OFF GRID SOLAR POWER


ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A QUALIFIED

ELECTRICIAN BEFORE MAKING CHANGES


Become totally self sufficient,  convert your home

for as little as $5,000 depending on your needs and

never suffer blackouts or power bills ever again. 


The best way to make the most out of solar

power to live comfortably and self sufficiently

Off Grid is to convert to 12 volt.


There are many advantages of running a 12

volt system. It is safer, you can store more

power and you can utilise car stereo sound

systems, vehicle lights and basically anything that runs in a vehicle can be adapted to run in your home or caravan.


You can still run some 220 v - 240 v items like bread makers, Washing machines, vacuum cleaners and power tools by installing a decent DC to AC power inverter. 


When using 200 volt plus grid electricity supplied by your system power plant corporation you need to have a registered electrician hook up your home and shed. If converting your grid power system to Off Grid then you need an electrician to disconnect the grid power for you.  


When you use 12 volt it is not required by law to use a registered electrician, you can hook it up yourself. However this may not be the case in your country, state or shire so please check before you take any action. Hooking up your own power is cheaper and it gives you the satisfaction of accomplishing something practical towards becoming self sufficient. It is far more rewarding to hook up your own home than to have an electrician do it for you. This way you know where everything is, how it is hooked up and where the wires go and why. Then later when you want to add more lights or power plugs, you already know how to do it. If you get an electrician to do it, then you won't be as confident to add more accessories to your power supply. 


​How easy is it to hook up Solar Power? ... If you can do basic electrical maintenance to your vehicle like change the battery, hook up a new stereo or replace blown lights and fuses then you can pretty much hook up an Off Grid system to your caravan or house. The good thing about 12 volt is there are only two connectors, Positive (Green) and Negative (Black). Don't be fooled although it is almost impossible to be killed by 12 volts it can still make huge sparks and melt wires and catch fire. This is why you must hook up an isolator switch like what you might have on your 4 x 4 off road vehicle with a dual battery set up.  


You must also install a fuse or cut off switch so that if you should accidentally cross wires or hook wires up opposite to what they should be the fuse will blow or the cut off switch will prevent the wires from shorting out, overheating and catching fire. This is very important for beginners and old hands who may have forgotten to or who didn't realise just how dangerous it is to not have fuses installed in your system. 


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BATTERIES 


Your Off Grid power system will only ever be as

good as your batteries. The Batteries are the most

expensive item and the most important. Without

decent quality batteries with appropriate capacity

for your needs, you will never be satisfied with the

performance of your system. 


I started off using truck batteries in the early days.

Back in 1991 I lived in the bush prospecting for gold

and survived with 2 x 200 Amp lead acid truck

batteries. They run my 60 litre engel fridge freezer,

a 12 volt water pump, 12 volt TV and 12 volt water

cooler air conditioner.  They lasted 10 years. 


​When I bought my home I didn't have much money due to loan repayments and so I used 8 x 50 amp car batteries and a couple of 70 amp land cruiser batteries all hooked up together. It gave me 540 amp hours, only 140 AH more than my two truck batteries. It still ran my engel fridge, all my lights and my 12 volt TV. 

When I could afford it I went to my local fork lift battery supplier and purchased 6 x  2 Volt 550 AH Lead Acid Batteries. These should last 25 years or more. In a fork lift they will last 5- 10 years depending on usage but solar charging is very delicate on batteries and actually extends the lifetime of the batteries. Note earlier I said my truck batteries lasted 10 years, usually you are lucky to get 2 years out of them.  


I have run my home with 30 lights or more with at least 5 lights on 24 hrs a day on 6 x 2 volt 550 AH batteries. They run a 12 volt 180 litre fridge freezer 24/7 and a 12 volt TV and 12 volt DVD player for about 10 hrs a day. All this plus when I want I tun on the DC- AC inverter and make a loaf of bread with my 400 watt bread maker, wash my clothes in the washing machine and vacuum my carpet. However I have just purchased some 12 volt vacuum cleaners to test. If you need more battery capacity, I don't know why, I have too much power as it is and I'm a power pig, but if you feel you need more you can purchase another six batteries and hook them up with your previous six and double your capacity. Fork lift batteries come in many different AH capacity case sizes. I chose the 550 AH because they are short, about knee height  16" or 41 cm. They are 6" or 15.5 cm square which makes them very stable to sit on your floor or veranda without having to brace them to the wall. Always sit your batteries on a timber plank or rubber matt. conveyor belt is ideal and is also good for covering the top of the batteries for insulation. They do not like to sit on bare cement floors. Put your batteries in the shade, not in the sun or where sun can heat them. 


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SOLAR PANELS


The best solar panels are monocrystalline silicon

Solar Cells. Most panels come out of China and are

as good if not better than panels made anywhere

else.


For the most practical and easiest system to set up,

you're best off getting 200 watt Mono panels. Check

the details of the solar panel. You want the Maximum

Power Current (Impp) A  to be over 10, preferably

11.25 amps or higher. This is the most important info

when purchasing solar panels.


Many 200 watt panels only produce 5.20 amps as

shown in this photo. This is a 36 volt panel and it is

only producing just over 5 amps. You want 12 volt

panels and you need them to produce more than 10 amps or they are just not worth the money. Now if anybody tells you not to get 12 volt, not to convert to 12 volt or to at least set up your system as 24 volt, tell them to go jump in the lake. 


I recommend 12 volt for a number of reasons, you need less batteries and most electrical goods are 12 volt. Many plug into high voltage outlets but have that black box converter which changes high voltage AC to 12 volt DC or 3.7 -4.2 volts on many phones, digital clocks and other such items. 




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REGULATORS


When you know how much power you are going to

use per day, then you can choose your regulator. 

This particular regulator is capable of processing

80 Amps coming from the solar panels. 


This unit will handle six 200 watt solar panels and

is the maximum any home should need. You can face

2 panels into the morning sun, 2 into the midday sun

and 2 into the afternoon sun for maximum efficiency.


The photo of the caravan top of page has four solar 

panels and is an overkill. I only put that many on it

to help keep the van cooler by shading the roof with 

2 extra panels. 


To be continued ......








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COMPUTERS AND PHONES


Computers run well on 12 volt systems.

Most modern computers use very little power.

The one pictured in this photo is using 0.50 amps,

half an amp at 12.5 volt. On start up it will peak at

about 1.5 amps. It is being run by a 100 watt

Universal DC car charger for laptops. It converts  

12 volt to 19 volt but can go to 24 volt. 


The voltmeter still reads 12.5 volts at 11:01 pm.

The older computer, a Compaq CQ40 uses 4 amps. 


If your phone comes with or you can buy a DC Car

Charger for it then you can hook it up in your house. 


The touch lamp has been converted to run on 12 volt, the light globe is an 18 watt E27 led light.   If you already have existing high voltage wiring in your house, then you can still convert all of your lights so long as you use 12 volt low watt lights. 3 watt lights are perfect and if you get them in warm white then insects will not come near them. All my veranda and exterior lights are warm white, mosquitoes do not come near my home. An 11 watt led light in 12 volt uses 1 Amp and that is pretty bright. You can go up to 30 watts or more but it is not my choice. I prefer dim lighting and have more of them around the room than one bright light in the center of the ceiling. The choice however is up to the individual. 


So long as you don't use lights which suck 5 amps or more you should be safe using the existing wires that supply your high voltage lights. If you draw too many amps, you will melt them and may cause a short or fire which is why it is so important to install fuses in every line of wire you put charge into. The last thing you need is to burn down your house. You never know when a light may malfunction and short out causing your wires to overheat. I melted my wires when a cigarette lighter plug melted from overheating and shorted out. It was drawing too many amps heating a soldering iron. I have now replaced most of those plugs with normal 3 pin high voltage plugs because they do the job. I cannot recommend you do this however, so I recommend you use the 2 pin DC male and female plugs. 


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HOW TO WORK OUT WHAT YOU NEED


When working out your solar system you start by adding up how much power you will use per 24 hour day. From this you will be able to work out the capacity, the amount of amp hours your batteries need to be and the size of regulator and how many panels you need to keep up the power supply for your needs. 


Batteries always need to hold more amp hour capacity than what you need. It is best if you never allow your batteries to go below 75% of full charge. That means you can only use 25% of the capacity of the battery bank. This will ensure the maximum life of the battery. If you start draining your battery bank below 75% then you will shorten the life of your batteries.


Here is an example of how to work out what you need.


I want to run 5 lights from 5 pm to 2 am ... a period of 9 hours. The lights are 12 volt led lights at 11 watts each which totals 5 x 11 watts = 55 watts. 11 watts equals 1 amp at 12 volt so the total is 5 amps, then multiply that by 9 hours = 45 amp hours. With my 550 amp hour battery bank I can use up to 137 amp hours before I get to the critical 75% mark. So running 5 x 1 amp lights for 9 hours I have only just used one third of my usable stored battery power.


Then I want to run my 12 volt fridge which uses 60 watts or basically 6 amps if you want to round it off. Now a fridge turns off and on, it runs intermittently for 20 mins to 30 mins at a time. Lets just say then that it runs a full 12 hours over a 24 hour period. 6 amps x 12 hours =72 amp hours. So now I have 37 amp hours for my lights and 72 amp hours for my fridge.  45 + 72 = 117 amp hours. I have 20 amp hours remaining to use watching my 12 volt TV. The TV is a 32" or 82 cm screen and uses 1.8 amps. Lets just pretend it uses 2 amps per hour. 2 amps x 10 hours = 20 amp hours. 


So I can run 5 lights for 9 hours, a 180 litre fridge for 24 hours and a 32" TV for 10 hours per day every day for 25 years or more. The other house hold goods like washing machine, vacuum and bread makers etc only run for an hour or two and if used during the day while the sun is shining then there is no real need to worry about their power usage. However if you use your washing machine to wash your neighbours clothes and  have it running all day long, then you may need to upgrade your battery bank. 


This page is a work in progress .... so please Bookmark us and come back again .... to be continued .....


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THE STORY AND  PHILOSOPHY OF  12 VOLT POWER

Everything in this world comes back to the 12 disciples and the pure master, the 13th 


12 volt power actually runs at 13 volts when fully charged. Back when electricity started in the early days of white American history, the man who invented it made a light. That light bulb was 12 volt. He hooked up 12 volt lights throughout his home. When his neighbours seen what he had, they wanted it too. Electric lights had to be better than candles, smelly oil and gas burners. He hooked up some of his neighbours but then people down the end of the street wanted electric lights. When he hooked up the lights, they wouldn't run. He increased his battery bank up to 24 volts and the power lit up the lights. People from other towns heard about the electric lights and wanted them too. 

The 24 volt power was increased to 36 volt and eventually it was realised that electric current will travel any distance if it was around 220 - 240 volts. The lights were converted to high voltage bulbs to save voltage reduction converters being put in all light bulbs. However many old stereo cabinets and speakers are 12 volt on the inside. When you work with them a lot, you get to know what is and what isn't. The moral of this story is that high voltage power is not better than 12 volt. It is dangerous and was only introduced to send electricity over enormous distance. 


All vehicles are 12 volt, some German VW beetles are 6 volt and many trucks and busses are 24 volt. Good motor homes have 12-24 volt appliances as do good caravans. They can park anywhere and still operate normally. Why park your van or bus in a powered site and pay huge fees for electricity when you can have your own free solar power which is a safer and healthier alternative?


When I converted to 12 volt my scientist buddy came to read the electro magnetic field from my home. There was no reading, he said he felt more relaxed in the house with low DC voltage than high AC voltage. This was confirmed when he asked me to turn on the DC to AC power inverter. Without even running an appliance the magnetic field was picked up by his meter 18 metres down my yard. This shocked me, I thought maybe a few metres but to extend 18 metres down the yard threw me. You don't want me to tell you what happened when I turned on the vacuum cleaner. Everybody who has entered into my home is not even aware that I am off grid using mostly 12 volt power.

When I have invited other off gridders to check out my system they are shocked when I tell them I can run my home for a week or so without sunlight. They just simply don't believe me, but this is because they are running their homes with 240 volt lights and appliances. They need lots of batteries, 120 x 2 volt batteries in fact and they just can't hold enough amp hours to run 240 volt appliances for even one night. Most of the people I know have to start their emergency generator before their kids even go to bed. Most if not all high voltage Off grid Systems have an emergency back up generator which starts up and runs every night just after the sun goes down. What a waste of time, money and tranquility they have made for themselves when they decided to go with the advertised high voltage Off Grid systems. 


Pleas do not follow the path of these people, you will never become self sufficient and it will cost you way more than staying on the grid, both initially and in the long term. High voltage just isn't viable. It is unsafe and unhealthy. 


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What Can I Run On My 12 Volt Off Grid System?


You can run your washing machine, bread maker, power tools even a 2,400 watt 9" angle grinder, dishwashers and any other item which will only need to run a few hours a day but if it is a fridge which runs 24 hours a day, then you need to convert to a 12 volt fridge. It is just not economical to run an inverter all day every day as the inverter itself uses up to 2 amps on stand by. That adds up to 2 x 24 hours = 48 amp hours a day doing nothing. You need to purchase a 12 volt TV and you can buy 12 volt DVD players. Most come only with the high power converter box built into the 3 pin plug. just remove it and put a new plug on and hook it straight into your system to run on 12 volt.


So your fridge and TV are best being 12 volt and your lights must all be 12 volt. The other items may be higher wattage than the TV and fridge but you don't run your power tools and vacuum cleaner non stop for hours on end, if you do then you need to do some maths before you break your batteries. The idea is that you only turn on your DC to AC power inverter for short periods when you have to do the washing or bake bread. Better if you have a wood stove but I don't anymore, so I use a 400 watt 240 volt bread maker and it bakes perfect loaves in 1 hour and 55 minutes. It uses up to 25 amps of 12 volt power but it is off and on for only seconds at a time when heating the element. During the mixing it uses only about 5-8 amps or less.


It pays to install volt metres and amp meters all of which are reasonably priced these days. This way you can see exactly how much power your items are using and you will know how long you can run them before you drain your battery bank. Most regulators have built in amp meters so you can tell your overall usage but you may want to put meters on individual items to see how they are performing. Its all part of the fun, when you go Off Grid. 

Your phones, computers and lights can all run on 12 volt. Just go to ebay and order a universal car charger and hook it straight into your 12 volt system. Your wires to run fridges should be twin core 6 mm  automobile insulated cable. Lights can be run off the main cable and 4 mm twin core auto cable is perfect.  




This page is a work in progress .... so please come back .... Save us in your favorites ..... to be continued ..... 18- 2 - 2017


To take charge of your life and become totally self sufficient, we recommend you read "The Rise of Ramees" the first book in the Ramees Series to help you understand the logic and practical benefits of becoming self reliant, self powering and self sustaining. The Ramees Books are about using Universal Law to free yourself from the system.  *********************************************************************************************















 


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