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Old 02-02-2012, 01:14 AM   #1
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Small Solar System, Suggestions Wanted !


delete?


Last edited by mj876; 02-02-2012 at 11:10 AM. Reason: found answers somewhere else thanks
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:49 PM   #2
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Small Solar System, Suggestions Wanted !


What do you want it to do? On grid or off grid?

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Old 02-07-2012, 12:30 PM   #3
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Small Solar System, Suggestions Wanted !


Off grid. Just a very small system to run about 4 lights and MAYBE eventually a water pump. The cabin will be used twice a week. I don't know what's best for lighting or solar power size. Or even the proper wire size. Dc vs ac I'll use either. Thanks

Last edited by mj876; 02-07-2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:13 PM   #4
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Small Solar System, Suggestions Wanted !


You'll need to know the insolation for your area (it's on the Net), how many cloudy days in a row you can expect (might be hard to find) and max and average power draw while the cabin is on.

PV panels nowadays may be up to 16% efficient.

This should be a pretty straightforward calculation.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #5
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I'm looking at doing something very similar. I'll probably go the DC LED route for lighting since it is the most energy efficient and there is no inverter required (you always lose a small % of your power using an inverter).

I see a number of portable DIY kits on amazon that would probably suit your needs. If your usage it typical, you could probably run your water pump (I'm guessing you mean like an RV style) using a single 12v battery hooked up to a smaller panel dedicated for that purpose separate of your lighting needs.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:59 PM   #6
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Small Solar System, Suggestions Wanted !


There is a good chance I will be going the dc led route as well. I have ordered the bulb holders already to do my at home shed as a small scale version of my real cabin one. Get an idea how bright they are and how many I need. In Canada Costco has some nice kits.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:04 PM   #7
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There is a good chance I will be going the dc led route as well. I have ordered the bulb holders already to do my at home shed as a small scale version of my real cabin one. Get an idea how bright they are and how many I need. In Canada Costco has some nice kits.
what kind of bulb holders, can you show a link?
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:49 PM   #8
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Small Solar System, Suggestions Wanted !


their just the standard MR16/MR11 bulb socket. Their only a few dollars but can be nicely put into pot light cans or other applications. I got them off eBay.

Last edited by mj876; 02-07-2012 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:58 PM   #9
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My theory is to basically just wire the cabin as if it were a car/rv/boat. I'm thinking about coming from the battery to a boat style panel where you have a couple toggle switches/battery monitor/dc outlet(for the odd small inverter to charge phone/ipod) the toggles are usually fuse protected on the back of panel as well so I would have 1 operating a couple lights outside and 1 operating a couple inside. It works in my head but thats why I'm gonna do the small scale shed first. The boat panel will fit into a 4inchx4inch electical box.

I know the battery(s) needs to be vented so I'm thinking about just mounting it in a box underneath the cabin. Not sure if thats a good or bad idea?
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mj876 View Post
My theory is to basically just wire the cabin as if it were a car/rv/boat. I'm thinking about coming from the battery to a boat style panel where you have a couple toggle switches/battery monitor/dc outlet(for the odd small inverter to charge phone/ipod) the toggles are usually fuse protected on the back of panel as well so I would have 1 operating a couple lights outside and 1 operating a couple inside. It works in my head but thats why I'm gonna do the small scale shed first. The boat panel will fit into a 4inchx4inch electical box.

I know the battery(s) needs to be vented so I'm thinking about just mounting it in a box underneath the cabin. Not sure if thats a good or bad idea?
I have the same idea- wire it like any other large 12v application. Mine is going to be small, I was thinking of two 6-volt deep cycle batteries. Don't know about keeping the batteries outside, I guess it depends on the temps you are dealing with. Mine is in Hawaii so temps are not a problem.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:10 AM   #11
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Another option I seen for the battery is to put it inside in an enclosure and vent it to the outside the same way you would a clothes dryer. this is because some types of batteries give off hydrogen gas.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:14 PM   #12
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Another option I seen for the battery is to put it inside in an enclosure and vent it to the outside the same way you would a clothes dryer. this is because some types of batteries give off hydrogen gas.
You are correct. Of course such gas is only a problem in very confined areas where it can't disperse. I don't know if venting is even a problem in large spaces.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:55 AM   #13
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Just throwing in a suggestion for something you can run off solar, this site *spam link removed* has led strip lighting and they are 12v.
Amazing that you said that, I was looking at the same thing. (Different place though, cheaper prices). I emailed them to check and see if you CAN hook it directly to a 12v battery without any extra circuit, and you can.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:19 PM   #14
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Small Solar System, Suggestions Wanted !


The only thing I haven't really been able to grasp with solar is how to connect an ac light circuit to a power inverter. The first thing that comes to mind would be the main feed going to the switch(or light whichever you prefer to bring the feed to) would have an extension cords male end plugged directly into the inverter but that doesn't seem right. With that being said I'm not sure of other options and don't want to spend the few hundred dollars on some thing that's going to do the exact same thing. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by mj876 View Post
The only thing I haven't really been able to grasp with solar is how to connect an ac light circuit to a power inverter. The first thing that comes to mind would be the main feed going to the switch(or light whichever you prefer to bring the feed to) would have an extension cords male end plugged directly into the inverter but that doesn't seem right. With that being said I'm not sure of other options and don't want to spend the few hundred dollars on some thing that's going to do the exact same thing. Any thoughts?
I'm not sure that I understand your question correctly but there are a few different types of solar options. The "plug and play" version converts an existing home to solar meaning that everything runs off of AC current including the lights. Such an inverter takes care of your question for you. It's not going to have a "cord" because its hard wired into the house, and usually the grid.

The small-solar discussion on this thread is more about hooking up a small amount of power some place where there isn't any to begin with. In this case you would want as much stuff to run off of DC as possible so no inverter is required (when you use an inverter, some power is lost in the conversion). Water pumps, lights, etc fall into the DC category and is a typical use with RVs, small cabins etc. Small appliances that require AC power (microwaves, TVs etc) would use the inverter.

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