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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 77 total)
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  • in reply to: off grid in australia #68523

    hi-  my name is gordo-  would like to talk to you about helping out in belize.

    your link to web site and email didn’t work. or maybe i could not make them work.  sorry i don’t do IT or AV

    gordorfood at ya__o dot com

    in reply to: additives or gadgets to fix or renew batteries #67999

    ahhhh battery maint.

    its really important that your batteries get to absorb once a week. the bubbling will help keep the sulfating in control.  if your battery bank is too big for your array to get to absorb then i recommend using the generator in the early morning on a sunny day and artifically boost your batteries so you can get to absorb.  also, for battery longevity the 50% mark is fairly conservative.  remember thats manufacture spec.  but they still want to sell more batteries in eight years.  i try not to let mine go below 70%.

    since you cant EQ with the inverter/loads.  is your charge controler adjustable.  if so you can just increase parameters of bulk and absorb to the eq level. BUT Only for 2 -4 hours.  then decrease to default.  EQ is basically a controled overcharge.

    As for gadgets.  i have had noticable results by using the infinituim battery desulfator.  i took specific gravity of all cells of all batteries befor hooking them up.  on average my cells where at 1.20 or less.  after 3 weeks i was average 1.25.  i checked every morning.  best in the morning, its more accurate because theres no top charge from the day.  my power usage is very consistant.  after a about 5 days i noticed that my specific gravity was starting to randomly improv and in the morning by battery level was just a touch higher.  24v system, in the mornig before desulfator’s my bank would be about 24.4 and 5 days in i was 24.7/8.  after 2 weeks 25.0.  after 3 weeks 25.2 :)

    another thing you can do is track down a load tester.  disconnect all batteries from one another and load test each battery on its own.  or disconnect all bateries and use a multi meter.  if you have one battery in poor shape it will draw your other batteries down.  like when your head lamp goes dim and you change one of 3 batteries.  for a moment headlamp is strong then goes dim again.  2 poor batteries draw the one go one down.

    another idea for eq/ desulfating is they now make battery chargers with eq and desulfate options you could plug this in to the generator and just clamp on.


    hope this helps



    in reply to: New to off-grid living, want to live on an island #67248

    i think all of the thoughts/suggestions you’ve been offered are right on track.  to sum it up. learn skills, start small.

    of them all wwoofer would be a good spot.  most of the wwoofer’s the work on my farm make a summer of it, some make a life of it.  but all in all each farm is going to be different from the the tools they use, the crop’s / animals the raise, climate, ect.  each farmer/homesteader will also have a unique background from which they created their little piece of heaven.  philosophy’s, rules of thumb, problem solving.  in general EXPERIENCE (s).

    wretha is right on by mentioning first aid. i would suggest looking for a wilderness first responder (wfr) or emergency medical tech (emt) class.  there not expensive and no matter what you do in life will come in handy.

    other good sources of skills would by multi day river trip’s or sailing expeditions.  both of these environments will teach you about maintaining your tools for survival.  including group dynamics.

    both of these environments make great seasonal job’s.  so you will actually make a little money. you can also get a job in a nursery.


    baby steps

    peace g




    in reply to: Hello from UK! Need advise to stay warm in camper :-( #67249

    soap stone will hold heat far better then metal.

    how many 100w panels did you have?  how many batteries?  what are devices are you using that require power.

    plus if your van runs, you can hook up a set of lead wires from the alternator through an isolator and use your van to  charge  your batteries when your driving. this wouldn’t be for heat but maintaining your battery(s)



    in reply to: EMF Pollution from neighbour's solar panel system1 #67250

    my guess is that if the houses are only 8-10 meters from each other that they have a net grid system.

    and since the house you so dearly love and want to buy doesn’t have solar panels.  its hooked up to the grid.  how far are the power lines/ poles with transformers.  i’d be more worried about the power lines then the solar inverter in your neighbors garage.

    good luck, g

    in reply to: My moving journal Going off grid fast, need ideas and advice. #66970

    jimbo-  you wont need an archichoke. but in must cases you will need an engineer.

    you can hand draw your own plans.  on graph paper to scale.  if you have access to a set of plans from a previous project it can be handy for the different perspectives of a details.  the reason you’ll need an engineer is for indications of certain hardware, spans, sheer, and roof (wind,snow,)loads.  for the cost of copys and postage you could have mine.

    also, you’ll probably be passing through idaho.  you could check out the pocatello area.  temperate climate with lots of farm land.  from poki south east towards slc is a pretty sweet area.  lots of thermal there.    the st george / and knab area of sw utah are verrrrrry temperate.  close to four corners/ grand canyon but dislocated just enough tobe peaceful.  but st george has a golf industry so you want to get away from that for demographic and prices.



    victor id

    the quiet side of the tetons.



    in reply to: Going off Grid with a Toddler? #66927

    rachel- when is now. for building.

    yes build my house solo in 17 weekends. living in the future chicken coop.

    i know this isn’t the place for classifieds. rachel if your looking for some solar gear i have a couple of zome works trackers and ill have some (12-20) 50 watt panels availible in spring. i will also be heading to that area in june and can deliver

    cheers gordo

    in reply to: Navigating/Advice #66926

    michael- i’m listed on the wwofer site under Eddy Solei (the recirculating current of the sun). also here under land buddys

    my farm is a off the grid homestead. this summer we will be building about 1500 sq ft of greenhouse with aqua ponics and hopefully a barn. your more than welcome to get in touch through the wwofer site. and we can go from there.

    as for travel and off the grid i have always been partial to bike touring. the bike gives you the ability to get away from the main transportation hubs will being completely self contained. you can easily care enough clothes and tent to protect yourself from the elements and still have a nice cook kit, and several days worth of food.

    i have traveled the world by bike and when your able to avoid the main transportation hubs and arteries your able to avoid the riff raff.

    an older mt bike with slicks and panniers your ready to go. the newer panniers made like river dry bags are worth every penny.

    best of luck


    in reply to: Help with Diesel Generator #66910

    on lower end/ copy type gen sets the power modual is usually the issue. just inside the cover for the gen there will be a small flat(about 3 1/2 in by 1 1/2 in ) electric control between the gen output and the outlet input.

    you can just disconect and see if power is coming off the leeds from the gen(if no power its your coil) if there is power the check continuity between the leeds on each side.

    what this unit does is the same as a charge controler. it keeps the power consitant to the outlet.

    the part if availible are about 150 bucks.

    good luck


    in reply to: Going off Grid with a Toddler? #66911

    creststone. great hippie town. i think there is a stoplight now.

    when i costed a yurt to standard frameing it was a no brainer to build and have sold walls and real glass windows for less then a yurt. tipi will be very limited in space.

    one of the guys that helped with the windstar biodome project has a dome business in pagosa springs. again about 1000 dollars per foot of diameter(same on yurts)

    crestone can be fairly isolated in the winter with independence pass clossed other great options in the region would be san louis valley(great for solar and wind, limited rain fall), payonia, hotchkiss, and just north between grand junction and rifle. even at 6000 ft elevation you can grow fruit)

    also. not much for work in crestone,

    cheers gordo

    in reply to: Do it right the first time #66859

    dustoffer- thanks for the input on the line conditioner. i already use led’s . i’ll try the conditioner.

    tooltime- the 48 inverters are the same price but the e pannel for them is more. i know of several the came out of one house. it was a large house off the grid and went to grid tie. the solar company sorta took the client for a ride cause outback’s a field serviceable from off grid to gride tie. however they replaced them all.

    remenber the SEQ series for your deep pump it will really take some of the stress off your battery bank. another option between 24/48 would be to stack two 3524’s. the advantage for the 48v would be hi loads like a shopjust one cut on a chop saw surges the inverter to it’s upper limits. batterie life is huge .the upgrade at the begining will pay for itself with one battery bank lasting a couple extra years.

    lp fridges while they don’t use too much gas. slightly more then a pilot. just a t-stat is 300 bucks. also very few people work on them. heat exchangers are about 600 bucks. so the first time the fridge goes down your looking at over 30% repair to replace. they also have a short life span about 8-10 years. on the freezer conversion. remember the freezer was made to be a freezer. while most people that have done them swear by it. i question the longevity. also by adding considerable insulation to the exterior of the fridge will keep cold in and hot out. 4-6 in.

    if your using wood heat consider a good stainless heat exchanger. plumbed into your holding tank with a differential t-stat. it will work just like solar thermal panels. i get about 5 degrees an hour. i’m also considering those cute little japanese wood fired water heaters i’ll have to get the name it slips me right now. but supposedly a small kindling fire will heat a hot tub in an hour with no circulation pump, works with centrifical flow created by the change in temp.

    for instant hot water heaters look at the specs clearly. they will require 8 or 10 guage wiring.

    there is always a transition phase. but if you can put the infustructure in first for the switch later it will save alot of expence.

    cheers g

    in reply to: Do it right the first time #66852

    dustoffer question . is the foil for interference. i seem to have interference with my gen on. also compact floresent on same line as my router. any idea’s.

    thanks g

    in reply to: Do it right the first time #66851

    careful with the three way fridges. there power use in elec mode is equal to standard house fridge. sun elec used to have a great 24v fridge but they where lacking a ul tag and got confiscated at custom’s. they could have just said they where for rv/marine. i think if you look at albian that web site that comes up for large lot buys from china you can buy them as a single.

    most certainly use the work sheet method. go through your current home and check the tags for amps. you can also get the watt buster. a very accurate way to make apples and oranges equal. it will show you watt draws for what ever period of time you have it attached to an appliance. our local library actually checks them out.

    family of four. laundry. i always encourage people to invest in more pv for fridge/heat/laundry/back-up hot water.

    propane is still grid in my opinion. trucks driving to deliver a utility from the man with a very fluctuating price point.

    wind and 24v. a big decision before you commit to inverter/wind gen. if your going with 24v you’ll most likely need 8/12/0r even 16 batteries. michigan/ more north then south even if your on the southern portion comdined with family of 4 i would think 16 batteries. anytime your going with more then 4 batteries you might as well go with 48v that way you have no hold ups and consider up grading a 3000$ piece of equipment. this will also be important with your choice on wind gen. so once you go 24 your not gonna upgrade to 48.

    you mentioned pumping water once a week. how much storage do you have or plan? what or where are you pumping from? well? how deep? or is the water already at the surface. in either case plan on the grundfos soft start much easier on batteries and inverter. then a nice upgrade with the soft start is the instant version that on;y uses a 2gal preasure tank , but another 800 bones for that up grade.

    hope that helps



    john- there will always be cost’s that can’t get figured in on both sides of the argument. i have 480 watts (panels and tracker from 1984) with a 8 battery/24v bank $2800 outback reconditioned fm80/3524 ($1700). self installed concrete tower/tower/wire/misc fittings ($800) 5400 lets say 6000.

    lets throw in a second set of batteries 1500 and call it 7500. this extra set makes it a 16 year capability. thats 192 months. 7500 /192 = 40 bucks a month.

    i’m only 600 ft from the power box. i never even asked how much it would cost to run it to my house.

    so in the news. hurricane sandy. how many people are with out power? how many generators failed because they take for granted where there power comes from and don’t test there back up gear.

    how much will it cost to rebuild there infustructure (sp) ?. i live on the west side of the teton range on a high field. my system sustains regular winds of 25- 60. in the winter i have 90-100 plus winds. all i do is cleat the 9.99 rope to ground anchor before or during storms. my only weather repair has been the 1′ harden steel bolt on the arbor of the tracker (5.00)

    adding two southwest wind generators in the spring. hope they don’t burn up in the winter :)

    let me know if i crunched any numbers wrong. i never have before because i live this way for independence. also when or if your batteries become less productive they will still be able to power your house directly from the panels during sunny times.

    hopefully this winter i can get some work done on a perpetual motion generator, and finish my 1/25 amp fridge :)

    then we will have rainy season backup

    cheers gordo

    in reply to: Hi need expertise on off grid electric in France #66628

    shaun- a couple of places to start.

    first maybe convert your power usage from watts to amps. since this is the battery rating. look on the tags of each motor and get the amps. multiply amps x the amount of hours you will run the appliance.

    i.e fridge. good ones are about 6 amp then there are 12 amp and then 15 amp. lets say you have a 15 amp fridge.

    15 amp x 24 hours is 360 amp hours. of course actual use may be less but always pad you figures so you don’t under build your system.

    another example. i use x-mas lights. 50 led in a strand cost about 8 u.s. dollar the day after x-mas.

    power is .036 amp. lets say you have 3 strands plugged in and on for 4 hours at night. .036 amp x 12 = .432 amp.

    so lighting isn’t an issue refrigeration will be. 360 amp hours would be 8 L16 batteries using 50 % per day.

    on the inverter decision. i would not recommend less then 4000 watt inverter. this will allow you to grow with your needs and wants. a hand skill saw will not run on a 2500.

    a typical u.s family home 3br 2 ba washer/dryer electric hot water uses about 1000 kilo watt hours a month(100,000 watts). 50 % of this is the electric h20 heater and fridge. on a good solar day with a 500 watt solar array you may capture about a 3 kWh or about 100 amp hr ( about 25 % of a 4 battery bank) just like padding your amp calculations i would not build a system to use 50 % of your storage daily. i think the 25 % is good. compensating for clouds or higher usage.

    another thing to keep in mind is not to have more battery storage then you energy sources can maintain. if your reasouce can not produce enough recharge on a regular basis you will harm you batteries or have to run a generator often.

    hope this helps.


Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 77 total)