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Old 09-20-2010, 05:18 PM   #151
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

The MMPT controller was sized mainly by budget, as was most of the rest of the system, but I picked that MMPT controller because I would be running 3 18 volt panels delivering a max of about 20 Amps, and I'm set up for a 12V system as opposed to a 24V (or greater) system. Actually, I think I took my daily demands and sized everything around that. I have $900 or so in the panels, $250 or so in the controller, and $500 in the battery, plus another $500 (roughly) in wiring, mounts (lumber), conduit, and other hardware.

I lucked out on the wires. I found 2 pieces 20+ foot long 2/0 cable and 2 pieces of 20+ feet long #4 wire in the returns/odds & ends pieces at Lowes -- they were about 1/2 price. The 12V panels have #8 pigtails 1' long that are attached to #4 feeder wires 3' long, which, in turn, are attached to two long 2/0 cables running the length of the array and acting as big bus bars. The bus bar wires, in turn, feed to 10' of #4 cable that carries all the juice to the MMPT controller. I calculate less than 1% voltage drop from the panels to the MPPT controller, although I haven't actually measured it.

Classmates and professors were initially surprised and skeptical, but I show up to class and don't smell bad, so they are pretty much over the novelty of the fact that I live in a bus. I've had a few people over for a party, and once we start partying, the location doesn't seem to put people off. But they are amused!
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:58 AM   #152
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

I posted the pictures of the solar installation here http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/v/Sk...+Installation/

There are no plans or measurements, just photos. Your design should fit your bus.

This is just my solution.

It works!

I have not driven with these attached. At some point I plan to, but the road I came up was so rough, I worried that they would be damaged. I installed them on site.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:56 AM   #153
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TygerCub
I spoke with a fellow at work who cuts down trees as a hobby (the man's a human chain saw), and consequently burns a lot of wood in woodstoves in his home as well as his workshop/garage. Looking at your photos, he said you should be okay for a season with your current set up, but recommended the following advice:[*]You MUST clean out your stove pipe before you burn any wood next season. To not do this would be a huge fire risk.[*]While the dryer vent hole is "okay", he recommended you spend a couple of bucks to get an aluminum dryer vent tube and run it down to your air intake on the front of your stove. This will draw cold air into your stove and make it burn more efficiently. He recommends adding one of those elbows on the end of the pipe to help direct the fresh air closer to the air intake, but still allow you to open the door to add wood.[*]He was a little worried about your ceiling and the wood partition behind the stove. He recommended putting a light gage metal heat shield about 2" above the stove and out a little bit beyond the elbow. If you can't do that, he said using a fan to blow the heat off the pipe would help some.[*]Last but not least, he recommended you flip the window opening so the pipe exits a little bit lower than it is now. It would only add a couple more inches away from the wood over the window, but he said that could be a problem.



Two things he recommended for long-term use (and these are the things you should save up to do)...[*]Buy a "thimble" to use around the pipe where it exits the window. [*]Use double-walled pipe... Triple walled if you have the money to do so.

Hope this helps you out. It certainly was enlightening for me to sit and chat with this fella this afternoon. Funny guy.
or just have it go through the roof like mine does and it is one piece of pipe also is about 3/8 thick to and is all welded together.
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:41 AM   #154
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

The current stove is not intended to be permanent. I have plans to build a stove, and its pipe will exit through the roof. The through the window stovepipe allowed me to get a stove installed, but not make holes in the roof until I am ready to put permanent holes in the roof. The current set up needs REGULAR cleaning, as the horizontal stove pipe section really gathers ashes.
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:59 AM   #155
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

i don't know about yours but my stove can run you out when it is about 20* out side if you don't pay attention to it and it will get up in to the 100s inside trust me i've been there in 12-08 it was about 25 outside and 2' of snow on the ground and i stoked up the stove and let it go to long with it open more then it needed to be and what do you know 103 inside and that was in the back corner and the stove in in the middle of the bus and the stove is a custom built wood stove.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:34 AM   #156
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric von Kleist
How to get power throughout the bus? Hmmmm..... Power is the ability to do things. YOU walk around in the bus -- YOU are the power!

First, I recommed the book, "RV Electrical Systems' by Bill and Jan Moeller. ISBN 0-07-042778-X. List price is $US 22.95. It is my Bible for electrical work in the bus. It covers EVERYTHING. 120VAC, 12VCD, Solar, wiring, pumps, controllers, inverters, etc. Get the book. It will save you its purchase price in time and effort. READ first, plan, read again, plan some more, read more, plan more....then EXECUTE.

Have fun!

well i just ordered that book and it should be here some time in the next 2 weeks!!!!
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Old 09-23-2010, 05:51 PM   #157
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Thanks for that book Eric .. my library grows .. lol ..
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:02 AM   #158
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

I refer to the Moeller's book regularly. I have limited library space (and most of that is taken up by school books), but that book is a must have for anyone wanting to understand RV electrical systems.

I'm waiting right now for a free barbecue lunch from the student bar association, then I'm going home to split wood for the winter. I had my first fire of the season in the wood stove the night before last, and it was mighty toasty! I hung clothes inside to dry, and they were warm and dry the next morning when I got up.

You are right, Camo-monster, it doesn't take much to get the bus so hot inside that you can't stand it. I load up my stove and leave the air control wide open for a few minutes to get things going. If I forget to shut the air control down, and the wood gets to blazing, it can get above 90 in the bus in just a few minutes. Several times last winter when there was a foot of snow on the ground, I had to open the doors and windows to cool the bus down.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:22 AM   #159
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

well i got the book, it came in on wednesday and i'm looking through it now.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:13 PM   #160
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Note to self: Next time you do a solar site selection survey, do an adequate job of determining how much direct sunlight your solar panels will get in the deep winter when the sun comes up at 10:30AM goes down behind the mountain by 1:00PM...

My over-engineering on the output of the solar panels is turning out to have been a very good idea. Where I have the bus parked, the sun comes up over the mountain behind me at about 10:30AM and goes down by 1:00PM, and the whole time, it's traveling along the very top of the mountain, and it's behind bare trees the whole time. Fortunately, bright indirect light will generate about 2.5 amps/hour between 8:30AM and 10:30AM, and then again between 1:00PM and about 4:00PM, so with some direct sun through the trees during the middle of the day, I can generate enough power to live comfortably. This will get more difficult as the Winter solstice approaches, but then by about 2 weeks after the solstice, the days will be back to this daylength. This is exactly the kind of situation that led me to build in about a 2x normal panel-wattage to battery-amperage ration when I designed my system. A bright overcast is enough to generate between 1 and 2.5 amps of current all day long, which is enough to replace most of my usage during a day. If I can replace what I use, I can run forever, but if I can only replace *most* of what I use, I can run for between 4 days and about a week and a half. If I get direct bright sunlight, and can make up to 19 amps (like this morning when the sun finally came over the mountain, and I was generating 10 amps in part cloudy direct sunlight), then I can recharge the battery in a day.

The other issue I have come upon is that snow builds up on the panels. With 1" of fluffy snow on them in the bright sun, they will make 0.5 amps of power. I have had to go up on the bus a couple of times to use an automotive ice-scraper to remove snow. I thought their angle of presentation (about 51 degrees) would be enough to shed the snow, but it's not. I need to make an extension handle for a brush so that I can get them brushed from the ground. It's a bit nerve wracking to be climbing around on a snowy steel roof when you live out where no one can hear you scream...

Of course, in the summer I'll have electricity to burn...maybe I'll get an electric fan!
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