solar, wind generator, and inverter question?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Ang in AZ, May 20, 2005.

  1. Ang in AZ

    Ang in AZ Active Member

    Feb 26, 2003
    I bought 3 wind generators 800 watts each 12/24 and 6 kc 120 panels so I guess my question is what type of inveter do I need? we have a 5th wheel and new enregy star refrig. plus direcway satelite. plus honda 6500 generator. and a construction site trailer for kids would like to run my eMAC and tv dvd for kids once in a while. I need a parts list for the other things. Please help.

    Thanks, Ang in AZ
  2. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 4, 2005

  3. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

    Apr 2, 2005
  4. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

    May 12, 2002
    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    In the archives there is a section named 'alternative energy' that has a lot of existing answers on this subject.
  5. Runners

    Runners A real Quack!

    Nov 6, 2003
    Near Callands, Virginia
    ... From here it gets even more expensive...

    You need to determine if you want to go Grid-Tie, stand alone or a combination of the two. Grid-Tie can be done without batteries, the others NEEDS batteries.

    Batteries mean wire, disconnects, overcurrent protection (DC rated - as in FUSES, breakers tend to arc on disconnection...) Plan on a draw-down of 20-30% on AGM batteries, <50% on lead acid / (and odd varieties of it). STAY AWAY from Telco batteries (valve regulated) unless you're given them or get them REALLY CHEAP. I work with them and they are not designed for constant use. Drawing them down past 10% shortens their life (rated for 20 yrs, yeah, right, more like 2 if you use them!)

    Voltage of your system needs to be determined BEFORE you purchase an inverter. Lower voltage, thicker wire - higher voltage, thinner wire.

    The inverter SIZE is determined by your total load (plus a little extra), you can always ADD more batteries and solar panels / wind gennys.

    HOMEPOWER.COM has done extensive testing on just about every inverter & system out there, the back issues have the reviews (purchase on CD ROM). If I recall, Sunny Boy & Outback Solar are rated pretty high, good deal for the $$$, while Xantrex / Trace have been plagued with problems or customer support in the past.

    The smartest thing you can do is find free or really cheap USED batteries to practice with. I watched a guy go through a set of good deep cycle batteries every year, because he didn't equalize, desulfinate (sp) or maintain them. All he did is look at his little Trace meter and say, "ahah! I need to start the generator, the batteries ar getting low..." Invest in a desulfinator, they're CHEAP and they can actually recover a weak battery (I have a 48vdc 860ah bank of throw-away AGMs that work GREAT - because I took the time to desulfinate them).

    We suffer through power outages on a monthly basis, without fail. I found old inverters people threw away (because the batteries were shot), and put them to use. I'm running 2 big incubators for my hatchery off two battery strings (12v & 48v, two different inverters). Personally, I'd recommend going with the highest voltage you possibly can, and add parallel strings of batteries as you need more capacity. A low voltage system is a bigger pain to maintain (lots more I could say about it). The 12v inverter is 4 times the size of the 48 volt inverter... naturally!

    Most importantly - subscribe to HOMEPOWER MAGAZINE, order the past issues on CD and start reading.