Glenn's Underground Cabin Update

Started by glenn kangiser, January 30, 2005, 10:24:03 PM

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Tickhill

Tickhill comes from the little community my wife and I live in, at Bay Springs lake on the Tenn-Tom waterway. I added EDTA to our 4  100aH deep cycle batteries based upon your experience with it. I don't think we have enough solar power ~155 watts to keep the batteries fully charged like they should be. All we run in the shop right now is a 23 watt cfl lamp and we try to run it 24/7 just to put some load on the inverter. My father and I are just getting our feet wet with solar/wind and we have lived in the Seminoe Mtns in Wyoming and also at Yellowtail Dam outside of Hardin, Montana.
Self sufficiency is the name of the game. I really enjoy the information and the pictures of all the projects. I never knew a shed could be so interesting! The need to build hits me everytime I get on this website. God Bless,
"You will find the key to success under the alarm Glock"  Ben Franklin
Forget it Ben, just remember, the check comes at the first of the month and it's not your fault, your a victim.

Pray while there is still time

glenn kangiser

Try to equalize your batteries once in a while to prevent sulfation also.  I really think the EDTA helps a bunch.  Getting the voltage you need to equalize properly on a small system is sometimes hard.  At least keep them well charged once in a while.

Checking the batteries with a hydrometer is one of the only ways to tell if one cell is significantly lower than the rest requiring equalizing.  Keep the water levels up during the equalization process or the batteries can be permanently damaged.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

OK - just ordered 2 of the BZ controllers and 3 of the Sun 190 panels.  Stretching the BZ a bit putting 570 watts through it so hope all continues to go well. [ouch]
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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ben2go

I think Sassy was hinting at a solar clothes dryer in her last post.  ;)

Sassy

 :D  that would be nice...  as long as it isn't a mile away from where the washer is...
http://glennkathystroglodytecabin.blogspot.com/

You will know the truth & the truth will set you free


glenn kangiser

I had a nice dog run line out there for a long time- could be used for a clothes line,  but UV from the sun destroyed it..... just imagine what it would do to my clothes.... [waiting]
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

We are currently working on a room in the corner of the cabin - under the bridge and master bedroom.  During the heat lately I have been checking the ground there with the non-contact thermometer and find it to be about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house where the air is more free to move through and the roof is also warmed by the summer sun.

The ceiling above that area on top of the bridge is at around 15 feet above the lower floor so there is room to get away from the heat by insulating the bottom of the bridge and making that ceiling of the small guest bedroom/ general purpose cool area.

I want to insulate that room and make it a cool room to get away from the higher temps so that over the years I can continue to work at making the rest of the cabin cooler in the summer but still taking advantage of the lower temps now.

While our upper area gets to the mid 80's when we get a heat wave, friends with conventional houses and no A/C tell us that their houses have been up to 94 degrees inside.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Tickhill

QuoteOK - just ordered 2 of the BZ controllers and 3 of the Sun 190 panels.  Stretching the BZ a bit putting 570 watts through it so hope all continues to go well.
Glenn, does UL listing make a difference? It appears that the major difference between Sun and Evergreen is the UL, CE or Tuv rating and $$$, is that your take also? Also what was the model # of the Sun 190 panels you ordered?
Also, is the second BZ controller to be used as a spare or for future panels? I appreciate your patience with all my questions.
God Bless and thanks,
"You will find the key to success under the alarm Glock"  Ben Franklin
Forget it Ben, just remember, the check comes at the first of the month and it's not your fault, your a victim.

Pray while there is still time

glenn kangiser

Quote from: Tickhill on July 21, 2010, 04:05:26 AM
QuoteOK - just ordered 2 of the BZ controllers and 3 of the Sun 190 panels.  Stretching the BZ a bit putting 570 watts through it so hope all continues to go well.
Glenn, does UL listing make a difference? It appears that the major difference between Sun and Evergreen is the UL, CE or Tuv rating and $$$, is that your take also? Also what was the model # of the Sun 190 panels you ordered?
Also, is the second BZ controller to be used as a spare or for future panels? I appreciate your patience with all my questions.
God Bless and thanks,

The UL listing means they paid a testing agency - Underwriters Labs in this case  to certify that one or a certain number of panels met their specs or criteria.  We are talking an exorbitant amount - likely hundreds of thousands of dollars.   I worked with a wood stove manufacturing company who used Warnock-Hershey as they were cheaper than UL. That the cheaper ones are not in the "good ol' boy" system does not mean that they are not just as good.  

I think this is where you rely on the integrity and time in business of the dealer as to info on the quality.  I don't worry about it if they say they are good.  I have some BP thin film that I am sure are UL rated but...... they were from the Enron Scandal and thin film are not as good as the others but .... they do make watts and for the most part, watts are watts.  Efficiency may suffer but they were cheap.  They also take around 3 times the room.

I was dealing with the gal at the Phoenix store.  Knowledgeable and directed me to the best buy.  Thin film are around $1.20 or so a watt but I want more power in less space.

The panels I got - http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=807

I got the second BZ as a spare and I also have one more spare.  The price drop made me want another spare - It may go back up.. or down. [ouch]

Likely we will add another 500 watts later.

There is no equalize on them - just a simple 500 watt MPPT controller - can't beat the efficiency for the price.  500 watts  MPPT for $175.   I use the welder for my serious equalization as most equalizers on controllers won't do a great job anyway.  A dealer I talked to told me that you need to get up to near 32 volts to do a good job - water has to be kept up and not to much on the overheating.


Glad to be of assistance, Tickhill.  I like to help people who will help themselves.

I checked a few of my other controllers running around 520 watts of panels and with inefficiencies etc. I don't see over about 15 to 16 amps running through the BZ controller so it looks like the 570 will make it without blowing things up.  It's good for 22 amps at 24v.  It does say not to put over 500 watts into it so if I blow it, it's mine.


"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

#1734
Made a hugelkultur bed today.  For those interested in this old gardening without as much water and soil construction technique, I posted it at Paul Wheaton's Permies.com

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=17.msg40357#msg40357

"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Working on an insulated bedroom in the coolest part of the house.  While cooler than the outside, it still gets into the 80s during the long hot summers here.  This corner has floor temps as low as 70 degrees.



Here is a shot looking out.  When the rest of the house is sealed up better it should be even cooler but we are still changing and doing things on the great room and entry area.



This is the room that is next to the area I was thinking of digging a root cellar in, and is located under the bridge going to the master bedroom.

"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Tickhill

Glenn, placed an order with the Miami Sunelec for 3 of the SUN HS 190-RL's and 1 FM60 today! I was just fooling myself to think that 155 watts of solar panels would keep my batteries up to snuff, but this should change everything. Also, I talked with our water treatment personnel today and asked them if they sold/had access to liquid EDTA and he tossed me a sealed container with what looks like several ounces of liquid EDTA with demineralized water. He said they use EDTA for various water analysis tests in the plant, also took back 2 of the deep cycle WalMart batteries that were going to be a year old tomorrow and swapped them for 2 of the larger 125 Ah deep cycle, will do the same thing with the other 2 batteries I have next week. Gotta start fresh with the new panels. Will let you know how things go. God Bless.
"You will find the key to success under the alarm Glock"  Ben Franklin
Forget it Ben, just remember, the check comes at the first of the month and it's not your fault, your a victim.

Pray while there is still time

glenn kangiser

That is great, Tickhill.

On the batteries you will want to have enough that you only discharge them to about 1/2 capacity.  Don made a calculator in the free stuff section of the forum I think it is.  It may cover it.  Fun to play with if you have time.

I also increased my order for the 190's to 6 of them - 3 arrived and 3 more are on the way - actually they are at a truck terminal about 40 miles away - I told him it was OK to wait for all of them to deliver them.  That is another 1000 watts -a bit over, so my batteries should like that.  The panels will power everything including pumping most days and the batteries will standby for night.  

I even run a welder off of my solar power doing some decent sized projects.  At our place most of the time it is like we are on grid even though we are off.

We figured that now is a good time to expand the system as some figure the prices may start going up again.  That may not happen if the economy continues coming down.  Better to take a chance and get it while we still have jobs.  :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Got my FMC man sized chipper going today.  

Sassy picked me up a good battery for misc. use the other day ... I needed chips... I needed to clear out piles of wood....

I say man sized because many men have gone through them.  This one is big enough to take even the biggest of them all.

I wanted to get some chips for the garden so I could plant on top of the hugelkultur bed.  It's so much harder to do if you can't use equipment.  Wheel barrows are fine if you can't get the Bobcat in there, eh... [waiting]

I did a few little videos of it running but they all sucked so I guess I need to get out the Gorillapod to make a good one.

Here is a still from one of the vids.



We have a truck coming tomorrow delivering our solar panels and he wanted the driveway cleared of overhanging tree limbs so as not to smash the top of his van.

I cleared it to 13'6" or better .. about a quarter mile driveway.  Took out about a dozen big limbs or small trees, and skidded them to the chipper with the Bush Hog.  The parts bigger than a baseball bat became fire wood... smaller became chips for the garden.  (Whitlock's firewood sizing criteria). :)

I could have met him down the road but I don't know what time he's arriving and it needed to be done anyway.



The front of the man-eater... 318 Dodge, the chips, brush to be chipped and the Bush hog for skidding.

Now I have something to do with my brush besides burning it.  



"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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TheWire

Glen,

I'm looking at using 2 48V 60W thin film panels to charge our 4 golf cart batteries on our cabin off-grid system in Wisconsin.  We use the cabin about every other weekend.  We have good luck keeping the batteries topped off by charging for about 3 hours at 40 - 15 amps once a month with a generator.   But we want to switch to solar and just use the generator to equalize.

I was taken back by the $500+ MPPT charge controllers.  I seen your using the $175 BZ Products MPPT500 and having good luck with them.  Any input or feedback on how this controller might perform on my small 120W PV system.

For reference the end of this post has more info on my off-grid system.  http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=4640.20

Thank you,

Jerry

glenn kangiser

Jerry, if you are not planning on greatly expanding your system you could go with the BZ 250 HV  for $129

http://www.thesolarstore.com/charge-controllers-mppt-charge-controllers-products-mppt250hv-mppt-charge-controller-watts-p-63.html

I think your OCV is too high for the BZ250, and you would need to run the two 48v panels in parallel to keep from going over the max OCV's in the winter.

Check the specs on the panels to be sure.

The Solar Store has been great about getting things to me fast.  

Some forums had a few gripes about the BZ but they are guaranteed 5 years.  Note that the case is an option on the 250 taking it near the price of the 500.  The 500 has a box for wall mounting.  The 500 would leave you room to expand  (same type panels though as these are high voltage panels if they are 48v).  MPPT controllers are only efficient to the maximum if all of the panels in the set they control are the same type.  Mixing them drops efficiency as neither will be tracked at max but only an average of the mix.

http://www.thesolarstore.com/charge-controllers-mppt-charge-controllers-products-mppt500-mppt-charge-controller-watt-45amp-p-62.html

These were out of stock but I think they were back in  on 8/6.  That is part of the reason I canceled them - the other is that we went to an added 1140 watts of the same panels and the Morningstar MPPT will handle it better, is one of the best, and this lady named Donna has been sending me ads and updates for years so .... curiosity got the best of me and opportunity was there.  The Morningstar takes higher input voltage also allowing smaller wire from the panels.

A more costly option 75 OCV max - the small Morningstar at $209.

http://www.thesolarstore.com/charge-controllers-mppt-charge-controllers-morningstar-sunsaver-mppt-mppt-charge-controller-1224volt-override-protection-p-85.html

The optional meter adds about $80 to $99 on the Morningstar also, but is included on the BZ.  Morningstar needs a box also.

My choice would be the BZ500 I think.  No equalize but I do major equalizing off line anyway.

If you are interested in the Equalize function the Morningstar has it as optional - maybe manual like the Xantrex PWM controllers.

http://www.thesolarstore.com/manuals/sunsavermppt.pdf Morningstar info




"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Got a call Friday night to work Saturday so spent my day repairing the drive shaft in the cutter head on this beast.  It is in the mountains about 20 miles North of the Underground Complex.



Click pix for a short video of it in action after we got it back together.  The operator assisted with the repair.


Oh yeah... I used to be a mechanic too. [ouch]
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

#1742
Took the Bobcat out yesterday to do some barter work for some logs for boards on the cabin and my other project.

I cleared out about an acre of manzanita but with my new found knowledge at www.permies.com I talked them into building a hugelkultur garden rather than burning the manzanita.

Here is the topic here if you want to learn about a better way to garden and use waste wood.  My postings begin farther into the subject after Paul introduced his video on our forum.  http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/17_0/permaculture/hugelkultur

Here is the bed.  I will get the logs in a few weeks(bug damaged trees - dying).

Last year I would have made a burn pile.  Shows what knowledge can do for you.  [noidea'



It is now all covered with about 8 inches of dirt and topsoil.  This winter it will store water in the wood for next summers garden.

While removing the brush I also removed a couple of cars the previous landowner had buried.  Yes - that is a whole car including all parts -the engine was still in it.

 I had to shake the dirt out of the second one.  [ouch]
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Got my steer a couple days ago.  The neighbor taking care of him said she got him out of the field and had him in a trailer.



He eats alfalfa but danged if I can get him to eat grain - steer finisher...... apparently he does not want to get finished.... his name is Beefsteak. [hungry]



If I mix the grain in his hay he picks it up and shakes the grain out of it.  Maybe he does not like the molasses in it.  [noidea'

"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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ben2go



Redoverfarm

#1745
Some "hereford" in that blood.  Don't spoil him glenn with the special treatment.  Treat him like your children " This is supper and thats all you are going to get".  He will eventually get around when he realizes it.

glenn kangiser

Hey Ben, I think this is going to be fun, tasty and cut down on fire danger as I get more going.

Thanks, John.

At first she told me they were Dexter cross, but this guy looks like full Hereford I think.  I really didn't care so didn't worry about it.  I have seen the two heifers once when they were little.  I think they are Dexter cross - but haven't seen them in about 8 months.  She was running them with hers about 20 miles away and will have to wait until she brings them all in to get them -- bush cattle.  [ouch]

I'm not one to complain about free pasture if they are not a nuisance and I do pay her for the extras  and barter welding and repair for some of the care.

I was talking to Mike, her husband yesterday.  He mentioned that they had fed him grain a few times before and he ate it.  They raise horses so I assumed he liked other grain better.

I went to the feed store and told the owner there.  He knows a lot and is very helpful.  He said they had likely fed him C.O.B. w/mol;.   Corn, oats, barley with molasses... said he wanted the sweet stuff.  I got a bag of that and a salt lick.  He went right after the salt lick and when I put the COB in there he jumped on it and started chowing down.  

I am going to feed part COB and part steer finisher until I get him switched over without complaint.  The COB is 8% protein and costs more.  The Steer finisher is 12% so that is what he needs to be on.  I like well marbled steaks.  [hungry]

I'm not much of a cowboy but I am learning. [idea]

I needed manure for my garden.  This guy puts out an unbelievable amount of it.  :)  A wheelbarrow load in 2 days. [ouch]
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Redoverfarm

Yeah Glen we call it "sweet feed" or " horse & mule" and i't doesn't have much nutritional value.  I use it some but only when it is time to get ready to ship them out (bait them in) ;).  I had heard that it has like a 10:1 ration.  Meaning that for every 10 pounds ate they only derive 1 pound of weight gain over the long term. 

The only problem with using it as manure is that there is a lot of inert seeds mixed in.  You will have everything growing in the garden thistles included.  ;D

glenn kangiser

Thanks, John.  I think the steer finisher puts on more than that so I will get him switched.  I found a paper on fair steers instructing 4H kids I think - I should understand that... [ouch]

Now I won't wonder where the new weeds are coming from, but this mountain reseeds every inch of itself every year.  Unless you scrape it down to mineral soil it will look the same as the year before and sometimes it even grows on the mineral soil. 

Grass - wild oats, fire seeded by copter-Sudan grass - we have it all.  Spring it was up to 5 or more feet tall in the garden area - then it all goes to fire tinder for about 6 months.  I think I will do Basmati Rice down by the spring next year. :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Got me a two horse trailer today for $300.  Now I can carry my cow.... after I fix the floor... don't want him using the foot brakes back there. [ouch]
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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