It's a Start

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ShockBoy, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. ShockBoy

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 27, 2009
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    Hi all,
    I am proud to say I've taken my garage lighting off grid. With my solar panels and led lights, I have disconnected the ac to the garage lights. :)

    One small step for me, one giant leap for, well me!

    Thanks for all your help along the way.
     
  2. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    Good deal. :)

    Keep a close eye on the battery bank. If you let them get overcharged or undercharged, you will see $$$ go right down the drain.
     
  3. ShockBoy

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    186
    0
    Will Do Sgt!

    Right now I've got it through a 20 amp 12/24 volt controller and even on cloudy days it seems to be functioning very well. Currently my 'bank' is one battery, but the garage lights are on maybe 2-3 hours a day at most.

    Do you have any suggestions for the 'next small step'? I'm not sure which direction I should go. The panels if you remember are 2- 24v 7a. Going to need more batteries, but any suggestions would be great.
     
  4. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    Don't be too hasty ;)

    See how the garage project works out. Keep track of how well the batteries are maintained, etc. If you let them get more than 30% discharged, you will see their service life go down.

    This is "data gathering" time for you. The more data you track, the more knowledge you will gain.
     
  5. ShockBoy

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    186
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    Once again Sgt. You are wise.
    It's a good idea, I've got my multimeter hooked up to the battery and casually monitor its voltage as I walk by it, but it sounds like I should be monitoring a bit more closely.
     
  6. ShockBoy

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    186
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    Sgt. Side note:
    Under your General Info, may I suggest you altering your statement to include
    "... and deprives you and others of..." It seems to relay what you intended.
     
  7. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    You need to log data at intervals. Otherwise, you will have nothing to compare the data to, or be able to pinpoint when things went awry.

    The easiest way to do that would be to use a microcontroller that had lots of storage for data, and a way to get the data into your regular computer. But, there is a steep learning curve for that.
     
  8. ShockBoy

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    186
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    Ya, that might be a bit much for me now. It sounds good getting the data into the computer though.
     
  9. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
    2,648
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    After how long he could say that the savings equate the expenses made to get it up and running?

    I know this is a complex subject but I am affraid that a foull house would take a LOT of money, hard to compensate in normal use. Am I wrong on that?

    Aren't the batteries the weakest point in all this?
     
  10. Bychon

    Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    469
    41
    My garage uses less power than yours...I don't have a garage!
     
  11. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    2,803
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    Can you sell power back to the grid in America? That is what most people with large solar installations do here. You get a thingamybob that is an inverter and controller, if you are using more power than your array provides, then you take electricity from the grid, if you have a surplus it goes into the grid and the value comes off your bill.
     
  12. ShockBoy

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    186
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    It probably is for most, I was interested somewhat as a learning experience. Made the panels myself with a gift certificate to ebay

    Bought the controller
    and re-using boat battery. Nothing special. It's kind of a test setup for me, but it is working.

    Yes, batteries are the weakest point.. Some here would say there has been great improvement in battery technology, I disagree.

    I see the improvements as baby steps compared to the computer technology's leaps and bounds.
     
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