent.  That is true regardless of light level.  My system is 120VDC and without much thinking about it I used 5- 24V panels in series. That puts the max power voltage at 180V, which wastes some power at my linear PV charge regulator (BIG heatsink- 10x12 inch finned aluminum) when bulk charging at say 146V.  Not as bad for heat as seems as voltage is pulled down by the battery load all during bulk charging.  Presently about 5.2 amps peak charge in winter, and 6 amps in winter. 

Today it was a relatively clear sky, so I tried a test. With 5 panels in series, I was bulk charging at 5 amps.  With 4 panels, 4.7 amps. (Peak power voltage of 144V minus wire losses at the panels.)  That's only a 6% loss in charging power for 20% reduction in PV panels.  So now I'm seriously thinking of adding 4 panels strings in parallel, instead of 5.  This will help reduce heat dissipation at the linear charge regulator as the bulk charging current tapers off and the regulator must drop excess voltage, and will get me more bang for my buck on the additional PV panels.

So I may look for some bargain 175ish watt size panels and add 8 of those instead of 5- 300ish watt panels.











« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 07:53:38 PM by BruceM »

BruceM

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #328 on: January 08, 2018, 05:00:24 PM »
Uniform overcast this AM so I was able to recheck at low PV output.  1.1A  of charge and 1.1A with 4 instead of 5 panels in series.  As long as I stick to 36+ volt max power voltage (MPV) panels, I should be good with adding them in groups of 4. 


BruceM

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Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« Reply #329 on: January 09, 2018, 12:47:32 AM »
I think you can't go wrong either way on the panels, Glort, given your rapid payback. Just a question of labor and materials for wiring up the additional smaller panels if you've got roof space. 

I did some looking today and some of the new 250-320 watt panels are now as low as 32 volt at peak power, which would take 5 panels but at good efficiency.  Found one bargain seller for those.  Disappointing in that the 320 watt panels from Sunelect in Phoenix are only 35.6 volt; should work for 4, especially for float voltage.