Jon C's posts

Posted by Jon C on Mar 13, 2009 12:36 pm

#61 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Battery / Off-Grid system
Hi Andrew R.  I am sure there are many factors to determine choice of operating voltage for alternative energy systems.  I chose a 48v system, because of the reduced current requirements, and for less I2R losses.  With reduced current on system components, there are less losses due to resistive heating of the interconnection wiring, the inverter and controller semiconductors, and one can get by with a smaller size of wiring.  Copper wire is expensive, particularly when you get into heavy gauge wire, and when a long run of wire is required for a wind turbine, as an example.  Hopefully others here will give you more input on this.  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Feb 26, 2009 04:17 pm

#62 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Saving Money on Water Heating
Thanks for that tip, David.  I had not thought about legionella bacteria that thrive at temperatures below 130 degrees.  I have been running my water heater temperature at 110 degrees for the last decade and haven't croaked yet, but I think you are right about the seat belts..........better chance of dying that way.  I'm not tied into a city water supply, but rather use a cistern to collect rain water for domestic use.  I do treat the water with chlorine though, and that may be of some help. (crossing my fingers here) Smiley  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Feb 26, 2009 12:41 pm

#63 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Saving Money on Water Heating
Thanks for your input, Thomas.  Interesting links on geothermal water heating and different types of historical heaters.  I have a geothermal heat pump, but did not consider using it to heat water, because it is a small unit and there is no reserve heat available......all is dedicated to household heating and AC.  I haven't seen the need to use a timer on the upper water heating element since I have observed it coming on only once a day for 5 or 10 min, as compared to before the modification, when the lower element would come on twice a day for 20 to 30 minutes.  Since still water is somewhat of an insulator, the element only turns on when water is being used and is in motion, so there has been no effect of the top element turning on extraneously.  On the subject of using waste electric dryer heat......I have installed a switchable dryer vent that exhausts the hot dryer air into the house, through a lint filter screen in the wintertime and recovers the heat that would otherwise be lost to the great outdoors.  In the summer, of course, the clothesline is the preferred method of drying. Smiley  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Feb 26, 2009 12:50 am

#64 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Saving Money on Water Heating
I came up with a way of reducing my electrical consumption for water heat that may or may not be of general interest, but thought to share it with the forum, and possibly get some feedback on pros or cons.  I have heard that heating water with electricity accounts for 20% of of household power consumption, and have noticed this substantial drain on my alternative energy system.  I am currently operating off-grid for over 90% of the time with solar and wind power and seeking to make that 100% eventually.  I realize that electricity is not the most cost effective way to heat water, but this modification cost me nothing and no outlay for an alternative method of heating using solar or wind.  I have a 52 gallon water heater, and use only about 10 gallons of hot water a day, since I wash clothes with cold water and find that they get just as clean that way.  The hot water is only used for showering and washing dishes.
The water heater has two heating and bottom.  The top element is for quick heating of water near the outlet and has the overheat thermal safety breaker as a part of the thermostat, so I did not wish to mess with this safety feature and left it alone.  I disconnected the bottom heating element, which is the "cooker", and heats the entire tank after the top element has done its job.  As a result, I am heating a smaller volume of water, and using less energy to do that, with no adverse effects of depleting the hot water supply.  The energy saving is dramatic with much less load on my system.  I could opt for a smaller volume hot water heater, but find that they use a 4700 watt heating element, as compared with the 2000 watt element in my current heater which is more friendly to my energy system and produces less instantaneous drain.  Are there any negative effects of doing this?  Any feedback or ideas would be appreciated.  Thanks,  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Jan 19, 2009 11:00 pm

#65 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Looking for a wind system wiring diagram
Hi David Y.  There is a wiring diagram for my system on profile.  Its a small 3kw system with wind and solar, for whatever it might be worth.  Good Luck.  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Jan 8, 2009 11:22 am

#66 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: snow on air-x blades
Hi Roy G.  I have had icing of my turbine (whisper 200) blades several times, without any damaging consequence, and did not find it necessary to shut down the turbines, since the ice took care of that task, and slows the turbine down to a crawl. I observed no imbalancing, mistracking, or vibration effects since the ice seems to distribute itself evenly on all blades at the same time.  The ice will evaporate directly without going to the water stage in a couple of days and more quickly when exposed to sunlight, as the blades are black in color and absorb some solar heat. Its just a nuisance effect from living in this colder climate. Wink (I do like the suggestions about hydrophobic and armorall coatings and will try this in the future. I tried paste wax on the blades with little or no effect.  Thanks all Smiley )

Posted by Jon C on Dec 5, 2008 12:37 pm

#67 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
I know that I'm probably feeding a can of worms here, but this one tickles me Wink.  What if all the hubbies told their wives.......sorry dear, you can't use the washer anymore, because we are abandoning the addiction to electricity, and you will have to wash them by hand on a scrub board down at the lake. (which is frozen over and laden with runoff contaminants).  The dryer is also a thing of the past, so you will have to hang them out on the clothesline and wait until spring for them to dry.  Forget our electric geothermal heating unit.....we will just dress for the cold and try to keep the water lines from freezing inside the house.  I will shut off the solar panels and wind turbines, since we no longer have any need for electricity, and we will cook our meals over a campfire in the garage with the limited wood that I managed to gather this spring with my gas powered chainsaw. Forget the TV set.......we will find other ways to keep abreast of news, and find other ways to entertain ourselves.  I hope that all the hubbies have a dog house, because you will have to sleep there, and take the dog along with you to keep you warm.  Hmmmmm, its a three dog night. Hey, this is fun........return to primal living conditions?  Might as well face reality.........electricity and appliances are here to stay?  No offense intended to anyone, but I couldn't resist. Smiley  Electricity is not an evil......we just need to generate it in a responsible manner.

Posted by Jon C on Dec 1, 2008 09:53 pm

#68 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine going Overvoltage
You are most welcome, Eric. Smiley  I too like this forum and glad that we can get heads together to solve problems.  There is one other thing that I forgot to mention in the previous post.  You cannot get an accurate reading of voltage output from a three phase turbine by metering two of the wires.  In the 48v wiring configuration, the generator is wired in a "Y" scheme with a common connection for the three phase windings.  The typical AC multimeter is designed to read RMS (DC equivalent heating value) voltage which is .707 of peak AC on a single phase AC source.  You cannot get at a single phase AC winding from the generator, because the common connection for all three windings is inside the generator. So, the reading you get from two windings is not the exact DC equivalent output from the turbine.  One is better off to simply read the DC voltage on the batteries when the turbine is charging them.  I have been running my turbines for two years now without any problem of overvoltaging the inverters.  Best of luck to you.  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Dec 1, 2008 05:50 pm

#69 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine going Overvoltage
Hi Eric.  I had an identical problem to yours, in that, the turbine would shut down the inverter(over 60v) in a high wind condition of maximum output.  Although my turbines are Whisper 200's, the control adjustments may be similar or the same.  I set the Time Hysteresis switch to Off position (default setting is On), so that there is no time delay when the turbine overvoltages the inverter, and it goes into dump mode immediately, instead of delaying the dump mode. The potentionmeter enable switch should be set to On (default setting is Off)......I assume you have done this or you would not be able to set the threshold on Dump mode. I set my potentiometer to trigger Dump mode at 57v......just below the 60v maximum for the inverter. When you turn on the Stop switch, it does not short the turbine wires together, but rather puts all turbine output into the dump load and diverts the current from going to the batteries or the inverter.  I hope this helps. Smiley  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Nov 14, 2008 10:48 pm

#70 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind turbine and Batteries
Hi Alfred M.  Just my humble opinion here as one who has a working alternative energy system.  I used a 48 volt system with 48 volt turbines and solar panel connection.  The Turbine voltage must match the battery bank voltage for the controller to operate properly.  My reason for going with 48v was to reduce the current requirements of the wiring between system components.  Copper is expensive and sometimes a real task to lay it up at distance with heavy  gauge wiring.  Since wattage is a product of voltage and current, your amp/hour rating is accumulative whether the batteries are series or parallel wired.  So, four 12v (or 6 8v) batteries would give you the same capacity regardless of series or parallel connection.......what changes, is the current requirement.  Each battery has X amount of current supplied when the turbines charge them, so a parallel connection of four would require 4X current as compared to a series connection that would require 1X current. Best of luck for your system build. Smiley  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Nov 10, 2008 04:30 pm

#71 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
Hi Thomas D.  This concept does indeed work and was first used in 1922.  It is used in many places around the world presently.  Iceland is a prime example of geothermal usage.  This link explains it well:

Posted by Jon C on Oct 24, 2008 01:23 am

#72 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Hello.. with a IDEA..
One of the indisputable laws of physics states that Energy cannot be created or destroyed......It can only change form.  So where does the energy created by a vehicle mounted wind generator come from?.........It comes from the energy that you put into the engine to power the car (gasoline).  You have to supply power to push air through the turbine, increasing drag, and then through inefficiencies in converting the wind to electricity, you have losses, therefore getting less power from the turbine than you are supplying with the gas energy.  This is rather a no brainer.  A turbo charger (as i understand it) uses waste exhaust pressure to spin a turbine which raises the compression of the normally horribly inefficient, and underaspirated gas engine and causes it to produce more power, and also to burn more gas (since the gas/air ratio for combustion is a constant).  Again, you don't get something for nothing.   The real advantage with a wind generator is taking the energy from mother earth.........I never got a bill from her for windage, or for geothermal gains. :-)

Posted by Jon C on Oct 16, 2008 01:04 am

#73 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Battery box from a Coleman ice chest?
Just my thoughts on this, based on my experiences, didn't mention what kind of inverter it is, but in my case, the inverter has relays for switching power, and yes, they do make sparks.  My inverter also has a cooling fan for battery charging in "low battery transfer" mode and needs open air to provide cooling.  The charge controller is the same.....has a heat sink and needs to vent for cooling the semiconductors in the controller.  I have my batteries in a semi-enclosed box with insulation on the wall side of the box, and find that the battery temperature is a more-or-less constant 60 degrees (live in a northern climate), since the batteries generate some heat of their own with chemical reaction, and internal resistance when working a load.  So, I am thinking that it is not a good idea to enclose the inverter in the box?  If you employ hydrate caps for the batteries or have the maintenance free type of battery, the hydrogen should be  contained and returned to the battery as water.  (All things in life are variable and subject to change...wink)

Posted by Jon C on Oct 12, 2008 11:30 pm

#74 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Why is The AlteStoreRipping People Off?
Like a smoke signal in the wind, it dissipates quickly without any substance.  I have ordered many items through the AltE store and have only praise for their service.  The staff is knowledgable, helpful, efficient, and the prices are better than some other sites.  This is just my personal opinion.

Posted by Jon C on Aug 26, 2008 12:20 am

#75 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: School Project Help
Taylor, one thing that comes to my mind is the old hand-crank telephone generators that put out enough voltage to provide a substantial shock to the skin.  This is a small device, but perhaps hard to locate in this day and age of electronic phones.  Or, perhaps a DC generator connected to an exercise  bike?

Posted by Jon C on Jul 14, 2008 11:05 pm

#76 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: power directly off of Panels?
Just my thoughts on this James J............The battery is much like a storage capacity device.  If the voltage applied is higher, it charges, and if the load applied reduces the voltage, it discharges.  You lose around 1/4 of the applied charge energy during discharge due to inefficiencies in converting electrical energy to chemical energy, and back to electrical energy again. There are additional losses in the Inverter in converting DC to AC it is not an ideal condition where you can just put in X amount of energy and get the X back out again.  So many things are variable, and you will have to experiment with this to see what your actual gain (or loss) is?  I love learning experiences :-)  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Jul 10, 2008 10:47 pm

#77 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: battery temperature & distance questions
Hi again, James J.  The batteries set against a north wall in the garage and are covered by a homemade fiberglass shell, that allows free ventilation to the rear wall.  They are plain lead acid deep cycle 6v batteries with hydrate caps. There is no danger of freezing, but then, I never allow them to run down all the way..........the inverters cut in automatically at low battery transfer level and charge them from the utility.  There is a picture of the battery cover on my album.  There is no battery box per se....they just set on a concrete slab with a 2" air gap between batteries. The location was chosen for close proximity to the fuse boxes and panels for the existing wiring, so that the wire runs would be as short as possible to minimize losses. I have learned to oversize my system by a factor of two....... twice the anticipated power consumption to compensate for cloudy periods with little wind. I appreciate your inquiry and am happy to answer any questions that you might have about my installation. :-)  Best wishes for your green power design.  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Jul 10, 2008 01:30 pm

#78 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: battery temperature & distance questions
Hi James J.  I live in minnesota, just a bit north of where you are located, and the winters are cold here also.  I have my battery bank located in an unheated garage, and did not bother to insulate them.  Considering the battery capacity losses in cold temperatures, I simply installed twice as many batteries as required to satisfy system requirements.  The inverters have a temperature compensation device that mounts on the side of the battery bank, so they will adjust charge current according to the increase in battery voltage when colder.  This may not be the ideal solution, but there is another factor involved.........battery life maybe be extended when they are kept cooler, so this may be an advantage. I have not experienced any problems with this arrangement so far.  With regard to AC wire size, you may find this link informative.  Best of luck to you.  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Jun 26, 2008 11:28 pm

#79 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Hybrid Grid-Tie System
Hi J.T.  I have a functioning system using the whisper 200's and solar panels, and operate off-grid most of the time.  If you look at my album on alternative energy, you will see a wiring diagram of how everything is connected.  The Xantrex inverters have the capability to grid tie......I just don't use that function, but it is selectable.  Jon C. :-)

Posted by Jon C on Mar 14, 2008 10:43 am

#80 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: i solved the energy crisis- i dare you to replicate my experiment
I agree with you, John......the only (disorder?) we have is the desire to be energy independent of oil, coal, nuclear and the primary pollutants of our environment.  I presently satisfy 3/4 of my household electrical needs with wind and solar power and plan on achieving 100% with installation of another wind turbine this year.......all for about the price of a new gasoline car.......I think this is in the price range of many people, and more are becoming interested in this alternative as time goes on.  I have a small electric car in the works also, since most of my trips are local, this will alleviate my primary consumption of gasoline.  The alternative to the alternative would be going back to living in a tent like my ancestors, with a life expectancy much shorter than I have now.........I really do enjoy my home conveniences, and right or wrong, electricity is part of that.  Smiles.  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Feb 8, 2008 12:06 pm

#81 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: sure sine 300 info
Hi Bw B.  I have an oscilloscope picture of the waveform from a sinewave inverter compared to a utility voltage waveform. If you would post your email address, I could send it to you?  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Feb 1, 2008 04:41 pm

#82 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: DR series inverter stacking problem
Hi Tom T.  Just a thought about the shut down problem on the inverters.  I am using 48v inverters in a similar configuration to yours, and have experienced inverter shut down if the input voltage exceeds a preset maximum, which I beleive is somewhere around 31 volts on your inverters.  Are you charging the batteries at the maximum charge rate of 35 amps.........this would yield a charge rate of 70 amps with both inverters running?  I reset the charge rate on mine to 20 amps, and had to set the wind turbine dump voltage level below the preset maximum input voltage on the inverters to keep them from shutting down.  The panel shows an error light if input voltage is too high.  Could this be relevant to your problem?  Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Jan 22, 2008 03:49 pm

#83 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Ice free water
I am just throwing in my thoughts on the geothermal water heating concept for ice free water in Montana. I have a geothermal home heating/ac unit with a substantial ground loop system.......4000 ft of PVC containing 120 gallons of water, buried 8 feet underground,  and located on the same latitude as Montana.  In heating mode, the heat pump cools the loop water to below freezing temperatures (perhaps a bit warmer than an outside watering tank), but the circulating water still comes out at near freezing temperature or below, and requires addition of antifreeze to the water.  As long as the water is moving, it probably would not freeze even without the antifreeze additive, but if, for some reason, the pump stopped, there would still be a risk of freezing the water and breaking the underground pipes. I would not recommend CPVC pipe for this installation.......I've seen it fracture for no apparent reason, and its really tough to have to dig up all of that piping to make a repair.

Posted by Jon C on Dec 30, 2007 04:59 pm

#84 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Whisper H200 Wind generator
Hi Bob D.  I have an operational Whisper 200 on my site.  I wrote a product review on my profile and have a picture of the installation in my album.  I am pleased with the turbine. :-) Jon C.

Posted by Jon C on Dec 15, 2007 12:40 pm

#85 -  Renewable Energy > Rebate Programs and Net Metering regulations > Re: News Articles and Websites
I agree with you Tom, and appreciate your point taken.  I don't use grid tie or sell mode on the inverters for the reasons that you mentioned. And, I am not even interested if I get any monetary payback on the system over my lifetime.  I simply rejoice in the concept of being free of the Utility grid, of doing something to reduce greenhouse gasses, and the feeling of independence it brings to me.  That is my payback.  It seems, however, that many are looking for some kind of payback to justify the monetary cost of a system, and perhaps this is why more people have not yet jumped on the green band wagon. :-)

Posted by Jon C on Dec 14, 2007 03:43 pm

#86 -  Renewable Energy > Rebate Programs and Net Metering regulations > Re: News Articles and Websites
Actually, Tom, there is a IRS tax credit for solar water heat.

Posted by Jon C on Dec 9, 2007 12:57 am

#87 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Can you charge a battery using man made energy?
Yes, Mitzi, you surely can do this.  I saw a program on SCI channel called "cool fuel" where this was done.  In WWII, they used hand crank generators to power two way radios in this manner.  For a bike, it is just a matter of gearing a generator to the wheel or pedals, in some manner.  There are generators for bicycles that are used for lighting.  I am thinking that you would not get a large amount of power this way, however, since the human machine is rated at only 1/4 horsepower. :-)

Posted by Jon C on Nov 30, 2007 10:58 am

#88 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: wind mill wiring
Hi Joe.  Yes, I believe you are correct, since that is essentially what a charge controller does........diverts excessive charging current into a dump load. I am thinking that if one wishes to design this himself, a person could design a voltage sensing circuit using a relay that would switch the charging current from battery to dump load at a preset level of voltage.  Some turbines have a braking system to prevent overspin of the turbine blades, or to stop the turbine, and some simply have a manual switch, which shorts the generator wires together and puts a Counter-EMF load on the generator to slow it down.  That latter technique is a bit scary, and is not terribly effective in very high winds. There are many different furling techniques that can be found on a google search of that key word.  Best of luck to you. :-)

Posted by Jon C on Nov 29, 2007 11:21 am

#89 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: wind mill wiring
Hi Joe.  Yes, you are right, I did miss the fact that you are using a DC generator.  In my experience, a charge controller is used to reduce or disconnect charging current in the case that the battery is fully charged, to prevent excessive gassing of the battery.  Since a wind turbine is active power, some kind of diversion dump load is needed to keep the turbine from over revving in high winds, unless there is some effective way of furling the turbine, or slowing it down. Do you have some method of stopping the turbine in the case of excessive winds, or icing of the blades? (perhaps you are not in an area where freezing temperatures and icing is a potential problem)  I would imagine that you have an idea of what size diode and fuse that you need now and what size of wiring is appropriate for the current that will be carried.  Best of luck. :-)

Posted by Jon C on Nov 29, 2007 12:28 am

#90 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: wind mill wiring
Hi Joe.  Based on your projected wattage, it appears that the turbine will be pushing about 38 amps of current. (450/12) There are two ways of rectifying AC to DC........half wave(using a single diode), or full wave (using 4 diodes in a bridge configuration).  Assuming that your generator puts out a single phase AC, the bridge would give you the best output, since it utilizes both alternations of AC, and the best loading for the turbine. A 50 amp rated rectifier would probably do. This would input to your charge controller before going to the battery. Good luck :-)

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