Bob E. (bk) > Planet X Hitchhiker's Guide to Internet Survival Sites

Cheap Solar Power

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svisioner:
        I have gotten many questions on how we did solar power so cheap. First thing to consider is how much power you really need. Many people go overboard on what they think they need. I know that I’ll be working this out again soon as we have a new family in our community (and room for one more).

        On all electrical devices there is a UL tag. This tag is where you can find the power consumption of the device. For example, my laptop uses 60 watts and the satellite internet modem uses 150 watts. I mention these because it’s what we use the most. We also use DC fluorescent lights. These provide lots of light and use very little power (15 watts and 35 watts). This type of lighting can be had from a RV parts supplier or on eBay. With a little math you can see that at any one time the most power we’ll be using is 265 watts. Not much, is it?

        We have a 205 watt high efficiency solar panel that we got it from a company called sunelec.com. This panel cost about $500 and is really great.

        Now you’ll need batteries to store the power. Wallyfart sells RV/Marine deep cell batteries for $70-$75. These are very good because they are built to be drawn down and recharged repeatedly. But there is another way for those who like to tinker with things. Battery reconditioning is a simple process of removing the minerals that cause the premature death of batteries. (SEE BLOW HOW TO RESTORE BATTERIES)

        We use 6 of these RV/Marine batteries and unless it’s been overcast for many days, we never run out of power. We use the power to watch videos on our laptop well into the night.

        You’ll also need a DC to AC inverter to have "house current". We use a 750 watt inverter and this does everything we need it to do.

        When hooking up all electrical devices, the first thing to consider is that DC looses power the longer the run of wire is, so do your best to keep all these components close together and use heavy gauge wire. 8 or 10 gauge copper wire works best.

        Restoring Batteries:


        FIRST THING IS YOU MUST BE CAREFUL!!! Battery acid can burn you!!!!! You’ll need Rubber gloves and eye protection!!!! No exceptions!!!

        Things needed:

        Rubber gloves

        Eye Protection

        Baking soda

        EDTA (most health food stores carry this)

        Distilled Water

        Battery Charger or solar panel

        Bucket

        Battery acid (most auto parts stores will have this)

        First remove the old battery acid from the battery by pouring the acid into a plastic bucket that has 1 cup of baking soda in it. Then fill the battery with distilled water, close the caps and give it a good shake. Then pour the contents of the battery in to the bucket.

        Now your ready to chelate the battery. Mix one tablespoon of EDTA (can be had from any good health food store – open the capsules if that’s the only way you can get it) into one gallon of distilled water, then fill the battery with the solution.

        Now you’re ready to put the battery on a slow, 24 hour charge. With the overnight charging done, check the battery voltage. If the battery does not come up to 12.5 volts at this point, putting the new battery acid in to the battery is a waist of time. If this is the case, the battery is beyond saving. If it does come up to 12.5 volts, empty the contents of the battery in to the bucket and replace it with battery acid. Then give it another 24 hour slow charge.

        My track record for doing this is 9 came up to spec and one did not.

        You’ll notice that most car repair shops have a place where they put old "dead" batteries. These are worth $8 each to them for a core charge.

        Let’s say you buy 10 of these dead batteries and pay $8 each for them.

            Cost of distilled water $1 per battery

            Cost of Battery acid $2 per battery

            Cost of EDTA $10 for a few dozen batteries

            Total Cost for 10 batteries and supplies $84

        Recondition 10 and get 8 up to spec and your cost per battery is around $10, not $75.

         

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noproblemo2:
FYI, flourescent lights can be a trigger for many with Epilepsy. Found that one out the hard way with our epi-pup

Ed Douglas:
LED lighting is very efficient also.  ed

noproblemo2:
That is what we now use also.

svisioner:
We have low wattage florescent lights, 15 watts and 45 watts.
I got them from a RV parts company I think it's called
RV surplus on E Bay. Very cheap $15 for 15 watts $35 for 45 watts.
One 45 watt fixture lights up a 16 X 32 room, led's are good but for
lighting an entire room not too good. LED's are good for direct light,
a light for reading etc, but for lighting an area florescent are best.

Dan
 

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