Monday, September 26, 2005
There will be other tours around Michigan on October 1 and October 8.
Simplified battery watering
Special caps replace the original battery caps. Each cap has a float which cuts off the flow of water when the cell is full. The manifold distributes the water to the three cells in each battery.
The battery manifolds are connected together with rubber tubing. Each manifold has three connectors. The unused connectors are capped off.
A hand pump is connected to the manifolds with a simple connector, and the other end goes in the bottle of distilled water. When the pumping gets hard, the batteries are full.
Six weeks, six kilowatt-hours
September 25, six weeks later:
Monday, September 12, 2005
Click here for larger version.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
Winverter is available from RightHand Engineering for Outback and Xantrex equipment.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Two months of solar
- The first week or so I didn't have a functioning "Mate" controller, so I couldn't get the inverter to run in HBX mode, which allows for automatic switching to the grid when the battery voltage drops below a certain point. Since I was using the crummy old batteries at this point, I was restricted largely to using solar only when I was home and the sun was shining. That's why there are four approx. 1 kwh days in early July.
- The high daily value for the two months was 10.2 kwh. This was the result of not only the extended high-angle sunshine available in early July, but also because the shingles put out more than their rated 17 watts each when they are new.
- The new batteries were connected on August 12.
- This shouldn't be taken as a direct measure of how much solar power was available each day. If the batteries were fully charged and not many loads were running, the amperage will drop to a trickle or stop altogether, even in full sunlight. Once we figure out the dump load, there should be less wasted power.
- The average daily power before 8/12 was 5.47 kwh; after 8/12 it was 6.65 kwh. This occurred even though the days are getting shorter and the shingles newness is wearing off. (I think we've had more cloudy and rainy days, too.) This shows that I needed adequate battery capacity to take fuller advantage of the solar power available. With the old batteries, I was generally unable to use any solar power at night--the batteries discharged quickly, and that was it. With the new batteries, I can power the house all evening and through the night, leaving the batteries ready to receive more charge the next day.