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Old 04-12-2016, 09:15 PM
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The new house I'm building was designed for off-grid living from the get-go. Every gadget in the house has been or is being carefully chosen with minimal electricity consumption in mind. Highly efficient 12-volt appliances. Composting toilet. Woodstove for heat. Propane-fueled tankless water heater. Strategically placed windows to keep the need for artificial lighting to a minimum.

I'm pretty sure the finished house will consume < 2 KWH per day. That's my goal, anyway, and I think it is attainable. This includes support for my home office, from which I will run my Internet-based business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad, 2nd View Post
Thanks, that's one of the reasons I'm doing it in stages... more real world data.
I've tried several, haven't had very good luck with any. (Open to recomendations)
Take a look at www.MrBeams.com. I have one of their battery-operated, motion-activated LED spotlights, and it works beautifully. I have it attached to the outside of my house, next to the front door. One set of batteries lasts for an entire winter and then some - even in the cold climate where I live. I'm planning to buy several more of these.

The one I bought comes with a remote control, too.

You can configure the unit in several ways.
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:36 PM
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Nomad, what type of batteries did you use? and have you had to replace any of them, and if so, did you replace them with the same or different type of battery?
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:30 PM
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I had Trojan V12K4AA'S
And when I killed them as They are right.... Just about everyone will their first set.

Replaced them with L16RE-2V's

DON'T do what I did an do a 12V system.

It'll make it a PITA to run loads, and I can't add my fridge without at least going up to a 24V. (Have a A.C. 14.8cubic foot chest freezer that runs fine off 12V. But when I killed the first set I kept going through the summer just to see if I would stay frozen off dead batteries and solar.... It Did.... So I don't worry about ice long term. )

Not worth it to me since I plan on building my house in 5 years, so I just toss frozen 2 liters bottles into a cooler. (I could. My solar and one of my charge controllers is 12/24V, I'd just need to get a new inverter and redo the battery bank.... But this lifestyle just doesn't bother me. Will most people.)

Next house.... I'll skip seeing if 24 will work and just go 48.
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Old 11-14-2019, 03:27 PM
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I have a 48vdc battery-bank, and I wish I had left it at 12vdc.
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Old 11-14-2019, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestBeekeeper View Post
I have a 48vdc battery-bank, and I wish I had left it at 12vdc.
Talk to me...


The reason I plan on going up is the fridge and freezer both going on at the same time would dip it below 12 and cause the inverter to shut off momentarely.

Is my understanding this would happen even if I went 12 V appliances.

I have an extra propane fridge I could wire in, but like converting the battery bank I just don't care that much.

I have 12V for just about everything else (I am SO GLAD) AND WILL be running ligjts, fans, etc as 12 V next time (I have both 12 and 110 in my primarily living space. Rarely turn on the 110)
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:01 PM
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Our well pump runs on 240vac it is our biggest load.

When I was looking at invertors, at that time, only 48vdc invertors could power a 240vac load. The other option was to swap-out our wellpump. My wife insisted that we go with 48vdc.

Four deep-cycle exide 12vdc batteries wired in series will make 48vdc at 100ah. Six strings in parallel bring the current up to 600ah.

It is virtually impossible to do an equalizing charge on a 48vdc battery-bank.

I have a 'midnite solar' classic 150 charge-controller. When you tell it to start an equalize charge, it starts its program by doing 8 hours of bulk charge, then so many hours of float charge, before it will start the equalize charge. For this thing to perform an equalize charge, I need 48 hours of continuous sunlight.

I have exhausted myself from fighting with this charge-controller, trying to get it to perform an equalize charge, to save my batteries.

After 4 years of operation, we just suffered a cascading failure of all our batteries. It started with one cell in one battery. But now they have all gone dead.

My neighbor with the 12vdc system. He has 30 car batteries sitting in parallel. Each month he tests the specific gravity in each cell. When one cell goes bad, he pulls that one battery and hauls it to the junkyard for its core charge. Where he can then buy another ten batteries @ $10 each, that he takes home to test.

With a 12vdc house, you can buy a small invertor, one for each appliance, that takes 12vdc and makes 120vac, for $100. So you can still be using regular appliances.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:22 PM
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Aha I see.

I currently have my cistern pump on its own system (One 1996 era 65W solar Pannel and a single deep cycle barrery)

And the house will only need a 12V RV booster for pressure as the spring will get it into the house.

I may try that out with my current system before I build to test it out.
(Nothing stopping me from running it in series with my current bank)

How often does he need to run to the junk yard and what appliances does he run?

I will admit I DO like the ability to use my inverter as a battery charger with my geny. Only need it a couple.times a year, but nice to have.

But with what you describe there would not be anything keeping me from keeping it....
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:28 PM
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I think he runs to the junkyard two or three times a year.

If you think about it in terms of Post-SHTF, I would much rather be using components that can be sourced at my local junkyard [voltage regulators and batteries], rather than specialty components that cannot be locally sourced.
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Old 11-14-2019, 06:58 PM
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I was just thinking about it in terms of while gone from the house.

One dead cell and being gone can mean you loose your cold storage foods if it keeps it from working during sunny hours.

He uses voltage regulators from cars vs charge controllers?
Again: please share.

I have the expensive midnight ones, and the $30 Chinese made ones that seem to work just as well. Have several of those 'put back'
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad, 2nd View Post
... One dead cell and being gone can mean you loose your cold storage foods if it keeps it from working during sunny hours.
One of our neighbors lost a bank of batteries when his toilet ran all night. He went to bed without noticing that his toilet was still running. That caused his wellpump to run all night, which drained the batteries dead. The fluid in the batteries need to hold a charge as its antifreeze method. Without any charge in the cells, the water froze, expanded and shattered the battery housings. He got up in the morning, to find no water and no batteries.



Quote:
He uses voltage regulators from cars vs charge controllers?
Again: please share.
Yes 12vdc batteries are charged by voltage regulators in millions of cars every day.

and they are cheap.



Quote:
... I have the expensive midnight ones, and the $30 Chinese made ones that seem to work just as well. Have several of those 'put back'
That is smart.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:42 PM
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(Sighs) something tells me I'll have (yet another) project once planting season is over....
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:34 AM
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My off-grid house is close to being finished. When everything is in place, I expect I'll use just under 2 KWH per day. Here is the breakdown.

FREEZER: My freezer is a Sundanzer DCF165, which is a 5.6 cu. ft. chest freezer that operates on 12 volt DC. It uses about 500 WH per day in summer; much less during cold weather. It's in the coldest part of my house (an unheated area in the basement). Now that it's winter, the freezer draws almost no power: under 100 WH per day.

REFRIGERATOR: My refrigerator is actually three little ENGEL SB30G drawer fridges. These are 12 volt DC units. Each one has a capacity of about one cubic foot. Each one pulls about 300 WH per day, so when all three are running, they need 900 WH per day, approximately. I doubt I'll use all of them all the time, though. I'll probably just use two of them most of the time, and I'll power up the third one when I buy a lot of groceries that need refrigeration. I can get away with such a small amount of refrigeration space because I live alone. I've actually been living out of just one of these little fridge drawers for the past six weeks or so.

My freezer and refrigerators pull the bulk of the electricity I use every day.

I have a few other devices that draw a significant amount of power when they are running; however, none of these devices runs very much. They are:

WELL PUMP. This is a 110 volt AC Grundfos "soft-start" submersible well pump. It draws about 1400 watts, but it only runs when it needs to bring my pressure tank up to full pressure. Each time the well pump kicks on, it runs for about 20 seconds. It runs maybe 20 times each day. That's only about seven minutes per day, which would be 163 WH per day. (Note that in 2016, in Post #21 in this thread, I said my house would have a composting toilet. However, I ended up changing that plan: I have a flush toilet now.)

MICROWAVE. This is a 110-volt AC unit that draws 1100 watts. I'm not using it yet, but when I do start using it, I'll probably only use it for five or six minutes per day, so that would be a daily power draw of about 100 WH.

HAIR DRYER. This is a 110-volt AC unit that draws 1100 watts. I don't use it every day - maybe just twice a week, for about one minute each time. This equates to about 5 WH per day.

SIGNAL BOOSTER FOR CELL PHONE. This pulls about 18 watts. It would draw 432 WH per day if I used it 24x7. However, through experimentation I've learned I don't need to use it much. The reason for that is a bit of a long story. The short version of the story is that I've discovered that I can rely on my Verizon JetPack most of the time for phone service and Internet service. Sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, the JetPack doesn't get much of a signal here in my remote location; those are the times I need to use the signal booster. Given all this, I probably need an average of just 50 WH per day for the signal booster.

LAPTOP. This would draw about 500 WH per day if I left it plugged in all the time. I've developed some routines that reduce this potential daily power draw to maybe 250 watt hours per day. Basically what I do is: 1) I don't leave the laptop plugged in all the time, 2) I use my phone for many tasks I used to do with my laptop.

LIGHTING. I use about 80 WH per day for lighting. All my light fixtures are 110 volt AC fixtures. I use LED light bulbs in them.

SMALL MISCELLANEOUS DEVICES. I probably average 50 WH per day charging my cell phone, charging my Verizon JetPack, charging batteries for various tools plus a small vacuum cleaner.

So here is my rough tally for average daily power usage:

Freezer: 500 WH (based on summer power draw, which is worst case)
Refrigerators: 750 WH (assumes I use the 3rd fridge half of the time)
Well pump: 163 WH
Microwave: 100 WH
Hair dryer: 5 WH
Signal booster for cell phone: 50 WH
Laptop: 250 WH
Lighting: 80 WH
Small miscellaneous devices: 50 WH

TOTAL: 1948 WH per day, or about 1.95 KWH per day

Note that I have omitted the power draw for my Pinnacle combo washer/dryer from the tally because my plan is to do laundry only on sunny days, when the power used for washing and drying laundry will be restored quickly by my solar-panels. Currently I'm not using the washer/dryer much because I don't have the venting set up the way I want. I've been making trips to a laundromat. When I start doing all my laundry here at home, I'll probably use between 1000 WH and 1500 WH for washing and drying each laundry load.

I'm relying on the small solar-electric system I built in 2016 to power most things in the house, with help from a gas generator when needed. I'm awaiting delivery of the components for my new solar-electric system, a PointZero Titan solar generator. It's a plug-and-play system with a 3000-watt pure-sine-wave inverter and an 8 KWH LiFePO4 battery bank. The Titan will energize the house's breaker box. This winter I'll be using a gas generator to charge the Titan's battery bank. Next year I'll build a solar-panel array to charge it.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:18 PM
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please excuse my lack of knowledge on the subject, but are you guys basically making separate circuits for each major appliance? or are you running them all into the inverter?

i don't really understand what the implications are of a 12v vs 24 vs 36 vs 48 home system
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
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please excuse my lack of knowledge on the subject, but are you guys basically making separate circuits for each major appliance? or are you running them all into the inverter?

i don't really understand what the implications are of a 12v vs 24 vs 36 vs 48 home system
My invertor provides 220vac/110vac to the entire whole-house electric breaker panel.

In 2014, the only invertors that were capable of providing both 220vac and 110vac, were invertors that are run on 48vdc.

That defined what I needed for my battery-bank.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:30 PM
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so basically the interface between applicances and the battery bank is an inverter sized to the proper about of vdc to vac, like say if you had a 12vdc system you would have an inverter that is rated for 12vdc to 120vac, and in between the inverter and the appliances you'd have an AC fuse box like homes typically have, then conventional interior ac wiring and plugs? or am i missing something
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