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Old 07-24-2009, 09:00 PM   #41
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Re: Solar power questions...

OOPs...it submitted twice!
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:18 PM   #42
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Re: Solar power questions...

Well I hope I am on the right track... we just won an ebay auction for:
New 85 Watt Solar panel + Used Xantrex 1000w True Sinewave inverter, with automatic transfer switch and 20amp Charger/Regulator.
This is a start to our business solar power... Just gonna need another 85 watt panel or 2! I am STOKED!!


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Old 07-24-2009, 11:36 PM   #43
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Post up some pics when you get a chance.
Here are some shots of the lil cabin (lots of changes will be made in time!) & the property!



Driveway









From the top of the property:



If you look close you can see the blue/green roof of the cabin in the center of the photo...





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Old 07-25-2009, 09:07 AM   #44
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Re: Solar power questions...

Thanks so much! It is good to hear something positive about our adventure...
The property is actually in a subdivision called Homestead Subdivision. There are about 30 lots in the subdivision (I am guessing-cant remember how many) & alot are summer residences. The cool part is there are no paved roads, curbs, sidewalks etc in the subdivision. The roads just wind around the hills - absolutely beautiful. The lots range from 3 to 19 acres. It is surrounded by state & federal BLM land on 3 sides! Room to roam & get lost! We got 9.35 acres & the cabin for only $35,000 & the cabin is hooked up with solar & propane fridge etc... off grid & ready to live in. I think it was a great deal. We found it online after searching & inquiring for about 6 months. I can hook you up with some realtors that were very helpful in finding exactly what we were looking for (& they are starving so they go waaay beyond most realty companies even for small purchases). Any questions, don't hesitate to ask! The more schoolies in NM the better!! If anyone wants to vacation out our way we would love meeting new people & seeing your busses. Come stay for a spell we say.
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:16 PM   #45
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Re: Solar power questions...

Your property looks great! Hoping to land somewhere similar if I ever stop running around. If I'm ever up there I'll give a holler...you can do the same if you're ever down near Silver City.

I use HughesNet for internet, and I use it daily for work, for nearly three years now. There are different service levels, starting at (IIRC) $60/mo and going up. More $ gets you more speed and higher bandwidth limits. If watching costs, and it doesn't have to be a mobile system, you can get used hardware from ebay or satellite internet forums and get a system for ('m guessing) under $500 in hardware. My dish is on a tripod that has user controls to easily point the dish, which upped the cost quite a bit. If you're going to bolt your dish to the cabin, then that won't be necessary -- just point it once, tighten everything and forget it.

Reliability...I've had two "major" problems that resulted in a few days' worth of stress and finding alternate internet access.

The first was when moisture was entering the outdoor transmitter unit, causing it to fail whenever (or shortly after) it rained. I had to fight with my reseller (Maxwell Satellite, suckfest) to convince them that it was a problem, and that I needed the transmitter replaced under warranty.

Second, just in the last two weeks, I had poor upload speeds...slower than dial-up. First was an hour-long call with tech support (script-reader) in India, having me clear cookies & cache, check browser settings, etc. Then a half-hour with Level II tech support, who told me to run speed tests 3 times a day for three days and call them back when done. I did the tests, called back, and they said it would be two more business days before "advanced" tech support could have a look at it & call me back. They never called back, but my service was magically restored on the 2nd business day. So all in all, it was about a week of downgraded service with no explanation and lots of phone time; and about the same for the moisture problem. Both times I had to go to the nearest town and use an internet cafe (or a laundromat, as was the case here in silver City) to get my work done, especially to send larger files.

Specific details on tech support:
If you have a mobile system, the reseller is your point-of-contact for all hardware tech support, and warranty fulfillment. If HughesNet knows that you are on a mobile system, they will not help you, and one of their installers will not look at a mobile system unless you call them and are paying them hourly.

If you have a stationary setup, you deal directly with HughesNet.

At $80/mo I get 1400kbps down/190kbps up. It gets slower in the evening because HughesNet oversubscribes and the network gets overloaded. But most of my usage is during the day so I don't sweat it.

I looked at internet via cell service, but they have a 5GB monthly limit with metered access after 5GB, so it wouldn't work for me.

Good luck
Sean
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:49 PM   #46
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Re: Solar power questions...

SeanF, how does your internet speeds compare to something like Verizon Wireless or Cable internet?
They are the only two I've had contact with recently and am curious how frustrating internet via satellite might be.
For example... could you play an online game like World of Warcraft? That's not a twitch game, but still has enough interactions to require a decent connection speed.
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:00 PM   #47
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Congrats on the start of a sweet solar set-up, and the score on the nice cabin! You should look into building your own panels (if you have the time), the procedure doesn't look at all hard, and you can build the panels for 1/3-1/2 of buying them. So if you build them, you can have 6 panels for roughly the cost of 3.

I think I posted a video down in the "alternative fuel" board.

Smitty
Thanks smitty, I will check out the video...in time I would really enjoy taking the time to build some quality panels & learn from trial & error. But for now we must fork out the dough & purchase a couple more panels...
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:08 PM   #48
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TygerCub
SeanF, how does your internet speeds compare to something like Verizon Wireless or Cable internet?
They are the only two I've had contact with recently and am curious how frustrating internet via satellite might be.
For example... could you play an online game like World of Warcraft? That's not a twitch game, but still has enough interactions to require a decent connection speed.
Download speeds are tolerable -- I get ~1400kbps download speeds, is enough for YouTube vids and relatively large files in general. For comparison, the residential cable-based internet I've used was about 3-5000kbps, which makes my head spin when I get a chance to use it. Upload speeds are not in the same league...I get about 190kbps. The different service levels/speeds are here. For reference, I am on the "Pro Plus' plan.

But the real problem with online gaming (so I read -- I'm actually so un-hip that I've never played an online game) is the latency between the request from my PC, and that request being answered. The satellite is 23,000 miles up in space...so the request goes from my dish, 23k miles to the sat, 23k miles back down to the Network Operations Center (NOC), to the internet, then the website (or whatever I requested) goes back through NOC, up to the satellite and finally back to my dish. Almost 100k miles of travel..which even at light speed takes a few seconds. So when I click on a web page, there is a significant and noticeable lag before the web page begins loading. I think that has been the bane of satellite-based internet service for anyone who needs real-time access to the internet, for stock trading, gaming, etc.

Also, satellite-based internet is expensive, both in terms of setup and monthly costs. I pay about 2x monthly what I was paying for cable-based i-net. And startup costs are high. The only upside is that I can set it up virtually anywhere with a clear view of the southern sky, and have internet. I would (and do) get cable or DSL if at all possible.

HTH
Sean
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:44 AM   #49
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Re: Solar power questions...

Sean, What wattage panels are you using? Actually if you don't mind what is your system comprised of - panels, batteries, inverter etc? I am curious as to the approx useage (wh) you are using daily & the sytem you have set up... Thanks!

Jonathan
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:26 PM   #50
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezbme
Sean, What wattage panels are you using? Actually if you don't mind what is your system comprised of - panels, batteries, inverter etc? I am curious as to the approx useage (wh) you are using daily & the sytem you have set up... Thanks!

Jonathan
4 x KC120 panels (120 watts each, tilted to 50 degrees in winter months)
400 watt wind turbine (not currently set up)
4 x Trojan L16H batteries (6 volts, 420 Amp hours each)
MorningStar Tri-Star TS-45 solar charge controller
Square-D fused safety disconnect
Exceltech pure sine wave inverter
Xantrex DC Load controller
Trimetric 2020 system monitor

I use about 80-100 amp-hours per day (960-1200 watt-hours).

Loads:
Desktop PC/flatscreen monitor 9 hrs/day x 5 days/week
Laptop computer about 60 hours per week
Satellite internet modem, router, 60 hours/week
DC fridge, draws 25 watts, runtime depends on bus temp
LED lighting
DVD player, car stereo, 10 hours/week
2 small muffin fans, always on
Various chargers - cell phone, AAA & AA batts, cordless power tool batteries, etc
Occasional coffee grinder, food processor, electric shaver, water hearer exhaust fan, water pump

That's about it.
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