Ken Hall's posts

Posted by Ken Hall on Dec 1, 2008 01:42 pm

#121 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine going Overvoltage
When the voltage was above 57.4, was the red LED on, off, or blinking ?  Did you ever detect any heat coming from the dump load ?  Did you throw the diversion switch to manually divert power to the dump load ?  If yes, what happened then ?


PS How big is your battery bank ?

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 30, 2008 12:09 pm

#122 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: 40hp submersible pump design problem
Your gauge is reading the difference in elevation between it and the actual water level in the tank.  Even though it may not be perfectly calibrated in psi, the relative readings should be quite accurate.  If it has a large enough scale, you can "gauge" your water storage level fairly closely, with a little practice.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 30, 2008 02:15 am

#123 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: 40hp submersible pump design problem

Each foot of water is about 0.433 psi. You would need about
115 feet to obtain 50 psig.
Metric equivalent
3.5 kilograms per square centimeter at 35 meters.


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 25, 2008 11:59 am

#124 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
"The force that produces work is amps."
You are still wrong. Amps are watts divided by volts. It is a measure of current or flow. Work is measured in watts. Here is the wiki page on watts.
Note that they talk about a human or a car engine doing work in watts. You do not find references to an engine doing work in amps.
You need to go back to school and relearn many of the things you think you know, because they are wrong.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 22, 2008 06:31 pm

#125 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
"To convert electric power to mechanical force you need lots of amps."
No, you need lots of watts. 1hp (mechanical) is 745.7 watts.  At 12V that is just over 62 amps, at 115V it is about 6.5 amps.   Watts are what perform the work.  Amps are primarily used for wire sizing.

You are totally wrong about PV "it cannot produce the amps to convert this energy back into mechanical work."
The only trouble with PV is that it best at mid day, and not available at night.  However, by using it during the day, you can save the water behind the dam, or save oil, gas, etc, for use at night. You are reducing the total fuel burn.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 19, 2008 01:08 pm

#126 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
Extra credit awarded.
The condenser vacuum is important to all condensing steam turbines, including the modern combined cycle. Most science teachers and even some engineering teachers do not fully explain its’ importance.
The condenser vacuum will vary according to design. But many run in the 2-4 inches Hg range (1-2 psia)

When you start loosing vacuum (pressure increases), you need to run a lot more steam through the turbine to perform the same amount of work. This drop in efficiency increases the fuel consumed (dramatically) on a per kW or MW basis. The hot well/condenser outlet and the cooling water temperature both climb, from the heat (work) not extracted from the steam.
You can use the vacuum as a plant barometer. Healthy condenser vacuum equals healthy power plant. Not so healthy vacuum, a not so healthy plant.


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 18, 2008 03:41 pm

#127 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
“We have only discovered a few vents so far because we have just started looking for them.”
The first one was discovered in 1977. We have been looking for them for over 31 years.
While I will agree that more will be found, why do you expect to find more geothermal hot spots at underwater plate boundaries, than occur along plate boundaries above water ? 

“If supper hot seawater is pouring out of these vents it can only mean that the molten magma is just feet below not miles.”
Your assumption is invalid.
“A hydrothermal vent is a lot like an underwater geyser. Sea water seeps down into the cracks and fissures created by the spreading of the sea floor, sometimes as much as two or three miles into the earth’s crust.”

“So to say that we would be destroying all of them is a bit short sighted?”
You would be destroying all of the known ones with one or more small power plants. I don’t think you could get 55MW out of all of the known ones. That was the purpose of the questions, which you did not even attempt to answer.

“At current consumption rates this tells you how long it will take to consume all of it. This date will occur during your lifetime.”
Again, your assumption is invalid. You have no idea how long or short my expected lifetime is.  And I don’t even want to guess at what your math might be.

While wind and solar (or geothermal) will never replace oil, they can all make a contribution to the energy problem. It is an energy problem, not just an “oil problem”.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 16, 2008 04:18 pm

#128 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: AGM batteries - Life Expectancy
Your battery bank is 800AH based upon the 100hr rate. I would consider it to be about 720AH based upon a 20 hour rate.
The typical life for a deep cycle AGM is 4-7 years, for batteries that are being used. (Is the CT battery a true deep cycle, or a hybrid?) Not using them and maintaining a float charge, could actually bring down the life expectancy towards the lower end. At minimum, I would discharge them 10-15% once or twice a month, to exercise them a bit.
Actually, if they were mine, I would cycle them daily.You could easily take 800-900 watt hours out of them, if you increased your PV. (Just how do you intend to recharge all of these batteries after Armageddon, anyway)

You didn't mention any type of battery box. If you put them in an insulated box, it would help prolong the life. I would also put a battery temp monitor on them.  

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 13, 2008 01:03 pm

#129 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
What part of  “While there are thousands of kilometers of mid ocean ridge, most of it is not that hot.”, do you not understand ?

The hydrothermal vents are rare occurrences scattered along the thousands of kilometers.  The largest vent field discovered to date is about the size of a football stadium.
While the magma is pushing up along the plate boundaries, it is well cooled by the time it reaches the ocean floor. Consider it cold rock being pushed up into place by the magma below it.  At most spots along the ridge, you are going to have to drill 1-2 miles down (or more) to get the same type of heat that is expelled at the vents.

The water temperature (bottom) along the mid Atlantic ridge generally runs in the 2-7 degree C range.  This would also be typical of most of the other plate boundaries.
Many of the measurements of Hydrothermic activity are measured in a few hundredths of a degree C temperature rise.  The hot hydrothermal vents pouring out 200-400 degree C water are rare. The number discovered to date are fewer than the known geysers and fumaroles on land.

Since we don’t understand how these fit into the chain of life, nor do we understand how they impact ocean temps, currents, et cetera, It would be foolish to wipe them out.

You are not talking about “0.00001% of this ecosystem”. You would be destroying 100% of it, for many, many miles. Kind of like destroying an oasis in the desert. 

Even the largest of these vent fields would not produce a lot of power.  Do you have any concept of the amount of steam it takes to run say a 55MW power plant ?  How many gallons of that hot water do you think you would need to produce that amount of steam?  How many gallons of cold water would it require to  condense that steam ? Extra credit given for the reason you want to condense it.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 12, 2008 02:32 am

#130 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?

I never said that geothermal is a no go. All I said was your idea of it won’t work. While most of the technical problems might be overcome, it is not worthwhile to pursue them. The cost of such a project would be prohibitive. It would drive up electric rates to a level never seen in this country. We just are recovering from $5.00 a gallon gas, I do not want to see $5.00 a kilowatt electricity.

While there are thousands of kilometers of mid ocean ridge, most of it is not that hot.  So, you will either have to drill for the heat.  Or, you are going to have to cap off a bunch of hydrothermal vents.
Capping off those will destroy a very fascinating ecosystem.

“you too will start thinking about geothermal as well.”

I don’t need to start thinking geothermal. I am one of the few people you will ever run into that can say that I (along with many others) have built geothermal power plants. Over 400MW worth. So, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on what we have been able to do with it, and what we can’t.


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 11, 2008 02:51 pm

#131 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
“there is only one other source of energy that can replace oil and that is geothermal. That is why I have presented this energy machine. There is no other way.”

I think your problem is that you are looking for a single source replacement for oil. I do not believe that exists. The solution will be multifaceted. Many different sources adding up to produce the final result. While there Solar cannot keep a factory running 24 hours a day, solar energy produced and used during the day can offset oil use or save water for hydro, so that energy can be used to keep that factory running during the hours of darkness.

The biggest problem with geothermal is that much of that resource is too deep in the earth to do us any good. It can be either prohibitively expensive to reach, or in many cases it is just impossible with today’s drilling technology.

Production of geothermal steam has many problems associated with it. It leaches minerals from the earth, including many sulfides, arsenic, and other toxics, which need to be removed. Especially, if steam/water vapor from a cooling tower is going to be released to atmosphere.  This will be even more important if you ramp up the amount of geothermal production.

It takes vast quantities of water, and it is preferable that it is not saltwater. Maintaining a turbine that uses geothermal steam is labor intensive enough, without increasing the salt content of the steam. The existing corrosion problems associated with geothermal steam would be much worse using heated salt water.

To keep the Geysers resource running, they have been catching rainwater runoff and reinjecting it since the late 70’s. They pump the local streams when they reach a certain flow level. They are pumping treated sewer water from up to 40 miles away (and uphill over 3,000 feet) to maximize steam regeneration. (And they do not subtract the vast quantities of electricity used for pumping, from their net production figures. That power use shows up as a customer)

One of the world’s best geothermal resources is Yellowstone National Park.  Would you care to lay a wager on the odds of building power plants there ?

People that have not been around it, often view Geothermal as a green resource.  But there are just as many ecological impacts to be mitigated (and you could argue more) as a fossil fuel power plant.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 11, 2008 01:32 am

#132 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What will replace oil wells-?
Yes, geothermal works.
Will the seaflum work as sketched, no.
Read the notes.
"Gravity pushes the water up at a speed of 32 feet per second."
Since when does gravity push anything up ?

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 10, 2008 12:35 pm

#133 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: mini nukes
I would guess that the "years and years out" is still applicable. Unless the NRC changes it's licensing procedure, the licensing to install one of these will take longer and probably cost more than buying one. While they might be able to rush things in other countries, it will be a long time before you see one operating here.

The thing that is not clear to me, is whether this is really a complete package.  Or, is this just the heat source?  A couple of the articles are talking about steam power from this source. That takes a lot of other equipment. A 25MW steam turbine generator is larger than the package they are talking about.

I would need a lot more technical details, before I get too excited about this thing. For now, I consider it to be a lot of "forward looking statements.


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 8, 2008 07:49 am

#134 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re:
The statement that "Raymond" posted may have made sense to him, but it pegged my BS-o-meter. So, I wrote to the CEC to check it out. They refered me to the 3rd party engineer that actually maintains the Approved Turbine list for them.

According to him, he has never received a request to add the Windmaster to the list. Nor, to the best of his recollection, he does not remember even speaking with anyone from that company.

Caveat Emptor.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 4, 2008 01:20 pm

#135 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Charging Batteries with generator problems - suggestions?
Assuming that you are using one leg of the 220v outlet and that all of your inverter settings are at or near defaults, my first question would be have you broken the neutral/ground bond in the generator. 

If not, I would break that bond and try charging to see if that might solve your problem.


PS The next time you are bulk charging from the generator, try taking voltage readings from each of your 115V duplex outlets. Those readings may help us figure out/explain what is happening.

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 2, 2008 12:43 pm

#136 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Distance of Inverter from batteries
As David suspected, the two blues will be speed control. If they are not needed, just tape them off.
What are you doing ? Thinking of building a Chispito Wind Turbine ?

Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 2, 2008 11:08 am

#137 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Need smart electrician to help!
What are you trying to achieve ?
The generation that you have is roughly equivelent to one hours running time for that pump. Less during bad weather. Depending how much it runs, it will seriously impact how much power you have for other uses.

Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 30, 2008 12:34 pm

#138 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Charging Batteries with generator problems - suggestions?
What is the model number of your inverter ?
What is the connection between the generator and the inverter ?  Please provide both wire size and length.
Where are you measuring the 26 volts ?


Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 29, 2008 04:15 pm

#139 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Temporarily Stopping a Wind Turbine
How long will it be before the work is completed ?
How strong might the wind get during that period ?
Since Southwest Windpower does not provide a shorting switch, they may not like the idea.  You should probably call/e-mail them and get their opinion.


Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 29, 2008 02:46 pm

#140 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Generator
It's a good way to smoke a charge controller.

However, if the generator is being run for other AC purposes, you can take a diversion controller and dump load to regulate the battery charging from the dc circuit.

Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 27, 2008 01:08 pm

#141 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Renewbale Energy water powered cars
No, they do not work. Electrolysis by itself is an energy loss. When you attempt to power that with an inefficient car alternator and an even more inefficient IC engine, you end up with about 10% of the energy that you started with. 

But the amounts of energy we are talking about are small as compared to the running of the car. So you don’t notice the loss in gas mileage any more than you do by turning on headlights and/or any combination of electrical devices that use 30 amps of load.

Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 25, 2008 03:48 pm

#142 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re:
Raymond (or whatever your name is)

A) Don't blame the AltE store for my comments. While I respect them, and I really appreciate their sponsorship of this forum, they are not responsible for my comments, in any way, shape, or form. My comments/opinions are mine, and mine alone.

B) You don't take a rotor that is sized for a 900W or 1kW machine and slap it on a 300-400W machine, nor vise-versa.  That is sort of like saying you can freely exchange engines between a Honda Civic and an F150, without ill effects in either vehicle.

I was very careful in my reply to Robert to keep it generic and in an attempt to avoid fanning the flames between Freetricity and AltE. Then I get "three" "new" posters questioning my statements, including one who is only interested in solar panels. That stretches credibility. On the slight chance that it is true, I apologize to the AltE store, for costing them the sale.

California publishes a list of Wind Turbine Mfg.s that qualify for the wind rebate.
Don't you think it is a little peculiar that a California based company would not qualify their machine for the substantial rebates and incentives available in their home state ?
I do. And I would strongly recommend that a "newbie" not buy from an mfg that is not on this list.

Here is a two-year-old article on Fantasy turbines.
People can judge for themselves how many “red flags” it raises.

Freetricity smells. It reminds me of snake oil.

Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 25, 2008 01:36 am

#143 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re:
I can only think of two types of people that would try to compare a Windmaster to both the AirX and the Whisper.
1) Someone who is totally ignorant of wind turbine design
2) A Freetricity distributor or employee
Which one (or both) are you ?

Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 24, 2008 01:10 pm

#144 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Three phase Solar Power for commercial use
Great response John B.
The only thing I can add is that given the option between a roof mount and a ground mount, I always choose the ground mount.


Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 23, 2008 07:31 pm

#145 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re:
Unless there is a new Whisper that I am not aware of, all those are bigger than the 4 foot class.

I took a brief glance at the Air X curve, and don't see a major contradiction. It would probably help me figure out what you are asking if you expand on that.

Or, tell me what you would expect from a Air X in a roof top mount in Shreveport. The Airport there, reports a 12 year average annual windspeed of 8.3 mph at 10 meters.


Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 22, 2008 11:37 am

#146 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: What do I need to make a simple 12VDC PV pool heater system?
The system you propose might work to heat 5-10 gallons of water. How many gallons are in your swimming pool ?

You want a system that will heat the water directly, without the inefficient in-between step of making electricity. Take a look at the solar pool systems here at the store, or just google solar pool heating.

Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 22, 2008 11:35 am

#147 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re:

You need to revise your hopes downward.  With your wind speed class and a 4 foot class machine, I wouldn’t expect more than about 15kWh a month.  I feel that this should have been pointed out to you, so you could have made an informed decision.

Hopefully, the educational value for both you and your students will be worth the investment.  The altE library has some good basic articles on wind.
There are more advanced articles at Paul Gipes site.
His book “Wind Energy Basics” is out of print, but is a great primer.  Try your local library or look at the used books at Amazon. 

You need to be careful about modifying a wind turbine design.  Good design is always a compromise. Changes always have benefits and drawbacks. Changing the machine for better low wind performance will increase stresses during high winds.  Depending on the design parameters of the original design, changes made to improve the low wind performance could lead to catastrophic failure under extreme high winds. From what I’ve read, you do get some extreme winds on a few days a year.

Good luck.


Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 18, 2008 06:22 pm

#148 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re:
what are your expectations of performance ?
Just how many kWh do you expect to see from it per month ?

Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 6, 2008 02:25 am

#149 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: grounding a small DC/AC system?
With your PV on a dwelling unit, you should have Ground Fault Protection on it. A common place to install this is in a DC load center.
You should also have a DC disconnect.  Your remote on/off switch for the inverter does not count as a disconnect.

You might want to download the Xantrex manual on PV fault protection, and read it. There are some good diagrams.
Then ask any additional grounding questions that you may have.

Your current bonded grounding rods can take both the ac and dc grounds.

Yes, your ac neutral should be bonded to ground at some point downstream of the inverter.

I didn't see (and you have not mentioned) any ac overcurrent protection. I am hoping that you have at least an inline fuse, somewhere.



Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 5, 2008 12:27 pm

#150 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Grid Supply Issues
Grid tied means you want the inverter to synch the power with the grid, usually so that you can sell power back to the utility.
You cannot grid tie a 110V 60hz system to a 50hz utility.

I am not aware of any inverter that will invert the incoming 50hz power to 60hz power. (Anyone else ??)

I would consider a stand-alone system and use a real good battery charger as the grid connection.

The big question is whether you attempt to put the entire house on 60hz, or whether you have 60Hz circuits just for the "problem appliances". Putting the entire house (or a large portion of it) on 60hz might get real expensive, depending on how many kWh you use each month.


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