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Discussion in 'Social Place' started by nivek, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    A few months back I buried a 12/3 UF cable, 150 feet underground and 50 feet above ground on both ends, 200 feet total unbroken cable to feed 120volts on an 10 amp breaker although I will never hit 10 amps on that wire...Its mainly running a window ac unit for my workshop, fed from my house, the ac uses a max of 5.8 amps, or so it says, and I run a 2 amp fan from the same circuit but not continuously...So at any given time I'm pulling a max of about 8 amps from that line but most times I don't use the fan and the ac at the same time, only in the hottest part of the afternoon when I'm in the building, really I'm averaging about 6 amps continuous on that line when the ac is running...I have another line which I buried a few years ago, its a 10/3 UF cable connected to the house, at the same distance of 200 feet and the ac unit was on that line originally, its a 20 amp max line but I needed the power from that line for other uses...I also have my solar power system which runs all the lighting in the building, most of which is LED, some incandescent, solar also powers the circuits for my computers and servers...I need to start building more solar panels, I have all the materials to build 6 more, to keep expanding that power source and I want to buy a wind generator kit and install it with my solar panels as another back up, we have many windy days as well as cloudy days...I do not have a generator although I could also build one, it would be great to have one that ran off propane instead of gasoline, I already burn propane for my heaters in the winter and keep propane on hand along with high octane gasoline...If the grid were to fail at this moment I would have 80 lbs. of propane, 20 gallons of 93 octane pure gasoline, and my solar power system...I could jump the solar power to the 10/3 buried cable and feed power back to my house but I couldn't run the stove or dryer or central ac unit because of power requirements...I could run the frig, water heater, lights and a window unit ac with the solar power capacity I have at this moment but if a few cloudy days in a row I would have to start turning off things and conserve, I need a wind generator connected to that system and it would be great to have a propane powered generator...

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  2. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    I'm actually very conscious of my electricity usage, I do not like to leave things plugged in if not necessary, it can be convenient but its also hazardous, power surges, fire, etc..If we had a total grid collapse for an extended amount of time I wanted to be in that habit of conserving power, especially if I had to live off the power that only I can generate...

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  3. wwkirk

    wwkirk Celestial

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    2,276
    Did you have to get permits to do that kind of work?
     
  4. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Yes indeed...

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  5. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Very slick - how do you build those solar panels? If you have any specs or info I'd be curious. We have the perfect southern exposure on our roof - it's like the surface of Mercury out there at times - but I just can't bring myself to sign on to the ship of pain that the local solar companies appear to be. A DIY solution seems in order, maybe on a smaller scale just for some auxiliary lighting. I used to work on DC systems with rectifiers and battery strings and bet there's some crossover. I had actually looked into a rooftop solar option charged with glycol (or whatever, don't remember) that wrapped around a hot water tank. Plumbing up to the roof seems suboptimal. I solved that issue with a 35 gallon stone lined tank that's the fourth zone off my boiler. Very efficient and you could literally spend the day taking a hot shower and never run out.

    My brother-in-law is a snowbird and has a house way upstate which = vast amounts of snow and a lot of isolation and a house that's empty a lot. He had a Generac propane powered fixed generator with real switchgear installed. There's s a big 'pill' tank out back. Heating, cooling, cooking, all on that one fuel source. Quiet too. Always thought that was really nice - glad I didn't have to open my wallet for that (but doubt he did either).

    Yesterday I went down to refill my 5 gallon gas cans and it seems the power company sent, like, ALL of their trucks two doors down from me. So I asked what happened. The guy held up a really big, really fat, really fried electrocuted squirrel. :) Second one in two weeks in that spot and it seems they have a rodent protocol that kicks in under those circumstances so they were up there putting on some weird looking cage contraptions.
     
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  6. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Permits? Ugh. That's not a hard and fast rule around here for home improvement. New construction and commercial absolutely, but a homeowner changing a few things, not so much. That's also why I made a distinction about permanently wiring anything into my panel - lightning and any potential permits. Technically it's all 'cord and plug'.

    . I've been through a couple of inspections on my house. One inspector was so freaking obese he couldn't go up the attic ladder to see the 100 amp panel I put up there - so he passed it sight unseen. I had an electrician do a 200 amp service entrance upgrade and had to chase down the damned inspector so I could get the paper tag to take to the town hall to close the permit. He didn't inspect anything, just handed me the tag.

    A few years ago I jackhammered up my basement floor to correct a drainage problem. Also rewired the whole first floor - and did it absolutely spot on to code. Didn't bother with permits. The way I look at it, at some point whenever we go to move - not any time soon - they're going to break my stones about something and want $$ to correct it, usually from their preferred 'trusted contractors' so I'll just pay the toll then.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
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  7. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    The individual solar cells are very thin and brittle, you have to be very delicate with them when handling or they will break apart rather easily, once contained in the panel they are fine...Here's some details on my initial designs and engineering, ask me any specifics or anything I may have left out...

    Below are images of my design and building stages in the beginning, I changed materials three times and changed solar cells once, so I went through three generations of design and now still building on the same third generation design...The first image below you can see the first gen design on the top right of the four panels, it has lower quality solar cells than the solar cells I use now and it is much heavier, I use a florescent light fixture container and gutted all the lighting components using it for the solar cells...

    So the first gen panel, which I only made one and still use it by the way lol, has a metal housing, its 24.5 x 24.5 inches in height and width and 2 inches in depth or thickness...Its solar cells are Polycrystalline cells which are sliced from a silicon block made up of many smaller crystals of silicon and they are not as efficient as Monocrystalline cells which are sliced from a silicon block made from a single large crystal of silicon...Polycrystalline cells are not as efficient as Monocrystalline cells but work okay, they are less expensive too...The second and third gen designs use Monocrystalline cells, I made that change after finding a good price deal on them and purchased a bulk quantity...I have not purchased any solar cells in a few years because I'm still using cells from that original bulk purchase so the prices I'm sure are different now...

    The main changes from 1st to 2nd gen designs were the materials used to house the solar cells and the type of solar cells themselves upgrading to a more efficient type...I went from a metal housing to a corrugated back panel made from the same material as the front panel, Polycarbonate, a grade which lasts outdoors without yellowing or breaking down and is highly impact resistant...The front panel is 1/8 inch thick and the back panel is corrugated and has a thickness of a 1/4 inch and I use cut off pieces from the front panel material of an 1/8 inch thick as spacers between the front and back panels for the solar cells so they are not smashed tight between the panels...The outer frame used to contain the panels and cells is aluminum extruded channel filled with silicone when assembled to keep water out and the contact probes to connect power leads to the panels are on the back side and also coated with silicon...This new panel design removed a lot of weight, I have not actually weighed one of them, I guess I should lol, but they are now very lightweight and portable, very easy to carry in numbers and with aluminum channel for a frame it gives a place to be mounted for roof use or RV use or portable enough to take camping which I've done before...This new design size is now 23.75 x 23.75 inches in height and width and only a 1.2 inch in depth or thickness...

    The main changes from 2nd to 3rd gen designs were the sealer used to keep them waterproof...Instead of silicon I now use a Polyurethane sealer which is completely waterproof and is rated to last 50 years or more in the outside elements...Its open time is 8 hours, its a thick substance and easy to work with but you don't want to breath this stuff when using, wear a respirator or work it outside in the shade...It takes about 3 days to fully cure before it can be put to use, I tape off the Polycarbonate front panel and sand smooth the Polyurethane sealer that's around the aluminum channel and sand the aluminum extrusion with 220 sandpaper and spray paint the back panel and aluminum channel with glossy white automotive paint in spray cans...

    The cost I calculated for the third gen design is about 80 dollars for each panel, at the price I paid at the time and about 6 hours of work for each solar panel not counting curing time for the Polyurethane sealer...The 3rd gen solar panel runs at about 14 volts DC with 5.56 amps each...I took my time soldering the cells together as you can see in the pictures below, I use 2 mm pre-soldered flat wire and 8 mm pre-soldered flat wire for the jumper connection 'bars' you can see in the close-up images...The solar cells are wired in series, the front side of the solar cells is the negative side and the back side is the positive side...Using pre-soldered wire makes this task very easy, but it is time consuming, soldering takes the longest of all the steps, I solder all 16 cells together keeping them on a rigid surface and delicate handling to keep them from cracking or breaking...Even if a cell breaks in half or you break off a piece, it can be soldered back together on the back side, you will loose a slight percentage in efficiency but at least you don't have to throw it away if you break one...In the close-up images you can see a small square of Polycarbonate between the solar cell rows, they are for spacing, not pretty but using up the scrap pieces of Polycarbonate saves buying something else to put there...After soldering the 16 solar cells together I flip them over and apply silicone to the back of each one and lay the corrugated Polycarbonate back panel on them, flip it all back over and center everything before adding the spacers and front panel...I take a paint roller with a medium nap and gently roll down the panel so the silicone on the back of the solar cells gets applied to the back panel and the front and back panel are tight on the spacers between them...I fill the aluminum channel frame with some polyurethane when I'm ready to seal it up and frame the solar panel together and with latex gloves I'm smoothing off the edges with my fingers like you would when caulking cracks and put the panel in a place to rest and allow the Polyurethane sealer to cure...

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  8. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Thanks! In the buffer. processing - with coffee.
     
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  9. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Heading out to mow this morning, another hazy day because of Sahara sands?...Rains coming later today, the garden is looking great too...

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  10. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Messages:
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    Rains came early, my battery was dead on the mower so whilst that was charging a popup storm came and rained all over the mower, it didn't want to start after that so I parked it to dry out, maybe try again tomorrow lol...

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  11. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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  12. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    I'm working on the mower now, it's not getting a spark to the spark plug...At least it's a cooler and cloudy day today...

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  13. Standingstones

    Standingstones Celestial

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    My wife says she has noticed that the sunsets lately are more colorful and vivid. I haven’t seen any dust clouds to speak of.
     
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  14. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Ignition coil needs to be replaced, 72 dollars for OEM Kohler part or 17 dollars for a Chinese made part...Which do you think I should select? lol (rhetorical question)

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  15. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Eeeee. And where does Kohler get the part from? I'd pay $30-$50 it it were made here.

    I had a similar problem on my tractor and it was a Class A mofo until I figured it out. Turning off the ignition key grounds the lead to the coil. The machine kept stalling and puking fuel. Finally found that the insulation on the lead had burned away in one spot and it was grounding out intermittently against the engine case. Black wire covered with grease and dirt hidden under a plastic shield. That took a fair bit of profanity to deal with.
     
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  16. Standingstones

    Standingstones Celestial

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    The mower technician who works on my 42 inch Cub Cadet tells me that I made a good choice by picking the Kawasaki engine over the Kohler. Supposedly the Kawasaki is superior according to him but CC decided to cheap out and go strictly with the Kohler. I don’t know the difference but the mower tech seemed to be in the know.
     
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  17. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Messages:
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    I took that hit on my wallet and purchase the 72 dollar part, it will be here Friday, I'm going to check the labeling and packaging to see if its made in America or some other place, I'm not certain where Kohler makes their parts or who they get them from, I know I'm going to limit what I buy from China for a long time to come, if at all possible...

    I initially thought I had a grounded wire somewhere, so I wasn't looking at the coil straight away as the problem, only after finding no wiring issues that I looked for other problems...

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  18. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    18,688
    I have used Briggs & Stratton engines for years, never had a Kohler until this current riding mower I bought had one in it....I have to say I like it better than B&S, quieter and its got some power to it, I'm sold on Kohler lol and along with a hydrostatic transmission (which also is my first time using one of these) my mower really is a workhorse...I really like the transmission a lot, wished I bought one years ago...

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  19. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    I miss Sears. Still have the old Craftsman warhorse. I know it's a Murray or MTD or whatever underneath. Probably not PC but my motto when it comes to yard equipment is "work will set you free" . I refuse to give up on anything until it is well and truly fried.

    B&S has been very reliable; made here out of globally sourced parts. Like my F150, no getting around it. I have a Subaru engine on my generator and it's been so smooth and reliable I have no problem recommending it.

    When I buy auto parts I've found sometimes they've been packaged and repackaged. You take a set of contacts points out of a box that says 'Made in Mexico' and they have 'Made in China' stamped on them. Sneaky Chinese ......
     
  20. coubob

    coubob Celestial

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    1,712
    Diggin around lookin for my social security card to have it when i have to get the new state id, and i found $400 i had stashed and forgot about. Us being broke for a week, she had me go to braums for ice cream first thing.
     
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