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Old 07-14-2014, 10:47 PM   #51
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Nope, this is the one that is at the cabin now;

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sunforce-600...item233a28428b
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:53 PM   #52
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:59 AM   #53
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I realized I didn't cover the amp/hr ratings very much on the batteries so let me explain a bit more.

To refresh, the most common battery rating is the AMP-HOUR RATING. This is a unit of measurement for battery capacity, obtained by multiplying a current flow in amperes by the time in hours of discharge. (Example: A battery which delivers 5 amps for 20 hours delivers 5 amps times 20 hours, or 100 amp/hr. So a 100 amp/hr battery can only supply 5 amps of current over a 20 hour period before the battery voltage gets down to 10.6 volts which is the maximum discharge a battery should ever be brought down to.)

But what happens if my 100 amp/hr battery is used in a system where more than 5 amps is drawn from it? If 10 amps are drawn from it, will it last for 10 hours? No. When a load is put on a battery that is greater than it's standard then a battery will discharge quicker. If 10 amps are drawn from a 100 amp/hr battery then it will only last about 8 hours before dropping to the minimum 10.6 volts.

So what happens if I draw less than 5 amps from a 100 amp/hr battery? How long will the battery last if it only has a 2.5 amp draw? Will the battery last for 40 hours? No, it will last for longer than 40 hours!! It should last for 45-50 hours before dropping to the 10.6 volt minimum.

So this is why it is always better to go with a larger battery bank then what you think you may need. A slightly over sized battery bank will last for MANY hours longer than a slightly under sized battery bank.


It is also a good idea to keep a battery charger on hand in case the battery voltage does drop, unexpectedly(like if a tropical storm blocks out the sun for a week). It is always a good idea to have a backup plan for recharging a battery bank. If you have grid power close by then a battery charger will do fine for a backup charger. However, like at the lease where there may not be any power you can always use the 12 volt outlet on a generator, or you can use a set of jumper cables connected to a running vehicle to quickly recharge a battery bank. For the ultimate in charging a battery bank in cloudy conditions would be a small wind turbine. Rarely ever is it cloudy AND there not be any wind.
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:43 PM   #54
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I'm too tired to type out the next discussion topic, but if I don't put it down here then I'll forget about it. So, the next topic I'll be discussing is how your electrical connections effect your solar panel setup, and how to do a proper electrical connection. Here's a hint, it's not wire nuts!!
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:33 AM   #55
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I'm too tired to type out the next discussion topic, but if I don't put it down here then I'll forget about it. So, the next topic I'll be discussing is how your electrical connections effect your solar panel setup, and how to do a proper electrical connection. Here's a hint, it's not wire nuts!!

Good writeup and points brother!
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:49 AM   #56
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I'm too tired to type out the next discussion topic, but if I don't put it down here then I'll forget about it. So, the next topic I'll be discussing is how your electrical connections effect your solar panel setup, and how to do a proper electrical connection. Here's a hint, it's not wire nuts!!
Is soldering the best method?
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:08 PM   #57
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Is soldering the best method?

Yes it is.




So why can't I use wire nuts to connect the electrical on a solar setup? It works just fine for home electrical use.


In home electrical wiring, all the wiring is protected from the elements by being inside of walls, and this wiring is not subjected to vibration or movement so wire nuts work just fine.

However, when you are dealing with wiring that is outside, in the elements, and is subjected to vibrations and movement, wire nuts can not do an effective job. The vibration alone could cause the wire nuts to come loose over time, but the biggest concern is for corrosion caused by the elements. Corrosion to bare wire causes an increase in the resistance of the wire. This means that the power you are trying to pass through the wire will be diminished because the corrosion is resisting the flow of electricity through the wire. If you have ever seen copper wire turn a greenish brown on the ends where the insulation has been stripped back then you have seen wire corrosion.

So how do you stop wire corrosion from happening? Well, you have to effectively shield the wire connections from the elements.

I can wrap a whole bunch of electrical tape around twisted wires and it'll work just as good as any kind of soldering, right? Wrong.


Wrapping electrical tape does keep the water out, but not the air out(which has moisture in it) and so, your wire will still fall victim to corrosion. The only true way to prevent corrosion in your connections is to solder them, then wrap the soldered wires in heat shrink tubing, or worst case scenario wrap the soldered wires good in electrical tape.


But I don't know how to solder.


Relax, it is easier than it sounds. Here is the best way to solder wires together. First thing to do is to strip about 3/8" of insulation off of the ends of the wires. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR POLARITY OF THE WIRES!!! Bad things can happen when DC polarity is crossed. Take a piece of 2" heat shrink and slide it down one of the wires. We will need it later, but it has to be put on the wire right now. Now take the 2 wires to be soldered together and twist the wires together. There is an art to this which is very difficult for me to explain (maybe someone else who is not on pain meds can jump in and help to explain how to twist wires together before soldering?).

So, after you have the wires twisted together you need to get your soldering iron and solder. Make sure to let your soldering iron get fully up to temp before trying to solder. So once the soldering iron is up to temp, touch the iron to the bare wires that have been twisted together. You want to get the wires hot to allow the solder to flow through and around the wires. Now, begin touching the solder to the wires, NOT THE SOLDERING IRON!!!! Once the wires are hot enough, the solder will instantly melt into the wires and get deep in to the twisted strands of wire which will provide a good electrical connection.

If you put the solder on the iron and then touch the iron to the wires, you will end up with what is called a cold solder joint. This will not protect the wires from corrosion and it will not help in transferring power from one wire to the other.

After the wires are soldered together, take the heat shrink that we put on one of the wires earlier and slide it over the soldered wires. You may have to let the solder and wires cool for a few minutes before sliding the heat shrink as it might prematurely start to shrink due to the heat. So after you have the heat shrink in position, use a heat source to cause the heat shrink to shrink around the wires. Stop applying heat when you start to see a bit of plastic melting out of the ends of the heat shrink. This to takes some practice to get it right.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:45 PM   #58
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I forgot to discuss how a bad electrical connection effects your solar setup.


So, let's say that the electrical connection at the solar panel is out in the elements, and when it was installed, the installer just wrapped the wires together and wrapped it all up in electrical tape. For arguments sake, we will say that you are using a single 50 watt solar panel to recharge your RV batteries. A 50 watt panel will put out around 2.8 amps in direct sunlight.

Corrosion in the wiring will act like using wiring that is too small for the job. So, if you have a bad connection, it will work perfectly fine for a short period of time, but once corrosion sets in, your 2.8 amps in direct sunlight will start to decrease. Before long, that 2.8 amps will have dropped off to only 2 amps. As time goes by, that 2 amps will keep dropping as corrosion gets worse. Eventually, you may only get 0.5 amps out of the solar panel, and that is not enough to keep 2 batteries charged even if you only use your RV once a month.

This is why a proper electrical connection is imperative. If you skimp out in this area, it doesn't matter if you have 5,000 watts of solar panels, the power those panels put out will be dramatically decreased to the point where it either won't be producing enough power to be worth it, or if you have a LOT of solar panel power, it is possible that the wiring could catch on fire.
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:10 PM   #59
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Does anyone have any questions?
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:32 PM   #60
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Good info so far!

As for battery life, I have heard that if a battery is partially drained without immediate recharging, it looses some recharge capacity, such as in a car battery. And batteries of such should be recharged every thirty days to maintain capacity. Is this true?

Last edited by Texas Grown; 07-19-2014 at 08:45 PM..
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:23 PM   #61
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Good info so far!

As for battery life, I have heard that if a battery is partially drained without immediate recharging, it looses some recharge capacity, such as in a car battery. And batteries of such should be recharged every thirty days to maintain capacity. Is this true?
To an extent, yes it is true. But it also depends on the type of battery.


A standard deep cycle marine battery needs to be recharged pretty quickly after being partially discharged. Otherwise, over time they do in fact start to loose their capacity.

A golf cart type of wet cell deep cycle battery on the other hand won't have as bad of a time loosing capacity if not fully recharged.

I have seen mixed results from a sealed AGM type of battery. The Hawker batteries that I mentioned earlier in this thread for example, I bought them used in 2009. At that time, they were 9 years old and I was told by the previous owner that they had been sitting in storage for at least a year. I tested both batteries and they showed 11.2 and 11.5 volts. However, after charging them, both batteries have shown normal capacity and are still working fine today.

With that said, the batteries used in mobility scooters are sealed AGM type batteries and quit often is the case that they go bad because they get partially drained and are never fully recharged.


I strongly believe too that the quality of the battery has a lot to do with how well it performs over time. The cheaper batteries just won't last unless you baby them. The higher dollar batteries will pay off in the long run by not having to replace them every couple of years.

So, unless you have the capability of really watching over the batteries and making sure they get recharged fully, a higher quality (not necessarily higher dollar) battery will work best.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:08 AM   #62
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In for future reference.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:10 PM   #63
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Does anyone have any questions?
I do.

Why can you not have a hybrid system of sorts? For example, tied into the grid and off grid, so you can still have power when the commercial power goes out?
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:49 PM   #64
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91cavgt, tell him about auto-transfer switches for secondary power sources.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:56 PM   #65
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In for future reading.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:40 AM   #66
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:52 PM   #67
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I do.

Why can you not have a hybrid system of sorts? For example, tied into the grid and off grid, so you can still have power when the commercial power goes out?

Let me read up on it and I'll post up on here what I find.


Thanks for the direction Roger Roger! My forte is off grid systems. I'm still learning about grid tie setups, but as I learn I'll pass that knowledge along.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:58 PM   #68
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:00 PM   #69
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Sorry for the delay guys. It appears as though nerves are connecting back up in my foot so I haven't been able to concentrate on anything over the last few days.
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:06 PM   #70
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Hope all is well.
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:37 PM   #71
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Hope all is well.


Thank you.


Yes, all is well. It's just the normal rehab process. This is the 4th foot surgery I've had so I expected it to happen. It's just hard to focus on learning something when you are in pain. It will subside though.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:11 PM   #72
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I have not forgotten about you guys. I just got out of a cast and am now in a walking boot so things are doing better. I have been looking into the hybrid solar setups and will be posting about them soon.
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:04 PM   #73
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I have not forgotten about you guys. I just got out of a cast and am now in a walking boot so things are doing better. I have been looking into the hybrid solar setups and will be posting about them soon.

I have been doing a great deal of research on wind/solar hybrid and even order a couple of the components to fabricate our wind turbine.

I did finally setup our little solar system on the shop today. It consists 45 watts of panels, charge controller, two batteries, and a 200 watt inverter. Total investment is around $450. Now, for the $1M question, what can I power with this system as it sits? Well, a 12v fan, 12v LED lights, and an emergency two-way radio system. Not too much but if/when the power goes out, we will be glad we have it! Oh, the spot I chose to mount the panels is in the sun 75% of the time...







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Old 08-14-2014, 11:00 PM   #74
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Great information. Following
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:12 PM   #75
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Well, I bit the bullet and ordered two of the flexible 120 watt 24v panels as well as a small wind turbine. I need to read back through the posts to find the charge controller you are running (I already forgot from our phone call an hour ago. I guess I'm getting old). I will order another one or two panels on the 5th. Then I will be looking at expanding my battery storage capacity...
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:28 PM   #76
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Well, I bit the bullet and ordered two of the flexible 120 watt 24v panels as well as a small wind turbine. I need to read back through the posts to find the charge controller you are running (I already forgot from our phone call an hour ago. I guess I'm getting old). I will order another one or two panels on the 5th. Then I will be looking at expanding my battery storage capacity...

Here is the one that I bought;

http://www.ebay.com/itm/141024539209...84.m1497.l2649


You want to find an MPPT controller. Add up the total amperage you will probably end up with in solar panel power and make sure that the charge controller you buy can handle the power. It is always better to go with a higher rating than too small of a rating. For example, a 10 amp MPPT controller would handle 2 of those panels that you ordered, but would be too small when you add 2 more (for a total of 4 of those flexible panels).

I bought a 20 amp MPPT controller so I can upgrade to more panels down the road. If you are thinking you might be adding a bunch more panels down the road then you might want to go with a 30 amp controller to give you room for future upgrades.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:05 PM   #77
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If anyone is interested, I have 40 (I believe) 6"x6" blank panels, tabbing wire, and flux pen (over 100 watts total at 13.5v) to put together your own solar panel. I am in it all a little over $75. I will sell it all for $50. Will try and post pics tonight. If no interest here, I will post it in the classifieds or ebay.

BTW, youtube has several DIY videos to assist in putting it together.
~Michael
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:08 PM   #78
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:00 PM   #79
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My little 50 watt wind turbine arrived today. I put it together and am now trying to decide where on the shop to mount it...

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Old 08-27-2014, 07:16 PM   #80
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I was wrong on my DIY kit for sale. 130 watts total. 36, 3.6v panels

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Old 08-28-2014, 01:40 PM   #81
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My DIY solar kit has been spoken for and no longer avaliable...
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:25 PM   #82
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I am kicking this back to the top so I can quick access it later. I ordered "a couple" panels that 91cavgt just picked up for me because he has a 1ton truck . Look for a long, ongoing, DIY thread soon. I plan to start with taking my work-shop "off the grid" to start...
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Old 10-21-2014, 02:59 PM   #83
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big panels?......
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:00 PM   #84
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big panels?......
and a "few" of them, you could say that, yes. @ 1,500 lbs worth
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:23 PM   #85
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ya could have called..I have goose neck.....BTW...we will be living up there in the next few weeks...
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:27 PM   #86
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ya could have called..I have goose neck.....BTW...we will be living up there in the next few weeks...
AWESOME!!!! I have my insurance heath checkup next week so I will have to go hang out with my drinking buddy
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:28 PM   #87
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I'll see if I can accommodate ya!
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:30 PM   #88
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Power inverters. Once again, there are a LOT of power inverters out there, and there is a lot to know about power inverters. There are everything from power inverters that will fit in your truck cup holder to ones that need multiple, large gauge power wires connected to it and a WHOLE LOT in between. So, let's chat about the different types of power inverters.

The ONLY difference between these different types of power inverters is how clean the power is that the inverter produces. Square wave inverters, modified sine wave inverters, and pure sine wave inverters are the 3 different types of power inverters.

So what is the difference between those 3 different types of power inverters?

Square wave inverters are typically the cheapest first off. Square wave inverters are going to have the dirtiest power out of all of them. Ok, so what does that mean in the real life? It means that items that need clean power will either not run off of a square wave inverter, or if they do run then the power inverter could do damage to the sensitive electronics. Take any item that charges a lithium battery for example. Most lithium battery chargers will not work at all on square wave inverters. So what will work on a square wave inverter? Lights, fans, and most power tools will run just fine. The really bad thing about square wave inverters is that you have to look in the specifications of the inverter to find out if it is a square wave inverter.


Modified sine wave inverters are getting to be very common and are pretty affordable. They will run some sensitive electronic devices as the power is cleaner than a square wave inverter, but not as clean as a pure sine wave inverter. You can run devices like TVs, microwave ovens, most computers, and a majority of other devices off of these. They are by far the most popular power inverters to use because of the lower price but yet still some decent power.


Pure sine wave inverters on the other hand will produce power that is identical to your home electrical outlet (it may in fact be more stable). You can run pretty much any device you want to off of these pure sine wave inverters and you don't have to worry about damaging sensitive electronics, and lithium battery chargers will work on pure sine wave inverters. The down fall is that they will cost more.


No matter what power inverter you go to buy, look at the specifications to find out what type of power inverter it is. Also, plan ahead when buying a power inverter. You might not need a pure sine wave inverter now, but down the road you might need one. At bare minimum I would buy a modified sine wave inverter.


Keep in mind too that there are some things that you just don't want to plug into a power inverter. Items that produce heat are one thing that are HUGE power hogs! Most power inverter can not run a toaster, no matter what the power inverter's power rating. Toaster ovens, blow dryers, electric clothes dryers, electric heaters, all of those are items that VERY few power inverters can handle. Those that can handle it will use a consume a LOT of power to power them.

I'm looking to upgrade my inverter. I've been running a cheap Husky 750 watt for a couple of years and even though it still works fine the noise from the fans is getting old.

I'm sure newer ones are quieter.

What do you think about this AIMS inverter?

http://www.theinverterstore.com/1250...r-12-volt.html
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:42 PM   #89
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I'm looking to upgrade my inverter. I've been running a cheap Husky 750 watt for a couple of years and even though it still works fine the noise from the fans is getting old.

I'm sure newer ones are quieter.

What do you think about this AIMS inverter?

http://www.theinverterstore.com/1250...r-12-volt.html
That fan will be as loud or louder than your Husky...
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:45 PM   #90
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I'll see if I can accommodate ya!
Sounds like a plan to me
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:16 PM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brazos Hunter View Post
That fan will be as loud or louder than your Husky...
Ok What inverter has the quietest fan?

My husky didn't use to be as loud as it is now.
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:23 PM   #92
Brazos Hunter
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Wish I could help with that one...my fans are loud too. That's one reason my setup is in my shop and not in the house.
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:27 PM   #93
bwssr
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or just take the hearing aids out...oh, wait, that only works for me...sorry....but then I have a wife, and this helps here as well....

On a side note:
can you open the inverter and clean and lube the fan?
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Old 10-21-2014, 05:08 PM   #94
ballgame
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After a little googling I think I will just build a box with some foam on the side the fans are on. The box will be open-ended on the side opposite the fans so that there is plenty of air-flow.

This should keep the new inverter cool and a little quieter.
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Old 10-21-2014, 05:16 PM   #95
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There you go!
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:08 PM   #96
91cavgt
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I've got a 1,000 watt Xantrex power inverter and it's fans are pretty quiet. It only turns the fans on when the temp gets up there so they aren't running all the time. The bigger the load you put on it, the quicker the fans will turn on.

It's bedtime now but I'll try to post a link tomorrow of the model of inverter I've got. It is a pure sine wave, and when I bought it a couple of years ago it was close to $300 for it.
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:12 AM   #97
91cavgt
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Here is the power inverter that I am running right now.

http://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-Prowat.../dp/B002I04A74


It has come down in price since I bought mine. It is a GREAT power inverter, I just wish I would have bought a larger one. My next inverter purchase will probably be one that is about 3,000 watt continuous.
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:52 AM   #98
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thanks!
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:57 AM   #99
91cavgt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brazos Hunter View Post
and a "few" of them, you could say that, yes. @ 1,500 lbs worth

Yeah, I was really shocked to see the suspension sitting on the helper springs after all the fork lift backed off. I then read the shipping label on the box, 1550 pounds!!


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Old 10-22-2014, 11:02 PM   #100
thomason
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So I have an off grid cabin, no water, no electricity - so here is my plan and what I have been doing so far.

Been using 2 deep cycle marine 12 volt batteries tied together to power up laptop, charge laptop, 6 volt batteries for spin feeders, cell phone, 3 to 4 lights usually only 1 or 2 at any one time for the past 5 months and have never ran out of power. I now want to expand my system and only want to do this once cannot afford mistakes.

What I want to power use in my cabin here is my plan

-Running water pump for water coming off the house - 250 gallon roof catching system - low pressure
-Small TV to catch weather if bad occasional or small use
-One to 3 lights at any one time but small 9 or 6 watt bulbs could use up to a total of 5 at one time
-In IT so on the Laptop a lot, charge phone, Wi-Fi, laptop charges - yes-Verizon tower 1 mile away so I can work from the cabin sorry already told boss.
-Microwave on a very small scale
-Maybe a toaster for 1 or 2 pieces of bread I can toast them on the stove if needed
-5000 watt AC if very hot - Texas can be hot
-Fans most of the time
======================================
Renogy Solar 400W Poly Starter Kit :4pc 100W Solar Panel +30A Charge controller - not sure what I need to do with regards to the charge controller

Power Bright PW3500-12 Power Inverter 3500 Watt 12 Volt DC To 110 Volt AC

EdgeStar - 80 Quart 12 Volt DC Portable Fridge/Freezer - Gray

4 - Deep Cycle trolling motor batteries

Use cabin only on Weekends - so do you feel this will meet my needs? I am keeping a watchful eye on the specifications on appliances to keep things as low as I can.
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