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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Solar laundry day



Sometimes it's the little victories.

The work to equalize the house's solar electric battery bank paid off. The washing machine was able to do a load of laundry without my starting the generator. It doesn't sound like much, but it's a good sign. The battery bank wasn't charging fully but now it's much closer to working the way it should.

Laundry puts the off-grid system through its paces. Not only does the washing machine draw a fair amount of power, the water pump is also working. At times both motors kick in simultaneously, drawing a lot of amps.

The voltage would drop just enough to mess up the electronics of the washing machine, especially the timer. The quick and dirty fix was to run the generator while doing laundry. It was cheaper and more convenient than hauling the laundry to town. Even so, I hate to run the generator.

Being able to do laundry using solar power alone is satisfying -one more sign that I'm getting this off-grid stuff to work the way it should.

Speaking of off-grid, I ran into the meter reader checking my nonfunctional meter. I pointed out to him that it's been shut off since mid October.

“That explains why it barely moved,” he said.

“Barely moved? It should not have moved at all.” I complained.

He claimed the heat from the sun can move the meter. It's not a smart meter, so maybe he's right. I asked him about disconnecting the power lead from the house. The guy wasn't sure if it would be free or if it would cost something like $35. It might be worth having it done, especially before winter. The entrance wires and meter are in a bad area for ice formation. Besides, it'd be one less excuse for someone to come on my property.

Another cool think is that I may have found a source of used 75 watt solar electric panels for $35 each. I'll take as many of those as the guy can get for me. With panels at that price, all kinds of nifty solar electric projects become practical.

-Sixbears

20 comments:

  1. I think you're right about getting the meter removed, even if you have to pay for it.

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  2. Wow even at 80% thats 60 watts for 35$.10 or more and the generator can go back in to storage. Great deal

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    1. I know, right? I will be following up on this.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I'm thinking about buying another (replacement) generator.
    Care to share some info about your generator? How long have you owned it, what brand, electric start or remote electric start, watts, biggest maintenance issues and would you buy it again?

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    1. I don't have much to say as my generator was given to me. However, it needs to be repaired right now, and I've got a loaner.

      If I have to say something, quiet is underrated. Either get something quiet or find a way to muffle it. When I get mine back it's getting a very oversized muffler and will be in a generator shack to reduce the sound.

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    2. I can tell you from my experiance that nearly 50% of the noise comes from the carburator. Just to verify get a wadded up bath towel and press it against the air cleaner. You'll be surprised at how much noise is gone.

      As for a generator candidate I'm leaning towards the Honda 2000i for its incredible fuel economy and quietness. Just wish it was a remote electric start!

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  5. Wow, that's a great price for that size panel...

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    1. I'll get as many as I can at that price.

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  6. And solar drying is free! I use it as long as the sun shines.

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  7. Right now my clothes is hanging up right in the kitchen by the woodstove. Dries quickly and puts needed moisture in the air.

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  8. Didn't know that about the sun and the electric meter...

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    1. It's news to me too. Maybe the guy was just blowing smoke, but that's what he said.

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  9. Well done, scoring the solar. I'm still using Muddyman build type VAWT's with a Microwave Oven Transformer(MOT) 12V to 120V Inverter. That helped keep my heat costs down using dedicated wall mount electric base board heaters. The whole shebang ran at 200 hurtz. insert smiley here. I learnt or relearnt the stuff on sites like electronicsNmore youtube channels. Good outside the box thinking there.

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  10. could always go back to a scruboard and metal tub, just like the "good old days"

    Wildflower

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    1. I've been known to do small loads in a bucket. Saves a lot of energy to do a prewash of the really dirty stuff that way.

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  11. If you can get extra panels, I'd be interested in some....

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    1. I'm still looking into the details. Might not be too many at that price.

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