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Old 05-03-2009, 11:20 PM   #301
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OK, that's working now, I think I may have found the problem. Last night I was doing all sorts of stuff on the web and using Firefox. I don't quite understand why, but when I clicked on "manage attachments" a different drop down box came up. Just went back to Safari and all seems to be well.
Yesterday we got some rain late in the day and I had to wrap the new laminated railing in plastic. This morning, the weather was gorgeous, and shortly after the sun hit the railing condensation started to appear inside the plastic! Got that off in a hurry! Then more rain this afternoon - so back under wraps again.
Here's the first 3" width or so of the railing. I only cut the cedar log about a week ago, so I expect some moisture to come out of it. I would guess the tree was cut down at least 10 years ago, as there was no bark left on the log at all.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:27 PM   #302
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glad to see you got pics to work. Always look forward to your pics. On your railing it looks like the posts stop short of the railing by about 3 inches or so. Is the lexan the only thing holding the railing up? And did you just screw layers of wood on each side of the lexan to form the railing?
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:35 PM   #303
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Hey Ponch...you gotta stop giving all my secrets away!
Right, I took the first two layers of cedar on each side, clamped them to the top of the lexan, drilled holes for the stainless steel screws and screwed it all together. Then took it apart, glued each of the pairs of cedar and screwed it back together again.
That way the screws are not visible, and I just started glueing more layers of cedar in place. It's somewhere around 3" wide now, so half a dozen more rows should do the trick. Then the shaping and sanding.
Then I will need to put some sort of centre decorative cap over the lexan just so that water doesn't get in.
The weather forecast is crummy for several days, so it may be awhile.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:42 PM   #304
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Here's the photo missing from post 290. I may actually have been losing my internet connection at the time. Sorry about that.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:44 PM   #305
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sorry for giving your secrets away cocobolo! You have some really nice ideas and ways to get them done. I see the pictures and wonder how you did that. You always have a interesting way of engineering things.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:50 PM   #306
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Before I started on the round deck, I tried to get some framing in for a tempered glass screen for the middle deck in front of the solarium. I had a bunch of sheets of glass left over from a bulk purchase a few years back and decided to get rid of them here. The glass is not yet in, nor is there any cedar below where the glass will be.
Again, this is intended to be a windbreak for the middle deck. We want to add something to the glass so that birds do not crash into it all the time. Haven't decided quite what yet, so if you have any ideas....I'm all ears.
An acquaintance over on DeCourcey Island has used a film available from 3M.
I believe the intention is to make the glass visible to birds. It seems to stop any reflections and prevents glare. I haven't spoken with him since he added it, so I don't know how effective it is yet.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:51 PM   #307
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From the other side...
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:34 AM   #308
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Some time back, I mentioned that I should give you a rundown on the solar system. What we have is a pretty standard type setup, and since day 1 the only thing we have had to do is either maintain (read water) the batteries. A set should last about 7 years or so.
There is already a pic of the panels in here somewhere, from there the juice goes into a controller. You need this in order not to overcharge the battery bank.
Here's ours, a 40 amp Trace (now Xantrex).
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:40 AM   #309
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Now the gadget that really does all the work for you is the inverter. This takes the DC power, we run our system on 24 volts rather than 12, and inverts it from 24 volts DC to 120 volts AC. The battery bank can run right down to just under 20 volts, which definitely would not be good, up to about 30 volts, and the inverter will still provide exactly 120 volts AC at 60 cycles. Your local power company cannot make such a claim.
This inverter is rated at 3600 watts, and has a two minute surge capability of 10 KW.
For example, if there are several normal things running in the house, and I start up the thickness planer, the startup is instant. Far better than running a 5KW generator. This is from experience.
Again this is a Trace.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:44 AM   #310
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And by the way, that inverter is HEAVY!
Between the inverter and the battery bank you absolutely must have a DC disconnect. A big AC breaker will not do the job. I asked as to why that was, and the best I could find out was that the "spacing" - whatever that is, is greater with DC than AC. Something to do with the distance a spark will travel.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:48 AM   #311
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We use two different meters to keep track of things power wise. The monitor keeps us informed as to roughly how much power is coming in at any given time, the current voltage, and a cumulative total of amp hours.
The only thing about the total, is that if the battery bank gets disconnected for any reason the total resets to zero. Ours should be something around 60,000 by now, but a change of batteries takes that out.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:53 AM   #312
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As you can see in the above pic, there is very little power coming in. This was early this morning and it was extremely cloudy.
The other meter is an E-Meter, which provides all sorts of information, depending on which buttons you push.
The four basic items are voltage, the amount of net incoming or outgoing power, the total of amps in the system - either + or -, and the approximate time to discharge.
This is the meter to check when you need to know the current state of the system.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:04 AM   #313
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The batteries are in a box which is vented to the outside. This is necessary as the current battery bank is comprised of 8 Trojan T-105's, which are flooded lead acid.
A few months back, the B.C. Government took delivery of a new ferry built in Germany, the "Coastal Renaissance". When it arrived there was some kind of problem with the brand new batteries.
Without a second thought, transport Canada, which controls such things, decided that these batteries would have to be replaced.
Now I should point out that this battery bank weighed 6 TONS! No small potatoes here.
No problem, the manufacturer flew over a brand new set and installed them in the new ferry.
As it turned out, there was nothing wrong at all with the batteries, there was a fault in the charging system!
By this time, the batteries had found a new home at the local battery store, and were put on sale for a tiny fraction of their full value. I guess they must have got them for almost nothing.
These are gel cell batteries, so no watering required. Retail price, a cool thousand dollars a pop! Ouch!
Compared to a normal 12 volt battery, they are about 3 times the size. Not to mention that they weigh 144 pounds apiece. I managed to get my hands on 8.
This will increase our storage capacity by 3 1/2 times over the current set.
So this means that in the summer time, when our current bank is charged by around noon, that the new bank will still be able to take more charge and we will not have to bleed off so much electricity.
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:40 PM   #314
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cocobolo View Post
So this means that in the summer time, when our current bank is charged by around noon, that the new bank will still be able to take more charge and we will not have to bleed off so much electricity.
Ouch, I think!

You have to explain that a bit more. What do you mean by "bleed off"?
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:25 AM   #315
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Hi Shamus: well, what happens is that the batteries will get right up to their theoretical maximum charge, which will produce a voltage in the 30 point something range. Say 30.4 or 30.5. Now that is really too high, even though there will only be a trickle charge going in at that point.
So what we have to do is deliberately leave something on which will draw at least as much power out as what is going in.
Now we can tell by looking at the e-meter what the real state of charge is very closely. So if the e-meter tells me that the system is still down - let's say -25 amp hours - I can let it charge until it is at least up to zero. Even if the voltage is at 30.
You see, if there is no draw at all on the system, the voltage always shows as being high, particularly if there is high incoming current, say 14 amps or so. It's just the same if you have a battery charger on something, the voltage is always going to appear higher than what is really in the battery you are charging.
Look at the solar panels as a big battery charger. It's the same thing.
Say for instance we are having a bright sunny day and nothing is running on the system. But there is a cloud approaching the sun. When it crosses in front of the sun the amps may go from 14 down to 2 or 3. When that happens, the apparent voltage in the battery bank will quickly drop to perhaps 28.5 from around 30. That way you can easily tell what the real state of charge is.
One other thing, if the cloud is just thin and extremely white - as opposed to gray - the incoming amperage will often increase. It is called "edge of cloud effect". Sometimes we will gain 3 or 4 amps just from that. It's really quite remarkable.

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