3 Posts
Jul 5, 2004 10:23 am

Anyone know where i can get some decent books on Alt-E from a practical/technical perspective? I'm an electronic engineering student. Can't find any!
462 Posts
Jul 6, 2004 03:57 pm
Re: Books

goliath, you should be able to find all the basic info you need in your studies as an engineer, so check out your textbooks......
351 Posts
Jul 9, 2004 02:23 pm
Re: Books

It would help to have a better description than "practical alt-E books". So, I am not really sure of what you are looking for.

Having said that, the best all around reference I have seen is "The Solar Living Resource Book" by John Schaffer & Doug Pratt.  Doug gives a lot of practical tips on everything from batteries to wind turbines. It is not a "step by step how to manual". It is more of a catalog with articles and simple explainations of how the various equipment works, both as individual items and as systems. It also points out common mistakes people make.  It is about $30 retail, so you might want to check out the local library and see if they have a copy, so you can read it before putting out the bucks.
If you are looking for something on wind power, try "Wind Energy Basics" by Paul Gripe.

Jul 9, 2004 05:43 pm
Re: Books

LAST EDITED ON Jul-11-04 AT 06:40 PM (EST)

When I read the phrase Alt-E my first thought is the Alternative Energy Store, so I would assume that you are asking about books that might be in thier bookstore?
If Alt-E is refering to alternative energies in general then you might want to be more specific. The entire universe is full of energy.
But coming back down to good old mother Earth I can speculate that you are refering to alternatives too; coal fired and, nuclear electric power plants as well as petroleum products. Even here on Earth there is an abundant supply of various energies.
Forgive me but, your question is like asking "I need to know about that tree" while pointing at a forest.
Specifics such as; solar, tidal, wind, plasmas, bio mass, bio diesel, and alcohol. Gosh! I could go on and on. Nasa is developing a way to make electricity from fecal matter.
As an engineering student I am sure you already now that energy is never "used up" it merely changes from one state to another. But you want books. Do you know of the Qabbalah? No? Check it out.

3 Posts
Aug 5, 2004 10:04 am
Re: Books

Thanks for your help tom but i have 19 textbooks for my course and all of them are far too specialised to include anything on setting up a solar or wind system so not many of my text books cover photovoltaics or wind turbines. With the exception of "The art of electronics" which has 1 page on PVs. Consequently the reason i asked the question i did, granted i should have been more specific, is because i have the technical knowledge to implement a system but wanted a book to look into setting up a full system w.r.t battery arrays, inverters and net metering etc from a technical perspective rather than for less technically inclined people. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to read a book on a subject even if you do know enough about it. Also i live in the UK and so finding books i can get over here is another problem.
462 Posts
Aug 5, 2004 01:58 pm
Re: Books

Goliath, there are actually many sites on the internet to which you can get reference diagrams in order to understand how to set up a system. You can also subscribe to some trade magazines that give info. on system setup and plenty of references. If you are in the UK, look up "refocus", a magazine from over there, or Solar Today, here in the states, or the ASES which has links to books for sale. Another way, actually the best, is to look directly at the product's specifications that you plan on implementing, whether it be controllers, PV, wind or other input sources. Once you have all the specifics, on what the product does and what loads it can handle, some basic electicity concepts are all that you need from there, with regards to proper wiring and what not. Simple systems are best, PV-battery-load, and once you start implementing various controllers of course things can get tricky. Learning what these controls can do will give you a greater understanding than any book trying to describe it will. Have you tried the "home power magazine" site? They have downloadable issues that contain many system setups.  
Aug 6, 2004 04:06 am
Re: Books

 Consequently the reason
>i asked the question i did,
>granted i should have been more
>specific, is because i have the
>technical knowledge to implement a system
>but wanted a book to look
>into setting up a full system
>w.r.t battery arrays, inverters and net
>metering etc from a technical perspective
>rather than for less technically inclined
>people. Theres nothing wrong with wanting
>to read a book on a
>subject even if you do know
>enough about it.
Go outside and stand facing our Sun and know that it is millions of kilometers away. Know that the planet Earth protects you as best that it can form our Suns radiant energy with its own electromagnetic field as well as several spheres of gaseous matter and ionized water particles, with its lush foliage. Know that with all of that our Sun can still burn your skin in a matter of hours. This is a human condition.
 As for the humanistic, its all about money.
Finding the best deals, or getting the most wattage and longevity for the least amount of expendeture. When I started exploring the idea of "harvesting" electricity from sunlight I did as you are, I wanted knowledge form a book, and I got it, but at a price. The books could tell me how to calculate my energy needs into kilowatt hours and then from there size the array and battery bank and inverter and so on, basic stuff really, Ohm's law mostly except for the orientation of the PV array in respect to our Sun. What these books couldnt tell me though was real world knowledge. For example; even though brand "X" batteries are an excellent battery their terminal posts are fragile at best and subject to break off, the brand "Y" is an excellent inverter but its charge capability is limited even though its advertised charge rates are phenominal, things like how a 16.9 volt PV module would be good for hotter climates but there not and how the peaks of the sine wave of most portable generators flatens out or that its internal combustion counter part is short lived.  
I suppose the point I am really trying to make is that you cant allways believe what you read. Sometimes you just have to write your own book.
Photovoltaics have been utilized since the early 50's but as for using it to power a home off grid, that didnt happen until the 70's. It wasnt untilt the 90's that it started to turn into a billion dollar industry. Grid interteid systems are even younger. Its a realitvly old technology that has a new light shined on it. With this light the market has been saturated with with all kinds of  new technologies promising the consumer  the "best bang for the buck."
I am reminded of a nursery ryhme, I dont know that it apllies to this particular situation, but I am reminded of it all the same. You may have heard it. It starts with an Inch worm measuring Marigolds and after a spell a Butterfly stops in and proceeds to tell the Inch worm, why bother to measure the Marigolds just enjoy how beautiful they are.
I wish you well in your desires for a higher education. Without knowledge from personal experience an education is worth little more than the paper its printed on.
So to close I would say, "spend the money, build a system, and write your own book." Somebody has to.


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