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Old 01-17-2019, 07:37 PM   #101
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Here's an update on the home DIY solar storage system.

I got all the ground-mounted solar panel wires running to the garden shed last week. The 20 panels were paired up for a higher voltage, but not so high that it required expensive charge controllers. Still the 10 pairs mean 20 wires to go inside a conduit, tee'ing off along the panel array. The other end of the conduit terminates at a garden shed, where all the electronics and battery packs are kept.

Yesterday, I finished wiring the panel output wires to 3 charge controllers, each handling 2kW. The charge controller outputs were connected to a bus, where two inverters are connected along with the battery bank.

It still takes a lot of work to install and connect the 22kWh lithium battery bank (they require building a shelf and a lot of wiring), but for quick testing I borrow a 2kWh lithium battery setup from the motorhome.

Turned on all circuit breakers, and watched the power output coming up to more than 2400W, despite 6 panels getting shaded by the 2nd story rooftop this time of year. In a few months, when all panels are in the sun and the sun angle is higher, I expect to get around 5kW at noon.

For temporary testing, I brought the power into the home via a long extension cord, and powered two electric portable heaters of 1,600W total load, and was able to run them most of the day.

At the end of the day, I installed a power meter so I will be able to count the kWh produced tomorrow. Also installed a circuit to automatically cut out the load to prevent running down and ruining the lithium battery if the solar production drops due to cloud passing. Today, when that happened, I had to babysit it in order to disconnect and reconnect the load. The eventual battery bank will be babysit by a homebrew BMS (battery management system).

Besides the battery installation, I still need to run wires to bring the inverter outputs to the power distribution box, then install automatic transfer switches to bring this solar power into the home on selected circuits.

When I get done, the whole operation will be automatic. I should be able to save the solar juice to run the AC until well after sunset. Will probably need a few more kW of panels on the roof, but that should be easier than all the "infrastructure" that I have spent so many months working on.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:51 PM   #102
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NW, sounds like you are making good progress. Hats off to you on this ambitious project! When you get it complete, please post a few pictures so we all can be in awe of your success!
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:02 PM   #103
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The inverter I have on now is for 115V circuits. For the AC, I will install a 230V inverter to run a mini-split AC (to be installed).

I debated installing a 200-lb monstrous inverter that could run the existing 5-ton central AC (and the rest of the home). The rating is continuous 15kW, with surge power of 45kW for 20 seconds.

It may not fit inside this small garden shed though. And the idling power consumption is 230W.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:08 AM   #104
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I assembled the roof rake, no small challenge, and tried it out. Oh my, a nuerosurgeon told me never to paint a ceiling or change a light bulb. I know why now. Thankfully I stopped before it got really bad, I hope.
Good for you for being persistent. I had a roof rake for one season and used it once. Mine was long enough to get a few feet beyond the gutters. Getting it up there though, while wading through knee deep snow on the ground, was really hard. Then when pulling the snow off, the rake kept getting stuck on the ice piled up at the gutters. Every time, it would stop abruptly and I'd end up flung to the ground. I have a full-body snowsuit so no harm. Finally one of the screws on it fell out and that was the end of that. I did find the screw the following spring.

Had the attic insulated before the next season. No more ice dams or killer icicles to worry about.
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Old 01-18-2019, 11:08 AM   #105
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...
I assembled the roof rake, no small challenge, and tried it out. Oh my, a nuerosurgeon told me never to paint a ceiling or change a light bulb. I know why now. Thankfully I stopped before it got really bad, I hope.

As planned I used snowshoes to get another couple feet of height. That was a bad idea! While they help you stand up, you're not nimble. Walking backwards is impossible, at least for me.....
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Good for you for being persistent. I had a roof rake for one season and used it once. Mine was long enough to get a few feet beyond the gutters. Getting it up there though, while wading through knee deep snow on the ground, was really hard. Then when pulling the snow off, the rake kept getting stuck on the ice piled up at the gutters. Every time, it would stop abruptly and I'd end up flung to the ground. I have a full-body snowsuit so no harm. Finally one of the screws on it fell out and that was the end of that. I did find the screw the following spring.

Had the attic insulated before the next season. No more ice dams or killer icicles to worry about.
It snowed while the roofer was here a couple of winters ago. There was an early snow, probably October. He came out to start shingling over the felt and there was about 6 or 8 inches of snow on the roof. He used a snow rake with probably a 30 foot handle and pulled all the snow down without a problem. I thought it worked really neat. Of course it was not terribly cold and there was no ice involved or previous snow on the ground.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:57 PM   #106
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It snowed while the roofer was here a couple of winters ago. There was an early snow, probably October. He came out to start shingling over the felt and there was about 6 or 8 inches of snow on the roof. He used a snow rake with probably a 30 foot handle and pulled all the snow down without a problem. I thought it worked really neat. Of course it was not terribly cold and there was no ice involved or previous snow on the ground.
+1

I think that's important. They're made for smaller amounts of lighter material. We got a very wet snow, when it froze it is crusty.

Woke up to still more snow, I guess 6", don't know anymore, just more snow. I had a urologist appointment 45 miles away and wanted to drive the pickup. The driveway wasn't quite wide enough and needed more love and care to get out.

It was an amazing drive with the blanket of fresh snow. A little hard to stay focused on some of the drive. I was early even though ITAP.20190118_125249(0).jpeg
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:19 AM   #107
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We had a pretty nice day today after a long stretch of cold and rain so it felt good to be able to get outside. Our dog really likes going to a local park with a lake, but today I drove him to a hike and bike trail for something different and a shorter drive for me. He was mad about not being at the park and wouldn't get out of the car. So I showed him who was the boss by getting back into the car and driving him to the park.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:03 AM   #108
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It snowed here again all day yesterday. Probably about 4 inches, but with strong winds so some bare spots and drifts over a foot deep. I will need to plow all the roads today to knock the drifts down before the next snow.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:12 AM   #109
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I just got a good fire going in the wood stove. I have a cup of coffee, and I can see the full moon as it sets over the mountains out the back window. A nice way to start the morning.
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Old 01-19-2019, 06:52 AM   #110
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Bitter cold here so mostly hunkering down getting ready for our trip to Florida. I did go outside to install a battery tender on my car...it's a smart trickle charger that I'll use a couple times a week. It will allow me to use the heated seats and steering wheel as much as I like without draining the battery.
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:02 AM   #111
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Cozied up with coffee watching the snow fall. It’s beautiful out there. About half the minimum dire prediction and no where near the max (6” to 10” forecast yesterday—not sure there is even 3” out there and it’s winding down). Will shovel with DH when he rouses out of bed.

I always think of the fourth week of January being the coldest here and I think that will be true this year in the western burbs of Chicago. So not so bad to see a bit of snow now.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:10 PM   #112
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This morning walked up 2059 risers, (~ 1.16 times to the CN Tower pod), while DW walked the indoor track.

Later in the afternoon DW went back to the centre and swam 1 km.

Much later we watched the first episode of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency set in Botswana, (we loved Botswana).

https://www.hbo.com/the-no-1-ladies-...ency/season-01
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:41 AM   #113
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Sitting at Midway after changing my Dallas flight to beat this afternoon’s Chicago snow. Still got TSA precheck when I checked in less than 24 hours before the new flight time (still on the fence about whether we “need” the few minutes global entry status might afford us). The non-precheck lines were crowded but seemed to be moving well. There were more precheck screener folks checking tickets than the last pre-shutdown time we flew from Midway.

Yesterday I went to JCPenney’s to pick up an old-school but online catalog order of quickdry bath towels that the store didn’t have instock but that we really like. It took four people to find them, as they were in the wrong warehouse bin. And their records showed they had been returned. My advice is to buy the towels and sell the stock....
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:44 AM   #114
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I plan to go ice fishing on the river at the ranch. I have not ice fished there before so it will be something new. Have friends catching them on the river so I got my fingers crossed. Heading out about 9 am. Have a great one!
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:26 PM   #115
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Well, no fish but a beautiful day and can't beat the scenery.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:41 AM   #116
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Found $130 - and I'm keeping it!

Discovered this AM the TV I bought last week was now on sale for $120 less than I paid. Went to the customer service counter at the brick & mortar location and asked for a refund of the difference. After all was done and sales tax was included, got a credit of $129.90.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:45 AM   #117
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TV I bought last week was now on sale for $120 less
I've often heard that the best time to buy a TV is just before the SuperBowl.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:48 AM   #118
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I've often heard that the best time to buy a TV is just before the SuperBowl.
+1

I obviously pulled the trigger about a week too soon. Lucky that I saw the reduced price within the seller's relatively short (8 day) price guarantee period.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:32 PM   #119
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Went to the dentist, they really could measure the benefits of using a sonicare. No issues and he ground off a little of my mouth guard. After six months it was getting painfully rough.

Picked up a script for tylenol-3 for DW's 3 week long headache. Walmart offered me narcan! I declined based on stories I've seen about it showing up on medical records. That and I don't think the 15 pills are enough to OD on if you ate them at the same time.

I did nicely tell the pharmacist what I thought about Walmart no longer accepting goodrx for opioids. She said that many people are impacted by that decision and she personally didn't think it was right, nor would it help the opioid epidemic.

Taking DW in for a CT of her head in a little while.
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:15 PM   #120
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I plowed the roads today. Drifts up to about 2 feet some places and bare others. The wind was still pretty strong. I hope I don't have to plow again tomorrow jus because of the wind.
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