Author Topic: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?  (Read 2744 times)

RWS

My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« on: August 14, 2019, 12:45:08 PM »
I have a friend in NC that lives on a mountain.  He heats his house with a hot water boiler.  His central heating system has a heat exchanger and fan.  The boiler has a circulation pump that supplies hot water.  Last Fall I helped him install a solar drain back tank with internal heat exchanger coil on his hot water heater.  It was easy because it was already set up for a side mounted heat exchanger.   He liked how it worked so well that he added a pair of flat plate heat exchangers to collect Summer heat from the sun.
Oh, did I mention he is a ham radio operator.  Notice the tower in the picture has a 75M dipole and 2M vertical.

and yes I do know the top right corner is shaded.  It will still work fine.  All I had to do was get the temperature controller up and running.  It is not a standard setup as it uses one heat source in the summer and another in the winter.  We just added another temperature probe and a single throw double pole switch to switch from summer to winter.  He did all the mechanical.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 02:47:19 PM by RWS »

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 01:00:13 PM »
Now that  the domestic hot water, central heat and kitchen stove have been moved off grid, he wants to install a solar electric system and take the rest of the house off grid. (Must be a prepper)  SO, while I was there we picked out a location for the first solar panels.  We found a nice South facing hill just below his house for a 10 panel string of solar panels right up against the fence line.
He wants to install the inverter in the basement where the batteries will be kept warm during the winter and cool during the summer.  There is a ground level basement door to facilitate getting batteries in and out.

His job now is to get his power meter changed out so we can make a clean grid tie and clean the area wall where we plan to mount the inverter.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 02:39:26 PM by RWS »

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2019, 01:17:47 PM »
So when I go to NC to help him, where do I stay??  I take my camper and stay up the mountain a few hundred yards at his camp site.  It is a pole barn with level concrete floor, potable water, 30 or 50 Amp electric and a shower house beside it. The view is great.  There is a pasture on one side where he currently had his sheep.  I asked who shears them.  The answer surprised me. "No one" they are never sheared.  They are Katahdin sheep.  I told him there was a Mt. Katahdin in Main which is the northern terminus of the AT.  He said they were named after that mountain.  He has 12 ewe, 11 lambs and one ram.  He does not consider himself a prepper.  It's just a way of life.  The pole in the first picture is the sme pole in the second picture that has the pole barn at the far right.
He also has 6 heffers, 5 calves and 1 bull.  He made the mistake of telling my wife to pick whatever she wanted from the garden and orchard.  We left with 3 watermelon, a cantelope and a bag of red delicious apples.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 02:35:37 PM by RWS »

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 03:36:02 PM »
I went to NC this past week.  I arrived Monday at noon and found the 2" Pipe rack in place ready for rails and solar panels.  We put the rails on Monday and mounted the disconnect switch and combiner box on Tuesday morning.

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2019, 03:43:52 PM »
Tuesday afternoon we installed a string of 10 Canadian Solar HiDM325MS solar panels.
https://www.canadiansolar.com/upload/e1083c5e879966bf/67aecdf943cef41b.pdf
We also installed a remote receiver/switch for the remote shut down function.  The receiver/switch is powered by 1 panel and in series with all 10 panels.  A remote transmitter induces a 484.84khz tone in the pv wire.  As long as the tone is present, the switch stays turned on sending voltage to the house.  The transmitter is 12VDC powered, so I intend to power from 1 battery.  Control wiring will be 12VDC.

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 07:47:11 AM »
I went to NC this week.  On my earlier trip We (my friend & I) located a wall in the basement where we decided to install the inverter & charge controllers.  The first picture is the wall before.  The second picture is the same location with the addition of a 2x6 stud wall with a sheet of 3/4" plywood installed.  Before I even got back up there he had mounted the inverter and Power Distribution box.  So, we mounted charge controllers and started hooking up wires.

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2019, 07:54:47 AM »
We finished Thursday morning with a powered up lighting panel and one circuit which was a convenience outlet.  Plugged into that was a portable light as the corner we were working in was dimly lit.  We used 8ea 8A8D-T975 Deka batteries in 2 strings of 4.  That gave us 440AH of battery at 48VDC.

The new NEC requires "Rapid shut down" of the system in case the fire dep has to fight a fire in the building.  I installed an E-Stop button out beside the power meter with a NC (normally closed) and a NO (normally open) contact.  I used the NO contact to wire to the inverter Aux contacts 2 & 3 and turned on the RPO (remote power off) parameter in the inverter.  I used the NC contacts to interrupt the 12DC to the remote shut down transmitter mounted beside the charge controller inside.  The transmitter induces a 484.84khz signal in the positive PV (solar panel) wire with an encoded keep alive digital signal.  The receiver mounted at the solar panels must hear the keep alive signal to keep the solar panel voltage turned on.  No extra wiring between inside and outside.  We tested it and it worked slick as a whistle.  Receiver pictured earlier in this thread.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 08:13:25 AM by RWS »

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2019, 05:46:20 PM »
Dancing with Duke.  My NC friend called yesterday.  Say "how many kilowatt hours is my battery bank?"  I said, "Well you know it is 400Amp hour, so P=ExI  400 x 52volt and round it down.  Tell Duke you have a 20 KWhr battery bank.

There are a lot of questions to answer to get a Net Metering contract with a power company.  Most of the questions are nothing more than gathering information to populate a data base.  That's where all these annual reports that are put out get their info.

If you don't grid tie then no record is made or reported.

John Galt 1

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2019, 09:42:05 PM »
I originally designed my system to sell excess to the grid but by during the roughly 4 months while I was designing and building my system; when I was ready to fill out the paperwork to install a  2 way utility power meter I learned that my local utility had severely cut how much they would pay me per KWH and doubled monthly meter fees so I never installed the 2 way meter to sell to the grid.    very sad   :  (         I hope your friend in NC doesn't have the same problem..

So I later increased the battery bank size to hold excess power and installed a mini-split to use the extra electricity.   
5900 watts in panels.      Before I had enough batteries to run the house in a very low energy consumption mode with a smaller battery bank.        Now I have an expensive 39 KWH battery bank making my home power more expensive but we don't ever lose power in an area that loses power several days a year.         An expensive but reliable alternative because the power company reduced the amount of solar power they wanted to buy.
Talk is cheap, Actions count.

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2019, 06:55:52 AM »
In talking to my friend in NC, the power company does not pay for excess.  They keep excess total on you bill in watts and you can use it up as needed.  Then  once a year (Dec31 I think) they zero out your total excess it is gone and they did not pay for it.  It makes you design a little different in NC.  His plan is to be able to come off the grid completely in a year or two.  We are installing in phases to help the pocket book to be able to keep up.  Eventually we plan to wire in an auto start generator.  It will help the extra large battery situation some.

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2020, 06:57:40 AM »
Still dancing with Duke Power.  My NC friend has taken grid power off one of his lighting panels and tied it to the inverter.  He changed some parameters in the inverter so that he uses solar power in the daytime when the sun is shining and grid power at night. (battery voltage switch) The inverter does the switch.  He received a pallet of 20 solar panels yesterday and the rest of his install supplies will arrive in another week or so.  We are planning on installing 2 strings of 10 panels each this summer.  Then he should have enough to run his whole house on solar.  If the grid goes down, he won't care.

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2020, 06:52:31 PM »
4-7-20  My NC friend called this afternoon.  Duke Power came and changed out his meter.  He can now send power to the grid.  We reviewed the parameter changes he has to make to be able to "sell".  I am planning a trip up there so we can install another array.  We have already figured out a way to move the whole house to solar if the grid goes down.  No need to with the grid up as what goes out via sell will be used by the house first behind the meter.  Now if the virus travel restrictions will allow we can finish.

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2020, 07:28:04 PM »
My friend in NC has changed a couple of parameters in his inverter.  He is now sending power to Duke, his whole house in the day time.  At night when the battery voltage sags, the inverter switches and passes thru grid power.  This way his batteries are not discharged during the night.  Basically the battery is there for when the grid fails.  Using AGM batteries this way I have been getting 7 years on a set of batteries.  Have done it twice and working on it again with 4 more battery banks.
He is digging a ditch to the next array site.  He said he was planning on going overhead thru the garage and utility building on the way.  I told him it was his choice as it's his place and he is doing the work.  It looks like it will be a couple more weeks or so before I can travel up there to give him a hand.  Now that his power bill will be reduced via the grid tie, he is not in such a big hurry for the second array.  I am curious to know how much his next power bill is.
One day while I was there before we were sitting up the mountain a ways at the camp site looking down at his house, barn and storage buildings.  I said " You know if you put solar panels on that building with the green roof that would probably have enough to run your whole house".  The next day he said he had talked to the wife and she said go for it.  So the second array will be two strings of 10 panels ea. to a 600VDC charge controller rated for 4800 watts at 48VDC battery voltage.  We will be pushing the 48oo watts during the noon hour.  The peak of the roof runs N & S so 10 panels will be on the East side and catch the morning sun.  10 panels will be on the West side and catch the Evening sun.  At noon they both will contribute some.   I will take a picture when they are done.

ChristianJ

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2020, 08:01:19 PM »
I'm surprised I had never saw this thread. I enjoyed looking through it.
Christian pastor & theologian

RWS

Re: My friend in NC - Maybe a prepper ?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2020, 06:13:44 AM »
I hope we are allowed to travel soon.  I wanted to make a NC trip before we got busy with gathering and storing this year's large garden.  Talked to my NC friend the other day on the phone.  He has finished digging the ditch between the house and the barn.  He called to verify the number of conductors, the size and color I would like for him to have.  He said he would have them in the ground and covered back up before I even had a chance to get up there. 
Since he is now grid tied we are both anxiously waiting on his next power bill to arrive.