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Author Topic: Off-grid for beginners  (Read 10829 times)
camillitech
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« Reply #30 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'  Grin
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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,
clockmanFR
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« Reply #31 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.

 fingers crossed!
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billi
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« Reply #32 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


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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 #33 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
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camillitech
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« Reply #34 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
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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,
biff
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« Reply #35 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. Grin
                                                                         Biff
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billi
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« Reply #36 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
 
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camillitech
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« Reply #37 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.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2015, 08:13:19 AM by camillitech » Logged

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,
billi
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« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2015, 08:18:55 AM »

Paul  Grin , 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
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camillitech
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« Reply #39 on: February 20, 2015, 08:55:23 AM »

Paul  Grin , 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
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« Reply #40 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
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« Reply #41 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?
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« Reply #42 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
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« Reply #43 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... fingers 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...?  Grin
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« Reply #44 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.
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