Navitron Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum

Energy/Electricity Storage and Use/Grid Connection => Off-Grid, Batteries & Inverters => Topic started by: biff on February 07, 2015, 09:56:30 AM



Title: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 07, 2015, 09:56:30 AM
I have watched and studied intently,
                                   The recent and present discussions among some of our members who are now instlling their off-grid (and on-grid) controllers/inverters and linking up their wind/solar/hydro and Generators to start and stop in the best and most economical way possible. I use the phrase "To start and stop in the most economical way possible" broadly because it is not just the extra fuel of an unneeded generator running at full tilt but he cost of repairing (replacing) the expensive controllers/inverters should the nasty dreaded black smoke ensue as a result.
  I admire our members brave endeavours but I would also like to give some hope to potential future Off-Gridders who upon looking at all this complicated work might baulk and walk away from the very idea not just because of the expense but because very complicated nature of it all.
  I well understand that in the present discussions there is the requirement to supply several different properties and the desire to provided the power supply in as professional manner as possible, so I trust that our future Off-grid members will understand this and not be put off by thinking that this s the only way to go.
  There is the other way. One can simply plug the house supply cable into the Generator or into the renewable energy supply. This means that you just have the necessary plug on the end of the house supply cable and you have two power sockets on the wall of your control centre. One socket is hardwired to the Generator and the other socket is hardwired to the inverter from the renewable energy ,so when you want to switch over to the generator or visa versa you just pull out the plug and bung it into the other socket.(The two sockets are side by side and clearly marked).
  You do not have to even bother with your inverter or controllers, They can look after themselves because the dc dump loads are all still connected and operating as usual. One might argue that it is not very professional but if you have only got limited resources Or if you are Low on Doagh ,it will get you up and running and keep you there until you are   ready for the complicated stuff.
                                                                                                  Biff
 I would like to add, that I am not trying to stick out my foot here. I genuinely do admire the way that the discussion has unfolded and it is all good but we will have folks who want to get Off-Grid and the very thought of all that PC programming and different items coming together might scare them away.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: rogeriko on February 07, 2015, 10:57:55 AM
I have discovered a whole new world of OFF-GRID people and maybe Navitron should jump on the bandwagon before somebody else does!! They are called CANAL PEOPLE. There are 70,000 canal boats in the UK and all of a sudden they all want Microwave Ovens and Toasters and Coffee Machines. There is lots of talk of Forklift Batteries, Solar Panels etc etc.  http://www.canalworld.net/forums/


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: clockmanFR on February 07, 2015, 11:30:41 AM
I totally agree with you Biff.

But I believe there are about 5 different categories of Off Grid status that go from the 'Single bed, cave in a hole' to the 'large Houses with 10 odd buildings' types. And the Eco warriors to folk with loads of money.

And all other sub categories in between, so some bright spark/author on here should get writing and bring out a real yes REAL publication for the WORLD that does the Now & Present Off Grid thing in a cost effective manner.

Its all on this Forum Biff, its all on this forum, so get busy with all those LINK's.

Perhaps Martin might write his final 'Booker Prize' novel yet.  bike:

Here you are Martin & Biff, something I started for my eldest boy for is School Job experience.....its a start.............

Sustainability Practises for the Creation of Locally produced useable Energy.

Energy Conservation.
Energy Creation.
        Making Energy from Sustainable recourses.
       Storing & Usage of Energy.
       DC or AC.
       AC Coupling, The Future ?.

Energy Conservation.
Insulate insulate insulate & more insulation. Design the building, Passive House standards.
 Renovation to passive house by building within the original, without interferering with the original structure, raft foundation, thermal blocks. Etc.
etc etc etc.
 


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 09, 2015, 06:15:14 AM
.... For me , the lesser breakable equipment , the better (as an conclusion after a few years , and changed  costs of PV )  ! And focus on sufficient balanced production /consumption  to keep an expensive battery happy

Billi






Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: Nickel2 on February 09, 2015, 09:46:27 AM
I would love to go 'Off Grid', but having done the sums, for me it is not financially viable. The mains cable from the grid is already in the house and in use. A PV system big enough to run the house in winter would make more than I could use or sell back to the grid in summer, and my roof is too small.
What I would like to do is have sufficient PV/renewables to run the house during the day, (electricity & hot water), with a small battery system to provide the after-dark/cloudy-day juice. (fridge-freezer, computer, modem, CH pumps, radio/telly/music etc.) If the battery reached minimum voltage, the grid would be re-connected for night use.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 09, 2015, 10:13:38 AM
Quote
I would love to go 'Off Grid', but having done the sums, for me it is not financially viable. The mains cable from the grid is already in the house and in use. A PV system big enough to run the house in winter would make more than I could use or sell back to the grid in summer, and my roof is too small.

Sure ,  i would be ongrid , and have paid the 2500 Euro connection fee  here in Ireland to be part of the Grid  , if there would have been some sort of FiT  available  that would have made reasonably made sense to feed my Wind and PV surplus into the powergrid ... but did/ does not exist 

This is nearly a decade back ..... and still ,  i have not seen   many or more or less nil  PV roofs here in Ireland ....

I believe , that future  installs / ideas should be  selfsupply first  with storrage and  surplus to the grid  and as well be a base-load  supplier for  electricity ....



PV  and AC feeding  the Grid via Grid tie inverters is still young history , so   i expect ,  we will see a more advanced idea  in the future  for households , to DC couple PV , without those losses of converting  AC-DC-AC   , and without  excessive gear  , and replace some gear and their costs with PV and battery to feed/ buffer the grid ,  as well as cover the households needs






Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 09, 2015, 10:42:21 AM
Hi N2,
    Generating your own electricity gives a lot of satisfaction.  Back in 2002 when I was building my present house, I powered the mobile home that I lived in for the duration of the build with one of my works genis. It was not particularly greedy on juice but it certainly put a hole in my pocket,so my first little venture was to buy a set of truck batteries130ah x 12v ,charge them while running the geni and then use a small 300watt inverter to watch telly,etc, Then of course I bought 2 x80watt solar panels which I later put on the roof of the new house and they trickle fed a 1200ah Yousa bank which powered a small apc 600va ups (400watt,which is still in position but on a much smaller reserve bank)
  So I did not jump in head first, Instead, I got to learn by mistakes or trial and error. 2 of the original truck batteries are still alive and well ;D.
  Even, If you design and build a small pv system, It will provide an independent means of supplying your house with electricity during outage.
 I built all the blockwork in my new shed with 2 x 165watt pv panels and a 400ah x 48volt forklift pack, That meant drilling out all the ties into the steel to tie the blockwork too as well as driving the mixer for the durarion of the job. The 48v pack, The 2 x 165watt panels are still as good as the first day I used them. The little 400watt mixer has a pin hole in the drum which I noticed on Friday last. So it is not as though you are throwing your money away on things that will be defunct a few months later. I also got to know very quickly ,what kind of power these panels could put out and was quite surprised many times to see my 2 x 165watt panels churning out 58vx 8.5 amps while the little 400watt mixer was under load.
 Believe me, There is something nice about providing clean electricity without noise or smoke. It is a pleasure to work with.
 So If you feel like building  small system, Just go for it. The satisfaction gained, is mighty.
                                                                                 Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: Nickel2 on February 09, 2015, 11:09:40 AM
When I designed my workshop, PV was eekspensive and I could not afford it. So I built it with a S-facing roof at 49* for optimum spring/autumn collection, cleverly worked out not to exceed building regs height, but allow the fitment of an 8 x 4 HW panel, in landscape.
When the price of PV panels started to tumble, I thought about fitting to the available space. Due to my brilliant earlier thinking, the space available is 5120 x 1460. This means that there are no standard -size panels to fit! (Grrr.) A bit more foresight would have built the roof to fit standard panels.
Anyway, the only panels I can get to fit reasonably will overhang top or bottom by 2" or 6", depending on type. The shed is in the lee of a row of houses, so I don't think wind would be a problem with overhang.
250W Hyundai panels are now available at 1480 x 994, recently introduced for tighter spaces. I could fit 1250W comfortably with a few inches to spare at the end. Sadly I missed CM's Tristar 45 by minutes, or I'd have done a 1kW system at 48v and a 250W system at 24v for light loads.
Still thinking and hoping that I live long enough to bite the bullet and get the job done.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on February 09, 2015, 02:57:32 PM
I first visited this forum as a wannabe off-gridder. Five years later (four off-grid) I can say that it has been a mine of interesting information. It has not been a panacea for setting up any particular off-grid situation and it would be unfair to expect it to be. Members undoubtedly give honest and knowledgeable opinions and information but inevitably there are contradictions, inconsitencies and the very human issue of personal perspectives. For anyone with no experience sifting through it all and coming up with the right scenario for a particular set of circumstances is well nigh impossible and those with experience probably already have a plan and know what bit of information they are looking for anyway.

Quote
I believe there are about 5 different categories of Off Grid status that go from the 'Single bed, cave in a hole' to the 'large Houses with 10 odd buildings' types. And the Eco warriors to folk with loads of money.

And all other sub categories in between, so some bright spark/author on here should get writing and bring out a real yes REAL publication for the WORLD that does the Now & Present Off Grid  thing in a cost effective manner.

Yes lots of categories of off-gridder. A definitive guide, complied dispassionately, would be great. I have looked but never found such a thing. The problem with planning for off-grid is that the specific location and personal circumstances/expectations are as important as the equipment set-up and infinitely more variable. Unless you can factor in those elements any guide would be so generalised as to be only suitable for recreational reading.

Information that might be useful to potential off-gridders is real generation/consumption data from existing off-gridders. There is plenty of reference to how good/bad a system or bit of kit is but rarely in real context with an overall off-grid performance.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 09, 2015, 07:20:42 PM
I've spent most of my life 'off grid', some thirty years and have gone from Tilley lamps via car batteries 50w solar panels and 90w turbines to something rather complex. I always wanted to live 'off grid', or at least since the early seventies and wouldn't have it any other way. Sure I was happy for years swapping batteries, switching this and that off and carefully watching the weather forecast. And to be honest it's the best way to learn and this place has been invaluable, but as has been pointed out 'off grid' encompasses just about everyone really so it's a 'how long is a piece of string' question when you're asked 'what's the best way'. There is no easy answer, members have system's that suit them in varied locations around the globe, they are different ages with different expectations they live in sheds, shacks, rambling old properties and modern air tight houses with MVHR. Some are retired, some trying to run businesses some trying to run away and others work away from home. What works in rural Ireland may not work on the Somerset Levels or a windswept Scottish Isle.

There is plenty of reference to how good/bad a system or bit of kit is but rarely in real context with an overall off-grid performance.



I saved three years data from wind/hydro and projected PV from my area, I analyzed my usage for nine years and projected my needs to power a house COMPLETELY by renewable energy.

(https://i0.wp.com/i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd170/camillitech/Powervload1.jpg)

Sure it's complicated but it has to cope with being left to 'look after itself'. When I retire in ten years time I don't want to be moving gas cylinders, splitting wood, cleaning chimneys,  or pumping diesel. Humping a laptop around to alter a few settings on an inverter I'll be able to manage even from a wheelchair. It's 'hoses for courses' really, but yes start simple by all means, but don't get 'stuck in a rut'. I made that mistake fifteen years ago when I thought my ten year old (and only recently retired) Rutland was the pinnacle of wind turbine engineering  :hysteria

Cheers, Paul



Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 10, 2015, 05:14:18 AM
4.7 kw PV , you have  ?? Paul i guess your Graph is  not upto date should be about 300-500 kWh most of the months of a year


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 10, 2015, 07:27:31 AM
4.7 kw PV , you have  ?? Paul i guess your Graph is  not upto date should be about 300-500 kWh most of the months of a year

Aye Billi, that graph was drawn for 1kW PV, a 2.5kW wind turbine and a 1kW wind turbine. That was four years ago and the original plan was to have a batch boiler to fill in the shortfall and solar hot water. The plummeting price of PV and the acquisition of a 6kW wind turbine for the price of 500w of PV has made me rethink. The chimney, batch boiler and FE have been dumped in favour of two 'AC coupled turbines' that I bought for the price of 2kW of solar.

You are also, once again forgetting where I live,

December 2014: 39.7kWh (89% of PVGIS estimate)
December 2013: 18.0kWh (40% of PVGIS estimate)
December 2012: 40.0kWh (89% of PVGIS estimate)
December 2011: 27.7kWh (62% of PVGIS estimate)
December 2010: 49.0kWh (109% of PVGIS estimate)


REAL DATA for a 3.85kW array, from Skyewright who lives near me, If I could get the output you suggest in the winter then I would not be fecking about 'AC coupling' wind turbines. 20kW of PV would not help me at this latitude


I merely use it as an example of recording the right technologies for me and my goal of a totally diesel/wood and fossil free free home. If I could have done it with a few panels a battery and still gone away for weeks at a time I would.

Simple is fantastic, I'm a great believer of it but sometimes you just have to 'rise to the challenge'.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: clockmanFR on February 10, 2015, 08:47:08 AM
Again, I think Paul has put his finger on it........

"The plummeting price of PV and the acquisition of a 6kW wind turbine for the price of 500w of PV has made me rethink".

The above statement by Paul is now a serious consideration in the Off Grid equation, as market forces are at present very dynamic in the RE sector.

Once you have your finger/foot in the door of RE you can watch an listen, especially on this Forum, what the cost effectiveness of RE products really are for your own particular installations.

And at the cost that Paul paid for his Proven even has me considering something similar from a good well known manufacturer of wind turbines, as making another 3.7m dia Hugh Piggott design is now costing me 1200 just in materials.

So its also about what Renewable Energy creation products are out their, that are good quality, robust, have a good life expectancy, and are a COST EFFECTIVE way of producing energy.

Well that's more to throw in the pot!


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 10, 2015, 09:46:21 AM
There are so many different needs,
                         There are so many different ways of achieving those needs ,that the snake oil merchants get space to work their evil magic and make life even more difficult for the ordinary guy. Then very often, it is the case ,where the manufacturer does try and produce a decent wind turbine but does not test it enough or ignores the warnings signs that his turbine suffers from serious overspeed  and if they stayed with the model and got the balance between the blade area and the stator correct, they would have had a winner, especially if they had used AG,s tail. The recent purchase of a LE turbine by Billy did not go unnoticed by the thousands that visited Navitron and hopefully, Billy,s baby will deliver the goods and give the company a good name. It certainly looks impressive and it is not over expensive. At a time when there is so much rubbish being pushed for sale on fleabay, it is imperative that we get some good news on the small domestic wind turbine home front. I have never know a time like it for the lack of choice in small domestic wind turbines. There was a time that you could boot up onto Fleabay and view no less than 4 or 5 suppliers of 2kw wind turbines. That is sadly no longer the case. I am sure that the crippling import tariffs has a lot to do with their absence but it does give the UK manufacturers a chance to get up and running.
  The fall in PV prices made everything possible for a lot of us and we know how good the PV can be, despite lying almost dormant for a couple of months every year. That is why we need a good small domestic turbine to take up the slack.  The irony is, At  time when Clockman is thinking of buying in a turbine, I am thinking of building the duel PMG turbine I mentioned a few weeks earlier.
  My wife and I discuss it, I don,t think the costs would be too great to bear but I would have to get it right first time +I would need a stronger tower. I will most certainly build it but I have so many pressing issues at present that there is no room for another project until I clear the backlog. Meanwhile I will gather the necessary gear together and study Yaws, shafts , Balance, Slip ring assemblies, and design a lightweight cage to house the lot. It is all good.
                                                               Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 10, 2015, 12:06:04 PM

Hey Paul

Quote
Aye Billi, that graph was drawn for 1kW PV.......
You are also, once again forgetting where I live,

Me forgetting ?  , not forgetting where you live , just was  wondering  about the graph in relation to the 4.7kW PV in your signature


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 10, 2015, 12:42:03 PM

Hey Paul

Quote
Aye Billi, that graph was drawn for 1kW PV.......
You are also, once again forgetting where I live,

Me forgetting ?  , not forgetting where you live , just was  wondering  about the graph in relation to the 4.7kW PV in your signature

I really wish I could update that graph Billi but sadly the chap who did it for me died. I would like to produce a new one without the FE turbine and with the Proven 6.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 10, 2015, 01:02:29 PM
Quote
"The plummeting price of PV and the acquisition of a 6kW wind turbine for the price of 500w of PV has made me rethink".

Cool , fair play ,  but  we are talking about second hand gear !  
 a new Proven  6 kw including tower and control gear , would be comparable to  a 25kw- 300000 watt PV  , or ?


Billi

OH , edit ,:  Paul  was here ,   i think you are defnitality right to produce electricity   and oversize it  in Scotland  for winter production , instead going the Wood burner route




Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: stephendv on February 10, 2015, 01:18:09 PM
The plummeting price of PV and the acquisition of a 6kW wind turbine for the price of 500w of PV has made me rethink.

This is a double edged sword: on the one hand, cheap PV, yay!  On the other hand, now I can't justify buying a turbine and playing around with something that's more entertaining than statically mounted PV that just sits there and stubbornly cranks out the Watts without any maintenance for years on end, booooo  :(

Seriously though, PV prices are so low that it often beats other construction materials, e.g. on en.secondsol.com they're selling used 55W CIS panels for 12 Euros, they're 1.3mx0.6m = 0.78m2 that's 15 euro/m2 or roughly half the price of the pine cladding I used for our house and shed!  At those sorts of prices instead of seeing "PV", I see "flat piece of opaque, tempered glass that also happens to produce power".




Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 10, 2015, 01:26:30 PM
Indeed Stephhendv,
                     PV is boringly reliable and just sits there doing its thing. ;D and you are right, they are the best buy going at present however if you live farther north like Paul and I you cannot do without the wind turbine. You just don,t get the supply around December and January , The days are too short. The wind turbine really comes into its own in the winter winds.
                                                              Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: stephendv on February 10, 2015, 01:32:49 PM
The wind turbine really comes into its own in the winter winds.

Aye, it's all about local micro-climates.  My arch enemy is the fog that creeps in in Nov, Dec, no wind and hardly any sun.  Those are the only days I need to run the genny, and given that the PV products maybe 3% of it's rated power during those days, I'd need another 4kW to stay generator free... unfortunately 4kW of PV still buys a LOT of petrol for the occasional generator run.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 10, 2015, 03:37:25 PM
Accidentally , i got rid of my desktop computer (now on a Laptop)  and bought a  LED TV   ,  ....  that does make a significant  difference in our household , and petrol generator  is not running  , max 15 l Petrol used this winter


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: mike-b- on February 10, 2015, 05:18:15 PM
Could the forum not have a "how do i " section ? made by members. Basics would be a start.

mike


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: offthegridandy on February 10, 2015, 08:51:13 PM
Well for my 2 penny worth.  The start of the thread was "for beginners", I  think off grid beginners falls into 2 significant categories.  Those who will get their hands dirty and those who choose to (as my mum would have said) "have a man in.

If you have a firm come in and erect turbine. install PV or what ever I doubt that the customer, at the outset will have a full understanding of the system, or its real practical limitations.

On the other hand a full or partial "self build" system, very likely built up in stages, is going to  be understood (fully?)  by the owner. Although Paul's system may appear complex, it has developed over the years and I suspect the individual items can to a great degree stand alone in the event of some malfunction; so the basics elements  remain simple. Ie the elements are simple even if the delivery appears complex.  But Paul's situation is unusual.  In my case when I'm working away I'm pretty safe in the knowledge that if all else fails Mr Lister can be at the turn of a switch supplying our "grid".  

 I'm not suggesting either approach is right or wrong and it's maybe partly due to budgets. Given unlimited budget and space it would be so easy to design.

The discussion as to which type of batteries, brand off inverter etc can I'm sure appear very complex to (me) and the beginer. But I think that is putting the cart before the proverbial.

I would start from worst case scenario then set out to see how to improve it improve it. Having calculated your daily energy requirements and decided on days of autonomy from any energy input say 3 days, you can decide on a battery size. If you then assume you'll use a lister genny you can calculate the worst case cost of living off grid.Could be say 1500 per annum in red diesel. EG genny runs for 8 hrs every 3rd day genny uses X litres; calculate annual cost

Cost up the possible capital outlay for genny, batteries and inverter charger.  that is your base line.
At this point every case becomes different, dependent on the actual site and space available. But it isn't be hard to calculate the size of array and suitable charger etc

Now consider various appropriate what ifs.

Ie cost for say 6 Kw PV array plus basic charge controller.

Or say 3Kw WT etc, allow for labour if appropriate.

You can calculate the predicted energy production and compare against your needs.

Now DONT look at payback, your off grid, consider instead how much less diesel for the genny you will have used. You can now see how much power you need to generate to bring that to zero s spend. How much surplus energy you may potentially have to dispose of now gives you some more data to feed back into your capital outlay costs etc.

Ultimately, assuming your planning a system for a private dwelling I think that each system will be different to some degree reflecting both the individuals concerned, the site and the circumstances.

Whether one can afford the system will further infuence design, ie purchase a larger inverter at out set that can have more PV added at a later date or/and put in extra cabling if trench is dug.

Cheers.

Andy



Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on February 18, 2015, 11:20:06 AM
Quote
I would start from worst case scenario then set out to see how to improve it improve it. Having calculated your daily energy requirements and decided on days of autonomy from any energy input say 3 days, you can decide on a battery size. If you then assume you'll use a lister genny you can calculate the worst case cost of living off grid.Could be say 1500 per annum in red diesel. EG genny runs for 8 hrs every 3rd day genny uses X litres; calculate annual cost

Cost up the possible capital outlay for genny, batteries and inverter charger.  that is your base line.
At this point every case becomes different, dependent on the actual site and space available.

Andy has neatly described the basic starting point for any potential off-gridder.

I attach real data for two variations of my off-grid set-up. The numbers speak for themselves although I should point out the following location specifics:
There is some pm shading of the PV during these months - numbers are broadly in line with PVGIS the rest of the year.
Being an exposed spine of the country location wind is very variable and prone to natural turbulence - very unlike coasts or plains.
Not too much should be read into battery SOC - depends on read time vs wind and generator operation.

I believe these real numbers demonstrate a significant issue for off-gridders - the day to day variation of generation from renewables (if you have no Hydro). Unless everything is well oversized compared to your consumption estimate the generator will be needed. Planning with PVGIS and NOABL averages, although a good starting point, can be a little bit misleading.

Looking back I can confidently say the following:
If forced to choose I would have installed the larger turbine before PV - delivers more consistently when I most need it (winter) and has a less pronounced low season. I would have funded it new with FITs and realised a tidy return even after allowing for maintenance.
I would have had a larger battery bank - at the very least 1000ah, the money would have had to be found.
I would only install more PV now if I had nothing else pressing to spend the money on - what I have produces more than I can usefully use (even with diversion heating) in the peak months and I would need a field full to make any appreciable difference in the winter (even without shading).

I hope the numbers may give some help to someone considering off-grid although they are of course very specific to my location and circumstances. Apologies to anyone who can't access Open Office sheets.





Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 18, 2015, 11:56:27 AM
Excellent stuff HH,

what happened around Christmas, no wind or sun, or was the data taking a break  ;D

I truly believe that the heart of a good 'off grid' system is a reliable, professionally (or professional standard) diesel/battery/inverter system. For anyone wishing to live a normal life where you can go on holiday and leave the house in charge of A N Other. Or to be able to call tradesmen in and not be afraid their tools are going to flatten your bank. To have the family around for Christmas, have some 'fairy lights' and not be afraid that your dementia suffering father is going to leave the lights on. To be able to have a workshop with all the power tools you need and not to be afraid of using them.

Then when that's fitted just start adding PV initially, more PV, a turbine or whatever. Sure you can manage just fine without a generator, I did for years using Tilley lamps and a gas fridge and it was great fun. You can also get a gazillion watts of PV for the price of a decent generator but thats not going to help you in December when the roofer turns up with his heat gun to repair the flat roof that's just been ripped off in a gale. 


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 18, 2015, 12:18:46 PM
I have often wondered how I would have fared,
                                 With our renewable energy efforts, if I had jumped in the deep end first and not started off with our small 450watt turbine + 2 x 165 watt pv panels. It would have been simply impossible for me to understand when I had to stop drawing from the bank or when to load the system to the max to get the best out of it. This guess work would have been costly and reckless. No matter how many times you read it or hear it, you still need to do it yourself, hands on and learn it properly.
 When the time came, I went for a 2kw turbine and as high as voltage as possible that would enable the current to travel the distance to the house better and using cables that did not cost an arm and a leg. The voltage was also the same as the 12 volt system except for the O at the end. So it was instantly recognisable. The high voltage also meant that my early battery bank strings were easy and quickly put together.
 I also believe that the dump load of 138volts is very suitable for dc immersions. It works very well.
  I preach about modular systems that can avoid serious long term down time, (waiting for replacements inverters/ controllers) and installations that can be easily repaired because the owners can replace each item immediately and remember what does what.
  I intend to post some pics of our own system and how it supplies power to 3 places both from the renewable energy and the generator in the simplest way possible. In the most bullet proof non fancy method possible.
  I fully agree with H/H and a big battery bank and decent wind turbine are a must.
                              Biff
                                                                                      


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 18, 2015, 02:30:58 PM
Hi  heatherhopper 

That proven turbine performance...  seems   a  "goldmine" in winter ... 104 kWh on Christmas eve .... hot port  exhappy:

Can you  tell  the  specs of the systems of the  two  spreadsheets  "Bergey days"  and the second " Proven days"  (or did just the turbine change ?)

Still , quite an investment  whistle , to install a Proven(kingspan)  6 kw  turbine ....








Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on February 18, 2015, 07:56:06 PM
Quote
what happened around Christmas, no wind or sun, or was the data taking a break  

With impeccable timing that was when the Bergey gave up. I still have a soft spot for that Turbine even if it did not work for me. Our neighbours have one that has not missed a beat (apart from one shed blade) in 7-8 years. Now Bergey are offering it with a decent controller and at 48v it may be worth a look at - provided the PRC involvement has been removed or checked a bit better. Bergey themselves could not have been more helpful (albeit fruitlessly).

Quote
That proven turbine performance...  seems   a  "goldmine" in winter ... 104 kWh on Christmas eve .

Yes Billi but look at this last Christmas:
Date          SOC    PV   Turbine    Total   Gen hrs
23/12/14   71   0.60   53.80   54.40      1.5
24/12/14   97   1.10   84.80   85.90      0
25/12/14   98   1.10   28.30   29.40      3.9
26/12/14   91   1.00   1.80      2.80       2.7
27/12/14   88   0.90   1.90      2.80       1.8
28/12/14   73   2.50   4.40      6.90        0
This with a house full of outlaws who think electricity arrives free from nowhere and a Turkey that was too big for the gas oven!
Still does not make much of a dent in our heating though and I could not consider going down the road Paul has.

Quote
Can you  tell  the  specs of the systems of the  two  spreadsheets  "Bergey days"  and the second " Proven days"  (or did just the turbine change ?)

Same system with some extra dump capability for the Proven. AC coupled everything (apart from the Bergey) from day one.

Quote
Still , quite an investment  , to install a Proven(kingspan)  6 kw  turbine ....


New at the time would have been a few thousand short of 30k including groundworks etc. At a conservative 11000 kWh and allowing for only 15 years life and some maintenance/renewals (springs, blades etc) along the way FIT alone (rate at the time) would have delivered somewhere around 20% return. I do call that quite an investment, not risk free of course but is any investment? Even at todays FIT rates it would still be a runner.
I should add I wasn't, and am not, awash with cash (think minumum wage level these days!) but this was all part of a property move and I regard going off-grid as a long term investment in lifestyle for which I was prepared to find the money.
Current Turbine is set to repay capital by end 2016 after which everything is profit but this was a very fortuitous acquisition.



Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 18, 2015, 09:33:14 PM
I have often wondered how I would have fared,
                                 With our renewable energy efforts, if I had jumped in the deep end first.
                                                                                      

Well we wouldn't have had so much fun listening to your tales for a start Biff.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 19, 2015, 08:38:09 AM
That is absolutely true Paul,
                           And nobody but nobody would want to listen to tales of  Proven sitting there, for over 6 months, doing  nothing for the want of the proper chip or a bigger Proven being lowered because the shaft was brittle or dodgy and liable to snap, meaning that not only would I have had to lower this machine and find another way of obtaining power but I would have lost my FITs and would have had to accept  scrap metal price for my gleaming new Proven turbine with no compensation from Proven who went to the wall.
 I would love to believe that somewhere there are members who in their future spare time, will adapt AG,s pullers, My own simple wooden rails and learn to change bearings and cure overspeed with AG,s tail or my own idea of smaller blades. Not everyone has the ability or the time to build Hugh,s brilliant designed turbines so the idea of a turbine refurbishment is a good one + folks get involved and folks learn.
                                                   Biff
                                       


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 19, 2015, 11:39:48 AM
That is absolutely true Paul,
                           And nobody but nobody would want to listen to tales of  Proven sitting there, for over 6 months, doing  nothing for the want of the proper chip or a bigger Proven being lowered because the shaft was brittle or dodgy and liable to snap, meaning that not only would I have had to lower this machine and find another way of obtaining power but I would have lost my FITs and would have had to accept  scrap metal price for my gleaming new Proven turbine with no compensation from Proven who went to the wall.
 I would love to believe that somewhere there are members who in their future spare time, will adapt AG,s pullers, My own simple wooden rails and learn to change bearings and cure overspeed with AG,s tail or my own idea of smaller blades. Not everyone has the ability or the time to build Hugh,s brilliant designed turbines so the idea of a turbine refurbishment is a good one + folks get involved and folks learn.
                                                   Biff
                                       

You don't do yourself justice Biff,

had you been a 'victim' of the 'Proven scam' then I'm sure your tales would have been just as interesting. In fact I'm sure your stories would have gone viral and the name Biff would have popped up on every Google search alongside 'Proven problems'  ;D


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: clockmanFR on February 19, 2015, 12:07:27 PM
Fifty shades of Tales of Biff.
 
 surrender:
Another best seller.

 surrender:

Although I like to think that Biff is a gentle sole, mild mannered, bags of humility, and a true gentleman.

 :crossed


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 19, 2015, 01:53:38 PM
Hi Heatherhopper ,  ok i see ....

My 2.4 kw (just checked ) did  ca 60 kWh in January ....  so  about 30 % more  than your 2.8 kW ( with partial shade ) , i guess you are further north , and that my PV is  a winter optimized   orientation/angle , helps ...

.....  brutal good performance of your Proven , does it cover your heating requirements  as well ? 

I am jealous ,and  i still use fire wood  and solid fuel to heat the house , as well gas cooking ( i should have gone for producing woodgas  for hot water .cooking and car fuel ....) , or  surely bigger battery and more production

Nice little Air- Air heatpumps direct connected to the  battery available  , ( just pricing them for a  PV off grid project  in Spain atm)  , just in case you need more heat

Billi




Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 19, 2015, 07:22:23 PM
If I had bought one of those big Provens,
                                       I would not have wanted anyone to know. People would have just said, " Oh,,Another one"!! Back in 2008, I had a couple of friends who invested in the smaller 2.5 Proven, (the good one). The first guy was forced to leave his parked up for the first 6 months, Then the correct chip was fitted but then a very serious vibration began to crop up and the turbine had to be lowered until that was settled. The other bloke had nothing but trouble from the very first day.
           I will not mention the model that bust them apart from just saying that a lot of the big Provens are performing very well on the Clare coast. They were snapped up by a guy from Tipp, fitted with the proper dampers and smaller blades. He even went and had correct Shafts made for them so anyone who hires them or buys them and is a little unsure, he can fit the new shaft and guarantee the turbine.
                                                                   Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 19, 2015, 08:05:28 PM
If I had bought one of those big Provens,
                                       I would not have wanted anyone to know.

If you'd have bought one of the dodgy Proven's Biff the whole world would know and we'd all me waiting to hear the next episode in the story. The one where you load it into the back of a white Transit van and park it in the managers living room  :hysteria  :hysteria  :hysteria


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 19, 2015, 08:29:14 PM
Nope, !!
             I would not bother doing that.. There would already have been a dozen parked in his living room before I would get round to it and the truth is , or nearer to the truth, I would be busy looking for a way to get the blasted thing working properly, Like Antony O,Halloran did. Better half  loaf than no loaf at all. ;D
                                                                         Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 20, 2015, 06:51:44 AM
....
I truly believe that the heart of a good 'off grid' system is a reliable, professionally (or professional standard) diesel/battery/inverter system.

Then when that's fitted just start adding PV initially, more PV, a turbine or whatever. Sure you can manage just fine without a generator, I did for years using Tilley lamps and a gas fridge and it was great fun. You can also get a gazillion watts of PV for the price of a decent generator but thats not going to help you in December when the roofer turns up with his heat gun to repair the flat roof that's just been ripped off in a gale. 


My advice is get a decent battery and  enough PV , and forget about a diesel/petrolgenerator first and size the off grid system right 

How much is a KWh  from a diesel generator , beside the  purchase , noise and the carbonfootprint ? .... 50 pence ?
I started , similar as Pauls suggestion , when PV prices where high 8 years back  , with a Diesel  generator and a too small battery.... i cannot advice this today..

So get a decent sized  battery and enough PV  for little money (per produced  kWh) compared to a diesel/battery/inverter system 

Billi
 


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 20, 2015, 07:21:59 AM
....
I truly believe that the heart of a good 'off grid' system is a reliable, professionally (or professional standard) diesel/battery/inverter system.

Then when that's fitted just start adding PV initially, more PV, a turbine or whatever. Sure you can manage just fine without a generator, I did for years using Tilley lamps and a gas fridge and it was great fun. You can also get a gazillion watts of PV for the price of a decent generator but thats not going to help you in December when the roofer turns up with his heat gun to repair the flat roof that's just been ripped off in a gale.  


My advice is get a decent battery and  enough PV , and forget about a diesel/petrolgenerator first and size the off grid system right  

How much is a KWh  from a diesel generator , beside the  purchase , noise and the carbonfootprint ? .... 50 pence ?
I started , similar as Pauls suggestion , when PV prices where high 8 years back  , with a Diesel  generator and a too small battery.... i cannot advice this today..

So get a decent sized  battery and enough PV  for little money (per produced  kWh) compared to a diesel/battery/inverter system  

Billi
  

This is a fantastic piece of advice for anyone not building a house, running a business, does not have friends or relatives that visit in the winter and prefers instead to say prayers for the sun to come out. Or of course you could dig a huge lake with a digger and build a 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator but few of us have space or digger  :hysteria

In the real world you WILL need a generator, Billi has had at least half a dozen in eight years, I've had four in 25 and they all still work. Fit a quality generator to a large battery bank then work at making it redundant. There will be a time when you really. really need it. You generator is your lifeboat so do not skimp on it.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on February 20, 2015, 08:18:55 AM
Paul  ;D , you are a newcomer  , when we talk of PV ,   and  you are right , that i should have saved the money  spent   on Generators  over the time !

But my advice today , still is .......... a bigger battery and  a comfortably sized PV ( with FiT  a no brainer , without  probably cheaper than every generator )

How much would  your
Quote
Lister HR2 12kW
generator cost new , including fuel costs and  housing ??

Please avoid , degrading systems  that achieve reliability without those generators , I can have any off grid party , when ever i want  and surely power  all the needs !   

The fossil fueled generator is just a back-up , thats all , nowadays , so it basically does not need to produce more than 1000 watt  electricity

Its in the end our /my mistake here , not  to supply a good  answer to battery charging generators   , like just a simple  watercooled engine charging a battery bank  and make hot water as well !

I simply do not need a  monster of a Generator , beside my 12 kW peak off grid inverters .....

So i cannot advice others , to do so

Billi


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on February 20, 2015, 08:55:23 AM
Paul  ;D , you are a newcomer  , when we talk of PV ,   and  you are right , that i should have saved the money  spent   on Generators  over the time !

But my advice today , still is .......... a bigger battery and  a comfortably sized PV ( with FiT  a no brainer , without  probably cheaper than every generator )

How much would  your
Quote
Lister HR2 12kW
generator cost new , including fuel costs and  housing ??

Please avoid , degrading systems  that achieve reliability without those generators , I can have any off grid party , when ever i want  and surely power  all the needs !   

The fossil fueled generator is just a back-up , thats all , nowadays , so it basically does not need to produce more than 1000 watt  electricity

Its in the end our /my mistake here , not  to supply a good  answer to battery charging generators   , like just a simple  watercooled engine charging a battery bank  and make hot water as well !

I simply do not need a  monster of a Generator , beside my 12 kW peak off grid inverters .....

So i cannot advice others , to do so

Billi


Aye, you're right Billi, it's 'horses for courses' really, we just approach things differently. I'm an engineer so I'm comfortable with buying/bodging second hand kit. My lifestyle is also completely different to yours and probably others too. We do our best and will hopefully 'all get there in the end'.

Peace, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: smegal on February 20, 2015, 09:20:45 AM
I am in no way related to this company,m however, VG Energy have found (a few years ago) a fix for the poorly provens:

http://www.vgenergy.co.uk/files/6314/1414/8447/P35-2_Service_letter.pdf


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: skyewright on February 20, 2015, 09:33:45 AM
Aye, you're right Billi, it's 'horses for courses' really, we just approach things differently.
And Billi is a good bit further South?


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 20, 2015, 09:56:17 AM
Good morning Everyone,,
                         It is nice to wake up, Dander into Navitron and fine everybody so agreeable . The sun is out, the wind is blowing steady from the North West and everything is hunky dory.
  I recently moved our generator to a better location and promised pics but to be honest our broadband is giving such trouble that I an lucky to get on here never mind post pics. I will post the pics when I get enough power in the dongle. Our generator is purely for backup, I even have another smaller version that provides back up for back up but when our system is running properly,we very seldom use the generator.
 Keeping the generator battery alive and the connection from corroding would have been a bit of a problem for me but hopefully not any more because the new location give better shelter and ventilation.
 My idea of the perfect off-grid installation would be similar to Heatherhopper,s. A decent reliable wind turbine,  A brute of  battery bank that you never have to put a strain on, loads of PV, perhaps 5kw and a handy silent running key start economic generator That can start up and run in an instance even if it has been sitting unused for over 6 months.
  Everyone has different ideas, but eventually we will find out what works best for us.
  I have some spare panels that I will be adding to our pv input but I don,t want to go beyond 5kw. I know that from now on, Our c/h heating rads will start to warm up as the PV begins taking more effect and already I am pondering another heat store but not immediately. facepalm.
 For years, I ran independent 24 volt and 48 volt systems and used these as little reserve pockets but because our house system @120volt has proved so reliable and trouble free, (apart from when I crash the wind turbine) I have decided to lump all our forklift batteries together  and add the spare PV to the present approx. 4kw. All the trenching and cable laying has been completed and our 120dc volt based ac power is now installed in the shed and the white store. I still have a small retaining wall to build,some black currant, red currant, goosegogs  to transplant + an apple tree before I tackle the bigger bank. I will have a little completion party and a christening party for the bank, I have already decided to call it the "Bailout"
                                             Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: clockmanFR on February 20, 2015, 10:32:03 AM
Thanks 'Smegal' for that list very interesting.

But now that Paul has mentioned his Provens, and other members have openly shown theirs......

I now declare   :onpatrol that I am now actively browsing for a s/h used Grid tied, 230vac Proven Wind Turbine to add to my collection.

I can not justify the 1200 material costs in making a new Hugh Piggott, but I could spend that on a second hand Proven... :crossed

These last 3 weeks have seen it gloomy here with some occasional sun shine, but do you know what, my 3 HP's have been turning it out hour after hour and all through the nights, so for me another Wind turbine to add to my collection makes sense if its under 1200.

 Thanks Paul & Heathercooper for you inputs.

Now where are my cheap as chips peanuts...?  ;D


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on February 20, 2015, 12:08:49 PM
Paul - you have started something with all this talk of cheap s/h Provens. Now the prices will rocket and we will not find easy replacements when ours have collapsed in the heap that Biff predicts. I shall be touring every school and community building in the country and making pre-emptive offers.

Billi - my PV inverter is only 2500 so output potential is about the same as yours.
We always need more heat up here but a small open source heat pump would be my preferred choice - we have a conveniently positioned well from which to draw. Have you seen such a thing as an AC side, frequency modulated, PWM dump controller - this is the priority for heating improvement?

The title of this post is "Off-grid for beginners". To me "off-grid" means not being connected to outside utility services (partially or completely). It does not necessarily mean pursuing a "hobby" or learning a new one. Anyone can go "Off-grid". "Beginner" means someone without comrehensive knowledge or experience.
I think the potential off-gridder needs as many facts as possible to begin planning and the facts are hard to isolate amongst all the (very good and informative) personal experience on offer. For example:
A beginner with frugal, but not exceptionally so, consumption might be forgiven for thinking that based on installing enough PV and cycling a battery bank to no greater than 10% DOD they would have sufficient power at all times. I think we all know this is not true (at least for the British Isles) but the insinuation is there in various posts. Happy to see facts proving me wrong.

Here is a fact  -
My base consumption (lighting, fridge/freezers, small electrical appliances, water pumping, heating ancillaries) varies, according to time of year, between 3 and 8 kWh per day. My daily generation varies with season but most importantly with the weather and does not correspond closely enough with that consumption even with battery storage. I could rebalance the system by increasing or (even decreasing) some elements but I will always need a generator. There is one individual baseline for a beginner to use as a yardstick.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: clockmanFR on February 20, 2015, 06:00:03 PM
"The title of this post is "Off-grid for beginners". To me "off-grid" means not being connected to outside utility services (partially or completely). It does not necessarily mean pursuing a "hobby" or learning a new one. Anyone can go "Off-grid"."

Righty oh then, I will shut up, as we here are not 'off Grid'.  whistle

I will now be polite...........

However, to my eyes we should encourage others to experiment, and seek a energy self sufficiency where ever possible, and not be sanctimonious as to who is really Off Grid or not.  stir:
 
We here believe in coming away from the grid for our future generations sake, and therefore getting our children to consider this planets future, but importantly it must be within a cost effective structure that makes sense.

We do not take the FIT's, it is very awkward to do so, and I think its extremely immoral for the rest of society to pay your FIT's in their every increasing bills.  stir:

Await a pounding.....





Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on February 20, 2015, 09:51:47 PM
To be perfectly honest,
                         This business of the generator is a bit of a sticking point and seems to be the big stumbling block for some off-grid members to get their head around. You have to remember, that living out in the sticks, like I do , would also require a sensible investment in a decent geni to carry us over outage if you were grid connected. So I describe a standby generator as exactly that. One that only get started up once in a blue moon and would perhaps use less than100 ltrs of fuel in 12 months and that is being very generous.
    I keep repeating the need for simplicity in design and setting up our installations, even if it cost is 10% less power, we need to keep it simple, reliable and easy soused out should some little think go wrong.
  A successful installation should be one where everything on ground level can be repaired or replaced within the hour and the faulty item removed and sent off for repair.
                                                          Biff
   


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on February 23, 2015, 01:01:17 PM
Oh dear CM. I had thought my use of the words "partially or completely" and "necessarily" qualified the point I was trying to make. Have you misinterpreted or just misquoted me?

Quote
However, to my eyes we should encourage others to experiment, and seek a energy self sufficiency where ever possible, and not be sanctimonious as to who is really Off Grid or not

Add "or how they got there or intend to" and I couldn't agree more.

Quote
We here believe in coming away from the grid for our future generations sake, and therefore getting our children to consider this planets future, but importantly it must be within a cost effective structure that makes sense.

Cost effectiveness is very different for different circumstances.

Quote
We do not take the FIT's, it is very awkward to do so, and I think its extremely immoral for the rest of society to pay your FIT's in their every increasing bills.

I suspect FIT's have been much debated on this forum before. The morality of the financial juggling to promote policies is a very wide subject and I would bet for every one shift in cost burden a person doesn't like there will be several they do, morality not withstanding. Personally, despite the many flaws in the system, I consider FITs to have been a good thing overall and I won't be insisting on paying pre-FIT prices for renewable gear.

I would put a smiley face here but I don't know how.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: vee-tail on March 05, 2015, 08:15:01 PM
Oh dear ... biff's opening post gave me hope that I might understand Off-grid. Now I am confused, so have decided to go back & rethink my whole renewable project ... EG:

Why do I want to be off-grid?
(1) Political: since it gives two fingers to the money and power obsessed elite who are running/ruining our country.
(2) Practical: since my cost of living has doubled, my pension has stagnated, and my savings are useless, all due to the corrupt political class in 1 above.

What is my greatest need? 
To be warm in winter, and reduce the cost of space and water heating.

What renewables are available to me?
(1) Hydro: 200 litres sec at 8m head.
(2) Heat Pump: From a fair sized river heat source that maintains +7 degrees temperature all year.

Wind and solar PV are not an option in my valley ... no wind and limited sun.

The hydro is presently a restored Grade II listed watermill with a 2kw 110 volt DC dynamo and a very ancient set of gears and belts to drive it. All very impressive Victorian engineering to look at, but not reliable enough for continuous use.

But the existing set up could charge batteries, and those batteries could provide power for water heating perhaps?

Or the waterwheel could be coupled to a modern pmg alternator using a modern chain or hydraulic or gearbox drive. But that would require listed building consent. Then fairly major re-engineering, and setting up some sort of generator control system, feeding perhaps a heat store and/or a water to water heat pump. Always lurking in my nightmares would be an overspeed of the 20 ft waterwheel and its generator & gearing.

Having looked at Navitron water turbines I am tempted to go for a medium head 5kw packaged unit. Probably feeding 230 volts to immersion heaters in a big heat store cylinder.  The turbine could be plumbed into the existing waterwheel penstock, where it would have 7m head. Presumably this would qualify for FITs which makes it even more attractive.

I already have a 400mm crossflow turbine stored here, but it requires 300 lts sec and is too big to use on this site.

But perhaps I am missing something in this off-grid scenario, there seem to be so many ways to make serious and expensive mistakes.  Any comments very welcome  horror:


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 05, 2015, 09:06:20 PM
Hi Vee Tail,


there seem to be so many ways to make serious and expensive mistakes.

Amen to that, there are more ways to go 'off grid' than there are to 'skin a cat' and few subjects on here that seem to arouse such controversy. There are many folk here 'off grid' or 'semi off grid', me included, and we all swear 'my way is best' when in reality what we mean is 'my way is best for me. You really have to weigh up your own capabilities, depth of pockets and most importantly needs. A small family in a sunny place has requirements far different to a property that is attached to a business. I managed for many years on 3.5kWh per day and south of here there are plenty of people who could go all year round with just solar. You can go 'off grid' simply and cheaply using cheap Chinese gear and get on just fine. It really depends whether you want a system you can leave alone for a few weeks to look after itself. Or whether your lifestyle enables you to be on hand 24/7 or at least never away from home for more than a few days.

Me, I've been 'off grid' so long that it's become a bit of a mission to squeeze as much energy out of the elements around me as is possible. Consequently I've set my self a target of well over 50kWh per day to completely supply a new property I'm building. It's my dream and the cost doesn't really bother me, I'll spend the rest of my life here and will probably be driving the same car I've had for 13 years in another 13 years. RE is my hobby as well as a way of keeping the house running smoothly.

In your case, if it were me I would get an Navitron AC turbine and 'AC couple' it into a large inverter/charger 'back feeding' a smallish battery bank with lots of dump loads for heating. With that kind of power (around 10kW) your battery bank is just a 'buffer' I guess, but you really would need some seriously reliable load diversions.

There are many other ways of doing it and I'm sure one of other 'off grid' members will be along shortly. Thank feck you don't need a generator or the air would be blue  :hysteria  :hysteria

Good luck, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: roys on March 05, 2015, 10:00:42 PM
Well said Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on March 05, 2015, 11:13:52 PM
When i got my gear 8 years back,   off course  ,i was under the impression  , thats  well advanced !

Probably the wrong thread here , but keep it simple is my advice   this was intended  to be posted  in the CM Sunny Island thread

It was a challenge  for me to learn   a lot about details , when i installed my system , no regrets  at all ...

But i do worry , that we , offgriders  slide away into a i phone managed technology , instead of keeping  the physics  of real world facts simple

Keep it simple !






Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on March 06, 2015, 12:40:18 AM
Quote
What renewables are available to me?
(1) Hydro: 200 litres sec at 8m head.
(2) Heat Pump: From a fair sized river heat source that maintains +7 degrees temperature all year.

Wind and solar PV are not an option in my valley ... no wind and limited sun.

The hydro is presently a restored Grade II listed watermill with a 2kw 110 volt DC dynamo

is it close to 8 kw   per hour  you can harvest from the water flow ?

So you are sorted big time

Quote
I already have a 400mm crossflow turbine stored here, but it requires 300 lts sec and is too big to use on this site.
  ok  pass it on to me then  whistle  ,



 ......just a question  i have ,"What will happen if you utilize   this turbine ?"   too low voltage perhaps and  miserable efficiency  perhaps , but who cares  as long as it is a RE source ?

I have a small waterturbine cheap china   AC 230 Volt  rated at  a certain flow and head , but it does/would  not bother me to have   say 100 volts only  cause i can harvest every flow and voltage

Billi


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on March 06, 2015, 12:52:03 AM
Keep it simple is right Billi,
                   My own system powers 3 places. The house, the Shed and our White Store, a 45ft insulated container that used to be my workshop and is now used for storing different types of fittings in such a way that I can access them without having to search for hours.
     My bank is located next to the turbine controller and inverter, The system is of course 120vdc, The turbine base is approx. 15ft from the controller.
  My dump loads are in dc, A fancy armoured cable takes the 220vac to the house, a distance of 150 ft. but 100ft in the opposite direction the 3,8kw array is sited, 2kww of this travels directly to a controller in the hall of our house, next to our heat storage/heater and the 2kw dumpload heats this with 1.8kw of pv, with the remaining charge heading back to the bank 150ft return journey. This controller triggers the dump load that little bit later than the other 2kw one which heats the DHWT. Then like I said before, when the real summer arrives, I add a 3rd controller ,set higher again to take care of the excess should one of the controllers fail or the Wind turbine and the solar combine to shoot out over the 4kw of existing dump load limits.
           My ac supply is quite simple, The power lines are in a straight line. 150ft travels to the house from the inverter, then  another 80ftstraight in the opposite direction to the standby generator below the tail of the 45ft container. There are two AC cables on this line. One to the generator area, to power the container and a further reach into the shed to power the shed. Each of the 3 points have a choice of either Generator or the normal wind/solar supply.
  This is done by simply pulling out one of two plugs and inserting them in one of two sockets. Everything is done manually and there is absolutely nothing to go wrong. If we decided we need generator power, I walk the 250 ft and start the geni, then on the way back I drop into the wind/solar control house and pull the house plug out of the w/s socket and put it in the generator socket. It is that simple.
    This year I hope to improve on it and have another dc geni with remote control which means we will not have to leave the house to start our standby geni as it will be driving  pmg through one of our standard controllers hardwired to the bank.
   If there was some safe way that I could have avoided laying heavy insulated 3 core x 2.5 cables going both ways from the generator to the W/S control house, I would have done it but safety is everything and it is designed to be operated by my wife with the minimum of hassle.
  There is  not a single item, controller, inverter, Etc that cannot be replaced within the hour.
  The system is not designed so that we have to be walking about fiddling with plugs. That only happens when we think that the power might be running low and we want to spare the bank (2 ton+) and we often go for 6 months at a time before the geni is asked to power the house.
  If I could make it any simpler, I would. This system would be ideal for beginners and old hands alike.
                                          Biff.
  


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 06:16:07 AM
 ::)  ::)  ::)

Here we go again,

Billi, if I could get 50kWh a day from 'keeping it simple' I would. I kept it simple for 9 years, one turbine DC coupled and managed just fine. However now I've 'moved on' and feel confident enough to explore other avenues.

Biff, two battery banks, cables you plug in and out, no auto start generator facility a turbine you have to lower manually, inverters and UPS systems that you have to switch on and off is hardly simple and user friendly.

Like I said, everyones needs, abilities, and budgets are different, don't 'AC couple' if you don't understand it. The last car I bought was in 2001 and it cost me 1000 so spending 11000 on inverters, batteries, turbines and panels does not make me flinch, especially if they have a five year 'no quibble' warranty.

Cheers, Paul



Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: vee-tail on March 06, 2015, 09:25:42 AM
Wow!  interesting replies ... I guess RE becomes a way of life once we get seriously into it.



Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on March 06, 2015, 09:55:52 AM
  "Here we go again She,s  back in town again"
   She,ill break my heart again,,,,,,,, One more time"
       Ray Charles did a lovely job on that one.
Paul.
        The days of the 2 battery banks are long gone. I am sure our turbine will not be coming down anything like as often as it used to and even if I feel the need to lower it, It can now be lowered much more easily and quicker in one run.
   It is,  as the thread states "Off Grid for beginners" and as such I try record, what I believe to be, the safe and sure route to success.
  Once one is established and generating the power, one can learn the mysteries and secrets of the Sunny family.
  I see nothing wrong at present in walking 250ft to turn the key on the silent running geni, then switch plugs on the return journey to the house,
 I have no intention of moving on and generating enough to power the village.
   The plan this year is to link my 2kw x 120v pmg to a remote starting geni (Chinese affair) and have it hardwired into the bank through one of our standard 2kw controllers.       And not a Sunny in sight.
   You have gone many years with out a worry on your old system. Hopefully you will be able to say the same about the Sunny side of things.
  I believe that they are just that bit to mysterious and complicated, especially if they tend to withhold the vital pieces of information.
  But that is just my own personal opinion and not the Navitron verdict. I am still a beginner you see  facepalm
                                                                             Biff
                                                          


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 10:07:08 AM
Wow!  interesting replies ... I guess RE becomes a way of life once we get seriously into it.



Indeed, and seems to get some of us 'hot under the collar' (including me). The title says it all really 'Off grid for beginners', well to me that means a beginner to being 'off grid' and not a beginner to learning to read and write or whatever. Anyone of any ability can go 'off grid', you have to ask yourself, 'what are you comfortable with'. Me, I'm an engineer so am comfortable with engines and turbines, they're are not a mystery and I know a good one from a bad one and have no qualms about buying second hand. If you are not comfortable with those things then avoid them but don't knock others for choosing that path. You may be an 'off grid beginner', have a job in the city and a wife that likes the 'simplicity' of being dry her hair whilst the bread is in the oven. In that case use your well earned cash to get 'an all singing dancing professional job'.

There's a gazillion other types of folk, peeps that trawl eBay and car boot sales for old UPS systems or broken power supplies and have the ability to fix them, connect them to some old telecom batteries and have a perfectly usable and reliable system. Fair play to that but don't go advising the merchant banker to do the same. I've come across people on the internet who have systems so complex they have more in common with the hybrid ferry I work on than the 'off grid' cabin they're supplying.  However they are of little use if you do not understand them, and don't just knock them because you don't.

There are many of us on here that have had an amazing 'off grid' journey and have decades of experience but we all need to realize (me included) that there is no such thing as 'one size fits all'. My system suits me is reliable and my wife can use it, and that I think is what we are all striving for on our chosen path.

Start off with something you understand for sure, but don't get 'stuck in a rut' and 'move with the times' (says he who still has a Nokia C2 and 29 year old Land Rover  ::) ) Stay within your abilities and don't 'bite off more than you can chew'.

Me, if I were in your position I would not be asking on here I'd cruising the internet and seeing how other people do it, there's CM's blog here http://www.echorenovate.com/ mine in my signature. There are hundreds of folk on the US and Ozz forums 'off grid', have a read, see what your comfortable with and what suits you. Then I'd be looking for some unbiased advice on here.

Good luck, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on March 06, 2015, 10:19:07 AM
Well first of all,
               Everyone who starts into R/E is a beginner, !.
    No matter how well qualified you are, you need the hands on experience to be able to tell you what you can and cannot do or get away with.
  No amount of theory will get you up and running. It the basic knowhow that comes from hard earned experience, either your own or someone else,s  that gets you over the line.
  You need to be able to see that all the rubbish written by these miracle batteries needs to be taken with a massive pinch of salt.
  I see nothing wrong with asking on here. Certainly, looking online is highly recommended but 9 times out of 10, Navitron can help.
                                                                                 Biff
 


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 10:29:54 AM

  I see nothing wrong with asking on here.
 

Well, I do, cos all we get is forum members (including me) sniping at each other.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on March 06, 2015, 10:40:49 AM
Goodness Paul,
                     You have gone very tender in your old age. If you have a problem with sniping as you call it, then the best thing to do is to try and stop.
          We should be gently debating and helping one another. I can well understand how some members get frustrated and lash out.
          However I know of no other forum that would allow a member to tell a newbie to go elsewhere for advice and expect to be applauded.
          As moderators we try our best to help. We are far from perfect.
          You once said and I quote "That Navitron was the most forgiving forum you ever joined and that was the reason that you were still a member"
           The mote in the eye springs to mind.
                                                       Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on March 06, 2015, 11:12:32 AM
Quote
Billi, if I could get 50kWh a day from 'keeping it simple' I would.

Thats an easy one  my chargcontroller will do that wee amount of kWh excess   , no worries  ;)



Paul you miss the point ! , similar like me missed the point  when  i was arguing  with Rogeriko  here on one of the best forums  about Renewable Energy forums in the world ,  about how to connect 30 V PV - panels to a 24 V battery  , years back and I always insisted on MPPT controllers    facepalm!

And I totally agree with Roger today , that , one can just  connect  more PV direct to the battery ( as long some charge controller finishes off the proper battery maintenance )

I have no glue ,  why your learning curve is towards  more electronic  gadgets , to call it a better off grid system !

My learning curve is  , that i would  even design oure Jo average House (offgrid)  even more simple,   than 8 years back , when i had lots of questions here

I have my doubts that modern Gadgets lead  automatically to a better off-grid world

Billi





Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on March 06, 2015, 11:27:06 AM
Paul !!!!! you are  welcome  to  advice here , its your Forum  as well , like mine , like every-bodies  ,  if one disagrees  , does not relate to the quality, no, it even makes it better  

Billi


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on March 06, 2015, 12:11:59 PM
I was going to stay off this topic for fear of in incurring further wrath but VT has demonstrated that the thread is valid - there are people out there (maybe just "lurking", but with an understandable trepidation) going through similar thought processes to mine of a few years ago.

Quote
Why do I want to be off-grid?
(1) Political: since it gives two fingers to the money and power obsessed elite who are running/ruining our country.
(2) Practical: since my cost of living has doubled, my pension has stagnated, and my savings are useless, all due to the corrupt political class in 1 above.
Add "have no choice there are no utility services at all" and "I do believe in sustainability" and this was exactly my own view.

Quote
What is my greatest need?  
To be warm in winter, and reduce the cost of space and water heating.
Add "need to replace the inadequate mess left by a less than competent series of DIYers" and this too was my priority.

Quote
What renewables are available to me?
Add "and what best suits my needs" and there we all start to differ and the minefield usually starts.

VT - If you have 8kW of reliable Hydro (either existing or potential) you are truly blessed for both power and heating and can go all the way off-grid at whatever speed suits your desire to get there and your ability (personal or just financial) to do so. Assessing the risk of making a very expensive mistake, or a series of cheap ones that are just as expensive in the long run, is just all part of the planning process. You could just jump in and still get there, apparently it's good fun. Getting good information from this forum (or indeed any other source) based on a single renewable, particularly Hydro which can be weather independent, should be fairly straightforward.

Taking six months over planning the route to a hybrid off-grid set-up that served my needs both immediately and for the rest of my life involved taking advice and information from various sources. The most fruitful was actually seeing existing set-ups. The most difficult to confidently take on board was Internet based - lots of personal opinions from people who may not even actually exist as they like to present! Facts and information to back them up are thin on the ground with an awful lot of stuff that just doesn't ring quite true. "I have two solar panels and my old Ford Anglia battery permanently at 13v and I haven't run the generator since 1964, today the sun came out so we put the tumble dryer on and vacuumed our five bedroom mansion" - some poetic license but you get my drift - there are, of course, people who survive with very little and they have my admiration but I doubt they spend much time on-line. I like to think I have identified the most useful contributions for me (probably still get this wrong) but to start with it was very difficult.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 12:23:50 PM
Goodness Paul,
                      If you have a problem with sniping as you call it, then the best thing to do is to try and stop.
        

I have and I am  ;D but as soon as we get on the subject of generators, batteries, battery backup on grid or the ideal 'off grid' set up we all 'see red'.


Billi, if I could get 50kWh a day from 'keeping it simple' I would.

Thats an easy one  my chargcontroller will do that wee amount of kWh excess   , no worries  Wink


Billi, my lovely, once again 'you are missing the point'. I am 'AC coupling' because for me it is cheaper and considerably so, by a magnitude of 10 or 15k. I need over 50kWh to run my new house and an essential part of that mix is a turnip. Now I have several alternatives to this, I can burn more oil, gas or wood, I can buy 50kW of PV or a 6kW battery charging wind turbine. This would 'keep things simple', or I could buy a 2.5kW grid tied machine for 800 that will reliably produce 3.2Kw and sometimes over 4kW. This is because the 'complicated' bits allow you to program in the power curve to match the TSR and your turbine isn't hampered by the battery voltage.

Sure it's not for everyone, not everyone can get a grid tied turnip for buttons (well apart from me, Woodi and Heather Hopper) but it is well worth 'putting into the mix' if you have the confidence. Yes 'simple is best', I've been putting 'PV straight to battery' for years, but I've also fitted an MPPT controller for a mate because he's no more room on the roof that I covered for him several years ago. If you can get an extra 20% from anything by going 'complicated', I say 'go for it' if you're confident.

If you're not then don't, but at least consider the other options or at least keep an 'open mind'. We all have systems that work well for us, I simply could not cope with Biff's (not to mention my wife) and I would not want to be restricted by the limitations of PV at this latitude. However these systems can work well for other people just as complex AC/DC coupled ones can.

Love and peace, Paul



Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 12:30:16 PM
The most fruitful was actually seeing existing set-ups. The most difficult to confidently take on board was Internet based - lots of personal opinions from people who may not even actually exist as they like to present! Facts and information to back them up are thin on the ground with an awful lot of stuff that just doesn't ring quite true. "I have two solar panels and my old Ford Anglia battery permanently at 13v and I haven't run the generator since 1964, today the sun came out so we put the tumble dryer on and vacuumed our five bedroom mansion" - some poetic license but you get my drift - there are, of course, people who survive with very little and they have my admiration but I doubt they spend much time on-line. I like to think I have identified the most useful contributions for me (probably still get this wrong) but to start with it was very difficult.

My point exactly, which is why I have now (1st March) started a spreadsheet just like yours  :genuflect and I'll have you know, I have NEVER done a spreadsheet in my life before  :crossed

And, if anyone is interested I've surpassed my needs of 52kWh per day every day bar one which was 51kWh and my best was 67kWk (37 0f which came from my 800 turnip). The best solar has been 10kWh and the average 4kWh.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on March 06, 2015, 12:52:08 PM
Paul
Maybe a little off topic (can't think where it should really be) but while I'm on-line:
Having fitted the very expensive Windyboy protection box I have waited for weeks to see any return on my money - as expected it just sits there doing not a lot although I can convince myself the power delivery to the Inverters is less savage than the Proven interface. Lo and behold we have had good gusty (although not unusual) wind at 30+ mph (measured at about 3.5m so the Turbine sees considerably higher) and it actually activated the heater briefly today. I need to look into the circumstances (must have an AC dump not operating where I expected it to) but at least confirmation that I can now leave the system untended without worrying about the dreaded Inverter overvoltage flashing and worse! I highly recommend if you can track down another fleabay unit.

Spreadsheets of output data are great. Yes they can be made up and manipulated like anything else but they paint a good picture for anyone wanting to know how a system really performs or, more importantly if you're about to spend money, doesn't. I just regret I haven't any consumption data recorded.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 01:07:13 PM
Paul
Maybe a little off topic (can't think where it should really be) but while I'm on-line:
Having fitted the very expensive Windyboy protection box I have waited for weeks to see any return on my money - as expected it just sits there doing not a lot although I can convince myself the power delivery to the Inverters is less savage than the Proven interface. Lo and behold we have had good gusty (although not unusual) wind at 30+ mph (measured at about 3.5m so the Turbine sees considerably higher) and it actually activated the heater briefly today. I need to look into the circumstances (must have an AC dump not operating where I expected it to) but at least confirmation that I can now leave the system untended without worrying about the dreaded Inverter overvoltage flashing and worse! I highly recommend if you can track down another fleabay unit.

Spreadsheets of output data are great. Yes they can be made up and manipulated like anything else but they paint a good picture for anyone wanting to know how a system really performs or, more importantly if you're about to spend money, doesn't. I just regret I haven't any consumption data recorded.

 

Yes H/H, I've been scouring tinternet and eblag for one, there is a guy in Israel selling them very cheaply but add VAT, duty, resistor, postage and risk and there's not a lot in it. Just one thought did occur to me though, if you did loose AC then the inverter will shut down so the 'DC overvoltage' only becomes an issue if you reset the AC. So, as the Proven turbines are quite happy to run off load, so long as you open the DC disconnect before resetting the AC then it shouldn't be an issue! should it? I'm still going to try and track one down though. Perhaps when we sell the wife's Nissan  whistle

The consumption counting is a bit of a problem with 'AC coupling' as I've found out, positioning of the meters is crucial or they run backwards as well  banghead: Still working on that one.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on March 06, 2015, 01:18:33 PM
Quote
Billi, my lovely, once again 'you are missing the point'. I am 'AC coupling' because for me it is cheaper and considerably so

Paul ,  its about "keep it simple "    and my system works  since years   comfortably  and  with double  the  kWh  usage than your  place !

If i would  have to ubgrade this ,  i certainly would not look  into the adverts  and shiny  i phone style descriptions , cause  i know   where the watts come from  ,  and that , thankfully , i have learnt here , or better harvested  from the elements ....

Why are you  thinking , that i  have a Problem with "AC coppling " ?


I just do not believe into that foolish technology trap that tells  people  that one have to have this or that  for firing up the lights

Billi


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on March 06, 2015, 01:56:59 PM
The thing that totally turned me Sunny,
                                      Was my visit to the old dear who lived 650mtrs on the side of the mountain.
  She wanted the best and her Husband (Deceased famous painter) spent the lolly and flooded the byre with the complete Sunny family.
   for 1kw of PV and a dud wind turbine.
  No one will go near her now, The original installer is no longer in business and no one wants to get involved with these expensive toys.
  There is nobody locally who can fix them or even understand them.
   In my own case, I did not want to be accused of substituting her top of the range toys for one that had big bold writing in the front which stated,
                            MADE IN CHINA
  I found the whole thing a disgusting ripoff that was so over engineered to hide its weakness it left the poor woman with nothing but a clatter of expensive junk.
  There was never a stronger case for keeping it simple than the one that I saw that day.
               Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: skyewright on March 06, 2015, 02:22:26 PM
 There was never a stronger case for keeping it simple than the one that I saw that day.
Who do you think was most likely the cause of that situation? The sales pitch, or the technicians fitting the gear, or the manufacturers producing the gear? The manufacturers quite possibly were never consulted so they just supplied what was ordered, the technicians fitted the kit they'd been sent out with, the sales...

If someone managed to sell a sports car as a tractor, would its failure to pull a plough put you off the car manufacturer, or even off cars as a product?


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 02:54:24 PM
Quote
Billi, my lovely, once again 'you are missing the point'. I am 'AC coupling' because for me it is cheaper and considerably so

Paul ,  its about "keep it simple "    and my system works  since years   comfortably  and  with double  the  kWh  usage than your  place !

If i would  have to ubgrade this ,  i certainly would not look  into the adverts  and shiny  i phone style descriptions , cause  i know   where the watts come from  ,  and that , thankfully , i have learnt here , or better harvested  from the elements ....

Why are you  thinking , that i  have a Problem with "AC coppling " ?


I just do not believe into that foolish technology trap that tells  people  that one have to have this or that  for firing up the lights

Billi


Your not listening are you Billi

I just do not believe into that foolish technology trap that tells  people  that one have to have this or that  for firing up the lights

You probably have a 'smart phone' but that's OK, you can get  turbine for buttons and 'AC couple' but that's not, no you have to buy 50kW of PV instead.

Your system 'works well for years' and I applaud you for that but there are other 'types' of people out there with other requirements. This is exactly why I suggested the OP looks elsewhere because people on here seem to be convinced their way is the only way.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 02:59:44 PM
The thing that totally turned me Sunny,
                                      Was my visit to the old dear who lived 650mtrs on the side of the mountain.
  She wanted the best and her Husband (Deceased famous painter) spent the lolly and flooded the byre with the complete Sunny family.
   for 1kw of PV and a dud wind turbine.
  No one will go near her now, The original installer is no longer in business and no one wants to get involved with these expensive toys.
  There is nobody locally who can fix them or even understand them.
   In my own case, I did not want to be accused of substituting her top of the range toys for one that had big bold writing in the front which stated,
                            MADE IN CHINA
  I found the whole thing a disgusting ripoff that was so over engineered to hide its weakness it left the poor woman with nothing but a clatter of expensive junk.
  There was never a stronger case for keeping it simple than the one that I saw that day.
               Biff

So that's it then is it Biff, the Pacific islands and Scottish Islands with reliable SMA systems running whole communities are carp and a rip off. The stuff is pish alright they use it African hospitals and run diamond mines off it. Pure rubbish I'm sure, far better to raise and lower a Chinese turbine every gale than leave a decent one up. As I said before, it works just fine for you and I respect you for it, but there are other ways than 'my way or no way'.

Cheers, Paul.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: heatherhopper on March 06, 2015, 03:43:29 PM
On my fact finding trawls around the internet a couple of years ago I think there was not a single manufacturer who escaped castigation over some aspect of their products or service. Some stood out with more positive comment on balance - SMA were one and I decided on an SI based system although that was not the only reason. The system or service has not failed me once in four years but I have most certainly made mistakes with and around it. Expensive - yes but not compared with comparable products. Too sophisticated - depends on what you want the system to do but I would no more attempt repairs myself on a current Victron, Outback or a.n.other. If an Inverter fails it would be back to base or a replacement for me. I would not consider buying anything significant from a chines manufacturer but I recognise this as personal prejudice based on never having had a long lasting experience of anything from there.

Paul - yes the WBs shutdown on overvoltage and the Turbine runs fine unloaded. My concern was that even with AC loads there was occasional overvoltage shutdowns of the WBs and I simply did not trust the Proven interface or the WBs ability to deal with this overvoltage repeatedly (I believe there were a number of revised versions of the interface and I have no idea which mine was). My understanding is SMA will not honour warranties on WBs without "proper" overvoltage protection. Although the warranty is not relevant to me I considered their position an indication of the vulnerability of the WB. Better safe than sorry mainly but restarting the Inverters in strong winds was no fun and was also a consideration.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on March 06, 2015, 05:42:07 PM
No! that is not "It" at all Paul,
                         The thread states  "Off-grid for Beginners" This is a thread that I hoped that would be dedicated to beginners and here you are railing on about south sea islands, hospitals etc,  where you know damd well that the installers would be the only ones capable of getting these bags of tricks up and running with out getting into a nightmare situation like Clockman.
         My friend we all know that Hugh is there in the background to offer you all the kind words of advice that you need. And if the master himself can not get it right, Then god help us all. That is exactly why you got your replacement Sunny so quickly. You seem to not want to recognise the problem that Clockman has had in contacting these people. He tells you but you do not listen.
   Take the time and read back on the stuff that you have written on this thread and tell me, does a lot of your writing not sound aggressive?.
  If I did not know better Paul, I would think that you were spamming SMA.
  This stuff is not for beginners. Either you get an installer to set it up or you take the courses and learn from the firm itself
  This bickering and insisting that you have your own way and telling the moderators that SMA goodies are ok for beginners will have to stop.
  It is bad for the forum, It puts people who know their stuff off from posting because nobody wants to get  into an argument . I have forwarded your comments on telling Vee-Tee to look elsewhere for advice on R/E, to the head moderators.  Obviously they will want to know why you implied to VEe-Tee that Navitron was not up to the job in helping him in his quest for a R/E solution. Maybe you would like to explain it here.
 Put yourself in out position Paul, You would  not tolerate this kid of nonsense for one minute and you seem to expect Navitron who helped you down through the years to suffer insults like this.
  
                                                                          Biff
                                                                        
                                    
  
  


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 05:46:03 PM
 banghead:  banghead:  banghead:  banghead:

I give in 'facts 1 x Proven 2.5kW turbine grid tied with inverter and hardware 800 + 400 delivery' reliably producing up to 4kW  banghead:  banghead:  banghead:

fact, 1 x 6kW Proven grid tied wind turbine producing reliable electricity for H/H  dunno what he paid for it but it was cheap and there is another member in Ireland who got a 3kW Bornay for even less.

I  have never ever recommended AC coupling anything if you can DC couple it cheaper, you simply do not read or understand my posts. Perhaps it gets 'lost in translation' or you just see my posts and think 'Oh, I'll just wind Paul up', well you're making a fecking good job of  ;D My love of AC coupling comes from the fact that I've acquired loads of inverters a Proven 2.5 and most of a Proven 6 for less than the price of 1kW of solar and a Midnite Classic.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: biff on March 06, 2015, 06:19:50 PM
 Not angry Paul,
                    Just very disappointed,
                                             Biff


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 06:25:40 PM
No! that is not "It" at all Paul,
                         The thread states  "Off-grid for Beginners" This is a thread that I hoped that would be dedicated to beginners and here you are railing on about south sea islands, hospitals etc,  where you know damd well that the installers would be the only ones capable of getting these bags of tricks up and running with out getting into a nightmare situation like Clockman.
         My friend we all know that Hugh is there in the background to offer you all the kind words of advice that you need. And if the master himself can not get it right, Then god help us all. That is exactly why you got your replacement Sunny so quickly. You seem to not want to recognise the problem that Clockman has had in contacting these people. He tells you but you do not listen.
   Take the time and read back on the stuff that you have written on this thread and tell me, does a lot of your writing not sound aggressive?.
  If I did not know better Paul, I would think that you were spamming SMA.
  This stuff is not for beginners. Either you get an installer to set it up or you take the courses and learn from the firm itself
  This bickering and insisting that you have your own way and telling the moderators that SMA goodies are ok for beginners will have to stop.
  It is bad for the forum, It puts people who know their stuff off from posting because nobody wants to get  into an argument . I have forwarded your comments on telling Vee-Tee to look elsewhere for advice on R/E, to the head moderators.  Obviously they will want to know why you implied to VEe-Tee that Navitron was not up to the job in helping him in his quest for a R/E solution. Maybe you would like to explain it here.
 Put yourself in out position Paul, You would  not tolerate this kid of nonsense for one minute and you seem to expect Navitron who helped you down through the years to suffer insults like this.
  
                                                                          Biff
                                                                        
                                    
  
  

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH,

steady on Biff, you really are picking me up wrong here, my take on this subject is obviously different to yours 'off grid for beginners' I took to mean 'off grid' for the first time, and all I'm saying is we all do it differently and no one way is right. I have also said on several occasions that yours and Billi's approach is right for you and probably hunners of other folk too.

You have obviously not read my posts properly about the SMA stuff as I phoned them up about a query, mentioned about 'fixed price inverter repairs' and promptly came away with another new inverter. I can hardly be accused of spamming as Navitron sell and recommend SMA products, unlike some the moderators who often plug other things.

Again, if you re read my posts to CM you will see that I have been telling him to phone SMA as he has a serious problem. Yes, I was being aggressive but I meant to be, he could start a fire and ruin much of his hard labours. Then of course it would be SMA's fault, and as you have pointed out, I am actually quite pleased with their products and services, having bought one inverter from our forum host.

As for my advice to Vee Tail, well, if that offended you, Billi or anyone else on here then I truly do apologize and I've removed it. I've just re read it, and yes it did sound ungrateful. It was not my intention, my intention was to try and direct Vee Tail away from our inevitable bickering.

I did try to avoid it in my initial advice but it soon descended into the usual 'mine is better than yours'.

It really is a great forum.

Cheers, Paul


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: Mostie on March 06, 2015, 07:20:46 PM
Biff, we seem have gone 6 pages on this topic and still I have yet to see one example i.e. perhaps a sketch of a simple installation of various types of renewable energy.

I'm afraid if this continues I will be awarding Mostie's off grid  :spam for beginners prize, of which Paul and Billi are joint top spot.   whistle


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 07:28:13 PM
Biff, we seem have gone 6 pages on this topic and still I have yet to see one example i.e. perhaps a sketch of a simple installation of various types of renewable energy.

I'm afraid if this continues I will be awarding Mostie's off grid  :spam for beginners prize, of which Paul and Billi are joint top spot.   whistle

I have been suitably chastised and will now behave, how about this one

(http://blog.milkdelivery.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/humble-pie.jpg)

sorry, I mean this one

(http://lifeattheendoftheroad.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/schoolhouse-wiring.png)

though I've since swapped the Tri Star PWM solar controller on the right for an MPPT one I bought off Clockman.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: desperate on March 06, 2015, 07:35:51 PM
Hmmm...........note to self, off grid is NOT for beginners.

Peace.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: Antman on March 06, 2015, 08:17:29 PM
There is always more than one way to achieve an objective and a method that works best for one person may not be the optimum for another. That does not make it wrong and often the 'best' way is not always the one we adopt for a variety of reasons.
Maybe best to calm down for 24 hours and continue the thread after a good nights rest - when that pie's been eaten  ;D

I thought changingtheearth was back for a minute facepalm

Antman


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: clockmanFR on March 06, 2015, 08:29:22 PM
Paul,

 Please keep that PV voltage coming into the Tristar MPPT BELOW 120vdc VOC.
 
Don't forget that Tristar MPPT Controller was running a separate 24v 400ah system and NOT a 48v system so hopefully you reset those internal DIP switches inside the controller. ?
 
I know you have, but just to ease my conscious, as I forgot to tell you in our correspondence.


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: camillitech on March 06, 2015, 10:05:29 PM
Full description here CM https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/another-brown-trouser-sunday/ with a plug for you and your book. And yes, I did alter the dip switch to 24v  ;)


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: Mostie on March 06, 2015, 11:31:31 PM
There is always more than one way to achieve an objective and a method that works best for one person may not be the optimum for another. That does not make it wrong and often the 'best' way is not always the one we adopt for a variety of reasons.

Exactly, Vee Tail posted a while back that he cant use wind or solar. so there's only the Mill, (actually I quite like the idea of watching flailing Victorian belts and pulleys generating some 'lecky)  ;D

Maybe best to calm down for 24 hours and continue the thread after a good nights rest - when that pie's been eaten  :Grin
:hysteria

Paul your setup, and Billi's definitely not for beginners, however some will take note and perhaps learn, Biff's is more 'hands on' which works for him, people will approach the off grid setup from many different angles.  edit: (Billi beat me to it)
CM built a whole Sunny village  :o

and I have a solar powered hut  ralph:





Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: clockmanFR on March 07, 2015, 09:21:11 AM
Phew! Paul, that's good to here.
Thanks for the Plug, but their ain't any money in those books as the cost just covers printing and post......  whistle

Mostie,.      "CM built a whole Sunny village"  Well I am trying Mostie, I am tyring. Although I doubt is SMA think much about my antics on the cheap, with used/s/h SB's 'as cheap as Chips' and other issues....... whistle  whistle  whistle

Below Pic..... Block Diagram for PV solar tracker arrangement with 3 different output concepts for your 230vac supply.

 


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on March 07, 2015, 11:23:05 AM
Oh dear ... biff's opening post gave me hope that I might understand Off-grid. Now I am confused, so have decided to go back & rethink my whole renewable project ... EG:

Why do I want to be off-grid?
(1) Political: since it gives two fingers to the money and power obsessed elite who are running/ruining our country.
(2) Practical: since my cost of living has doubled, my pension has stagnated, and my savings are useless, all due to the corrupt political class in 1 above.

What is my greatest need? 
To be warm in winter, and reduce the cost of space and water heating.

What renewables are available to me?
(1) Hydro: 200 litres sec at 8m head.
(2) Heat Pump: From a fair sized river heat source that maintains +7 degrees temperature all year.

Wind and solar PV are not an option in my valley ... no wind and limited sun.

The hydro is presently a restored Grade II listed watermill with a 2kw 110 volt DC dynamo and a very ancient set of gears and belts to drive it. All very impressive Victorian engineering to look at, but not reliable enough for continuous use.

But the existing set up could charge batteries, and those batteries could provide power for water heating perhaps?

Or the waterwheel could be coupled to a modern pmg alternator using a modern chain or hydraulic or gearbox drive. But that would require listed building consent. Then fairly major re-engineering, and setting up some sort of generator control system, feeding perhaps a heat store and/or a water to water heat pump. Always lurking in my nightmares would be an overspeed of the 20 ft waterwheel and its generator & gearing.

Having looked at Navitron water turbines I am tempted to go for a medium head 5kw packaged unit. Probably feeding 230 volts to immersion heaters in a big heat store cylinder.  The turbine could be plumbed into the existing waterwheel penstock, where it would have 7m head. Presumably this would qualify for FITs which makes it even more attractive.

I already have a 400mm crossflow turbine stored here, but it requires 300 lts sec and is too big to use on this site.

But perhaps I am missing something in this off-grid scenario, there seem to be so many ways to make serious and expensive mistakes.  Any comments very welcome  horror:


May i ask , whats wrong  with the DC dynamo ? 2 kW is still a lot (48 kWh a day )   , you could use a MPPt charge controller or a GTI  ,  and a off Grid inverter  to drive your electricity loads , and  the heatpump (how much  kW does she use ?)

Billi



Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: vee-tail on March 08, 2015, 06:33:27 PM
Billi and everyone ... sorry if my query caused upset  surrender:   facepalm

Yes my 1900 DC dynamo might still be useful and even qualify for FITs?   

Actually this forum has been really helpful in outlining possible options, so many thanks to all.  Guess I need to sit down & work out just what is the best solution for my particular site.    


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: billi on March 09, 2015, 04:18:07 AM
Old meet new technology  sounds like fun .... exhappy:

What is the max wattage your "dynamo" can ?    Is it the max or just the RPM  of the wheel , limiting it ?


Title: Re: Off-grid for beginners
Post by: guydewdney on March 09, 2015, 07:40:34 AM
Old dc 1900's dynamos are horribly inefficient. Nice as a bkt of history but i wouldnt use one as a power source today.