Thomas Allen Schmidt's posts

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 15, 2009 08:18 am

#121 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Mandatory not Alternative Energy
Don't forget about Methane Hydrates on the ocean floor all around the planet Earth.
Sooner or later there is bound to some wiseacre thats going to claim he can collect it safely without release millions of tons of Methane into our air where it will find its way into the air streams and eventually encompass the Earth.
Look at it like Prince Williams Sound and the Exxon Vadez. - Only its not just oil and water and wildlife, its air and every living thing on the planet Earth.

Where did we come from? We all know that if we look hard enough there is a good chance that we will see what we want to see but how do we know what we are not being told? All we know is what we are being told and what we believe. A statue? Trick of light and shadow?
Where we are.
Where we are going?
Think about the simple fact that we can take these pictures.
What makes it all that much harder to believe though is that, there is no record of anyone saying or writting "pity about Mars." All we know is that "In the beginning there was the word and, the word was God." When was the last time the Holy Spirit moved inside of any of you?

Pity about Earth.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 13, 2009 05:17 am

#122 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Mandatory not Alternative Energy
I here you brother! But I believe that its not just energy. Thats just the candles on the birthday cake so to speak.

From the beginnings of the human race on Earth (whenever you believe that to be) up to the 1900's (several thousand years no matter what you believe) world human population has been estimated to have been at 2 billion people.
From the 1900's up to present day 2009 (109 years) that estimate is now at 6.8 billion people.

Thousands of years to reach 2 billion people.
The last 100 years and 4.8 billion more people.

Put it all in a big pot, boil it down and this fact is what will be left clinging to the inside of the pot. This fact is the underlying reason for all of the strife present in today world. So many more people in such a little space of time. We are struggling just to keep are heads above water let alone figure out where we are in the ocean and find land. Its ether sink or swim. Ether way, whatever is left of the human race will provide something for the future. Provided of course, that we don't leave the planet Earth as desolate as the planet Mars. But then, speaking in a relative sense based on terms used for the age of the planet Earth, the human race has been little more than a hiccup.

Pity about Earth.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 12, 2009 05:13 am

#123 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Some key elements of the First Solar recycling process include:

Funding: With the sale of each module, First Solar sets aside the funds required for the collection and recycling in a restricted account controlled by a third-party insurance company
(So, if one has purchased a Solar First PV module, they have also pre-purchased its reclamation at the end of its useful life?)

Notice: Individual modules are labeled with Web site and telephone contact information in six languages, along with instructions for the user to return the product free of charge
(If my statement above is true, then wouldn't this be a lie?)

Collection: First Solar manages the logistics of collecting each module and provides packaging and transportation to the recycling center
(For a pre-paid price at time of purchase?)
Something to think about.
A clue. The end of Section 8, Article 1.
"Why should I trade one tyrant, three thousand miles away, for three thousand tyrants one mile away?" "An elected legislature can cripple a mans rights as easily as any tyrant."
Has the U.S. government "purchased" Wall Street?
Could this be consider the first steps of a shift into socialism?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 10, 2009 11:48 am

#124 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: 120 volts Vs 220 volts
One can write volumes on this subject and someone has. There are college courses on the subject. Electrical Engineering.
But speaking in a general sense, its all about efficiencies and related costs. The higher the voltage is, the lower the amperage will be for a given wattage. This means smaller gauge wires at higher voltages which means less expensive wire runs and less expensive disconnect means as well as fuses and breakers. Also less use of transformers and the KVAR costs that can be associated with them. I should add that high KVAR costs are typically associated with industry more so than commercial and more so than residential. (Just an interesting fact - )

As for renewable energies...
Essentially the same reasons. Efficiencies and related costs.

If I were to compare it a child growing up, I might say that, "It all pretty much got up and started walking just a little more than 100 years ago."
But its "birth" goes even farther back than that.
Sometime during the mid 1700's, Luigi Galvani was dissecting a frog when the steel scalpel he was using touched a brass tack. This caused the dead frogs leg to "twitch."
Galvanic response. Other names would soon join into the study of electricity. Names such as; Alessandro Volta, André Marie Ampère, Georg Simon Ohm, Michael Faraday, James Watt, just to name a few. From those humble beginnings, only about 250 years ago, we now have today,

Makes me wonder. Were will the human race be in another 250 years? Provided of course we don't obliterate ourselves in this madness for more and more energy.


Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 9, 2009 06:47 am

#125 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Swamp Cooler Conversion to 12 volt DC
I was having a few cold beers with and, got to talking about "swamp" coolers with a friend of mine and these were some of her ideas.

As you might have guessed, shes a race fan. No pun intended. I've been trying to get her interested in this - - with minimal results. I joked around with her saying, "You just like the smell of burnt nitrogen and hot rubber better than hydrogen and hot rubber." She came back with, "How do you know its not just the hot rubber that turns me on?" I guess you had to be there.

Doing it all for under 500 bucks... Thats the real trick isn't it? Those links she provided take you to all new, brand name auto racing stuff, but I bet a lot of it could be salvaged from an auto "junkyard." If desired.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 8, 2009 04:03 pm

#126 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Swamp Cooler Conversion to 12 volt DC
Can't help you with which way is better or best or even inexpensive. To me thats all a matter of opinion and like the Guru says, "Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one."
(The U.S. government made the choice to bail out Wall Street to the tune of 700 billion tax payers dollars. I would of let it crash. Americans survived the first stock market crash, we could have survived another. I think too many people in our government were just too sk-sk-sk-skeerd of losing their own personal investments and thats why they voted "yes" the second time around. In order to "buy" some time. But thats just my opinion. It was Katie Couric that made the statement "Congress has failed to pass the bail out bill." after the first vote made was "no." Thats her opinion. Obviously she had a lot to lose.)

Anyway here are some places where materials for building such things as a "swamp" cooler are available.;ft1_cooling_exhaust_fans-ft1_aquacool_evaporative_cooling_2;pg109009.html

I've seen "firsthand" those type of coolers used in large hog house operations pulling cool water from deep wells. A cool creek might be a good source too. Of course they work best in areas were relative humidity is low, like 40%.

Browse around the FarmTek store though. You might find something thats more to your liking.

I do not know, maybe some stuff you might find interesting.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 6, 2009 09:00 pm

#127 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Controller for operating loads both with solar and ordinary power
There was once this small tribe if people. they lived off of the Earth and all of its bounty but they lived in fear of a neighboring village that would, on occasion, attack and loot their stores. One day a member of this tribe discovered a cave and in this cave was large beast. The tribe made friends with the beast an fed it and when the other village came to pillage and loot, the monster chased them off. This made the tribe happy and they fed the beast more. The beast grew and the tribe fed it more. After a will the other village quit ransacking their neighbor because they learned that the beast was protecting them. But the beast did not go away. It liked being fed as much as it could eat and it wanted more. When the tribe had no more to feed the beast it became very hungry and ate the tribe.
Why are we keeping electricity alive? What is it protecting us from? What fear motavates us to keep "feeding the beast?" Are we so scared of other human beings? If so, then why is there 4.8 billion more human beings, than there was only 100 years ago?
We are so scared of something that we cannot, we will not, turn our electricity off. What is it?


Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 6, 2009 08:17 pm

#128 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine wire size
Its good to know that the people who put together the National Electrical Code have our safety in mind when they rate these wires and there insulations types.
The NEC bases the amperages of these wires on wether they are copper or aluminum, on there size and, on the temperature its particular type insulation can withstand safely amoung other things. The NEC does not base these amperage ratings on voltage drop.

To say a #10 awg THHN wire is good for 30 amps per NEC is saying thats the maximum size fuse or breaker it can be placed on. There are of course several NEC de-rating factors that have to be applied depending on its particular use. Voltage drop is not one of them. Nether is ac or dc voltages.

Voltage drop "de-rating" is applied in an effort to maximize efficiency's. That applies to ac and dc voltages and in the case of THHN copper wire, from 0 up to 600 volts.

There are a lot of places where, for example, on general use 20 amp 120 vac receptacle circuits, the first 50 foot of the circuit is specified to be no less than #10 awg THHN even though the entire circuit is only 300 foot in wire length.

Its a good thing too that there are people putting together charts that take into consideration things such as voltage drop in low voltage dc circuits to maximize power production from such devices as wind gennys and photovoltaics and loads as well such as low voltage dc lighting.

For someone to say "#12 awg THHN is only good for 5 amps" (at 12 vdc nominal over a span of 20 foot) is correct but that doesn't change the fact that #12 awg THHN is good for 20 amps maximum. 460 vac or 12 vdc.

Perhaps its time for the NEC to take low voltage dc, "voltage drop" into consideration? Maybe include a table or two?

Thank you Oso.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 3, 2009 05:08 pm

#129 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine wire size
With fairness in mind, what Mr."Flintstone" is referring to when he states -  "but they also don't take into account the derating of the wire that normally occurs when you use it in places that are exposed to temperature extremes as in DC installations outdoors, particularly in reference to heat." can be cleared up with these two PDF files.
(A preemptive side note; check out the opening paragraph with reference to "wind power installers.")

While I am here, Mr."Flintstone", about that challenge for proof, saying "the Great Kazoo told me so" will not be considered as proof.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 3, 2009 03:30 pm

#130 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine wire size
Max Shulte. I was in no way, nor am I now, trying to "trick" you or anyone else into using the wrong type or size of wire for your electrical installation despite what others on this board might be implying to make you or anyone else believe.

I admitted in my second posting that I did not take into consideration, voltage drop, in my first posting. Not because I don't know of such things but because of hast. I do not contest any references made to that fact by others in this thread. I did not make any claims that this would be the best type (although I did imply that #8 should be of a sufficient size) of wire for your installation. I do however stand by my claims that, volts ac or volts dc it makes no difference to the amperage ratings per NEC of THHN - Thermoplastic High Heat-resistant Nylon coated copper wire.

Perhaps these PDF files would be of interest to you or anyone else following this thread.
If you notice that THHN is used in the low voltage dc side of a PV system wiring diagram.
Also, please take notice of the reference on page 4 of 11 to "Use this table for high voltages of 120 or higher." It makes no reference to volts ac or dc. I was actually being conservative when I stated #8 awg. THHN being rated for 40 amps. As well on page 2 of 11, the paragraph on "Wind Generators Circuits."

I iterate - I dare anyone to show absolute proof on this board that the amperage ratings for THHN insulated copper wire, as listed anywhere in the National Electrical Code is only good for voltages of alternating currents!

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 3, 2009 01:58 pm

#131 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine wire size
I am telling you "Fred Flintstone" or whatever your name really is, VAC or VDC it makes no difference to the amperage ratings of cooper wire insulated with THHN - Thermoplastic High Heat-resistant Nylon.
What "tables" are you referring to? NEC?
Are you saying that the amperage ratings listed in the NEC for THHN are only good for 120 VAC indoors, period?
If yes, then according to you, what wire insulation is rated for VDC circuits by NEC? Be specific please, about which tables.
Wow, look at me, arguing about copper wire insulation with a guy who wants to be know as a cartoon character from the stone ages.Smiley
A little constructive criticism "Fred Flintstone." If you want to be taken seriously, try using your real name.

I dare anyone to show absolute proof on this board that the amperage ratings for THHN insulated copper wire, as listed anywhere in the National Electrical Code is only good for voltages of alternating currents!

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 1, 2009 05:41 pm

#132 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine wire size
Ha! Here it is.
I couldn't find it a while a go.

Just some fun reading, maybe?

Actual voltage drop calculator.
Try different size conductor; #10, #8, #6, #4, 3, 2, 1, 1/0 etc. etc.. Its fun, really.

Indeed, at; 12 vdc, 12.5 amps, 106 (2x53) foot of #8 there would be a voltage drop of .81 almost a whole volt. Opps. Sorry 'bout that Max.

With #10, a voltage drop of 1.5

With #6, - .53

Interestingly enough, with #4 - .33

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 1, 2009 04:28 pm

#133 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine wire size
Not so Ken. Not trying to "pick nits" but THHN is also rated for up to 600 volts.
So, #10 awg THHN is rated for 30 amps any where from -1 volt up to 600 volts with no distinction between VAC or VDC. Its makes no difference. Amps are amps just like watts are watts, VAC or VDC.

But I agree that I was hasty in saying "If there is any doubt, go to #8 awg THHN, its rated for 40 amps. That should more than make up for any line loss. Especially at only 53 ft."

There is indeed a greater voltage drop for a given distance at lower VDC than higher VAC. Just one, of the biggest reasons AC won out over DC in the AC/DC "war" between Edison and Tesla. Something I didn't take into consideration.
Which I don't know, maybe its an open circuit voltages or something. Who knows? We don't even know the name brand of this wind genny. It could be a homemade on the brake disks from a Volvo or something. Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you.

"Just dividing 150 by 12 = 12.5 amps."

What would be the percentage of voltage drop with #8 awg THHN at 53 foot at 12 VDC nominal with 12.5 amps?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 1, 2009 04:22 pm

#134 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels
Barrowed from

April 28, 2009
Is It Time To Invest in Solar Stocks?
by J. Peter Lynch, Financial Anaylst
Q: Mr. Lynch what do you think of the general stock market at this time and more specifically about solar stocks in particular? Thanks. -- Larry D., Ridgefield CT

Larry thanks for your note.  Your question is basically identical to 80% of the questions I have been getting recently. I guess these two topics are on everyone's mind.

In my last article in, Solar Stocks: Factoring in the Boom and Bust Cycle of the Market, I mentioned that I thought that the "gloom and doom" was so pervasive that a turn in the market was warranted since stocks were very oversold. Here is what I said:

Earlier in this month (March 2009) the Dow Jones Industrial Index recorded a twelve-year low and the media was full of doom and gloom. This terrible news was all over the financial press, accompanied by scenarios of more of the same to come. In fact, the recent survey from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) had fallen to the most bearish level in history - 70% of those surveyed felt that the direction of the market would be down over the next 6 months.

If one looked closer they would see that the "real" picture was not quite as terrible. There are two interesting items below to take note of from an historical perspective. Remember the bottom of a market is always, by definition, the period of greatest fear. I have been a student of the market since 1975 and I can assure you that there is plenty of fear out there now.

1.     The last two times the stock market hit a 12-year low was in 1974 and 1932. Both of these times proved to be once in a life time buying opportunities.

2.     The previous record of fear by the AAII survey (67% bearish) was October of 1990, the very beginning of the great bull market of the 1990's.

Nothing is 100% for sure, as we all know. But I think we are either at a significant bottom or very close to it. Everything is so "oversold" at this time, that I think the worst case is that we get a significant rally in what could still be a bear market.

Since that prescient article the general markets have basically turned around and are up an average of 10%.  On the other hand, solar stocks have literally exploded and are up an average of close to 40%.

Solar Stock Performance since 17 March 2009

 Curr Value
Average Gain = 39%

As you all know from previous articles the solar industry sector has always has a BETA much higher than the market in general. In other words, it moves with significantly more volatility in both directions than the average stock or the market indexes.  In this most recent case the solar sector moved close to 4-fold higher than the general market. A move such as this is more than likely NOT sustainable.

In regard to the general market, I think it is probably due for a correction, but I do think it is working to form a solid base for further advances and continues to have selected buying opportunities.

I also said in the article of 17 March 2009:

At the current time, 3 of the 35 solar stocks I follow are above their 50-day moving average. On the other hand 92% of the stocks (32 of 35) are below their 50-day moving average. This clearly tells me to exercise extreme caution in the solar sector.

To put it a different way, I do not think all the bad news regarding the solar sector is out yet and that there will be future negative surprises, such as earnings disappointments, inventory write-offs and possibly even bankruptcies. The solar sector will probably get carried up if the general market rallies, but since it will have to work out some additional problems; I do not think the rally will be sustainable.

What I think occurred is that the solar sector was extremely oversold in early March (down over 70% on average) and when the general market turned around the solar sector was indeed swept up with the general tide.

Unfortunately, I still believe that the solar sector is facing some serious internal problems that are bound to pop up later in 2009 and possibly into early 2010. The industry is still in the midst of a shakeout. There is tremendous overcapacity, dropping prices and weaker demand due to the worldwide financing bottleneck. This will all result in tighter margins and lower profits.

I really wish that I could go out and buy the best solar stocks and put them in a drawer for a few years and then open the drawer to spectacular profits. Unfortunately, I fear that the good old days of - "buy good stocks and hold them" are gone for the general market and certainly is not an appropriate investment strategy for a highly volatile and fledgling industry such as the solar industry.

While the future of the industry is without question extremely bright, making money in solar stocks is a speculative endeavor that carries higher risk but also holds the potential for much higher profits. However, given this high risk/return situation I feel that the solar sector will remain — for the foreseeable future — the exclusive bailiwick of nimble stock pickers and traders.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on May 1, 2009 04:14 pm

#135 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels
I once thought along those same lines JW and this is what I found -
 - but...
Oh! There is this one also.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 29, 2009 03:29 am

#136 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels
Is the PV industry singularly above reproach?

But how long are they predicting these CdTe type PV modules will produce rated or no less than 80% of rated output power @ stc.?
Polycrystalline silicon PV modules come with 20 and 25 year warranty coverage for no less than 80% of rated power output @ stc.. But just like a bank of flooded cell lead acid batteries, even our silicon PV modules will have to be replaced one day.

How are they planning on recycling the CdTe PV modules when there time is up?
For that matter how is the PV industry planning on recycling silicon PV modules when there time is up?
Will there be a "buy back" program or do we just throw them in a land fill along side of disposable baby diapers?

None of them will make power indefinitely, right?
25 year coverage for no less than 80% of rate output power at stc.. So after 25 years??? Can we speculate that rated output power will begin to diminish at a greater rate than in the first 25 years? What percent of the rated output power at stc. will my Solarex MSX77's be putting out in 2030?

Are there any of the PV modules produced with 25 years warranties who's time is up yet?
Is anybody within the PV industry monitoring this?

What will the future of PV bring us?

Will there ever be the need to create a "watchdog" committee to protect consummers from an industry?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 26, 2009 07:34 pm

#137 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Batteries / Off-Grid
Higher DC voltages (typically 80 or more but not limited to that) have a tendency of grabbing a hold of a victim and not letting go of them if they get caught in the flow and, not just pos. to neg. where the victim is the "load." But also if the victim gets in series with neg. to neg. or pos. to pos. in a closed circuit or another way of saying that, while a load is present. Actually, it locks up the victims muscles so they can't let go. At the risk of sounding morbid, have you ever seen what happens to a hotdog overcooked? Just ask Samuel W. Smith. Uuh, have you got a Ouija board? I just want you to know what your working with. The worst thing that can happen is that we get "cavalier" about working with electricity.
This is only one reason for NEC 690.71b
It happens to somebody everday.
Don't be "somebody."
Be sure all of the tools you use to work on live circuits such as batteries and exposed PV modules and arrays are completely insulated from conducting electricity. Know what all of the electrical potentials are around you at all times. Don't assume a circuit is off, check with an appropriate test meter. Also be aware that flooded cell lead acid batteries can "blow" acid under certain circumstances. Wear the appropriate protective gear when working with batteries.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 26, 2009 06:19 pm

#138 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Wind Turbine wire size
Its being regulated 3 ft. from the battery so its not an integral regulator so, what would be its max. amps at cutout speed?
I am no expert but...
Just dividing 150 by 12 = 12.5 amps.
#10 awg THHN is rated for 30 amps.
What size wire leads, if any, are coming off of the wind genny?
If there is any doubt, go to #8 awg THHN, its rated for 40 amps. That should more than make up for any line loss. Especially at only 53 ft.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 26, 2009 05:58 am

#139 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: solar thermal drain down ? relief vlv / vacume brake
Maybe this will help too.

Here is another page with a lot of interesting ways to utilize solar thermal energies. This one is full of links other pages and products and some those have even more links to other pages and products.

Did you know that it is possible to use the Sun to heat water up to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit? A little extreme for residential purpose but its still fascinating to me. Here is another site that might be of interest. Its "roots" began in doityourselfism. Or would that be doityourselfinisticism? Anyway...

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 23, 2009 09:18 pm

#140 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: solar thermal drain down ? relief vlv / vacume brake
Think of a drainback system as a hybrid of a closed and an open loop system.
There are drainback systems available on the market that do not require an automatic vacuum relief valve.
Having a vacuum relief valve would introduce air into the system that would have to be expelled as the water is pumped up to the collector from the reservoir and begins to heat and build pressure. There is good chance it would lose some fluid each time this happend. Most likely as steam. It would depend on the amount of positive pressure relief.
In a drainback system, once the pump stops running the liquid finds its way back down to the reservoir from the collector and any outdoor exposed piping without a negative pressure relief valve. It all has to set up just right to work properly though.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 23, 2009 05:41 am

#141 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: System requirements
110 X 20 = 2200 watts this is probably the size circuit it requires but more importantly, you will need to know kWh's or kilo watt hours that the vending machine uses. What is the longest period of time it is expected to run?

As for ground fault protection. Its always a good idea to have public safety in mind. GFCI receptacles can be used on some inverters. Read inverter specifications.


Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 23, 2009 05:13 am

#142 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: How to find the tilt factor for a given tilt angle
Thats nice angle finder and only ten bucks. Is it me or did they take a picture of it upside down but set the picture rightside up?

To answer your question Tech Guy, or at least what I think your asking, I just use this
and this, at least once to set the foundation.
If you want to make sure that a flat surface, such as PV module, is perpendicular to the Sun, around noontime (or anytime the Sun is up) you can stand up a short block of 2x4 wood (about a foot long that you know is cut square on the end) to the surface. When there is no shadow any where around the wood block the surface is perpendicular to the Sun. Don't forget though, the Sun is always changing its position in the sky, all day everyday.

I set my PV modules to face a little west of south on a compass, "solar south" in my neck of the woods. On the shortest day of the year, winter solstice, December 21, at 12:00 noon, a 2x4 block casts no shadow. On the longest day of the year, summer solstice, June 21, that doesn't happen until about 1:30. Obviously on ether of the two equinox it falls in between those two times. If any of this is of intrest to you, you may want to research the analemma as well. Just as a note of interest, did you know that the other planets in our solar system form analemmas of their own. Jupiters is eliptical while oddly enough, Mercury's is a striaght line.

Something I've been wanting know about the word equinox.
Is it already plural, like the word fish?
Do we use equinoxs, equinoxes, eqionox's, or is it just equinox, vernal and autumnal? For that matter, how about the word solstice. Would it be solsticees?


Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 20, 2009 05:31 am

#143 -  Renewable Energy > Wanted > Re: High School Needs Help - Solar Dog House Project
I suppose that I could go on about solar incidence and how the angle of the Sun changes. I mean its all pretty revalent now. I am sure you, as a Technology Teacher at a high school level know things like the difference between south on a compass and solar south. So I won't bore you with all of that and, since I have nothing to offer in the way of material donations, how about spiritual?
Mr. Halls question does raise an interesting aspect. I would say yes. Simply because it, the dog house, would be wired for electricity.
 I mean there is a lot of attention given to pets these days. A lot of us, humans that is, are humanizing animals of what are generally considered as lower order. Of course thats not saying a whole lot when we are watching a cartoon where inanimate objects like tea cups and candleabbras are brought to life. Actually its not a recent development.
I think it has a lot to do with the origins of Paganism.
Or vice versa. Or maybe they are intertwined. Maybe I should elaborate.
 In a time when there was a very distinct separation of night and day. A time when the Sun went down and it was dark until it came back the next morning. Our mind sets were very different back then. We were experiencing life on Earth the same as the animals. Little wonder our imaginations came up with creatures such Vampires and Weirwolves. Those days are gone now. We do not experience the night in quite the same fashion. Although there are a lot of us still afraid of the night outdoors. Afraid of what other humans are capable of when the Sun goes down and moon rises. That is why there are so many lights at night, isn't it?
Some would say that these fears of the nighttime have been passed on through our DNA from a time before written history.

To be continued...

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 19, 2009 04:19 pm

#144 -  Renewable Energy > Wanted > Re: High School Needs Help - Solar Dog House Project
I beg your forgiveness Georgette Yakman but I must say, "a light that the dog could control by hitting a pad with it's paw." Huh
I would think a dog would sooner roll its own body in carrion to a state of euphoria than turn on an electric light. Wouldn't you?
I have enjoyed a dog, not just as a pet, but as a friend and companion in adventures all of my life. I have never know one to "relish" the ability to turn on an electric light of its own. Do you know of such a dog? This would truly be... Umm, well disturbing actually, now that I think about it. As if it wasn't enough that humans find themselves in an energy crisis, we are to enlist the animal kingdom into our madness as well? 
Am I being overly critical here, Georgette?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 19, 2009 03:18 pm

#145 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Battery State of Charge
Oh, diffidently.
Battery energy storage is a luxury and not an all together inexpensive one, especially with todays metal prices. But then, to me, electricity is a luxury that I learned to live without. During that time I learned to live without electricity, there was time to reflect on how the human race as a whole lived without electricity. For thousands of years. Time to reflect on how we, the human race (having utilized electricity for only about the past one hundred years) could now, it would seem, not live without it. Very strange from my perspective.

Obviously the entire 6.5 billion people of the planet Earth cannot live as I do. Just look at the history of the East coast of the North American continent from the time of the first settlers up to now. Much has been lost forever in the way of flora and fauna from those earlier times. Did you know that the entire east coast was once blanketed with White Pines? Some that could rival the Giant Sequoias of California. Today there are only very small patch's of what could be considered virgin White Pine forrest left anywhere on the East coast. Most are just old growth that folks believe to be virgin growth from pre-colonial times.
 Anyway, Elk was once found in vast herds nearly as large as a county all up and down the East coast in pre-colonial times. The only Elk found here today were brought in by truck and are repopulating in restricted areas.

Progress, it would seem, can be measured in many different ways. There was a bit fiction I read once. Fantasy fiction actually. In these stories were a people who had evolved to learn the "magic" of the Land. There were those that could "forge" stone to their will and those that could "forge" wood and so on, the "magic" was limitless. There were the wise ones of old that also knew that if this "magic" was used wrongly it could destroy he Land forever. So, because of this, a University of sorts was created so that as these "magics" were discovered they were kept put away and closely scrutinized for hundreds if not thousands of years before they were allowed if ever to be utilized.

One could take this and apply it to mankind and what has been happening right here on the planet Earth. The human race has, over the centuries discovered new "energies" and have utilized them with blind abandoned and with devastating results. I wanted to believe that RE was going to create a new beginning out of that, sort of Phoenix from the Ashes as it were but there is something elusive about it all now. Something about RE that reminds of the same people that would go about it all with blind abandoned, all for the sake of money, bottom line. Not all people in the RE industry mind you but enough have been corrupted by greed as to yield to the will of the usurpers and they would blind all they could to all but their truths. They are after all, promoting the use of "energy." A rather broad term, don't you think? Kind of like "magics."

Oh! In case you were wondering the stories I refer to are of Stepphen R. Donaldsons, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. A bit reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings but far enough away as to be entertaining in its own right.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 17, 2009 03:09 am

#146 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Battery State of Charge
Now this is where I need educating.
Let me see if I understand this correctly.

We are talking about living with electric utility power and utilizing photovoltaic power with minimal battery energy storage. Evidently there is a specific, dedicated load of some sort.
This load has the ability to completely drawn down the battery energy storage at anytime, even when there is no human presences. So this load while preforming some worthwhile task is also used as a means to maximize the PV gain each day but the CVS is utilized to keep the battery from being depleted entirely on an otherwise regular schedule, which we all know to be detrimental to a battery's overall life span.
Help me out here guys. Is any of this correct?

I sure will be glad when home scale, PV powered Hydrogen production becomes as much of an everyday household item as LP or Nat. gas. With of course the appliances to boot. But when a simple "tutorial" kit runs for almost 300 bucks! Maybe one day before this body is used up I'll be able to tell the LP man what he can do with his tank. Politely, of course.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 13, 2009 06:16 pm

#147 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Newbie needs help!
I would suspect that you might be reading open circuit voltage from your PV array that is possibly wired for 12 volts nominal. But you know better than to make that mistake. Right?

There is not much that is more difficult to do than troubleshooting a problem sight unseen and all by word of mouth. There are of course some exceptions to this. One of my duties as an electrician is troubleshooting industrial motor controls and machinery and without actually being there its difficult if not impossible to pinpoint the problem. But I'll try by going over what should be first.
Its a lot like being a detective looking for clues to catch a criminal.
Process of elimination. If you can eliminate what it isn't then what is left must be what it is. Of course there are exceptions. Its not always Mrs. Mustard in the kitchen with a candle holder. 
Please don't take anything I write as an attack on you personally. It might "sound" that way but it is not intended that way. I don't know you personally so I can't know what your experiences are or what they are not, in the matter of electrical wiring practices. Do you have hand held multimeter?

Ok, first of all 5-210 watt and 1-130 watt PV modules all 12 volts nominal cannot be wired together readily for a successful 24 volt nominal PV array.
4 of the identical 210's can however simply by wiring them in series/parallel.
4 - 210 watt modules, I'll call them A,B,C and,D.
2 sets of 2 in series -
A neg. to B pos.
C neg. to D pos.
Then those 2 sets in parallel -
B neg. to D neg.
A pos. to C pos.
This will give you a 24 volt nominal array and there should be an open circuit voltage that is twice the rated amount for one 12 volt nominal PV module.

What you described about the charge controller sounds accurate. The blinking green LED can be misleading. It will blink 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, times in a row (depending on stage) then a very short pause and, it starts again. That pause can be hard to pick up on sometimes. Try counting out load.

With a multimeter check;
open circuit voltage of the PV array,
that any and all fuses and or breakers have continuity.

Be absolutely positive that polarity's are correct all the way thru and that all wire terminations are clean and tight and the wire insulation has been striped back sufficiently for all wire terminations.

Double check that wire sizes and types is sufficient for the circuits they are conducting.

If doing all of these things does not reveal the "culprit,"
I might dosconnect the monitor and rely on the multimeter to for a time.

Based on what I am reading in your posts about PV array circuit voltages and the number and type of PV modules, there are strong clues that point toward PV array series/parallel wiring being suspect.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 12, 2009 06:25 am

#148 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Seasonal pv/solar pool heating
Wow! I've heard of folks throwing in bags and or blocks of ice trying to cool pool water down (unsuccessfully of course. Unless you hugged the bag of ice!) but this is the first I've heard of pool water being "a little to cold."
Sorry if that sounded critical Wayne. Not intended.
Carolina summers can be sweltering with 98 degree days and 89 percent humidity.
I guess you already know about these?
I don't know for sure but it would seem that they could be drained and rolled up for winter storage.
I guess your pools filter/pump system is not conveniently located to adapt its plumping to these as a means of circulation?
As for the "50 W 12 v pv panel and a Laing or ElSid pump designed for direct pv use."

Lets take a look at how many hours of equivalent full rated power from a PV module you might get. Go here  and choose; maximum, June or July, Flat Plate Tilted South at Latitude - 15 Degrees.
I see 5 to 6 hours for the Carolina's. I'll use 6 hours of equivalent full rated power from a PV module. Now go here and look at the chart for an SID-10PV.
It shows the SID-10PV moving 12 liters per minute or 3.17 gallons per minute.
So in 6 hours thats 1,141.22 gallons of 28,000. This would be under ideal conditions mind you.
Now lets look at the Sun Swim collector data again. I see were its energy output per standard day: 31,500 BTU.
One BTU being the amount of energy it takes to heat 1 pound of water from 60 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on 1 gallon of water weighing 8 pounds and the possibility that 1,141 gallons per day is moved through 1 - 4'x 8' collector, that would be a rise of 3.45 degrees per day. With three collectors, 10.35 degrees per day.
So in a perfect world and if my computations are correct, (would somebody check my thermal computations for accuracy please?) with three - 4'x 8' collectors it might be possible to rise the temperature of your pool by 10 degrees Fahrenheit in 24.5 days. Not accounting for any losses at night or rain and wind effects. I have heard it said that the collector area in square feet should be at least half of the pool area in square feet.
Please check with a professional. Don't just take my word for it. I am not a solar pool heater expert.
I would appreciate it if you let us know how it all turns out for you though. Good luck.


Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 9, 2009 07:40 am

#149 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Battery size calculation based on insolation and load
I can only related to you using my line of thinking.
What you do, is entirely up to you.

"How to find the size of the battery ie., based on load or based on the solar insolation?"

Based on load.

"If I have a load requirement of 15 kWh's then what can be the size of the battery?"

Lets assume the battery bank to be at 48 volts nominal.

15,000 / 48 = 312 amphours absolute bare minimum.
But if it were me and I was living off grid, I would multiply that by a factor of no less than 5 for a total of 1,562 amphours at the 20 hour rate.

Lets also assume that the PV array is to be 48 volts nominal and it is to be fixed at an angle equal to latitude facing solar south in the southern half of Arizona where it might see 6 to 7 hours of equivalent full rated power output averaged out annually.

15,000 / 6 = 2,500 watt PV array absolute bare minimum if you want to completely recharge the batteries as soon as possible. You may want to add more.

All of this is based on 15 kWh's per 24 hours.
It would all change if it were based on 15 kWh's over 30 days.

Simply divide 15,000 by 30 days and follow the solution above. Or you own solution. Its up to you of course.

If the PV array is to be mounted in a different place than Arizona, it might be listed here -
- if it is just recompute.

Of course you know, all of this really depends on uh, how tall a stack o jack you got. No what I mean?
Like the saying goes, "money talks and horsepucky walks."
Wow, I never though about it until I saw it in writting but thats a really funny saying. Walking horsepucky?
That reminds me of the time I was visiting the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and there happen to be a display of paintings, I don't remember the artists name, but they were of a western theme and one in particular was of a group of people riding horses early on a cold morning and, would you believe the artist actually painted steam rising from what could only be a fresh pile of horsepucky? Talk about realism. I thought to myself, "now if that painting wasn't roped off so people couldn't get to it, I bet some would actually touch it and smell their fingers just to satisfy their curiosty." I would have. That reminds me of another time when I was still in high school and it was the first day of the 10th grade. I was late for home room and there was this fella standing in the door way, uh, maybe I should save that one for another time. Anyway, I hope at least some of this helps you out. About the math I mean.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Apr 9, 2009 06:36 am

#150 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Battery State of Charge
1K, LP, wood, fans.
I wonder if Usman Kazaure Abdullahi is even reading these posts? I would have thought he would have chimed in by now. This is all for his benefit. Right?
His question...

From the above scenario what could be the fate of the battery that reaches 10.5volts before cutoff? At what percentage does 10.5volts stand for?

At the risk of sounding like a jerk, its dead. However it can be revivied and equalized again but the more this happens, the shorter its overall life span will be.
Batteries are built to have just so many "cycles."
The abstract is: 1 cycle = from 100% charged down to 0 and back to 100% - but if you take it down from 100% to only 50% and back up to 100% then your only using half a cycle; 100 down to 80 = 1/5th of a cycle. By increasing a battery banks amphour capcity by several multiples, over what is expected to be drawn from it in between recharges, recharge time is decreased and it lives a longer life.

Example - Lets say a battery is built with 1800 cycles and the demand on it is, every night its discharged down to 0 and every day its recharged back to 100%, in theory one would get 1800 nights of use from it or about 5 years. In the real world thought it would not last that long under those conditions. If the battery and load had been up sized by a factor of 2 then only half of the 1800 cycles will have been used in that same 5 years. By a factor of 5 and only one fifth of the 1800 cycles. So on and so forth and it lives a long healthy life. Hopefully.


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