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Budget Workshop Project,End Cuts,Equipment,Power generation,Solar Power Projects,Wind Turbine Projects

Summer 2015 Solar and Wind Power Update

3 Sep , 2015   Video

Since the budget was drained from the Epic DIY deck project, there wasn’t much wiggle room for new equipment. Had to make do with what I had, and do some clever reconfiguring of the solar and wind power equipment for 2015 summer.

Solar Panels
Moved the factory made, 100-watt panel to the new main cabin battery bank. For some reason, the voltage was really spiking (21 volts, with load). I thought it might be the charge controller or a loss connection to the batteries. Happened during July, but not during August.

The DIY 80 watt solar panel is working just fine. Putting out about 6 amps on a good sunny day. The only downside was the backing was starting to peel off. Some red tuck tape helped seal it off. Hopefully, I can get 2 more years out of it.

New addition. Bid 99 cents on a small 5.5 watt panel and won. Using it as a trickle charger for the generator and water pump battery.

 

Charge Controllers
Earlier in the year, the Morningstar TS-60 was taken out of service until I can determine why it was showing a fault. Did some basic tests and couldn’t find the problem. It sat in my tool box for 9 months and in July, I hooked it up to the DIY solar panel. Seems to be working OK.

Picked up a 99 cents eBay special (plus $29.00 for shipping) for a programmable charge controller with load control and temperature gizmo. It will be used in the main cabin battery bank. I like to test the system out for a full season before upgrading equipment.

It’s a good plan to have some spare, inexpensive charge controllers. I use eBay as my buying source and try to find a good, previously used, charge controller. If not, an off-shore made controller can be found for around $30.

 

Batteries
Last fall, I purchased (4) 6 volt, US Battery off craigslist for $40 each. They were lightly used and 3 years old. Came from a backup power system for a data security company. The plan was to use them for the battery bank in the main cabin. The box would be located directly underneath the charging/entertainment center. Then I could avoid long cables and it was easier for access. Built a large box that featured space for more batteries or equipment.

I found out my homemade booster battery cables were not up to the job. They were making the voltage jump around erratically. I think one of the reason was the wire was not soldered to the eyelids or lugs. (Have to work on that for next time). Fixed the issue by spending $45.00 for a pair of  factory made 4 ga. battery cables.

Solar-and-wind-equip-layout-July-2015

Wind Turbines
The small, 100-watt wind turbine is working fine after 5 years. The PVC blades are in good shape and every year, I lower the tower and pump grease into the gear system. The roof top mount help up pretty good, but I’m concerned how the rooftop ice moved the base around.

Extras
Solar Panel Mount- Figured out a nifty mount for the solar panel. Used a satellite dish mount. Fun project and it works really well. The only downside was the mount can hold lightweight solar panels.

Battery Box- spent some time planning the second battery box, building and figuring out an effective passive venting system. Some say venting isn’t required, especially the low amps I’m producing, but it’s a piece of mind knowing there will no hydrogen build up.

Have a few more items to add, but I’m waiting on some pictured. Thanks for visiting the Cedar Workshop website!

 

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Wind Turbine Projects

Cheap DIY Wind Turbine Does Well in Wind Storm

14 Mar , 2014  

DSC02017 PVC blades work great for small wind turbines. Three years have past, the PVC blades on the wind turbine are working just fine, and do well in high winds. A few hours after this video footage was taken, at the testing facility (the cabin), was hit with a massive wind storm. Lot’s of trees were knocked over and roots pulled from the earth. The wind turbine tower didn’t fall over and the turbine provided lots of power to the deep cycle batteries.

 

 

 

Music credit:
Aces High Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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Power generation,Solar Power Projects

EVA or or Sylgard 184 for DIY Solar Panels Encapsulation

19 Feb , 2013  

The following article was based on my experience and may not have the same results on your location.
Two Coats of Sylgard 184
Sylgard 184 used for a 80-watt panel. See how transparent it is. Only a few air bubbles.
I’ve used EVA film and Sylgard 184 encapsulate for DIY Solar Panels
EVA– $20/yard
For a 24″ x 48″ 60 watt panel- $30.00
Cheaper and a tad more work, but easier to position. Best to have some kind of kiln or oven to place the solar panel in. But, for a larger 24″ x 48″ panel, have to use a plug-in-the-wall hot air gun. If the EVA is not heated up hot enough it can unstick and peel off. I was told to put the milky color down (but it’s difficult to see the difference) Can’t remember the temperature setting it was at, but it was around 120 degrees (med-high). Make sure to ask the EVA seller what the temperature range is… don’t want to have a fire.
Best to try it out on a small panel to get the feel of it. If you like, I can send you a sample to play with.
Sylgard 184– Expensive $50 for a less than a quart.
For a 24″ x 48″ 60 watt panel- $100.00 – 200.00
The Sylgard 184 is the cats meow. It’s main purpose is for exterior electrical encapsulation, keeps moisture out and is not vinger-based acidic (like clear caulking). Remains flexible in all types of weather and when poured in layers, it work really, really well. It’s a 2 part solution which is mixed together and then poured over the back side of the cells. Has the constancy like corn syrup. Very hard to clean up. Through trial and error, pour a container on the glass, lay the strings face down and pour another container over the backside. One coat on the back in minimal for a large panel. In my West Coast climate, it took the panels 3 days to set.  Made by Dow Corning
Note: I built my DIY solar panels about 3 years ago. It was a cheaper way to go at that time ($600/120watt panel in Canada). Sylgard is the best, but expensive for multiple large panels. But, all the DIY panels I have built, encapsulated in Slygard 184 are still working.
2015 Update: The sylgard panel is still working fine.

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