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Author Topic: Off-grid for beginners  (Read 10713 times)
biff
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« Reply #60 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
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« Reply #61 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  Wink



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



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« Reply #62 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
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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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« Reply #63 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.
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« Reply #64 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  Grin 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

« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 12:31:22 PM by camillitech » Logged

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« Reply #65 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  fingers 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
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'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,
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« Reply #66 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.
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« Reply #67 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  whistlie

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
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« Reply #68 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
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« Reply #69 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
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« Reply #70 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?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 02:56:39 PM by skyewright » Logged

Regards
David
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« Reply #71 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
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« Reply #72 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.
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'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,
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« Reply #73 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.
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« Reply #74 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
                                                                        
                                    
  
  
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