Need a little help

16 Posts
Sep 25, 2008 12:28 am
Need a little help

Just getting started in the Off-grid lifestyle. and I am using it primarily for a remote cabun, but hope to bring some of what I learn to everyday life!

I am trying to bring Light to my cabin without having to run a generator all the time. My plan is as follows

5 to 6 lights, E27 edison type porcelin base 12v wiring with a boat/rv type switch panel. running off of one marine deep cell battery. When battery runs low I will recharge with a rapid charger and generator for now. eventually will install solar panels to recharge battery/ batteries.

OK here is where I need the help
What kind of light bulbs should I get for 12v lighting that will not overload the system but provide adequate light.

what guage wire. should I use?

and finally what battery should I use.

again I am totally new to this and just want to do it right the first time.

any help is greatly apprecited!

-J
 
578 Posts
Sep 25, 2008 10:57 am
Re: Need a little help

these links may help you.

http://store.altenergystore.com/Lighting-Fans/Compact-Fluorescent/c495/

http://store.altenergystore.com/Lighting-Fans/LED-Lamps-Fixtures/c578/

i have the c.crane lights all over my house (all but two fixtures).  they shade kinda blue and sorta dim, but they draw at a very low rate (<5w).

james
altE staff

AltE
"Making Renewable Do-able"
http://www.altEstore.com/

Tel: 877.878.4060 x107  or +1.978.562.5858 x107
Fax: 877.242.6718  or +1.978.562.5854
 
27 Posts
Sep 25, 2008 03:03 pm
Re: Need a little help

This may help with wire size.
and it all depends how many bulbs and the distance of you circut run. Ex 6 bulbs drawing 1 amp each is 6 amps of draw
Don't forget to place an in-line fuse on that Positive wire
between battery and load.
I used 240 volt outlets and plugs so that you can't mix things up and plug a wrong lamp in the 12 volt circut.
Also if you rewire any lamps to 12 volts be sure to get your positive and neg wire on the correct terminal or the bulb won't work at all.
Rene



 The recommended maximum distances for AC or DC are listed in the cell below the wire size.



 12V TABLE

 POWER                                                               WIRE GAUGE
W(VA)/Amps   8awg 10awg  12awg  14awg   16awg  18awg  20awg  22awg  24awg   26awg

3W/.25A     3,733 2,396  1,508    947    595    376    234    146    93      59
4W/.33A     2,828 1,815  1,142    717    451    285    177    111    70      44
5W/.42A     2,222 1,426    898    564    354    224    139     87    55      35
10W/.83A    1,124   722    454    285    179    113     71     44    28      18
20W/1.67A     559   359    226    142     89     56     35     22    14       9
30W/2.50A     373   240    151     95     60     38     23     15    N/A     N/A
40W/3.33A     280   180    113     71     45     28     18     11    N/A     N/A
50W/4.17A     224   144     90     57     36     23     14     N/A   N/A     N/A
60W/5.00A     187   120     75     47     30     19     12     N/A   N/A     N/A
70W/5.83A     160   103     65     41     26     16     10     N/A   N/A     N/A
80W/6.67A     140    90     57     35     22     14     N/A    N/A   N/A     N/A
90W/7.50A     124    80     50     32     20     13     N/A    N/A   N/A     N/A
100W/8.33A    112    72     45     28     18     11     N/A    N/A   N/A     N/A
110W/9.17A    102    65     41     26     16     10     N/A    N/A   N/A     N/A
120W/10.00A    93    60     38     24     15     N/A    N/A    N/A   N/A     N/A


 
27 Posts
Sep 25, 2008 03:10 pm
Re: Need a little help

Use a good deep cycle battery 12 volt or
2 .....6 volt The more amp hours it's rated for the better
Plan on spending $125.00 to 150.00 each for good 6 volt batteries. ( or more ) I have not priced out 12 volt batteries lately.
I'm using 4.... 6 volt batteries hooked to give me 12 volts and double my amp hours
Rene
 
351 Posts
Sep 25, 2008 04:02 pm
Re: Need a little help

The table supplied is based upon a 10% voltage drop.
It is totally useless for solar systems.
Using it for house or cabin wiring, violates the NEC maximum recommendation.

 
27 Posts
Sep 25, 2008 09:49 pm
Re: Need a little help

 Try this link for wire simulator and voltage drop
Rene




      http://www.freesunpower.com/wire_calc.php
 
16 Posts
Sep 26, 2008 10:56 pm
Re: Need a little help

First, Let me say thank you to all of you for your input, it is greatly appreciated! I need to be a little more exact from my first post. My cabin is small, just 16x20 and for now I just want to do the basics of lighting, 4 to 5 lights. I acquirred 1 MK E27SLDG storage battery today it is rated at 98 AH. Will this be enough to run some low wattage LED lighting, or more exactly how long will they run before the battery needs to be recharghed, also I am looking for edison based 12v lightbulbs. I have looked online but as you all know with all the different types it is hard to tell what is the best or even what will work at all!
again I am very new to this and have very little electrical experience. Thanks again!
 
27 Posts
Oct 1, 2008 05:18 pm
Re: Need a little help

Joel, try looking at superbrightleds.com as they seem to have good prices on LED materials and are a stand up company that I have dealt with multiple times over the years.  I would definetly go LED if you are looking for lighting that will last as long as possible.  Check out my gallery as I just installed some at my cabin to light the grounds only drawing 24 watts in total, yet lighting the whole place up.  With your battery, you probably don't want it to drain below 60%-70% so based on that you have 60-70ah to work with.  Say your lighting draws 60 watts, that will give you 5 hours of lighting(wire voltage drop aside).  If you can get away from those Edison based 12v bulbs and venture into creating some fixtures and wiring some LED's yourself you will have way more options.  But you are on the right track for sure...
 
220 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 12:02 am
Re: Need a little help


hi joel,

 sounds like a nice cabin. there are parts of the world where that size home would be considered large even for a family unit of three generations. my apartment flat is about the same 14x22 and does the job. somewhere along the way we americans seemed to have moved toward the mc'mansion way of life and use our cell phones to call everyone to the dinner table when the pizza arrives?....
 
"I just want to do the basics of lighting, 4 to 5 lights. I acquired 1 MK E27SLDG storage battery today it is rated at 98 AH. Will this be enough to run some low wattage LED lighting, or more exactly how long will they run before the battery needs to be recharged"

  check out the 12vdc c.crane lights they have here at altE

http://store.altenergystore.com/Lighting-Fans/LED-Lamps-Fixtures/C-Crane-Vivid-LED-Light-Bulb-36-LEDs-DC/p6747/

 four of those dc lights @ 2.5 watts each would equal 10wh of energy used if they are all on for one hour.

 your battery has a rated capacity of 93ah lets say we want to use only 60ah of our battery capacity. that would give us 720wh of available power. (12volts x 60ah = 720wh) we can run these four lights for 72 hours non stop. or a 60watt load for 12 hours.

 good luck with your project. 73
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 12:43 am
Re: Need a little help

David, the website I listed above has those same bulbs for $15.95 but there are much brighter and better out now than those here http://www.superbrightleds.com/edison_globe.html and they consume 1 or 3 more watts but offer a much purer color temperature abd brightness
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 12:45 am
Re: Need a little help

Thanks all, this is some good info. I am thinking of starting off with the edison based for right now, only because the materials have already been acquirred but will definately be switching to led based system as soon as the funds become available!
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 12:58 am
Re: Need a little help

OK guys so what you are basically saying I can run 4 of the listed leds for 72 hours or 2 25 watt bulbs for 12 hours. if that is the case, I guess it is a no brainer, and when the funds come avalible I will be purchasing these leds.
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:18 am
Re: Need a little help

All is this type of led good to use, and will it produce the same end result that has been disscussed.

http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi?product=MR16&keywords=&cart_id=6683411.4217&next=0

the LED I am looking at is E27-W24-12V

your input is apprciated!
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:20 am
Re: Need a little help

Joel since you are running a 12volt system -and- require the edison base, this appears to be your only option from them, but I do not like the color temperature of the LED's used in that unit - at 8000k it will be very blue/white.

Forgive me, for I flaked and got excited recommending other units that were 120vac, thinking you had an inverter setup.  I did find a site that has nice looking edison based 12 volt led's that do include the 1 watt warm white LED's I love so much but I have not bought from this particular company. 

http://www.montanalight.com/low_voltage_led_lights.htm   
 
Regardless of what you choose, you always want the warm white LED's(much easier on the eyes) and want it to have a high degree angle like 100 or more so the light will disperse.  If you could somehow get away from the edison base, a world of lighting opportunities at reduced prices is out there.

Check out my gallery to see what 24 watts of 1 watt LED's can do for a campsite.  They are wonderful little things!! Best of luck in your cabin lighting efforts and feel free to ask more questions!
« Last Edit: Oct 2, 2008 01:47 am by Michael Riewer »
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:38 am
Re: Need a little help

Mike, the place looks good. Take a look at my place, picked up 18.9 acres, for about 9 thousand, yah I lucked out, the guy was going through a divorce and wanted to dump the place before his wife or ex-wife could get her hands on it! His misfortune but as for me was just in the right place at the right time! any way take a look and let me know what you think.

http://forums.atvconnection.com/mypage.cfm
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:52 am
Re: Need a little help

Joel that link is broken and doesn't specifically point to your profile gallery, but I wanna see it!! sounds like a awesome deal!!  Did you see the 2nd page in my gallery that shows the LED's at night?
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:56 am
Re: Need a little help

Mike, I only grabbed the edison base cause they were cheap and seemed easy to work with. nothing is installed yet there fore nothing is set in stone I am fully open to suggestion's just trying to get the desired effect as cheaply as possible for this year and will do a more advanced system next summer! any suggestions on fixtures bulbs and wiring are greatly appriciated. as again I am very new to this with not much electrical experience!
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:58 am
Re: Need a little help

yah the outside lighting looks great, and I am suddenly motivated to do the same.

if you goto ATVconnection.com then forums then gallery, search arctic hunter!
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 02:19 am
Re: Need a little help

Ah man, if you are open to other things and desire funcionality over beauty for the time being then by all means do what I did, but inside.  After looking at your cabin pics(nice start by the way!) it seems this would be perfectly fine at this time. 

Say you have 6 light locations(1 outside the front door, 3 downstairs and 2 upstairs for example), so get 6 sets of the http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi?product=BARS and scroll down to the LBM1W series LED Modules (in warm white of course) which will give you 18 LED's in total.  You can only cut the units in groups of 3's cause the "driver" is in one of the heatsinks and not the other 2.  These are so small that you could easily screw them into the bottom of the bare 2x4's in your cabin and have 6 locations with 3 watts a piece lighting the place. 

Wiring is super simple.  Just cut the units at the location marked on the bubble wrap supplied with the LED's, giving you the groups of 3's.  Get some alligator clamps for your battery and run your wire lines from there to the selected LED locations(if you haven't already) making sure the positive and negative are labeled and are the same throughout(LEDs are polarity sensitive and must be + to + and - to -).  Then connect the positive wire to the red lead on the LED set and the negative to the black lead and bam, you have light.  It is super easy and will really light that place up, using only 18 watts!  For wire just use some cheap 14gauge landscaping wire you can get at Lowe's for $30 for 100ft and just keep the writing side positive(or the side with ridges) throughout your system at each junction.  The just use some U shaped nails with those plastic guards on them to tack the wire up and you are set!
« Last Edit: Oct 2, 2008 02:24 am by Michael Riewer »
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 02:26 am
Re: Need a little help

Awesome, I really appeciate the help, that is what I am looking for. I have got to check into the prices and see if it is doable right now, hopefully. I will be talking to you though if you don't mind. Will probaly need some more advice.
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 02:27 am
Re: Need a little help

no sweat bud, anytime. 
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 02:38 am
Re: Need a little help

Mike, I am looking at them right now those what you used on your ouside fixtures, that is outstanding. How do they fare in the winter with the cold! I am in the southern tier of NY. we get plenty of snow and some cold temps! do you think they will last?
 
16 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 02:40 am
Re: Need a little help

and for a switch can just use any 12v rated switch
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 10:30 am
Re: Need a little help

I think they will be fine as LED's do fine in cold, and hate heat(enclosed spaces like glass fixtures which trap the air).  They are water tight and have silicone clearly used at the sandwich point where the heat sink was pressed around the LED.  I think they will do great as my cabin location will see rain, snow and teen or lower temperatures for 3-4 months of the year, and yes, any 12volt switch should work.  I just went with a 120vac switch on my setup as there is very little amperage passing thru the switch anyway as LED's draw nothing.
« Last Edit: Oct 2, 2008 10:34 am by Michael Riewer »
 
351 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 12:57 pm
Re: Need a little help

The "any 12v switch will work" or "120vac with little amperage" share a common problem. They do not meet code.
While they are probably low risk, the consequences can be severe.  In the worst-case scenario of a fire, your homeowners insurance may refuse to cover losses, because of non-code compliant device/wiring.
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:26 pm
Re: Need a little help

Well, I cannot even get my homeowners to cover my cabin since it so far away(4 hour drive) from my current residence anyway, so it is pointless from that perspective.  Ken, could you please supply us with an appropriate 12volt switch that would meet code.
 
578 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 01:40 pm
Re: Need a little help

i will jump back in here, I spoke with john wiles on the matter, and i am waiting for permission to post his response on the forum.

you can use circuit breakers, and for a cabin that may not be so bad, because they will be rated and listed for the appropriate current and voltage.  in the setups i have seen, they are in the dc load center (like an outback fleware 500).

the other way that some folks go is to use a babybox and din rail breakers.  the breakers are listed for the application so could also meet safety requirements to the best of my knowledge.

james
altE staff

AltE
"Making Renewable Do-able"
http://www.altEstore.com/

Tel: 877.878.4060 x107  or +1.978.562.5858 x107
Fax: 877.242.6718  or +1.978.562.5854
 
351 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 05:36 pm
Re: Need a little help

When it comes to NEC, it is far easier to say what you can't do, rather than what you can. Each planning agency, inspection department, and even individual inspector, may have a slightly different interpretation of what the code says. 
In this specific case (a lighting wall switch), the code calls for an ac/dc general purpose snap switch. Under "strict interpretation", would preclude a DC only switch. It definitely forbids the use of an "AC only" switch.
AltE has a switch here:
http://store.altenergystore.com/Enclosures-Electrical-and-Safety/Miscellaneous-Electrical-Parts/Switches/DC-Switches/DC-Surface-Mount-Switch/p2356/
You can also ask your local supplier (Electrical Supply house, NOT Home Depot or your local hardware store) for a switch that is certified to meet the "ac/dc general purpose snap switch" requirement.

James has pointed out a couple of good alternatives.
Using a switched DC lamp (w/o a wall switch) would be another. The switch for a switched device falls under a different NEC/UL classification, than the "wall switch".
Another one is buy an inverter (even an inexpensive one). Then you can use the “AC Only” devices.

I am eager to hear what John Wiles (the real expert) will say. He addresses many code issues for solar systems.
http://photovoltaics.sandia.gov/docs/John_Wiles_Code_Corner.htm

Ken
 
578 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 05:43 pm
Re: Need a little help

yeah, that switch that we have is T rated, but not specifically DC rated from what I am finding out.  T rated switches in many cases were dual rated for 5 or 10a dc, but i cant find this rating at least on this switch, i will keep posting as i find info, because this seems to be a common issue.

james
altE staff

AltE
"Making Renewable Do-able"
http://www.altEstore.com/

Tel: 877.878.4060 x107  or +1.978.562.5858 x107
Fax: 877.242.6718  or +1.978.562.5854
 
27 Posts
Oct 2, 2008 06:07 pm
Re: Need a little help

I will keep posting as i find info, because this seems to be a common issue.

james
altE staff

Ya, it is a very common off grid application and I can't seem to find any definite "must have switch" to use either, hence the use of the basic lutron ac switch.  No picture of the DC surface mounted switch sucks - go take a picture of it james! Smiley
 

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