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Author Topic: Off-grid Immersion thinking.  (Read 61788 times)
biff
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« on: September 23, 2013, 11:17:38 AM »

Off-gridders like me have to take advantage of every ray of sunshine and burst of wind energy,
                           When our battery bank is full,the real benifits start coming on stream.I recently set up a dump load DC immersion in our new 3 coil D/H/W/C.It works really well,in fact a few days after I installed it,there was hot steam blowing out of the sink taps and the water had to be run off to be able to work safely.The immersion responsible was a 2kw x 138vDC x 18" which sat at the top of our new 1800mm nx 550mm hot water cylinder.
     This was quite dangerous as you can well imagine,so I set about installing a mini surrey flange to take the hot water from the head of the tank and heat exchange it through the solar coil at the very bottom,One 10mmpipe drawing off the hot and another 10mm pipe returning the same to the head of the tank cooled.The pump was a bronze innards circulation pump which was triggered by a thermoswitch,whose probe was fitted down inside a sleeve inside the immersion where the cutout switch probe would normally have been on an AC system
     As it all turned out,the arrangement exceeded our expectations.It works really well and a few times when we went out shopping during the good weather,we returned home to find that the tank was full,from the top to the bottom with hot but managable water and that the excess heat had been sent around the C/H system which was warm to touch.There had been no boiler fired up for days,so this was new and exciting,
  However,One of the main benifits of such a system is that 18" immersion heats our water for immediate use much quicker than a long immersion reaching down 3ft into the tank,which when you think about it,will definatly not heat the remaining 3ft of a tank like ours.This is just another accidential discovery on my behalf but I remember Martin remarking about large lukewarm tanks which were quite usless.Our D/H/W/c DC immersion is only 18" long,so the water at the head of the tank gets up to temp very quick,The temp in our case is adjustable on the remote stat.I am not sure if such a system would be of any benifit to an OnGridder,Perhaps making the best use of the excess heat from a boiler in a W/B/Stove,But it is all worth considering because in the depth of winter ,every little bit of heats counts.
                                                Biff
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biff
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2014, 05:00:56 PM »

Today the wind has been blowing from the North West,
                                A nice health force 6 ,Then brilliant sunshine for hours on end and our new 3kw array,is really delivering the power. So our 2 x 2kw immersions have been busy all day.In fact the voltage touched on 148vlts a few times and that is a record.So i will have to install that 3rd controller and redirect to an emergency dump any thing above 145vdc.I know that I have a controller somewhere with an adjustable voltage pod and with a little bit of experimenting I should be able to get it set to cope with emergencies.I have also considered supplying power to a halogen heater which is turned on and off by a stat on the recirculation return pipe however this would not act quick enough to cope with a surge in voltage.
       The rads do not get hot hot, just warm to touch but the C/H system hold quite a bit of coolant and takes a good few hours to cool down,Plus the tanks,especially the hot water storage/heater in the hall will stay warm a good 24 hours to provide excellent background heat.
  The idea is to have a system that is totally automatic and which can cope with any fluctuation in both voltage and Temperature.Eventually I hope to have a control board that tells me the water temperature and which of the 3 pumps are in action at any given time + the voltage at a glance.
                                                                                         Biff
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Billy
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2014, 06:29:02 PM »

Automatic, I dream of automatic.

When the bats are full I have to turn on the immersion heater or lose all those lovely kWs.  When the wind blows too hard I have to lasso the whirling blades of death.  Every month I have to undo the bolts on the solar mount to adjust the altitude.  Several times a day I have to unlock the pivot and swing the solar array towards the sun.....

automatic, automatic, automatic lover, I am your automatic energy saving lover............
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biff
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2014, 06:58:20 PM »

Billy,
        If I can do it,so can you,serious.! I just put the PV through Chinese hybrid wind/solar controllers and their dump load (only 2 wires) send the dc excess to the dc immersions. So there is no real brains involved.
  The Dc immersion heaters are available in 48vdc(56v) in 1kw or 2kw. Mine are 2kw in 138vdc. and yes it is fully automatic as it stands at present but in another few weeks the power coming in will exceed the dump load capabilities,so i must install another controller just for safety.
         It works a dream,It really does.
                                       Biff
    nb, I also lowered the angle of the array,Its much flatter now but works earlier in the morning and later in the evening that before.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 07:27:47 PM by biff » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2014, 08:49:51 AM »

More batteries?
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3.06kWp SolarEdge system with a split array:
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biff
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2014, 04:47:22 PM »

The day started well,
               Good wind,but very cold with the north wind chill factor.Good solar pv output and by 1pm the rads were warm,then the sky turned grey and the house began to cool.
   Outside is bitter cold at the moment.It is very like a snow sky but a bit late in the year for that.I fired up the boiler about 3pm. The wind is driving sheets of rain against our North gable not a very nice start to Easter freeze
                           Biff
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 10:39:07 AM »

Easter came and went,
                    The weather was fantastic with warm sunny weather and gentle breezes.The roads were choc a block with wandering tourists in campers,looking at maps and trying to drive,I thought everything was Sat Nav these days.I had reason to travel the Finn Valley into Strabane.I am guessing that a lot of the Northern Drivers were Dui just after lent and some of the driving was crazy. Not speeding just plain drunk.Most of our Garda stations are now shut down and for a while the gangs were having a picnic robbing people in their homes. However,community protection groups were formed and Txt watch,where if any suspicious looking cars or vans were noticed in the area,they were reported in by txt giving the reg.We had excellent results here locally.A family rented a house of a friend of mine,s sister over the net. The family moved in but local observations noted that they were touring about the area in their up market 4 x 4s at all kinds of strange hours. Nothing wrong with that of course but they turned out to be one of the worst crime families in the UK with about 14 adult members and a few kids.They were here for six months before folks knew who they were.This creeping burglar lark really caught on around here for a while and the locals had a feeling that they were being watched.They were right.The guards used a strange method to move them on but now they are gone.
    My immersions are proving to be a success,as each week goes by the rads hold more hot water for longer and its has been almost a week since we fired up the boiler.There is no switching or waiting to move power over to another appliance,It is fully automatic with the central heating water acting as the final controller dump load,
  How I wish that this could carry on over the winter genuflect
                                                                       Biff
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2014, 09:04:48 PM »

 Mrs Biff,s bedroom has been finished ,
                        so I used some of the T nG sealer to slap all over this water heater in the hall.I covered it all in Kingspan with a light 4mm ply.The ply is surprisingly strong when it has kingspan behind it but better still it is not given to kicking and warping.It has been tested now for about a year and seems to be pretty good and reliable.It has it own pump and thermostat which uses the C/H fluid to cool the dump load immersion on the top.I was reluctant to seal it off because I might have to access the immersion,the pump.or the little header tank which take a little fluid every 6 months. So I left the gaps in the places which give me access to anything  that might need to be inspected.

 The vents were necessary,The top of the tank gets very hot around 1pm just before our central heating pump kicks in from the DHWT upstairs.The stat on the water heater is set a few degrees higher and is only to be used as a backup in event of the C/H pump packing in,(it could happen)which would result in the tanks overheating and boiling. The sealer is heady stuff and can give one hell of a hangover,so plenty of ventilation is a must.The little cupboard is sporting a door from the texas casulty department (1993 Grin) with the sticker still on it but it did not cost that.

                                                      Biff
   NB, I would just like to add,that such a water storage/heater in a hall such as our is quite a good idea.I know there is quite a bit of work and expense in doing it right but one of the remarks that Mrs Biff has passed is that the hall never got cold or chill since I installed the water storage/heater. It really does work well.Our boiler can also heat it,The tank has a radiator effect shell right around it and is part of the C/H system,This is how it heat exchanges with the C/H to cool the dump load immersion during the day. So as night falls we have warm rads and two big tanks full of hot water. So with the house as heavily insulated as it is,we do not have to fire up the boiler near as much now.So I am not mistaken in saying that there must be massive savings in fuel alone..
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 09:57:16 PM by biff » Logged

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solar_cambridge
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2014, 09:53:05 PM »

Mrs Biff,s bedroom has been finished ,
                        so I used some of the T nG sealer to slap all over this water heater in the hall.I
I'm doing something similar - trying to box in pipes and other things at the moment. Varnish or paint finish? What means do you have to access the business parts of the cylinder if needed? Is it screwed or held by a friction fit.

Any pics of your inverter that you've installed for this project. Still curious how you've wired it all up.
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2014, 10:10:07 PM »

Hi solar,
          I sited the vents directly over the items requiring inspection.I can isolate the pump by removing the bottom vent,I can reach the Immersion and check all the pipework from the middle vent and the top one ,when removed gives access to the header tank water lever mark and the little filler at the top.
          Wiring up is simple enough,I just use a 2kw Chinese hybrid,wind/solar controller with its own 2kw+ dump loads,I just bypass the dump loads and take the DC straight to the immersions @ 138vdc +. .I had the immersions ordered in 138vdc so there is good balance and the turbine is not going to take off on its own.There should always be one immersion ready to brake it,if the need be.
                                                                               Biff
   Varnish or paint finish,
            I am honestly not sure what it is,I just asked for stuff for the ceiling that would give a good finish but not shiny,I don,t want the headlights of cars bouncing about the room during the night.
    I thought it might have been polyurathane ? but it is water based(supposedly). It is very hard to get off the brushes.Petrol will not shift it nor white spirits and water and fairy liquid leaves an annoying mess. However,2.5 ltrs @ 30 euros put two good coats on the ceiling and I still have a quarter inch left in the tin after doing the water heater in the hall.
  Its called Crown interior woodcare all purpose varnish and if you are panting it on low down,do not bend over the open tin,best to pour out a cup full into a small container and use it up that way but it is heady stuff,
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 10:23:28 PM by biff » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2014, 09:50:45 AM »

 Just a few words to say that the water storage/heater in the hall is working well,
                                                  It is all sealed off now,so i don,t get to put my hand on the pipes to feel how hot they are,instead there is this background heat and there is never a chill in the air, even if the boiler has bot been fired up for weeks on end. Our turbine has been lowered because of suspected bearings problems and the small 660watt array has been dismantled and stored away,still each morning well before 10am the voltage climbs up into the dump load area and the two tanks are piping hot.
     I am just putting the finishing touches to the wind deflectors on the new 3kw array, I have one more important project to do for herself and then,I might get around to wind turbine but there is no hurry,It is doing dine where it is and I am strongly considering relocating it onto a tilting tower.
         In our case,it is a waste of a good turbine to have it up running all day,braking and playing second fiddle to the PV,Every time there is a massive burst of sunlight the wind turbine is forced to brake to a standstill in anything under a force 4.This kind of stop start running is bound to inflict heavy wear and tear on the turbine,s components.
  So the plan is, To lay my hands on a tilting tower a bit like George,s one but not quite as high.I have had tilting towers here before on smaller turbines and they are the true way forward.
                                                                                          Biff
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2015, 02:31:09 PM »

It has been a while since I posted anything on this thread,
                                                 To be honest,I did not expect to have anything to post because of the very short days and lack of sunshine. Today we had a fair old breeze and some sunshine and our tanks were getting so hot that the circulating pump taking the hot from the top of the dhwt tank to the bottom,came on and stayed on. genuflect for a good hour. The downstair hall is warm as well. So this works all year round and at times when you really need it,on draughty days like today, Grin
                                                                              Biff
                                                 
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2015, 12:16:08 PM »

It is almost a year later,
                  And our water heating system is performing really well. the DHWT was circulating the hot from the top to the bottom solar coil before 10am. Even with showers and the washing machine going the cooing pump still kept going, so today might just be the very first day in 2015 that the C/H rads might get warm to touch as the C/H pump kicks in to cool the DHWT.That would be quite something.
   I don't need to touch or adjust anything, it will look after everything all on its own. ballspin
                                                                    Biff
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2015, 09:00:52 AM »

Like my previous post,
                    Our system is performing very nicely. Our rads stay warm untill well after 6ish and the tanks then keep the chill out of the air. Yesterday was a top performance day.
  There is bound to be a big saving on fuel. Despite the periods of bright sunlight yesterday, there was a bitter wind, a force 6-7 for most of the day and our turbine would have been well near the max output. This is an excellent system for anyone who wants to be serious about living off Grid, so anyone who would like to know the specs,etc can PM me and I will gladly supply the info. It is one of the most simple installations that I know off. (it has to be Grin )
                                                 Biff
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2015, 09:15:00 AM »

... march , april and now may  are beautiful month for our radiators to come on automatically  , when bat voltage rises
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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