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Thread: What do you do for electricity off the grid, how is your power system setup?

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    Question What do you do for electricity off the grid, how is your power system setup?

    Where I'm at I have 2 battery banks set up, one that gives 35 hours before the inverter auto kills. The other gives me about 10 hours, and that is with 2 florescent lights going the TV internet and phone all running. So I only run one of the 3 small gas generators (2.5k, 3k, 5.2k) when I need to pressurize my water system or run the hot water heater. It works out to every other day for about 4 hours, I top up the batteries so I don't drain them to much.

    Soon I will be putting up a small wind turbine and hook it into the hot water heater as a dump load when the batteries are charged.

    Whats everyone else doing?
    Any advice on a off grid power setup?


    ~Jerry

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    Member alaska4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamontge View Post
    Where I'm at I have 2 battery banks set up, one that gives 35 hours before the inverter auto kills. The other gives me about 10 hours, and that is with 2 florescent lights going the TV internet and phone all running. So I only run one of the 3 small gas generators (2.5k, 3k, 5.2k) when I need to pressurize my water system or run the hot water heater. It works out to every other day for about 4 hours, I top up the batteries so I don't drain them to much.

    Soon I will be putting up a small wind turbine and hook it into the hot water heater as a dump load when the batteries are charged.

    Whats everyone else doing?
    Any advice on a off grid power setup?


    ~Jerry
    Well, let's see, my lights are oil lamps, 12v ac/dc tv for movies only, I haul water, heat it on a woodstove, Internet and phone one in the same (Android) until next week, then I will have to use the library when I can. I have an icebox, (uses blocks of ice). I use an outhouse. I a pretty modern guy, eh?
    JOHN

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I did like John but no phone or internet,did have CB and car radio hooked up. The battery charged on trips to town
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I've got 8 125Watt panels, 4 facing Southeast and 4 facing Southwest. A small 400watt wind turbine and for now a Coleman 1850watt generator with 4 400 amp hour batteries tied to a 2500watt Magnum inverter. When funds permit I'm going to build a water wheel generator for the creek as it's movin along at a good clip 7 months out of the year.

    Mountaintrekker

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    I started accumulating a bunch of stuff to do a hybrid generator/ solar/ battery system. However, I started doing the math: Honda EU2000 (already have) - $1000. Solar panels, 300w worth- $400, Batteries- $600 worth, Inverter- $700.

    The honda uses about .1 gallons per hour with my use. Figure $5.00 for gas by the time it makes it to my cabin. If I ran the Gen 10 hours per day, every day, it would take me 340 days just to break even on the capital expense of the non- generator stuff. Realistically, I'd be running the generator at least 4 hours every other day for various reasons. That adds another $300 to the price, or 400 days to pay off the batteries, etc.

    To me, it wasn't worth the headache, so I just use the generator exclusively. I run it about 10 hours a day in the winter, and maybe 2-3 times a week in the summer for short periods (movies, etc)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    I started accumulating a bunch of stuff to do a hybrid generator/ solar/ battery system. However, I started doing the math: Honda EU2000 (already have) - $1000. Solar panels, 300w worth- $400, Batteries- $600 worth, Inverter- $700.

    The honda uses about .1 gallons per hour with my use. Figure $5.00 for gas by the time it makes it to my cabin. If I ran the Gen 10 hours per day, every day, it would take me 340 days just to break even on the capital expense of the non- generator stuff. Realistically, I'd be running the generator at least 4 hours every other day for various reasons. That adds another $300 to the price, or 400 days to pay off the batteries, etc.

    To me, it wasn't worth the headache, so I just use the generator exclusively. I run it about 10 hours a day in the winter, and maybe 2-3 times a week in the summer for short periods (movies, etc)

    I did the same math... basically we use some propane lamps to light up the cabin... but when playing poker it's nice to be able to see all the dots on the cards, so I have no problem firing off the gen-set to light up a couple of those job sight lamps with the big aluminum reflectors around them... just so I can see all the spots on the kids cards...!!!! when it comes to poker in this family.... blood lines don't mean a d**m thing...!

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    Member gunguy1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    I did the same math... basically we use some propane lamps to light up the cabin... but when playing poker it's nice to be able to see all the dots on the cards, so I have no problem firing off the gen-set to light up a couple of those job sight lamps with the big aluminum reflectors around them... just so I can see all the spots on the kids cards...!!!! when it comes to poker in this family.... blood lines don't mean a d**m thing...!
    hahahahhahahaa...............rough crowd.....
    Follow me...................

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    Everybodies needs are different, so everybodies solutions are different.

    We live off the grid, on the road system and hold regular jobs. Our main problem was the cost of propane heat. Our battery system and inverter had to big enough to give 24/7 power to a Toyo stove. During the heating months we run a EU3000 2 hours per day on weekdays and 4 hours per day on weekends. We have cut the run times down in the last month by boosting the inverter charge wattage which was originally set for a EU2000.

    Originally we ran an EU1000 or EU2000 every waking hours we ran for lights with the propane heater that didn't need electricty. In the end it was costing between $7,000 and $8,000 a winter to heat the cabin.

    The expense of the our new system was a lot but the cost savings has been a quick payback.

    During the 3 winter months solar isn't very effective. The spring months are great and summer with the constant drain for the Toyo makes life fun. We are doubling solar for next year.

    Ours is a small system. We don't have a laundary system, which is a real power hog. Others in the neighborhood have full laundary systems.

    Build your system to fit your needs, but expect a little bit of luxury will cause your system to grow over time.

    Good Luck

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    Its good to hear what others are doing, guess I'm just trying to get and ideal of what I need when the right chunk of land comes up.

    ~Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by millersreach View Post
    Everybodies needs are different, so everybodies solutions are different.

    Originally we ran an EU1000 or EU2000 every waking hours we ran for lights with the propane heater that didn't need electricty. In the end it was costing between $7,000 and $8,000 a winter to heat the cabin.

    Sorry to side track here but this October I put in a new soapstone woods stove that cost $2200 and have used it and only it for heat this winter as of this day I have barely burned a half a chord of birch to heat 1100 sq ft since the 22 of october.

    Even if you had to buy the stove and a chord of wood or two your heating bill could easily be cut in half next winter and be non existent the 2nd year into burning wood

  11. #11

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    We did some research on a Victory model called a Hotwatt Gasifier set up with a small Kubota 3.cylinder natural gas engine with a 5.kw sized electrical generator attched to the engine before buying the model with it engine and generator set up . That set up is best model for us to make enough power during a 3 hour run to recharge the battery bank during the winter time when the solar panels & wind where not producing enough to charge the battery bank we us at the place we bult .

    The evening run of the unit does the laundry on sat night's and heat the water for a shower during the daily running of the unit .The first run of the morning recharge's the battery bank and the second run in the evening make power for the laundry to be done or some other type power needs and heat enough water to have a hot shower before bed .Also we are trying to figure out how to run the heat off the unit into the garage area to warm up the area before we open the door up in the morning before starting them up to be driven into town .

    The biggest thing is the cost of the whole set up with shipping up there to us but in the end it does work out better for us to use basic set up like that in the future with a way to power our 5.kw power needs in the place .

    We sped about a couple hours a week getting scrap wood from the local building sites on a sat afternoon along with wood we cut into diff sized chunks to make power .The best part about is that we do not have to worry about the power going out along with the basic fact we make our own power in the end .

    The unit is simple enough for me & the wife to use it just feed the hopper with the diff scraps of wood and lit it off and then close the lid and go get a cup of coffee and come back and turn the value to let the gas flow into the engine carb and start the engine after checking on the vital items like oil level & the diff fluid's levels the engine has .Then hit the start button and she fires up and your making electric power for your basic needs hotwatt-quad.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by henry2 View Post
    We did some research on a Victory model called a Hotwatt Gasifier set up with a small Kubota 3.cylinder natural gas engine with a 5.kw sized electrical generator attched to the engine before buying the model with it engine and generator set up . That set up is best model for us to make enough power during a 3 hour run to recharge the battery bank during the winter time when the solar panels & wind where not producing enough to charge the battery bank we us at the place we bult .

    The evening run of the unit does the laundry on sat night's and heat the water for a shower during the daily running of the unit .The first run of the morning recharge's the battery bank and the second run in the evening make power for the laundry to be done or some other type power needs and heat enough water to have a hot shower before bed .Also we are trying to figure out how to run the heat off the unit into the garage area to warm up the area before we open the door up in the morning before starting them up to be driven into town .

    The biggest thing is the cost of the whole set up with shipping up there to us but in the end it does work out better for us to use basic set up like that in the future with a way to power our 5.kw power needs in the place .

    We sped about a couple hours a week getting scrap wood from the local building sites on a sat afternoon along with wood we cut into diff sized chunks to make power .The best part about is that we do not have to worry about the power going out along with the basic fact we make our own power in the end .

    The unit is simple enough for me & the wife to use it just feed the hopper with the diff scraps of wood and lit it off and then close the lid and go get a cup of coffee and come back and turn the value to let the gas flow into the engine carb and start the engine after checking on the vital items like oil level & the diff fluid's levels the engine has .Then hit the start button and she fires up and your making electric power for your basic needs hotwatt-quad.jpg
    That's awesome! I was looking at building a wood gasifier, but the maintenance seemed like a nightmare. How often do you have to clean that thing out?
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    we clean out the ash pan everytime we use and follow what the people who make the unit start up program as they say's to do when they train you for they trained my better half on the unit then she has give me some training on the unit .It a simple learning curve system follow the basic start up program and it really easly to make power for your place .It simple to load with waste wood scraps and small chunks of wood we make ourself for the socalled producing of power for the place .

    Along with going to any area wood shop or lumber yards in your area and getting there socalled sracp pieces of wood and feeding it into the unit to make power for your place

    Remember the whole thing is the cost of the unit and shipping to Alaska via the shipping company rates .I spent the because of the basic fact that over a five year time frame the unit will pay for itself compared to having to buy fuel for off the grid power system over that time frame .

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Solar Panels

    I heard that Solyndra was having a clearance sale on solar panels!



    Actually, here's the big question on solar panels... for those who actually have them...

    Just how much battery charging do you get in December and January? It just seems that solar is the wrong plan for Alaska. When you need the power in the winter, you don't have much sun. And in the summer when you have all that sun, you don't really need all the power.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    If you buy high quality solar panels not the ones most stores sell, double the number you need, and use a solar tracking it will help keep your batteries charged as long as you keep the snow and ice fog off the panels and there no clouds. Think lots of $$$$$.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    I heard that Solyndra was having a clearance sale on solar panels!



    Actually, here's the big question on solar panels... for those who actually have them...

    Just how much battery charging do you get in December and January? It just seems that solar is the wrong plan for Alaska. When you need the power in the winter, you don't have much sun. And in the summer when you have all that sun, you don't really need all the power.

    You don't get squat for power out of solar panels up here in December and January. But for 8 months of the year, I get what I need from them.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    I heard that Solyndra was having a clearance sale on solar panels!



    Actually, here's the big question on solar panels... for those who actually have them...

    Just how much battery charging do you get in December and January? It just seems that solar is the wrong plan for Alaska. When you need the power in the winter, you don't have much sun. And in the summer when you have all that sun, you don't really need all the power.
    That why most of the people who do the solar up there say that you need a three way system to have both solar and wind and some form of fuel driven system to complete the circle for a off grid home .We also have two fuel generator one is gas powered and one is a diesel powered set up .

    The gas power unit is mine from before we got hitched and we got as a wedding gift a perkins 6.kw sized diesel generator unit from the family to help with the power needs of the place .

    But as one thing has taught me about living up there is to have a plan with alot of backup plans tried into the major plan because of just in case something happens .

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    Go to PVWatts website and they give the numbers for the area of Alaska you are in .We get about .0.75.kw of sunlights in the middle of dec time frame to the max amount of 8.7 kw of power during the summer months with it going down to as little as .0.75 of kw power during the months of dec time frame

    So for about 7 to 8 months a year we get all the power we need from solar & wind set up and in the winter time we use diff generators to make power as it need for our needs at the place .

    Also we are not a true off in the bush type living .we live off a main road going into and out of town so we do have access to the town as we need it .

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    Member hunt-fish-trap's Avatar
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    what kind of batteries are you using? I have seen there special packs that come in 4 or 6 batteries per unit. But has anyone made there own. and are you running 12 or 24 volt systems?

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    Made your own batteries or battery pack?

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