John B's posts

Posted by John B on May 21, 2009 10:46 am

#1 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Solar recirculating pump system for solar pool heater.

I don't know, as I only use it to circulate fresh water. Your best bet is to get answers direct from the manufacturer.


Posted by John B on May 19, 2009 12:21 pm

#2 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Solar recirculating pump system for solar pool heater.

The 18V panel will probably operate the pump, but I don't think the Shurflo pump was designed to pump hot water. You may have a problem with plastic parts melting. You can find pumps for that purpose here:

I have been using the El Cid for two years now to circulate hot water without a problem using a 10 Watt panel. The El Cid is about twice as expensive as the Shurflo, but it has the same capacity of about 3 gals per minute, and it pumps it with 10 watts of power instead of the 100 watts the Shurflo pump requires. So when comparing a 10 watt panel to a 100 watt panel your total cost to pump would be less and you don't have to worry about the temperature destroying the pump.

Posted by John B on Mar 13, 2009 12:39 pm

#3 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Batteries / Off-Grid
When would you use 12v, 24v, 48v, or 96v batteries for an off-grid system? Is it strictly cost related or is there an advantage of one over the next?

Say for example you plan to use a 3600 watt inverter to provide 120V a/c power. The current from your batteries to the inverter with a 12V system would be 3600/12 or 300A. With a 24V system it would be 150A, and with a 48V system it would be 75A etc.

With a 12V system you will need larger more expensive battery cables with higher ampacity and larger more expensive breakers. If on the other hand, you plan to run DC powered appliances direct from the batteries then you will find a far greater selection of 12V appliances than you will at higher voltages.

I tend to go with higher voltages which means lower currents, less losses, and the ability to use smaller and cheaper (also easier to work with) cables and breakers.

Posted by John B on Mar 7, 2009 09:44 pm

#4 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Hot breakers
I believe your problem is running 43+ amps through a #8 awg wire. Even at only 18" in length I think the wire is too small. The overheated wire would then dissipate heat through the breaker making it hot. I would use #4 awg for the battery run or try four #8 awg wire wrapped together.

Posted by John B on Mar 3, 2009 04:26 pm

#5 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: AC amps - DC amps
AC and DC amps are the same. What you are doing is transferring power (volts x amps) from one source to another.

You have a 3924 watt inverter which is 120volts x 32.7amps to give 3924. If you have a 24V output, then the maximum current during the transfer process is 3924/24 or 163.5 amps.

The reason that you are only seeing 60 amps output is the "charging rate" for your batteries. The more discharged the batteries are, the higher the initial charging rate will be, but it should not exceed 10 percent of the amperehour rating of the batteries and will taper off as the batteries move to full charge.

Hopefully your charger has been setup properly and you have nothing to worry about, but the more you discharge your batteries the higher the initial charging current you are likely to see.

Posted by John B on Jan 7, 2009 12:30 pm

#6 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: function of a voltage regulator
My primary concern at this point is the heating element.  The volume of water flowing in the generator system will vary when it rains, so the wattage output will fluxuate.
This may require the batteries to assure the element receives proper wattage.  Correct?Huh?

As stated previously, your heater element does not really care if it is receiving the proper wattage (current actually). You only need to be careful that you do not give it more current than it is rated for otherwise it may burn out.

If you have a 24V 100W heater element then it has a resistance of approximately 6 ohms and this means that it will consume 100 watts of power when 4 amps of current flows through it.

The 4 amps of current comes from 24volts being dropped across 6 ohms. I(4) = V(24) / R(6) and Power 100W = Volts(24) * Amps(4).

If your generator "pushes" less than 4 amps of current through the element then its just not going to get as hot as it possibly could. This is akin to turning down the amount of gas flowing to a burner by adjusting the knob on the stove. The water in the kettle will still boil, its just going to take longer. However, if you push 8 amps of current through that same element then it may burn out.

You may want to double check that everything is 24V.


Posted by John B on Jan 5, 2009 10:23 am

#7 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: function of a voltage regulator

Maximum power transfer takes place when the resistance of the load is the same as the internal resistance of the supply. Here is a quick review of the math:

Power (measured in watts) = Volts(V) * Amps (I)
Ohms Law: Voltage(V) = I(current) * R (resistance)

For maximum power transfer you want a 180 Watt heating element.

A 180 watt generator means that you will be producing 15 amps of current at 12 volts. The resistance of your heater element will therefore be 12 divided by 15 (R =V/I) or less than 1 Ohm. This is a very low resistance, so you want as large a wire as possible from your generator to the heater element otherwise a significant portion of the 12 volt output will be "dropped" across the wire leading to the element thus reducing the power transferred from the generator to the heating element.

Ideally you would like the entire 12V of the source generator to be across the heating element, but if for example the total resistance of your wire run is 12/15 ohms or exactly the same as your heating element then only 6 volts of the 12 volt source will be "dropped" across your heating element "load" and the power transferred will only be 6(V) * 15(I) or 90 watts which is only 50% of what your source generator is producing. In practice it will actually be less, but I don't want to make the math any more confusing.

Your second question is a bit difficult to answer without more details on your setup and what you are trying to achieve.


Posted by John B on Jan 2, 2009 10:53 am

#8 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: function of a voltage regulator

I was assuming that your generator was AC. My bad.

Your 12V hydro generator will work just fine on a 12V heater element without the need for any buck booster.

However, I am once again making the assumption that your 12V heater does not have any sort of electronic controller in place that requires 12V, and that the disconnect is some sort of thermal switch that will cut the 12V supply to the heater element once the water reaches a certain temperature.


Posted by John B on Dec 31, 2008 12:52 pm

#9 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: function of a voltage regulator

Heater elements are quite simple. They do not care about voltage levels or if it is AC or DC current passing through them. Current passing through any resistor will create heat. For safety purposes, you may want to pickup an AC heating element from a local hardware store and replace the DC element that you currently have with that. They will have a rated wattage, which tells you the amount of current they will draw depending on the voltage placed across the two ends of the element.


Posted by John B on Nov 27, 2008 12:20 pm

#10 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: 40hp submersible pump design problem
That looks like a very low ballpark figure. 40hp is 30Kilowatts. If he wants to run it for 3 hours at night that is approximately 100kwh. That would require about 500 batteries of the 12V 100AH type to keep his total battery discharge at night below 20%. Batteries alone could cost more than $100K.

Using a nominal figure of 4 hours of peak sun per day, he will require at least 25kilowatts of pv panels just to recharge the batteries to run the motor at night, and another 30kilowatts of pv panels minimum to run the pump for 4 hours during the day. If he wants to run the pump for more than 4 hours during dayling then more pv panels will have to be added accordingly. This looks like a problem where PV is not necessarily the best solution.

Posted by John B on Nov 17, 2008 10:09 am

#11 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Kyocera KC130TM 130W 12V Solar Panel w J-Box question
The charge controller I'm using is a Sunforce 30 amp digital charge controller (the cheapy you get at Canadian Tire for $100)......

Bit of smoke and mirrors as you say, I think.  - Sure the panels themselves can generate their rated capacity at 17ish volts...but I've never heard of anyone with a 17 volt battery.


The beauty of a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) Charge Controller is that it will allow the panels to operate at 17V (or whatever the voltage is for maximum power) and the controller does the step down to the charging voltage being applied to the batteries.

In California they conduct meticulous tests on panels before they approve them for use, so at this site you can hazard a guess as to what the exact output of your panels will be.

I have 3360 "rated" watts (28 x 120) of Evergreen PV panels and an Outback MX60 MPPT Charge Controller. In the hot summer months (most of the year) the output is around 2500 watts during peak sun, but in the winter months (Dec/Jan) the MX60 goes a bit haywire around solar noon when the power spikes beyond the 3200 watts that it is rated for.

Posted by John B on Nov 5, 2008 04:15 pm

#12 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Three phase Solar Power for commercial use

If you're running the output from ~2500watts of panels to a 13kv inverter I would make sure that the conduit is large enough to add four more stings of the same panels to take the inverter up to full power.

Compared to the cost of your panels, the cost of conduit and 600 feet of copper wire is negligible. I personally think 200 feet is quite a long run for #12AWG and would go with #6AWG to minimise line losses. A larger conduit makes it easier to pull wire, so I would go with the conduit that matches the largest knock-out at the inverter end and you never have to worry about it again.


Posted by John B on Nov 3, 2008 10:18 am

#13 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Need smart electrician to help!

I don't consider myself a smart electrician but I run my well pump (and a pool pump also) from a 3000 watt 120V inverter using an Outback PSX-240 transformer. The PSX-240 has an enclosure and a fan, but you can get the X-240 by itself for a lower price.

My pump (different manufacturer) is similar to yours and the reason for the neural wire is because it can be wired to run on either 120V or 240V. Yours could very well be the same, and if it is there should be a label on it somewhere that indicates that is capable of 120V/240V operation.

I have tested mine in both 120V and 240V mode and it works equally well in both, so you might be able to save yourself the cost of a transformer until you need to operate something that does not have a 120V option.


Posted by John B on Oct 28, 2008 04:33 pm

#14 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Looking for opinions on Enphase Inverters
It certainly is an interesting concept where conceivably one could build a PV system 200 watts at a time without having any redundant or underused equipment. Its a bit like not having all of your eggs in one basket so to speak.

The inverters themselves have a 10-year warranty, and if one fails then your power only falls by 200 watts and not an entire system failure that you might have with a single large inverter.

By converting the 24V DC to 240V AC right at the panel the run back to the main AC panel can be done with much smaller and cheaper wire. They have also eliminated the expense of DC disconnects, inverter programming etc.

Enerphase is currently offering incentives to installers, so that might be one reason the solar company is recommending them, but overall it looks to be a system that can be installed rather quickly and quite easily.

The only con that I can see, and this is from my personal point of view only, is that they want you to sign up to monitor the output of the system. I don't want to have to ask someone else what the output of my system is, but perhaps other less technical people prefer that route. Its hard to tell if they are looking to make money from the sale of the product, the after sales service, or both.


Posted by John B on Oct 24, 2008 12:35 pm

#15 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Three phase Solar Power for commercial use

The best thing for you to do is consult a professional who will have experience with both solar and commercial power systems. I think most people here are more familiar with the basic home power.

Having said that, in really simple terms all equipment must be grounded, all grounds must be connected together, and neutral and ground must be bonded at one point, and ONE POINT ONLY! Assuming that you already have commercial power this should already be done, so you should not be bonding neutral to ground anywhere in your system.

The State of California is very forward looking in terms of solar and also the protection of their citizens. For example, I believe that any inverter sold in California must now be offered with at least a 10-year warranty. They also test and approve all equipment before it can be sold.

From the above list you will see that there are much larger and more efficient inverters available on the market for 3-phase power systems. It's your system, but I would give consideration to going with a single high efficiency inverter with a 10-year warranty that could handle all of the panels rather than what is essentially three separate systems and then combining them.

Posted by John B on Oct 23, 2008 03:58 pm

#16 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Help with converting some energy used by pool motor to solar

Our local utility company uses diesel generators to produce electricity, and their license allows them to pass any increases in fuels costs on to their customers. Last month the cost per kilowatt hour was just shy of 50 cents.

If utility rates in the US ever reached that level I don't think any of the stores would be able to keep PV panels in stock.


Posted by John B on Oct 16, 2008 05:09 pm

#17 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re:
I just ordered a Windmaster to be installed on my home here in  Shreveport, La.

I have heard enough, so I am ... "Cautious" about what is expected.  I am a local HS Teacher, we will do this scientifically.  I will document and photograph everything from the first opening of the shipping container to the display of my utility bills for 90 days before and after.

The industry wants PROOF, so I will provide it.
As a service to my fellow man.

Bob Dekota, Shreveport, La.

Good luck to you Bob.
Did you order your unit directly from Freetricity or did you get it through a dealer? By any chance was the Shreveport territory available and offered to you if you purchased three or more units?

Posted by John B on Oct 16, 2008 11:16 am

#18 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: One Circuit solar/wind
I hate to bring up the rather touchy subject, but he is probably referring to the original freetricity design which can still be found at some of the "older" distributors who have not updated their website.

Posted by John B on Oct 13, 2008 11:22 am

#19 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Why is The AlteStoreRipping People Off?
Wendel Smith is just another alias in a long list used by our "friend" from Freetricity. The best thing to do is to ignore him.

Posted by John B on Oct 3, 2008 04:24 pm

#20 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Help with converting some energy used by pool motor to solar

I have 3200 watts of solar panels with an Outback 2548 Inverter and a X-240 transformer that has my 240V 1HP pool pump as its major load. In the hot summer months the output of my panels will drop as low as 2400 watts, and my pool pump generally consumes around 1400 watts while running.

A DC pump run directly from the panels (with some sort of current booster) would be far more efficient, but I have never been brave enough to risk the high expense of the DC pump and then not have it work for me.

The store here at one time sold a package deal with panels, pump, and controller, but it is no longer available even though one user gave it a good review.

The pump and controller is still available.

I'm still considering it as it would be fairly easy for me to divert the output of one string of panels directly to the pump/controller, but I will have to see a lot more positive reviews before I take the risk of purchasing the pump and controller.


Posted by John B on Oct 1, 2008 03:36 pm

#21 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: solar angle

I use this Navy site to adjust mine.


Posted by John B on Sep 22, 2008 05:25 pm

#22 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Revolutionary Non-Fuel Electric Engine - NEW - Recorded with U.S. Govt.
Mr. Carter,

You appear to be a prolific copyrighter. Are all of the below listed yours?

1985 Automatic tuner : Automatic guitar tuner. Copyright Number VAu000076537

1985 High Current multi-disk generator. Copyright Number VAu000076501

1990 Children's allowance calendar. Copyright Number VAu000173252

1993 Games that drivers play. Copyright Number TX0003470537

1994 Boring rod sleeve. Copyright Number VAu000317547

1994 How to earn thousands in extra income : driving big trucks. Copyright Number TXu000623302

1996 United States illegal alien survival manual. Copyright Number TXu000717305

1998 Gold mailing plan : design SY95130. Copyright Number VAu000445403

2001 Electromagnetic engine. Copyright Number VAu000515582

2001 Electromagnetic engine 2001. Copyright Number VAu000546550

2002 Electric engine. Copyright Number VAu000553176

Posted by John B on Sep 22, 2008 04:42 pm

#23 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: GFCI Inverter outlet to Panel - keeps tripping
Sounds like the GFCI is just doing its job.

The purpose of a GFCI is to measure the current going out on the "hot" line and compare it to what is returning on the "neutral" line. If they are not the same, then the assumption is that some current is flowing from "hot" to "ground" somewhere (possibly through a person), so it immediately trips.

The inverter probably has GFCI output because it is portable and can be moved to a wet location where GFCI would be mandated by code.

As long as your panel neutral is bonded to ground, which it should be, the inverter is going to trip any time you try to use the panel as a feeder for your inverter.

Posted by John B on Sep 22, 2008 10:28 am

#24 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Revolutionary Non-Fuel Electric Engine - NEW - Recorded with U.S. Govt.
Explain how it works.

If he thinks that Copyright drawings are a secret, then I'm sure he will have no problem coming up with an explanation as to how it works. It only took a few minutes to find his copyrighted drawings.

Type of Work:      Visual Material
Registration Number / Date:VAu000553176 / 2002-02-07
Application Title: The electric engine II.
Title:             The electric engine.
Description:       Technical drawing.
Copyright Claimant:Harold L. Carter, Jr., 1951-
Date of Creation:  2002
Names:             Carter, Harold L., Jr., 1951-

Of course anyone can copyright a drawing for a perpetual motion machine. The difficulty is in getting it to work, and then convincing the Patent Office that you have something to protect. Mr Carter hasn't taken that next step, but with someone else's money who knows........

Posted by John B on Sep 19, 2008 11:29 am

#25 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: appliances stop working on system
Even when the higher wattage lights are on, the radio and the lower wattage bulbs wont come on. The inverter does not have the sleep feature. the inverter is a WAGAN 1500 (3500 surge) It is kind of strange to me!!!I am typing now with the lights on, and the radio won't come on, use to work.

I had a look at a picture of your inverter and noticed that it had two output receptacles. I know this is a long shot, but did you have the radio and lower wattage bulbs plugged into the same receptacle as the higher wattage lights that still work fine? And at the same time by using a multi-strip outlet? I suppose it is possible for one receptacle to work and the other to be faulty, depending on how they are wired.

A modified sine wave is an ugly thing to look at on a scope when compared to a pure sine wave, but it has little effect on most equipment. I have a 1500 watt modified sine wave inverter that I keep in my truck and I have run a 13A power saw from it on many occasions without any problems.

I have also heard of people experiencing problems with cell phone chargers on modified sine wave inverters. Your radio works on the same principle as a cell phone charger where a transformer steps down the voltage from 120V to around 20V or less and then converts that to DC voltage in the 6V to 20V range depending on the requirements of the equipment being charged. But if your radio worked before, then there is no reason for it to not continue working unless the inverter has a fault.

Posted by John B on Sep 18, 2008 11:23 am

#26 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: appliances stop working on system

The higher wattage cf lights worked on the inverter (14 and 22 watt). Does any one know why this would happen?

Thanks for any suggestion.

It sounds to me like perhaps your inverter is going into "sleep" mode when the power drain is very low. You can confirm this by plugging your radio in at the same time that you are using the 22 watt lights. If the radio works then is proves that the 5 watt lights and radio alone are not enough to "wake up" the inverter.

If it only started happening a week or so ago then I suspect that perhaps there was a load that you previously had on continuously that was sufficient to keep the inverter "awake" and you have since removed that load.

Posted by John B on Sep 15, 2008 04:31 pm

#27 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Generate amps or Generate watts?
The best thing for you is to contact some UN Development Agency that specialises in assisting developing nations with clean water options. Once the professionals in the field have identified the best solution(s) for your requirements, you can come back and get assistance with how best to power that option using renewable energy.

All of those "water from air" machines are basically scams. They will certainly produce water from air (as does any air conditioning unit), but water is a by-product of the process and more than 90% of the energy that goes into the unit is spent doing something else.

Posted by John B on Sep 10, 2008 11:57 am

#28 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Small Solar System

In this field every question will lead to another and you never stop learning.

A 200 watt panel is generally much larger and heavier than a 100 watt panel, so where it will be mounted is one consideration. Will you be mounting the panels on your own, or will you have assistance? Is your roof steep or high? Do you feel comfortable taking a 40lb panel up onto the roof by yourself? etc. etc. etc.

Generally speaking, I would look for someone who had similar panels in a similar location. IE. same latitude, as some panels work better in hot climates than others.

I have Evergreen 120 watt "B" panels. The "B" indicates that they have blemishes but the same power output and the manufacturer will generally sell them for ten or fifteen percent less than the regular price.

Once you start increasing the power then voltage is also a consideration. I have a 48V system which means that a single Outback MX60 Charge Controller can accommodate 3200 watts of solar panels. If I had a 12V inverter then I would need four MX60 Charge Controllers for the same system.

Will your system be grid-tied or stand-alone? Will you want battery back-up? Answers to both of those questions can affect the decision on which PV panel and/or inverter you go with.


Posted by John B on Sep 10, 2008 11:05 am

#29 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Small Solar System

It wouldn't hurt to run 3 feet of ground wire (the same size that you used from the inverter to the ground rod) from the inverter's ground to the negative terminal of the battery.

This will not drain your battery. In fact, your battery is probably grounded already through the inverter. To test this, put your voltmeter across the battery terminals and then move the negative lead of the meter to the ground of your inverter and you should read the same voltage.

Glad to hear that you are up and running, but 7.5A @ 12V is only 90 watts which is not so good if you consider that you paid for 150 watts of power. It might be due to bad connections on some of the panels since your are tying ten of them together, but more than likely it is just the tolerance on a 15 watt panel where they wouldn't give you the same guarantee as you would get with a larger panel.


Posted by John B on Sep 9, 2008 05:25 pm

#30 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Small Solar System

All of your negatives should be grounded.

The charge controller has the ability to turn your panels off if the batteries are full. However, there should be a breaker or fuse on the output of the solar panels going into the charge controller.

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