Off-Grid Solar and Wind-Generated Power
Topic:Charge Controllers and Inverters
Shown above is approximately 800 watts of solar energy producing in excess of 60amps to a 12v battery bank.The unit has a protection circuit that cuts the current when over the 60amp cap (for this controller).
Seen below is another of three 150volt 60amp Charge Controllers by Morningstar.Technologies that are in operation in our Springfield Ohio location.
These particular controllers are fanless (so they make no sounds).
The MPPT Charge Controllers have been working flawlessly for about 8 or 9 years now.
As of 2019, much of the lab has been converted (reluctantly) over to a 48v system. The other battery banks worthy of being counted are still 12v systems. Since the majority of the items running in here require 12v, It seems only right to maintain the 12v systems (as opposed to throwing all the eggs in one basket with a solitary 48v system).
A 48v system, should all inverters suddenly fail, is useless until a replacement inverter were to arrive; whereas a 12v bank of batteries can suffice for all the 12v cameras, dvr, all lighting, microphones, some of the display monitors, some of the sound speaker systems, etc.
The controller's faceplate allows for easier monitoring, however the cost is over $100.00 for just the faceplate alone.
This price hinders the ability to obtain faceplates for each of the controllers here, which forces the need to swap to different controllers from time to time to simply and easily access the available data.
The photo above shows the true amount of allowable amps into the system via this particluar controller. The reason there are so many more panels on the mppt controllers is to compensate for the winter's lack of sun. The trade-off is that during the summer months 12-16 of the panels need to be turned off (depending on how much wind might be producing electricity). Ideally, there would be some manner in which a diversion control can be set to allow the excess energy do something. At present there isn't a diversion controller installed yet.
Also found in our Springfield Ohio location are controllers for the micro-battery banks.
The controller below is a 15amp model. The battery bank and solar array, as well as the load applied, is a maintenance-free system. Even days without sun, the battery bank rarely will dip down below 12.3 with the load on.
The Vanner Pure Sine Wave Inverter is not the largest here, but has worked flawlessly for about 7 years. This Inverter is totally silent.
Below are seen the largest inverter in operation. In most applications and appliances the aim has been to obtain devices that do not require an inverter (12v items connected directly to the 12v source without the need of an inverter). Inverters waste energy in a number of ways, for instance to run a 20v item requires that the 12v battery supply be dragged all the way up to 110v then back down to 20v which is loss. More often than not there is a 12v alternative to the non-12v appliances and devices.
The inverter seen below has a max of 6000watts and a nominal of 3000watts. It has a fan but it's not obnoxious and barely noticed.
This particular unit has the ability to run direct AC current to backfeed one of the circuits for domestic use, an allows for the creation of one's own pseudo grid. There is no grid-tie connections made back to the monopoly.
All solar panel arrays, along with the wind generator, come through fused panels such as the one seen below.
There are also quick-disconnects between all legs of the micro-power plant.
Cabling is seen here as it enters one of the Quick Disconnects; one set is doubled up to allow more amperage through.
This is the main wall that handles 3 battery banks, including the largest of 5 that are presently within this building.
Below is seen an item-specific charge controller which has its own battery bank and solar arrays. This particular bank of batteries never requires service as the lights it supplies power to are not consuming enough amps to ever draw the battery bank below 12.2v (usually requiring several days without sun).
The newest micro-system is seen in the photo below. The battery bank that it handles presently is used only by the fans within the firewood stove, and a small water pump.
The fuse box is not quite installed yet. This fused panel will handle 8 of the 18 cameras within this building. This will be the first installation of fuses ever.In other words, I've gone about a decade without ever having utilized fuses or breakers whatsoever and without incident.
This small item-specific inverter powers the server of which you are presently reading this. The server is a Macbook Pro running Linux.
The charge controller by Morningstar.producing good amps on a moderately sunny day.
The following is for sale to anyone that is local in the Springfield Ohio area (I don't ship).
The 2,000watt nominal (4k peak) is in all honesty a noisy inverter compared to the Vanner model, and is for sale for $10.00.
Handy man special, it works if you can live with the noisy fan which by all rights should be cleaned or replaced. Otherwise the unit works flawlessly.
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Located: 2803 Troy Road in Springfield Ohio.
Tel: (937) 718-3586