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Old 07-15-2009, 02:17 PM   #21
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by swinada
Quote:
Originally Posted by ezbme
Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
you may also need to get a fancy (expensive) pure sine wave inverter to run that printer. I am of the understanding that a laser printer is one of the few items that will not work properly with a modified sin wave inverter. I have not actually tried it myself.
Thanks lapeer, I am slowly edu-makating myself in solar & starting to realize that my direction may have to change...
I am thinking that we just need to sell the laser printers (we have 2) & buy an energy star inkjet & maybe just fill our own ink cartridges to save on cost as we do alot of printing. Has anyone ever filled their own ink cartridges? Any input/advice?

Would a modified sin wave inverter be sufficient for a laptop?
How about keeping one laserprinter and only use it when you are connected to shore power? or are you planning to live off grid all the time?
I wish I could keep one laser but we are going to be off grid completely. There lies in another thing I need to consider as I am sure we will need to power other items that I am just not aware of yet. We have extended our move date back another month till the end of sept to be sure we have researched everything we need to before committing to buying a solar power system.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:26 PM   #22
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Re: Solar power questions...

So who recommends what style batteries? I will need something that can be used everday....
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:17 PM   #23
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Re: Solar power questions...

Actually I like the C&Ds better than the Optimas but it probably doesn't matter much. I would only consider AGM batteries for my banks right now.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:23 PM   #24
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
Actually I like the C&Ds better than the Optimas but it probably doesn't matter much. I would only consider AGM batteries for my banks right now.
Thanks to all for the input so far... much appreciated! What is the difference between AGM, C&D & Optima batteries, both cost & quality?

EDIT: has anyone gone with 24 volt & if so what are the benefits?? I need the most efficient but resonably priced setup possible...
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:22 AM   #25
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Battery Types: Flooded versus AGM and Gel
http://www.vonwentzel.net/Battery/01.Type/index.html

24v will allow you to run smaller gauge wiring (as opposed to 12v).
http://www.skingco.com/portable_power/w ... _chart.htm


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Thanks Smitty! Good info!
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:04 PM   #26
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Re: Solar power questions...

Here is a neat tool for designing your battery bank.

http://www.freesunpower.com/battery_designer.php
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:52 PM   #27
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
Here is a neat tool for designing your battery bank.

http://www.freesunpower.com/battery_designer.php
Now THAT IS a cool tool! I will definately check this out tonight when I get the chance! Thanks much Steve!

Jonathan
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:19 PM   #28
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Re: Solar power questions...

OK Steve, that IS the tool to use - with the System Sizing Tool, the Battery Bank Designer, & the Wire Size Calculator... That & all the other helpful info. I will be reading all the links!
Oh & I was just handed my Kill-A-Watt tool that came in the mail!!! WOOHOO! Now I can get somewhere! THANKS so much everyone. I am sure I will still have questions tho
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:54 PM   #29
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Re: Solar power questions...

Well with the Kill-A-Watt meter I was able to calculate our usages. We have dropped to the bare minimum & I have incuded a screen shot of the calcs & needs...



We are looking at (2) new 90 watt panels along with a used Xantrex RS 3000 true sinewave inverter with LCD charger and regulator. Also, auto line and inverter transfer switch. It is a complete network system control. This system described is available for $750.00. I am looking for advice on this system & any input if there is anything I am missing! I need help deciding as i can only buy this equipment once & wanna make sure I do it right the first time. This is a 12v system.

here is a photo of the label on the back of one of the panels...

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Old 07-21-2009, 05:26 PM   #30
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Re: Solar power questions...

on advice, what ever you do, dont mount batteries inverter charger etc at the very rear of your bus. I made that mistake and mounted under bed at the rear, it gets very warm when driving down the road, batteries and such dont like it that warm.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:52 PM   #31
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by swinada
on advice, what ever you do, dont mount batteries inverter charger etc at the very rear of your bus. I made that mistake and mounted under bed at the rear, it gets very warm when driving down the road, batteries and such dont like it that warm.
Thanks, I will take your advice! I am going to put everything by the front passenger wheelwell under the office desk/shipping table which should be somewhat cool & I am guessing it won't be completely enclosed...
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:50 AM   #32
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by swinada
on advice, what ever you do, dont mount batteries inverter charger etc at the very rear of your bus. I made that mistake and mounted under bed at the rear, it gets very warm when driving down the road, batteries and such dont like it that warm.
I'm planning to put my battery bank in the storage compartment that is on the curb side, just forward of the rear duallies.



I originally was going to put them towards the rear of that compartment, but now I'm thinking I should orient them towards the front of that compartment.

I guess I should warm the engine up good then check the temps in that compartment before deciding.

Thanks for the heads up Swinada!

jim
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:27 PM   #33
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Re: Solar power questions...

Please also remember that batteries when charging give off fairly copious amounts of Hydrogen gas. Proper ventilation is a must given the fact that Hydrogen is flammable and explosive in relatively low concentrations. This normally isn't much of a problem with regular battery mounting boxes because the number of batteries is low (1-2) and most of the charging is done while the vehicle is in motion (i.e. producing some air movement for ventilation). However, Solar installations normally have a larger battery bank (3-4 or more) and most of the charge is (or can be) directed to the batteries while the vehicle is motionless. No breeze + heavy charging = Hydrogen concentration. Not trying to scare anyone, just a reminder to be safe in design and use of any battery system.
Best of Luck,
Lee
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:06 PM   #34
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachtwulf
Please also remember that batteries when charging give off fairly copious amounts of Hydrogen gas. Proper ventilation is a must given the fact that Hydrogen is flammable and explosive in relatively low concentrations. This normally isn't much of a problem with regular battery mounting boxes because the number of batteries is low (1-2) and most of the charging is done while the vehicle is in motion (i.e. producing some air movement for ventilation). However, Solar installations normally have a larger battery bank (3-4 or more) and most of the charge is (or can be) directed to the batteries while the vehicle is motionless. No breeze + heavy charging = Hydrogen concentration. Not trying to scare anyone, just a reminder to be safe in design and use of any battery system.
Best of Luck,
Lee
What about the gel cells-optima & agm batteries? They are completely sealed if I understand correctly...This shouldn't be a problem having them indoors & do not need to be vented.
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Old 07-23-2009, 02:06 PM   #35
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by case
Quote:
Originally Posted by ezbme

We are looking at (2) new 90 watt panels along with a used Xantrex RS 3000 true sinewave inverter with LCD charger and regulator. Also, auto line and inverter transfer switch. It is a complete network system control. This system described is available for $750.00.
Where did you find it for 750? I was looking yesterday for a 160+ watt system - and was in it for that much in just panels w/o the invertor.

I'd love to be in at for the 750 mark, would make my day!
I can't tell you (I'd have to kill you)

I am still deciding if I want to buy this setup or not... I may buy it for just the panels (they are new Sharp panels) & then sell the rest of the components as the RS3000 is strictly for an RV & probably used worth $600-$700. Meaning it is meant to be hooked up to an AC shoreline or generator when the battery bank is depleating. I need something more geared for off the grid use & this would work but it is a bit extreme for our needs....The rest of the equipment is used (2 yrs old) & was used for backup power at a house that was on the grid.

Jonathan
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Old 07-23-2009, 02:49 PM   #36
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Re: Solar power questions...

Ah the golden plan (I Can't Wait!)... We are moving at the end of Sept if all goes as planned to New Mexico to a rural & remote property we just bought in Datil NM. It is 10 acres of heavily treed Pinion Pines & Juniper trees with some open areas & the back of the property has a nice rise to an opening at the top of the hill with 70 mile views of the mountains. It is a dream my wife & I have had for a while & we will be living in the small 400 sqft cabin on the property. The cabin is off the grid & ready to move into. It has solar power, propane fridge, propane heat, propane stove & all the minimal immenities. We need to build a composting toilet & do the finishing touches on the cabin when we get there. I need to setup the bus to also have off the grid power to run our business office - laptop & printer & not much else which will be inside the bus. We are totally changing our lifestyle & are so ready for it! Thats it in a nutshell!!
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:02 PM   #37
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezbme
What about the gel cells-optima & agm batteries? They are completely sealed if I understand correctly...This shouldn't be a problem having them indoors & do not need to be vented.
You are 100% correct about the gel cell and a few other types of batteries. With no H2 being released, there is no worry about concentration or buildup. I was just making a general statement about normal batteries. This is also one reason why correctly done battery banks will sometimes cost more, because of the advanced battery tech involved. You normally get what you pay for.
You've done your homework, and I certainly hope it serves you well for many years. I love Solar (or anything else) with no moving parts, that much more reliable.
All the best,
Lee
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:51 PM   #38
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezbme
Ah the golden plan (I Can't Wait!)... We are moving at the end of Sept if all goes as planned to New Mexico to a rural & remote property we just bought in Datil NM. It is 10 acres of heavily treed Pinion Pines & Juniper trees with some open areas & the back of the property has a nice rise to an opening at the top of the hill with 70 mile views of the mountains. It is a dream my wife & I have had for a while & we will be living in the small 400 sqft cabin on the property. The cabin is off the grid & ready to move into. It has solar power, propane fridge, propane heat, propane stove & all the minimal immenities. We need to build a composting toilet & do the finishing touches on the cabin when we get there. I need to setup the bus to also have off the grid power to run our business office - laptop & printer & not much else which will be inside the bus. We are totally changing our lifestyle & are so ready for it! Thats it in a nutshell!!
That sounds like a sweet deal. I like that area of NM.
If needed...do you have internet all sorted?

Post up some pics when you get a chance.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:33 PM   #39
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanF

That sounds like a sweet deal. I like that area of NM.
If needed...do you have internet all sorted?

Post up some pics when you get a chance.
I will post some photos of the property & cabin tonight after I hopefully win some solar power equipment! I checked out Silver City, you still there? That is a little hike from Datil but we would love to have your company if you ever get up our way - stay a while!
That & I really like yer bus & would like to see it in person... You have done some beautiful work on it & it looks like a quality job!

We are looking at satellite with Wild Blue as we don't know of many other options but haven't commited... You have a dish in some of your photos - is that internet or TV? If internet hows it work being mobile & is the service good & reliable? We are up for suggestions, but cost is always an issue!
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:00 PM   #40
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Re: Solar power questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by case
Sweet plan. We aren't too far off from our ambitions either we want to live in a small cabin off grid too! Bus will serve as temp living quarters while we build the cabin. We plan on traveling for a couple of years first though - searching the country for a spot we want to spend the rest of our days.

Man I love skoolies.
I love the plan... my wife has spent some time in NM but get this... I have never been there & we bought a property without visiting first (saw many vids & hundreds of photos)! Friends & family think we are a bit nuts but hey, it was ridiculously CHEAP & it was paid for with cash, so NO MORTGAGE!!! We are first time homeowners also to top it off...
You are going to have to come visit NM when you & family get out on the road, by then we will be settled in & can show you around!!

There is nothing comparable to a personally customized bus! Everyone is different & we are all addicted to skoolies (& cities)!
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