Small Scale Solar Setups

The female of the species is more into the humanities than males. (No. I am not going to discuss outliers.)
We need to make use of these proclivities and have our societies run by carefully selected virgin females. (To my mind, men who desire to run societies are suspect. Did they play with dolls?)
Reference The Oera Linda.
Here Evolutionary psychologist, Dr. Dutton discusses the psychology of children of divorced parents, which is not unrelated to the Left/Right schism that plagues our civilization today.

Great video Chris. Correction for one comment you made, that the adenovirus vaccines give us some part of the virus.
They give us DNA which is transcribed inside the cell and proteins are made. Medcram

The Unisolar PVL solar panels were made in the us 10 or more years ago, they are still available. Unique size; originally made to actually be a roof shingle type thing, but much bigger:
I got some years ago and have 12 of them generating up to 800 watts in a sub optimal location. They seem to last forever. They are eighteen feet long!
Mine had MC3 connectors, some on ebay have no connector, just a solder point.

Good to see you again…Mr Wick.

I built a whole-house off-grid system in 2001 and have been improving it for 20 years. It is now working extremely well and I am very happy with it.
The load is a fully equipped household with all modern conveniences including a large fridge/freezer, dishwasher, microwave, clothes washer and dryer, central heat (hot water radiators), two laptop computers and 12 volt LED lighting.
The primary electrical power source is 8 x 100 watt solar panels with a backup 12 kW diesel generator. Storage is a 24 volt lead acid fork truck battery of 1000 AH capacity. The domestic hot water heater, generator and optional central heat are powered by home heating oil. Cooking is propane gas.
The solar panels and battery provide enough electrical power for everything except the washer/dryer. Normal operating procedure during summer months is to run the generator for about four hours twice a week for the laundry and to fully charge the battery. In the winter, the generator might have to be run for a total of 16 -20 hours per week. I am thinking of adding more solar panels to reduce generator run time in winter.
120 volt AC power for kitchen appliances etc. is provided by a 3 kW inverter. Lighting is all 12 volt LED. I started off with 24 volt incandescent and fluorescent lighting then, as LEDs became available, switched to all LED. 24 volt LEDs are hard to find, but 12 volt bulbs are ubiquitous and cheap, so I installed a 24/12 volt DC-DC converter for the lighting circuit.
The biggest electrical energy hog is the fridge freezer, followed by (surprise) the laptop computers. Intermittent high power loads, such as the microwave or hair-dryer take a lot of current, but only run for a short time so do not use a lot of energy.
Cooking is done on a propane gas stove with an oven. I disconnected the electric grill element in the oven and the water heating element in the dishwasher because they both consumed more power than the inverter could provide.
Central heat uses home heating oil, which also is the fuel for the generator and the hot water heater. Air conditioning is out of the question.
Actually, providing continuous domestic hot water is the biggest problem and easily the greatest use of energy in summer. I have a 50 gallon hot water tank with a built-in heat exchanger. During the summer, the water is heated by a crazy-small oil-fired gadget which was designed to pre-heat diesel engines. In winter the wood-stove and central heat furnace heat the water.

While every bit we do helps, we are never truly all the way off grid when running the house off of propane or heating oil. It is a journey, I know. I am still moving along this path too.
I also get alot of solar photosynthisis that makes alot of fuel easily, so I heat with wood.
I mostly cook on the wood stove on days I have it running for space heat. And cooking with a solar oven on days with enough sunlight on my deck. If I had to, I could make do with those 2 options. My built in stove is electric which I cannot run off of my solar electric system. I have no propane, gas or heating oil appliances.
I am presently switching my well from an AC run well pump to one that is direct DC, so it will only pump out water when the sun is shining. I have large storage tanks now, installed the last few months. Because of code and such, I did reinstall a house pressure pump, but I just spent 3 months without one. I know what it is like to live without a water pressure boosting. The tanks are uphill enough that it is doable, but not like having normal water pressure. It takes longer to fill up pots at the sink and to fill up the clothes washer (I also recently downgraded to a top loading 1980s clothes washer, so it doesnt mind filling up slowly), taking a shower has less pressure but I seem to get just as clean. Even the upstairs toilet will eventually fill its tank, but the upstairs shower is unuseable. All the water spigots outside work better than the house plumbing and garden is even more downhill, so watering is great. That test is done, so water, no problem.
Hot water heating is the next thing to tackle, but my last few months of living as a fire refugee off grid on my own land has shown me that it is not bad to wash off with cold water when hot is not available. Either with wash clothes at a basin, or seated with a shower spray nozzle mostly off and just using spot by spot when needed. I have a broken, older solar hot water system that I need to revive, so if it is just me, I can happily have plumbed hot water when the sun has been out or otherwise have a pot with hot water on the woodstove when I need space heating, or just wash with cold.
My solar eelctric system is 22 years old, and not very large by todays standards. I also have some battery backup. I could run the house pressure pump off this, but after the fire, now, I have decided my default is not to and to leave the battery back up for refrigeration, lights and communication needs. I could move a wire over oint he garage if I ever change my mind on this.
As my system is older and producing less, I am toying with the idea to run a refrigerator directly off a couple DC panels. Is anyone else out there doing this ? In other words, I agree with the distributed DC concepts and moving forward when getting new system components I am going that way as opposed to fixing my existing system as is.
Woudl love to try out one of your cirucuit boxes MOTS, my idea would be washing machine and refrigerator paired, the washing cycle interrupted when the fridge compressor kicks on… ( enjoyed a fresh outlook from your book)

Right now, I am working on a general-purpose controller board for brushless DC motors. I want to get a low-power version going first, but am making sure it is “scale-able” to larger motors using heftier driver transistors. Also I am working on a Graphical User Interface to allow you to “tune” various timing and current-decay parameters and customize and optimize the circuit board and drive transistors to a particular motor and load situation.
Having done that to my satisfaction and having a solid, easy-to-use set of Drive Electronics on a one-board solution, I’m going to look at a custom-programmed controller IC that isn’t a Microprocessor, per se. There are chips around that you can use that are pure logic, but programmable, so that a one-time programming from a PC is all it takes, and the same physical chip and driver board can be used in any number of applications.
If all this sounds esoteric to you, that’s OK. I’ll post more as I make progress.
The bottom line is, from a Horsepower standpoint, for any appliance like, say, a refrigerator, there are Brushless DC motors that can take the place of the old 60-cycle AC motors, and can be much more tolerant of voltage fluctuations, and are able to “soft-start” so they don’t draw huge surge currents, and don’t have pesky and failure-prone starting capacitors, and don’t have carbon brushes.
Not only that - brushless motors are the wave of the future. Just ask Elon. He’ll tell you.
I like the idea of being able to operate the same appliance on DC or AC, without all the problems we already know about. I don’t mind the idea of a retrofit of a motor, in some purchased appliance.
I’ll keep you all posted and contribute when I can.
I like what Mots has done, very much.
– Chuck

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I am very happy to see your good comments and would like to use your eventual product. I hope that you make very simple instructions and circuit boards for others to follow. I assume that you are using Eagle software to make those boards and I can send you some files that I have made.
Other thoughts…
I see that companies recently are selling brushless DC motor fridges in countries like Nepal that rely on very unreliable voltage water power. LG is a big maker of DC motor refrigerators. Sanyo pioneered DC motor compressors for air cons and all of our heat pumps in Asia have been DC for over 10 years. In fact except for the air fans my own heat pumps can run on pure 110V DC (I use square wave only because the fans need it and they are very happy on the 110V square wave).
I have had good luck scaling up to higher power with a few caveats:

  1. higher power transistors need bigger drive circuits. I had to supplement lower power PWM output drive with a PNP/NPN bipolar pair in order to get much stronger drive (push in and remove electrons onto the massive capacitances of the gates of the larger MOSFETS). Also make sure to place a 10-100 uF electrolytic capacitor physically close to those transistors to ensure enough instantaneous power is available for switching.
  2. replace high voltage caps with higher voltage
  3. look real hard for better quality transistors with lower on resistance because you will generate much more heat as you get bigger. In doing this I find that a large proportion of these higher cost transistors are fake. Even if bought from Amazon. I have specific transistors that I find work well and can explain more if you want.
  4. heat dissipation becomes very limiting so be careful to use plenty of aluminum to mount the transistor. I am sure that you know this. I find that large 2 or 3 gang aluminum utility boxes from home depot are excellent for this purpose and will have some to show in Virginia next month.
  5. when making circuit boards for the high power, try to wire directly to the source and drain pins of the MOSFETs since the copper circuit board tracings cannot handle high power (another big difference from the small power projects that you are starting with)
    looking forward to hearing your progress

The most important use of electricity is for night time lighting, cell phone charging and computers. In my opinion Small Scale Solar Setups (“SSSS”) are very valuable for this and I have a number of redundant SSSS for reliable independent energy systems wired up at 12 volts, 24 volts, 48 volts and at 96 volts for various things like outhouses, lighting, separate room lights, water pumping. The parts are bought everywhere and easy to implement. I will have an electricity seminar on June 24 near my old workshop (Richmond area) that will start by showing how to put together an SSSS.
Caution points:
The biggest problem I see is that people let their batteries run down. If you wire a light directly to a battery for example you should consider using a “low voltage dropout” to disconnect the light or other load at low battery voltage. If your deep cycle lead acid battery goes to about 10.5 volts or below just once, its over for that battery and you need to replace it. Many charge controllers (charges battery from solar panels) have a load output that can power your lights and will disconnect those lights to protect the battery from low voltage. They work great when they work. But many of these devices don’t work (even fresh out of the box) and break easily. Most cheap charge controllers break by shorting out their charging transistor and will over charge the batteries and ruin them. For this reason it is helpful to monitor the battery voltage to make sure it is not being overcharged (too high voltage) or running down (too low voltage). I like to use a voltmeter prominently displayed so that I can check (“are my batteries happy today?”) every time I walk by, with just a glance.

Lithium batteries have become much better over the years but are still chemical entities that change chemistry with time and require much care and thus have little computers or smart chips in them to do that for you. In recent years we have had an explosion of new patents and new chips designed to carefully monitor and control each cell of the lithium battery as they change. Even my new lithium batteries come with a warning to charge before use to get maximum performance, so that the internal smarts can begin to fix the battery vagaries before you start slowly destroying them.
Batteries should not be kept in a dwelling (building where people sleep). I had an expensive name brand charge controller running batteries for a fridge that burned out (after 4 years) and overcharged batteries so bad that the escaping hydrogen gas exploded with much damage to the shed. Lead acid batteries in particular should not be stored in a house or in an enclosed space.
Avoid challenging the limits of your system. Better quality and more expensive inverters claim to shut down and resist over loading. They actually do that sometimes. But they still blow up and burnout when stressed enough.
Engineers know how to build stuff that lasts for many years but have to use transistors and capacitors (in particular) with much higher ratings and much higher cost to do that and no one would buy their product. If your MPPT charge controller is rated for 160 volts don’t use it at 125 volts for example. I had two blow up after a few months (their capacitors were rated for 160 volts but got hot because they were crammed into a cute little box with no space at all inside). All these ratings are based on room temperature. Everything gets derated at higher temperature (lower voltage, lower current) so it is helpful to check the temperature (put your hand on the box, if it feels hot, can you do something like improve air circulation or remove from exposure to the sun?) If you have 16 amps of solar panels, don’t use a 20 amp charge controller. Use a 30 or 40 amp charge controller (it has a bigger power transistor that will last more months or years before it burns out, destroys your batteries and forces you to pony up more money for the most expensive part of your system). Whatever ratings your equipment has remember that short term profits is the biggest factor in that calculation and try to buy something that is two times oversized.

I found this chart on, a LiFePO4 manufacturer’s specifications on charge rate vs. temperature vs. state of charge, and as you can see charging rate should not be a hard cutoff at 0C, but rather something tapered off slowly from room temperature depending on what capacity-rate you are able to charge at. A trickle charge at 0C should be fine.

I have salt water batteries, but they are not easy to get right now.

I have one 24x24 panel. Puts out about 18 volts.

Use a Meanwell HLG-480-30A or 48 or 54 to convert PV Power 100-400 VDC to Safe 24, 48 or 54 DC. They are universal AC or DC. The output is Isolated. You can charge LFP Batteries also. Make sure it’s a Type A or AB.

Amazon description. Stable 12 24 or 48 on Cloudy days from 4-8 60 cell panels. Fans, Pumps, LED grow lights, etc USE a 30 Volt to charge 24 Volt Battery. 15 for a 12 Volt Battery

MEAN WELL HLG-480H-48A Constant Voltage and Constant Current Switching LED Driver Output Adjustable by Internal Pot, 48V 10A 480W

News in june?

How are the developments going now?