Navitron Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum

Energy/Electricity Storage and Use/Grid Connection => Off-Grid, Batteries & Inverters => Topic started by: V on September 23, 2013, 09:47:44 PM



Title: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 23, 2013, 09:47:44 PM
We got full planning permission this morning! Two weeks early!

(So I'd better get a move on )


mount as much PV as possible,

if you have to use your generator regularly, you'll come to despise it and the cost of the fuel for it

have as large of a battery bank as possible, the less you discharge it the better,

bit more info about the house too, how big, how many bedrooms, how many floors etc. etc.

Alan :-)

We have an East-West facing barn and could fit 12  of the 235 watt Kinve panels from Navitron, per side. Possibly 15 per side.

Phase one, the cabin, (the bit to the left in the drawing) will be made from highly insulated SIPS clad in timber. We move in, then over the next months we will 'attach' the main house which will have a timber frame but also made from Porotherm monolithic clay blocks: http://www.porothermuk.co.uk  - high thermal mass, low weight, uses very little concrete. The outside will be clad in timber.

We are thinking of cooking on an Esse Wood fired Range with a hot water option (the cabin will have the 'Plus 1' for cooking and hot water).

The final footprint of the house will be approx 160 sq metres. Three bedrooms and the 'cabin' or studio. Full plans going onto the blog soon.


Perhaps a (partial) AC coupled  PV -offgrid Inverter  idea  makes sense for direct feeding the consumers from the PV

Me , personally would go this route today , a part of the PV feeding the system via Grid tie inverter and the remaining part via charge-controller

In a Situation with a grid connection with a battery backup PV , i possibly would consider those ,  but in a off grid idea ..... i would try to use the funds to have enough PV and battery to avoid generator running hours = reduce the deep cycles of the lead battery seen over the year

Sorry, can you explain this? I don't understand 'partial AC coupled' ? and can I use a Grid tie inverter without a grid tie? I know Sunny Island has 'modes' is this what you mean? Also, why Lithium Iron in a grid situation and not off grid? Is it because they are too experimental at the moment?

I switched over to 120vdc because I found that I could use a lot lighter wire and it is more efficent(debatable).
We were thinking of starting with 48 volts. Good idea?

Your welcome to come and visit us.  
Thank you so much. I hope we can take you up on this soon!

Costs,..... last time we did costing for buying everything of the shelve was Christmas 2012, with my mate Dimitri Best we could achieve for his house was 16,000 .

I read somewhere on this list a figure of 1500 pounds per kwH. Do you think this is possible?

have you tried Wayne Peters at http://www.forest-builder.com/
Hadn't found that one! Rang him this afternoon, no reply yet but thank you very much for this.

Do you realise that you can claim FITS and RHI payments even for off grid
This is one of the reasons I'm hoping to find an installer. I was hoping the FIT would pay for my diesel or LPG. Thank you so much for sharing your readings. VERY useful.



Conventional generators I suspect are too greedy on diesel,so a PMG ,low reving,linked to a small Lister,charging into the same battery bank through an ordinary wind turbine controller(with dump load facility) could be made to deliver 1kw for 3 hours on a ltr of red.I believe this could be easily achieved.

Wow, this is really interesting. a PMG off the shelf like this - http://www.pmgenerators.com? or find a used turbine and repurpose it? Love to talk more about this.

Me, I'm going for SMA as much of my gear will be 'AC coupled'

I've tried to understand what AC coupled means, is it grid tie? or  that Sunny Island takes the DC from the PV and makes it AC before the batteries see it? (have I understood this correctly?)

Vickie


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: biff on September 23, 2013, 10:54:03 PM
Hello V,
         We are delighted to hear that you got your planning through successfully.I am sure that this takes a load of your mind.The best thing to do to start with is to write down all the things you want to do,with a view to keeping the very important ones out to the front.
     48vdc would be very good and would suit quite a few readily available inverters,/UPS,s/ controllers and wind turbines.It can also be matched to the c40 and various other controllers,
    I did mentioned 120vdc but perhaps it is a bit too soon and you best stick to the 48vdc of you are happy with that.There is a wealth of off-grid info here on Navitron and all our members will be only too glad to help.
                       Best of luck,
                                                  Biff


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 07:48:35 AM
Can you tell me if 'AC coupled' means 'grid tie'? or what is meant by 'partial AC coupled' ?

And am I right to guess that C40 is the Battery bank discharge to 40%?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: clockmanFR on September 24, 2013, 08:07:01 AM

Quote from: clockmanFR on September 21, 2013, 09:47:14 AM

Your welcome to come and visit us.  

Thank you so much. I hope we can take you up on this soon!


Quote from: clockmanFR on September 21, 2013, 09:47:14 AM

Costs,..... last time we did costing for buying everything of the shelve was Christmas 2012, with my mate Dimitri Best we could achieve for his house was 16,000 .

I read somewhere on this list a figure of 1500 pounds per kwH. Do you think this is possible?


Depends on how much time you can invest to save costs.!!!!

Dimitri's system was for a large log cabin, (footprint about 130sqm) and for his family of 4 and included all his normal family needs, fridge, freezer, washing machine,  etc. His lighting is direct 48v dc.
Inverter would be 4 to 5Kw, (washing machine on 2kw plus...) battery bank 1200ah 48v (60Kwh), PV panels of about 6 to 9kw, (bank mounted, south facing at Equinox angle), standby generator and PMG, (a rebuilt spare 5Kw one). Plus all the Controllers, auto switching etc.

There is some ready made well tested 48v controllers out there, so 48vdc is logical. The step to 120v (as Biff) is possible but the project needs real planning and 120v is pretty deadly.

Me thinks you need to sit down and get the REAL minimal power you require, for the house. And do a separate system for the Business, (at least you can claim the capital expenses against tax?) If the Business is power hungry then its own generator is a must.

There are lots of positive aspects to power generation, but it must be managed and thought out, your battery bank must be treated with great care.  
 


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: clockmanFR on September 24, 2013, 08:14:04 AM
"AC coupled" as far as see it, is having an Inverter running that gives a good 50hz 220vac sine wave. Then use this 50Hz to run grid tie Inverters that need 220vac 50hz to function.
Others will correct me. Its a cheaper option and your inverter capacity can rise. Talk to Paul.

C40 is a Zantrex Controller, Me, I use Morningstar controllers, (have 8off different types) but I am now relising there  capabilities are lacking behind the latest PV panels voltage production, so moving to Outback Products that are the Rolls Royce of off Grid controller Stuff.
http://www.midniteforum.com/ (http://www.midniteforum.com/)


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: greenhouseparos on September 24, 2013, 08:17:06 AM
This might help
    http://files.sma.de/dl/17333/SFK_OFFGRID_KCZ120311W.pdf
Although SMA is a good make their equipment is not the only make that can be used in this situation.
In off grid AC coupled has nothing to do with grid tied although it shares some components that can be used in either case.
Paul



Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 08:54:47 AM
We had two replies to our estimated usage http://wordpress.easterdown.co.uk/?p=56 (http://wordpress.easterdown.co.uk/?page_id=65)

One was:
4kWp PV system
Sunny Island + SMA inverter (SB4000TL)
Batteries to provide a 770ah capacity at C100 @ 48V = 37kWh (more like 27 in practice). This would give you about a days autonomy.

and I contacted SMA themselves who suggested:
-           1 x Sunny Island 8.0H (with SRC-20 / + RS485)
-           1 x Batfuse B.03 (bigger one for the future)
-           1 x Sunny Boy 5000TL-21 (OffGrid parameter / + RS485)
-           1 x SI-LS100-48 (load shedding contactor)
-           1 x Sunny Island Charger 50 (roundabout 2kWp)
 
-           1 x 5kVA diesel generator
-           about 7kWp pv-system
-           about 500Ah@48V, C10 battery capacity (type: OPzV, OPzS)

Not wedded to SMA, but they are the first to help us get any kind of specification. We welcome other ideas.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: biff on September 24, 2013, 01:19:50 PM
Hi V,
     I would concentrate on getting the house built and well insulated to begin with.Thats the big important bit.If you try to do everything at the one time,it could become stressfull.If the house is well insulated with a decent boiler and heating system then you are almost there.
    It only takes approx 300 to 400watts max to run the house ticking over,fridge,circulation pump,telly/pc and small chargers.
   However,You will need plenty of power on tap when you start building and a Lister generator like Paul,s (camilltech)would do the job better than anything else so perhaps that should be your first real purchase.
  Batteries will of course have to be genuine deep cycle,like forklift cells or rolls which Paul loves so much(they must be good).
    Dont try and race into it head on,you could end up with a whole pile of gear that you dont understand,This has already happened to some members through no fault of their own."Steady she goes" is the way forward.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: stephendv on September 24, 2013, 01:56:40 PM
Not wedded to SMA, but they are the first to help us get any kind of specification. We welcome other ideas.

I'm very happy with the Sunny Island, but I think it's a waste of money to swallow the rest of the SMA coolaid.  You'd save a packet and have a more efficient system if you just used a DC charge controller like the Outback or Midnite classic 80A controllers.  They work perfectly fine with the Sunny Island, all you'll need is an additional 30 quid shunt to keep the internal battery monitor working.

With regards to battery size vs generator there's some trade off between the two.  Bigger battery means less generator runtime, so you don't need as high specced generator.  Smaller battery means more gen runtime, so you need a quality reliable and fuel efficient genny.  IMO, bigger battery is the ticket, e.g. at least 2 days autonomy.

The SI8 is a 6kW inverter, are you really every going to be drawing 6kW instantaneously?  The SI6.0H is a 4.5kW unit, might be more suitable given your loads.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 03:07:16 PM
 However,You will need plenty of power on tap when you start building and a Lister generator like Paul,s (camilltech)would do the job better than anything else so perhaps that should be your first real purchase.
  Batteries will of course have to be genuine deep cycle,like forklift cells or rolls which Paul loves so much(they must be good).
"Steady she goes" is the way forward.
Never lived off of a generator, I suspect it doesn't just 'start up' as soon as I flick a switch, or does it?


I'm very happy with the Sunny Island, but I think it's a waste of money to swallow the rest of the SMA coolaid. 
...
The SI8 is a 6kW inverter, are you really every going to be drawing 6kW instantaneously?  The SI6.0H is a 4.5kW unit, might be more suitable given your loads.

Would it make sense to have a battery bank, a Sunny Island and a generator to start off with?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: stephendv on September 24, 2013, 03:09:50 PM
Would it make sense to have a battery bank, a Sunny Island and a generator to start off with?

Yes!  In fact that's what we did for our house build.  Generator runs for a good few hours to charge the batteries, then turn it off and use the batteries down to 50% DoD.  Rinse repeat.  A generator with 2 wire remote start would be ideal, so the sunny island would start and stop it automatically as needed.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 03:23:14 PM
I know everyone keeps saying, use the BEST batteries, but as an amateur - (likely to blow up our first battery bank!) would it make sense to go with something like this @ 90.50 including VAT :
====================
http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/product/DC27/print/ (http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/product/DC27/print/)

Alphaline
Product Specification:
Specification
Manufacture Alphaline
Volt 12
AH 105
Cold Cranking N/A
Warranty 4 Years
=====================
or is it impossible to later add 2nd day of autonomy with great Batteries like 'Rolls'


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: clivejo on September 24, 2013, 04:24:19 PM
I know everyone keeps saying, use the BEST batteries, but as an amateur - (likely to blow up our first battery bank!) would it make sense to go with something like this @ 90.50 including VAT :
====================
http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/product/DC27/print/ (http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/product/DC27/print/)

Alphaline
Product Specification:
Specification
Manufacture Alphaline
Volt 12
AH 105
Cold Cranking N/A
Warranty 4 Years
=====================
or is it impossible to later add 2nd day of autonomy with great Batteries like 'Rolls'

Battery Type    Sealed Calcium 

Why calcium?!?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 04:46:21 PM
Sorry, didn't notice that. But is there a cheaper battery that might last but I won't cry too much if I make a mess of it, seeing its my first go?

Plus, any thoughts on size of generator?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: hobbit-express on September 24, 2013, 04:50:11 PM
Hello V

How many of those batteries would you be looking at? Personally I would recommend you by a decent sized bank from the off and learn to look after it properly.
If you were to use 4 of those 12V batteries then you would have 48x105 = 5040Wh and at 50% DOD you would have a working energy capacity of 2.5Kwh's (2520Wh) of energy. This isn't very much energy to play with and you may find that you would kill this bank before you either finished the build or leant how to look after the future battery bank.
With these types of systems the most important thing is to spend the time up-front accurately estimating your energy requirements. This can be a number of ways but the more time you spend now working it out the easier it will be to ensure you have the correct kit further down the line. Your energy usage is critical for sizing your battery bank and your peak load( i.e everything you ca think you be working at the same time) is used to size the inverter and the generator. From the energy requirement you can start sizing the PV array as previously posted by others you may find it cost effective now to oversize the PV array to minimise your generator run time.  

Regards
Hobbit Express


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: martin on September 24, 2013, 04:51:34 PM
sealed.......? facepalm svengo
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 05:30:36 PM
sealed.......? facepalm svengo
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Sigh. This is why we need help. All of our mistakes are ahead of us....



Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: clockmanFR on September 24, 2013, 06:09:23 PM
V, Your batteries are the heart of the matter.

Good quality Forklift pack, normally each cell is 2v at 1200ah so you need 24 off for a 48v system, and these can be worked hardish, (what I am saving up for). Here we have Gel and sealed types but these are extra H/duty type and were going for a song. Its physical weight that your after!.....

Billi had some German contacts at a good price, also some forklift service firms could supply you a complete pack.

here's a pic from C.A.T. (centre of Alternative Energy)


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: martin on September 24, 2013, 06:38:20 PM
V - do heed the advice of the off-gridders amongst us - they've often made expensive mistakes themselves - it's so much cheaper in the long run to get the right batteries and treat them properly for a long and trouble-free life - they are blessed expensive things, often the "cheap" ones work out most expensive of all...........
I'd be very tempted by the Rolls batteries or a forklift battery (which are all flooded lead-acid) - it's a well established type which can last very well indeed - best of all, you can "top them up"  - you can't do that with sealed batteries (hence the smileys -  facepalm svengo)


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 06:52:54 PM
Along with Biff's 'gene that makes you want to live off grid' I got a 'mean gene', but hopefully I can fight that part of my nature!

 :genuflect

I'm here because I want to make as few mistakes as possible. Message received.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 24, 2013, 07:10:40 PM
Can you tell me if 'AC coupled' means 'grid tie'? or what is meant by 'partial AC coupled' ?


Hi V 'AC coupling' is a way of using a regular GTI in conjunction with on 'off grid' inverter. It is more efficient if you are using the power rather than storing it, it has other advantages too in that you can use different voltage devices to charge the same battery bank and you can use higher voltages so have your turbines, panels etc further from your battery bank. This link has links in it to several useful sites http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/commissioning-the-powerspout/ including a better explanation by StephenDV http://www.casanogaldelasbrujas.com/blog/2009/05/13/sma-sunny-island-ac-coupling/ from his excellent blog. As GHP points out you don't have to restrict your self to SMA kit, I use a Trace inverter and a Windy Boy for my AC coupled hydro turbine, however the SMA stuff will communicate with each other and 'throttle' PV output if required.

A combination of both systems is what I use so you get the best of both worlds and the greatest flexibility.

Batteries, don't mess about, buy could FLA ones, forklift cells or my choice Rolls from Navitron http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=798&catID=157 http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20440.0.html

Good luck, Paul


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 24, 2013, 07:17:12 PM
also some forklift service firms could supply you a complete pack.


Should I ring a few forklift service firms and ask their prices? When you say complete pack, does that mean all wired in the right configuration?

Batteries, don't mess about, buy could FLA ones, forklift cells or my choice Rolls from Navitron http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=798&catID=157 http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20440.0.html


I was reading your blog this afternoon. WOW! Your story is amazing.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: stephendv on September 25, 2013, 07:23:18 AM
When comparing battery prices, you'll have to scour the datasheets from the manufacturers to get them all on a level playing field:

- Compare the Ah capacity using the same C rating, for deep cycle batts they usually provide a C20 and C100 rates, make sure you compare like with like.
- Check what the rated cycle life will be at 80% Depth of Discharge (DoD). 
- Work out the price of the battery based on the cycle life, so that you have a GBP/cycle figure- then you can easily compare batts with each other.  Batts which appear to be cheap at the outset can actually turn out to be more expensive because they have a low cycle life.

Some options for batts:
- OPzS expensive quality stationary batts
- PzS forklift batteries, similar internal construction to OPzS except they have a higher SG electrolyte and may have more antimony in the plates (to harden them) - so might have slightly less overall life than OPzS and a higher self-discharge rate
- Flat plate batteries like Rolls series 5000 or series 4000 or Trojan L16

The Rolls series 5000 have quite a high rated cycle life at 80% DoD, looks like 2100 cycles: http://support.rollsbattery.com/support/articles/8136-cycle-life-vs-depth-of-discharge-5000-series  the norm for forklifts is 1500 or 1300.  Still, it all depends on the price per cycle to figure out which is the actually cheaper version over its lifetime.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: clockmanFR on September 25, 2013, 07:58:56 AM
Morning V,

Like what Stephendv just said.

Battery packs from a forklift supplier, are best bought all at the same time, where each is matching, same age etc.

Here I juggle with 10 different strings of 48v, (string: 4off 12v batteries, series wired, the same type/make and amperage), but this means that some of my batteries are older than my others, so end up working harder than other strings. So in my experience its best if you buy in one go.
 Some forklift battery folk list on Fleebay, you'll get some indication of cost.

Here we Mart-micro cycle on our battery bank, (giving my particular batteries extended life) and only allow about 4% discharge, (normally night time use), and only run certain heavy equipment when the daylight/wind arrives.

Remember, here we come at the Energy creation from a different point of view, yes, we have the Grid connection, but use it as a standby generator on the cheap time tariff. However, cost effectively we can make our power generation work and re=coup our costs, but only as long as I do all the renewable generation manufacturing/installing and maintenance.

If you do the sums and get all your power generation stuff commercially, I doubt if you will ever beat the Grid kwh costs.

 




Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 25, 2013, 08:52:50 AM
Perhaps have a look around in the rest of Europe as well , i know of  off grid  people who got their PzS Forklift  from a Battery production  company in Poland  called "Bater" , they do also (S) OPzS     (S) for solar i suppose ..., very attractive prices

for example about 2000  for a about 35 Kwh  PzS 630 ah   Battery

or stephen s supplier "Sunlight "  vrom Greece sounds  good as well



I know,   transport ......

Best Regards


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: biff on September 25, 2013, 09:29:28 AM
And then there is the Biff method of aquiring forklift batteries,
                             Buy the whole forklift but test the forklift around the yard before parting with the lolly.Sometimes you can find an old forklift with a decent set of nice fresh batts and the vendor is so busy trying to hide the failed test defects that he overlooks the fact that the batteries are worth twice what he is asking for the whole plant.The good thing about buying the forklift is that you can reverse it nice and neatly into where you want the batts and remove the tines.Just connect your solar to the big anderson connector already provided.(You dont have to faff about with 50kg bars of soap and go looking for heavy duty cell connectors) If you play it right you should be able to have an 80amp charger along with it.Keep it well covered over and its always there to do some heavy lifting,Unfortunatly,I found that all the eletric forklift I bought,had very low ground clearence and I wasted time trying to pull them out little puddle holes with the digger.The electric forklifts that operate inside foodstores are horribly expensive to get tested.They have to run for a full 8 hours carrying massive quotas of tons and the batts would suffer more in a week than they would under 10yrs of wind/solar renewable conditions.
           Its worth a thought.
                                   Biff


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 25, 2013, 09:58:40 AM


Buy proper new batteries, put them in a proper ventilated shed, with a fiber glass or plastic tray under them, insulate them, forget Anderson connectors, every connection is a weak link. Sit them on pallets or a sturdy shelf so they can be topped up without bending over them. Use heavy cables and proper fuses, once your batteries are in place they won't need anything other than topping up with distilled water every fortnight for the next ten years.

You are building your dream house, just like us, don't feck about with second hand stuff and bodged up connectors. Budget for a well insulated concrete floored renewable energy shed for your generator, inverters and batteries all in the same place, well lit and with the exhaust pointing away from the house.

(http://lifeattheendoftheroad.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/004_thumb.jpg?w=336&h=253)

(http://lifeattheendoftheroad.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/013_thumb8.jpg?w=234&h=311)

(http://lifeattheendoftheroad.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/014_thumb4.jpg?w=376&h=283)

My sixteen Rolls batteries will be going on that heavy shelf at the back, well off the ground and well lit. The shed is 6" framed with Rockwool and Kingspan between OSB with corrugated iron on the outside and double glazing.

Good luck, Paul


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 25, 2013, 11:39:44 AM
I'll be offline until late this afternoon, Wednesday is Cheesemaking day!


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: biff on September 25, 2013, 12:12:00 PM
And then there are those with good experience that dont agree,
                                      But thats the challenge in itself.I Look at Paul,s wonderfull installation and I know he is doing a great job.Make no mistake, Paul builds to last but so do I.Paul would look at my mongrel installation in which I have strung over 2 ton of different types,different ahs, of cells together in series and like the experts say "No can do" but 6 years later they are still running better than ever.These cells have some pecular little quirks,one half drinks twice as much as the other half(rain  water),like happy family members,one half is different from the other."But" they work beautifully and the electricity that come to the house is the best sine wave money can buy.
      I am also recycling old forklifts batteries that come my way and not buying new ones.
    However,Paul is right,If you start off right with the proper cells and do as he says you are guaranteed a good job,
  Paul and I differ over chinese wind turbines as well but in the best of humour.Paul will get a wind turbine,strip it down and examine it properly like the exellent engineer that he is but me,,Well,!!,,"Out of the box, up the pole and get to work". :hysteria. I would cry my eyes out if I spent hours making a special turbine that was going to be around for the next 30 years only to see it get frazzled by a bolt of lightening and that does happen.
 If I am honest,which I sometimes strive to be,I would say that Paul has got it right but I get all the excitement and fun. :hysteria
   I must not confuse the issue and so far the choice of 48vdc in nice new forklift cells is the way to go+ a Mr Lister like Paul,s with a good charging system,Loads of lovely PV and you are sailing.
                                                            Biff


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: M on September 25, 2013, 04:04:31 PM
Sorry to butt in, since I can bring absolutely nothing to this table myself, but as soon as I'd read Vickie's first couple of posts I knew these were going to be fascinating threads to follow.

Anyways, just a thought, but isn't this Rogerico's bread and butter - installing off-grid systems with PV, wind, generator and batts? I wonder if he can be tempted away from Sunny Greece?

Mart.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: biff on September 25, 2013, 04:38:16 PM
Mart.You are absolutly correct,
                           Rogerico is the very man.His daughter is now at school in the UK and He will be looking for work if he has not already got fixed up.
  I am kicking myself that I did not think of before.
    Vicky, Roger is one of our most respected members who would be among the leading lights in off-grid installations.He has built and installed some of the most beautifull off grid installations i have even seen pics off and still takes time to help anyone with a question to ask.
     So  quick PM to him should get a reply,
        Roger would be an extremely helpfull chap and very clued up. He has no connection to Navitron apart from helping us with problems and showing us his latest installations.I just hope he can find his feet in the UK.
                                                    Biff


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 25, 2013, 08:17:19 PM
PM Sent!

Vickie


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 26, 2013, 03:40:44 PM
NEWS FLASH!!

Via a PM from this forum I have just been told that it is possible/likely that my nearest neighbour may be bringing a grid connection close to our location. The decision may be taken next month. But it is unlikely that this could happen by the time we need to move into Phase 1. And some kind of storage/self sufficiency makes sense given Easterdown's remote location.

Does this call into  question the size of battery bank we might need going forward? (not my 'mean gene' kicking in again, I hope!).

Does the possibility of a grid connection in the next year change whether to go with Sunny Island or Outback or ??

Vickie


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: clivejo on September 26, 2013, 06:59:55 PM
wow, I wish someone would PM me and tell me they are bringing broadband to my area  :hysteria

If I was you I would still plan on being offgrid and purchase an inverter capable of grid-tieing (most are).   Even if it is near you, it will still be very expensive to get a new connection.  This way if you did decide to get connected to the grid you would only have to rely on it as a backup and to stop your batteries getting worked as much.  You could then sell excess power back to the grid.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: todthedog on September 26, 2013, 07:10:30 PM
What ho Vicky, been following this thread with great interest.
Completely off topic what sort of cheese do you make. ;D


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 26, 2013, 07:31:33 PM
What Ho, Mr Dog, I make a newly invented cheese see here:

http://www.vickiescheese.com/

It is a rind washed cheese made using British Truffles, supplied by the amazing Marion Dean trains dogs to find truffles in Somerset. http://www.trufflehuntersdogschool.com/

It is unusual because all other truffle cheeses add the truffles after the cheese has been made. This is because truffles contain an enzyme that will 'gel' the milk and won't work properly with standard recipes using rennet. Because Marion is my friend I had lots of truffle bits to experiment with so I decided to see if I could get this alternative curd making effect to work consistently. The result is very successful, (I sell my cheese to Fortnum and Mason!) and I've now caught the bug to try and invent other cheeses that use plants and/or mushrooms as alternatives to rennet.

If I was you I would still plan on being offgrid and purchase an inverter capable of grid-tieing (most are).   Even if it is near you, it will still be very expensive to get a new connection.  This way if you did decide to get connected to the grid you would only have to rely on it as a backup and to stop your batteries getting worked as much.  You could then sell excess power back to the grid.

You're right, I think this is the way I should go. Just looking at forklift battery sites right now. Trying to understand what OPz and ...Pz means.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: Greenbeast on September 26, 2013, 08:11:32 PM
The result is very successful, (I sell my cheese to Fortnum and Mason!) and I've now caught the bug to try and invent other cheeses that use plants and/or mushrooms as alternatives to rennet.


Nice one, really good to hear


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: todthedog on September 27, 2013, 02:11:08 PM
Vicky, Looks yummy, a bit short of truffles here, but mushrooms aplenty but not really suitable as cheese additives.
Mrs T makes cheese, but just simple hard cheese or hard blue. Matured from 3 months+
Nice to hear of others who do make it, ours is just for home consumption.
Will go now and let everyone get back on topic wackoold wackoold


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: chasfromnorfolk on September 27, 2013, 02:34:28 PM
Alternative cheese / renewable energy... now you're talking. Order on its way.

Chas


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 27, 2013, 03:25:38 PM
 Nice cheese Vicky ......,  but do not mix it with those  ;)

Quote
Trying to understand what OPz and ...Pz means.
 

As far as i know the "O"  of the PzS Cells  stands for "Ortsfest" that is German for "Stationary "  so basically similar to PzS , that have a smaller housing  and lesser electrolyte  for mobile(traction) applications like forklifts (to save space) i guess its also German were the Name comes from PzS "Zellen mit positiven Panzerplatten " ... but not sure ....

Nowadays  many manufacturer  supply  now so called SPzS cells ( i mentioned a supplier  here before ) that are bigger  with more electrolyte as well but not as fancy as the shiny OpzS  , with similar or same characteristics

..... i bring my Bavarian beer , then we translate this PDF file  ralph:
http://www.akkusolar-notstromtechnik.de/data/files/SPzS%20AT.pdf

I as well,  suggest to stick to PV and off grid  , ok if its easy to get a powerline than still think about PV and a smaller battery ,

The cycle graph out of this file here

Regards Billi



 


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 27, 2013, 04:07:21 PM
es war einmal ich studierte an (in?) Berlin, Just 6 months, but my german never got good enough to translate that!

Thanks for all of the lovely compliments on my cheese, the truffles are very hard to get reliably, so I'm trying a Porcini,  a Morel and a Ginger at the moment. I could ask for Navitron Forum Guinea Pigs.... Where I used to live I had a group of tasters/reviewers who I referred to as my 'Cheese Board'.

I've been told that the grid connection on the Brendon Hills is fairly flakey, especially in winter, so having PV and self storage is sensible anyway. If the grid comes to me in a years time, it means I don't have to worry so much if I need to grow my cheesemaking.

Full Steam Ahead!


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: todthedog on September 27, 2013, 05:43:10 PM
Chilli cheese?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 27, 2013, 05:59:33 PM
Will have to do a test to see if they have proteolytic enzymes. Haven't seen them mentioned in any of my reading. I'm thinking of combining, like fig and ginger, both of which gel milk. Ginger and chilli cheese, nearly a Curry!

Or were you referring to temperature?  wackoold First thoughts on Billi's recent post is that one of the charts in the linked document doesn't go below 10 degrees C. I can build insulation around the batteries, but will I need to have some heat nearby?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: Alba on September 27, 2013, 08:31:50 PM
Hi V

I've been off grid for just over a year now. I installed PV, Outback charger, controller (flexmax) and Rolls batts. I have no electrical or engineering background so I needed a system that was as "plug and play" as possible. I'm sure other brands are as good or better than Outback and Rolls but I'll give you my take on what I have installed and what I've learned in the last year....
Install as much PV as you can 15 panels (3.5kw) each on both East/West slopes sounds good. You'll have a good steady production the whole day.
The Outback system is very user friendly and when you use the HUB and MATE, all components can communicate with each other and all programming(well almost all) can be done via the MATE which can be flush mounted in your living room wall if you want while all other components can be housed in a small room in/next to the shed.
Outback is very robust, so no need to have the equipment in a heated room. If you build an insulated (5 - 10cm)box for the batts they will be warm enough through charging and discharging cycles. This is only needed in winter and even then I wouldn't want them higher than 20c. Heat is worse than cold for batteries.
Plenty of good deep cycle batts on the market but I have hydro caps on mine which saves a ton of time and water not having to top up the batts so often.
A very easy system for a beginner,  quick to install,  easy to add on more charger/inverter/controllers at a later date, can be grid tied if you get a connection at a later date.
If you plan to have a generator for a long time,  maybe instead of grid tie, then a good strong Lister is the way to go.
Keep it simple, buy the best and have years of hassle free power (and CHEESE  ;D) production

Ali
 


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 27, 2013, 08:39:46 PM
Nice/good post  Alba .... thanks


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 27, 2013, 08:50:27 PM
Nice/good post  Alba .... thanks


If you plan to have a generator for a long time,  maybe instead of grid tie, then a good strong Lister is the way to go.

If I'd have suggested that Billi would have crucified me  :hysteria  :hysteria  :hysteria


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 27, 2013, 09:01:58 PM
Days of the Lister Legend  are counted Paul  ;)



Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 27, 2013, 09:06:47 PM
Days of the Lister Legend  are counted Paul  ;)



And I'm fitting 4kw of PV and selling my wind turbine  :hysteria  :hysteria  :hysteria  8)

Oh, and by the way V, steer clear of wind turbines unless you live by the coast.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: AlanM on September 27, 2013, 09:19:44 PM
"Oh, and by the way V, steer clear of wind turbines unless you live by the coast."

Or on top of a hill...?

Alan



Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 27, 2013, 09:26:42 PM
"Oh, and by the way V, steer clear of wind turbines unless you live by the coast."

Or on top of a hill...?

Alan



Or on top of a hill  ::) that'll be the red wine Alan  ;D


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 27, 2013, 09:38:50 PM
"Oh, and by the way V, steer clear of wind turbines unless you live by the coast."

Or on top of a hill...?

Alan



or on a boat in  the canaries  whistle


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 27, 2013, 09:57:48 PM
Alba, Camillitech, Billi, all of you,  I am overwhelmed by these wonderful and generous posts. Before posting here I had been asking myself over and over, Can Mike and I really do this, but with your guidance I feel we getting to the Obama moment of " YES WE CAN! ".

I spent part of this morning talking to a friend about Generators. One idea he floated was that the Listers and older generators work better with the charge controllers/inverters. Something to do with harmonics from the engine being simpler and not upsetting electronics in the controllers. I'm afraid I need an education about generators too.

So, wind turbines only on the coast? Or a Hill? Why?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 27, 2013, 10:11:33 PM


So, wind turbines only on the coast? Or a Hill? Why?

It's a question of economics V, much as I love my Proven and its eight years of faultless service through 'thick and thin', the price of PV has plummeted to such a degree that it really makes no sense unless you are 'off grid', hands on, and in a very windy spot. It sounds like you and Mike fulfill at least two requirements but unless you've got the third forget it.

As for generators, yes, there is only one and his name is Mr Lister, preferably an ST or SR 2 these are the best 'off grid' generators ever made and were standard issue as mains failure sets in police stations, banks, Woolworths, telecoms, and MOD establishments. Even now forty year old ones with only 50 hours running can still be found for around 1000.

Good luck, Paul


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 27, 2013, 10:18:01 PM
And someone mentioned a PMG? Permanent Magnet something, I'm guessing. How does that fit in, if it does, and where do you get them?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 27, 2013, 10:37:47 PM
Here is my  choice at the moment  for a diesel generator   , watercooled for heating house in winter   , automated start ..... perhaps not so efficient alternator ..... whistle......  , not as a permanent worker more like a helper ..... we PV people do not rely on Diesel anymore so much as the last generation  crack:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Diesel-Generator-24-Volt-Farymann-Motor-1500W-wassergekhlt-Blockheizkraftwerk-/271206527259


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: dhaslam on September 27, 2013, 10:39:36 PM
Permanent Magnet Generators  now  normally  come from China.    The permanent magnets they use are very strong so  the generators are very efficient and  one of their advantages is that they can operate at low  speeds, this means they don't have to be geared up  to be  used with slow rotating wind turbines and  ancient diesel engines.   There are sometimes  ones for sale on ebay but they may have to be purchased from China  if a specific  output or  operational speed  is needed.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 27, 2013, 10:41:42 PM
And someone mentioned a PMG? Permanent Magnet something, I'm guessing. How does that fit in, if it does, and where do you get them?

Forget PMG in your instance V, buy a proper and genuine Lister Power Plant generator with a Brush alternator, not this one http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LISTER-SR3-GENERATOR-/141068707232?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item20d859a5a0 as it's too big, but a two cylinder version. That way you will always have power, if your inverter fails or some disaster befalls you with your batteries or solar panels. Mr Lister is your 'lifeboat' when all else goes to 5h1t. CS and FR versions are fine if you want to go down the CHP route but your aim is to run him a little as possible but, to know that after a years idleness he'll start and keep your fridge running and lights burning.

Good luck, Paul


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 27, 2013, 11:10:26 PM
We are hoping to get into Phase 1 (explained on blog at easterdown.co.uk) by the New year. I absolutely take on board that we don't want to rush into our off grid setup. So could we live and power from this version of Mr Lister, and then let it retire with elegance in deference to the next generation of our off grid system, only called upon like a dear grandpapa to solve problems as they arise?
(its late and a bit of red wine talking here)



Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 27, 2013, 11:17:42 PM
We are hoping to get into Phase 1 (explained on blog at easterdown.co.uk) by the New year. I absolutely take on board that we don't want to rush into our off grid setup. So could we live and power from this version of Mr Lister, and then let it retire with elegance in deference to the next generation of our off grid system, only called upon like a dear grandpapa to solve problems as they arise?
(its late and a bit of red wine talking here)



You have it in one V and M, buy Mr Lister to see you through the build then seek to retire him ASAP in the sure knowledge that after several years of inactivity he will still start first time and 'pull you out of the 5h1t'. This has always been my philosophy, a Lister is like a Golf or Seiko watch, it will not let you down  :genuflect 


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: biff on September 27, 2013, 11:21:03 PM
I am not sure about the Lister V,
                               Some of them can have a kind of green faded colour not the proper emerald green colour and some of them smoke and defy the new ban, Never mind Paul,they sent him off to" Listers anonymous" and he ended up in "Lister Are Us" instead.I have tried to help him aquire some nice chinese "changa" diesels. "Changa" is the chinese for "Absolute pefection" but its no use,He is hooked on old Listers.
            Someday I will visit Raasay in a white transit van full of changa= "Absolute Perfections" and the joy of his recovery will be a miracle to behold,
                                                             Biff


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 27, 2013, 11:26:16 PM
I am not sure about the Lister V,
                               Some of them can have a kind of green faded colour not the proper emerald green colour and some of them smoke and defy the new ban, Never mind Paul,they sent him off to" Listers anonymous" and he ended up in "Lister Are Us" instead.I have tried to help him aquire some nice chinese "changa" diesels. "Changa" is the chinese for "Absolute pefection" but its no use,He is hooked on old Listers.
            Someday I will visit Raasay in a white transit van full of changa= "Absolute Perfections" and the joy of his recovery will be a miracle to behold,
                                                             Biff

Biff you old devil, it's Changfa http://www.changfanz.com/cf_cpzs_e.aspx?id=31&cpid=58 and yes you're right I'm a member of 'LA'  :hysteria


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 27, 2013, 11:44:16 PM
Hmmm... the pitfalls of buying lots of kit all at once that I don't know how to use... Lister or Chanfanz... getting sleepy... sleepy....

I'll have to come back to you tomorrow with more questions and fears.

Many thanks. This is going to work out, I reckon.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 27, 2013, 11:53:34 PM
Quote
This is going to work out, I reckon.

Me toooo  with PV prices at about 50 pence per watt


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: clockmanFR on September 28, 2013, 09:34:32 AM
"So, wind turbines only on the coast? Or a Hill? Why"?

"And someone mentioned a PMG? Permanent Magnet something, I'm guessing. How does that fit in, if it does, and where do you get them?"

 

Wind Turbines need good clean air, no turbulence from nearby buildings trees etc. They need to be sighted so they get the prevailing winds. The Chinese and some unscrupulous traders always quote the turbines output if there was a Hurricane blowing.
I normally say for our Hugh Piggotts design of 3.7m diameter of an output of 1kw. And yes one of my Turbines has been in an Official French Hurricane.  http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,17156.0.html (http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,17156.0.html)  You can see me making a PMG.
Hugh's design is probably one of the worlds most cost effective, simple, robust and highly efficient design at getting energy from the wind.

I make/manufacture them here, but this one will be my last, as NO DOUBT about IT the price of PV generation is now cheaper than all materials etc for one of my Wind Turbines at 1200, (that's everything, steel, fiberglass, mast etc).

So, I am designing and manufacturing 'cost effective 2 axis, PV panel Solar Trackers', so I can carry on my tradition of sticking something up in the air whistle. see.... http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20386.0.html (http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20386.0.html)  Doing a DIY book on how to make your own. Complete Tracker material costs about 700 then the PV panels, and a MPPT controller. Note, even on dull murky days your PV through a MPPT controller will give you a good 10% of the rated output.

Diesel Generators seem on this forum to be 'toys for boys', but if you do not have Grid then there is little else, except billi's Hydro lake option, Nice one Billi  :genuflect.
 If you have grid then a generator set up will not be cost effective against the Grid suppliers Kwh. Unless the generator is running on biodiesel or something cheaply and reliably sourced.  

Pic1.... of my manufactured PMG, rated at 60vac, 3 phase, 40c to 60c at constant 1kw output, open structure so good cooling characteristics. weight approx 35kg.
 
Pic 2....3 PMG's chinky jobs, 2 in background are 220vac, 3 phase, rated at 5kw, (however without cooling probably 2 to 3kw). weight about 95kgs each.
The smaller one is chinky rated at 3kw, 50vac, 3 phase, weight about 30kgs, (but its small and needs cooling, will further test it soon but probably good at 1kw). All these Chinky's will need pulling apart and new bearings fitted and the insides inspected carefully. I have already replaced the windings wire to exterior wire as the rubber coated wire had disentergrated, (not rubber) and the coils were shorting out.
These chinky  :hysteria :hysteria :onpatrol  projects are my retirement jobs.......


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: Alba on September 28, 2013, 03:38:53 PM

Hmmm... the pitfalls of buying lots of kit all at once that I don't know how to use

Don't be overwhelmed V
Start simple..... PV is so cheap so whack up as much as you can. All those panels are really only one element to your system  :) 8 ROLLS batteries (with hydro caps) wired in series 48V is just a big battery so only one element again. A MPPT charge controller and Inverter/charger (connected and communicating together) again only one element.
It's living with the system thats the hard part in the beginning. Fine tuning the settings to suit your needs, taking care of the batts, charging them properly. Getting into the routine of when to run the dishwasher, washing machine etc etc bike:
Even if you have a good location for a wind turbine, IMO, I would leave that for a year  ::)
Generator is easier in the beginning, if it can produce a quality AC 2kw output(not rated at 2kw), that would suffice to help charge the batts

Ali


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: todthedog on September 28, 2013, 04:35:50 PM
Vicky,
PV is easy relatively cheap and just works. Washing the bird poo off is just about all the work they need
Wind turbines are fun but you really do need a good site,  they need maintenance and love.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 28, 2013, 08:24:13 PM

Don't be overwhelmed V

Thanks for this. You can have no idea how I felt while I tried to get the courage to write to this forum. I was terrified that I wouldn't get a single reply and this was looking like my last hope.

Met with Wayne Peters from http://www.forest-builder.com/  (advice Camillitech on my first thread) at Easterdown this afternoon. WOW. This really could work well for us. He prefers a ground array of PV, so we can tilt it to suit the seasons. So we could try this out:


So, I am designing and manufacturing 'cost effective 2 axis, PV panel Solar Trackers', so I can carry on my tradition of sticking something up in the air whistle. see.... http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20386.0.html (http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20386.0.html)  Doing a DIY book on how to make your own. Complete Tracker material costs about 700 then the PV panels, and a MPPT controller. Note, even on dull murky days your PV through a MPPT controller will give you a good 10% of the rated output.

We have plenty of space. He is happy for us to work with him to install and would teach us how to use and not abuse the system.

His proposed system is based around Victron and his own Arduino add-ins. Price seemed good. I'm going to venture into the Arduino playpen soon to control the next generation of my cheese finishing fridges, so the open source hardware route doesn't put me off. But would I be missing a trick if I committed to a partly-bespoke control system?


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: camillitech on September 28, 2013, 08:43:49 PM
Hi V,

His proposed system is based around Victron and his own Arduino add-ins. Price seemed good. I'm going to venture into the Arduino playpen soon to control the next generation of my cheese finishing fridges, so the open source hardware route doesn't put me off. But would I be missing a trick if I committed to a partly-bespoke control system?

Tricky one that V, I spoke with him at length over the phone about this and was most impressed with what he described. It made me ever so slightly cautious though as we're a gazillion miles away, however you're just down the road and to my way of thinking that's worth a lot. It's why I get much of my kit, advice and system designs from Hugh Piggott, he knows what he's talking about and 'he's just down the road'. That in my book is worth far more than a few quid saved importing stuff from the US, Germany or China.

Why don't you ask to see some of his installations and speak to customers.

Good luck, Paul


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: V on September 28, 2013, 09:09:30 PM
Tricky one that V, I spoke with him at length over the phone about this and was most impressed with what he described. It made me ever so slightly cautious though as we're a gazillion miles away, however you're just down the road and to my way of thinking that's worth a lot.


That's what we are thinking as well. His explanation of why he is programming the Victron the way he does made a lot of sense to us. And yes,  having a smart, experienced 'good friend' just down the road strikes me as valuable beyond rubies.


Title: Re: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!
Post by: billi on September 28, 2013, 09:58:18 PM
Jepp , Victon is my clever  programmable inverter friend  as well ,  since years, with no problem and good contact helpline  to Holland for me  :)  (i use this more for information )

outback as well ........ amazing service , but had chargecontroller  issues (display )   ....  ,but replacement service was spot on 


Sunny Island  inverter is  a very good choice as well , you will find good support/  advice here  , as well as for the Victron  :)