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I'm thinking of buying a couple of folding solar panels and an emergency power supply. Suggestions?

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posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 09:41 AM
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I have no experience with this stuff and thought I would pick the members' brains and find out if it's worth it, because it doesn't look like it's going to be cheap.

What can I get that'll get me the most bang for my buck?

Peace

edit on 27-12-2010 by Dr Love because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 09:55 AM
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Hi.It all depends on how much sunlight you get and what you want to power..One 80 watt panel ,a good quality deep cycle battery ,a small 20 amp regulator and a 300 watt inverter will give you a light , radio ,small lcd tv,charge a laptop, run a water pump etc.It all comes down to how much you want to spend and what you want to power.If you can add up the power requirements in watts or amps of what you expect you will need ,then you can work out how big or small your system need be.
edit on 27-12-2010 by 12voltz because: of the constant rain



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 10:02 AM
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Check out thermoelectric generators also.

I had not even heard of them before but I think they would be very helpful to have along with a small folding power supply for on the go.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 10:07 AM
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reply to post by Dr Love
 


Not sure about all of this either, but i would definitely go for a 'combo' wind turbine and solar system if i were to do it.

Not talking about some huge windmill, but rather something small that will generate a couple of hundred watts in a modest wind would do, that way, if you bought yourself a solar panel or two (100-200W) you could generate power day and night.

But as the other poster says, it all depends on how much power you think you're going to need.

But for emergencies or short power outs, a couple of hundred watt combo system should help you out a fair bit.

If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, you might want to look into an off the shelf or even home made (if you have DIY skills) steam powered genny...then ANY combustible fuel could be used to generate power..wood, fossil, even compressed cardboard etc could be burnt to make steam, to turn a generator...just a thought.

edit on 27/12/2010 by spikey because: add info



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 10:23 AM
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I have one of these, plus:

Amazon.com
My family uses this more then you would think, it's easier than dragging extension cords all over the yard. The one that I have is a deluxe that also came with a large folding solar panel plus a bag full of different connectors, I do know it will charge with the panel but I just keep ours plugged into the wall all the time. We are going to test it when we go camping next.

It will run a laptop for over 3 hours, or jump start your car battery or run a small boom box outside with its light on for over 4 hours. Its been more handy than I thought it would be.

We plugged our 1/2 sized frig into it when the electric went out, but the electric came back on within 20 minutes.

Its really cool to have handy, its weighs 20 lbs so its not to heavy for its purposes.

When I first got it on a 10 hour sun charge it ran my lap top for just under 3 hours then a Loud alarm went off letting you know it's low. The battery inside the case is like a large motorcycle or marine type battery.

S & F for the thread Dr Love!! its reminding me to have my son do maintenance on it.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 10:25 AM
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Originally posted by 12voltz
Hi.It all depends on how much sunlight you get and what you want to power....


Possibilites: Space heater/AC, computer, small fridge, recharging batteries, small electric stove, TV, radio, etc.....

I've been reading a lot of contradictory reviews on the internet about different power supplies and solar panels. I basically want to get some first hand knowledge about which ones are the best, and which ones are a waste of money. I'd like to keep the whole thing at $2000 or under. Investing in crappy solar panels is what worries me the most.

Peace

edit on 27-12-2010 by Dr Love because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 10:36 AM
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as many have mentioned, it does mostly come down to how much power one needs.
here is a good product, not too cheap, but not bad considering the cost of putting something similar together yourself.
i live in an r.v. powered by solar, and may be able to help answer specific questions.

solar generator

for info, search, 'power consumption solar', or something similar.
here is one list.
power consumption

i pretty much run everything on 12 volt, yet through my inverter i have enough power to run skil saws and other power tools.
if you're talking about a big house and large flat screen t.v.'s or 1000 watt amplifiers etc....it's a different ballgame.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by Dr Love
 


Forget about running any appliance that converts energy into heat,like a heater ,toaster((around 2000watts),microwave,Air con, fridge(unless its DC) ,They will drain a small battery in no time and you will need a large inverter to run them.If you want heat and cooking use gas(LPG).
Stay away from cheap panels,batteries ,inverters as they will not last and it is false economy.Spend most of your finances on quality solar panels like Sharp,Kyocera, any respected brand should give a 25 year warranty.
2000 $ will get you a small setup .If i had $2000 to spend on a system,this is what i would buy
Two 80 watt panels ($1200 approx)
Two 6 volt Trojan T105 batteries ($400 approx)
30 amp regulator ($100 approx)
600 watt pure sine wave inverter($300 approx)
and some wire and connectors
Dont expect to much and you should be happy



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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www.ministeam.com/acatalog/shop.html


I bought a PM Research (made in USA) Sterling Engine kit from them for $90.

www.ministeam.com/acatalog/PM_Research_Kits.html

Then I used a rubber band to spin a small electric motor which puts out small voltage. I then made a 'Joule Thief' circuit to take that low power being put out and light a LED, as well as charge a battery. (AA's).

All you have to do with a sterling engine is burn something under it. Amazing such technology existed so long ago. Simplistic and was used to power America before Crude Oil. After seeing how those little models work you could make a bigger one yourself to power your entire house, merely by burning wood or trash.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 11:15 AM
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reply to post by 12voltz
 


nicely said, yet i do disagree on a few minor issues.
size mostly. i can run a small ac heater w/fan and hardly put a dent in my batts.
other things also.

i've dealt with sunelco for years, they used to sell used panels of a government site in idaho.
120+ watt for a hundred bucks or so. don't know if these guys still do, i get them elsewhere now, closer to here in new mexico.
this is off their site.




Acceptable Design Practices 1. Think Energy Efficiency; Large electrical appliances such as hot water heaters, electric baseboard or portable space heaters, electric clothes dryers, electric furnaces, electric ranges and ovens, even incandescent light bulbs can force the cost of a renewable energy system beyond what it would be practical to spend on a system. If there is an energy-efficient alternative, find it and employ it in your home power system. Most heat-producing appliances such as stoves, furnaces, hot water heaters and clothes dryers can be readily purchased at most home appliance stores. 2. Allow Extra Power For Inefficiencies, Losses and Cold Batteries; No system is 100% efficient. Plan accordingly. At Sunelco, we typically use an overall inefficiency factor of 25% when designing a 120 volt AC system and it has worked well for us. That is, once you have calculated your total daily power consumption, multiply that number by 1.25 to find out how much power needs to be generated to meet your electrical needs. If this seems like a high inefficiency factor, consider that electricity reaching your home via the electrical grid has an inefficiency of 60%. 3. Use Real Data, Not “Best Guess” Assumptions; If the solar site analyst says you get 5.5 hours of full sun equivalent in the month of May, believe it. You may know that you have more daylight than that but daylight hours are not the same as full sun hour equivalent or Kilowatts per meter squared per day. The same can be said for Available Wind at a site or Gallons per Minute of water in a micro-hydroelectric system. Be as accurate as possible when calculating your power consumption for the same reason. Miscalculations here can be disappointing and expensive. 4. Allow For Later Expansion of Your System; Life styles change and so do energy requirements. It is important when designing your system to allow for later expansion. Oversizing of charge regulators, wiring and inverters or allowing for duplicates later on can save you money in the long run when you realize you need more power. 5. Keep it Simple; Employ as few components to do the job as possible. Many manufacturers now produce multi-function components such as inverters with monitors, generator start mechanisms, back-up battery chargers etc built in or offered as options. Wherever possible and if your budget allows, plan ahead and use these components. 6. Keep Batteries Warm; Batteries perform best at 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You will get the maximum amp hour capacity out of your batteries if they are operated at room temperature or slightly higher. Since batteries have a natural self-discharge rate, the rate of discharge can be reduced by storing unused, charged batteries in a cool environment at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 7. Size Battery Banks for Several Days Operation; Once you have calculated your daily power consumption, size your battery bank to give you several days of operation and pretend that there will be no charging source available during that time. Here at Sunelco, we would typically use 10 days of autonomy as our design figure. This would roughly calculate to 10% discharge per day with the plan being that the battery bank would be fully recharged by the renewable energy system the following day. In extremely sunny or windy locations we can reduce the size of the battery bank by as much as 20% to 30% because there is less fluctuation in the day to day re-charge cycle. However, if the 10 day rule is followed and the batteries are discharged 10% daily we can expect longer life out of the battery bank than if we are discharging the battery 20% or more. 8. Avoid Long, Low Voltage, DC Wire Runs; The lower the voltage of the circuit and the more amperage we need to carry over a circuit the larger the wire needs to be. For this reason, we need to keep the battery charging source as close as possible to the battery bank. MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) controllers can help in these situations by stepping down the voltage, allowing you to wire your solar array to a higher voltage. Call us for design assisance using MPPT controllers.


sunelco

a good example is switching to 12 volt lights, instead of powering ac through an inverter.
i went with led bulbs not to long ago, amazing stuff, draws very little juice.
also almost any appliance is actually available in 12 volt.

12 volt appliances

i left 'the grid' 25 years ago and have yet to look back.
edit on 27-12-2010 by rubbertramp because: (no reason given)

edit on 27-12-2010 by rubbertramp because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 12:15 PM
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Two 80 watt panels ($1200 approx)


The price of panels has been coming down.

Name brand 200 to 230 watt panels can be had for ~$600

Off brand and scratch/dent can be had for under $2 a watt.

For $1200 you are looking at closer to 500 watts of PV, not 160 watts



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by rubbertramp
solar generator


It's hard to get any good feedback on this particular unit because people just want to troll because Alex Jones advertises it. I'd really like to get a good, unbiased opinion on it. It looks like something I may be interested in.

Peace



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 02:09 PM
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I found this site with some interesting options:

Powerenz Portable Power Systems

There's a couple in my price range.

Peace



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 02:53 PM
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reply to post by Dr Love
 


Sounds like we have similar price/cost objectives but I only need backup power for one dedicated subpanel that services my greenhouse and barn. Initially I was using solar/battery systems for remote field irrigation where there are heavy loads on the battery (10 amps) for DC water pumping, but relatively infrequent usage a couple of times a week. I use a 3-panel 45 watt solar array from Harbor Freight (under $200) and a 200 amp/hour deep cycle battery ($100) from Walmart per irrigation system during the growing season. This time of year I am running all my greenhouse loads from two of these arrays. All my big resistive loads are in the barn (2500 watts of lighting) so I've put in an automated transfer switch ($200) between my battery array (2x 12v 210AH batteries) and the manual transfer switch where I can use my portable 5kW generator to power the panel. If grid power fails, battery backup kicks in until I can get myself outside to start the generator. BTW the inverter for the battery backup is 5kW as well.

For a wind turbine generator I have a 1500 watt generators using a 1kW grid tie inverter with 3phase input and 240V/60hz output. I plug the grid tie inverter into a 240v socket with my subpanel and reduce my ongoing electric bill by whatever it produces. Over production (more than 1kW from the wind turbine) goes to a dump load of two 600 watt 12vdc water heater elements. The cool thing about this setup is that when the grid is offline, I still benefit from the windmill pumping power into my (isolated) subpanel. When the power comes back on, I can just kill the gas generator and flip the manual transfer switch and I'm back on the grid. $2000-$2200 invested BUT I had the gas generator already so it's not included in that cost.

On the other hand, some guys at the gym were talking about spending $30-$50,000 on their grid connected solar setups, but they went the route of contractors and tax credits, smart meters, etc. Hope this helps.

ganjoa



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 03:32 PM
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Originally posted by Dr Love
I found this site with some interesting options:

Powerenz Portable Power Systems

There's a couple in my price range.

Peace




you're on the right track.
just go over some charts and figure out how much power.
out of 3 good batts, a couple medium size panels and a good inverter, i get all the juice i need including power tools.
here's a good link, prices can always be beat by shopping around.
this is the basics of what we are discussing.

renegade package

dig a bit and they lay out what more you may need also.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 03:39 PM
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reply to post by Dr Love
 


You inspire me to get off my rear and post my long-promised thread on our alt. energy conversion. Soon come. (riiiight, that's what you said LAST year). Well, a 'soon come' is an indefinate period, often just short of never, but longer than eventually.

Space heater, a/c, anything that has a heating element or compressor is a high usage item. Maybe, for example, you can substitute things that draw less and perform almost the same function. For example, if your average humidity isn't too high, you can use a d/c-powered evaporation cooler for a fraction of what even a small a/c will produce. We decided that in the worst of summer, we only need to cool one room, and will retreat to the bedroom for coolth.

You don't always need a pure-sine wave inverter, depending on how delicate the electronics are that you want to power, and sometimes you don't need one at all ........... we acquired a 24-volt fridge and 24-volt freezer -- both are chest-style. Both of those together use about a 1/10 of the power of our previous fridge/freezer and there isn't a loss of power that you can experience with 12/24-volt to 110. More later, people are here for dinner!



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 07:59 PM
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reply to post by Dr Love
 


Doc, I can't see where they talk about the watt rating of the PV panel with this system, but I seriously doubt it is anywhere near 1800 watts. I'd guess that is a 175 watt panel, give or take. I don't think it's a bad system, but possibly something you can assemble for yourself cheaper. What it seems to be is an inverter/battery together in a case, and the inverter must be an 1800 watt inverter.

It's billed as "back-up" power, and probably does fairly well in that instance for providing backup power for you elementary needs in the event of power outage. As an ongoing thing, a person needs to mate their storage capability with their mean/average power generation, such that you can produce and store the power necessary to meet your needs.

Of course, you might choose to produce power and sell it back to the power company (grid-tie system). If your goals are to get off-grid, then this system might serve some of your minor needs, although a 50amp-hour battery is pretty minimal. With lead-acid (and most other) batteries, you don't want to take their power down much below 80% capacity, or that tends to shorten their life. Deep cycle batteries are meant to be charged, partially discharged and charged again over and over, but not with too many deep discharges. For example, we have about 4200 ah storage capacity. That sounds swell, but to maintain a long life, it means I have only about 1000 ah I can discharge before needing to recharge. Having our small wind genny helps, especially now when it's almost completely overcast but windy.

Heating water and pumping water is a good way to get into this, as they both recognize almost immediate payoffs and also pay for themselves very quickly. That also gets you into the habit of maintaing the stuff, because it's far from a fiddle-free way of life. If you can afford a big enough ssytem, it can almost run itself. If you're like us and have to choose where to use the power, it might well be something you have to frequently fool with. There are worse hobbies than saving money by making your own power.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 08:07 PM
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If you want something that is really a power horse, without sunlight.

Here is what my research has produced.

www.potentialtec.com...

www.youtube.com...

They also have mini types of this coil set. There are also other videos on youtube with people that have bought smaller versions of the device.

I suggest you research Ohm's Law (Needed for Electricians).

I also suggest you find some friends that are electronic savy or have an electricians license.


edit on 27-12-2010 by Quickfix because: Edited to add the following


I will also add a circuit diagram on it in a bit so you can see how it is built.
edit on 27-12-2010 by Quickfix because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2010 @ 03:59 PM
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reply to post by Dr Love
 


Personally I would get a few solar panels as well as a couple of the small wind generators that are availible. That way you have multiple ways of producing power in the event of poor weather, night time etc.



posted on Jan, 2 2011 @ 12:24 PM
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Originally posted by rubbertramp
as many have mentioned, it does mostly come down to how much power one needs.
here is a good product, not too cheap, but not bad considering the cost of putting something similar together yourself.
i live in an r.v. powered by solar, and may be able to help answer specific questions.

solar generator


This looks good. I know little about these things but would also like to get something that could provide ongoing power for modest home consumption yet have a degree of reasonable portability. Price wise I'm leery of this one (unless thats the going rate). Im ok with spending some money, I just dont want to get burned and have a pile of unable junk in a few years. Are the batteries the key here to this type of setup.

good topic


brill




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