Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to

Home Forums General Discussion Help! Wanting to go green on a budget Re: Help! Wanting to go green on a budget


<grin> Did you really expect a sales presentation to tell you the truth and the whole truth before you put up your money?

To be fair I have seen kit instructions that did provide excellent guidance. BUT, experience with the tools required is also just as crucial. For example stripping a wire to terminate it is supposedly simple. Trouble is most DIY often buy the crappy plier style most often available in consumer retail stores. If you suggest to them that buying the $40 professional die cutter style is better, they look at you as if you are nuts. I still have all the tools I purchased 30 years ago and use them on a regular basis.

Some of the instruction sets are translations from some other language and clearly not written by an experienced professional used to handling tools.

I once worked for a major manufacturer providing equipment to this market. All of the user manuals were written by the marketing department. The reason being their staff was paid lower than people in the engineering department and their staff was mostly girls who had majored in english which is why they got hired into the marketing department.

When I worked as a service tech I often got calls from DIY people who had botched a job but did not realize why or how it was malfunctioning. Things like poor crimps and termination tops the list of defects found th be a cause for malfunctiono.

Some of the crimp lugs sold in consumer stores are reallly bad quality but not so a person lacking experience would notice. You can buy all sort of wire from the cheapest to something that cost $1/ foot. Only knowledge plus some experience would tell you when the more expensive wires is actually cheaper in the long run.

Hooking a solar panel direct to a battery. You need fuses, possibly diodes and definitely a regulator. Even selecting a regulator will require some knowledge. Is the one in the kit truly the best available or does it happen to be a model that gives the seller the fattest profit margin?

Rememer that a kit is selling convenience. It offers one stop shopping so the buyer does not have to expend time and effort to collect the best suited equipment for his application by going to half a dozen suppliers. Kits do provide important but small items for mounting. Industrial wholesalers sell them in bags of 100 250 and 1000 but not half a dozen or so. The kit provider buys the bag of 1000 then divides it up in many kits. Its convenient but you usually pay for that.

Many DIY installations looks like a rats nest of wiring all over the place.

Is that truly safe? Only training and experience will tell you. Yes you can learn by reading but it takes time to find these good books then reading them and understanding the subject.

I’m not trying to discourage you just pointing you in the right direction.

I once helped a student who did not appreciate the distinction between an insulated washer and a plain washer. Visually they looked identical. However when he connected the battery the plain washer became a short circuit that burnt out the wire harness in his car. A new harness cost the equivalent of a months wages. Took us three weeks to disassemble and repair the burnt harness. He had already quit his job to go back for the next semester. He simply did not have the money to afford a quick repair of the damage he cause from lacking a tiny bit of knowledge.