Lee Butcher's posts

Posted by Lee Butcher on Mar 20, 2010 11:38 am

#1 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: getting started need help
2797 kwh/month, wow I thought I was an off grid energy hog.
The first investment you might consider is the kilawatt meter.
  I have lived a majority of my adult life off the grid. Mostly by living with out, and running a generator, propane appliances, wood heat and cooking.
 In the last year we have started over building from scratch. Energy efficency is the key. We now are living pretty comfortable. With appliances like washer, dryer (propane), dishwaser, full size refrigerator, upright freezer, satelite tv, satelite internet, microwave, coffee maker and toaster.
  When we bought our current property the bid to put electricity to our site was $15,000. So we used that as our budget to stay off the grid.
   we did most of the work ouselves and have been able to limit our generator use. It does take a lot of paying attention to battery status before running things like the dishwasher.
   Our system consist of:
    bergey XL1 1kw wind generator and controller
    8 sw solar 175 watt panels 1400 watts
    outback:  combiner box
              fm80 charge controller
              vfx3524 inverter
     Iota 4024 battery charger
     12 Trojan t145 batteries
     dewalt 4300 watt generator
    We have been able to ionstall ourselves with a little help and alot of advice. And we have stayed under our $15,000 budget. And that does not even take into account the tax credits.
  I would have to check the history of our use but I would guess it is well under 10kwh a day (300kwh month)
  Location is key
  we are in sunny texas hill country on a breezy ridge.

Posted by Lee Butcher on Jan 6, 2010 10:50 pm

#2 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Hybrid System
We have a bergey XL1 as the start to our system.
  being new to this if anyone has any advice do's or dont's I would love to hear them.
  We also have outback vfx3524 inverter, outback flexware500, outback fm 80 charge contoller, mate, hub, 4 solar world 175 panels and 12 trojan t145 batteries.
  We are looking at doubling our solar panel array in the very near future.
  We will also  be adding a dump load to the bergey cc. Something that the bergey salesman never mentioned or pushed. Any advice here would be appreciated. 

Posted by Lee Butcher on Jan 6, 2010 10:30 pm

#3 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Hybrid System
 WE have installed a hybrid system. I have not found a lot of answers out there.
 First we installed the bergey XL1 thinking that we could easily just add the 700 watts of solar, the the controller is advertised to handle. Well when we where ready to add the solar we were told that it may not be a good idea to use the bergey contoller.
  So I called bergey and talked to a tech, not a sales person, he said that he did not reccomend adding that much solar. He did not say dont do it but he hinted at having to work on controllers that people had added solor panels to.
  We added a seperate charge controller for the solar.

Posted by Lee Butcher on Dec 20, 2009 09:34 am

#4 -  Renewable Energy > Installers/Contractors > Re: Picking a installer
 Well it was a a valuble lesson  and in the end not to costly. Thank goodness that none of the panels were damaged during the installation. That was one of my big worries. Since all that [Editor: Name Removed] seemed to be worried about was covering his ass I was worried that he may have miswired and ruined a panel or two, that does not appear to be the case. Fortunately we have been recieving help from a person that really seems to know her stuff and is trying her best to help mitch out.
  Thankyou for the advice.

Posted by Lee Butcher on Dec 17, 2009 10:16 pm

#5 -  Renewable Energy > Installers/Contractors > Picking a installer
 I advise everybody to please be very careful when choosing an installer. We recently had a very bad expierence with [Editor: Name Removed.]. We wanted to use a local installer and did not mind giving a guy a shot that was still fairly new in the business.
  It was not a hard install. I would have done it myself but my plate was very full and the bid was very low  (should have been my first clue).
  I had already installed a bergey XL1, outback inverter, mate and trojan battery bank. He had an easy job. After three months of listening to a bunch of BS about how 340 watts under clear blue skies at mid day and cool temps  from a 700 watt array was just fine and I just didnt understand how this solar stuff worked.
  Well I gave him amother chance after I tested each panel and had located the two that were not producing. All along I thought it was one, silly me. He called my test fradulent.
  So I spent 10 minutes rewiring the panels and we now produce twice the electricity. And this guy is still telling lies and making accusations.

Posted by Lee Butcher on Dec 16, 2009 07:52 am

#6 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: a little help


 i see a big problem here..with your wife witnessing this problem solving, she will now expect all kinds of miracles from now on around the house!
   WE have another version of the blanket test that I use to perform miracles, in the house
   sounds like that was worth a few hours on the roof..and confirmed your gut feeling.

    Yes it was. I just wanted to give the installer every possible chance to man up. Before I changed anything I had an independant expert come over and witness what had been done and advise me on what I should do.
  The rewiring though far from complete took a total of ten minutes. 
  Yet my gut feeling from the start was one panel was not working so I was wrong on that. Two were not working.

 "so with my handy multi meter..."

 these darn things are pretty useful, every solar installer should think about investing in one.

thanks for the update.
cheers, dave

 more volts x more amps = more watts    second grade math

 What a relief as I was beginning to doubt myself and the cost of more panels was out of the ballpark running the generator was looking better all the time $ wise not anymore.

Posted by Lee Butcher on Dec 15, 2009 10:26 pm

#7 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: a little help

sounds like the perfect plan lee.
kindly keep us posted.


  Well I started by putting a blanket over each panel while my wife watched  the controller. The results were obvious two panels were not working so with my handy multi meter I tested the leads at the contoller then at the panels. Somewhere between the panels and the contoller the power was lost but at least the panels are good.
  So I decided to give the installer one last chance to man up when I told him of the the test I had done he called them fraudelent and he was not going to be bullied into rewiring a system that was performing as it should be.
   So I used the wires from the two operating panels and ran two parallel series and wala the performance has doubled.  600+ kw  Ye.......hawwww
  Silly Me

Posted by Lee Butcher on Dec 10, 2009 10:55 pm

#8 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: a little help
 The Guy si a good guy just does not have the practical  hands on expierence. I am pretty sure he has no bad intentions. For some reason he just wants to talk and work with the engineers but not people who live with these systems.
  Who knows maybe I will be eating a healthy crow dinner. But Im going to refigure the system myself this weekend into two series of panels, like everyone on every forum and every customer support line hass suggested and clean up all the wireing and connections. and we will go from there.

 Alaskan living in Texas

Posted by Lee Butcher on Dec 5, 2009 08:58 pm

#9 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: a little help
  The bergey is working good . we put it up in June and the wind kinda layed low. But the fall/ winter winds have picked up its always nice to see some power coming in at night.
  Im taking my readings from the controller flex 80 summary menu. The 340 watt reading was on a 70 degree day without a cloud in the sky at high noon and that has been the Max output.
 It just seems like I see so much more results from the wind genny when its only putting out 500 watts than when the solar panels are at there max.( 4 sw 175'S). My installer just spews out a bunch of algebra to explain that the 340 watt figure is really more like 600 watts.
   Actually the panels are all run parallel to one breaker in my flex 500 then to the flex 80 controller.
  Yes it has been quite the transition from texas from alaska. From grizzly bears to rattlesnakes..At least my first summer was a record hot one.

Posted by Lee Butcher on Dec 2, 2009 08:23 pm

#10 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > a little help
Posted by Lee Butcher on Today at 07:51:59 PM
a little help?
We are living off the grid in South central Texas (mason county) E have installed what is the first step of our system. I installed the bergey XL1, outback inverter vfx 3524, flexware 500 and 12 Trojan t145. We had a local solar co. install the 4 SW175 (750 watts) solar panels and outback flex 80 controller. I know it is winter here but on clear blue sky days is 340 watts the best I can expect at this latitude? The solar guy tells me its working fine.
 Alaskan living in Texas

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