Thomas Allen Schmidt's posts

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Oct 10, 2008 05:10 am

#301 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Solar Power for a Fonera (Wi-Fi Access Point)
Don't know Wi-Fi from a hole in the ground, don't want to know but, 5 vdc X 2 amps X 24 hours / 1000 = 0.24 kWh's, or more simply put 2 amps X 24 hours = 48 amp hours at 5 vdc or, if you want to know what that is at 12 vdc then - 5 vdc X 2 amps = 10 watts. 10 watts / 12 = 0.84 amps X 24 hours = 20 amp hours at 12 vdc nominal.
By "wall wart" I assume you are referring to a plug in rectifying transformer?
If you are wanting to it all relatively simple and "off the shelf", get yourself two 6 volt, 220 amp hour "golf cart" batteries. Wire them in series for 12 volts nominal. Then; one PV module say 100 watt, a matching charge controller and, a dc to dc voltage converter, and most importantly - sunshine.
Lets see if I can help out a little more...
2 - Trojan T-105's - $200.
1 - Kyocera KC 130TM - $585.
1 - Specialty Concepts ASC-12/12 - $46.
1 - Power Stream PST-DAA1205(-2) - $31.
( )
Mis.; wire, fuses, PV mount, etc., etc. <$200.
All of this would sum up to $1,000. but, you seem like a bright lad, you should be able to take this information, do a little shopping around and, work up a system to your own liking. Just remember that RE is a sellers market, no different than any other market. Happy hunting!

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 22, 2008 05:33 am

#302 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Enough collector area for domestic HW and hot tub + heat exchanger questions
As if you didn't already have enough on your "plate."
Here are other ideas to mull over.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 22, 2008 05:13 am

#303 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Enough collector area for domestic HW and hot tub + heat exchanger questions
I am not really focused on looking for anything "wrong" with your ideas but, I am curious to know, what the benefits are and what the payback is. Is there a circulating pump motor? If so, what is the kWh cost over 30 days? Cost of materials, labor? I guess what I am really asking is, do you think it is more cost effective when compared to having two separate systems?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 22, 2008 04:53 am

#304 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Revolutionary Non-Fuel Electric Engine - NEW - Recorded with U.S. Govt.
A "non-fuel electric engine"
Maybe I am just trying to argue semantics but, to my mind, there are electric motors with stators and windings and so on and, then there are "internal combustion" engines with pistons and cylinders and such. You claim to have an electric engine? One that does not consume a natural resource no less.
And this "electric engine" is recorded with the U.S. government? Wow! Impressive.
I don't know why but images of Fred and Barney going to work come to mind. I mean their cars would take a fuel strictly speaking. The human body, I suppose, could be considered as a bio-electric engine, but we need food for fuel. So that rules out the Flintstone mobile.

Sorry, Harry. I didn't mean that the way it sounds. The cynicism comes from "if it sounds to good to be true." Nothing personal, but the name "Harold Carter," its a little to generic like John Smith. You know what I mean?
Also, it strikes me as really odd that someone as brilliant as you, who could invent such a device and, be smart enough to get patents and copyrights on it, would be selling it on an internet forum. Lets see it. You have protected your ideas and prototype. Explain how it works.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 17, 2008 06:36 pm

#305 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Ike, spiked gas prices, and our need for a plan to use alternative energy
Lets look and see how much Federal money will be spent to help fund this "Project", shall we?

Oh! I guess we'll have to buy the book to find out.
Sorry, I need that money to purchase more over priced PV modules for my off grid home.

Article 1 section 8
Necessary and Proper clause
Main article: Necessary-and-proper clause
Finally, Congress has the power to do whatever is "necessary and proper" to carry out its enumerated powers and, crucially, all others vested in it. Thus, Congress may establish a system whereby those who violate laws are punished though the Constitution explicitly provides for the punishment of only those who violate counterfeiting or maritime laws. The necessary and proper clause, however, has been interpreted extremely broadly, thereby giving Congress wide latitude in legislation. The first landmark case involving the clause was McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), which involved the establishment of a national bank. Alexander Hamilton, in advocating the creation of the bank, argued that there was "a more or less direct" relationship between the bank and "the powers of collecting taxes, borrowing money, regulating trade between the states, and raising and maintaining fleets and navies." Thomas Jefferson countered that Congress's powers "can all be carried into execution without a national bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase." Chief Justice John Marshall agreed with the former interpretation. Marshall wrote that a Constitution listing all of Congress' powers "would partake of a prolixity of a legal code and could scarcely be embraced by the human mind." Since the Constitution could not possibly enumerate the "minor ingredients" of the powers of Congress, Marshall "deduced" that Congress had the authority to establish a bank from the "great outlines" of the general welfare, commerce and other clauses. Under this interpretation of the necessary and proper clause, Congress has sweepingly broad powers (known as implied powers) not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution.

189 years ago, there was no internal combustion engines or electric power producers. 189 years ago, world human population has been estimated to have been less than 1 billion people. We stand today at 6.5 billion people. Human flatulence alone could be one cause of global warming.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 14, 2008 08:48 am

#306 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Generate amps or Generate watts?
Smith Oshodin, you do realize that this machine works under the exact same principles as refrigeration? That is, evaporation of latent heat.
Imagine an open pot of water boiling at 212 F on the stove top in the kitchen on a cold winters night. The steam rises and condenses on the cold glass panes of a window. You have probably notice how there is almost always a puddle of water around most air conditioners that are in operation.
Some liquids boil at temperatures below 0 F. These are called "refrigerants." Ammonia is a refrigerant, it boils at -27 F.

Refrigeration was invented before the advent of modern day poly-phasic alternating current electricity.

It must be an arid dessert where you want to supply water to a large number of people and or crops to need such a large atmospheric condenser? 
Here are some ideas, just to ponder over.
When you get to this one click on "industrial" first.

If there is way to refrigerate, then there is a way to condense atmospheric humidity. Electricity does not have to be a part of the equation.
Electricity is not a necessity for life on Earth, it is a desire of those that live on Earth.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 13, 2008 06:55 pm

#307 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Generate amps or Generate watts?
Be prepared to dig deep into those pockets my friend because a PV array for this ain't gonna be cheap.
You will see on page 2 of the file;
voltage 220/3/50
FLA 398.1
That means 220 volts/ 3 phase / 50 Hertz
Full Load Amperage 398.1

Figuring 3 phase wattage is a little different than figuring single phase wattage.

Multiply 398.1 times 220 times 1.732 = 151,692 watts divided by 1,000 = 152 kilowatts

You will have to know the number of hours of equivalent full rated power from a PV module you can expect in your region. I will guess 5 hours of equivalent full rated power per day. So...
152,000 watts divided by 5 = 30,400 watts of PV array at the very least.
At US $5.00 per watt not installed thats, US $152,000.00 at the very least. Chances are good that you will have to double the size of this PV array to 5 hours of water production per day.

Here is something a little smaller. It can produce 500 liters per day.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 13, 2008 07:16 am

#308 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Help Selecting a Solar Water Pump Solution
Oh please, its just photovoltaics and electricity. Its not like stellar cartography and quantum physics or anything like that.

I could go through all the math and give you an example PV array size, but whats really killing you here is that it will only be used once a month for two hours!

But, here it goes...
An electric motor powered pump that can perform this task might take as much as 10 amps at 120 vac, or put simply - 10 X 120 = 12000 watts
12000 X 2 hrs. = 24000 watts
I am not sure what the total number of hours of equivalent full rated power for a PV module would be in Belize, but it should be a lot, being so close to the equator and all. So I am going to guess at 7 hours.

The power would come from a battery bank...
24000 / 48 = 500
500 X 2 = 1000 amp hours capacity @ 48volts
I doubled it so that the battery would discharge by 50%
This helps to keep the voltage higher under load as well.

So, to recharge that battery bank over the coarse of the month...
30 days X 7Hrs. / 66% = *138 hours equivalent full rated power per month.
(* this number will vary from month to month depending on weather conditions)

24000 / 138 = a 200 watt PV array at 48 volts nominal. $1,000.00 not installed.
But the battery bank could cost $11,400.00 not installed.

Keep in mind that these are just rough figures. Your looking at spending about $20,000.00 with inverter(s) and  installation and shipping and all.

Yikes! Somebody, prove me wrong, please! Thats to much.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 13, 2008 06:11 am

#309 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Environmentalism Causes Suffering!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tara, that sounds like a traditional Irish, or Gaelic name. I have never been to Ireland but what pictures I've seen tell me it must be a beautiful country.

Well Tara, it also sounds like you could use a diversion.
I want to help. I am new at this so please forgive me if do something wrong. My intentions are sincere.

"As long as the earth is still around, there will be more and more of the worst kinds of suffering."
Well that pretty much goes without saying. One of those self evident truths.

 "Environmentalism prolongs the existence of the life on earth which means it's causing more suffering."
I would disagree, environmentalists and their efforts are a mere "drop in the bucket" when compared to the amount of damage done by industry and commerce. A large portion of, if not the most damage was done to Earth, by mankind, before *environmentalistic values appeared. (*is that even a word?)

 "The more life continues to exist in the world, the more some of that life will suffer."
Another self evident truth.

"People will continued to be tortured in various countries without a way of escaping."
Unfortunately, your right. If there is one thing that humans have mastered over thousands of years, its how to make one another suffer. I believe it has something to do with free will and self rule.

 "They won't be able to committ suicide to get away from their pain."
Whom would "they" be, exactly? How would you help them, if you could?
"Environmentalism continues the suffering of animals as well."
If you believe it. The time of mankinds self rule, will be coming to an end soon, God and his son Jesus Christ will rule over mankind. Revelations. The "anti-Christ" will try, in vain, to stop this from happening.

I sometimes feel the way you do right now. If I may offer something? What helps me get through those times is to think about myself as being in the center of a microcosm and a macrocosm that spreads inward and outward in all directions in all time.
 Imagine being the smallest part of something way larger than we could every imagine while at the sametime being the largest part something way smaller than we could every imagine.
 What is in the mote of our eyes is in the mote of Gods eye and so on. As vast as we seem to think our universe is, there are countless universes inside of us and in all things around us.
If mankind could invent a telescope powerful enough to pierce through the veil of darkness at the ends of our universe and see whats "outside," what do you suppose we would be?
We could be anything.
What would you like us to be Tara?


Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 12, 2008 12:31 pm

#310 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: wire and ground
It would work but, only under certain circumstances might this be legal. It is not recommended. It could even be considered illeagle by the NEC (National Electrical Code.)

#12 Romex (Romex is a trade name of wire that a lot of people associate with the type of wire you are referring to. Like Sheetrock is a trade name of drywall or gypson board.) has a rating of only 20 amps at 250 volts, it is not rated for the temperatures associated with PV arrays, it is not outdoor rated, and it is not rated to be "strapped" directly to metal, and it cannot be used inside of a conduit from box to box, although it can leave a box in conduit and exit the other end of that conduit into wood framing.
If it were to leave the PV modules J-box in conduit and penetrate the roof where it could then exit the conduit and be stapled to wood, it might pass an inspection. There is still the amperage and temperature ratings to consider.
(In my opinion, the temperatures at the PV module (167 degrees F) are not that different to the temperatures in an attic space (140 degrees F.) This is where your local electrical inspector would have to make the final decision.
Here is a link to acceptable wire for PV array source circuits.
Note that the NEC is revised every three years. The lastest is the 2008 Code.
Also available at your local electrical supply house.
If I might, make a suggestion? Make friends with an electrician? They are not that bad of people once you get to know them. Some electrical contractors can be real prima donna's though, but then, can't we all from time to time?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 12, 2008 11:38 am

#311 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Help Selecting a Solar Water Pump Solution
Thats really a "tall" order when think about it. Sounds to me like you need the help of a professional, not a community forum.
That 1200 gallons in 2 hours could easily be accomplished by a gasoline engine powered pump. it would take less than a gallon of gasoline. Even at todays high gasoline prices your looking at an operational cost of less than $50 US a year. But of course thats not the bottom line, is it? We are, after all, trying to save the planet Earth from ourselves and burning gasoline doesn't help. So...
Scroll to the bottom of the above page.
It might take a while and a little persistence but, if use the search at, sourcegudies, your might find just what your looking for. Good luck!
I could help, but it would help me if you could narrow this down to a region. East coast, west coast, of a continent, that sort of thing.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Sep 12, 2008 10:45 am

#312 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Declination, Elevation, Complication -
After re-reading these postings, I glimpsed a mental picture of what might be your predicament.
Its not just the angle to the horizon you are wanting to know because that angle is compremised by the pitch of the roof as well being on the westerly side of that pitched roof.
In my area, I have noticed this same predicament on several homes with solar water heater panels.
Again, it would take time, but I believe a, full sized plywood mock up of, one of the PV modules you would like to use, would give you a first hand, clear result of the best angles. It would also cast a shadow from the top of it, onto the roof behind it, so that you know exactly where to start the next row.

Another alternative, although very costly, would be to frame and finish, two walls that would saddle the roof. One wall would sit parallel to and over top of, the end wall. It would support the bottom of the array The other wall would run parallel to the first and sit just behind the first. It would support the adjustable or fixed brace arms of the array.

This what I "had to" do on my roof, almost.
I built out short walls, 6' long and about 20" high, leveled off of the peak and at an angle from the peak that put the array facing solar south. Since the weight of the array has the tendency to push the wall away from itself, towards solar south, I pitched that side down to the roof, creating a valley. The back or north side just goes straight up. The walls are finished with; plywood, flashing's, siding and shingles to compliment the rest of the house. Of course it all still looks like a big "billboard" on top of my home but I don't care. Even though the PV "harvester" is by no means free, I am getting the most photonic particle electrons I can from our Sun.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 31, 2008 12:50 pm

#313 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: A Weekend Cabin System
I agree. That pump takes a lot of electrical energy. A more efficient pumping/storage system might be more cost effective. Looks like you have some numbers to crunch!


Typically speaking, a system for your application might include a PV array wired directly into a PV/pump controller, a dc powered pump and ether an elevated storage tank or a storage tank with a secondary dc pressurizing pump. So many variables that can be site specific.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 31, 2008 12:24 pm

#314 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: system grounding questions

As you scroll down through the above article, you will see a wiring scheme that shows the EGC (equipment grounding conductor) from the PV array is bonded to Earth but, is not bonded to the negative output of the PV array at the combiner boxes, nor is the EGC bonded to negative at the battery bank.
 However, if you look at the EGC at the vdc input to the inverter it is bonded to the neutral conductor as well as Earth.
As well, the EGC is bonded to the neutral conductor at the main breaker panel, which is also bonded to Earth.

I would like to point out though, that this scheme is dated 2003. The NEC (National Electrical Code) makes changes and is revised every three years. The lastest set of codes starts with this years (2008) new code book.

Reading the article, you will find out that the PV array was going to be installed on the rooftop of the dwelling. If this had been done, there would need to be a GFP (Ground Fault Protection) breaker installed in the PV source circuit as well. For more on this and other code compliant PV system information, go to -

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 30, 2008 01:04 pm

#315 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Declination, Elevation, Complication -
Latitude at the Olympic Peninsula is around 47 to 48 degrees, add 15 degrees to that for 62 to 63 degrees, and in the months of December and January, you might get as much as 3 hours of equivalent full rated power.
If you have time prior to installing the PV array, and you want to experiment for yourself, find a piece of plywood about 12"x12" and a block of 2"x4" about 10" long with both ends cut square, attach the one end of the 2x4 to the plywood. Take it and an angle finder onto the roof December 21 at 12:00 noon (winter solstice). Hold one side of the plywood to the roof (to approximate a PV module) move it back and forth while holding the angle finder to the plywood until the shadow of the 2x4 block goes away. This will be the perfect angle for the shortest day of the year. You'll find that it will be somewhere near 60 degrees. If you could do the same thing on June 20 at 12:00 noon (summer solstice) it would be somewhere near 30 degrees. The difference between the two falling on both the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.
The autumnal equinox is just around the corner. You could see if I'm right or not this way. It should be somewhere near 45 degrees on September 22 at 12:00 noon.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 29, 2008 08:35 am

#316 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Sizing a Charge Controller –
The size of the charge controller is determined by the total short circuit amperage (Isc.) rating of the PV array plus 156%.
3000 watts at 24 volts would be 125 amps, but the Isc. will be  higher than this.
Just as an example, lets assume the Isc. totals up to 135 amps. According to the NEC 125% more must be added to that 135 amps, in addition to the 125% that UL requires. 125% X 125% = 156%.
135 X 156% = 211 amps. Believe it or not! This would be the amperage used to calculate; Wire type and size, disconnects, fuses and or breakers, and charge controllers.

Assuming this same PV array in the example above...
@ 48 volts = 106 amps
@ 125 volts = 41 amps
This is the splendor of MPPT technology. You can utilize a higher PV array nominal voltage to charge a battery bank of a lower nominal voltage.
So to answer those questions, it depends on the nominal voltage of the PV array.
1105 amp hours @ 24 volts nominal battery bank.
1105 / 5 = 221 amp hours.
On a good day, a 3000 watt PV array @ 24 volts nominal should produce somewhere around 375 amp hours, conservatively.
3000 X 3 / 24
Of course your mileage may vary.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 28, 2008 06:15 pm

#317 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Declination, Elevation, Complication -
By any chance is there an end wall facing solar south or close to solar south, that you could mount the array onto? Imagine a long awning, with the top of the array frame(s) attached to the wall at the same height as the top plate, to give a good solid hold for lag bolts, and brace arms holding the bottoms out at the desired angle, preferably were there is wall studs. You might even be able to get an awning company, if there is one near you, to make a frame to your spec.s and mount it.

Some of these pictures make an application of this sort look expensive I know, but, like the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for."

As for the "right" angle(s)

Once you are at the web site above, just follow the directions, but try a few different things. You will be dealing mostly with one of the three "flat plate tilted" settings. Those hours it gives you, will be an pretty decent approximation of the equivalent number of hours of full rated power from a PV module.

I hope this helps in some way. Good luck!

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 23, 2008 05:37 am

#318 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Grid Parallel Inverter
Assuming 4 hours of equivalent full rated output of a 3,000 watt PV array, per sunny day, during winter months,
12,000 watt hrs.
Assuming a 48 vdc nominal battery bank sized to average a 20% depth of discharge, based on PV array output not an assumed load,
1,250 amp hours at 48 volts nominal.
You might have 250 amp hours at 48 volts nominal available each day/night. It all depends on how badly you want to stay in that top 20% of battery capcity and of course the weather. But then, there is always the grid right there as a safety net.
250 amp hours at 48 vdc nominal would translate, roughly, into 5 - 100 watt bulbs burning for 24 hours.

At $0.15 per kWh., 12 kWh. would cost about $1.80, times 365 days would be $657.00 a year, thats 1 PV module not installed. 25 years and the PV modules alone will have payed for themselves.

One can think of electricity as a necessity for life, like the air we breath, or one can feel that electricity is a luxury for indulgence, like one of them southern fried tenderloins with egg on a cheese bisquit and a cold Miller beer.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 19, 2008 05:22 am

#319 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Due to a shortage of raw materials...
Remember that headline?
It would seem that not everybody is, as equally affected by this, "shortage" as we "end user."
How do like this headline?
$170,000 to $400,000 a year! To do what exactly? George W. Bush is payed $400.000 a year to be the president of the USA. What in the world could these PV executives possibly be doing to be worth that? Generally speaking, aren't these executive types the same ones who "dropped the ball" and caused that "shortage of raw materials" which in turn caused PV module prices to increase at a time when that price should have been decreasing?

Maybe its just me, but there is something demeaning about that phrase, "end user." I personally don't care to much for "consumer" either. Its as if I am being placed at the bottom. The lowest of the low, unworthy.
I would think that these corporate leaders would use their talents to come up with something better for us. But, then again, why should they care about what we think? We are nothing but numbers to the lot of them, a "bottomline."
There is something familiar about all of this, I just can't seem to put my finger on it... Oh yeah! Its just like any other industry out there!

Slavery without chains? With any luck, future generations will be writting stories about us. Much like the ones we tell today about certain ancient civilisation. We today, call the Hebrews of ancient Egypt, "slaves," but how do we really know that? Wasn't that just the normal way things where done in their time.

I expected more from the PV industry. Didn't you?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 12, 2008 02:14 am

#320 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Home solar panel
Or, if you have an electric utilities service, you could walk to the main breaker or fused disconnect in your home and just turn it off. Or maybe you can't. Does it feel like there is some, invisible force keeping your arm from rising up, and it is stopping you from reaching out to turn the electricity off? Are you making excuses why you shouldn't turn it off to start with? These could be the effects of a serious addiction.
Is electricity keeping you alive, or are you keeping it alive? Which is the master, and which is the slave? For some of us, we see a "junky" "jonesing" for his or her next "fix" of herion as being no different than, what would appear to be a more rational person, paying his or her monthly light bill. Do you really want electricity that bad? How bad do you want it? Are you willing sell yourself into a life of being an indentured servant for it? Sure! Some of you might say. Why not? Others may say. Even, I am looking around and this is what everyone else is doing. Why not me?
Indeed, Why not you? I fear it is to late to turn back now though. That proverbial "snow ball" is rolling down hill to fast and has gotten to big. Just remember, its all gotta end sometime.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 9, 2008 03:01 pm

#321 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Learning and rethinking my cabin power system
If, by chance, you havent laughed yourself silly at my notions, and are considering them, do a search, type in < life before electricity > and you can find a lot of pros and cons and just plain old enertaining stories. Such as,

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 9, 2008 02:40 pm

#322 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Learning and rethinking my cabin power system
If I may interject?
Did you know that the first electric lighting used in the White House was in 1891, during the Harrison administration? We all marvel at the Pyramids of ancient Egypt. More recently, at how this American nation gained its independence from Great Britain. All without utilizing the electricity we take for granted today.
Living "on grid," I think that we all would get accustom to using electricity how and when we feel like it, with no concerns as to, how much we use at one time. Living "off grid" can be like this, but at a great financial cost. In some ways I feel fortunate that I was able to live "off grid" with no electricity, what so ever, for a period of 20 years.
The very first item was electric lighting with 12 vdc 50 watt incandescent bulbs. Each evening when I got home, I would plug up the house to a cord hanging from the grill of my truck that was wired to its cranking battery. It took a while, about half year, but I eventually got a feel for how much and for how long I could "burn" lights and not have to push start my truck in the morning. This was in 1996 I think. Prior to that, I was reading the Mother Earth News by kerosene lamps, all the way back to 1975. I graduated high school in 1981. Prior to 1975, I was living the same "rubber stamp" life that millions of other kids my age where living. The change, for me, was like I had fallen off the edge of the Earth, and not just because of the lack of electricity.

Once again, fortune must have been smiling at me because the area I moved to, was then, a rural farming area and there was quite a few elderly people there that had spent their early childhood without electricity. I begged them to tell  me stories of how they grew up with out (before) electricity. For them, it was simple. They didn't know any other way.
 There is an old house at the end of my path, its abandoned now, but it still has the remnants of the original 30 amp 120 vac electric utilities service clinging onto it. A peek inside revealed 1 receptacle, and 1 light in each room. A flue pipe in the kitchen and a pitcher pump at the back door. The oughthouse had long since fallen back into the Earth where now is a large growth of Honeysuckle vines. The man that built this house as a young adult was one of those "kids" that I begged a story of his childhood from. He passed away about 18 years ago, at the age of 98. May he rest in peace.
This all brings me to a fact that a lot of people are not aware of. Electricity, as we know it today, is only about 100 years old. For well over 7,000 years there was no electricity for mankind to utilize. We people today are a living testament, to the fact that, mankind does not need the electricity we take for granted today, in order live out our time on the planet Earth. We merely want it.
So, I guess the advice I am trying to convey is re-evaluate your wants and needs where electricity is concerned, and you might find out, you could live with a lot less electricity than you think. Best wishes to you.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 4, 2008 05:30 am

#323 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Parallel Batteries
"Is there any drawback to having 4 GCB's in a series parallel configuration as opposed to 2 bigger L16s in series?"

(I am assuming that GCB's stands for Golf Cart Batteries, typically 220 amp hours at 6 volts, and the L16's as 350 amp hours at 6 volts as opposed to the L16 HC's which are 400 amp hours at 6 volts.)

Otherwise, all things being equal, possibly, the only "drawbacks" I would have would be; GCB's - footprint, more holes to put water in, fewer cycles. L16's -  less amp hour capacity, higher cost. But then again, where true deep cycle flooded cell lead acid batteries are concerned, there is no equal ground is there? I mean, its a free for all amoung manufactures and how they advertise.

"If I go with the 4 GCBs is it acceptable to put a 125A breaker off each series pair.  Or do they need to be paralleled first and sent through a 250A breaker?"

I am not sure I comprehend this one as you would have me understand it, but I will go with what I believe is your intent.
 Two scenarios;
First - 4 GCB's, 2 pair, each pair wired in series but the 2 pair are not wired in parallel. Instead, 2 sets of wire are paralleled from each of the 2 pair of GCB's to the inverter.

Don't expect any prizes for original ideas from this set up, but do expect some suprises and added inefficiencies from it, if its not done just right. Paralleling wires to a load can get tricky. But hey, if you've already got the stuff to do it and your confident in your skills, go for it. What have you got to loose?

Second - 4 GCB's wired 2 pair in series and those 2 pair wired together in parallel with 1 set of properly sized wires going to the inverter.

Ahh! Now theres a smart man. Simple. One breaker to deal with.


Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 3, 2008 08:09 am

#324 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Max Lead Acid Discharge Current.
Well, after reading the other postings on this thread, I can more clearly understand your questions and, I would like to clarify, I was not suggesting that you, move to a higher nominal voltage, just that, generally speaking, sustained higher amperages might necessitate higher nominal voltage systems. Also, the calculations I performed are/were not intended for sizing any part of a PV battery charging/inverter system,  it was just an effort to deduct where you got your "numbers" from. Enough of that.
If you're up for it, here is some, more or less technical articles you might find enlightening in regards to your system.
In particular,
Personally speaking, when I size a battery bank for an off grid PV battery charging system, after calculating the number of amp hours of capacity anticipated per 24 hour day/night cycle (all things, such as inefficiencies, included), I multiply that by a factor of 5. Then I size the PV array to replace that amount used in a 24 hour day/night cycle in one sunny day. This has allowed me, in my region, to not have need of a generator. Of course this, genrally speaking, doesn't always fall within a prospective budget, so sometimes improvises are made.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Aug 3, 2008 06:47 am

#325 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: VERY Basic RV system question
John, by any chance, are you wanting help with how to achieve the electrical aspects of the installation? When I "say" electrical, I am refer to how one gets the wires to and from said points safely. For example. If the PV modules are mounted to the roof of the RV, which type of conduit and conduit accessories (ie.; LB's, straps, boxes) does one use? Or, maybe the PV array, cc. and batt. are stationary at the site and you want to "plug in" the RV. As well, what type of wire? Where to place the fuses in the circuit?
If these are the types of question you would like some help with, my advice would be to make friends with a local, experienced electrician. Maybe work out some sort of barter if necessary. There can be so many variables and obstacles when preforming electrical tasks. A knowledge of all the different electrical "parts" and sizes (and tools) available might make the difference in an all day job or just a "few hours" job. It might even make the difference in how satisfied you are with the purchases you've made for years to come.
 I mean, its pretty obvious, to me, that you don't want, 10/2 Romex running form the PV array on the roof, wrapped around the vent pipe, and then down through a hole in a screen, and along the wall with bent over nails securing it, where it then runs through a door opening and is landed on the charge controller. You want a professional job done. Wires in liquid tite conduit where they are outside, fuses in boxes, all securely strapped. All neatly done, sized and typed right. No leaks. John, with the last name of Griffith, is there any chance your RV is "down east" in the Carolinas maybe?

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Jul 28, 2008 06:00 am

#326 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Max Lead Acid Discharge Current.
I can't answer your specific question with a specific answer, but I can tell you the only way to know the answer would be to experiment under highly controlled circumstances with safety first. But of course, this would ruin the batteries wouldn't it?

Try as I did to find generalized information regarding this, I could not. It would seem that the battery manufacture would know this information if they had their batteries tested by a consumer safety advocate.

I am having a little trouble with your math though.
2000 watts / 12 volts = 167 amps
4500 watts / 10.5 volts = 429 amps
(10.5 being a typical LVD)
Surges of this nature will only last for a few seconds, correct? More than likely your planning includes at least a set of 4/0 cables. 4/0 THHN has a rating of around 200 amps depending on certain factors.
What is the biggest size wire recommended by Xantrex for your ProSine 2.0 inverter, and what is the inverters terminal lugs temperature rating? More importantly, what size fuse or breaker is recommended?

It would seem implausible that one would "dump" a load of 600 amps on just 2 - 6 volt golf cart batteries wired in series for 12 volts.
Something would have to give.
Maybe a bank with more batteries, but common sense would dictate a higher voltage be used if amp loads of this nature where anticipated. Also, this is where proper sizing of and the type of fusing would protect personnel and property.

Even in the world of alternating current electricity, when higher amperages are anticipated, a move to higher voltages is the typical response.
Think about it, why pull the larger more expensive wire for a 800 amp service at 240 volts 3 phase when you can pull wire nearly half that size at 480 volts 3 phase.
I hope something here helps you.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Jul 27, 2008 07:12 am

#327 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: 3 years off grid! And............
It takes a special kind of person willing to accomplish "off grid" living. There is the conception that we are just living without conventional electricity, but those that have achieved it know there is more to it than that.
While not meaning to minusculate your accomplishments Karen, I would like to point out to other readers that "off grid" living wasn't much of an issue a little more than 100 years ago, it was the way of life. Think about Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie) and her parents before her, for example.
Now, as for the rest of you, trace back through your heritage. Think about how your ancestors had no concept of "offgrid" living because, there was no "grid." Some of you can probably remember stories told to you by aged relatives of how they grew up without electricity. Electricity, as we know it today, is only about 100 years old.
Electric lighting was installed in the White House in 1891.
Benjamin Harrison was president. By the time Theodore Roosevelt was president the use of electric light was common in all but the most rural parts of America. It was around this time that another, soon to be president was born, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Now he we are today 2008, celebrating, in a sense, a return (more or less) to a way of live that was chosen to be left behind. There may be hope for Earth yet.
Thank you Karin Evensen.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Jul 20, 2008 02:12 am

#328 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Keep garage cool
Wouldn't we all.
Seriously though, thats kind of a loaded request, don't you think?
For one thing nobody knows where in the world this garage is. I mean, is it in the SouthEast United States or England or is it in Siberia perhaps? How big is it? Whats its volume?
For another thing, what types of food are we talking about storing here? Canned, fresh eggs, live Snails? And for how long?
Oh! then there is the part about "inexpensively," thats the real kicker isn't it? I mean, take for example, $5.00 per watt for PV modules not installed. Thats expensive to me but everyone else would appear to be applauding this price.

At first I thought of Earth tubes, but then I thought, if I had to dig, why not just make a root cellar, then I can still park the motorcar in the garage. I could give you some links but then that would take the fun out of doing your own search about root cellars. Aww, what the heck. I just can't help myself.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Jul 18, 2008 06:29 am

#329 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: power directly off of Panels?
What an amazing coincidence.

I have got to say it if nobody else will.
"an attractive price of $5.00 a watt."
Are you sure you feel ok J.B.? Do you want me to call you a doctor or something? I am kidding, of course.
I know of a place selling PV at $7.00 a watt. Now they make $5 seem attractive. $5 would seem to be the going rate.
The PV industry could do better, you know?
I was thinking maybe, more like, $2 or $3 per watt.

(How about it PV manufactures? Don't you want to gives us "end users" a break for a change? Maybe instead of using both your hands to "rake" in your profits you could use just one for a while? Your arms must be getting tired by now.

Oh! I forgot. Thats not how the world works, is it? I mean, its always been the "end user" that suffers the burden of industry. In more ways than one. Why should RE be any different? Just following the trail left by those before you and all that sort of stuff hey?)

J.J., did you know that your human body uses 2 metals; Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K) along with body fluids which is mostly water (H2O) to produce bioelectricity for, among other things, your brains thought processes?

Do you really need your computer? Oh sure, a computer can perform a lot faster but... Wait a second, has the company given you deadlines to meet or something? Have to make production do we? Well your not alone.

There are lyrics in a song I heard. A sort of prayer. I will not soon forget them. "I can see the concrete, slowly creeping, Lord take me and mine before that comes" (sung by the late Ronnie Van Zant)
Pity about Earth.

Posted by Thomas Allen Schmidt on Jul 13, 2008 12:03 pm

#330 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: First RE System is Planned
Sorry Eric if that came across as being facetious. I wanting to have a wind genny but my site is just not suitable enough to make it cost effective.  Among other things, a free standing tower over 100' would have to be constructed. I guess cynicism, prompted by jealousy, came through in my writting.
As for ordinances, the best place to find that out would be your local planning and zoning office. Those type of things can be way different from; state to state, county to county, city to city, town to town, well you get the idea.

If your in a rural agricultural area, you might see silo's. This could give you idea of how high a structure is allowed to be in your vicinity. Geology plays a role. It might be that the ground where you want to plant a tower cannot support or may require additional concrete to support it.
Heights, ground stability, proximity's, restrictions, petitions, permits, etc., etc., these are all the things that your local planning and zoning office will want to address and chances are they may have allready.
Here is an example of something that has been done by the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources.
I can't help but feel that I am telling you a lot of stuff you may already know or have searched and found on the internet... But here it goes anyway. Just in case.

While searching I found several other sites from different states and read through them. My overall impression, for Wisconsin, is that the power companies what to desperately hang on to their monopoly of energy. If this is true, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they (the power companies the want to build megawatt wind farms) are influencing decisions made by law makers concerning small scale privately owned wind genny's in the residential arenas.

As for the PV, take your pick. Apples are Apples. Its of little matter wether its a Delicious Red or a Granny Smith, they are all good to eat. Personally, I perfer the Poly crystalline type. Hot climates may necessitate a higher voltage PV module. The trend would seem to be high voltage and high wattage PV modules and MPPT charge controllers. There seems to be very little information about singular charge controllers that can handle both wind and PV simultaneously unless it comes with a particular wind genny.

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