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

  1. #271
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    Will, are you reading this thread?
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  2. #272
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    Quote Originally Posted by 91CavGT View Post
    Will, are you reading this thread?
    LOL- I'm not quite so vain to think Will got it from me. But it's nice to see the inspiration echoed in others who are respected in the field.
    "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

  3. #273
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    Indeed!
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  4. #274
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    Hey Bruss, I gotta quick question for you. I was just going to send you a PM but this pertains to this project so I thought it would be good to have this as an open discussion.


    I just finished hammering my copper pipe flat to use as my bus bars in my system. Did you coat the copper with anything to help prevent it from corroding or did you just leave it bare?



    BTW, my arms and shoulders are on fire!!! It is a LOT of work to hammer them flat!!!!!
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  5. #275
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    LOL ! Yes it is a lot of "hammer time" pounding them flat. I had a masonry hammer, extra heavy... could not have made it through with a carpentry hammer.

    I did not coat mine in any way. In fact I wire brushed the area around the holes for better electrical contact. (rotary brush in the drill press)It will increase your contact surface to use washers close to the width of the pipe, and screws with as large heads as you can lay hands on. Make sure your screws have plenty of threads engaged but NOT bottomed out... use spacer washer if needed. I had to buy all new screws to accommodate the thickness of the bus bars and cable lugs... need I caution, METRIC threads. Stainless seems like a good idea.

    Your pounded pipe won't be 100% true flat, and will compress a tiny amount... almost becomes a lock washer. Don't be afraid of getting snug & secure but DO beware of over-torquing those terminals... they are not structural members. Your cells need to have all wiggle-jiggle taken out before the bus bars go on, any play there can, over time, damage the terminals. Not such a big deal for a stationary application but for anything that gets moved occasionally or more, this is important.

    It doesn't hurt the copper or its conductivity to get tarnished on the outside provided the actual contacts are clean and bright.

    On a side-note... with the changing of seasons the sun has climbed to the point that there is no longer any shade on the panels like there was in January-February, rainy days are gone, and the days are longer too. That gives us an abundance of power for household use and I need to devise a test to showcase just how much.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-13-2021 at 07:46 PM.
    "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

  6. #276
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    Awesome Bruss!!! Thanks for the info!!!


    I used a 4 pound mini sledge and ended up just letting the sledge do all the work. Had to split up all the work between 2 days. I cut a 6 X 1/2 copper pipe into 10 strips. 3 will be for the positive and 3 for the negative. All of this will be stationary and the copper plates will be screwed down to wood to keep them insulated from each other. The wire terminals will be sandwiched between copper plates in order to maximize contact area. The hardware to bolt it all together was purchased a few months ago. I need to look at it all to ensure it is stainless and not something else.


    I look forward to your next test to see what all your system can power. Im learning from what you have done on your setup and am trying to implement some of that into my system that Im building.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  7. #277
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    Great discussion guys
    Greater love hath no man than this, That a man lay down his life for a friend.
    John 15:13

  8. #278
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    Quote Originally Posted by 91CavGT View Post
    ... the copper plates will be screwed down to wood to keep them insulated from each other.
    I don't have any specific guidance on this but will pass along what was once told me by an electrician who corrected some work I did (in high school) that did work, but was not considered acceptable practice.

    He said that while wood is considered a "non-conductor" that wasn't the same as it being considered an "insulator". Since then I've made it a practice to avoid any current coming into conductive contact with wood/cardboard/etc. I'm not sure under what circumstances that would become an issue, it's just based on his comment and my desire to avoid a potential issue that may or may not apply to low voltage DC wiring, but would certainly be considered a "code violation" for AC house wiring. FWIW that work I did "wrong" had functioned perfectly for between five and ten years without issue, if my recollection serves - YMMV.

    I've seen some scary-looking stuff over the years that still appeared to be in working order. Most memorable was the knob & tube wiring in an old house we lived in for 8 years. For those unfamiliar, it involves porcelain stand-off's (knobs) and pass thru's (tubes) and single-conductor wires with waxed cloth insulation. I was adding an outlet and light fixture, so I went down into the crawlspace to see where I could tap in. Should have seen the look on my face, I'm sure Thomas Edison would have been proud of what they had going on down under there. It all still worked - I found a place to tap in and life went on as usual. That said - there's a reason they don't use that stuff any more (mostly cost and ease of installation).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knob-and-tube_wiring

    But even in those olde-timey installations, if you notice the pics, the purpose is to keep any electricity from coming into contact with the wood framing members... the wire only touches the porcelain, which is a proper insulator, so the screw going into the wood has zero potential to come into contact with the wire. It's antiquated, but it does work.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-19-2021 at 01:39 PM.
    "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

  9. #279
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    Just spotted a great bargain on some 2nd hand panels.

    SanTan Solar T Series 250W - $50
    https://store.santansolar.com/produc...ef=errolprowse

    If I hadn't just bought new panels I'd be all over this one. Still thinking about it for a trailer upgrade, but I'd need $150 for the panels and $300+ for an MPPT charge controller... probably not happening this summer.
    "The thing about smart people is they seem like crazy people to dumb people" - Stephen Hawking

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