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Thread: Micro-Solar Setup : My First Experience w/Off-Grid Electricity

  1. #151

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruss01 View Post
    Silent, I don't know the answer to your question... are you saying you plug the IOTA into a GFCI or are you saying you run a GFCI off your IOTA?

    Either way, I'm not sure I have an answer for you... but if you are plugging the IOTA into a GFCI then maybe it has a defect or is exceeding the capacity of the outlet.
    I plug the IOTA into the GFCI outlet with nothing connected to the IOTA's output terminals. The GFCI pops each time. I tried it in a non-GFCI outlet and it seems to power up OK, but I haven't tried it under any load yet.

  2. #152
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    4,197

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    GFCI's do not play well with many types of inverters and chargers. Avoid plugging into the GFCI and you'll be golden
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  3. #153
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    A mud bog in East Texas
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    5,322

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    I just hauled 21 300 watt perlight panels in the gate. its gonna get fun soon.

  4. #154
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Glad to see this forum isnt full of Harbor Freight Tools haters.

    I personally like them, but you have to know and understand what you are getting.

  5. #155
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    Mar 2007
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    In the plans for this summer.... relocate 3 of the panels to the 24' trailer along with swapping the 4 batteries in the house with the 2 currently on the trailer. Need a charge regulator for the trailer, and a few connectors, but otherwise it only takes elbow grease to make it happen. Stay tuned...

    Quote Originally Posted by vickers View Post
    Glad to see this forum isnt full of Harbor Freight Tools haters.

    I personally like them, but you have to know and understand what you are getting.
    Agreed. If you are going to use a tool with some regularity, buy a good tool. For something seldom used, how much money do you want to tie up in something you may only use a handful of times? Just understand the difference going in.
    Last edited by bruss01; 03-21-2015 at 11:07 AM.
    "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

  6. #156
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Texas
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    3,663

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    Some of the Harbor Freight tools are actually pretty good. I've used some of their 3/8" impact extensions behind a 500 ft lb 1/2 impact gun and have never broken any of them. The wrenches are the same thing. I made a breaker bar that will slide over the end of wrenches (up to 3/4") and have never had one break. Some of the air tools are good too. Stay away from their impact wrenches and stay away from their battery powered tools. I experienced the above when I was working as a bus mechanic for 2 years. I used the tools I listed above every day with no issues.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  7. #157
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    Mar 2007
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    4,094

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruss01 View Post
    In the plans for this summer.... relocate 3 of the panels to the 24' trailer along with swapping the 4 batteries in the house with the 2 currently on the trailer. Need a charge regulator for the trailer, and a few connectors, but otherwise it only takes elbow grease to make it happen. Stay tuned...
    Mission completed!

    http://www.whenshtf.com/threads/5317...trical-Upgrade

    The original Micro-Solar setup at the house has been basically "gutted". All four of the Trojan batteries and three out of the four 140w solar panels have been relocated to the travel trailer which I have taken to calling "The Ritz" (ten points to anyone who catches the reference). (ETA: Ok, for those of you who gave up, look here at about the 2:00 mark)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3Je5ItIBXw

    Next step for the home micro-solar is to wire the twin Interstate batteries that were taken off the trailer, into the home system. This should be enough for the occasional emergency backup and to charge cordless devices. The capacity was going to waste sitting here at home (though nice to have, just in case) and I needed it more on the trailer. I think this new balance will suit our needs a little better.
    Last edited by bruss01; 05-21-2015 at 02:37 PM.
    "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

  8. #158
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    Mar 2007
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    Time to revisit the home alternate power setup.

    The past 5 years I've been using two deep cycle 6v batteries (in series for a 12v circuit) but those have bitten the dust. I've swapped in an automotive battery just as a placeholder for a complete circuit but it's shot too.

    The time has finally come to do a major upgrade to LiFePO4 batteries. You can buy sets already assembled that work just like normal 12v batteries (everything is internal to the battery package) for a price ($$$$) or you can buy discreet components and build your own - at a substantial savings. I've never built up a bank from discrete cells, so it's time to ramp up for a learning curve and bite the bullet.

    Presently we have eight 3.2v cells on order, which we will connect in two banks of 12v each, at a capacity of 280 amp hours (560 total).

    Along with that, we have a battery management system (a battery "controller" if you will) sized appropriately, a new 2000w (4000w surge) full sine wave inverter and a 75 amp battery charger. The charger is rated at just what my Honda generator will produce, and if I've figured correctly, should be capable of putting a full charge on this battery bank in an hour or two.

    I'll follow up with pics of the work as it progresses, and parts lists, once the batteries arrive and the project begins to take shape.

    Last edited by bruss01; 10-17-2020 at 06:19 PM.
    "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

  9. #159
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    May 2011
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    Central Texas
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    I have been doing a LOT of experimenting with lithium batteries. There are a lot of different types of lithium batteries. Unlike flooded or AGM batteries, you can run a lithium battery down to 10 volts(typical minimum voltage of 3.2v cells is 2.5v) time and time again with zero damage done. I made a cheap lithium battery bank with 16 bag poly cells(bought for $4 each) rated at 8 amp/hr each. Wired up as 4s4p(4 cells in series and 4 of those in parallel) those give the battery bank a capacity of 32 amp/hr at 12 volts. I tested this bank with a 55 amp load. After 8 minutes the voltage had dropped from 14.6 volts down to 11.2 volts. Iíve been very pleased with these cells so far. My only complaint with lithium batteries is the need for a battery management system(BMS). The BMS keeps the cells balanced, prevents over charging, prevents over discharging, and stops charging or discharging in certain circumstances. If you go cheap on the BMS then it can kill your battery bank, but if we were to get hit with an EMP, it will kill the BMS. Also, try to prevent the batteries from freezing. On some lithium batteries, they will be permanently damaged if they are charged or discharged while the pack is below freezing. The good BMS modules will have temp sensors on them that prevent this damage.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

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