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  #1  
Old 04-26-2012, 09:32 PM
LaMar LaMar is offline
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Default Off Grid Cabin 12 Volt Appliances Video

I made this video for people interested in using solar and wind power to demonstrate the 12 volt and AC appliances I use in my off grid cabin. My solar electric system is 480 watts and 400 watts of wind power. That is enough to run most small appliances for a home or could be used for an RV, home on wheels, survival shelter or for a backup emergency system.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpDt57935s0

Hope you enjoy the video!

LaMar
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2012, 11:52 PM
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Thanks, LaMar. Just goes to show that us low voltage nuts don't live like a cave man after all..

You and I have lots of parallels. The only difference is that I try desperately not to rely on an inverter for anything unless it's absolutely necessary. It's been a challange on lots of things but it's been a fun learning experience..

My life for the last 16+ years has been an experiment and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I'm starting to soften up in my old age and considering a few more creature comforts such as a microwave, D.C. fridge and mebby a small window air conditioner just to cool the bedroom at night..

I'm attempting to get away from propane as much as possible. Heating water and convenient cooking is another challange. I currently have 2 propane fridges, a cook stove, and a tankless water heater. There isn't many options in Ohio to heat water using solar during the winter. I could rig up something on the wood burner but.. I use the wood burner during the heating season to cook with but that doesn't work well during the summer. Solar water heating during the summer would work but.. It all just gets very complicated.. I gotta consider maintenance and I ain't gittin' any younger..

I just acquired a 2.4 KW system that should help me in my venture. It's an operating 48 volt system but I plan to break it down and add to my 12 volt system, being that everything I use/built in this place is based on 12 volts. So, never fear. The 12 volt mans' mindset ain't never gonna change..
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:36 AM
LaMar LaMar is offline
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Hey 12V!

I went with a combo 12volt and AC system because I have a lot of AC electrical equipment but I have the DC system for all my main uses- lights, water pump and charging station. That way if the inverter blows I can still function and I have a small inverter in storage for backup.

For a fridge the sundanzer are probably the best. I store very little food that needs refrigeration and the small DC thermoplate fridge works well for me. You can make these more efficient by adding foam insulation board to the back and sides and then you can shut them off at night so they don't waste power and the food stays cold until you open the door.

The wood cook stove I got is small enough to be taken in and out and comes with a water heater tank attachment so you could set it outside on your porch in summer for cooking and heating water without heating the cabin.

Here is a vid of the woodstoves:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8bK9vcjoyI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1OtrYD7xcE

LaMar
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  #4  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:46 PM
Dennis G Male Dennis G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12vman View Post
Thanks, LaMar. Just goes to show that us low voltage nuts don't live like a cave man after all..

You and I have lots of parallels. The only difference is that I try desperately not to rely on an inverter for anything unless it's absolutely necessary. It's been a challange on lots of things but it's been a fun learning experience..

My life for the last 16+ years has been an experiment and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I'm starting to soften up in my old age and considering a few more creature comforts such as a microwave, D.C. fridge and mebby a small window air conditioner just to cool the bedroom at night..

I'm attempting to get away from propane as much as possible. Heating water and convenient cooking is another challange. I currently have 2 propane fridges, a cook stove, and a tankless water heater. There isn't many options in Ohio to heat water using solar during the winter. I could rig up something on the wood burner but.. I use the wood burner during the heating season to cook with but that doesn't work well during the summer. Solar water heating during the summer would work but.. It all just gets very complicated.. I gotta consider maintenance and I ain't gittin' any younger..

I just acquired a 2.4 KW system that should help me in my venture. It's an operating 48 volt system but I plan to break it down and add to my 12 volt system, being that everything I use/built in this place is based on 12 volts. So, never fear. The 12 volt mans' mindset ain't never gonna change..
I am interested in why you stay away from inverters?

I am thinking (planning) to have a pretty big solar system with a deep bank of batteries, plus an inverter to provide AC power to parts of my house, including my freezers and some lights...power to tools in the warehouse...

I guess I would like to have HALF of my normal power needs supplied by solar...

your thoughts?

Dennis G
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  #5  
Old 05-08-2012, 02:29 PM
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Totally my vison..

I don't wanna rely on any inverter that could disrupt my normal way of living if it should die. I'll know if my battery is going bad. An inverter could die at any second..

I would miss the luxury things like TV, Stereo, Lights, Ect. that I use and enjoy on a daily basis. If I became reliant on an inverter to give me this, it could all disappear in a blink of an eye during a thunderstorm, or even an EMP event.

If I have a fridge on an inverter, what happens if I lose my inverter? It could take days to replace it unless ya have a spare on hand. That means ya gotta buy 2 and for any inverter of any quality or size, it gets pricey.. (or run the genny..)

I have 2-400 watt inverters that covers all of my A.C. needs. I charge my cordless tool batteries, run a 20" fan now and then, and a hot glue gun.. That's it! Might use a blender or a mixer now and then.. (When the lady cooks sumptin' special..)

Trying to operate standard appliances with solar can get expensive. You need lots of panels, expensive inverters, and lots of batteries. For the price of an inverter, one could get a D.C. fridge that would use less energy and not require a weak spot in the system to operate. (Inverter)
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  #6  
Old 05-08-2012, 04:50 PM
Dennis G Male Dennis G is offline
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Totally my vison..

I don't wanna rely on any inverter that could disrupt my normal way of living if it should die. I'll know if my battery is going bad. An inverter could die at any second..

I would miss the luxury things like TV, Stereo, Lights, Ect. that I use and enjoy on a daily basis. If I became reliant on an inverter to give me this, it could all disappear in a blink of an eye during a thunderstorm, or even an EMP event.

If I have a fridge on an inverter, what happens if I lose my inverter? It could take days to replace it unless ya have a spare on hand. That means ya gotta buy 2 and for any inverter of any quality or size, it gets pricey.. (or run the genny..)

I have 2-400 watt inverters that covers all of my A.C. needs. I charge my cordless tool batteries, run a 20" fan now and then, and a hot glue gun.. That's it! Might use a blender or a mixer now and then.. (When the lady cooks sumptin' special..)

Trying to operate standard appliances with solar can get expensive. You need lots of panels, expensive inverters, and lots of batteries. For the price of an inverter, one could get a D.C. fridge that would use less energy and not require a weak spot in the system to operate. (Inverter)

thanks for the info... true on the back up inverters... I was thinking inverter because I want the battery bank and solar panels in/on my warehouse, would invert to AC to send it to the house (some two-three hundred feet away) for a separate "emergency" panel that powers some lights and the freezers if the grid goes down (and my propane generator does not come on).

Thanks

Dennis G
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  #7  
Old 05-08-2012, 10:08 PM
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Just to put it in perspective..

Currently I use 512 watts of panel. I have all of the lights that anyone would need throughout. I have TV/DVD player with amplified speakers in the bedroom, 74" projection TV/DVD with a fantastic sound system in the living room, tunes everywhere!, vent fan on my bathroom fixture that operates 24/7, accent LED lighting after dark so I don't step on the dogs, numerous small things like the light in the fridge, my computer, ect.. BUT my system wouldn't support a standard fridge for a day! It's all about efficiency..

My thought is to keep it small and simple. I've been blessed with a good understanding of electronics and I use my system for all that it's worth. It's paid for itself a few times now for what I have invested in it. If I spoiled myself with inverters with cheap and easy things to buy and use, it would take years to see any kind of return..

I use propane but I'm efficient with it too as I see it. I can make a 100# bottle last me at least 5 weeks for 2 fridges, cook stove and hot water. It costs me ~$70 to fill a bottle. To invest and build a system to operate the fridges, I'd go broke when battery replacement time comes around, and it will. That cost alone justifies using it, IMO. And the fridges should last me my lifetime, being they have no moving parts..

It would be cool to build yourself a small A.C. back-up system to support some lighting and a few small electronic things but the fridge is the killer. If things get tough, a generator would be an easy alternative, being that you already have the fridge. You don't have to run the genny all of the time. Just long enough for it to cycle then you can shut it down for a few hours..

Everyone has their own thoughts on this but I'm a stubborn 12 volt junkie that will never change his ways..
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  #8  
Old 05-09-2012, 03:27 PM
Dennis G Male Dennis G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12vman View Post
Just to put it in perspective..

Currently I use 512 watts of panel. I have all of the lights that anyone would need throughout. I have TV/DVD player with amplified speakers in the bedroom, 74" projection TV/DVD with a fantastic sound system in the living room, tunes everywhere!, vent fan on my bathroom fixture that operates 24/7, accent LED lighting after dark so I don't step on the dogs, numerous small things like the light in the fridge, my computer, ect.. BUT my system wouldn't support a standard fridge for a day! It's all about efficiency..

My thought is to keep it small and simple. I've been blessed with a good understanding of electronics and I use my system for all that it's worth. It's paid for itself a few times now for what I have invested in it. If I spoiled myself with inverters with cheap and easy things to buy and use, it would take years to see any kind of return..

I use propane but I'm efficient with it too as I see it. I can make a 100# bottle last me at least 5 weeks for 2 fridges, cook stove and hot water. It costs me ~$70 to fill a bottle. To invest and build a system to operate the fridges, I'd go broke when battery replacement time comes around, and it will. That cost alone justifies using it, IMO. And the fridges should last me my lifetime, being they have no moving parts..

It would be cool to build yourself a small A.C. back-up system to support some lighting and a few small electronic things but the fridge is the killer. If things get tough, a generator would be an easy alternative, being that you already have the fridge. You don't have to run the genny all of the time. Just long enough for it to cycle then you can shut it down for a few hours..

Everyone has their own thoughts on this but I'm a stubborn 12 volt junkie that will never change his ways..
Excellent info, thanks SO much for taking the time...

the solar/alternate energy is NOT so much to save money, as to have electricity should (or when) the grid goes down for six months or two years...

I like the solar part cause if the grid goes down it may be hard or impossible to get more propane...

I plan on hot water from solar, from wood burning boiler, from propane, from electricity... cooling with underground tunnel and attic fan if the air conditioners cannot be run do to lack of power...

Thanks

Dennis G
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2012, 03:40 PM
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There is also the power conversion from 12VDC to 120VAC. Anything using 120VAC versus 12VDC is going to use atleast 10X more power from the batteries. Cheap inverter will be about 80% efficient so will use about 12X more power & top inverters are 90% efficient so will use 11X more power.

So anything you can get that is 12VDC means less panels & batteries required.

Ross
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2012, 06:00 PM
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Thanks for the insight about living inverter-free. I didn't think about the benefit vs. inconvenience aspect of it.

The place we bought is strung throughout with toggle switches and automotive lights, the previous occupant had DC outlets labeled with +/-, but then he got the inverter set-up, so along side all that jumble we have AC wired lights. He even has the power coming into the house on a MALE plug, so we are always playing electrocution roulette! Good times!
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:54 PM
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12VDC LED lights will use alot less power then the auto lights. As few items 120VAC as possible will give you the most out of your batteries.

Ross
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  #12  
Old 05-09-2012, 09:11 PM
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" I didn't think about the benefit vs. inconvenience aspect of it."

Going with a total D.C. system has benefits but it also has its share of inconveniences. Many of the luxury things that I have around here took some deep thinking and a lot of design. The majority of things that I've created just can't be bought at a store so I had to build them myself or modify something I could buy and use..

Example..
What can you do with one of these?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BLACK-PORTAB...item4d0104fd8d

This is a cool little amp but the speakers suck. It uses 4-AAA cells connected in series which is 6 v.d.c. Not to get real technicial but I use one of these in my bedroom for my TV connected to a couple of Pioneer 3-way speakers and it works great! I replaced the batteries with a LM7806 voltage regulator (costs ~$1.50) to operate directly from my 12 volt battery. It uses less than a half an amp of current and produces plenty of volume.. (approx. 2 watts P.E.P. per channel)

Basically I disassembled the unit, totally removed those little crappy speakers and extended the wires so I could connect another set to it. 12 volts to the LM7806, output is 6 v.d.c @ 1 amp max. load. Connected the output of the voltage regulator to the proper battery connections inside of the battery box of the unit, and VALA! I now have a micro stereo amp that will operate on any d.c. voltage between 6 to 30 volts. (even has a volume control, an LED indicator, and a on/off switch!)

I use portable audio sources like portable CD players/FM radios that operates on 2-AA batteries. (I charge them too!) They accept the little headphone stereo jack. (1/8") That's the same jack the amp uses! Add a couple of decent speakers rated under 100 watts and you're good to go..

I create things and sometimes there are problems. Like ground loop problems. This happens when two units (amp and source) are connected to the same supply. (house battery) I've smoked a few things before I figured it out and I don't mean doobies either...

I automatically add an isolation transformer network to break the grounds of both units from each other and yes.. I gotta build that too. Requires 2 of these..

http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...wfcLrX94q9c%3d
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:04 PM
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A couple pics of my screen porch jammin' stereo system. I can listen to cd's, radio, Ipod, and hook up my portable dvd player up to it too.. (hillbilly surround sound) I have 4 garage sale speakers connected to it.. (4 ohm load)



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Old 05-10-2012, 07:15 PM
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Very nice!

I'm studying to take the journeyman industrial electronics test, and I have to say I am having a very difficult time with the material. I have Ohms law down pat, but parallel and serial circuits and such are giving me a headache. We had an electric chair here at work, the battery crapped out so I tried to hard-wire it, but I don't think I matched up the current correctly on my inverter. Even though the chair isn't plugged in, people still fear for their safety when they sit on it.

Mr. Faith is a whiz when it comes to rigging up electronics. He grew up playing with circuit boards, I didn't, and I think that is part of the trouble this old dog is having learning new tricks.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:51 PM
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"We had an electric chair here at work... people still fear for their safety when they sit on it."

Well, goll-ee, imagine that! I suspect that most folks strapped into "Old Sparky" felt the same way! Didn't the Supreme Court decide that electric chairs were unconstitutional? <GGG>

Oh, c'mon now. You have this down pat. Serial resistance loads are just additive, parallel loads are just the addition of the reciprocals. If a physicist can figure it out, I KNOW a chemist can! <G>
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:07 PM
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Ha. I knew what I was typing about, but I guess 'electric chair' sounds bad. It was a chair that required being plugged in, but not necessarily to electrocute people. At least before I messed with it.

Here's the problem I am having with serial power sources - you have two (ac) power supplies connected in series, one is 6v, the other is 8v but 90 degrees out of phase. I understand the math, I guess I don't understand the application. a2 + b2 = c2 since we have a nice right triangle, and the resultant voltage is 10 at 53.13 degrees.

But why would you hook up two power supplies in series? And every time you turn them on, wouldn't they be out of phase by a different degree? And how do you determine what degree out of phase they are? See, the book doesn't tell me that. I'm dealing with fairy tales at this point. I'll never need any of that info for the job I am looking at....I'd just need to know how to trace wires and switch out components. I still need to test, and just don't want to look like a complete dolt.

And there, I've hijacked a thread again. Sorry.

And you can't spell 'electrocute' without 'cute'.....
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:34 PM
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Shucks. And this started out so simple.

Right hand and left hand rules, I've long forgotten which applies to which, but inductors and capacitors have current leading voltage or voltage leading current, which comes into play in motors, which is why motors have starting capacitors.

For out of phase AC sources, I don't think the purpose is to combine their produced power, I think it's because the power GETS combined after an inductive device is included in the circuit.

You shooda axed me this 30 years ago, back when I took the test.

This might help? http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...ric/phase.html

This is one of those things that if I let myself get interested, will keep me poking around in google until midnight. Fie on that, sez I! <G>

EDIT:

Back in the day, we used to work on 3-phase 400 Hz stuff. We'd combine the generators and synch them to each other. This was done by rotating the field mechanically until the phases were synched, as determined by a phase meter, and then the power was applied to the machine we were working on. I dunno, but this might have something to do with the practical application of what you're studying?

Last edited by grumble; 05-11-2012 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:59 PM
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Ain't no phase in D.C. Just polarity... Ahhh.. Life's so simple..
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:17 PM
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AC is just the same as DC when it's insecure, and doesn't know if it's coming or going.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:26 PM
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Phew.. Sure glad my D.C.s pass through a reputable controller.. Ya had me skart there for a minnet!
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