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Author Topic: Off grid starter advice?  (Read 7584 times)
Greenbeast
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« on: October 29, 2013, 04:57:03 PM »

I know i have been given tid-bits before now and others have made similar journeys (i don't mind being directed towards useful threads) BUT....

Having just gone through 36 hours without power, and shifting (my step-dad's) petrol generator around the place worrying about food in fridges and freezers and my solar thermal. And recently having had a planned power cut during a very sunny day also, i'm more determined than ever to sort out something in the way of off-grid-ness

I don't have a lot to spend, more like nothing (but i will have to make sacrifices elsewhere).
But i would like to keep the solar thermal, fridge and freezer ticking over for a couple of days, with a bit of lighting in the evening (luckily all my lighting is led now, so i'd only need a few Wh for an evening of light.
I can make tea, cook heat the house and all my water on the wood burner.

I guess i need to work out the total stored power needs based on the above info.

What should i be looking at in terms of battery technology? They may be able to go in a shed, but one doesn't exist currently, so they'd probably sit in my back lobby/mud room.
How should i connect to them, i.e. should in install a couple of dedicated sockets for the above appliances?
Should i leave the appliances on this battery circuit all year round or just switch plugs over manually when needed (no good when i'm at work but there's often someone here on the farm)
I guess i'll be looking at mains charging initially, what (type of) charger do i look at?
In the case of the last two days, a battery bank charged from the mains and designed to power these items for 2 days would have worked a treat, but i'd love to look at a little PV, maybe as a slightly later addition.

Help much appreciated
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dhaslam
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 05:23:19 PM »

Generators  are quite good and reasonably inexpensive now and can be worked with an automatic start.    In the UK plenty of  grid linked PV will save you worrying about  wasted sun  and the good generator  will save worry about long power cuts.     I set up UPS circuits in the house when it was built  five years ago   and now the batteries  would need to be replaced, in retrospect a fixed generator with it's own space would have been preferable, even if  more expensive initially.   
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Greenbeast
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 05:42:17 PM »

very good point, while we faffed with one petrol and one diesel genset today (both sat unused, both not mine, i.e. not looked after) i couldn't help but wish i had a nice little reliable genset sat outside the house ready to go.

We always have plenty of diesel on site
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camillitech
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 06:11:56 PM »

Hi Greenbeast,

I think in your situation you need to be looking at second hand UPS systems and gel batteries which, whilst on the whole are pretty useless for 'off grid' application are perfect for the occasional outage. A proper 'off grid' inverter needs to have a beast of a charger built in and facilities for starting a generator and load sharing. None of these are of interest to you, a small internal UPS charger would be adequate. Same with the batteries, you don't need the rapid charge characteristics of FLA, LiFePO4, NiCad or whatever and gel batteries can be had cheaply. Of course the real answer would to be 'do a Biff' and buy a forklift and charger for Pig Sty Forge. Very useful and fully reclaimable through your business  Wink then all you need is the inverter and no charger.

Good luck, Paul
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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
Greenbeast
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 06:25:11 PM »

yes i tinkered with a little UPS and a couple of old van batteries during the recent planned outage.


Biff talked about hooking up some forklift batteries in the thread at the time

So i guess i should wire in the UPS and bigger batt bank to a couple of sockets in the right locations to support the intended appliances?
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biff
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An unpaid Navitron volunteer who lives off-grid.


« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 07:43:10 PM »

Exellent idea Paul,
                   And G/B,if you do buy a forklift with a decent set of batts,you dont have to go near the batts at all,Just park the forklift near where you want the power and connect it up through its anderson connector.Dont faff about with single cells,just plug and play and direct your lovely PV into it..
  My other half sent me to a meeting some time ago,where I had to stand up in front of a whole crowd of men like myself and say,"My name is Biff and I like forklifts much too much or mucho mucho". Well no,That did not happen but it might. wackoold
                                                                                 Biff                 
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An unpaid Navitron volunteer,who has been living off-grid,powered by wind and solar,each year better than the last one.
camillitech
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 07:52:20 PM »

Exellent idea Paul,
                   And G/B,if you do buy a forklift with a decent set of batts,you dont have to go near the batts at all,Just park the forklift near where you want the power and connect it up through its anderson connector.Dont faff about with single cells,just plug and play and direct your lovely PV into it..
  My other half sent me to a meeting some time ago,where I had to stand up in front of a whole crowd of men like myself and say,"My name is Biff and I like forklifts much too much or mucho mucho". Well no,That did not happen but it might. wackoold
                                                                                 Biff                 

Aye Biff, if I was running a business with a yard and had to move lengths of steel I'd be buying a forklift that's for sure  Cool
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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
Greenbeast
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 07:59:14 PM »

oh but very expensive!

i'm thinking a budget of hundreds rather than thousands at this moment!
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 08:06:46 PM »

Here oh,

Just trying to get Mart on a little system, so tempted him with my little installation, 24v 400ah, batts 360 SH, ( I chose wisely). Each 12v 100ah Gel batt weighs about 42kg

http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,21229.msg245334/topicseen.html#msg245334


"Mart what about my little 10.4kwh system designed for her indoors! .  whistlie 24v dc at 400ah cost of batts was 360.

http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,21161.0.html

Just need to divert, somehow, some of that PV to charge your batts.

Okay I am not using an inverter with this system, as its direct 24v. But you could use a small 150 suitable UPS, needs 24v, like my Pic 1.

And put some change over switches in at the fuse box. 2 pole 3 position, centre Off, Pic 2.

Come on Mart 'you know it makes sense'"


Any Help?


* P7280228a.jpg (87.99 KB, 635x476 - viewed 553 times.)

* P9101336b.JPG (61.61 KB, 799x599 - viewed 545 times.)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 08:10:10 PM by clockmanFR » Logged

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oliver90owner
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 08:15:35 PM »

Yes, the post on a reserve genset is about right.  I reckon  forget fork truck batterries and ups power unless you cannot tolerate any power interruption.   I have a 4.5kVA diesel generator wbich has been used in anger just once in thirty years.  It has been used for other purposes but it but takes longer to get out and set up than the average outage.  But I don't care if we are in the dark and the computers trip out.  Your situation might be different.  So first thing is to assess your risks and requirements.  Not all are the same.

Apart from capital cost and a fuel supply needing to be accessible, my solution costs very little.  No batteries to continually keep charged and replaced at intervals.  That is my back-up and I am happy with that. Your needs may be different.  I live in an area where there are several supply lines to a very large power user, so redirection of supplies is usually not too difficult for the local distribution network.  If you are at the end of a single sjpply line the risks may be somewhat different.

Consideration at the design stage helps - solar pumps for water heating are usually only needed when the weather is sunny - so a solar powered pump at the design stage obviates any problem later on.

Too many consider the problem has a single, simple and perhaps expensive solution, I'm afraid.

Look at how much power you actually need at any particlar point in time.  It will not be that great.  My biggest necessary load is actually starting the freezer compressor - so my 3 kilowatts of diesel power is very comfortable for me, and it is simply not worth me investing in a smaller generator.  I actually exported my 1200W petrol generator to my SiL in Scotland.  He is on a spur to the grid and the last time his power failed in a big way the supplier sat a gennerator at his property for about six weeks!

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Greenbeast
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 08:23:41 PM »

CM - yes i've seen your solution before and just read the other thread.

That seems like a good little setup, but i need to find batts at those prices!

O90O - thankyou for you input.

I'm not looking for a literal uninterrupted supply but if i am at work (40min drive away) and the power goes on a sunny day, my solar thermal would be in danger, for longer outages, my food in my two freezers and a fridge would be in danger.
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camillitech
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 08:27:35 PM »

It's up to you GB, CM's system is just what I had in mind, but just think how useful a forklift truck would be, and you could offset it against your business  Grin
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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
camillitech
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2013, 08:32:00 PM »

CM - yes i've seen your solution before and just read the other thread.

That seems like a good little setup, but i need to find batts at those prices!

O90O - thankyou for you input.

I'm not looking for a literal uninterrupted supply but if i am at work (40min drive away) and the power goes on a sunny day, my solar thermal would be in danger, for longer outages, my food in my two freezers and a fridge would be in danger.


Your food will be fine GB, and if you're 40mins from your work forget the forklift, me, I'd just fit a small UPS to the solar thermal (or a solar powered circulating pump) forget the 'off grid' and buy a small petrol Honda.

Good luck, Paul
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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
Greenbeast
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2013, 08:34:01 PM »

Paul, i would love a forklift. but the cost of one would be more than my business has yet to turn over.... HA HA!
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Greenbeast
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2013, 08:36:33 PM »

and i have the UPS already, just need the batts
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