Home Power #24 - Richard Guy Briggs

Home Power #24 - Richard Guy Briggs
REAL GOODS
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
HOME
POWER
THE HANDS-ON JOURNAL OF HOME-MADE POWER
Contents
From us to YOU– 4
Work
Subscription Form– 51
Subscribe to Home Power!
Happenings– 76
Renewable Energy Events
From us to YOU– 4
People & Legal Stuff
Wind – 53
Lightning Protection
the Wizard Speaks– 79
Information
Systems – 6
Just say, "Yes" to sunshine
muddy raods – 57
Jeepers!
Writing for Home Power– 84
Share your info!
Systems – 14
Central PV System for 4 Homes
Things that Work!– 59
Solar Gourmet solar cooker kit
Letters to Home Power– 80
Feedback from HP Readers
Systems – 22
Not Much Different
Health & Environment– 62
Magnetic Fields II
Q&A– 88
A manner of techie gore
Photovoltaics – 26
HP tests PV Modules
Domestic Hot Water (DHW)– 64
Thermosyphon Heat Exchanger
Ozonal Notes– 91
Our Staph gets to rant & rave…
Education– 32
The Spark
Tech Notes– 66
Inverter Fusing
INDEX – 92
Index for HP1 through HP23
Transportation– 35
1991 American Tour de Sol
Tech Notes– 67
Gas Appliances
Home Power's Business– 95
Advertising and Sub data
Systems – 40
Down the road with PVs
Homebrew– 70
12 or 24 VDC portapower
Home Power MicroAds– 96
Unclassified Advertising
Instrumentation – 42
Instrumentation for HP Systems
Home & Heart– 73
Food Clubs & Vacuum Stuff
Index to HP Advertisers– 98
For All Display Advertisers
Education – 49
Solar Technology Institute
Good Books– 75
Renewable Energy Reading
Home Power Mercantile– 98
RE businesses
Access
Home Power Magazine
POB 130
Hornbrook, CA 96044-0130
916–475–3179
Think About It
"Anger is useless,
Tenacity moves mountains,
Honesty is magic."
Cover
Sunshine provides electric power
and heat for this Oregon
earthbermed home. Story on
page 6.
Unknown via Greg Nolan
Photo by Richard Perez.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
3
From us to YOU
WORK
Country people know how to work. They dig in and do the job
until it's done. This spirit of work is most evident at this year's
energy fairs. RE folks have moved heaven and earth to make
these fairs celebrations of joy and hope.
After the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair ended, Karen and I
talked with the tired but still smiling MREF crew. Dozens of the
finest folks gave months and weeks of their lives for a single
weekend's event. They worked hard not for money, but for our
future. These folks have the Spark in their eyes. These folks see
a clear and working way to a solar-powered future. I salute their
work!
And more fairs to come
SEER '91, Willits, CA on August 9th to 11th 1991. Be there and
get Sparked!
Can do
It is the "can do" attitude of home power people that gives me
hope for our future. Check out the articles in this issue. These
are serious, hard-working people who have let the sun into their
lives. They are using renewable energy and good 'ole fashioned
work to live self-sufficient and sustainable lives. They are already
living the future.
Home Power's work is communicating this information to you.
We are caretakers of the Spark.
People
Willson Bloch
Sam Coleman
Todd Cory
Clive Ellis
Wayne Green
Nancy Hazard
Tom Heinrichs
Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze
Pamela Jung
Jack Knowles
Stan Krute
Jim Lambesis
C, Michael Lewis
Dan Lepinski
Alex Mason
Ken Olson
Karen Perez
Richard Perez
Patti Penland Phelps
Mick Sagrillo
Bob–O Schultze
Johnny Weiss
Robert Wills
Printing
RAM Offset, White City, Oregon
Cover 50% recycled (40% preconsumer, 10% post-consumer), low
chlorine paper. Interior is recyclable,
low chlorine paper. Soybean ink used
throughout.
Legal
Home Power Magazine
(ISSN1050-2416) is published
bi-monthly for $10 per year at POB 130,
Hornbrook, CA 96044-0130. Application
to mail at second class postage rates is
Pending at Hornbrook CA. Postmaster
send address corrections to POB 130,
Hornbrook, CA 96044-0130.
Copyright ©1991 Home Power, Inc.
All rights reserved. Contents may not
be reprinted or otherwise reproduced
without written permission.
Above: Karen and Richard relax after after pasting-up an issue of Home
Power. This is a wonderful time for us. Months of work have climaxed in a
single afternoon. The issue is done and ready for the printer; and we get to
4
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
While Home Power Magazine strives for
clarity and accuracy, we assume no
responsibility or liability for the usage of
this information.
Canada post international publications
mail (Canadian distribution) Sales
agreement #546259.
TRACE
FULL
PAGE
AD
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
5
Systems
Above: a view of the south side of Colin and Christine's home. Large south facing windows and a greenhouse heat the
home with sunshine. Photovoltaic modules on the roof provide the electric power. The solar oven in front of the house is
baking bread. Photo by Richard Perez.
Just say, "Yes" to sunshine
Richard Perez
L
iving with renewable energies means graciously accepting what Nature offers.
Colin McCoy and Christine Reising do just that. Their Oregon mountain home is
heated and powered by the Sun. This owner designed & built, earthbermed
building uses only energy resources found on site. Colin and Christine have made a
home that is warm, sustainable, independent, and inexpensive. They accomplished this
for themselves by accepting the plentiful renewable, natural resources that surround
them.
Location
Colin and Christine live in the mountains outside of
Jacksonville, in southwestern Oregon. At their elevation of
3,000 feet, there is abundant sunshine above the fog that
often blankets the nearby lower valleys. Their homestead
is located about one mile from the nearest hard surfaced
road or commercial electrical hookup.
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Colin & Christine's Homestead
In the short period of two years, Colin and Christine built
their home themselves. The house is earth bermed on its
north and east side. Solar heat warms the home from its
large south facing windows and from the a greenhouse
attached to the home's southeast corner. Air is circulated
through this two–story, 2,000 square foot home by natural
convection currents.
Systems
Colin and Christine are serious about construction. Colin
realized that heavy equipment was the best way to move
all the dirt and rock necessary to make his homestead.
Colin bought a used small bulldozer and used it to
construct the earth berm for the house , to rough out the
garden, and to dig two ponds.
The concrete work that forms the north and east sides of
the house was accomplished by dry stacking concrete
blocks. Colin mentioned that the dry stack technique did
not require constructing wooden forms. The blocks were
reinforced with steel rebar and filled with cement. The
wooden portions of the walls in the south and west were
insulated to R-19 or R-24 with fiberglass. The floor is a six
inch concrete slab reinforced under the 2.5 ton masonry
chimney and stove in the home's center. The home
employs virtually no north facing windows, but instead
uses skylights for natural lighting.
The large south facing windows use two panes of glass to
reduce heat loss. Colin and Christine bought these
factory-made windows direct from Arctic Glass in
Minnesota (715-639-3762) and have found that they work
well. During the winter nights or summer days, each
window can be covered with reflective curtains that roll
down to control the home's temperature. During the winter
these curtains minimize heat loss from the large windows.
During the summer the same curtains shade the home's
interior and keep it from getting too warm. The large mass
of the tiled concrete floor and the monster masonry
stove/chimney act as heat sinks. This thermal mass holds
the heat during winter nights and keeps the home cool on
hot summer days.
Colin designed the home and it is beautiful inside. This is
Colin's third home building project and his experience
shows brightly in this home. The design is functional and
simple to build. The interior spaces are large and open.
The kitchen and the library are the twin focuses of the
home's design. This is a home in which it is impossible to
feel either alone or gloomy. A riot of color and life
flourishes in the gardens just outside the large south
facing windows.
Solar and Wood Heat
If the sun doesn't provide the heat, then wood does.
Southwestern Oregon has a mild enough climate that a
solar heated home is a working reality. Adding a
greenhouse and using its hot air for the home, adds even
more heat during the winter. Only during days of
continuously cold and stormy weather is the backup wood
Russian type mansonry heater used.
Above: the north side of Colin and Christine's home. This side is built into the earth for thermal stability- making the home
warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Colin is on the roof checking out the PV array. Photo by Richard Perez.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
7
Above: a view of the kitchen. Note the heavy mansonry stove/chimney. Below: a view of the library.
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Photos by Richard Perez.
Systems
Above Left: Colin built this monster woodstove into the chimney's east end. Above Center: the wood cookstove is built into
the chimney's westend. Above Right: with a large garden, the Sun Frost RF-12 stores many home-grown veggies.
Photos by Richard Perez.
Colin and Christine burn about one and one-half cords of
wood yearly. They merely clean up the dead hard wood
on their property and use it for space heating, cooking
food, and heating water.
In the center of the home sits a massive Russian type
stove & brick chimney. This chimney has a serpentine
smoke path fed by two different wood stoves. One stove
is built into the chimney and will consume logs up to four
feet long. This large wood heater provides backup heat for
extended cloudy and cold times. The second stove built
into the chimney is a wood cook stove complete with
oven. Colin and Christine do all their indoor cooking on
this wood cookstove. They don't use electricity, propane,
LP gas, or natural gas for any thermal applications. Their
wood cook stove is equipped with a cast iron water jacket.
Hot water is thermosyphoned through the wood stove and
stored in a conventional hot water tank.
The afternoon that Karen and I arrived
to meet Colin and Christine, they were
baking bread in a newly constructed
solar box cooker. They are actively
experimenting with solar cookers
because cooking with sunshine fits with
the way they live. Colin builds a fire and
makes breakfast on the cookstove just
about every morning. This short fire
cooks breakfast, warms the home, and
heats water for the day's use. During the sunny portion of
the day, dinner can be made in the solar cooker without
warming up the cool house.
Colin & Christine's Solar Electric System
Appliance use is strictly 12 Volt DC. Colin and Christine
use electricity for only essential applications like lighting
and refrigeration, and maybe a few luxuries like toast in
the morning. Christine loves toast for breakfast and
makes it on a 12 Volt toaster each morning. The chart
below details the appliances used by Colin and Christine.
The major consumer is the 12 Volt powered Sun Frost
RF-12. This super efficient 12 cubic foot refrigerator and
freezer allows Colin and Christine to keep food fresh for
only about 440 Watt-hours of power daily. Their light is
provided by three 12 VDC fluorescent lights for long
Colin & Christine's 12 Volt Appliances
On time Watt-hrs.
Watts hrs. / day per day
Appliance
%
Sun Frost RF-12 Refrigerator/Freezer
55
8
440
56.4%
Lighting (Fluorescent & Incandescent)
60
5
300
38.5%
250
0.16
40
5.1%
Total
780
Toaster
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
9
Systems
A Block Diagram of Colin & Christine's
Photovoltaic Power System.
Eight Photovoltaic Modules
360 Watts peak at 12 VDC
Trace
C30A
PV Controller
Alternative
Energy
Engineering
DC
Distribution
Panel
duration operation, and three incandescent 12 Volt bulbs for
short duration use. Both Colin and Christine practice the "One
Person, One Light" rule and immediately switch off lights that
are unused.
Colin is planning on adding some 120 vac appliances in the
future. Christine is an assistant principal at a local high school
and could do some work at home with a computer. Colin
already has the wiring in for a 120 vac circuit to be supplied by
an inverter. This circuit will power an IBM clone computer and
printer. Colin is also looking forward to a few motorized
appliances like a grain grinder. Colin and Christine use a hand
powered Corona grain mill to make flour for their bread. Many
times, I have ground fine flour (three passes through the mill)
for two loaves of bread on just such a hand mill. This is a very,
very good place for a solar powered electric motor. Fortunately,
Colin has planned ahead and their system will support these
additional appliances with no problems.
The System Hardware
Colin and Christine's PV system is as simple, direct, and
effective as everything else in their home. Power is provided by
eight photovoltaic (4 Kyocera and 4 ARCO) modules mounted
on the roof. There is no backup generator. Photovoltaics supply
the only electric power to this home. The photovoltaic array is
wired in 12 Volt mode and produces 22 Amperes of peak
current. Average power production is around 1,600 Watt-hours
daily. A Trace C-30A regulator rides herd on the PVs and
protects against battery overcharging and system overvoltage.
12 VDC
to all
LOADS
Power storage is in eight Trojan L-16 lead–acid batteries wired
in for 12 Volt operation. The resulting battery stores 1,400
Ampere-hours at 12 VDC or 17.2 kiloWatt-hours of power. This
battery stores enough power to run the home for thirty days of
continuously cloudy weather. Cloudy periods this long just don't
happen in southwestern Oregon. The batteries, regulator, and
distribution panel are located in a garage in the west side of the
house. This earth bermed room provides a temperate
environment for the lead-acid cells and removes them from the
living areas.
Power is distributed by an Alternative Energy Engineering
power panel. This low voltage distribution panel provides fused
hookups for all the home's 12 VDC circuits. It also contains the
battery voltmeter and the battery ammeter. Use of a 12 Volt
distribution panel makes the wiring both easy and safe.
Eight Trojan L-16 Lead-acid Batteries
1,400 Ampere-hours at 12 VDC
10
Colin & Christine produce about twice as much power as they
consume on a daily average. Battery storage is enough to
supply twenty days of power with the array totally disconnected
entirely. The net result is a stand -alone PV power system that
cost about $4,000. The local utility wanted about $28,000 to
hook up the grid to Colin & Christine's home. The day Colin and
Christine plugged into the sun, they saved $24,000 and
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Systems
monthly power bills stretching out forever.
Gardens
Colin and Christine grow large gardens. Inside their
amazing world of heirloom plants lives berries, flowers,
beans, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and many other plants.
Colin is very active with the local Tilth group. They grow
ancient varieties of plants for seed and pass them around
so that the strains are not lost. The garden is filled many
heirloom strains such as "Howling Mob" corn and fava
beans from the Aprovecho Institute. The storage room in
the house is jammed with home canned garden produce
for use in the winter.
The garden's house is also solar powered with a single
SolarWatt 32 Watt PV module, four Trojan T-105
batteries, and a Sun Selector charge controller. This small
system provides power for lighting in the garden house.
Above: two loaves of bread baking in a solar box cooker.
Below: Dandy the minipig graciously accepts a few
raisins from Christine. Phots by Richard Perez.
Water Systems
Colin has constructed three water systems. They all use
naturally available water from rain as their source. There
are no pumps or electrical power involved in any of the
three water systems. Domestic water is supplied by a rain
harvesting catcher system located about 400 feet from
and 40 feet above the house. A 20 foot by 20 foot metal
roof catches rain water and stores it in two 1,500 gallon
concrete tanks sealed with ferroseal compound. This
rain–catcher system allows Colin to collect the water forty
feet above the house. This provides water pressure for
the home without using a pump. This system supplies the
domestic water for the house, except for the flush
toilet/septic system. The toilet is operated from rain water
collected by the house's roof.
Colin has constructed, with the aid of his bulldozer, two
large ponds on the property. These ponds are located
about 20 feet above the garden areas. One pond is used
to irrigate the extensive gardens, and the other pond is
held strictly in reserve for fire protection. Capacity of both
ponds combined is about 300,000 gallons– enough for
even the dryest summer. These pond refill themselves by
rain and natural water run-off from the land. Colin spoke
of his dream to turn one of the ponds into a wildlife area,
filled with local plants and berries, for the local animals
and birds.
Colin, Christine, and their fuzzy friends
I often judge folks by the critter company they keep. In the
case of Colin and Christine, they keep the company of
some wonderful furry friends. They share life with a large,
friendly sheep dog named Maggie and a minipig named
Dandy. Dandy is a Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig and is
definitely part of the family. Dandy is allowed inside the
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
11
Systems
house and behaves like a perfect gentleman. He sits and
snorts when he asks to be fed his favorite food in all the
world– raisins. Christine told of training Dandy to sit
before accepting food. It took one evening and Dandy had
it mastered by breakfast the next morning. Dandy has a
bed inside during the winter and a pen outside during the
summer. Colin has constructed a watering bowl where
Dandy can activate a lever and get a drink. Dandy also
has his own sunken tub outside for dunks during hot
days. All in all, Dandy is the most personable pig I have
ever had the pleasure to meet.
Homesteading
Colin and Christine have worked out a division of labor
used by many homesteading families. One partner works
out and the other works in. Christine works out in her
professional capacity of school administrator. Colin
remains home to do the full-time job of
homesteading. By adopting this
division of labor they have the dual
advantages of some cash income from
one partner and many hours of
homesteading labor from the other.
The key to Colin and Christine's
success is sensible, appropriate use of
what nature has offered them. They
have aligned their lives so that each of
them can work with their best skills.
They have accepted natural and
renewable sources for their food,
water, shelter, and energy. They have
surrounded themselves with a growing
community of plants and loving friends.
As I sat eating a slice of their solar
cooked bread, I thought to myself how
very easy it is to just say "yes" to
sunshine.
KYOCERA
AD
Access
Author: Richard Perez, C/O Home
Power, POB 130 Hornbrook, CA
96044 • 916-475-3179.
Homesteaders: Colin McCoy and
Christine Reising, C/O Home Power,
POB 130 Hornbrook, CA 96044.
12
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
13
Above: The Ananda Electric crew in front of the system's PV array. Back row, left to right: Jim Agee, Jack Knowles, Jeffrey
Philpott, and Rodger Hall. Front row, left to right: Pam Jung, Bob Ramsaur, and Suzanne Betts.
Central Solar System Serves Four Homes
Jack Knowles with Pamela Jung
©1991 Jack Knowles
F
ive years ago Hunter Black was taking a course in construction management when
he happened on the book "Form and Function" by Paul Jacques Grillo. Hunter
Black had what he calls "an awakening." "Gone," he said, "was my interest in the
standard construction mode that I was being taught. I wanted to discover inspiring,
practical, and, above all, natural methods of design and construction. I wanted to build
'real' houses– houses, in other words, that combined a harmony of spirit and nature."
Ananda
About that time Hunter learned about an intentional
community that was based on principles of meditation and
cooperative living. It was located in the foothills of the
Sierra Nevada in California, about 80 miles northwest of
Sacramento. He visited the 800-acre community--named
Ananda--with his wife and four children. They liked what
they saw and decided to move there. Hunter brought
14
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
along with him a design he had done for a school project
for a solar adobe house.
Well, four years later in 1990 the concept of a single
adobe house had enlarged a bit. It had turned into a
5,000 square foot rammed earth home that was part of a
cluster of four homes--all of them sharing one central
solar power system. This system includes a central solar
Systems
array of 288 modules and a central power building filled
with batteries and power equipment. It is designed to
service a total of 9,000 square feet of housing that
accommodates eight adults and 7 children.
The cluster took its name of Almora from a sacred spot in
India with a long spiritual history.
System Design
Ananda Electric, an electrical contracting company in
Nevada City, California, which has a division that
specializes in photovoltaic installations, designed most of
the system and installed it. Sam Vanderhoof and John
Berdner of Photocomm Inc. of Grass Valley, California
assisted in the design and provided most of the major
components. The home owners in Almora, especially
Hunter Black who was the originator of the idea of a
central system, assisted by providing the solar array
mounting structures, constructing the power building, and
installing the underground conduits.
Well before construction started the home owners
calculated how much power each home would use. From
that information we at Ananda Electric arrived at an
average daily power usage. Using a computer program
from Photocomm, we were able to come
up with figures on the average amount of
sun hours available for every month of
the year. This is based on the weather
patterns in our particular area. From this
PV Array
information we sized the array and the
battery banks, allowing for 5-7 days of
reserve power in the winter.
As you see in the diagram, the homes
are 100' to 250' from the central power
building, and the solar array is 200'--a
substantial distance that required large
wires that greatly added to the cost. This
was done because of personal
preference and not because of technical
considerations; the home owners simply
wanted a certain layout--one that took
advantage of configurations of the land,
allowed for views, preserved trees, and
generally just "felt good," as they put it.
Because the layout was so optional we
have separated out the cost of the large
wire and conduit feeds from the array
and to the houses (in the cost breakdown
at the end of this article) so readers can
see the cost differences if houses and
array were placed closer together.
Indeed, if the distances were cut in half, the savings on
these wires and feeds would be more than 50% because
you could use smaller wire and less of it.
The Array
The solar array is made up of M-51 style 4-volt laminates
(which are commonly used to make what is known as
"Tri-Lams" or "Quad-Lams"). These came from an ARCO
power plant with 16 laminates, or modules, mounted into
one solid metal frame with copper bussing tying them
together. This configuration of these huge units, which we
nicknamed "Monster Modules", made them very easy to
mount as we only needed to support and bolt down the
main frame. Each "Monster Module" is supported by four
pressure treated 8" poles set in concrete. We bolted two
pieces of slotted galvanized angle iron to the poles, then
bolted the modules to the angle iron. By doing some
minor rewiring we got the 24-volt output we needed. We
drove a 5/8" x 8' ground rod for each set of three "Monster
Modules", making a total of six ground rods at the array.
The number of laminates/modules presently installed is
240, and these adequately serve the needs of homes
totaling 8,000 square feet. Another 48 will be added when
Black Res.
250 feet
200 feet
Future Res.
150 feet
Power
Building
150 feet
Blake Res.
250 feet
Oesterle Res.
Ananda Power System
not drawn to scale
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
15
Systems
the 4th house of 1,000 square feet is built by a couple with
a baby.
The system is designed to give a total continuous output
of 6,600 watts with about 40,000 watt-hours generated in
the winter and 60,000 in the summer. That is total daily
output on an average clear day.
The Power Control Panels
At the heart of the system are the power control panels.
Ananda Power Technologies (APT, Inc.) custom
manufactures these in their shop. They are the same
company that makes the "Ultra Power Center" that is
marketed by Photocomm. Inc.
One enclosure is 24 inches x 24 inches and the other is
36 inches x 30 inches. Housed inside are three Heliotrope
CC120B charge controllers, two 800 amp shunts for the
Cruising Equipment Co. ampere–hour meters, three
double shunts for the SPM 2000 meters, and an
assortment of lugs, fusing, bussing and wires. A generous
amount of ventilation and additional heat sinking is built in
to dissipate the very high heat given off by the FETs in the
charge controllers. Mounted in the front doors are 60
Ampere 2 pole Square D breakers. These provide
overcurrent protection and disconnecting means for the
incoming array and outgoing DC lighting and small
appliance loads. The array breakers interrupt the power
before and after the charge controllers so that they are
completely isolated from the system for ease of
maintenance and proper protection.
termination lugs for the battery, array, and load wires with
a #2 copper conductor. We bonded a #6 wire to the metal
housings of the inverters, control panels, and the 5 foot x
10 inch x 10 inch raceway.
The Power Building
This building consists of a 10 foot x 15 foot rammed earth
walled section for the battery room and a shed type
portion with a cabinet to enclose the control panels,
inverters, and battery charger. Rammed earth
construction is a great way to go because it provides
stable temperatures for the batteries. A small Kohler 3 kw
low rpm generator and a IBE 60 Ampere, 24 Volt battery
We drove one 5/8 inches in diameter x 8 foot ground rod
at the control panel. This rod is bonded to the negative
Above: One control door open and wireway cover
removed. The large #4/0 - #400MCM wires from the
array and homes come into the wireway and are reduced
to #6 for termination in the power control panels.
Above: the equipment cabinet inside the power house.
Inverters are on shelves on either side of the power
control panels. Cables pass through the square hole in
the wall and to the batteries on the other side of the wall.
Above: A close-up of the 400 Ampere battery disconnect
switches, one with its cover removed. These switches
are fused. Note that all battery cables are crimped,
soldered and insulated with heat-shrink tubing.
16
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Systems
carpenter plugged his Bosch cordless battery charger
into a Trace 2524 and the charger melted down, case
and all. Makita chargers seem to work fine. Just be
careful and check to see if your charger gets very hot
right away. If so, you'd better unplug it immediately
because it's telling you it can't run on an inverter.
Above: the rammed-earth battery/power building.
charger provide the backup charging. With the size of the
solar array, we predict the generator will seldom, if ever,
be needed, but it's nice added insurance.
The Batteries
We wired six Trojan 175J15, 1493 Ampere-hour, 24 Volt
steel cased batteries in parallel for a total storage capacity
of 8,958 Ampere-hours or 215,000 Watt-hours. Each
battery has a 400 Ampere fused 1 pole disconnect switch
for protection and ease of maintenance. These switches
are another product made by APT, Inc. A separate run of
4/0 welding cable attaches each battery to the disconnect
switch, and from the switch on to the lugs in the control
panels.
Meters and Controls
We installed at each house a SPM 2000 that gives a
digital readout of battery voltage, array and each
house's load current and keeps a running total in
watt-hours and amp-hours for array input and load
draw. We also installed a Cruising Equipment
Company Ampere-hour meter to monitor how full the
batteries are. This meter monitors the actual
Amperes in and out of the battery with compensation
for inherent losses. A regular Volt meter, on the other
hand, can only give you valid readings on the amount
of charge when the batteries are in state-of-rest condition
with no charging or discharging occurring. See Home
Power #16, page 40 for a review of the Cruising
Equipment Ampere-hour meter.
A handy control feature of the Photocomm inverter is its
remote switch (which we installed in the houses) to
control "Always on", "Off", or "Sleep" mode. This allows
you to keep a low wattage draw device such as a VCR
operating to record a show while you are gone. Or by
shutting the inverter down as you leave you can be sure
no power is used by something you may have forgotten to
turn off.
These batteries are heavy, very heavy. They weigh in at
2,500 pounds each. We used a forklift to get them to the
building. Then with lots of sweat and muscle, we rolled
them over 2 foot sections of 2 inch pipe and pry barred
them into position.
The House Wiring Systems
The houses have a combination of AC and DC wiring in
them. Most of the lighting is 24 Volt DC with a mixture of
incandescent, quartz, compact fluorescent, and large
fluorescent lamps. The homes have wiring for DC
refrigerators with Sun Frost units installed in two of them
and propane in the other two.
By the way, we prefer these batteries that are composed
of factory installed cells and cell interconnects as opposed
to batteries that require you to install the loose cells. Even
though it might be easier to move the components around
in the latter, the factory installed versions greatly reduce
any chance of battery terminal corrosion.
The 120 volt AC is used for table and floor lamps that
plug in and a few hard wired fixtures, compact fluorescent
lamps are used in these. The AC power also runs the
clothes washer, dryer, small kitchen appliances, coolers,
vacuum
cleaner,
entertainment
equipment
and
miscellaneous items.
The Inverters
Each home has its own inverter which consists of: one
Photocomm 4,800 watt continuous 120/240 volt ULtra
Inverter, one Photocomm 3600 watt continuous 120/240
volt ULtra Inverter, and two Trace 2524s for the homes
with lower power needs. All inverters have performed
flawlessly. The only unpleasant incident happened when a
We installed three conductor stranded #12, #10, and #8
gauge Romex for the 24-volt DC, and we ran some #2/0
feeders in the 5,000 square foot home due to the long
runs and voltage drop problems. We used the three
conductor cable so that one wire could be a ground for
the fixtures. Thus, we not only met the National Electrical
Code standards that say any metal parts of fixtures or
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
17
Systems
electrical equipment need to be grounded, we also
made it possible for the entire house to be switched
over to 120-volt AC in the future if it should ever be
needed.
An important ingredient in the DC lighting system is
the use of DC rated switches. We use Leviton
#1330-I for the single pole and #1331-I for the three
ways. These may need to be specially ordered from
your local electrical supply house.
Square D size 12/24 load centers with QO style
breakers were used to distribute the 24-volt load
because they have a DC rating and high reliability.
We did the AC wiring with normal romex in the
standard fashion. The 120/240-volt AC power is
distributed with ITE/Siemens standard residential
load centers and breakers.
Conduits and Wires
At each home we installed a 3-inch conduit for the
DC, a 2-inch conduit for the AC and a 1-inch
conduit for the metering and control wires. For the
DC house loads the wires range in size from 4/0 up
to 500 MCM aluminum, depending on the amount
of load and the distance. The runs are from 150' to
250' long, which requires large wire sizes. The AC
feed wires ranged from #2 on up to 2/0 in size.
Because the average run to the array was 200' we
installed a 2" conduit with two 400 MCM aluminum
wires on each set of 48 modules. We used
splicer/reducers on each end of the array and DC
load wires to reduce the size down to a #6 copper
THHN at the control panels and a #2 copper XLP at
the array. This helped us manage and terminate
them easily. For the metering and control wires we
installed fifteen #14 THHN stranded wires, color
coded the same as the wires on the meters.
We used aluminum wires for the large main feeds
because the cost was one half of copper in the
same amp carrying capacity. Aluminum wires must
Three of the Families served by the
Central Solar System at Ananda.
Top: Tom and Mary Oesterle at their new home.
Center: Eileen and Haridas Blake with their
daughter, Rosie, at their home.
Bottom: Audie and Hunter Black with their five
daughters in front of their 5,000 square foot
rammed-earth home.
18
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Systems
be terminated properly to keep resistance to a minimum.
Heavy-duty compression or set-screws type lugs must be
used with aluminum anti-oxidant compound applied to the
thoroughly cleaned cable end.
The only variations in these homes as opposed to a
typical utility connected home are for the refrigerator (they
used Sunfrosts and propane), energy efficient lamps and
the absence of electric space heating.
We sized wires carefully to keep voltage drop to a
maximum of 5% throughout the system. We use a
computer software program called "Basic Voltage Drop
Calculations" (Orloff Computer Services, Santa Ana,
California) to make this task easy and accurate.
Even though it's a little early to get some realistic average
usage readings we thought to tell you what we know now.
Tom Oesterle, one of the homeowners, reports that they
are using about 200 amps, or 4800 watts a day in their
home. This is during the early summer months. He admits
that he isn't making any effort to conserve power since
they have quite a bit more than they need at this time of
year. They run their clothes washer and dryer,
dishwasher, small appliances and lots of lighting
regularly. They also have a few phantom loads that they
just leave on all of the time.
At the power building we brought all of the incoming array
and outgoing AC and DC load wires into a large 10 inch x
10 inch x 5 foot metal raceway (that is nippled to both
power control panels). Then we installed the
splicer/reducers on the wires inside this raceway, with the
smaller wires continuing down into the control panels. We
used a special wire pulling winch to pull the large wires
through the 200 feet+ long conduits. It would have been
extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to do by hand.
Power Consumption
As it worked out in the Almora cluster, two of the home
owners did not have the money to both build their homes
and finance a quarter of the cost of the solar power
system, while the other two did. So they all struck a deal.
The two home owners with the extra resources financed
the system up front. The others buy their power from
them. All the houses have a DC watt-hour meter on them
to calculate the amount of power they've consumed in a
month. This may well be a perfect solution for any group
that wants to be together but has unequal money
resources.
These meters will also be giving us useful
information for future design purposes. It will
be most interesting to anyone interested in
cluster living to see how the different
numbers of people, square footage variation,
and lifestyle habits affect the actual amount
of power consumed. It will probably be of
great interest to the individual families to see
if the power they end up consuming over
time matches the estimate they had in the
beginning--a reality check that might help
reestablish priorities.
The homes are basically very conventional
as far as appliances and usage go. Washing
machines and gas dryers, small kitchen
appliances, entertainment equipment and a
normal dispersion of light fixtures. Some
homes even have dishwashers and
air-conditioning.
Why Build Such a System Together
The reasons for building this type of group configuration,
at least for the residents in Almora, are numerous.
Contrary to what one might think, the primary reason was
not cost savings. In fact, it might even be a wash between
the cost of bringing standard utility electric power in and
the cost of designing, installing, and maintaining this
system; only time will tell on this issue. Nope, the
residents' motivation was more complex.
On the down-to-earth level they wanted to achieve the
self-sufficiency of a mini-village, shared maintenance,
and the efficient use of a renewable resource. On another
level they wanted to experience a level of interaction
among the residents that went beyond the casual
System Costs for Four Homes
System Equipment
Cost
%
PV Array – ARCO M51 Modules – 288@
$26,460
32.2%
Batteries – Trojan 175J15 (8958 A-h @ 24 VDC)
$22,200
27.0%
Conduit and Wiring – for main-feed to homes
$8,250
10.1%
Inverters – 4@
$7,988
9.7%
$6,965
8.5%
Control Panels – 2@
$3,580
4.4%
Instrumentation
$2,444
3.0%
Battery Disconnects – 6@
$1,260
1.5%
PV Array Mounting Structures
$1,120
1.4%
Heliotrope CC120B Charge Controllers – 3@
$975
1.2%
Misc. hardware & parts
$450
0.5%
#4/0 Battery Cable
$380
0.5%
Labor – installation of all equipment and wiring
Total
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
$82,072
19
Systems
neighborliness that is common today and, all too often,
unsatisfying. And yet on another level there was even a
spiritual aspect to it, a strong desire to live in harmony
with nature. As Hunter Black put it, "I think it was more
from a spiritual yearning to reflect the divine than a
practical understanding of what we were getting into that
led to the creation of this solar system. There was, and
still is, a lot of risk in creating a system like this. We don't
know how much mechanical trouble we will have. There
aren't any statistics we can use regarding this. We don't
even know how much power we truly need to keep people
happy...(but) living in closer harmony with nature should
be a goal of all living environments. A closer connection to
nature is a closer connection to spirit which is a closer
connection to the divine and a whole other world and way
of being."
Access
Author/Installer: Jack Knowles, 14618 Tyler Foote Road,
Nevada City, CA 95959 • 916-292-3834.
Component Supplier: Photocomm, Inc,, 930
Idaho-Maryland Road, Grass Valley, CA 95945 •
800-544-6466.
Component Supplier: Trace Engineering, Inc., 5917 –
195th N.E., Arlington, WA 98223 • 206-435-2229.
Component Supplier: Square D, ITE & Leviton. Contact
your nearest distributor under "Electrical Supplies,
Wholesale" in the yellow pages of your local phone book.
Voltage Drop Program: "Basic Voltage Drop
Calculations" – Orloff Computer Services, 1820 East Gary
Avenue, Suite 117, Santa Ana, CA 92705 •
714-261-5491.
Rammed Earth Construction: Hunter Black, Healing
Earth, C/O Ananda Builder's Guild, 14610 Tyler Foote
Rd., Box 117, Nevada City, CA 95959 • 916-292-3292
Photos in this article by Wayne Green.
Power Control Panels & Battery Disconnects: Ananda
Power Technologies, Inc., 14618 Tyler Foote Road #143,
Nevada City, CA 95959 • 916-292-3834.
ENERGY DEPOT AD
20
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Support HP Advertisers!
UTILITY
FREE
FULL
PAGE
AD
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
21
Systems
Above: The Phelps' solar-powered home in the Western Colorado Rockies.
Not Much Different
Patti Penland Phelps
©1991 by Patti Penland Phelps
"Hi, I'm so glad to see you! Come in and have a cup of coffee."
This rather routine greeting may not sound significant, but
to me it means a lot. It means that I can fix a cup of coffee
in my favorite Oster drip coffee pot and can enjoy my
friend's visit. Making coffee with an electric coffee maker
is monumental because all our electricity comes from the
sun. We use photovoltaics to provide power to batteries
that give us electricity to operate our household.
In the Beginning
Two years ago my husband, Frank, and I made the
decision to build on rural property we own in the Western
Colorado mountains. Frank was planning to retire from the
FBI and we were finally going to see a dream come true.
The first shock came when we found that to bring public
service electricity the three miles to our land it would cost
$60,000. Both of us have been interested in alternative
energy but we had thought of it as supplemental. Now we
knew that it had to be our primary source of power.
22
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
We began researching everything possible about
alternative energy. A small creek runs across our land so
we looked at hydro power. Winds gust in this area so we
looked into windmills. Western Colorado has almost 300
days of sunshine so we looked into solar power. Finding
information that we could understand was a nightmare.
When the energy tax credits ended, in 1985, many of the
companies producing alternative energy systems closed.
Most books and magazines dealing with the subject had
been written in the 70s and had become outdated and
lacked information on the newest technology. Then a
friend suggested that we contact the Solar Technology
Institute (formerly Colorado Mountain College Solar
Program). This resulted in an upturn in our fortunes. We
found that this solar program, run by Johnny Weiss and
Ken Olson, was a leader in the United States in solar
technology. They had a class beginning in the fall and
would consider our home for a class project.
Systems
Schools in
In September Frank and I were invited to the class to
discuss our plans and needs. We took our floor plan and
talked with the 15 students about our dream. The students
included 18 year old youths fresh from high school and
older adults eager to learn new skills to improve their
careers. One woman was a building inspector from New
York and another student was from South America. They
shared an enthusiasm for using alternative energy and an
idealism which was contagious.
The first thing they did was to question us about our utility
use in our normal, city life style. We gave detailed lists
including little items like the curling irons up through the
coffee pot. These idealistic students then took our lifestyle
and began to compute our use of electricity. If you have
never done this, it is an exercise that makes you aware, in
a very personal way, of how much of the earth's
resources you are using and, what is more important, how
much you are wasting. The students took each appliance
and discussed the watts, amps, volts, and phantom loads.
This was where they began to lose me but the most
important thing I learned was that heat using appliances
like hair dryers, and coffee makers use a ton of electricity.
Costs
The students met with us a few weeks later and they
recommended a large solar system which would have
cost about $15,000. Frank and I took the list and pared
down some of the appliances that we really didn't need.
Working with the class and within our budget, we decided
on a PV system incorporating 12 panels and 8 batteries
with a total of 700 amp-hours at 24 volts. We would have
enough electricity for four days and if the batteries needed
charging we could use a generator as a backup. I was told
by everyone repeatedly that this was a small system and I
would have to practice "load management". I had visions
of carrying a flashlight in my pocket in the event that I
turned on the one electric appliance that would overload
the system and everything would go out.
Installation
Purchasing our system was made a great deal easier
because one of the largest solar companies, Photocomm,
has an office in Denver. The system arrived in the spring
of 1990 and Johnny Weiss brought the students up to
install the system. We wired the house with a dual
system; 110 vac outlets for regular electric uses and 24
Volt DC for a few special uses such as the refrigerator,
water pumps and a couple of lamps. The only visible
signs of the two systems are the solar panels on the roof,
the two breaker panel boxes side by side and several
Top: Frank & Patti Phelps with Juan Livingstone (center)
and Davis Chapell (center left). Juan and Davis are STI
Solar Program graduates.
Center and Bottom: the Phelps' living room and kitchen.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
23
Systems
funny looking outlets.
Graduation
Within two days Johnny Weiss, and his crew of students
had electricity in our house. We built the house ourselves
and it was an exciting moment to turn on a light and the
stereo. Now we have lived with solar power for almost a
year and I can say it's the best thing we've done. People
often ask me what it's like to live with solar power. I find
that I never leave a light on when I leave a room, but I
don't hesitate to turn on as many lights as I need when I'm
in a room. We bought two new low voltage bulbs from
Rising Sun (a light company that specializes in alternative
lighting with incandescent lights). These lights give the
same amount of light in the same warm tones that the
grocery store bulbs give but use just a fraction of the
amount of electricity. I still use my sewing machine, word
processor, hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, and Cuisinart food
processor. I use the 1000 watt microwave with more
forethought than I did in town. I play the stereo all day and
much of the evening. We watch TV and movies on the
VCR. I can honestly say that our lifestyles have not
changed because of solar other than that we think about
our power use and don't waste electricity.
Changes
We did make three changes that city households wouldn't
have to make. We installed a gas clothes dryer, the
washing machine is electric and on sunny days I may run
as many as 5 loads of wash. We also purchased a new
superinsulated 24 Volt refrigerator that runs on much less
electricity than a conventional refrigerator. I cook on a gas
stove that uses a gas pilot light rather than electric coils.
This winter we learned that the short cloudy days of
December and January were the only times we used the
generator for backup power; a total of 20 hours for the
two months.
Conclusion
We moved to the country a year ago and I must confess
that I was concerned about leaving city power and living
off the grid. It has not changed our lives and now when
friends visit I can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee with
them.
Things like volts, amps, and watts still confuse me but I've
learned that you can live with solar energy without
understanding physics. We are fortunate to have Johnny
Weiss and Ken Olson as experts nearby. Johnny and
Ken's school, the Solar Technology Institute is a private
non-profit school. They will continue to be a leader in the
field and a resource for all of us who live off the grid.
Access
Patti Penland Phelps, 13117 Cty. Rd. 245, New Castle,
CO, 81647.
backwoods solar electric
ad
24
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
KYOCERA PV MODULES
51 Watt – $315 each
12 year warranty
HOXAN PV MODULES Model 4810, 48-50 watt, 3 amp, only $299
each in box of 4. A Trace C-30A Charge Controller ($99 value) is
included FREE with the purchase of each box of 4 HOXAN modules.
COMPACT FLUORESCENT LAMP 15 watt, 120 VAC with
replacement PL 13 bulb. These can save about $35 to $65 in
electric bills. ($18 value) $11
ENERGY SAVING FLOODLIGHT FIXTURE 15 watt, 120
VAC, includes PL13 bulb, polished reflector, weather
resistant, for indoors or outdoors $29.50
GRAIN MILLS Stone & Burr Mills (60 rpm), AC powered,
Hand powered and DC motor driveable
INVERTER BEST BUYS:
24 volt, 2500 watt TRACE
INVERTER 2524 with cooling fan option for increased power.
Used for less than one year, with warranty. (New $1470) $945
Save over $500.
DC MOTORS Permanent Magnet, 12v 1/4HP @ 1200 rpm, 24v
1/2 HP @ 2400 rpm, 36v 3/4HP @ 3600 rpm. Great for
conversions, fans, pumps, tools, lawn mowers, small electric
vehicles. $125
12, 24, 32 volt WATER HEATING ELEMENTS 15 amp.
METER PACKAGE 9-15 voltmeter, 0-15 ammeter, 14 amp circuit
breaker, mounted on 4"x7" black aluminum plate for surface
mounting. ($99 list price) $45
CRUISING AMP HOUR METER with 300% shunt. ($257 value)
only $189 .
SUN FROST 12 CU. FT. REFRIGERATOR The most efficient
that we know of. ($1700 value) $1572
PROPANE REFRIGERATORS: New! 9.5 cu. ft. Servel $1380
and Servel or Dometic 8 cu. ft. $1050
WIND GENERATORS: New Models, Used
Ones, Parts & Towers. New 5000 watt
WhirlWind Wind Generator, 16.4' Blade,
($4600 value) $4195
Shipping costs are not included. Shipping rates
and many more items are listed in catalog. Prices
KANSAS WIND POWER
Route1-HP, Holton, KS 66436
913-364-4407
Try our low prices. Since 1975
CATALOG $3
SUMMER SPECIAL PACKAGE:
4 KYOCERA PV modules (204 watts)
TRACE C-30A charge controller 12/24 volt
AMPLE POWER Monitor 12/24 Volt, Amps & AmpHrs
TRACE 612 Inverter.
All this for only $1995! Save about $400.
Some substitutions are okay such as different inverter etc.
NON-ELECTRIC
COMPOSTING
TOILET by SunMar
($1099 value) $895.
A 12 volt, 2 watt vent
fan option is $46.
This is a very good
price for one of the
finest composting
toilets available for the
home or cabin.
MINI FLUSH TOILET
WATER SAVER KIT
Converts a standard
4-6 gallon toilet to a
1.6 gallon flush toilet.
($20 value) $15
14 HP ELECTRIC GARDEN TRACTORS
36 volt. No gasoline fill-ups. Use solar
& wind energy for recharging. Great for
mowing (2-3 acres per charge), towing
a trailer, snow removal, plowing
rototilling, welding, running power tools
(either DC tools or use inverter for AC
tools), emergency power source,
transportation.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
25
Photovoltaics
Above: the PV test rack, with some of the modules in place. Bob–O Schultze of Electron Connection gets credit for the
ultrafine design and metal work on this adjustable six foot by twelve foot rack. When we did the actual testing at noon, the
entire rack was covered with panels. Photo by Richard Perez
Home Power measures PV Performance
Richard Perez and Bob–O Schultze
E
ver wonder exactly how much power a PV module makes? We have. We placed
just about every make module widely available on the same rack, out in the sun.
Then we measured their electrical output, temperature, and solar insolation. Here
is what we found.
The Test Jig & Procedure
See Home Power #23, page 20 for a complete rundown of
our PV module test jig and procedure. Here's what we do
in a nutshell. We wire the module into the jig using the
instruments shown on the next page.
This test jig allows us to take actual data from each
module. With four Fluke 87 DMMs we measure the
following data: module voltage, module current, module
temperature, air temperature, and solar insolation. The
DMM measuring voltage is connected directly to the
26
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
module's terminals. The DMM measuring module current
uses a shunt (10 Amperes, 10 milliVolt, 0.1% accuracy).
A Fluke 80T-150U temperature probe is used to measure
both module temperature and air temperature. A Li-Cor
200SB pyranometer measures insolation. This data was
taken at Agate Flat, Oregon (42° 01' 02" N. 122° 23' 19"
W.) at an altitude of 3,300 feet.
All modules are mounted on the same 6 foot by 12 foot
rack, i.e. they are in the same plane. This assures equal
access to sunlight. All modules were measured with the
Photovoltaics
Hoxan
We used a brand-new, 4310 Hoxan module provided by
Dave Katz at Alternative Energy Engineering. This
module contains 32 series connected square single
crystal PV cells.
Home Power's PV Test Jig
41.5
temperature probe
DMM
measuring
module
temperature
Carrizo
This module is a set of four ARCO M52 laminates wired in
series to make a module. This seven year old module
was suppled by Mike Elliston of Carizzo Solar. The
resulting module of four laminates contains 48 series
connected cells and a total cell count of 144 PV cells. The
PV cells used to make these laminates are 3.75 inches
square and are single crystal types.
PV Module under test
15.7
0.64
DMM
measuring
current
DMM measuring voltage
Pyranometer
Real Goods
This module is a set of four ARCO M52 laminates wired in
series to make a module. This seven year old module
was suppled by John Schaeffer of Real Goods. The
resulting module of four laminates contains 48 series
connected cells and a total cell count of 144 PV cells. The
PV cells used to make these laminates are 3.75 inches
square and are single crystal types.
Shunt 0.1%
10 A. @ 100 mV.
3Ω rheostat
250 W.
106
1.6Ω
225 W.
as needed
DMM measuring sunshine
same instruments in the same places. Ambient air
temperature was 27.4°C. (81.3°F.) to 31.7°C (89°F.) with
a slight breeze blowing.
The Photovoltaic Players
Siemens
We used a brand-new, M55 Siemens module sent to us
by its maker. This is a current production, single-crystal,
PV module. This module contains 36 series connected
square PV cells.
Solarex
We used a brand-new, MSX60 Solarex module sent to us
by Dave Katz at Alternative Energy Engineering. The
performance data of this multicrystal module is printed on
its back. This data is the result of flash-testing of this
specific module, not a "generic" rating like almost every
other module. After flash-testing, a computer prints a label
with the data for that specific module. This module
contains 36 series connected square PV cells.
Kyocera
We used a brand-new, K51 Kyocera module provided by
Bob–O Schultze at Electron Connection. This module
contains 36 series connected square multicrystal PV cells.
Photocomm
This module is a set of three ARCO M52 laminates wired
in series to make a module. This seven year old module
was suppled by Ron Kenedi of Photocomm. The resulting
module of three laminates contains 36 series connected
cells and a total cell count of 108 PV cells. The PV cells
used to make these laminates are 3.75 inches square and
are single crystal types.
ARCO
This seven year old ARCO 16-2000 module was supplied
by Wayne Robertson at Solar Electric Specialties. It has
33 series connected, single crystal, round PV cells.
Sovonics
This is an amorphous silicon module supplied by Nick
Pietrangleo of Harding Energy Systems. We've had this
Sovonics R-100module out in the sun for the last 2 years.
The Data
We are content to let the data speak for itself. We used
manufacturer's ratings at a 25°C. module temperature. In
the comparison tables that follow this maker's
performance specification is listed in the column called
"Rated Value". Our measured data is in the column
labeled "Measured Value". The column called "Percent of
Rated" compares our measured results with the maker's
ratings. The solar insolation data from the Li-Cor
Pyranometer is accurate. At Agate Flat we often have
solar insolation as high as 110 milliWatts per square
centimeter.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
27
Photovoltaics
Siemens - M55
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
3.35
3.42 102.1% Amperes
Voc 21.70
18.79
86.6% Volts
Pmax 53.00
45.14
85.2% Watts
Vpmax 17.40
14.76
84.8% Volts
Ipmax
3.05
3.06 100.3% Amperes
PV Temp 25.00
50.00 200.0% °C.
Insolation 100.00
108.90 108.9% mW/sq. cm.
Siemens - M55
4.0
A 3.0
m
2.0
p
s 1.0
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
17
18
19
17
18
19
17
18
19
Volts
Solarex - MSX60
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
3.86
3.70
95.8% Amperes
Voc 21.10
18.03
85.5% Volts
Pmax 58.90
44.13
74.9% Watts
Vpmax 17.10
13.80
80.7% Volts
Ipmax
3.50
3.20
91.4% Amperes
PV Temp 25.00
50.60 202.4% °C.
Insolation 100.00
108.80 108.8% mW/sq. cm.
Solarex - MSX60
4.0
A
m
p
s
3.0
2.0
1.0
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
Volts
Kyocera - LA361K51
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
3.25
3.15
96.8% Amperes
Voc 21.20
18.36
86.6% Volts
Pmax 51.00
39.65
77.7% Watts
Vpmax 16.90
14.02
83.0% Volts
Ipmax
3.02
2.83
93.6% Amperes
PV Temp 25.00
54.50 218.0% °C.
Insolation 100.00
108.90 108.9% mW/sq. cm.
Kyocera - LA361K51
4.0
A
m
p
s
3.0
2.0
1.0
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
Volts
Hoxan - 4310
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
3.30
3.02
91.6% Amperes
Voc 19.10
16.72
87.5% Volts
Pmax 44.50
36.10
81.1% Watts
Vpmax 15.00
13.56
90.4% Volts
Ipmax
2.97
2.66
89.6% Amperes
PV Temp 25.00
53.20 212.8% °C.
Insolation 100.00
108.20 108.2% mW/sq. cm.
Hoxan - 4310
4.0
A
m
p
s
3.0
2.0
1.0
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
Volts
28
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
16
Photovoltaics
Carrizo - ARCO M52 QuadLam
Rated Measured
Value
Value
Isc
6.00
6.72
Voc 25.00
24.36
Pmax 105.00
96.94
Vpmax 19.00
16.97
Ipmax
5.50
5.81
PV Temp 25.00
51.30
Insolation 100.00
107.70
Carrizo - ARCO M52 QuadLam
Percent
of Rated
112.0%
97.4%
92.3%
89.3%
105.5%
205.2%
107.7%
8.0
Amperes
Volts
Watts
Volts
Amperes
°C.
mW/sq. cm.
A
m
p
s
6.0
4.0
2.0
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
18
19
17
18
19
17
18
19
Volts
Real Goods - ARCO M52 QuadLam
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
5.50
5.98 108.6%
Voc 25.00
23.61
94.4%
Pmax 100.00
71.39
71.4%
Vpmax 17.70
15.70
88.7%
Ipmax
5.60
4.55
81.2%
PV Temp 25.00
52.50 210.0%
Insolation 100.00
106.60 106.6%
Real Goods - ARCO M52 QuadLam
6.0
Amperes
A
Volts
m
Watts
p
Volts
s
Amperes
°C.
mW/sq. cm.
4.0
2.0
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
Volts
Photocomm - ARCO M52 TriLam
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
7.11
6.39
89.8%
Voc 20.10
18.30
91.0%
Pmax 110.00
66.07
60.1%
Vpmax 16.50
12.29
74.5%
Ipmax
6.65
5.38
80.8%
PV Temp 25.00
51.30 205.2%
Insolation 100.00
107.60 107.6%
Photocomm - ARCO M52 TriLam
6.0
Amperes
A
Volts
m
Watts
p
Volts
s
Amperes
°C.
mW/sq. cm.
4.0
2.0
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
Volts
ARCO 16-2000
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
2.55
2.21
86.5% Amperes
A
Voc 20.50
16.76
81.8% Volts
m
Pmax 35.00
25.88
73.9% Watts
p
Vpmax 15.50
13.04
84.1% Volts
s
Ipmax
2.26
1.99
87.8% Amperes
PV Temp 25.00
50.70 202.8% °C.
Insolation 100.00
106.80 106.8% mW/sq. cm.
ARCO 16-2000
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
Volts
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
29
Photovoltaics
Sovonics R-100
Rated Measured Percent
Value
Value
of Rated
Isc
2.74
2.74 100.0% Amperes
A
Voc 25.00
17.55
70.2% Volts
m
Pmax 37.00
26.56
71.8% Watts
p
Vpmax 17.20
13.51
78.5% Volts
s
Ipmax
2.10
1.97
93.6% Amperes
PV Temp 25.00
48.90 195.6% °C.
Insolation 100.00
106.20 106.2% mW/sq. cm.
Sovonics R-100
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
Volts
We're not finished yet. We are going to continue testing
modules out in the sun. We are going to do it on cloudy
days, on freezing cold days, as well as the hot ones like
today. We're going to test every module we can get our
hands on. We invite you to do the same and send in your
data for publication.
Conclusions
The 25°C. rating standard for PV module rating was
poorly selected. Out in the sun, these modules are
cooking at 50°C. or more. This causes voltage loss in the
cells which in turn lowers the module's power output. If
you live in a warm climate, then derate the maker's 25°C.
power spec by 15% to 25% to compensate for module
heating. A more realistic temperature for rating PV
modules would be in the range of 40°C. to 50°C. because
this is where most modules spend most of their operating
lives.
Access
Richard Perez, C/O Home Power, POB 130, Hornbrook,
CA 96044 • 916-475-3179.
Bob–O Schultze, Electron Connection, POB 203,
Hornbrook, CA 96044 • 916-475-3401.
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• Two year warranty
• Automatic protection for: input overvoltage,output
overload and overtemperature.
• Efficiency- over 90% at half rated power
• Low battery voltage warning buzzer– 10.85 VDC
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400w. - 700 w. - 1300 w.
Ratings are CONTINUOUS!
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
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ELECTRON
CONNECTION
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
31
Education
The Spark
Richard Perez
T
he sun's power shines on us all. The understanding of this power is transmitted
from person to person as a spark. I have felt this spark jump between the eyes of
solar-powered people. Thousands of sparks massed together at the Midwest
Renewable Energy Fair on this summer's solstice for a solar–powered explosion. The
knowledge and understanding shared was incredible.
The Fair
The Midwest Renewable Energy Fair at Amherst,
Wisconsin is an educational experience. Over the
three fair days, some four to six thousand people
attended. They came from far and wide to learn
about using renewable energies in their lives and
homes. There were 51 different workshop topics.
These workshop sessions were like a four year
course at Renewable Energies University
compressed into a single weekend.
During the three day course of the Fair, 135
workshop meetings took place. Attendance at
these workshops was heavy, from 25 to over 100
attendees per workshop. These workshops
covered virtually every aspect of renewable
energy. The workshops were conducted by
hands–on people with years of practical
experience in the subject. The amount of
information changing brains was staggering.
Above: sixteen 63 Watt PV modules on a Wattsun tracker. This
array was part of a 120 Volt DC/ac system. Behind the array is
Lake MI Wind & Sun's Jacobs feeding the demonstration home.
32
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
In addition to commercial booths selling RE
equipment, the MREF Folks set up a model home.
This model home demonstrated the latest in
thermally efficient building techniques. It employed
a solar hot water heater, a PV array, and also
used power from the Fair's big 24 Volt Jacobs
wind machine. The house was divided into four
areas. A bathroom displayed a low flush toilet and
low voltage water pumps. A living room, complete
with TV, VCR running energy videos, a computer,
and printer was powered from the system. A
kitchen with a locally made 24 Volt super efficient
refrigerator/freezer. A power room full of all home
power type goodies like batteries, inverters,
controls and instruments. All rooms were lit by
super-efficient fluorescent lamps. Hell, I wanted to
ship the model home to Agate Flat and move in!
The model home's Head Worker was Kurt Nelson
Education
Above: the solar home at MREF '91 demonstrating solar
electricity, wind power, solar hot water, and super efficient
appliances.
who gave two entire weeks of his life to the project (and
without pay I might add). The local high-school shop class
also helped with construction of the model home.
Materials and equipment were donated by local
businesses and individuals. It was a big hit with fair goers.
This year's Midwest Renewable Energy Fair was even
better organized and attended than last year's. The Fair
organizers put heart and soul into making the fair a high
point of everyone's summer. I saw questions that had
festered for years answered in a twinkling. I saw smiling
people carrying lights, and inverters, and panels, and wind
turbines out to their cars. I listened to solar powered
music made by solar powered humans. I had too much
fun. I saw the spark everywhere.
Above: the big Jacobs supplied much of the power used
at the fair's workshops. The tower is eighty feet tall.
Below: Ken Olson (center) and Johnny Weiss (right) of
The Solar Technology Institute (STI)
We (Karen and I) shared a booth with the nonprofit Solar
Technology Institute. Here, we spent many hours
discussing solar education and solar projects for the
developing world. In Ken, Johnny, Peter, and Linda of
STI, we have found friends who are dedicating their lives
to spreading the spark. These guys not only run the best
hands-on, solar education courses in the world, but also
do vast amounts of good work with solar power in
developing countries.
Karen and I have accepted positions on the Advisory
Board of the Solar Technology Institute. I will be teaching,
with Ken and Johnny, the advanced PV course at STI
from 23 September to 3 October 1991. We are very proud
and pleased to be able to donate our energies to this fine
project. So all you PV types, I'm looking forward to some
great sessions with you at STI this fall. See page 49 of
this issue for the details.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
33
Education
Jordan Energy Institute
Jordan folks not only attended the Fair, they also brought
their solar car, the Sunseeker, with them. Jordan
continues with their fine renewable energy and electric
vehicle programs. I spent some time crawling around their
solar car and was amazed at the level of technology
displayed there. By the time Detroit gets their EV act
together, the Jordan crew will be flying around in
PV-powered heliocopters.
Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Box 249, 116
Cross Street, Amherst, WI 54406 • 715-824-5166
Solar Technology Institute, POB 1115, Carbondale, CO
81623-1115 • 303-963-0715
Jordan Energy Institute, 155 Seven Mile Road, Comstock
Park, MI 49321 • 616-784-7595
Solar Solutions (PV Education Kit), 1230 East Honey
Creek Road, Oregon, IL 61061 • 815-732-7332
Solar Educators
Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl of Solar Solutions were
displaying their PV education kit. This kit consists of a PV
module mounted and wired on a plexiglass case. There
are also meters and terminals for various experiments to
be performed with the PV module. The kit was very well
constructed with all wiring visible for children to see. The
manual and lesson plan were extensive and
understandable. The kit alone is good enough, but
coupled with the manual and lessons, the kit is
educational dynamite. Robert and Sonia have tried their
kit on fourth to sixth grades with amazing results. Kids
learn the concept of solar power quickly when it is
presented in easy to understand ways like the Vogl's PV
kit. I can only hope that educational systems around the
nation have the common good sense to use kits like this
one in their schools.
New Products at MREF
I saw several new products displayed for the first time.
The new Wattsun tracker was used on two large PV
arrays. Chad Lampkin of Michigan Energy Works
mounted sixteen Kyocera 63 Watt modules on a Wattsun,
dual axis tracker. The folks at Midway Labs operated their
new concentrator PV modules (160 suns!) mounted on a
Wattsun dual-axis tracker. This new electric tracker is
fascinating to watch. It uses 10 to 20 Watt-hours of power
daily to keep the modules exactly perpendicular to the
sun. And I mean exactly (definitely within 0.25° on both
the NS and EW axes). The Wattsun tracker uses two
electric linear actuators (employed on satellite dishes) to
track the sun.
Being there…
The atmosphere was charged with discussion. A giant
network of renewable minds exchanged data as fast as
synapses would allow. People walked out with RE
products bought on fair specials. We only got rained on
once. I don't know when I've had a better time.
Access:
Author: Richard Perez, C/O Home Power, POB 130,
Hornbrook, CA 96044 • 916-475-3179
34
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
bergey
wind
ad
Transportation
Above: Doug Cobb, President of Solar Car Corp of Melbourne, Florida walking by his well built Festiva Solar Electric. Solar
Car Corp is actively marketing both electric and solar electric models. Photo by C. Michael Lewis
1991 American Tour de Sol
Robert Wills
T
he five day 1991 American Tour de Sol Solar/Electric car race started at
Rockefeller Plaza in Albany, New York, on May 20. Governor Mario Cuomo said,
"Energy and environment are a single concern. ...When we learn to use energy
wisely we will reduce pollution, and cure acid rain and global warming". He then sent the
twenty-six entrants on their way with a wave of an Earth Flag.
The Route
The race travelled east from Albany to Plymouth Rock,
MA. The first Tour de Sol Earthfair was held at Plymouth.
The cars took five days to travel the 247 road miles of the
race. The average run of 50 miles per day emulates
typical commuting and is within the reach of teams with
limited technical and financial resources. In addition, cars
can run optional laps each day to demonstrate their
range. The winning commuter car, Solectria Corporation's
Flash, travelled an extra 108 miles in laps, averaging 71
miles per day.
About the Tour de Sol
The 1989 American Tour de Sol was the first multi-day
solar car race in the U.S.A. The Tour de Sol differs from
speed races. Its main aim is to promote solar and electric
commuter vehicles. Solar racing cars do serve a purpose
– they push the limits of technology and pose very
different design and racing problems. The main aim of the
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
35
Transportation
American Tour de Sol is to bring solar and electric
vehicles into widespread, everyday use.
Another purpose of the race is to promote renewable
sources of energy. An electric vehicle still pollutes (albeit
less than internal combustion vehicles) if its source of
energy is a conventional power plant. The answer is to
use renewable sources of energy - wind, hydro, and
photovoltaics. It is not practical to carry a PV array on a
commuter car that is large enough to provide a full daily
charge, but efficient vehicles can gain 10 to 30 miles in
range from vehicle mounted photovoltaics. We see the
long term solution as having some photovoltaics on
vehicles, but getting most of our power from
grid-connected distributed PV on roofs nationwide.
Photovoltaics on a car do serve three purposes – they
show that PVs are a viable, available technology; they
provide some measure of additional range, and especially
with lead-acid batteries, they provide a slow topping up
charge that can greatly extend battery life.
The third aim of the Tour de Sol is education. Thousands
of people come to see the cars, and millions learn of
them through mass media. They learn alternatives to
gasoline powered cars and fossil fueled power plants. The
people who make the cars also learn a lot - building a
solar car is a demanding, real-world project.
Tour de Sol Car Categories
Commuter Vehicles have to carry a driver and passenger
and are allowed a maximum of 720 Watts peak of
photovoltaics and 7.2 kWh of battery storage. The are
allowed to recharge their batteries fully from the power
grid each night, to emulate normal commuter use. Vehicle
mounted photovoltaics are optional - it is possible to run a
pure electric vehicle in the race.
There are two categories of racing vehicles: Tour de Sol
Racers are limited to 480 Watts peak of PV array and 4.8
kWh of battery storage. Cross-continental Racers are built
to the rules of the cross-Australia World Solar Challenge
and are limited only by a maximum PV area of 12 square
meters. Both racing categories must travel each day using
only power generated from their PV arrays. (They are
allowed to start the race with full batteries though).
The Open category is for any other vehicle conforming to
the aims of the event. These range from production
electric vehicles with more battery storage than the
commuter category allows, to PV powered mountain bikes
and mopeds.
Notable Vehicles
There were two basic types of commuter vehicles
entered. Some were converted gasoline cars such as
36
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Solectria's Force and Force GT (originally Chevy Geos)
and New Hampshire Technical Institute's Sungo (based
on a Yugo). New England Institute of Technology's Solar
Tech is a converted BMW Izetta. Mattatuck Community
College's Sunbird is a beautifully converted 1952 vintage
MG replica. Others are build from the ground up for
lightness, aerodynamics and efficiency. The winning car,
Solectria's Flash has a fiberglass frame with a
fiberglass/kevlar skin and weighs only 1000 pounds with
driver.
In the racing categories, MIT's winning entry, MIT V, is the
epitome of lightness and aerodynamic design.
Dartmouth's new Sunvox IV featured an aluminum frame
with a fiberglass body and composite front suspension
members. Conval High school (Peterborough, NH) again
entered their four wheeled Sol Survivor with its kevlar
monocoque body. In the cross-continental category,
Rochester Institute of Technology's Spirit with an
aluminum frame and foam/dacron skin came in first.
The open category had many interesting cars ranging
from Solar Car Corporation's beautifully converted Ford
Festiva's, to the Rosebud team's solar electric mountain
bike. The winning car in the open category was the
Electric Hilltopper from St. Johnsbury Academy, Vermont.
Their converted 1979 VW Rabbit ran a perfect race and
demonstrated a range of one hundred miles on the last
day. A great performance by a highschool team. The total
cost of their vehicle was $4,000.
Technology
Most commuter cars used 10 to 20 Horsepower series
motors made by Prestolite, Advanced DC motors or
General Electric with Curtis PMC controllers. Exceptions
were the Solectria cars, the Sungo and the Solar Tech
which used 11 horsepower Solectria brushless dc motors.
There is an interesting tradeoff between the simplicity of
dc brush motors and the efficiency and lightness of
brushless motors as the the brushless controllers are
much more complicated and expensive. On the whole,
the reliability of the electric drive systems was excellent.
Racing category cars, going all out for performance,
generally used brushless dc motors from Solectria, Uniq
Mobility or General Electric.
Most of the converted commuter vehicles kept a gear box
in the drive train from motor to wheels. Notable
exceptions were the Solectria cars and NHTI's Sungo
which has two Solectria motors connected via chain
drives to each rear wheel. All of the racing vehicles used
a direct drive, taking advantage of the wide torque range
of their electric motors.
Transportation
Batteries are well known as the limiting factor in electric
vehicle performance. Most cars in the Tour de Sol used
deep cycle lead acid batteries made by Trojan, Keystone
or Sears. The winning commuter, Solectria's Flash used
SAFT nicad cells while NHTI's Sungo had Hoppecke fiber
nicads. The racing category cars either used lead acid
cells, or if budgets allowed, super light-weight silver-zinc
and silver-cadmium cells.
The use of silver based batteries is rather controversial
because they are too expensive for large scale electric
vehicle production. For this reason, silver batteries may
not be allowed in future Tour de Sol races.
deviated dramatically from these numbers either had
errors in measurement, or drove with a very different style
to others in the test. In particular, the low energy usage of
the Force GT can be attributed to careful driving and the
use of regenerative braking.
Results
Placings of the 26 entrants are shown in the table.
Scoring for the American Tour de Sol uses "adjusted
time". This is the route running time minus an allowance
for each optional lap, plus any time penalties incurred for
rule infractions or not completing a leg.
Winning teams received cash prizes and trophies. The
Photovoltaic modules on cars ranged from the carefully
top three student teams in the commuter and open
integrated Photocomm/Kyocera laminates on the Solar
categories shared $10,000 in prize money provided by
Car Corporation cars to the many cars using
the U.S. Department of Energy, our major sponsor. There
Solectria/Siemens laminates which are made in
are also DOE prizes for the best student videos of the
Switzerland, to the Solarex SX30s on the Sungo, to the
race. Other sponsors included the NH Governor's Energy
cell by cell arrays formed to the curves of the
cross-continental racers.
1991 American Tour de Sol Results
Vehicle Testing
A full day of testing was done on the Sunday
before the race. As vehicle safety is paramount,
no vehicle can compete in the Tour de Sol without
it. Vehicles were tested for compliance with the
rules, especially PV array and battery bank size.
The mechanical inspection is for practicality,
safety and stability and includes a cone test and
starting on an incline. The braking test is stringent
(better than -5 m/s2 for a four wheel vehicle) as all
vehicles are carrying a considerable load of
batteries. An acceleration test was done to
determine pole position. All vehicles must be
street legal, registered, insured and capable of
sustained speeds of 25 mph or more.
Probably the most interesting testing that was
done was vehicle efficiency. By measuring
average battery voltage and current over a known
course, we could calculate the average Watt-hours
per mile used. A very simple clip-on
instrumentation system was used – one Fluke 87
meter measuring voltage and another, via a Fluke
80i-1010 dc clamp probe, the current. The fluke
meters can calculate true average values over a
period of up to 36 hours. The results of the test
(see table) show excellent consistency by vehicle
type: Most of the racers ranged from 47 to 58
Wh/mile, commuters typically around 160 to 200
Wh/mile and the heavier open category cars
ranging from 230 to 260 Wh/mile. Cars that
Place
Name
Team
Commuter Class
1 The Flash
Solectria Corporation
2 The Force
Solectria Corporation
3 Sunbird
Mattatuck Comm. College
4 Solar Tech
New England Inst. of Tech.
5 Sungo
New Hampshire Tech. Inst.
6 SunDriver D
SunDriver Inc.
7 S-CAR-GO
Delta College
8 Independence
Svenson Brothers
Tour de Sol Racing Class
1 Solectria V
MIT Solar EV Club
2 Solaray
Virginia Tech. Inst.
3 Suntech
NH Technical Institute
4 Sol Survivor II
ConVal High School
5 Sunvox IV
Dartmouth College
6 Solarflame
Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
7 Nuspec Phoenix Northeastern University
Cross Continental Class
1 Spirit
Rochester Inst. of Tech.
2 Wild Solarcat II
Villanova University
3 SunDragon II
Drexel University
Open Class
1 Electric Hilltopper St. Johnsbury Academy
2 Force GT
Solectria Corporation
3 Poetry in Motion Albert Hutton
4 Festiva Solar
Solar Car Corporation
5 Festiva Electric
Solar Car Corporation
6 EVA-EL 1
Peter Systems
7 Rosebud 2
Team Rosebud
8 Sunpacer
Cato-Meridian HS
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Total Adj. Usage
Miles Hours W-h/Mi.
355
247
259
218
143
121
44
0
7.25
9.40
13.53
26.88
44.55
60.75
72.38
84.33
60.00
296.30
182.20
163.70
184.80
222.70
N/A
302
263
258
247
229
132
45
7.32
9.68
9.88
11.12
20.98
49.07
73.25
55.40
47.70
56.00
243 15.17
161 40.90
99 56.17
304
269
244
223
178
130
112
10
8.38
14.97
19.07
23.30
33.47
58.60
60.68
82.08
50.30
98.68
N/A
N/A
58.80
261.00
123.20
296.20
250.80
282.80
234.00
N/A
N/A
37
Transportation
Office, the NY State Energy Office, the New England
Electric System and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
A Major Step towards Sustainability
The American Tour de Sol is organized by the Northeast
Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). Just last year
we changed our name from Solar Energy to Sustainable
Energy to better reflect our aims. The use of solar energy
is just one facet of a sustainable future.
It seems that a new environmental disaster emerges
every year. First there was acid rain, then global warming,
then air pollution in cities, gasoline in groundwater, ozone
depletion, and now oil wells burning in the Middle East. All
of these are caused in part by automobiles. In addition, oil
reserves are dwindling, and will not last more than
another generation.
The oil age has lasted just 100 years and is ending in
environmental disaster. We need sustainable energy
technologies that last not 100 but 1000 years – or even
1000 generations – without harming the environment.
Harry Braun's book "The Phoenix Project" is a good
overview of sustainable energy options. He concludes that
solar energy is the only viable alternative.
In the broader picture, we need sustainability in energy,
transportation, resource use, and agriculture - a
sustainable society. Electric vehicles offer a step beyond
the frustration of being able to do little more than recycling
paper and containers. Put PVs on your roof and an EV in
your garage, and you have taken a major step towards
living in a sustainable society.
ATdS Symposium & the 1992 Race
The Tour de Sol Symposium will be in Boxboro, MA, (just
west of Boston) this Oct. 26 & 27, and will feature
displays of commuter and racing solar/electric vehicles,
and sessions on vehicle design, components, policy and
economics. The keynote speaker will be Robert Stempel,
CEO of General Motors Corporation. The car display will
be open to the public.
Planning of the 1992 race is now under way. We expect
more cars, more publicity, and an even better time for the
participants. As always, we are looking for the support
and volunteers that make these events possible. If you
would like to help with the Tour de Sol, please contact us.
Access:
American Tour de Sol, Northeast Sustainable Energy
Association, 23 Ames St, Greenfield, MA 01301 •
413-774-6051
The Phoenix Project, Research Analysts 1990, POB
62892, Phoenix, AZ 85082 • 602-969-3777.
NICKEL CADMIUM BATTERIES
The Best There is… and Affordable.
Our reconditioned Ni-Cad batteries have a proven track record of Superior
performance under various conditions. With Ni-Cads you can add to your
system as your power needs increase. Don't worry about deep discharges and
over charging. Ni-Cads are very forgiving. Our reconditioned Ni-Cads are
being used for home power, electric vehicles, marine power, electric bicycles,
travel trailers and other uses. Call or write us for more info. (See you at SEER)
_
+
Pacific
West
Supply Co.
A Resource Holdings Ltd. Co.
38
Pacific West Supply Co.
111723 SW 88th
Tigard, OR 97223
(503) 835-1212
FAX (503) 835-8901
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Things that Work!
tested by Home Power
Carrizo
Solar
Cruising Equipment
®
1902 N. Country Club Dr. #8, Mesa, AZ 85201 • 602-833-1550 • fax 602-833-1711
S
O
SunAmp Power Company is a manufacturer of quality voltage regulators and controls, custom electronics, module
mounts and Battery Capacity Meters. We offer a two-day comprehensive seminar for dealers and those who would
like to know more about Photovoltaic (PV) equipment, and how to design PV systems. SunAmp is committed to
giving undying support to our Dealers and Distributors. We will not compete with you our Dealer/Distributor. To
apply, contact SunAmp for a Dealer/Distributor application. Retail customers are referred to our nearest SunAmp
Dealer for local support. SunAmp Power Co. is a full line, full service distributor of PV systems and products.
SOLAREX - POWER STAR - HEART INTERFACE - ZOMEWORKS - U.S.BATTERY
Lighting, Water Pumping, Billboards, Wind Generators and Regulators
• VISA/MASTERCARD/ORDERS • CALL TOLL FREE 800-MR SOLAR •
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
39
Systems
Down the road with PVs
Richard Perez
H
ow many photovoltaic modules can you fit on the roof of a recreational vehicle?
Well, this one holds fifteen panels. The system's owner, Brint Gilbert, is using this
RV to find his country home. And when Brint eventually finds his homestead, he
will know where his power will come from.
The Mission
Finding a suitable place for a homestead is not
easy. In early 1970, we put 14,000 miles on a truck
looking for our homestead. We drove from
California to Maine and back again. We traveled the
back roads crossing the largest blank spaces we
could find on maps. After six months of ceaseless
travel, we got lost and found our homestead on
Agate Flat, Oregon. This is Brint's mission.
The RV carries Brint and his mother in
solar-powered style as they search for their country
home. When they find their home, then the PVs and
system components come off the RV to be installed
in their new homestead. Meanwhile, when Brint is
at his present home in Mesa, Arizona, he plugs into
the RV and uses its solar power to run some the
appliances his downtown home.
The RV's Appliances
This is an all electric RV. PV supplied power is
used for cooking, water heating, air conditioning,
refrigeration,
entertainment
electronics,
and
lighting. Appliances aboard Brint's motorhome are
detailed in the table below.
Above: Brint installed fifteen photovoltaic modules on the roof
of his motorhome. This PV system makes this RV electrically
independent without using a generator. When this RV is at
home, it powers some of Brint's home.
40
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Resting in the driveway…
When Brint's RV is not on the road, it sits in his
driveway with a power cord stretching into Brint's
grid connected home. Brint has taken many of his
downtown appliances off of the grid and powers
them from solar electricity made by the resting
motorhome. Some of the appliances powered at
home by the RV are: a 24 inch Color TV for 16
hours daily, a 900 Watt microwave oven for 45
minutes daily, three Osram compact fluorescents
five hours each daily, three ceiling fans for ten
hours daily, and occasional use of a clothes iron, a
washing machine, a sewing machine, and a
vacuum cleaner.
Systems
PV-powered Appliances in Brint Gilbert's RV
Appliance
Watts
On time
W.-hrs.
hrs / day
per day
Refrigerator
275
7.00
1925
Microwave Oven
1200
0.60
720
Water Heater
750
0.75
563
9" Color TV
25
10.00
250
Toaster Oven
1200
0.20
240
Lights
45
5.00
225
Fans
50
3.00
150
Vacuum
600
0.10
60
Average daily power consumption
surrounded by curious RVers trying to find out how he's
running his air conditioner and everything else without a
generator. Brint mentioned that it's great to have the
conveniences without having to listen to a generator
yammering as it gave the entire RV a vibramassage.
When Brint settles down, he already has his power
system and several years of PV living experience.
Access
System's Designer and Installer: Brint Gilbert. 6409 East
Desert Street, Mesa AZ 85205.
Author: Richard Perez, C/O Home Power, POB 130,
Hornbrook, CA 96044 • 916-475-3179.
4133
The RV's Hardware
All this electricity is produced by fifteen ARCO
M75 PV modules each rated at 47 Watts. Total
peak PV power is about 750 Watts and the array
produces about 4,000 Watt-hours daily. This
power is stored in six Trojan T-125 lead–acid
batteries. Total storage is 705 Ampere-hours at
12 Volts DC. PV power is controlled by a 50
Ampere SCI charge controller. The system also
uses a Trace 2012 inverter with battery charger
to supply the 120 vac powered appliances.
The installation of all this power equipment on
and in an RV could not have been easy. Brint's
installation is immaculate. Each panel has its
own hand fabricated aluminium mounting
brackets. The panels are mounted in the free
spaces between the two roof mounted air
conditioners and all the other stuff found on RV
roofs. Nowhere is there a dangling wire or funky
connection. When I walked up to the RV, I
couldn't see that the panels were even on the
roof!
Photron
ad
The batteries are tucked into a slide out
compartment accessible from outside, just
behind the pilot's seat. Here they are outside of
the living compartment, secure and easily
maintained. The inverter and controls are tucked
under one of the couches in motorhome's
forward cabin. Once again the installation is
totally ship shape.
A Rolling Solar Power House
No matter where Brint goes in his motorhome he
will always have electric power. Brint is often
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
41
Instrumentation
Instrumentation for Home Power Systems
Richard Perez
©1991 by Richard Perez
W
hen we make our own electricity we are our own power company. We are our
own production crew, our own energy auditor, and our own trouble shooter.
Instruments are our eyes into the electric world of our power systems. Without
accurate instruments we are flying blind. While instrumentation is not necessary for the
system to work, it greatly helps us operate our systems. And when things don't go right,
instrumentation is essential for finding out what and where the problem is.
System Measurement
If we don't know how our system is performing, then we
cannot effectively use it. We are in the same position as a
U Boat captain, we must make operational decisions
based on the state of charge of our batteries. If the
batteries are full and the power source producing, then we
are wasting power in the only way possible in an RE
system– by not using it. If the batteries are empty, then
we need to ease power consumption.. So battery state of
charge is the first and most important bit of info we need.
Monitoring critical system points gives us an at a glance
check of major component performance. We don't really
need to continually know this data everywhere in our
system, just at critical points. The best places to make
these mostly voltage and current measurements are on
power producers (PV, hydro, wind, or ?), power storage
(batteries) and power processing devices (inverters and
controls).
Before we measure anything, we need a meter. It could
be an analog meter (you know, the older types with a dial
and pointer) or a more modern type that displays numbers
on a digital display. The instrument may be set up to
perform many types of measurements or it may be
optimized to perform only one. How accurate does the
instrument need to be? As accurate as you can afford. In
measurement, accuracy is the name of the game.
A Good DMM vs. Discrete Instruments
A Digital MultiMeter (DMM) can make a variety of
measurements. The DMM will measure voltage, current,
and resistance. Some DMMs will also measure frequency,
duty-cycle, capacitance, test semiconductors, and record
data in their memory. There are hundreds of these meters
on the market. We use two Flukes at Home Power. The
Fluke 77 is rugged, accurate (0.1% on DC), and
inexpensive (≈$140). The Fluke 87 has all the features
mentioned above for about $280. These are highly
42
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
accurate, capable, and reliable instruments. If you are
seriously interested in instrumentation, a DMM of this
caliber should be your first purchase. It will be the
standard with which you will build other specialized,
dedicated instruments. There are less expensive DMMs
than the Flukes mentioned here. You will get what you
pay for. The higher quality DMMs are more accurate,
have many more features, last many times longer, and
are very rugged. See HP#15, page 41 for a technical
report on the Fluke 87 DMM
Discrete analog meters are inexpensive and usually
optimized to perform a single function, like being a battery
voltmeter. The accuracy of analog meters can vary from
"strictly ballpark" (as bad as ±25%) to very accurate
(≈1%). Analog meters are inexpensive ($3 to $40) and
easily available in the surplus market. They are powered
by the circuit under test and generally require no on board
batteries. They are extremely easy to tweak into accurate,
dedicated meters for virtually any measurement.
So the choice of instruments is up to you. Let your
inclination and bank account be your guide.
Battery Measurements
The battery is the heart of the system. The battery is the
Numero Uno, first, last, and most essential component
subjected to continuous scrutiny. The best single
instrument for operating batteries is a dedicated battery
Ampere-hour meter. Period. If you don't really care about
fully instrumenting your system and want only a single
instrument, then get a battery Ampere-hour meter.
Other very useful battery instruments include a dedicated
battery voltmeter and a bi-directional ammeter that
measures net current into and out of the battery. We use
both and find them very informative for at a glance checks
on system performance.
Instrumentation
Battery Ampere-hour measurement
The constant question in any battery based system is,
"How full is the battery?" The easiest to understand and
most accurate method uses a digital Ampere-hour meter.
It's a "gas gauge" for all types of batteries, both lead-acid
and nickel-cadmium. These instruments not only work
well, but their information is direct and understandable by
even the most nontechnical battery user.
Ampere-hour Measurement
There are many ways to measure a battery's State of
Charge (SOC). In lead-acid cells, you can measure the
specific gravity of the electrolyte with a hydrometer. But
this is temperature dependent and risks contamination. In
nicads, specific gravity of the electrolyte is meaningless
as it doesn't change with the cell's state of charge. We
can use a voltmeter to determine SOC. But this is not very
accurate, and varies with the battery's temperature.
Measuring SOC by voltage is also dependent on the
current flow through the battery. If the battery is under
charge, then the voltage is higher. If the battery is under
discharge, then the voltage is lower. And after you have
compensated the voltage measurement for current and
temperature, then you must still consult a SOC versus
Voltage chart to accurately determine the battery's State
of Charge. Sound confusing? Well, it is. And all this
confusion is cleared up by an Ampere-hour meter.
Ampere-hour measurement is the best way to determine
battery state of charge. The measurement doesn't depend
on temperature, cell type, or whether the battery is being
charged or discharged. The Ampere-hour meter provides
a digital readout of exactly how many Ampere-hours have
been withdrawn from the batteries.
Ampere-hour meters come in two types. Some are
totalizing types that continually add up the Ampere-hours
flowing in a single direction, say the yearly current
production of a PV array. Other Ampere-hour meters are
optimized as Battery SOC meters, and are bi-directional,
net reading meters. They measure and count current flow
to and from the battery.
The Ampere-hour Meter- a "Gas Gauge" for Batteries
The battery Ampere-hour meter is installed on a fully
charged battery. At this point the digital display will read
zero (0). This makes sense since the battery is full and we
haven't yet withdrawn any power from it. As the battery is
discharged, the digital display counts the Ampere-hours
withdrawn from the battery. For example, say our battery
is full in the afternoon and during the night we withdraw 40
Ampere-hours. In the morning, the Ampere-hour meter
will read -40 (that's MINUS 40) to indicate that we've
withdrawn 40 Ampere-hours from the full battery. As the
Sun comes up and the PV array (or any other power
source) starts recharging the battery, the Ampere-hour
meter begins counting up (from -40, it counts to -39, -38,
-37, etc.) to zero as the battery refills. When the battery is
full, the meter again reads zero. At that point any
additional recharging of the battery is read as positive
numbers on the display. For example, after the battery is
full, if we put 20 Ampere-hours more through it, then the
display will read 20 as "overcharge Ampere-hours". After
charging stops, the meter resets itself to zero regardless
of the number of overcharge Ampere-hours. This makes
sense since overcharge Ampere-hours can not stored by
the battery because it is already full.
For "Things that Work!" tests of two battery Ampere-hour
meters see HP#16, page 40 for a review of Cruising
Equipment's meter. See HP#20, page 40 for a "Things
that Work!" review of the Ample Power's Ampere-hour
meter. The Cruising Equipment model is a straight
Amp-hour meter for about $200, while the Ample Power
version is also a battery voltmeter and battery ammeter
for about $300.
Battery Voltage
Let's face it, although battery Ampere-hour meters are the
best tool for the job, they are also expensive. Many of us
still use battery voltmeters to aid us in determining battery
state of charge. If you own a DMM, then you can use it to
measure battery voltage. Most of us, even those with
several DMMs, still like to have a dedicated battery
voltmeter on line. You can buy these as digital meters for
around $50, as analog meters for about $20, or you can
make a very accurate analog model as follows.
The Expanded Scale Analog Battery Voltmeter
The idea here is to use an analog dc milliammeter to
accurately measure battery voltage. This circuit produces
an expanded scale voltmeter. Most analog voltmeters
start reading a 0 volts. This is really a waste for battery
systems as a lead acid battery will have about 10 to 11
volts (20 to 22 VDC in a 24 VDC system) even when just
about empty. So the portion of the meter's scale between
0 and 10 volts is never used. Wasting this portion of the
meter's scale decreases its resolution and thereby the
accuracy of the meter. This circuit allows the meter to
start reading at 11 volts and to display full scale at 16
volts (a very fully charged 12 Volt battery while still under
charge). The 24 VDC version starts reading at 22 VDC
and displays full scale at 32 VDC. This is called an
expanded scale, and makes the meter much more
accurate to use.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
43
Instrumentation
Expanded Scale Analog Battery Voltmeter
consumption. We've had one on line
since 1976.
11 to 16 VDC (or 22 to 32 VDC)
1 KΩ
(2 KΩ)
1/2W.
.01 µf
Battery
Input
11 to 16
(22 to 32)
Volts
DC
11
12
3.3 KΩ
(9.1 KΩ)
R2
2 KΩ
TP1
10 KΩ
(51KΩ)
LM 723
Voltage
Regulator
5
1 mA. DC Ammeter
R1
2 KΩ
(5KΩ)
4
7
9
13
6
.001 µf
22 KΩ
(24KΩ)
Resistor values in paranthesis () are for 24
VDC model.
All resistors 1/4 W. unless otherwise noted
All capacitors 50 Volt rated
Designed by Richard Perez
All the components for this meter are available at most
Radio Shack stores, or from just about any electronics
supply house. Cost of the parts should be between $15.
and $40., depending on your hardware sources.
Construction time is about 1 hour for an experienced
assembler. This circuit is powered by the battery under
measurement.
We don't have space here to give an electronics primer
for those not familiar with electronic construction. What I
do offer is the schematic for the circuit. If you can't figure
out how to build this meter from the schematic, then
please seek out an electronics person who can aid you.
Electronic Nitty-Gritty
This circuit uses a 1 mA. DC Ammeter as an expanded
scale voltmeter. The meter has its ground elevated to 11
Volts (22 Volts in a 24 VDC system) by the use of an LM
723 voltage regulator in shunt mode. This makes the
meter very accurate as there are no series
semiconductors in the measurement circuit. Full scale
reading and the 11 Volt (or 22 Volt) ground level are both
adjustable by using the potentiometers in the circuit. R1
adjusts the shunt regulator. Adjust R1 until Test Point 1
(TP1) is at 11 Volts (22 VDC in a 24 Volt system). Then
adjust R2 until the meter reads the battery's voltage at the
time. Use an accurate DMM to calibrate this circuit.
Average power consumption is about 5 milliWatts. When
on line 24 hours a day, power consumption is less than
0.1 Watt-hours per day. This meter is super–efficient and
can be left on line all the time with a minimum of power
44
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Battery Current
A bi-directional Ammeter is a great
instrument to have. The instrument
measures current into or out of the
battery. Since the ammeter is in series
with the battery, the ammeter must
have low insertion loss. Every
amperage measurement scheme has
some electrical resistance. At the high
currents commonly found in battery
systems, the insertion resistance must
be low (less than 0.001 Ω). For
example, an inverter starting a big
electric motor may require over 800
Amperes of current from the battery.
All this current must pass through the
ammeter.
Shunts
In high current situations, use a shunt for measuring
battery current. Shunts are very low resistance, precision
resistors designed specifically for current measurement.
Shunts are relatively inexpensive ($10 to $40), accurate
(0.1%), and can handle large currents (10 A. to >1000
A.). Shunts are used for current measurement by every
Ampere-hour meter and most ammeters. If you can live
with accuracy losses <10%, then you can use the copper
wiring in your system as shunts. It all works by the magic
of Ohm's Law.
In Theory
Ohm's law tells us that any electrical current flowing
through a material (like a piece of wire or a shunt) suffers
a loss in voltage. This voltage drop across the material is
due to its resistance and the movement of the electrons
(current) through that material. The amount of current
flowing through the material can be determined if we
know two things. One, the voltage loss across the
material, and Two, the resistance of the material. Or in
algebraic terms using Ohm's Law:
I=E/R
where
I= the amount of current in Amperes
E= the voltage drop in Volts
R= the material's resistance in Ohms
Everything in the system is wired with copper wire. The
wiring is necessary to move current from place to place. If
we consider these wires as resistors, then we can use the
Instrumentation
voltage loss across a wire to determine the current flowing
through the wire.
Copper Wire Shunt Table
mV / 10 = Amps mV = Amps
How it Works
All we need to perform current measurements is a Digital
MultiMeter (DMM) and the already existing wire in our
systems. And help from Ohm's Law.
The DMM is used to measure the voltage drop across a
piece of wire carrying current. The DMM should be
capable of making measurements in the millivolt DC
range. Such resolution is necessary as this technique
involves using lengths of wire with resistances from 0.01Ω
to 0.0001Ω. The resultant voltage drops across such
small resistances will be low, and we'll need a DMM that
can make accurate measurements in the milliVolt range.
We also need to know, as accurately as possible, the
resistance of the piece of copper wire we are using. To
find this resistance first determine the wire's size or
gauge. Most wire has its gauge number printed on its
insulation. Or the wire's gauge can be determined by
using a wire gauge measuring tool. Once the gauge
number is known, then measure the length of the wire.
Copper wire has its resistance, in Ohms per foot,
specified by gauge number. Once we know the gauge, we
can look up the resistance (Ω/ft) on a Copper Wire Table.
This value is multiplied by the number of feet of wire we
are using to make the measurement. And the result is the
resistance of that particular piece of copper wire or shunt.
This technique can be used on wire of any size, and of
any length. There are certain resistance values for shunts
that have distinct advantages. Consider the following
resistances: 0.01Ω, 0.001Ω, and 0.0001Ω. If these values
are used for R, then we are performing division by a
decimal fraction of 1. This means that the measurement
taken by the DMM can be read directly and a calculator is
not needed to perform the math. Only the decimal point of
the reading of the DMM need be shifted to obtain the
amperage measurement.
What follows is a Copper Wire Table that is optimized to
display the lengths of various gauges that have
resistances from 0.01Ω to 0.0001Ω. Find the wire gauge
size of the wire you are using, and the lengths necessary
to produce the shunts are shown across the table.
Measure the indicated length along your wire and you
have a shunt with a resistance that is a decimal fraction of
1. Attach the leads of the DMM across this length and
you're ready to make current measurements.
At the head of each shunt column on the table, there is a
reminder to shift the decimal point on the mV. reading
taken from the DMM. For example, let's consider a 12
Gauge
Size
0.01 Ω
Feet
0.001 Ω
0.0001 Ω
Meters Feet Meters
OOOO 203.95 62.164 20.40
OOO 161.74 49.299 16.17
mV X 10 = Amps
Feet
Meters
6.216
2.04
0.622
4.930
1.62
0.493
OO
128.27 39.097 12.83
3.910
1.28
0.391
O
101.73 31.006 10.17
3.101
1.02
0.310
2
63.98 19.500
6.40
1.950
0.64
0.195
4
40.24 12.264
4.02
1.226
0.40
0.123
6
25.31
7.713
2.53
0.771
0.25
0.077
8
15.92
4.851
1.59
0.485
0.16
0.049
10
10.01
3.051
1.00
0.305
0.10
0.031
12
6.30
1.919
0.63
0.192
0.06
0.019
14
3.96
1.207
0.40
0.121
0.04
0.012
16
2.49
0.759
0.25
0.076
0.02
0.008
18
1.57
0.477
0.16
0.048
0.02
0.005
20
0.99
0.300
0.10
0.030
0.01
0.003
22
0.62
0.189
0.06
0.019
0.01
0.002
VDC light hooked up with 12 gauge wire. From the shunt
table, we see that 0.63 feet of this 12 gauge wire will give
us a shunt of 0.001Ω. The heading of the column tells us
that the milliVolt (mV.) reading on the meter will equal the
amperes of current through the shunt. If we measure 4.2
mV. across this 0.001Ω shunt, then the current flowing
the shunt (and the light) the light is 4.2 Amperes. If the
shunt had a resistance of 0.01 Ω (as in 6.3 feet of 12 ga.),
the the milliVolt reading on the DMM would be 42.0 mV.
and would have to be divided by 10 to produce the correct
amperage
measurement of
Using a DMM and a Shunt
4.2 Amperes.
to measure current
The
schematic
below shows the
electrical
setup
for using shunts
to measure
current.
Measurement can
be made on the
positive or
negative wire, it
doesn't make any
difference. I've
made switch
panels to
measure current
in different places
DMM
measuring
mV.
48.27
Power Source
Length
from
Table
Load
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
45
Instrumentation
by soldering small (20 gauge) "sense" wires to the shunts
(either commercially made high accuracy shunts, or just
plain ole' copper wire ones) and running these smaller
wires to a panel with a rotary switch. The DMM is
connected to the output of the switch which selects the
different shunts. We don't have to cut the wire to make a
shunt. Simply make the length measurement, strip back
the insulation at the shunt's length, and solder on the
sense wires. In places where you don't need to make
measurements often, use needle probes on the DMM to
pierce the insulation without stripping. A piece of string is
useful to transfer length measurements from a tape to stiff
pieces of nonstraight wire and cable.
Where to Use Copper Wire Shunts
Use this technique any place you wish to measure
current. Here are some suggestions. On the main wires
delivering current from PV arrays to the batteries. On the
wires that supply current to an inverter (this is a great
place for a 0.0001Ω shunt made out of 2.04 feet of 0000
gauge copper cable). On the wires that connect the
battery pack to the bus. And on any appliance whose
current consumption needs to be measured.
Advantages
There are all kinds of advantages in using this technique.
The wiring that we are using to make the measurement
already exists to move the power to or from the device.
The measurement process doesn't introduce any new
losses as the shunt wiring is already there. The wiring
need not be cut as in the insertion of an in-line meter.
Shunts can be made with very low resistances, thus
enabling high current measurements with minimum loss.
The technique can be used with minimum trouble and no
expense for occasional measurements than don't require
a dedicated in-line ammeter.
Disadvantages
The big disadvantage is inaccuracy due to the copper wire
changing resistance as it heats or cools. The information
on the Copper Wire Shunt Table is correct for copper wire
at 68°F. (20°C.). For copper wire at 32°F. (0°C.), this
method will yield amperage measurements that are low by
about 10%. At a wire temperature of 122°F. (50°C.), this
method yields amperage measurements that are high by
10%. If you compensate for the temperature of the wire,
this technique can be made more accurate.
For high accuracy, use a factory made shunt instead of
the copper wire shunt. Commercial shunts are made from
materials whose resistance varies only slightly with
temperature. Commercial shunts are also calibrated and
tested for accuracy.
Inverter measurements
In many of our systems all the power consumed passes
through the inverter. Since the inverter plays such a
crucial role, it is a very good place to make provisions for
measurement. In some cases you may wish to use a
dedicated meter. For example, I use an old surplus ($2)
Weston analog ac voltmeter to constantly measure our
inverter's voltage output.
Inverter Input Current
This is a place for a shunt. My favorite for this location is a
Deltech model (50 milliVolts at 500 Amperes with surge to
1,000 Amperes). This shunt is massive, has very insertion
loss (0.0001Ω), costs about $25, and has massive
terminals with large bolts.
If you don't need the accuracy of a precision shunt, then
use the copper cable that connects the inverter to the
battery as a shunt. Since this cable is in place anyway,
measure off a shunt length anywhere along one of the
inverter's cables, nick the insulation, solder the sense
wires, and measure away!
Inverter Output Voltage
Inverters produce nonstandard ac waveform. Only certain
types of instruments can accurately measure modified
sine-wave inverter voltage or current output. These
instruments will be specified to measure "True RMS
voltage". For example the Fluke 87 will accurate measure
an inverter's output. The Fluke 77 will not, and so won't
most every DMM costing less than $200. We are
interested in not only the RMS voltage of the inverter
(should about 117 vac ±5%), but also the peak voltage of
the inverter's waveform. Peak voltages should be within
15% of ±164 vac, and the plus and minus peaks should
measure within two volts of each other.
Oddly enough older analog meter will measure inverter
output voltage with fair accuracy. For example, the old
Weston iron-vane ac voltmeter I mentioned works OK
(±3%). These meters are too slow and stupid to notice
the fine differences between sinusoidal ac (like from a
utility) and modified sine-wave power (from an inverter).
These older analog types are usually not phantom loads
and will allow the inverter to go to "sleep" at night.
Inverter Output Current
The same rap about True RMS reading instruments
applies to accurate measurement of the inverter's current
output (ac amperage) also. A precision shunt or a copper
wire shunt are used for this purpose with a True RMS
DMM. Also analog ac meter movements are fairly
accurate when used to measure inverter output current.
Power Source Current
46
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Instrumentation
We use a 50 milliVolt, 50 Ampere precision shunt inline
with our PV array. This shunt allows us to measure the
current output of our array with a DMM. This same shunt
also functions with our Thomson & Howe recording
Ampere-hour meter. This Ampere-hour meter has been
on line for years now and totalizes the output of our array.
We record its data daily in a notebook. This data has
allowed us to very accurately measure long term PV
performance in our neighborhood. See HP21, page 39 for
a "Things that Work!" report on this recording
Ampere-hour meter.
Other power sources like hydros and wind turbines can
also have current instrumentation. Once again, use a
precision shunt or at least a copper wire shunt. After all,
the wire has got to be there anyway, and it's simple to use
it as a shunt. My experience with RE power sources
shows me that operators are always curious about how
much current is being produced.
Are we done yet?
No, when we get hooked on measurement, we're never
done. From where I sit typing this in, I can see six digital
meters and twelve dedicated analog meters. And I have
three more meters waiting to be installed. I'm so badly
hooked on data that I even write down the measurements
in daily logs and then compile the data yearly on the
computer. I obviously have an advanced case of data
dementia. I am not suggesting that all home power
producers get involved this deeply (although it's fun and
educational).
Better use of our power comes from understanding and
knowledge. Instrumentation gives us ability to measure
the invisible electron's activity. Measurement is the key to
our understanding and use of power.
Access
Author: Richard Perez, C/O Home Power, POB 130,
Hornbrook, CA 96044 • 916-475-3179.
DMMs: John Fluke Mfg. Co., POB 9090, Everett, WA
98206 • 800-443-5853.
Surplus Analog Meters: Fair Radio Sales. POB 1105,
Lima, OH 45802 • 419-223-2196. Also, C and H Sales
Co., 2176 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91107 •
800-325-9465 or 213-681-4925.
Shunts: Deltech, 13065-H Tom White Way, Norwalk, CA
90650 • 213-926-2304.
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
47
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48
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Learn Solar Energy Technology
Learn to design and build state-of-the-art solar homes
that are self-reliant, thermally efficient, healthy to live in
and environmentally conscious.
The 91-92 SOLAR HOME PROGRAM
consists of the following
`how-to' and `hands-on' workshops:
❏ Photovoltaic Design And Installation – Sept 9 - 20
Learn how design and install Photovoltaic systems.
•Fundamentals of Practical Design/Sizing •Typical Applications
•Hardware Selection •Safety •Case studies •Field Installation.
For those beginning to learn PV.
❏ Advanced PV For Remote Homes – Sept 23 -Oct 3
Guest instructor: Richard Perez, Home Power Magazine. Learn
how design: AC/DC Systems •PV/Generator Systems •Hardware
Selection •Code Compliance •Wiring the Remote Home
•Residential Appliances •Water Pumping •Case Studies and
tour. For those with experience in PV systems.
❏ Micro-hydro Electric Systems – Oct 7 - 10
Guest instructor: Don Harris, Harris Hydroelectric. Learn how to
design Micro-Hydro Systems. •Hydro Site Evaluation •Practical
Design/Sizing •Hardware Selection •Installation Details •Safety
•Case Studies.
❏ Solar Home Design And Construction – Oct 14 - 24
Learn state-of-the-art technologies and products for: •Passive
Solar Design •Energy Efficiency •Solar Water & Air Heating
•High Efficiency Comfort Systems •Indoor Air Quality •Energy
Efficient Construction Methods. Case Studies and tours of
successful designs. A comprehensive overview for beginners.
Suggested prerequisite for our advanced courses.
❏ Efficiency And Solar Remodeling – Oct 28 - Nov 21
Learn to retrofit existing buildings for energy efficiency. •Solar
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For more information, contact:
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Whether you are on a degree track, interested in getting into the
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
49
SOLAR TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE WORKSHOP REGISTRATION/SURVEY
Dear Home Power Readers,
The SOLAR TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE provides quality hands-on skills training in the practical use of
today's renewable energy technologies. Renewable energy offers its users independence and
environmentally sound, inflation free energy sources.
STI's International Development programs empower peoples of developing countries with education and
training. Today's renewable energy technologies help meet sustainable development goals in the areas of
health, education, agriculture and economic development. International Project development is directed
from our New York office.
If you want to participate in our how-to and hands-on workshops, please register now!
Dear Solar Technology Institute,
I would like to register for your workshops. I have enclosed $ ___________ (25% of tuition) to secure my
position in the classes checked on the reverse page. I understand $50 of the registration tuition is
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Please send more information on:
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I am interested in participating in the following workshops when offered. Please send me more
information.
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Reason for interest:
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OR PURCHASED FROM A COMMERCIAL ELECTRIC UTILITY.
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HP#24
Photovoltaic power
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Wind Power
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Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
51
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Wind
Lightning Protection
Mick Sagrillo
©1991 Mick Sagrillo
W
hat a sight to behold! You're the proud owner of a new wind system. You and
a bunch of dedicated friends labored all weekend to get the tower up, the wind
generator in place, and the wiring completed. And now it's done. The wind is
crankin' and she's pumping amps through the inverter. But wait! What's this? The sky is
blackening! Everything has gone still! Lightning is striking the ground fast and furious on
the horizon! And it's all coming your way!!!
Send a chill down your spine? Good! It was meant to.
Too often, lightning protection is an afterthought, if it's
thought at all. While lightning protection should be
considered in the planning stages of any renewable
energy project, certain measures can be retrofitted at any
time. Whatever stage you're at, plan now, before the great
electrons in the sky start eyeballing your tower!
NOTE: While this article is about wind generators, the
principles can applied to any renewable electric system.
Know your enemy
The surface of the earth carries a negative charge, while
the ionosphere is positively charged. What we have here,
on a global scale, is one great capacitor. Under certain
circumstances, this "mother of all capacitors" will
discharge. We call these occurrences thunderstorms. At
any given time, 2000 to 3000 thunderstorms are in
progress somewhere around the earth.
For a cloud to ground discharge to occur, what we call
lightning, the electrical resistance of the atmosphere has
to be overcome. The electrical potential necessary to
jump from ten to a hundred miles is on the order of
hundreds of millions of volts. The current in a bolt of
lightning averages 20,000 amps. The amount of energy in
a single lightning strike is about 100 million joules. Suffice
it to say that this is enough energy to melt a ton of copper
in about one tenth of a second.
Double Trouble
There are two problems associated with lightning. The
obvious problem presented by thunderstorms is a direct
lightning strike to the tower and wind generator.
Lightening is looking for a path to ground, and a wind
generator tower, being tall and a conductor, helps it out. A
second but lesser known problem is the electrostatic
transients caused by a nearby strike that can be set up in
towers, generators, and wiring. These transient voltages
can be just as damaging to generators and electronic
equipment as a direct lightning strike.
When lightning strikes near a wind generator, a current
can be induced in towers, wire runs, and utility and
telephone lines. These induced currents can set up
voltage spikes that are very harmful to electronic
equipment associated with wind generators, such as
inverters and control boxes. In addition, the voltage
spikes and induced currents can degrade wire insulation
in the wind generator and tower wiring over time, resulting
in shorts to ground.
Both problems need to be addressed, but in different
ways.
Lightening Rods
In my part of the country, we have many houses and
barns constructed with "tin" roofs. Back in the '30's, a
door-to-door lightning rod salesman would come around
and hawk his wares. The idea was to put up a lightning
rod that was well grounded to earth to take the lightning
strike, rather than the tin roof. This was supposed to keep
your house or barn from burning down. These lightning
rods work, but not for the originally conceived reason.
Remember that the earth carries a negative charge. This
negative charge extends to all objects on the earth, such
as houses, barns, and towers, as well as all things living
on the earth, such as trees and people. Lightening rods
work because they bleed off any static charge that builds
up on whatever they're attached to. This is good! If a
given surface has less of a static charge, it is less
attractive to lightning. The important part of a lightning rod
is not the rod itself, but the grounding system. A lightning
rod is only as good as its ground!
Grounding Towers
Wind generators and towers are made of metal. Metal
has a low resistance, or low impedance, to the flow of
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
53
Wind
electricity. They are excellent conductors. They are,
therefore, a logical path for lightning to follow in getting to
the earth. All towers should be grounded.
in the same line as the tower legs. If this is impractical,
then bend the grounding wires in a very gentle curve from
the tower leg to the ground rod.
A ground is simply a metal rod driven into the earth. This
rod is attached to the tower by a heavy gauge wire. A
properly installed ground will bleed off any static charge
present on the wind generator and tower making a direct
strike less likely, as well as conducting a direct lightning
strike to the earth where it belongs. Upon being hit, the
entire tower structure will shunt or discharge the energy in
the lightning harmlessly into the ground.
Make sure you ground all of the tower legs of a
freestanding or guyed tower. This not only guarantees
adequate grounding but also prevents second guessing
which piece of your real estate will provide the best
ground. If you have a guyed tower, ground the guy wires
where the guy anchors enter the soil.
Commercially available grounding rods are 8' long steel
rods coated with copper. If bedrock is less than 8' below
the surface, drive the ground rod at an angle, rather than
shorten the rod. This will maximize the surface area of the
rod in contact with the earth.
Moist Earth First!-the organization for radical
grounders
We all know that a wind generator tower should be
grounded. But not all grounds are created equal! The
purpose of a grounding system is to provide a low
impedance path for lightning to follow to earth. And not
just any earth, but moist earth! Moist earth conducts
electricity much better than dry earth does. The Institute
of Electrical and Electronic Engineers categorize soils for
the purpose of grounding as shown in the table.
The wire used to connect the rod to the tower should be
either a very thick single strand of copper wire, or
stranded wire with a few strands of heavy gauge copper
wire. A few heavy strands of wire are
What this chart tells us is that when your
preferable to many fine strands of light Average Resistivity of the Ground
soggy spring-time soil dries out in
gauge wire, such as the type used for
August, you loose 9/10th's of your
Resistivity
welding cables. This is due to the fact
grounding protection! It also means that
Type of Ground
Ω – meter
that the copper is going to oxidize and
someone with drier, rockier soil will only
Wet organic soil
10
corrode. Fine wire, having a larger
have 1/10th the grounding protection of
100
cumulative surface area, corrodes much Moist soil
another person with wetter soil, given the
1000
faster than heavy wire. Corroded wire Dry soil
exact same grounding systems. What to
10000
between a grounding rod and a Bed rock
do?
grounding rod and a tower will soon
Extend the grounding system. This can
cease to exist, and along with it any grounding protection.
be done by connecting the ground rods together with bare
Some countries prohibit the use of stranded wire for
copper wire buried below the soil's surface. You can even
lightning grounds. For the same reason, aluminum wire
build a grounding grid with a network of concentric wire
should never be used for grounding purposes.
rings. The more elaborate the grid, the more surface
Ideally, the copper grounding wire should be physically
bonded to both the ground rod and the tower. This can be
done by brazing or silver soldering the metals to one
another. Because few people have this capability, most
folks choose to use some sort of clamping device to
connect the ground rods and tower. Make sure that these
clamps are made of either brass or copper. Dissimilar
metals should avoided where ever possible. When wet,
dissimilar metals act as a very weak battery. It is
speculated that this galvanic phenomenon may actually
attract lightning strikes.
Keep the grounding wires as short as possible. We want
to make it easy for the lightning to reach the earth. For the
same reason, avoid sharp kinks in the grounding wire
between the tower and ground rods. Lightening likes to
follow a straight path. If possible, run the grounding wires
54
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
contact you have between the grounding system and the
earth. If you have a well nearby, run a ground wire over to
the well casing. Wells, being in constant contact with
water, make excellent grounds.
A trick that is often used to increase the conductivity of
the soil is to dig a hole with a post hole digger where you
intend to locate a ground rod. Dig the hole a deep as you
can. Then drive the ground rod in the center of the hole.
Mix the soil from the hole with salt, then replace the
soil/salt mixture back into the hole around the ground rod.
The salt adds electrolytes to the soil, making it much
more conductive than it was originally.
Other things to ground...
Your inverter, control box, and battery rack should also be
grounded inside your house. A water pipe will always
make a good ground. A dedicated ground rod for this
Wind
equipment is even better. Use only one ground rod with all
connecting wires from individual electronic equipment
running to it. This will eliminate lightning flashing over
from a poor ground to a better one right inside your
house.
...And not to ground
NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, GROUND
ANY ELECTRICAL SYSTEM TO A GAS PIPE OR AN OIL
PIPE.
Also, I DO NOT recommend that either the positive or
negative leg of a wind electric system be grounded. (I
realize that this is heresy to some, because it's "the law"
of the National Electric Code. But I would remind readers
that many "laws" have been reversed. An excellent
example is the water hook-up law in Chicago. Tens of
thousands of Chicago homes still have a 1" lead water
pipe connecting the house to the water main. For obvious
reasons, this practice has been discontinued. I rest my
case on blindly following "laws".) For one thing, these
wind generators constitute "floating" systems. Connecting
one leg of a DC source of electricity to ground will result in
what is known as a "ground loop" or "ground fault". A
synchronous inverter connected to the DC electricity of a
wind electric plant will short out with a ground fault
present, blowing the SCR's.
Another reason NOT to connect a DC leg to ground is that
an electrolytic reaction will take place between the
generator and ground. Back in the the 30's, some
manufacturers of wind electric plants would connect the
negative leg of the generator to ground, thereby
eliminating one slip ring and brush. The negative was then
picked up at the tower base and carried to the batteries.
After five or ten years, these towers would fall over. Close
inspection revealed that the metal at the soil line was soft
and spongy. What happened was that the electric current
present in the tower leg set up a weak battery with the
earth. Ever so slowly, various metal ions would
disassociate from the tower and migrate into the earth.
The result was usually sudden and always catastrophic.
For the same reason, I do not recommend permanently
grounding any battery bank. However, for safety
considerations, a battery bank should be temporarily
grounded while working on it. (More on this from myself
and others ion an upcoming article.)
"Spark" Arrestors
In 1935, a patent was issued for a "spark gap" type of
lightning arrestor. The purpose of these arrestors was to
shunt a lightning strike traveling down the tower wires
safely to ground before it reached the battery bank. While
still commercially available, this type of arrestor is easily
fabricated, as follows.
An automotive-type of spark plug is needed for each wire
to be protected. The gap of the spark plug is widened to
about 1/8". All of the spark plugs used should be mounted
onto one metal plate and placed inside of a weatherproof
metal enclosure, like a Hoffman box. The metal mounting
plate should be grounded with wire in a straight line down
to a ground rod. The wind generator wires should come
into the Hoffman box from the top and be connected to
the terminals of the spark plugs. From there, the wind
generator wires take a sharp right angle bend out of the
Hoffman box and continue on their way to the battery
bank.
Gen +
Gen –
Field
To Control Box
Spark
Plugs
Metal plate
Earth ground
The idea behind the spark arrestor is that lightning likes to
run in a straight line ground. The spark plugs, connected
in a direct line to ground, provide that path. Lightening,
traveling down the tower wiring, would rather jump the
1/8" gap and continue to ground than make a right turn.
Lightning Arrestors
The modern version of the spark arrestor is called the
silicon oxide varistor, or SOV. In an SOV, current-carrying
electrodes are insulated by silicon oxide, a material
related to sand. The silicon oxide is rated to insulate
against a given voltage. With high voltages, the silicon
oxide is changed from an insulator to a conductor. The
lightning bolt is shunted safely to ground. When the
voltage returns to its normal level, the silicon oxide
changes back to an insulator. Unless the bolt of lightning
is strong enough to blow them completely apart, SOV's
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
55
Wind
can be used forever. While not cheap, they are the most
effective lightning protection that can be added to a
system. SOV's can be used on both AC and DC systems.
Disconnects
The most effective way of preventing lightning from
playing havoc with your batteries and electronic
equipment is to physically disconnect them from the tower
wiring. This must be done right to work properly.
I once connected a kilowatt-hour meter on the AC side of
one of my wind generators for this purpose. The idea was
that I could remove the meter from its socket and thereby
prevent lightning from getting into my inverter. My
opportunity came with the next thunderstorm, and I
rushed down to the cellar to pull the meter from its socket.
A moment later, lightning hit my tower, and right before
my eyes, I saw the current arc across the terminals of the
meter socket. I foolishly thought that the five inch gap left
by the removal of the meter would stop a lightning bolt
that had just traveled ten miles or so across the open sky!
Needless to say, any system using a gap IN A STRAIGHT
LINE will not work. This means that a disconnect switch or
large knife switch is useless. What does work, however, is
to use an electric range or dryer plug and cable on the
inverter end, and a matching outlet on the generator end.
If the outlet is level with or higher than the plug and cord,
then the plug and cord will dangle harmlessly away from
the outlet when unplugged. While it is a pain to unplug
your wind system whenever a thunderstorm rolls by, this
system works for high strike locations and it's cheap.
conduit.
By grounding the chassis or metal boxes that your
inverter and controls live in, you also shield them from
lightning-induced transients.
MOVs
An effective way to shunt transient voltage spikes to
ground is to use metal oxide varistors, or MOV's. An MOV
is a device that will bleed off transients above a given
voltage that are bouncing around electronic circuitry or
AC power lines. The gang plugs/surge suppressors sold
by electronics stores for TV, stereo, and computer
equipment are chock full of MOV's. They are fast, cheap,
and available at most electronics outlets. Anyone
connected to the utility grid should add MOV's to sensitive
equipment, i.e., your synchronous inverter.
The Static Brush
Wind generator blades will develop a static charge as
they pass through the air. Rotating electrical equipment
also builds up a static charge. Wind generators have
both! As stated earlier, it is speculated that this static
charge may actually attract lightning. The best way to
dissipate static charges is to connect the rotating
armature, rotor, or blades to ground. This is done with a
static brush.
A static brush is merely a carbon or metal graphite brush
fitted onto the generator shaft so that the brush runs
continuously on the rotating generator shaft. The other
end of the static brush is grounded. This continuous
ground works to eliminate static charges from building up.
Transients
Remember that when lightning strikes the area near a
wind generator (or a utility or phone line), electrostatic
pulses are induced in wires & towers. These pulses are
known as voltage transients, and can be as high as
several thousand volts. Transients can damage wire
insulation and electronic components as they bounce
around inside generators and inverters trying to dissipate
their energy. While they can be just as harmful as
lightning, transients are much easier to deal with.
Static brushes are also used to bypass generator and
yaw bearings and thereby prevent static charges from
dissipating through the bearings and pitting them.
Shielding
The best way to keep transients out of your renewable
energy system is by shielding the wires. Shielding begins
on the tower. ALL wires should be run down the tower in
metal conduit (EMT-electrical metal tubing). Plastic
conduit won't do. The conduit should be grounded.
Electrostatic pulses from lightning will run through the
conduit safely to ground, never making it into the tower
wiring. If you have a metal tower with tubular legs, you
can run the wires through one of the legs & eliminate the
Access
Author: Mick Sagrillo avoids being zapped at Lake
Michigan Wind & Sun, E 3971 Bluebird Rd., Forestville,
WI 54213 (414) 837-2267.
56
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
For Further Reading...
Anyone interested in an in-depth dissertation on lightning
and wind electric systems should rush out and order a
copy of "How To Protect A Wind Turbine From
Lightening", Final Report; by C.W. Dodd, et al; University
of Southern Illinois, Carbondale;1983; NASA-CR-168229.
muddy roads
spot. With the aid of a hand winch and a nearby stump, I
laboriously inched the Jeep 20 feet or so up a slope, then
let it roll down, let out the clutch and... it didn't start. It took
about 20 minutes for a repeat try with the same result.
Needed a longer downgrade. The battery wasn't
completely dead but wasn't lively enough to make a
strong spark, I figured.
muddy roads
Clive Ellis
In the earliest years of my homesteading career I simply
plugged my house trailer into my Jeep battery to run some
12 volt lights for a few minutes each evening. I used a
propane lamp to light the main living space until I
developed a working micro hydroelectric generator, after
much trial and error in building my own Pelton wheel. For
a while I still used the jeep battery for power and ran the
hydro generator intermittently to charge the battery when
necessary. The hydro unit was put away for the winter
when I left for the season.
The alternative plan was to push the Jeep about 50 yards
up a slight grade, beyond which there was a long hill to
roll down. Ever push a car uphill? It isn't easy. I could
only do it by grabbing and turning a front wheel, which
had lots of fender clearance and knobby tread to grab on
to. After considerable effort I got rolling downhill and the
engine started. For those not familiar with this procedure,
DON'T use the lowest gear when you try to start the
engine this way. Think about it, the mechanical advantage
of the transmission is working in reverse order. Now if I
could just remember my Pelton wheel...
Soon after that experience I obtained separate batteries
for my evolving alternate energy system.
Access
Clive Ellis, 2039 Manzanita St., Klamath Falls, OR 97601.
When I came back the following
spring I didn't get the hydro
generator out right away as I had
numerous other chores to tend to,
and wasn't using the 12 volt lights
very much (I thought). When it was
time to drive to town for supplies
several days later, the Jeep
wouldn't start.
Well no problem, I'll just get out
the hydro-gen and recharge the
battery. Then I discovered that I
had taken the Pelton wheel off the
generator to show to a friend in
town last winter and had forgot to
bring it back.
Now I could have walked down to
the neighbors a half mile away and
asked for a jump start but that
would have been a humiliating
defeat. Figured I could push start
the Jeep, only problem being that
it was already parked in a low
Above: '56 Jeep hull down in the mud.
Photo by Clive Ellis
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
57
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or 707-725-5940
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- Radios/Receivers/Scanners/Accessories.
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- Free in-depth information available.
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TECHNOLOGIES, CHANNEL MASTER, MCKAY DYMEK, BARKER AND
WILLIAMSON
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ARCO-SIEMENS array and find
yourself shocked at the new prices?
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BLACKHAWK SOLAR still has a good
supply of new ARCO panels at old prices.
M75s at $339, M55s at $390, also low
prices on ARCO M51s, 16-2000s, Kyocera
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Meters $170. Wattsun Trackers & UPG
Inverters available.
Hydrogen & Oxygen
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POB 1468, Quincy, CA 95971
916-283-1396
58
$125 plus shipping. Plans and Information $1.
Hydrogen Wind Inc.
Rt. 2, Box 262, Lineville, IA 50147 • 515-876-5665
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
The Solar Gourmet Solar Cooker Kit
Things that Work!
Testing conducted by Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze
I
tested by Home Power
have cooked many solar meals in several different solar cookers. All of them have
been of a multiple reflector design. I was very curious about single reflector box
cookers. When Basic Solar sent us their solar cooker kit I was eager to test it.
The Solar Gourmet
The cooker itself is smooth clean cardboard cut and
folded into an ingenious, well insulated oven box. The
inside oven dimensions are 22" x 16" x 6 1/2". The
window on the top of the cooker lid is a thermal pane of
two sheets of UV-resistant mylar. The one reflector folds
down over the window to protect it when moving or
storing. All the pieces fit together well. That also means
that when you pick it up you must support the bottom or
the pieces will slide apart again. If this were my oven I
would just glue the pieces in place for stability. The size
of the oven completely assembled is 9" x 19" x 25". It
weighs only 5.25 lbs. This makes it very easy to move
about. In the folded storage mode the unit is only 3" tall,
Solar Gourmet Performance
Outside
Temp.
Packaging and Documentation
The unit arrived in good shape unassembled and folded
into a neat package. I took all the parts out and separated
them. Then I read the documentation. The manual tells
the assembler to remember how the oven is folded so
they can refold it easily. I suggest adding an exploded
view of the folded oven to the instructions.
The instructions say the estimated time for assembly is
one hour. I started a timer when I began. I did not hurry or
try to save time, I just worked steadily. It took me 1 hour &
13 minutes to assemble. The instructions are easy to
understand and contain diagrams of set up and cooking
basics. My unit did not have a guide hole marked on its
side, so I guessed it would go in the middle. This worked
fine. Here are a few instructions I would add. If you spill
the glue on the foil it can be wiped off with a damp cloth. If
you pull the paper backing off of the heat resistant tape
pieces all at once, then it will curl up and stick to itself.
6 June 91
10:10 AM
11:00 AM
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
2:00 PM
67.3°F.
70.0°F.
72.0°F.
78.3°F.
80.6°F.
Oven
Temp.
110°F.
225°F.
200°F.
125°F.
250°F.
Comments
miracle maid pot & lid
4 C rice & 6 C water
clear sky
hazy sky
lid fell, adjusted oven
rice perfectly done
1 July 91
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
2:00 PM
3:00 AM
84.6°F.
86.9°F.
89.2°F.
90.7°F.
100°F.
215°F.
230°F.
250°F.
visionware casserole
walnut-apple cobbler
breeze, cobbler rising
cobbler bubbling
cobbler done
2 July 91
10:30 AM
11:30 AM
12:30 PM
1:30 PM
2:30 PM
3:30 PM
85.5°F.
90.7°F.
93.6°F.
96.3°F.
96.8°F.
97.9°F.
150°F.
200°F.
215°F.
225°F.
250°F.
250°F.
visionware casserole
chicken & veggies
adjusted oven
still cooking
adjusted oven
bubbling & browning
done well
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
59
Things that Work!
making it very easy to store.
We live in a canyon, so I was worried the wind would blow
the lid-reflector off. I attached Velcro to the sides to
stabilize the reflector. The weight of the pots holds the
whole oven down. The reflector's positioning scheme
could be made more durable. I believe this could be
accomplished by placing a strip of heat resistant tape
along the edge of the reflector on both sides.
Performance
I cooked a variety of foods in the Solar
Gourmet. It cooked rice very well and
effortlessly. The cobbler browned nicely.
The only time I adjusted the oven and
preheated it was when I had a very large
meal cooking. It included a whole chicken,
six whole potatoes, two thick sliced carrots,
chopped celery and shallots and a cup of
apple wine in a large Visionware®
casserole. It came out very succulent and
delicious with enough liquid to make gravy.
When that meal had finished cooking at
3:30 PM, I just lowered the reflector over the
window to keep it warm. We ate at 6:00 PM
and dinner was still warm.
This oven does not seem to get as hot as
my other solar cookers, but it has no
problem cooking food of all sorts.
Conclusion
This is a good solar cooker. When you
spend $39.95 for the Solar Gourmet, you
get an easy to assemble solar cooker that
will work the day you get it. It is a cardboard
oven, so it must be protected from rain. It is
light and portable. It's cooking area is flat
and stable. It is easy to slide around to
focus to the sun. It doesn't get as hot as a
multi-reflector oven. When I was
cooking the rice, a breeze caused the
reflector to fall over the window. The
temperature had dropped to 125° F. I
adjusted the reflector and the oven.
The temperature rose to 150° F in 4
min., 200° F. in 10 min., and to 225° F
in 20 min.
When I called Basic Solar with my
suggestions they were interested in the
feedback. They say they will be
incorporating the ideas into future kits.
Basic Solar also provides access to
60
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
non-profit solar box cooker organizations.
Access
Basic Solar, Harvard Square Suite 67, 1430 Mass. Ave.,
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA FAX: 206-525-1418
Solar Box Cookers International, 1724 Eleventh St.,
Sacramento, CA 95814 USA 619-444-6616 FAX:
619-447-8689 Econet:sbci
Solar Box Cookers Northwest, 7036 18th Ave NE,
Seattle, WA 98115 USA Voice/FAX: 206-525-1418
Econet:sbcn Telex:1502097451
SCI
ad
patch
on
paste-up
Solar Car Corp.
add HP designator
INTRODUCES
THE 4-F PUMP FROM CAP
Up to 2400 GPD
August-September Only $575.00
Pump kits Starting at $1749.00
Includes; The CAP Pump, Zomeworks Track Rack
Wire, Poly Piping, Two Solarex Modules
Available for immediate shipment
Dealer Inquiries Welcome
ALBUQUERQUE, NM
SANTA FE, NM
EL PASO, TX
PH. 800-279-SOLO
800-279-7692
800-479-9191
FAX 505-243-5187
505-983-6929
915-772-3937
A DIVISION OF ZOMEWORKS CORPORATION
Sunfrost ad on NEGATIVE
Cimarron
Solar Pumps
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
61
Health & Environment
Reducing AC Magnetic Fields
Bob–O Schultze and Richard Perez
L
ast issue we discussed measuring the ac magnetic fields in our home power
systems. This issue we offer some solutions to the problem. These solutions are
easy to do, mostly inexpensive and dramatically reduce the magnetic fields
radiated by the ac wiring in our walls.
The Test Setup
We fed a 300 Watt incandescent heat lamp with an
inverter. We wired the lamp with a variety of wiring
techniques. First we used regular Romex cable with
parallel conductors. Then we inserted the Romex into a
1/2 inch EMT conduit. Then we repeated the procedures
with twisted pair wiring and coax, each with and without
conduit. At each experimental stage we measured the ac
magnetic field radiated by the wire with the milliGauss
meter described in HP23. We built a cardboard jig to hold
the probe exactly 1 inch from the conductors under test.
This insured that all measurements were taken at the
same distance from the conductor. Here's what we found
out.
Ac magnetic field reduction
The use of the alternative wiring techniques shown on the
table can radically reduce the presence of ac magnetic
fields. Twisted pair wiring inside of conduit offers the most
cost-effective solution. Coax is not only expensive but
also difficult to work with. Twisted pair wiring is easily
accomplished by purchasing single conductor wire and
AC Magnetic Fields
for different conductors
2.5 Amperes at 120 vac
Coax in Conduit
Coax
0.25
0.29
Twisted Pair
0.40
Romex in Conduit
2.82
Romex Cable
9.30
Coax in
Conduit
62
Coax
Twisted
Pair in
Conduit
Twisted
Pair
Access
Bob–O Schultze, Electron Connection, POB 203,
Hornbrook, CA 96044 • 916-475-3401.
Richard Perez, C/O Home Power, POB 130, Hornbrook,
CA 96044 • 916-475-3179.
PRODUCT UPDATE
45/60/90 and 120 Amp Charge Controllers
Heliotrope General's constant quest for the best in products at competitive
prices, has produced the CC-60C / CC-120C PWM charge controls. The
major change in the "C" suffix charge controllers is standardization of the
LCD digital readout consisting of "Array Voltage", Battery Voltage", and
"Charging Current". All features available previously on the "B" models
are still incorporated in the new "C" models.
Sandia National Labs latest test results (June 11, 1991) indicate
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) design superior in performance vs.
other commercially available designs.
0.13
Twisted Pair in Conduit
Errata
The Radio Shack part number for the relay coil used in
the Mag Field meter's probe in HP23 was in error. The
correct part number is RS# 275-233.
"Knowing your systems performance status is vital for the efficient use of
available energy". What better way to check performance than with an
incorporated digital display?
Field
in mG.
Conductor Type
twisting them together using a drill and vise. Even without
the use of conduit. twisting the conductors together
(about four to six twists per foot) reduces the magnetic
field by over twenty times.
All Heliotrope General charge controls incorporate the superior PWM
control strategy for accurate, reliable, proven performance, resulting in the
highest battery state of charge in the industry. The high battery state of
charge is accomplished with low battery water consumption.
For more information or copies of test data contact:
Romex in
Conduit
Romex
Cable
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Barry W. Brunye' or Glen Parker
Heliotrope General
3733 Kenora Drive
Spring Valley, CA 91977
800-552-8838
Support HP Advertisers!
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ALL DAY PV WORKSHOP - $35
October 6, 1991
Don and Cynthia Loweburg
Burdens
Surplus
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PO Box 231, North Fork, CA 93643 • (209) 877–7080
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The best resource guide & directory of suppliers, mail-order
catalogs, books, and PV information. Over 800 sources-$7. From
PV Network News •11 years old!
PV NETWORK NEWS
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the incredible
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INCLUDES UPS SHIPPING.
TO ORDER Call or write:
SUNLIGHT ENERGY
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1-800-338-1781
4411 W. Echo Ln., Glendale, AZ 85302
"Sun Oven is well-made and should
last a long time. I love it!"
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Things that Work!
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
63
Domestic Hot Water (DHW)
Thermosyphon Heat Exchanger
Willson Bloch
©1991 Willson Bloch
P
rior to the advent of thermosyphoning heat exchangers, designers had two
choices when installing a closed-loop solar hot water system. One: they could use
a storage tank with an internal or jacketed heat exchanger, or two: they could use
an external tube-in-shell heat exchanger with a pump.
Internal Heat Exchanger
Solution one seemed like the best way, but it posed two
problems. Heat exchanger equipped tanks were very
expensive and when tank replacement became
necessary, the heat exchanger went too. Secondly,
because of its internal location, it was impossible to
descale the mineral buildup from the heat exchanger. This
rendered it less and less effective as the mineral coating
grew thicker and thicker while often accelerating the
deterioration of the tank itself.
External Tube-in-shell
Solution two was an external tube-in-shell heat exchanger
with applied pump to extract the heat from the solar fluid
to return it to the storage tank. This solved both problems
of the internal heat exchanger but only by adding a pump
with its parasitic electrical consumption. Also, the pumped
heat exchanger didn't work very efficiently because the
pump always pumped at the same speed regardless of
the available solar radiation and corresponding solar fluid
temperature.
Thermosyphon
In 1984, Noranda Corporation released the first
thermosyphoning, external heat exchanger. The design
was good, but the materials used in its construction were
below standard despite the International Association of
Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, (IAPMO), stamp of
approval. Note: Drain, waste, and vent pipe, (DWV), and
test caps were approved for use in household, (150 psi),
situations. Also, the set of installation instructions that
were included with the heat exchanger showed that
Noranda hadn't really researched their product well.
I purchased several of the Noranda exchangers and
through experimentation, discovered the method of
installation that produced optimum results. I especially
liked the way the exchanger heated the storage tank from
the top down rather than gradually bringing the whole tank
up to maximum solar temperature by the day's end. The
thermosyphoning method meant that hot water would be
64
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
available to the user much earlier in the day. Days of
marginal solar radiation would produce some useable hot
water in the upper portion of the tank rather than the
whole tank being lukewarm. Also, the thermosyphoning
action works proportionally with the amount of available
solar radiation.
With its vertical mounting position alongside the storage
tank, cleaning the exchanger is a breeze when installed
with two shut off valves, a boiler drain, and fill plug. A
simple 30 minute task can clean off mineral build up and
return the exchanger
to like-new condition.
This means that a
properly
built
thermosyphon heat
exchanger will last a
lifetime with only
miniscule care.
Homebrew
Noranda never did
upgrade
their
thermosyphoning
heat exchanger and
when the solar tax
credits died, they got
completely out of the
heat
exchanger
business.
Another
company in Florida
came
out
with
another
type
of
thermosyphoning
external
heat
exchanger
that
served
as
an
elevating pad for the
tank,
but
its
accessibility
to
Domestic Hot Water (DHW)
cleaning didn't please me. I decided at that time to build
an exchanger similar to the Noranda design but with
improvements in size, efficiency, and especially in
pressure-durability. It is now commercially available, and
some typical installation diagrams as well as cleaning
procedures follow:
Cleaning the Heat Exchanger (HX)
1. Close, (clockwise), the upper and lower shutoff valves.
2. Open drain valve at bottom and remove threaded brass
plug at top to drain the water from the HX.
3. Close drain valve and fill the HX with one gallon of
white vinegar. Top off with water so that HX is completely
filled.
4. Reinstall the brass plug.
5. Turn on the solar system so that the solar fluid heats up
the HX till it is hot to the touch, then turn the solar system
off and let the HX sit for 20 to 25 minutes, (longer if the
HX is really scaled-up).
6. Open the drain valve and remove the brass plug to
drain out the vinegar and water solution, and then replace
the brass plug.
7. Leave the drain valve open and open the upper shut-off
valve to flush out any remaining vinegar and water
solution, then close the drain valve.
8. Open the lower shut-off valve and you are finished.
You might double-check that both shut-off valves are
open to be sure that the HX can begin thermosyphoning
otherwise your pressure relief valve will blow off.
Access
Willson Bloch, Sunburst Horizons Co., 22580 Hwy 184,
Dolores, CO 81323-9111 • tele: 303-882- 4558.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
65
Tech Notes
Tech Notes:
some 150 amps flowing was a meager 121.3 mV as
measured with my Fluke D 800 digital meter.
Conclusion
As the N.E.C. requires protection of all circuits, this fuse
makes compliance with regulations and incorporation of
safe wiring of remote/home power systems not only easy
but, inexpensive too.
Inverter Wiring Protection
Todd Cory
Thanks to Bill Munholand for his help in tracking down
this fuse and to Gary and Terri Orwig for the use of their
system for testing procedures.
Inverter primary wiring has always been difficult for me to
justify protecting. Due mainly to the high costs of UL
approved safety interruption devices, and low probability
of a short in the circuit. I recently researched the following
fuse, with the help of my friend, Bill Munholand, at Mt.
Shasta Electric. I now include this on all wiring jobs
involving battery driven inverter systems that I do.
Access
Bill Munholand, Mt. Shasta Electric, 110 W Castle St., Mt.
Shasta, CA 96067 • 916-926-3842
Todd Cory, Bald Mountain Solar, POB 313, Big Bend, CA
96011 • 916-337-6317
Ordering Info
Cross Reference: Reliance/Brush
#KAA, or Gould/Shawnut #A 13X
#RFA, or Bussman
The length of a 300 amp fuse is 2 5/8" x 1" wide. Follow
the fuse catalog symbol with the desired amperage, for
example a Trace 2012 would require a 300 amp fuse. So,
if ordering a Buss fuse it
would
be
a
KAA-300.
Available amperage ratings
vary from 1 to 2,000 amps,
UL approved for up to 130
VDC, with a DC interruption
rating of 50,000 amps. The
fuse, and Buss #3575 fuse
block are rather inexpensive,
considering the alternatives.
A KAA-300 goes for around
Carlson
$35.00 with $20.00 for the
connection/mounting block.
Communications Camera Ready
The Acid Test
The insertion loss is quite
acceptable. Testing was done
at a neighbor's house, with
their Trace 2012, driven by 6
Trojan L-16s.
I chose nice, heavy resistive
loads for this, and turned on
their 1000 watt iron and 900
watt toaster. I measured the
voltage drop across their 3' of
1/0 copper inverter primary
wire with the previously
mentioned fuse installed in
line. The voltage drop with
66
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Tech Notes
Tech Notes:
Carbon Monoxide
The above mentioned of the dangers of carbon monoxide
poisoning are easily misunderstood. Carbon monoxide is
a colorless, odorless and non-irritating gas. It is formed
during incomplete combustion of carbon or carbon
containing substances.
Gas Appliances
Jim Lambesis
Recently I have come across some important safety
information concerning the use of gas refrigerators. Since
many alternate energy folks use gas refrigerators, the
possible hazards associated with these units should be
known. Below is a warning quoted directly from a poster
distributed by Servel.
"The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
says that old model Servel refrigerators have caused at
least 14 deaths nationwide as the result of carbon
monoxide poisoning. These refrigerators continue to be
used in hunting cabins, vacation cottages and remote
areas of the nation where there is no electricity, or where
gas is a preferred energy source. To protect yourself and
your family from potential hazard, stop using your old
Servel gas refrigerator immediately.
Over a period of time, especially if the refrigerator has not
been used recently, the gas burner can be fouled by dust,
dirt, rust, spider webs or other obstructions. This can
cause improper combustion of the fuel, leading to the
production of carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless and
deadly gas. Any gas refrigerator with an improperly
adjusted or partially plugged burner can produce enough
carbon monoxide to kill the occupants of a cottage or
house in one night. Symptoms of carbon monoxide
poisoning include nausea, headaches and dizziness.
RECEIVE CASH FOR YOUR SERVEL REFRIGERATOR.
The CPSC has arranged for you to receive $100.00 in
exchange for your old Servel refrigerator. Call the Servel
Hotline toll-free at 1-800-782-7431. Operators are
standing by 24 hours a day to answer your questions and
make arrangements for a qualified propane dealer to
remove the refrigerator from your home or cottage at no
cost to you.
REPRESENTATIVES ARE STANDING BY.
If you have a Servel gas fueled refrigerator, call the
toll-free number, 1-800-782-7431, or write to: Servel
Rebate, P.O. BOX 14874,Cleveland, OH, 44114."
I would like to expand on this notice and briefly talk about
carbon monoxide and the proper use of gas appliances.
Carbon monoxide is an insidious poison. It produces only
mild symptoms of headache and nausea. It can cause
unconsciousness before the person can prevent it or
knows what is happening. Irregular breathing, ringing in
the ears, seeing spots and dizziness are some of the
other symptoms. Only 1000 parts per million of carbon
monoxide or 0.10 percent in air can be fatal. 4000 parts
per million (0.4 % in air) are fatal in exposures of less
than an hour. Sometimes the above symptoms can be
misdiagnosed as the flu. Continued low exposure over a
period of time will cause an accumulation of carbon
monoxide poisoning. Cases do occur where a person
would stay home because of illness only to become
progressively worse because of the additional exposure
time to low levels of carbon monoxide.
First Aid
If a person shows evidence of carbon monoxide
poisoning, immediately get that person into fresh air. Next
lay the person down and give artificial respiration if
necessary. Call the fire department and doctor for oxygen
and treat for shock.
Gas Appliances
Many alternate energy folks are quite creative with gas
appliances. A better understanding of gas equipment is
called for. As with any tool, improper use and operation
will cause a safety hazard.
Sometimes a person will service gas appliances
themselves thinking that it is a simple device that can be
easily fixed and checked. A little knowledge of gas
appliances can be very dangerous when someone tries to
service them or worse yet, perform modifications for
greater efficiency. Gas Appliances are complex devices
that appear to be very simple. Commonly, the operating
principles of a gas appliance are not completely
understood. Consult with a gas appliance professional or
the appliance's manufacturer before servicing or adjusting
gas appliances.
There are specific safety devices in gas appliances that
must not be modified. I have seen some home-made
devices and ill-qualified repairs that are dangerous.
Modifications of gas equipment should be approved by
the manufacturer and meet the American Gas Association
testing lab standards.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
67
Tech Notes
If a hazardous condition is suspected with a gas
appliance, the local gas utility in most cases, will come out
free of charge for a safety check. Gas appliances should
be cleaned, adjusted and safety checked at least yearly.
Proper Venting
The proper venting of gas appliances is very important. If
a gas appliance is not vented properly, carbon monoxide
can be easily produced. I have seen makeshift venting
arrangements that are very dangerous and have refused
to stay at that household. The flue system must vent to
the outside in a proper manner and must meet code. Flue
pipes should not vent outside through a wall unless it is
designed to do so by the manufacturer.
A simple test can be utilized to determine if a gas
appliance is venting properly. It is performed by placing a
lighted match at the draft diverter when the appliance has
been operating for a few minutes. If the draft diverter is
spilling products of combustion, the match will blow out or
the flame will be pushed downward and away from the
draft diverter. This indicates a serious venting problem
that must be corrected immediately. This test is not
intended as a substitute for a complete chimney
inspection, but will identify an immediate venting problem.
Knowing the condition, proper design and operating
characteristics of a chimney is always required for
utilization of gas equipment.
cause the formation of black soot in the gas appliance
and chimney. Black soot must be cleaned out before the
repaired appliance is put back in operation. Lines of soot
on the exterior surfaces of an appliance is a clue that
indicates a serious problem. All of the above conditions
usually prevent the completion of the combustion process
and will produce carbon monoxide.
Conclusion
The maintenance, repair, and installation of gas
appliances are rather complex and should be performed
by a professional or under the direction of a professional.
If you do it yourself, then have it checked by a
professional before the appliance is put in operation. At
least once a year every gas appliance and chimney must
be inspected, cleaned and adjusted if necessary. Any
modification must have approval from the manufacturer
and the American Gas Association. If you have a Servel
gas refrigerator, call the hot line.
Access
Jim Lambesis, Middle Fork Engineering, 621 Dalton,
Northbrook, IL 60062
Wood Stoves And Chimneys
Adding a wood stove to an existing flue pipe that is
connected to a gas appliance is against the National Fuel
Gas Code and other regulatory agencies. A wood stove or
fireplace must have its own flue pipe.
All flue pipes must be clean and in good repair without
any restrictions. Chimneys must be of the proper height in
relation to the roof of the house. If a liner is not present or
the existing one is broken or over sized for the application,
it must be repaired, relined or replaced.
Medium Efficiency Gas Equipment
In most cases, medium efficiency gas equipment requires
the existing chimney to be relined with a stainless steel
liner to prevent excess condensation. Excess
condensation will lead to the premature deterioration of a
chimney. Check with the local gas utility and manufacture
when medium efficiency gas equipment is used.
Flame Characteristics
The flame characteristics of a gas appliance is very
important. It must have a blue color without lifting off the
burners and be of a size that does not impinge on the
heat exchanger. A yellow flame indicates a serious
problem that requires immediate attention because it will
68
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Fowler
Solar
Electric
camera ready
L A K E
M I C H I G A N
Wattsun
W I N D
&
Camera ready
on
NEGATIVE
S U N
Largest selection of used wind equipment
available, including wind gens, towers, both
synchronous & stand-alone inverters &
Aeromotor H2O pumpers.
We repair & make parts, blades & governors for
most wind gens, pre-REA to present, specializing
in Jacobs Wind Electric.
Whisper 1000-$1260 & we pay the shipping to
the lower 48
Alternative Energy Systems & Components
Solar
WE MAKE WATER FROM YOUR GAS
Hydrogen and oxygen battery gas catalytically recombined into pure water
and returned to each battery cell. Keeps battery topped off for extended
periods of time and reduces maintenance costs. Explosive hydrogen gas is
virtually eliminated from the battery area. Corrosive spray and fumes are
contained and washed back into each battery cell. Electrolyte kept strong
longer, extending the useful power and life of the battery. HYDROCAP Vents
simply replace the battery's caps. Battery maintenance is greatly reduced.
Write or call for more information.
Things that Work!
305-696-2504
975 NW 95 St.
Miami, FL 33150
Spectrum
Lowest prices on Sunfrost Refrigerator/Freezers
and Specials on
Trace Inverters through August 23rd.
Send $3 for our 100 page catalog and design
guide.
Julie and Mickey Wurl-Koth
W4622 Kyes Road, Tomahawk, WI 54487
715-453-2803
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
69
Homebrew
Homebrew
needed over 4 amps at either voltage level so the switch I
used (and shown in the parts list) is rated for 6 amps. You
may substitute a heavier switch. The batteries should
have an ampere-hour rating suitable for your anticipated
load. Also, the batteries themselves should be of identical
capacity. Rate the fuse to pass approximately 20% more
current than will be drawn by the heaviest load.
Construction
There is nothing critical about any of the components
used in this little battery pack. A single plug or connector
may be used both for power output as well as charging,
although both should not be done at the same time. The
wire used to connect the batteries to the outside world
should be capable of carrying the maximum anticipated
current without undue loss.
If you would like to add a visual indicator of the output
voltage level, an optional circuit to perform that function is
shown. For minimum current drain from the batteries, this
circuit may be omitted. If you would like the best of both
worlds, you could use a "center-off" version of the switch.
This will allow use of the visual circuit and also provides a
means of disconnecting everything.
12 And 24 Volts in a Portable Package
Dan Lepinski
©1991 Dan Lepinski
Battery Charging
To recharge the batteries, select the voltage that matches
your charger's output and connect the charger to the
battery pack. You may use the output connector or install
a separate one just for charging. By wiring the circuit with
the 3-pole switch (as shown), you will only be able to
charge the batteries with the voltage selection switch in
the position that matches your charger voltage.
Ever need 24 volts when you only had 12 volts available?
Or maybe you wanted 12 volts when the system ran 24
volts? Here is a handy little circuit that can provide
portable power of either voltage at the flip of a switch.
Better yet, you can recharge the batteries from either
voltage level as well!
The Basic Circuit
In its simplest form, only two batteries, one switch, and a
fuse are needed. The switch must be rated to carry the
current that you will draw from the batteries. I never
Caveat
If you cannot locate a 3-pole double-throw switch, a
C2
24 VDC
C1
12VDC
FUSE
C3
POSITIVE
A3
A1
R3
D1
A2
R2
B1
INPUT
FOR
CHARGING
Q1
B2
B3
D2
D3
SWITCH SHOWN IN 12 VOLT OPERATING POSITION.
D2 LED ON FOR 24 VOLT OPERATION. D3 LED ON FOR 12 VOLT OPERATION.
70
A
B
C
3
2
1
B2
B1
NEGATIVE
OUTPUT
12
0R
24
VOLTS
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
PIN CONNECTIONS
FOR THE 3-POLE
DOUBLE-THROW
SWITCH (REAR VIEW)
Homebrew
double-pole double-throw switch may be used IF certain
precautions are observed; you MUST place the voltage
selector switch in the proper position BEFORE connecting
the charger. Exciting times can result if you forget to
perform this simple step. A fundamental warning is in
order here: Exercise care when using or charging this
battery pack. Expensive repairs or injury can result if you
get careless.
Double-pole double throw 6 Amp switch Radio Shack
275-652 (optional)
Double-pole double throw 10 Amp switch Radio Shack
275-1533 (optional)
Fuse holder & fuse Radio Shack
Surplus Panasonic 6V, 10 AH sealed lead-acid battery
from Tri-Tek, Inc. (while supply lasts)
Final Note
Tri-Tek has a limited supply of surplus 6 volt 10 AH sealed
lead acid cells available for $6.95 each or $24.95 in
groups of 4. These are ideal for a portable power supply
of this type.
Basic Parts List:
Two 12 Volt or four 6 volt batteries (sized per your
requirements) 3-pole Double-throw switch (optional 2 pole
may be used) One fuse holder One fuse (appropriate for
your load)
Basic Power Supply Parts & Suppliers:
3-pole, 6 Amp double-throw switch Tri-Tek, Inc.
12 Volt batteries sized as needed Tri-Tek or HP ads
Miscellaneous hardware as needed
Visual Voltage Level Indicator (Optional):
D1 18 Volt, 1 Watt Zener diode 1N4746A
D2 Red LED (or color of your choice)
D3 Yellow LED (or color of your choice)
Q1 2N2222A or similar NPN switching transistor
R1, R2 1.2K ohm, 1/4 watt resistor
R3 820 ohm, 1/4 watt resistor
Access:
Author: Dan Lepinski, 4631 W. Marlette Ave,, Glendale,
AZ 85301
Tri-Tek, Incorporated, 9014 North 23rd Ave., Suite 11,
Phoenix, AZ 85021 • 800-528-0183 • 602-371-0446.
Minimum order $20.00
THE PEOPLES POWER COMPANY
• recumbent pedal power units
• bike generator adaptor kits
• high efficiency full-spectrum lighting
• complete home power packages
DEALER
INQUIRIES
INVITED
• catalogue $2.00
P.O. BOX 178, RAINIER, WA 98576 • 206-458-3336
HARRIS HYDROELECTRIC
Hydro-Power for Home Use
632 Swanton Road
Davenport, CA 95017
Works with Heads
as low as 10'
Prices start
as low as $695.
"The best Alternator-based MicroHydro generator I've ever seen." Bob-O Schultze
Hydroelectric Editor, Home Power Magazine
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
71
SUNNYSIDE
SOLAR
Dealer, Installer for Solarex
and Hoxan Photovoltaic
Modules
Zomeworks
Camera Ready
SEE US AT SEER '91
With a full range of Balance of System
components & equipment including
prefabricated systems
SUNNYSIDE SOLAR
RD4 Box 808 Green River RD.
Brattleboro, VT 05301
802-257-1482
Skyline Engineering
Camera Ready
The recipe for self-sufficiency?
POWERHOUSE PAUL'S STREAM ENGINES™
Just add water!
Recharges 12 Volt batteries on heads from 5 to 50 feet.
Works on flows from 3 gpm to 100 gpm.
72
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Model DCT-1 (Direct Current Turgo- Model 1)
$425. US • $500. CAN.
Prices include shipping, toolkit, five nozzle
inserts and manual.
Energy Systems & Design
POB 1557, Sussex, N.B. Canada E0E 1P0
506-433-3151
Home & Heart
monthly sales booklet with the sale items for that month.
There is usually a newsletter with it, called the Eater's
Digest, that gives information about new product lines,
availability of current produce and introduces new
employees of MPW.
Home
&
Heart
Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze
When I started my rural off-grid lifestyle the closest
supermarket was two and a half hours away, so I was
introduced to a new way of buying food. By joining the
Salmon River Food Co-op I not only saved money but
began to use foods that were healthier for my family.
Green Noodles and Brown Rice
I had never really eaten brown rice before but it was the
only kind Bob-O had. I had to learn how to cook it. It
wasn't at all like the Minute Rice I was used to. Didn't
taste the same either. I tried and tried to cook the green
vegetable noodles but they always came out like mush. I
always liked spaghetti on the second day after it was
made but this stuff was a no-go.
After these disappointing failures I was hesitant to try
using 'health foods' in my daily cooking. Then a
sympathetic River woman introduced me to the Salmon
River Food Co-op. This group orders bulk health foods
and organic produce from Mountain People's Warehouse,
a supplier of same to the western states. They deliver to
California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon,
Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, with container
shipments to Hawaii and Alaska.
To Boldly Go
These people really appeal to me. Their logo is an MPW
rocket powered delivery truck flying over the mountains
and valleys with the motto; "To Boldly Go Where No
Distributor Has Gone Before". Their extensive delivery
network reaches many western rural areas, but is not
limited to them. My sister has started a food club in San
Bernadino, while my sister-in-law started one in the Bay
Area.
The catalog costs $1.50 and is well worth the price.
Inside, the catalog is informative, comprehensive and
totally fascinating. The first few pages explain their
policies and the areas of delivery. The products are listed
by type in the Table of Contents and by manufacturer in
the Brand Name Index. The latest catalog is 106 pages
full of great bargains. A new catalog comes out every
three months and MPW is always stocking more lines of
organic food and eco-safe products. Once you get them
on the mailing list all the members of the Co-op receive a
Cases and Co-ops
When we moved from the River I found it very difficult,
and expensive, to continue to purchase the foods I had
become accustomed to using. I talked to my neighbors
and a couple of people in Hornbrook and formed the
Camp Creek Co-op. We have seven to nine families that
order each time.
MPW supplies many health food stores and large Co-ops,
so the food comes in large amounts. You usually have to
order a case of cans, bottles, or boxes. Bulk foods
(grains, dried fruit, pasta, beans, etc.) are sold in 50 lb.,
25 lb., 10 lb., and 5 lb. lots. There are some things in
smaller portions so read the catalog carefully.
We have worked it out so that we all order what we want
then get together to decide if any of the rest of us want to
split cases or portions of the food. Like six lbs. of
Mozzarella is a bit much for our family, but I can usually
split off a lb. or two to a couple other members. This
works well if you want to try some thing but aren't sure
you like it enough to get a whole case.
Another way to check out products before you buy too
much is to go to your local health food store and buy one
or two of the item and try it out on the family. If they like it
you can get it a lot cheaper through MPW.
Basmati and Sesame
I never realized that eating healthy could be so much fun
or taste so good. I'm afraid I never did learn how to cook
green noodles but my friend, Sarah, turned me on to
sesame noodles. They cook just like the ones I was used
to but are a lot better for you. As for brown rice, I
discovered Basmati brown rice. It has to be the best kind
of rice. It is long grain, fragrant and really tasty. I found
such a wide selection of products available that I can
stock the cupboards full of staples just from the catalog.
Health foods aren't what I thought they were and they
don't cost as much either.
West and East
I am sure there must be other distributors who provide the
service MPW does. When I called them to find out, one of
their office workers had lived back East and knew of two
distributors there. They are Stoew Mill and Cornucopia.
We haven't been able to get access information on them,
so I would like to hear from readers who order from either
or both of them.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
73
Home & Heart
The Cental Vac for the RV does the carpet and floors
nicely. The negative of this central vacuum is the cost of
replacement bags.
Vacuum Variety
Jorrie and Ken Ciotti, of the Holistic Institute of Montana,
wrote to tell me about several vacuums they use regularly.
They use: Central Vac for RVs, Shop-Vac Wet/Dry Model
610, HP Vacuflo, and Sears Model 116 with Power-Mate
Well, I hope this information helps a little. If the dust
doesn't bother you, I recommend you get the Sears. The
HP Vacuflo is my favorite and does a good job on
carpets."
Jorrie says, " The best carpet vacuum is the Sears with
Power-Mate. The Power-Mate does an excellent job of
getting carpets clean quickly. It uses 12 amps with the
Power-Mate; 9 amps without it. The Power-Mate is a
carpet attachment to the sweeper that can be removed so
you can use all the other typical sweeper tools: floor
brush, crevice tool, fabric brush, and dusting brush.
Access
Mountain People's Warehouse, 110 Springhill Dr., Grass
Valley, CA 95945 Order desk: (916) 273-9531 • FAX:
(916) 273-0326
HP Vacuflo, H-P Products, Inc., Louisville, OH 44641 •
(216) 875-0326
The HP Vacuflo is our house sweeper that runs off of the
Trace 2012 with the T220 attachment. It uses 6 amps,
230 volts. We have oak wood floors and this is an
excellent sweeper. We prefer central vacuums because
the other vacuums bother my lungs. Something else that I
like about this vacuum is that you don't have bags to
purchase. When the canister gets full we recycle the
contents in our Clivus Multrum.
Holistic Institute of Montana, Inc., 3000 Mill Rd., Niarada,
MT 59852-0014
Author: Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze, C/O Home Power,
POB 130, Hornbrook, CA 96044 • (916) 475-3401.
We use the Shop-Vac for the shop and have had no
problems with it. I don't like its lack of flexibility in the hose
and the klunky attachments, but for the shop it's fine.
Due to the terminal illness of my husband Steve Taylor, owner of Steamco Solar Electric, I am
unable to continue the business, and I am selling all inventory. I will, however, continue to
manufacture the SPM2000 System Power Monitor. Lisa Taylor
Please, no COD's or VISA/MC. Cashiers checks or money orders only. Good Luck SEER '91. Wish we were there!
Steamco Solar Electric, 2700 Cantu Lane NW, Bremerton, WA 98312
206-830-4301 Phone lines will be open 1-4 PDT.
Solar RV Chargers; (2)I- $30 ea., II- $50, III- $150
Statpower 600 Inverter- $250, Heart 600- $300
Panels; (2)M65- $200 ea., (2)M55- $300 ea., (2)G25- $10 ea.,
G50- $30, (2) G100- $50 ea., SX10- $75, MSX30- $130,
MSX40- $150
Batteries; (2)L16- $75 ea., (2)T105-$50 ea., Dynasty 1-13-B-$20
15W fluorescent- $15, (3)18W fluorescent-$15ea., Dual 8W$15, (6)SW QH-$5ea., (4) 50W QH-$7ea., 22W Circle Line-$7
IBE Battery Charger, 125A, 24V, 220 line in-$500 OBO, Power
Guard 27 Battery Box- $15, Power Guard 24 Battery Box-$10,
Associated 6A Battery Charger- $15, Associated 10 amp
Battery Charger- $25, Portable 12V Nickel Cadmium battery
Charger-$20
Mayfair Bilge Pump- $15, Amazon Sub Inline Pump- $25, (4)
DC Adapter- $2ea., (3) Electronic run portable- $10
Appliances from your car battery; (3) 12V plugs (single)- $2 ea.,
12V extension cord- $5, DC Water Well Pressure Switch (cutin 20psi, cut-out 40 psi)- $10, Mighty Mule Gate Opener- $300
OBO, 120AC 30 A X-fer-$30, Metal Cut-Out Boxes-(2) 6x6x4$10ea., (2) 8x8x4-$15 ea., (2) 10x10x4-$20 ea.
Harris Hydro (15' min. head/150gpm flow) 8 nozzel 24V-$400
OBO
74
SBC 30-24 w/Divert- $75, SCI B3-12- $75, (4)NDR 30-2 no
options- $75 ea., (2)SBC 3-12 w/divert & LBA- $75 ea.,
(3)LCB"T"- $20 ea., LCB 20-$100, SCI 2-24- $50,(2)M16$20ea., M8M- $20, (2)SC-4- $10 ea., SCI Mark3-12V-$50, (2)
Cruising Equip. AH Meter- $100 ea., Bobiers AH-Meter- $200
ea., Burkhardt 24V 50A- $100
ARCO 4 panel Mount- $80, (4) Flat Mount-$7ea., (3) Flat/tilt-$10
Murata M1600 Fax-Copier phone- $250, Mitsbisha Cellular
Phone- $250, Columbia Computer- $200, (2) Epson
Computer-$250 ea., (3) Walnut Showcases-$30 ea., Casio
Cash Register- $50
Photron Power Guard P-PG-24- $100, (4) DC Voltmeter 22-23$15 ea., (5) DC Ampmeters 0-5- $15 ea., (2) AC Voltmeters
50-150- $15 ea., (6) DC Ampmeters 0-30- $15 ea., (2) DC
Ampmeter 0-60- $15, DC Voltmeter 10-16- $15, Bronze
Pelton Wheel- $100, Solar Experiment Kit- $20, (4) Solar
Speedboats-$15 ea.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Good Books
sugars into alcohol and CO2, while keeping the air out.
Now you have to wait about a week for the yeast to do its
thing. When the density of the beer (measured with your
hydrometer) has stabilized, it's time to put it in bottles.
You add 3/4 of a cup of corn sugar to the fermented beer
and syphon it into bottles scrounged (reused!) from the
recycling bin and cap them. The yeast uses this bit of
sugar added at the end to make a little bit more alcohol
and carbon dioxide. Wait another week for this carbon
dioxide to form and be trapped in solution and carbonate
the beer, then you're ready to drink your five gallons (50
bottles) of beer.
Good
Books
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
by Charlie Papazian
Reviewed by Tom Heinrichs
©1991 Tom Heinrichs
This is a different kind of homebrew than Home Power
readers are used to. There are no FET's, rheostats, or
puffs of capacitance mentioned in this book. We're talking
barley,
hops, and yeast in The Complete Joy of
Homebrewing.
It costs the large American breweries a few cents to
produce a bottle of beer. So where does the other
forty-seven or so cents they charge for their product go?
It goes to the Big Three in our consumer society:
advertising, packaging, and distribution. Yes, you're
paying to see washed up jocks push a product on TV, for
containers the have to be melted
down and
remanufactured in order to be reused, and for gasoline to
truck the stuff around.
But there is a better way: get a copy of Charlie Papazian's
The Complete Joy of Home Brewing. This book will tell
you everything you need to know about how to make your
own beer that is approximately 947 times better than the
stuff that passes as beer in American stores.
The plan goes like this: first, lay your hands on the
necessary equipment. You need a five gallon bucket with
a lid or a five gallon glass water bottle ($0-20), a rubber
stopper and fermentation lock ($2), a hydrometer to
measure the density of the beer ($4), three feet of plastic
tubing to siphon the beer into bottles ($1), and a bottle
capper ($4-12). You also need a big (3 or 4 gallon) kettle
to boil the ingredients in. Second, you buy the ingredients
(malted barley extract, hops, and beer yeast) for about
twenty dollars. Third, you boil the stuff up, mix it with
water in your big bucket, and add beer yeast. Put the lid
with fermentation lock installed on it on the bucket. The
fermentation lock is a one way valve. It lets the carbon
dioxide out of the bucket as the yeast turns the barley
That's the quick rundown. You really need to lay your
hands on The Complete Joy of Homebrewing for the
whole story. Charlie Papazian will get you started with
lists of ingredients, equipment, and instructions, and carry
you just about as far as you want to go.
You might worry that a book with an information density
as high as this one has might be dull--the Gray's Anatomy
of beer, or something. Don't worry, The Complete Joy of
Home Brewing is extremely well written and FUN to read.
Papazian has a conversational writing style and provides
information at several different levels: if you just want to
know how to make the stuff, it's here. If you want the gory
details of enzymatic actions, the fermentation process, or
water chemistry, you'll find it in this book. You will be
inspired to action by this book.
Once you get going, you will find your own beer tastes
better because it's made from better ingredients and
because it doesn't have the bad karma associated with
the national ad industry, disposable containers, and
energy spent moving what is mostly water all over the
country. Your own beer is inexpensive ($20 for fifty
bottles!) It's also more nutritious. But mostly, your own
beer will taste better because you made it yourself. The
Complete Joy of Homebrewing: you need a copy.
Access:
The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian
is published by Avon Books, a division of The Hearst
Corporation, 105 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016.
1984,
cost:
$8.95
paperback
(331p.),
ISBN:
0-380-88369-4
Homebrewing supplies: look in the yellow pages under
"Winemaking"; mail order: look in the classified adds in
the back of Popular Science (or another hobbyist
magazine) under "Winemaking"
Tom Heinrichs POB 84411, Fairbanks, AK 99708
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
75
Happenings
HAPPENINGS
SEER '91 - WEST COAST ENERGY FAIR!
Solar Energy Expo & Rally, August 9, 10, 11 1991 in
Willits, CA. Electric Vehicles Races, Demonstrations,
Exhibitions. The Fair Grounds will be powered by
Renewable Energy! The Home Power Crew will be there
with bells on, stop by and say HI! Contact SEER'91, 239
S. Main St, Willits, CA 95490, 707-459-1256
Hands-On Solar Workshops
The Solar Technology Institute is offering the following
summer Photovoltaic and Solar Energy Workshops.
Solar Energy for the Developing World, August 5-9 in
Willits, CA. PV and solar thermal systems for improving
life in developing countries.
Solar Technology for Rural Health Care, August 26-30, in
Carbondale, CO. This workshop focuses on the technical
skills needed for using solar technologies in developing
countries. Included are: vaccine refrigeration, lighting,
communication, and water pumping.
The cost of a one and/or two week program is $350. per
week.
Solar Home Program 1991-1992. This series of How-To
and Hands-On workshops is about designing and building
state-of-the-art solar homes that are self-reliant, thermally
efficient, healthy to live in, and environmentally conscious.
Photovoltaic Design and Installation, Sept.9-20; Advanced
Photovoltaics for Remote Home, Sept. 23-Oct. 3;
Micro-Hydro Power Systems, Oct. 7-10; Solar Home
Design and Construction, Oct. 14-24; Energy Efficient and
Solar Remodeling, Oct. 28-Nov. 21; Passive Solar Design
for Professionals, Jan. 13-23; Heating the Energy Efficient
Home, Jan. 27-Feb. 20; Solar Building Skills, Mar. 2-May
1.
For detailed schedules and descriptions, costs, and
scholarship information write, Solar Technology Institute,
POB 1115, Carbondale, CO 81623-1115 or call Ken or
Johnny at 303-963-0715.
Backwoods Solar Summer Workshops
Backwoods Solar will be holding several one day
workshops on photovoltaic equipment and installation.
Each workshop is limited to ten people. The cost is $40.00
per person, non-refundable pre-paid, which includes lunch
and a text book ($30 per person if 2 people share the text
76
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
book). The workshop will be held on the first Saturday of
each month, September 7, 1991. For more information
contact: Steve or Elizabeth Willey, Backwoods Solar
Electric Systems, 8530-HP Rapid Lightning Creek Rd.,
Sandpoint, ID 83864, 208-263-4290
Hands-On Workshops in Maine
The Maine Solar Energy Association has started a series
of hand-on solar workshops all around the state of Maine.
The purpose of these practical, one day events is to
de-mystify solar energy by showing the participants that it
is practical today to use the sun to heat your home, make
your hot water, furnish your electricity, and even cook
your food and grow your vegetables out of season. In the
past year we have had a very successful passive solar
architecture workshop in Bangor, a solar greenhouse &
sunspace workshop in Falmouth, and two photovoltaics
workshops. The participants of the photovoltaic
workshops actually constructed solar cell modules that
they could take home for the cost of the parts. Some
people made small solar battery chargers. Several
participants assembled large 35 watt power modules.
In the coming year the expanded schedule of workshops
will include; solar air heating, solar water heating, solar
cookers and ovens, solar electric home, passive
architecture, greenhouses and sun spaces, and the
immensely popular photovoltaics workshop. The fee for
each of these workshops is $25.00, which includes lunch.
For information on sites and dates contact Richard Komp,
Maine Solar Energy Association, RFD Box 751, Addison,
ME 04606, 207•497-2204
Electric Vehicle Club for Oregon
Lon Gillas of Pacific West Supply Co. in Amity, OR is
organizing an electric vehicle club to promote electric
transportation in the Pacific Northwest. Those interested
in participating please contact Lon Gillas at P.O. Box 347,
Amity, OR 97101, 503-835-1212.
Florida Solar Energy Center
The Photovoltaic System Design Workshop will be held at
the Florida Solar Energy Center on, Oct. 22-24, 1991.
This workshop will cover solar electric technology and the
design of stand-alone and utility interactive PV systems
aimed at engineers, government agencies, the solar
industry and interested individuals. Cost $150, in-state,
$300 out of state.
Energy Efficient FL Home Building: the newest ideas on
designing & building an energy efficient home for home
builders, inspectors & those thinking about building. 9/19
(Orlando) 1991. Cost $45.
Happenings
For more information contact JoAnn Stirling, 300 State Rd
401, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920-4099 • 407-783-0300
information and related articles, and Joel Davidson's "The
New Solar Electric Home".
NE Sustainable Energy Assoc.
For additional information and registration, contact Carol
Levin, Sunnyside Solar, Inc., RDF4 Box 808, Green River
Rd, Brattleboro, VT 05301, 802-257-1482
September 23 & 24 1991, Energy Opportunities '91,
Setting Energy Priorities for Commercial, Institutional and
Industrial Buildings, Boxborough Host Hotel, Boxborough
MA. Contact NESEA at 413-774-6051
October 26 & 26, 1991 - SOLAR AND ELECTRIC
VEHICLE SYMPOSIUM will feature an extensive exhibit
of prototype, pre-production EVs and components plus
ongoing 30 minute workshops on the basics of EVs and
presentations by specific car companies. The workshops
will cover choosing the right components, photovoltaics,
motors, batteries racing strategy, fund raising, team,
electronics, conversions, composites wheels, design and
more. The Symposium will be at the Sheraton Hotel,
Boxborough, MA JUST OFF RT 495. Contact NESEA.
4th Annual American Tour de Sol, May 1992, solar and
electric car championship. Contact NESEA at
413-774-6051
Minnesota Energy Council
The MN Energy Council will hold a number of conferences
on new technology in energy and environmental
management for housing, small buildings, small business
and municipal buildings, aimed at professionals and
business people. For more information contact: Roger
Peterson, Minnesota Energy Council, Box 8222, St. Paul,
MN 55108 • 612-378-2973
Solar World Congress
The Solar World Congress of the International Solar
Energy Society will be held on August 17-24, 1991 in
Denver, CO. Contact: American Solar Energy Society,
2400 Central Ave. Ste. B-1, Boulder, CO 80301 USA,
303-443-3130, FAX 303-443-3212.
Sunnyside Solar Seminars and Workshops
"Photovoltaic Home Electric Systems - Seminar and
Workshop" is a one day program given at Sunnyside
Solar, Inc. in Brattleboro, VT. It provides an introduction to
independent solar electric systems and includes a
hands-on workshop assembling a four module system.
Each program is complete. The 1991 schedule is
September 28 and October 19, each on a Saturday, 9 am
to 4 pm. Advance registration, with a $35 deposit for each
person, is required. The balance of $95. per person is due
on the day of the workshop. Registration for each session
is limited to the first eight deposits received. Included in
the day's program is lunch, a packet of product
Fowler Solar Electric Solar Workshop
Fowler Solar Electric Inc. will be offering a solar electric
workshop on Saturday, Sept. 28, 1991 in Worthington,
MA.
This workshop is designed to teach potential PV
homeowners to size, site, install, and live with a PV
system.
Jeffrey and Lea Fowler will teach the workshop from 9:30
AM to 2:30 PM. From 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM there will be
comprehensive product display, as well as a question
session.
To register, please send $25 per person. If you are
attending as a couple, you will pay only $35 for you and
your spouse. Send your address and telephone number
with your registration. We will respond by mail about 3
weeks before the workshop with a confirmation,
instructions/directions, and complete information. Please
bring your lunch.
Solar Energy in Sweden/Finland
A two week study tour (or one week option) of community
scale renewable energy projects, research labs, and
technology exhibition centers in Sweden and Finland,
including solar, wind, and biomass. Both countries have
major national initiatives to develop renewable energy.
Opportunity to attend 1991 International Symposium on
Energy and Environment in Espoo, Finland, August
25-28. Option to depart USA on August 22 for a one week
tour to exhibition centers and symposium only. Full tour
(two weeks) will include a visit to production plant for
highly-insulated building components, and ferry across
the Baltic Sea from Sweden to Finland with a seminar
held on board. For more information on the
Sweden/Finland tour or the 1992 Denmark/Germany
tower contact the Minnesota Energy Council, POB 8222,
St Paul, MN 55108, 612-378-2973
Environmental Protection Information
Conference
EPIC, a leading edge exposition to demonstrate the latest
technology, products, and services with the greatest
promise for improving the environmental performance of
the business community. EPIC is specifically intended to
establish & strengthen business-to-business relationships
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
77
Happenings
that promote cleaner, less toxic processes, technologies,
and products in the marketplace. "EPIC presents a unique
opportunity for the public and private sectors to showcase
and examine the products, technologies, and services that
are available to meet the environmental challenges facing
the United States," said Senator Gore, EPIC's keynote
speaker. The event will be held on Oct. 22, 1991 at the
DC Armory in Washington, DC.
Offline Workshop
Rally in the San Luis Valley, Crestone
Colorado
A one day workshop, Designing Your Home PV Power
System, will take place at Sun Mountain Research
Center, Tollhouse, CA (near Fresno) on Sunday, Oct. 6,
1991 from 10am to 5pm for $35 or $45 for couples, the
instructor is Don Loweburg. The day begins with a tour of
the Sun Mountain PV system. A detailed discussion and
design exercise will follow, with time allowed for individual
projects. Bring a lunch, preregister no later than Sept. 23.
You will be sent a map and registration confirmation,
enrollment is limited. Register by sending check to;
Offline, POB 231, North Fork, CA 93643 or for more info
phone 209-877-7080
South Central Colorado Alternative Living Fair-August
10th thru 18th. Saturday and Sunday, August 10th and
11th-Sustainable Community Conference, Colorado
College Seminar building at the Baca. August 15th thru
18th, Global Village Network Conference, Savitri Solar
Dome in The Baca. Saturday, August 17th-2nd Annual
Crestone-Baca Alternative Energy Fair, Crestone Park in
The Baca, Solar Energy booths and Solar Cook-Off, Solar
Powered Musical Entertainment. Sunday, August
18th-Solar Raffle and Tour of Sites. Fair is Free to the
Public, camping available. For Conference costs and
exhibitor information contact POB 54, Crestone, CO
81131, 719-256-4860. This is the time to rally 'round
lifestyle alternatives at Crestone, Colorado, in the
solar-active San Luis Valley, one hour north of Alamosa.
Dan Hemenway, editor and publisher of The International
Permaculture Solutions Journal, will lead a full three week
permaculture design course Oct. 19-Nov.9, 1991 in
Orange Park, FL. The course will include sections on
ecological design principles, design application of
appropriate technologies and economic, social and legal
considerations in permaculture design. Themes include
energy, nutrient cycles, cultivated areas, potential
catastrophes, water, buildings, urban design, alternative
economics and bioregionalism. Students form teams and
design the course site. For more information send SASE
to Elfin Permaculture Institute, 7781 Lenox Ave.,
Jacksonville, FL 32221.
For more information contact Mark Flemister or Bob
Frederick at EPIC 301-309-0700.
SunAmp Seminar
SunAmp Power Co. will hold two, 2 day PV seminars on
September 20 & 21 and November 8 & 9, 1991. The
seminars are designed for everyone from professionals to
do-it-yourselfers. Topics will include introduction to PV
hardware, demonstrations of systems, instrumentation ,
information access, system design and marketing.
Cost of each seminar is $175 ($125 for each additional
person in the same party) and includes two lunches,
refreshments, syllabus & classroom materials. A $50.00
deposit is required. For more information contact Steve at
SunAmp Power Co., POB 6346, Scottsdale, AZ
85261-6346
•
602-833-1550
or
TOLL
FREE
1-800-677-6527.
Solar Electric Classes in Nevada
Solar Electric Classes for a max. of 4 students. Taught at
remote Solar homesite. 2 days on the 4th weekend of
Sept. Oct. Nov. Will build a small system. Class- $75.
For Info SASE to Solar Advantage, 4410 N. Rancho Dr.
#148, Las Vegas, NV 89130 • 702-645-6571
78
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Permaculture Design Course in Florida
Earth Awareness Expo in Kansas City
On Oct. 11-13, Kansas City's Bartle Hall will host the
area's first major annual exhibition dedicated to
environmentalism and the marketplace. EAE'91 will
combine informative, educational and motivational
presentations with product and service demonstrations.
which will include workshops, seminars, educational
forums, eco-entrepreneurs, environmental action groups,
government officials, practical presentations for home and
office, energy- efficient alternative for transportation,
industry, home use, and heating & cooling. Contact Earth
Awareness Expo, 1423 Gentry, North Kansas City, MO
64116-3918 or call 1-800-442-XPOS, 816-472-2444
the Wizard Speaks…
Writing for Home Power Magazine
the Wizard Speaks…
Information
Here we all are involved in
information transfer. Not the singular
bit or byte transfers of knowledge
only, but the larger pattern transfers of
higher intelligence. If knowledge and
technology are the operators of physical energy
transformations, then information patterns are the
operators of evolutionary and magical transmutations. In
fact, even for physical energy transformations themselves,
the correct informational patterns of the energies of higher
intelligence must be in place in order to initiate new
knowledge, facts, and technologies.
Knowledge and information are really quite different.
Knowledge is basically a bit/byte oriented linear
quantitative system serially processed. Information, on the
other hand is a pattern oriented non-linear qualitative
system whose pattern elements are parallel processed.
Knowledge gets its working data from exact
measurements of event parameters, while information
uses as its data the patterns of relationships between
event parameters. Knowledge is a rational system, its
outputs are technological marvels and developed skills.
Information is an intuitive system. Its outputs are miracles
and magical talents.
Today we are in the middle of the transformation from
knowledge systems to information systems. This can be
seen in the evolution of computer systems from the
classical Von Newman architectures to the new computer
formats. One important result of this transformation will be
the disappearance of the emphasis on meaning and the
emergence of the wish for direct communication. This has
already started with the attempt to develop non-verbal
communication systems. This does not mean the absence
of sound but the expansion of communication to all the
senses including those not yet recognized by modern
science.
As mind gives way to imagination, conflicts will be
replaced by cooperative efforts and we may yet live to see
PARADISE NOW! Let's all "Roll away the Stone".
We specialize in hands-on, practical information about
small-scale renewable energy production and use. We
publish technical material in an easy to understand and
use format.
Informational Content
Please include all the details! Be specific! Write from
your direct experienceHome Power is hands-on!
Please include full access data for equipment mentioned.
Article Style and Length
Home Power articles can be between 500 and 10,000
words. Length depends what you have to say. Say it in
as few words as possible. Use simple declarative
sentences- short and to the point. Use Sub-Headings to
organize the information. Check out articles printed in HP
to get the feeling of our style. Please send a double
spaced, typewritten copy if possible. If not, please print.
Editing
We reserve the right to edit all articles for accuracy,
length, and basic English. We get over three times more
articles submitted than we can print. The most useful,
specific and organized get printed first.
Photographs
We can work from a color or black & white photographic
print. If your photo is for the color cover, then send a
color transparency (color slide).
Line Art
We can work from your camera-ready art. We can also
scan or redraw it. We can generate tables, charts, and
graphs from your data.
Got a Computer?
Send your article on disk if possible. We use Mac
computers. Please format all word processor files in
ASCII "TEXT" format. We can read text files on 3.5" IBM
disks. Format all graphics as PICT. Use 10 point
Helvetica for all text embedded within graphics.
Want your material returned?
Please include a stamped, self-addressed, return
envelope. Otherwise your material will not be returned.
Copyrighting
If you request it, we will copyright your work in your name.
Otherwise we will copyright the information in Home
Power's name.
Got any questions?
Give me a call at 916-475-3179. This saves everyone's
time. Richard Perez
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
79
Letters to Home Power
Letters to Home Power
We Print 'em Unedited.
Selected & Entered by
Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze
Tall Tower Tales
I'd like to add a few thoughts to Mick Sagrillo's useful
article in issue 23. Old timers say that a three-legged
towers are much more vulnerable to disaster than their
less efficient four legged cousins. If anything happens to
one leg of a tri-legger, down it comes. I saw one fall when
a delivery truck backed into a leg. The same logic would
tell you that guyed towers should have more than a
minimum three cables, however elegant. Guy anchors
invite damage. Many professional towers have six.
All towers should have lightning protection grounding
systems that are separate from generator electrics and
from concrete-set legs, poles, or guy anchors. I suggest a
heavy cable plus deep ground rod at each earth contact
point. Reason: a lightning bolt going down a leg or guy
may blow off the concrete footings as it seeks ground.
You know what comes next!
Mick's point about vibration is well taken. It is not possible
to perfectly balance a wind machine for all conditions. I've
seen well rigged Jakes slowly vibrate tower anchors right
out of the ground (in the spring). One came to grief when
a single rung of the tower ladder vibrated loose and was
swept into the blades. Vibration may also cause the pole
pad of a pole-and-guy setup to slowly sink (like your foot
does when you pat it on wet sand at the beach) thus
loosening all the guys. Ironically, nice tight guys will make
the problem worse. That center pad has to be wide, deep
and made with rebar. By the way, old timers insist that
you should never use tower bolts and nuts a second
time--they may crack from the previous stretching. Use
new ones of the proper strength rating. With legged
towers built in place, it is a good idea to pour the last
footing after the tower is up. Most bolted towers are
assembled with a bit of distortion in 'em, and leaving one
leg loose lets you cheat a little. Another way to prevent
"the last bolts won't go in the @#$% holes" problems is to
assemble the whole thing loose and then tighten up. If you
do that, be disciplined sure you've tightened every bolt!
Think it out carefully before using a 4x4 truck winch for a
tower tilt-down job; the forces are huge even with a gin
pole. I once watched a rock-weighted 4x4 3/4 ton Dodge
pick-up catapulted to destruction by an 85 foot tower. Lost
80
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
a nice Jake, too. Also beware underestimating the loads
on block-and-tackles used to lower machines from
towers. Once had to have a neighbor kid pour perfectly
good beer on our gloves to put out the fire.... J Baldwin,
Tech Editor, Whole Earth Review, 27 Gate Five Rd,
Sausalito, CA 94965 • 415-332-1716.
Solar Cooking
Dear Sirs, I am looking for people in this area who might
be willing to help me make a solar cooker. Also any
printed materials. Thank-you.
Regina Pustan, POB
60724, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Regina, see the 'Things That Work!' in this issue for a
review of a solar oven kit. Also Home Power has just
published a book, HEAVEN'S FLAME, that gives detailed
instructions on how to build a SunStar solar cooker.
These ovens are made of cardboard, aluminum foil and
glass. They cook as well as the manufactured model that
costs thirteen times more (I am including the price of the
book with materials cost of SunStar). See ad on pg.91 for
ordering information. - Kathleen
Kudos
Your magazine is great, and especially encouraging for
do-it-yourself tinkerers like me who prefer to build things
rather than buy them (what's the fun of that, anyway?).
We have a small system: Two PV panels and one of
Bob-O's Lil Otto hydro units which feed some nicads we
got from Pacific West Supply (great people!), plus a
Power Star inverter. This is actually more than we need,
and we intend to keep it that way (we are independent of
our independent power system!). I appreciate your ability
to make things clear and easy to understand, yet not
sacrifice detail or talk down to us non-techies. So, even
though we won't be expanding our system, we do want to
improve it as new developments arise. That's where HP
fits in: We know you'll do the best job of keeping us
informed. S W Clarke, Box 74, Swisshome, OR 97480
Light of Day
Dear Home Power Crew, I'm enclosing my renewal form.
I've also got one complaint.
HP#20 had an article on efficient lighting ("Lights at
Night", pg 15). It reported the Osram EL lamps to be
"virtually indistinguishable from daylight". I bought two of
them. I was disappointed when I found them yellow
compared to my 40 watt twin tube daylight fluorescent
lamp (which I find close to daylight). The color quality of
the Osrams seemed similar to that of a soft white
incandescent.
Nonetheless, I am still renewing (this time for two years).
Having a technical background myself, I am very much
Letters to Home Power
impressed by the way your magazine brims with details of
your subject matter. It has information that I can't seem to
find elsewhere. I understand your desire to broaden the
magazine's appeal, but please devote some reasonable
fraction of your space to features such as Nerd's Corner,
Homebrew stuff, etc. Here's a few suggestions for topics
I'd like to see covered.
--Battery Recycling. A good idea would be an article or an
interview with a battery recycler/rebuilder (or someone
knowledgeable about chemistry). It should cover what can
be done and what is being done. It should include
lead-acid, alkaline, and Ni-Cad types. AE is a pipedream
for me now. Someday I intend to make the switch. Before
I do I want to be sure that AE is solving one problem and
not simply creating another (please see enclosed
newspaper article).
--Inverters. I'm very curious about the new generation of
inverters. Could you have an article with details about how
they
work
(including
block
diagrams/simplified
schematics)? Are they feasible for home construction,
even though it might be a lengthy, complex project? If so,
I would like to see a project in the low to medium power
range - 100 to 500 watts.
--Fluorescent Ballasts. Another interesting construction
project would be an electronic ballast for fluorescent
lights(including details for various sizes/power ratings).
One final question--will a revised edition of 'The Complete
Battery Book' be published? Real Goods 1990 Alternative
Energy Sourcebook said such a project was due out in
Feb. 1990. Now it's no longer listed in their catalogs. I'm
enclosing a SASE for a speedy reply on this one. A simple
yes or no will suffice (along with a date if yes). You may
publish this letter and reply to the other questions in Home
Power. Thanks, you're doing a great job! Bill Joy, 515 SE
7th St, Gresham, OR 97080
Hello, Bill. The eyes have it. The Osram EL series has a
C.R.I.(color rendition index) of 82, while your Daylight twin
tube approaches a C.R.I. of nearly 100. A soft or "warm"
white incandescent, on the other hand, only has a C.R.I.
of 55. Of course, we're kinda talking apples and oranges,
as the compacts are suited for different applications than
the long tube fluorescents and vice versa.
Many readers tell us they like the Homebrew articles. We
give Homebrew as much space as it needs. The amount
depends on how many good projects are sent in by
readers. All we ask is that the circuit be prototyped,
working, and useful. An article on battery recycling and/or
rebuilding would be great! Any battery rebuilders out
there like to write?
By now you've already gotten HP23 with Clifford
Mossberg's article on How an Inverter Works. There was
an article in Radio/Electronics a few years back which
gave a schematic and plans for a roll-your-own 50 watt
inverter. I built it and it worked, but I can't say I'd
recommend them for home use. Inverter technology has
come an incredible way. Fully regulated RMS output
regardless of input voltage, frequency held to ±.04% (lots
better than the grid), load sensing, impulse phase
correction, on and on, oh my. I can build an inverter, but I
sure as hell ain't gonna plug my VCR into it!
So many folks have asked for an updated Battery Book,
that the current plan calls for locking Richard into an
unheated monastic cell this winter with only his Mac,
espresso pot, and a goodly supply of peanut M&Ms until
he produces it. 'Nuff said? Bob-O.
Hi, Bill. My apologies for saying "compact fluorescent light
being virtually indistinguishable from daylight". What I
should have said was, "these lights have a warm light, not
the blue light that makes everyone look corpse-like." I'm
working on the revised edition of the Battery Book. I have
large quantities of new information to add. I have no firm
date for completing the New Battery Book. Bob–O's right,
they need to lock me up… Richard
Mac-It-To-'Em
Keep up the good work. I was wondering how many
readers would be interested in a Hypercard or Supercard
version of Home Power? Mac-It-To-'Em. Recent ice
storms in Rochester, NY took out almost all the central
electrical facilities (nuclear). The line crews were sure
interested in why I still had power. Some areas were out
for 2-3 weeks. Even fossil fuels, such as gasoline,
couldn't be pumped. One problem everyone in northern
climates faces is heat storage. If there is anybody out
there who has worked with heat-of-hydration salts for
seasonal heat storage, I would be interested in hearing
from them. May the Sun light your way, Robert Snell, 60
Lakeview Park Apt A, Rochester, NY 14613
If you include the line art and scans of the photos,
Hypercard stacks for just one issue of HP would take 4
Megabytes or so. Unless you've got a "black hole" for a
hard drive... If anyone is interested in text files from HP
issues, contact Richard. He's been known to fill reader's
3.5 " floppies with all kinds of stuff.
A similar power outage happened in the southwestern
Oregon area this winter. First the natural gas went out,
then the electric power. We just stuck another log in the
stove and watched it on TV. Shouldn't be smug, but it felt
good, didn't it? - Bob-O
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
81
Letters to Home Power
Serviceable Servel
Dear Home Power Folks, Enclosed is a check for my
subscription renewal, my thanks for a job well done on
issue #23, and a tip for owners of old Servel gas fridges.
Reflectix insulation is a partial cure for excessive gas
consumption. (Cleaning the coils helps too.) Drape a
piece of Reflectix over the top of the fridge - leaving the
grill in back uncovered, of course. Tape it down to the
sides using the silver reflectix tape; nothing else works as
well. Yank out the shelves and fit a piece to the back of
the inside. This piece should stay in place by friction fit.
Cut a piece to fit inside the door with about a 2"-3" gap
between it and the door gasket. If you fit this piece tight to
the gasket it will interfere with the door closing. You will
have to cut out around the latch anyway. The final touch cut and fit a piece around the sides and bottom of the
freezer box. The lowered heat transfer between the
freezer compartment and the fridge will allow you to keep
your ice cream solid without freezing your pickles. Enjoy
your popsicles and propane savings! Yours under the
Sun, Hilton Dier III, Middlesex, VT
Thanks for the info, Hilton, I just happen to have an old
Servel, Harold, who is getting up there in years. I just
reworked the door seal with silicone seal. I did the test
where you put a dollar bill across the seal, close the door,
and see if you can pull it out or wiggle it. Sure enough,
money was slipping out of the seal. It all adds up. See
page 67 of this issue for propane info- Kathleen
Gridless Jammin
What's great is that EVERYTHINGS interesting. So much
to read. Not like, say, "Time", or "OMNI" or even "Rolling
Stone"....Takes 15 minutes to flip through the fluff and
learn nothing in the process. Especially enjoy the "How to"
articles by homesteaders such as myself - Keep up the
good work! How about something on AE Rock 'N'
Roll...systems and/or suggestions for musicians who lives
and plays off the grid.
But yes: This is a subject of great personal interest - the
grand piano that occupies a major portion of my simple
shack requires no energy beyond my own to operate, but
my musical interests have been expanding to include
other keyboards and other musicians. Would like to be
able to power a jam session someday. Interested in clues
as to what makes and models of synthesizers and
keyboards are available or adaptable, or articles by other
musicians who for one reason or another found
themselves with nothing to plug into...
PS I have an array of 6 Arco - solar "M-701" on a tracker
and some VERY old, still functional, telephone co. relay
82
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
batteries, got 'em used, they're even more used now and
someday soon will have to be assisted by a second bank
- got a switchboard and an inverter that doesn't work right
now.... You get the general picture!
Thanks for
listening.... Case Cohen, Box 203, Dixon, NM, 87527
There are lots & lots of AE powered musicians out there!
Even Richard and I get together infrequently for a
solar-powered blues jam. My Peavey Mark VI Bass amp
and XR-700 PA work just fine on sunshine! The little
inverter buzz would be unacceptable for recording, but for
the average jam or even a gig, it would be fine. Most of
the synths and keyboards I've seen lately run on DC from
a wall cube. Converting these to battery power would be a
piece of cake. How about it musicians? Any help with
makes and models for Case? Bob-O
Tree Towers
Dear Home Power, I enjoyed Mick Sagrillo's information
packed article on Wind Generator Towers in HP#23. I
have to disagree, from our experience, with his caveat
about using trees for towers. I think trees can make great,
inexpensive towers. They fit into the landscape
considerably better than steel towers. With the exception
of one mishap due to some bad engineering advice, our
100+' Douglas fir tower has worked quite well for us for
over five years. It easily supports our Winco 24 volt, 450
watt generator.
Mick mentions four things he has against trees as towers
- I'd like to give my view of them. 1) He say that trees are
hard to climb safely. Personally I feel considerably safer
climbing in trees than in towers. Of course, I've done
some moonlighting (not literally!) as a tree trimmer, so I'd
rather climb a tree with lots of branches to stand on and
hold onto than a bare steel tower. In any case, folks
should be tied in with a safety line climbing a tree or
tower. We have a permanent safety line in our wind
machine tree and I can be up and down it in about 15
minutes.
2) Mick says trees are hard to climb with wind generator
parts and tools cluttering up your hands. I agree! But so
are towers. This is a foolish way to climb anything. Your
hands ought to both be free to climb with. I find that the
safest way to deal with the problem is to haul tools and
parts up with rope after you are secured at the top of your
tower. I do carry some tools and small parts (and my
cordless phone) in my many pocketed vest. Then I use a
canvas bag and rope to haul up whatever else I need.
3) Mick says trees sway too much. He's right. They must
be guyed in order to keep the top still. But I'm inclined to
think that they need considerably less guying than some
Letters to Home Power
towers, since they're already built to stand some pretty
intense winds. Ours has been through 100 MPH winds
and it's still standing. We used 3/8" guy strand anchored
to the bases of other trees.
4) I also agree with Mick about dead trees rotting at the
ground. It would be silly to use a dead tree for a tower. I'd
suggest using a healthy tree and doing everything you
can not to wound in mortally. We topped our tree and
through-bolted a short steel mast on top. Bolting straight
through a tree to attach mast and guys doesn't inflict too
much damage. You must avoid putting anything all the
way around any part of a tree, since this will girdle it.
I realize using trees for towers is not very conventional
(Hey - neither is alternative energy!). But our experience
shows that it can work if given proper thought and care.
Our tower may not last forever, but so far it's been a lot
cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing than erecting a
110' steel monstrosity in our clearing. Ian Woofenden,
378 Guemes Island Rd, Guemes Island, WA 98221
It sounds like that Doug Fir works for you Ian, but you've
got to admit that with your tree climbing experience,
you're not just the average bear.
I believe that Mick is correct in advising most folks to stay
away from trees as wind towers. First, you've got a
Douglas Fir to work with. The Doug has very long-fibered,
resilient wood. Second, you live in a wet area where a
tree has a pretty good shot at surviving topping. Try that
with a Pine or even a White Fir in a dry area, and you've
got a dead tree in just a few years. Add that to the rest of
the rassle with using trees as towers, and you've got a
formula for a fiasco. Bob-O
Remote vs Ruined
Dear Richard: Richard Perez in his generally excellent
article in Issue #22 of Home Power, "Renewable Energy
Offers Freedom", nevertheless draws a couple of caveats
from this reader:
1. Regarding the expense of putting in utility lines, which
is truly enormous beyond a few hundred feet, the factor
we objected to when we built our remote cabin and were
faced with the power line choice was the aesthetic cost.
Namely, the awful slaughter of trees to establish the
corridor and the forever-after cutting or spraying
necessary to maintain it. In our rocky area, power lines
are seldom buried at utility expense, so every wind storm
drops branches or even whole trees on the lines (at least
in part because of the newly-opened, wind-tunnel corridor)
and the whole system goes out. So negative aesthetics
and practical considerations should figure in any decisions
on power lines.
2. I think a certain caution should be exercised when
telling people to go to pristine, natural places to live
because land is cheap and they can enjoy their freedom
more in remote lovely areas. This is true BUT, every time
man moves in, he displaces other animals and plants that
were there first and in our world presently, these other life
forms are getting the short end of the stick and need
habitat protection. Before some "freedom seeker", armed
with all the good and responsible notions of renewable
energy charges into some remote and fragile land to
establish himself, he should consider the following:
A. One should have an ecologist analyze the site if one
isn't sure of what sorts of animals they will be living with
or displacing.
B. They should buy as much land as they are capable of
to protect remoteness and to keep the area intact. If
someone WANTS neighbors nearby, they don't belong in
a wilderness, lonely area; they can best have their energy
independence in a settled area.
C. These people should consider a legal method of
protecting the land, such as a conservation easement, so
that the independence and freedom they so much
treasure will be possible for some future occupier of the
site.
Modern technology is a great privilege and it truly is
making OUR remote cabin possible and very pleasant.
Our array of PVs and the rest of the gadgetry not only
works wonderfully but offers an example to an area
(Michigan's Upper Peninsula) that can benefit from
energy independence more than most. But the word of
caution remains: after all, if everyone were to do as we
have done, the remote areas would soon be as screwed
up and unlivable as many of the places we leave. Energy
independence is one thing; settling down in pristine areas
is another. John F Wilson, POB 52, Sturgeon Bay, WI
54235
John, we totally agree with you about the aesthetics of
buried power lines. Unfortunately, since it's a "price-less"
quality (along with acid rain and other utility-caused
environmental disasters) it isn't often taken "into account".
We definitely wish to encourage RE minded folks to
disperse from the cities and adopt some dirt. After all,
most of the land offered for sale today is hardly pristine.
Logged over, grazed over, and generally ripped off of any
saleable natural resources is the usual case. Will folks
who think in terms of RE do worse than that? We think
not.
We believe we all should consider the "stewardship" of
any land, water, and air that comes into our keeping a gift
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
83
Letters to Home Power
and an honor. "Owning" a piece of the planet is a
ridiculous concept. Living lightly and co-existing with all
other species is our only hope for survival. Bob-O & the
whole HP Crew.
CAFE OLE'
Dear Home Power, I enjoyed reading the articles in issue
22 "From us to YOU". I agree with your view of the
president's lack of a serious national energy policy.
Apparently so does America. According to a recently
conducted poll by The Alliance to Save Energy, 84% of
those responding want to increase the CAFE (Corporate
America Fuel Efficiency) to 40mpg by the year 2000. That
same poll indicates that 82% want tax rebates for buying
fuel efficient autos. There is currently several bills in front
of both the Senate and House addressing this issue. The
most productive bill is the Bryan Bill.
Senator Tim Wirth from Colorado has proposed an energy
policy to replace the one the president came up with.
While the President's National Energy Policy shows solar
and wind on the cover there is little inside to back up the
cover. The Wirth bill is more than an attractive cover. It
has real plans to reduce our addiction to oil whether
foreign or domestic. It would save ten times the energy at
a fraction of the cost of the President's plan. The sad fact
is most of America is in favor of these plans but have not
told their voices in Washington.
I have written all my representatives in Washington and
was surprised to receive an answer back from each
thanking me for my input. Furthermore, all except Senator
Packwood are in favor of these bills.
Home Power readers are action people. If only a fraction
of you write your representatives these bills will be
passed. Please get involved. Dan Cosgro, 7 NE 79th
Ave, Portland, OR 97213-7001
Thanks for the update, Dan. All right, you readers, take
action. - Kathleen
Back Issues
Thanks for a great magazine! I have dreamed of living off
the grid for over 15 years and see that it's quite possible.
Please let me know how I can obtain all the back issues
(# 22 is my first). Ever do any stories on disabled AE
owners and users? Finally are there any AE stores and/or
installers in my area I could correspond with? Thanks,
Bob Skinner, 12407 Mopac Exp. N #100, Suite 142,
Austin, TX 78758
Well, Bob, the only reason we haven't printed any articles
on disabled RE owners/users is because we haven't
received any. Sounds like a great subject, though. Most
back issues are available. See Home Power's Business
84
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
page in this issue for info. Here's a list of PV business in
your neighborhood:
Advanced Solar Services, 3671 Ridgeway, San Antonio, TX,
78259
Aldac, 2765 Kings Highway Suite 110, Brownsville, TX, 78520
Energy Management Center, Box 12428, Austin, TX, 78711
Osborne Solar, 511 N. Main, Elgin, TX, 78621
San Patricio Solar, Rt. 2 Box 45, Mathis, TX, 78368 •
512-547-2256
South-Tex Industries, Inc., 436 Breesport, San Antonio, TX,
78216 • 800-526-3337 Or 512-341-5073
Sun Trapper Solar Inc., 11953 Starcrest Dr., San Antonio, TX,
78247 • 496-3696
Sunshine Solar Systems, 6213 Grisson Rd, #618, San Antonio,
TX, 78238 - Kathleen
Battery Life & Death
Dear Home Power Persons: Your no-nukes editorial in
issue #22, page 4, made many cogent points, but I
presume a lust for concision induced you to gloss over a
few related items:
1. If you are worried about disposing of nuclear waste,
remember what half-life means. You don't have to wait for
all the waste to get completely inert (10,000 years). You
only have to wait until the waste is no more active than it
was when originally mined (100 years). We humans don't
create uranium, we just sort it out into different piles (pun
intended).
2. You use the electric car on page 85 as an example of
keeping lead out of the environment. Where do you think
the quarter-ton of lead from those twenty batteries will be
in ten years? The amount of lead on earth has not
changed much in the past million years. Metals just get
refined and dispersed over and over again. Lead is not a
problem unless it is swallowed or inhaled; the real issue is
controlling where it goes. Driving 60 mph with a trunk full
of lead should not 'ipso facto' qualify persons as
environmentalists. Do they recharge from Three Mile
Island?
3. If you are boosting the use of Ni-Cads among the
solar-minded, what do you think happens to all the
cadmium when dead batteries eventually enter the
municipal waste stream? According to a full-page article
in Scientific American (May 1991, p. 122), nearly 900 tons
of cadmium gets incinerated inside busted rechargable
shavers and screwdrivers, it turns the resulting ash into
highly toxic heavy metal waste, which can't go into regular
landfills. Ground water leaching spreads the poison. This
is becoming the subject of legislation, which might result
in outlawing or licensing the use of Ni-Cads.
4. My belief is that you can't really throw anything away.
Letters to Home Power
You can only move debris from one place on our planet to
another. The only proof that humans are intelligent comes
from humans themselves, a biased source. Therefore, it
may turn out that the best and only way to save our planet
is to eliminate humanity, and turn the whole place over to
the insects and the grasses. Do we really want to save
our planet, or just want to save the human species?
I have been living "off the grid" since Feb., 1987. But I
don't like to fall back on a holier-than-thou attitude,
imagining that everyone but me is raping the earth. If we
efficient ones are to convince others that our way of life is
best, we must at least organize our thinking to make our
advice valid. Yours truly, Joel Chinkes, Cincinnatti, OH
45244
OK, Joel, let's go for it!
1. I happen to think that 100 years is still too long to keep
radioactive waste. One hundred years is five generations
of humans and scores more for furry friends and other
lifeforms. That's a long time to have to sit on something as
hot as nuclear reactor waste.
2. You are in error, I used the EV on page 85 of HP22 as
an example of driving smart, not as an example of
"keeping lead out of the environment." We all use
batteries. Batteries are chemically nasty, otherwise they
wouldn't be batteries. Part of the responsibility of being a
battery user is proper, safe disposal of the spent cells.
When the batteries are spent, recycle the materials. I
maintain that the toxic materials within batteries are much
more easily contained than say the exhaust fumes from
cars.
3. Same as the rap for lead in number 2 above. Sure
cadmium is dangerous. One of the safest places for
cadmium in an electrochemical cell that is watched over
by a responsible user. When the cell eventually dies,
recycle its materials.
Battery technologies are changing. The new Ni-H cells
from Ovonics contains no cadmium. The ancient and long
lived Edison cells use iron instead of cadmium. If we
demand more environmentally benign batteries, then we
will get them. It's a case of putting our money behind our
words. I don't think we will ever have a battery that is
totally benign. We will still have to deal with chemically
reactive electrolytes.
4. You bet. Nothing disappears, we just rearrange it. As to
leaving the planet to the bugs and plants, we may in fact
do this. Several million years of evolution have put
humans where we are now. A human ego lives for only a
short time, but the genes go on. As for our species
impacting the planet, you bet we do. We've been
changing our world since we started using fire. We need
to take care in all we do. I don't know about you, but I'm
not giving up on the future. – Richard
Rookie Yearnings
I have been reading Home Power since the first issue, so
you know I love you. But somehow I still feel alone with
my AE system. In 1987 I purchased two PV panels, hired
a friend to wire my house and another to attach the
panels. PRESTO! After 13 years, no more kerosene
lamps. Over the years since then, I've bought additional
items: besides 12VDC lights, a pump, a VCP, a fan. But I
have NOT bought a charge controller, inverter, generator,
or tracker. Not that I wouldn't like to have a better system.
My little voltmeter is inadequate to my needs. Here is the
problem: ignorance! What ARE the REAL BASICS of an
AE system? I thought I'd just learn along the way, and I
have learned a lot, but not enough. I see the need for
knowing the stored AmpHours in my system. How awful it
is for me to go all winter without that business about
charging batteries to "the top" as I do in summer? What
about those horrible gases that might kill me if I brought
my batteries into the house instead of leaving them on the
porch in winter's low temps.? This is basic stuff, I
understand. Maybe you could get a couple of
knowledgeable types to theorize about FIRST YEAR
BASIC SYSTEMS. Of course I'm on an incredible
shoestring budget so all costs MUST remain low. I would
be very glad to read such ideas in good old HP. Marilynn
Walther, Cave Junction, OR
OK, Marilynn, I will write such an article. You can look for
it in HP25. Here's answers for some of your specific
questions. Completely refilling and equalizing lead-acid
cells is essential for long life. This includes the winter.
You should be doing an equalizing charge every five or
six deep cycles or every two months, which ever comes
first. The gases produced by the cells only happen in any
amount during charging and equalization. The best place
for all non sealed batteries is in a well ventilated area not
routinely inhabited by any living thing. If this area is a
porch, then the lead-acid cells can get very cold. Low
temps cause the lead-acid reaction to become sluggish.
Below freezing, lead-acid cells lose about 30% of their
capacity. At 0°F., the lead acid cell has lost about 55% of
its room temp capacity. Put your batteries in a well
insulated, solar heated box.
Your 12 Volt system is simple, effective, and low in cost. If
your electrical needs are modest, it will serve you well. If
you eventually crave a washing machine, power tools, or
as in our case a room full of computers, then your system
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
85
Letters to Home Power
will grow in size and complexity. I know of systems that
have satisfied for years with a single panel and a battery,
no controls, instruments, or inverter. I know of other
systems that have 50 panels, and rooms full of batteries
and electrical equipment. There's no such thing as a
standard system anymore than there is a standard
person. Our systems reflect our differences. – Richard
Alone Underground
I have never read your magazine. A friend says it gets into
the technology. I have dropped Mother Earth because
they got too yuppie. I live very remote in the desert. Have
36 Photovoltaics charging a 48 volt battery bank into 2
Trace inverters. Also tapped ahead of the blocking diode
a 110 volt super insulated water heater wired in series on
the + side to zap up about 34 volts of the 48, leaving 14
volts left to charge a 12 volt battery bank and heat about
20 gal. of water per day. The 12 volt bank runs a
Photocomm Deep Freeze Refrigerator and all my DC
lights. I also use 48 volts DC for small amounts of heat
into my totally underground house. Stereo, TV, microwave
oven, 2 burner hot plate, all kinds of shop tools all run on
ENERGY
SPECIALISTS
Siemens Solar Industries, Kyocera, Zomeworks,
Trace, Statpower, SCI, Heliotrope, Bobier,
Flowlight, Solarjack, Harris Hydroelectric are only a
few of the available items in stock. For your energy
needs whether it is designing a system or
expanding your existing power call or write today.
Sure as the sun shines you can save a few dollars
on any real price quote. Please send $3 for catalog.
AC. Also my water Flowlight pump runs on 48 volts DC,
raising water 260 ft. into a 1,000 gal. tank next to the well.
My water into the underground house is by gravity. My
diesel is a 1956 Lister I picked up 15 years ago and ran a
lot before Photovaltaics. Now seldom used. I am 1 1/2
miles from the power line. Hope its unsightly poles never
get to me. My system is much more reliable than the
power line. Inverters or nothing else has ever failed. I love
the technology of all this. Every goal I have reached, gave
me a brainstorm of another goal. If you have any
questions about alternative energy I am willing to try to
answer. Donovan A. McDonald, HC61 Box 18 Winslow,
AZ 86047
Whew, Don, quite impressive. I would like to see some
pictures of your accomplished goals. It sounds great.
-Kathleen
NORTHERN ALTERNATE POWER
SYSTEMS
Distributors in Canada for:
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P.O. Box 14, Pink Mountain, B.C. Canada V0C 2B0
•CURRENT SPECIALS•
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refrigerator/freezer- $1745.00, $45.00 crating fee
also covers shipping anywhere in California,
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Photocomm Submersible pump- $629.00.
Kyocera 51 Watt PV modules- $329.00 ea. in boxes
of four + shipping.
ENERGY SPECIALISTS
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916-392-7526
86
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3000 Mill Creek Road,Niarada, Montana 59852
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
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Small Print: Sure HP makes a buck on this deal. Ya want to know where the money goes,
well, you are holding it in your hand at this very moment. Thanks, the HP Crew.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
87
Q&A
Q&A
Being Grounded
Dear Home Power, Enclosed is my renewal for 1991 (the
first one, mailed on Jan. 28, seems to have become lost in
space or wherever). The magazine keeps looking better
and better! I am glad to see that you are branching out
into electric vehicles, I think this will generate a lot of
interest among "grid folks"; please send me the OOZIE
Design Newsletter.
A question for the resident geniuses. A friend of mine has
an array of PV panels about 200 ft. from his house, where
the battery bank is located. Calculations show that #000
wire is indicated. My friend and I have kicked around a
couple of, what we think, are novel ways to reduce the
cost of this very long wire run.
a: Use only one run of #000 wire, grounding the other
side of the PV array and the matching side of the battery
bank and use the earth as one conductor; much as high
voltage transmission lines do. Is the voltage
(approximately 14 VDC) too low?, is the distributed
resistance of the earth too high??, will this work only with
high voltage AC, but not with low voltage DC???
b: Use one run of #000 wire pulled through a run of
copper pipe buried in the ground; using the wire as one
conductor and the copper pipe/conduit as the other
conductor, an impromptu coaxial cable! Must the cross
sectional area of the pipe/conduit be considered alone or
can the current carrying capacity of the earth, with which it
is in contact, be considered? What is the current carrying
of earth??, is it a constant???, or does it vary with the
particular local soil????
Anyway, can some of your resident experts kick this
around or just tell us why it won't work. Keep up the good
work and try to move toward the mainstream; there is
more interest in alternative energy among us "grid folks"
than you may think. After all, sooner or later the oil will run
out and there will be no more "safe" places to store the
nuclear wastes. Sincerely, Edward Read
If the power utilities used the earth as a conductor for their
69Kvac and up transmission lines, anyone living remotely
close to a power tower could just stick a couple of copper
rods in the ground, run the current thru a rectifier, and
88
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
charge your batteries-forget the PVs! 'Course, taking a
wizz out on the back forty might get a bit dicey... No, one
of the 3 conductors on a HV line is the neutral line. The
resistivity of earth runs from a couple of KΩs to near
infinity depending on soil type, mineral content, moisture
level, and a pack of other stuff.
Using copper pipe as a conductor will actually work,
assuming all the joints are soldered, BUT the current
carrying ability is the same as if you melted the pipe down
into a solid wire. I have no idea what that would be for
1/2", 3/4", etc.
Using 400' (round trip) of 3/0 copper wire will carry about
30 Amps @ 14.5VDC with just a hair over 5% acceptable
wire loss. Are you tied to a 12V system for some reason?
Going to a 24VDC system will allow you to cut down to
1/0 wire for the same # of PVs with only a 4% wire loss.
Bob-O
Getting Wired
Our PV site is 200' from the batteries. What size wire
should be used? At present we have 4 panels that
produce between 7-10 amps. But we wish to expand to
20-30 amps, should we get wire for our future use or can
the wire size we use today be incorporated to accept four
more panels?
Actually I'm guessing at our present amps but have four
Arco panels and wish to go to eight panels. Good
magazine. Joey Coccia, POB 18, Dillard, OR 97432
Joey, you don't say whether you are running a 12VDC or
higher voltage system. It makes a big difference. If your
PV site is 200' from your batts (400' round trip) and you
are sizing it for 30 Amps, you will need at least 3/0
copper wire for a 12V system and 1/0 copper for a 24VDC
system. For an 8 PV array, (±24A @12VDC or 12A @
24VDC) you would need at least 2/0 or #1AWG
respectively. Bob-O
Three Way Fridge
To answer Richard Cameron, Dillard, OK (p. 88 HP#22)
on 3-way refrigerators: By all means increase the
insulation. I have just 1" Thermax on the top, sides and
freezer door and it uses noticeably less gas. However,
they (ammonia absorption refrigerators) are still WAY too
inefficient to run on a battery. They operate on heat, so
the AC, DC and gas all have the same equivalent
efficiency (1 watt= 3.412 BTU). You'd be ahead if you
could get direct solar heat into the boiler with some kind
of concentrator oven, but it's not very accessible.
Most 3-way models I've seen have the same BTU on gas
or 120VAC. The 12 VDC heater is proportioned to only
Q&A
2/3 of the BTU. This is just to avoid the cost of a 15A DC
thermostat - on 12V it just stays on continuously to
approximately maintain temperature.
If you have a large enough PV system (20A +), you can
use the heater in the refrigerator as a shunt load or
diversion load when you have a surplus of power and no
more storage capacity. This way your surplus offsets your
use of propane fuel. I've had mine that way 7 1/2 years
and it uses very little gas in the summer.
Just be SURE the gas valve goes off when the heater is
on, otherwise you'll overheat and waste gas. Do not
exceed 15 volts on the 12v heater. Also be aware the
12v- operated gas valve (Norcold) consumes 250 ma
from the battery just to keep the gas on. Keep cool, S
Marshall, RD3 BOX 30-A, Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426
Cool Fridge
Dear Home Power Crew, Our system in brief: 6 PV
panels (2 x Kyocera, 2 x 45w BP, 2 x 58w Solarex)
charging 2 x 200 AH battery banks at 24V. A Heliotrope
2324 inverter (sold here as "Solartronics", producing 240
VAC. This powers a small auto washing machine, a wide
range of power tools including a 9 1/4" saw (I'm building
our home) numerous compact fluoros, bench grinder, W
M motor powered air compressor, vacuum cleaner, TV
(14" colour Panasonic gave best results of 3 brands tried),
video, and kitchen appliances.
I have Danfoss 24V refrigerator components but this is
not set up yet. In the meantime I am running an old
refrigerator from the inverter as an experiment. This
refrigerator has 2 variations from newer types: 1. Thicker
insulation 2. A condenser in the form of a pressed steel
duct which draws air over the motor, thus avoiding heat
from the motor rising up beneath the cabinet. The steel
duct also acts as a reservoir of "cool" into which the piped
refrigerant can quickly shed its heat. I have further
improved efficiency by insulating the duct from the cabinet
using heavy cardboard and PV panel packing.
This refrigerator motor is rated at 1.4 - 1.5 amps at 240V
and the duty cycle seems to range between 11 and 19%.
We place 4 litres of water in a plastic container in the
freezer compartment. This turns to ice during the day. We
switch the fridge off at night, the ice keeping the cabinet
cold while switched off. Used this way, I estimate that
refrigeration consumes 20 - 40 amps at 24V per day. In
cool sunny weather, the PV panels can nearly keep up
with this and the other demands. However, since I
started experimenting with this refrigerator, I have made a
practice of running the battery charging generator about 1
hour each day in the morning, when the fridge is switched
on again, to provide for the initial daily cool down. This
practice is essential in cloudy weather.
The battery charging generator is a 1927 vintage (approx)
3 1/2 HP Lister petrol engine (water cooled) V-belt driving
off one of the twin 18" flywheels to an ex work boat 24V
generator estimated to put out 15 - 20 amp continuous.
This system has several advantages.
1. Cost. An equivalent 240VAC generator powering a 20
amp 24 VDV battery charger would cost well in excess of
$1000 whereas this cost less than $500.
2. Easy to live with. 600 RPM is much less stressful than
3600 RPM of modern motors.
3. Water heating. The water cooled motor provides an
ideal opportunity to heat domestic hot water at the very
time (cloudy weather) when solar heated water is in short
supply. Use of this system thus fits in perfectly with
prevailing weather conditions, being used most when PV
panels are functioning way below their peak, and enables
the maximum amount of energy to be extracted from the
petrol that is used.
Using only the cylinder head water jacket (no exhaust
water jacket yet) we get about 30 litres (7 gallons
Imperial) shower temperature plus. Thus; 1 litre petrol =
approx 20 amp at 24V plus 30 litres hot water.
I am looking forward to the time when a fully automatic
system, similar to the above will be available, sensing low
battery voltage, starting automatically, and switching off
when the batteries are fully charged.
I have several questions: 1. Is it normal for the voltage
regulator of a generator (my reg. is Echlin) to run hot, and
if so how hot? On mine, two of the three coils are
blackened but the unit still performs okay.
2. Have you any info on using a water cooled heat
exchanger for the fridge condenser. It seems to me, this
would absorb the rejected heat more quickly and thus, cut
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
89
Q&A
down on motor running time, giving higher efficiency. The
slightly heated water could be the first stage of the
domestic water supply.
3. Have you a circuit diagram for a DC-DC voltage
reducer 24 to 12 or 6 volt. This would be useful for
powering certain appliances - radio, tapes, etc.
4. What are the best insulating materials for constructing
refrigerator/freezer cabinets? Yours Sincerely, Jonathan
Sutton, Bulga Rd., Bobin, Australia 2429
Hello, Jonathan. 1. Your regulator sounds like the
electromechanical type. These types often use large
power resistors which get very hot. Hot means that you
can't hold your finger on the component for more than five
seconds. I'd have a spare regulator around if I were you…
2. The concept of using water to remove heat from a
refrigerator is sound. Any feedback from anyone who has
tried this? 3. Diagram for a DC/DC power supply follows.
This circuit uses either the LM 317 (1.5 Amps) or the LM
350 (3 Amps). Very simple and adjustable.
homestead. For a variety of reasons, electrical power will
be a scarce commodity initially - probably only enough to
run some lights. An ice house could be a good temporary
solution to the refrigeration problem until the electricity
production can be expected to handle refrigeration. Or
maybe it could be a permanent solution.
But I don't know of any sources of information on the
construction of such things. I don't need general principles
- what I need are construction details like, how big? How
much ice is needed? How much and what type of
insulation? Drainage problems? etc. So I thought I'd
write to you in case you had any such information or
could point me in the right direction. Perhaps a note in
Home Power would turn up a reader with more specific
and up to date information? Sincerely, Jim Perry, 3050 180th Ave. NE, Redmond, WA 98052
I was able to glean a few more details from my library but
this is by no means all the information you want.
The size of the ice blocks taken from the frozen ponds
were two ft. square or more, and anywhere from nine
inches to a foot thick. It was stored stacked in layers of
sawdust. It was pulled up a long chute, by means of ice
tongs and a rope, off the sleigh and into the ice house.
They chopped a hole in the ice and then used a cross cut
saw to saw the cakes out. A team of horses was used to
pull the ice from the pond to the sleigh. All the men would
work and fill a different farmer's ice house every day till
everyone had ice. The ice house walls were about 7-13"
thick and were without fire breaks. They were filled with
sawdust. The attic was also filled with sawdust, in such a
way that it continued to fill the walls as it settled down.
4. The most thermally efficient insulation is now a foam. A
closed cell type is best, like PVC. Richard
Ice Farm
Dear Pinhead, Your article in Home Power #21 on Ice
Farming got me to thinking. Way back when they didn't
have refrigerators (or electricity, for that matter), the
common solution to food preservation was the ice house,
a year round cooling facility.
I'm not sure about the construction details of these things,
but around the turn of the century, in Nebraska, my
grandfather (and practically everybody else around those
parts) had one. It was apparently rather large (maybe
12-15 ft square) building filled with ice which was in turn
packed around with hay or straw (not sure which) for
insulation.
Well, I am looking for land up here in the Northwest (a
good ice farming country) on which to build an AE
90
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Somewhere I read about an ice house that was built
underground. There was some sort of hatch arrangement
for opening to lower the ice blocks into it. Regular access
was down a wooden ladder. Again, the ice blocks were
packed into sawdust for insulation. I would be curious,
also, to find out if there is a newer improved method of ice
housing in the 90s. C'mon, you HPers, tell us what you
know. There has to be someone who knows someone
who grew up with an ice house. - Kathleen
Ozonal Notes
Ozonal
Notes
electrified performers. Other exhibits ranged from organic
farming to masonry heaters to recycling.
And yes, the drums never stop...
OCF
We all had a great time at the Oregon Country Fair.
Unfortunately, there just wasn't time (or space!) to do a
proper article on the Fair this year. So, here's a
thumbnail... In addition to the HP crew, the Fair featured
Electron Connection with the PV powered "Solar
Fountain", Larry from SunFrost with one of his
super-efficient refrigerators, Dave Katz and the Alternative
Energy Engineering crew with a pretty amazing PV
powered hydrogen generator, voted the "Mr Wizard"
award for 1991 by the HP crew, Don Harris of Harris
Hydro, Leo Morin of Free Energy Options, Tom Scott's
"Copper Cricket", a Real Goods display, and Warren
Stokes with the Heart Interface booth. Solar cooking was
a happening thing with displays by Joe Radabaugh of
Heaven's Flame and the Solar Energy Education
Network's mirrored parabola potboiler.
Do no harm.
From the native healers in the Australian bush to the
neurosurgeons in the world's largest hospitals, it's the first
precept of medicine. Ply your trade, do what you can, just
don't make things worse. Perhaps the same rule applies
to our relationship with the planet. Enjoy your life, use
what resources the earth and the sun provide, but use
them wisely and don't make things worse. The Earth has
a remarkable capacity for regeneration. After all, the
planet has been breaking down and recycling the waste
products of its inhabitants for millions of years. Given
time, it will heal itself from the pollution that we've been
causing. Every ounce of particulate not spewed into the
air, every pint or pound of fossil-fuel not burned today
gives the planet a little more time to catch up. Living
lightly, using only what we need and no more, will give us
that time.
The HP/EC booth ran a line from their PowerStar
UPG1300 over to the stage to power up amplifiers from
the sun. When word of that got around, the Fair's Energy
Park had a sudden influx of unscheduled but excellent
Do no harm.
It's a concept whose time has come for living on the
planet as well.
Bob–O Schultze
Genuine Home Cooked Sol Food!
Get the new revised edition of Heaven's Flame, a Guidebook to Solar Cookers
by Joseph Radabaugh
Come see us!
Home Power Booth at SEER '91
get your copy of Heaven's Flame
autographed by the author
Cook your meals cheap and easy. Better for you, better for our planet. Get the new revised edition of Heaven's
Flame, as highlighted in issue #20 of Home Power Magazine. Joseph Radabaugh gives an indepth look at various
types of solar ovens. He provides plans to build an efficient solar oven from foil, glass, and cardboard boxes. Total
construction cost is less than $15, including ten bucks for the book! Joe's 16 years as a solar oven designer and solar
cooking enthusiast have produced an informative primer that will spark your interest and get you cooking with the
sun-fast! 96 pages in 5.5" by 8.5" format, 11 photographs, and 50 illustrations. Full color cover and durable binding.
Printed with soybean inks on recycled paper. Available for $10.00 postpaid (Mexico - Canada add $1.00 - Elsewhere
Home Power Inc.
POB 275, Ashland, OR 97520
•
916-475-3179
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
91
Index for HP1 to HP23
Index to Home Power Issues 1 to 23
Two level subject sort, then title, then issue number, and then page number
Please see page 95 for availability of HP back issues. HP1 to HP8 are sold out.
Alternate Fuels
Bio-Gas
Fuel Cells
Hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen
Appliances
120 vac Lights
App.'s & Inverters
Efficiency
Efficient
Fluorescent Lighting
Fluorescent Lighting
HomeBrew
HomeBrew
Homebrew
Homebrew
Homebrew
Homebrew
Lighting
Lighting
Lighting
Micro-Power
Nerd's Corner
Nerd's Corner
Nerd's Corner
Ni-Cads Chargers
Refrigeration
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Washing Machines
Architecture
Solar
Solar
Solar
Basic Electric
12 VDC Wiring
Alternators
History
Ohm's Law
Ohm's Law
Ohm's Law
Ohm's Law
Parts
Schematics
Shunts
Soldering
System Protection
Terms & Units
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Wiring
Wiring
Wiring
Wiring
92
Alternatives To Fossil Fueled Generators
Fuel Cells- power source of the '90s
Hydrogen As A Potential Fuel
Hydrogen Fuel
The Schatz PV Hydrogen Project
21
23
21
22
22
55
16
17
32
26
120 vac Lighting & Inverters
Intelligent Use of 120 vac Appliances
Phantom Loads
Washing Machines II
Energy-Efficient Lighting-Compact Fluorescents
Lights At Night
Quartz Halogen Lighting
Build A Constant Current Source
Low Voltage DC Refrigeration
Hand Powered Sewing Machine
Soft-Starting Electric Motors
12 Volt Smart Night Light for under $4
Let there be light (12 VDC Lighting)
Incandescent vs. Halogen vs. Fluorescent
Compact ac Fluorescent Lights
Appliances for Emergency Use
Hewlett-Packard DeskWriter Printer
Apple Laserwriter IINT
Seikosha SP-1000AP Printer
Recharging Ni-Cads using Pulses
Refrigeration At Shady Hollow Farm
Northern Lites' Bulb Adaptors
Solar Retrofit's 12 VDC Fluorescent
SunFrost RF-12 Refrigerator/Freezer
HP Cats test the Drag-A-Mouse
LED Christmas Lights
Electro Bed Warmth on 12VDC
Care-Cover 120 vac outlet covers
Slaying A Watt Guzzler
3
14
14
23
20
20
18
21
16
17
23
23
1
9
16
16
14
15
16
5
21
4
4
5
6
8
8
10
22
41
11
13
61
20
15
47
82
48
59
72
70
31
20
27
30
35
41
52
27
8
28
27
33
37
37
36
33
44
Basic Principles of Solar Architecture
Ariesun- a Solar Powered House
The SolarWind Home
11 34
11 32
19 40
Low Voltage Wiring Techniques
Yer Basic Alternator
The Battle of the Currents
Power as a Commodity
Ohm's Law
Ohm's Law Part 2
Ohm's Law & Digital Multimeters
Access to Electronic Parts
Reading Schematics to solve problems
Using a DVM and Shunts to measure Current
How To Solder
Battery To Inverter Circuit Resistance
Energy Conversion
3 terminal adjustable voltage regulators
Pensol Portable Gas Soldering Iron
Wire Sizing for Low Voltage Systems
Wiring for Reliability & Performance
Wire Sizing for Low Voltage Systems
Specing PV Wiring
2
20
8
1
3
4
16
8
5
6
18
21
19
6
16
13
14
14
18
33
10
21
35
40
33
46
40
35
35
35
47
46
37
39
32
36
32
31
Batteries
Acid vs. Alkaline
Cables
Charts
Charts
Charts
Charts
Cost Comparisons
Homebrew
Homebrew
Instrumentation
Lead- Acid
Lead-Acid
Lead-Acid
Lead-Acid & EDTA
Lead-Acid & EDTA
Lead-Acid & EDTA
Ni-Cads
Ni-Cads
Ni-Cads
Ni-Cads
Ni-Cads
Safety
Things that Work
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Ventilation
BioMass
Gassifiers
Book Reviews
12 VDC
Atlas
Catalogue
Cooking
Ecology
Firefighting
History
Home Business
Home Design
PV
PV Resource Direct.
Sailing
Sources
System Components
System Design
Transportation
Travelling
Turbines
Washing Machines
Code Corner
SWRES
SWRES
SWRES
SWRES
SWRES
SWRES
SWRES
SWRES
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
The Electrochemical Cell Shootout
Build your own Battery/Inverter Cables
SOC vs. Voltage for 24 Volt L-A Batteries
SOC vs. Voltage 12 Volt L-A Batteries
SOC vs. Voltage for L-A Batteries at 78°F.
SOC vs. Voltage for L-A Batteries at 34°F.
Ni-Cads vs. Lead Acid
Simple Nicad Charging
Constant Current Battery Charging
LED Bargraph Battery Voltmeter
Lead-Acid Batteries for Home Power Storage
Lead-Acid Batteries
Internal Resistance in Lead-Acid Batteries
New Life For Sulphated Lead Acid Cells
Preliminary Notes From The EDTA Trenches
EDTA Recall Alert
Nickel-Cadmium Batteries
Recharging Ni-Cads using Pulses
Nickel-Cadmium Batteries
Testing & Reconditioning Ni-Cad Cells
Pocket-Plate Ni-Cads in HP Service
Batteries Can Be Dangerous
The Heliotrope HC-75 Battery Charger
Hydrocaps
Reconditioned Ni-Cad Batteries
The Ovonics NiH Battery
Charging Batteries can be a Gas
Gassifiers
17
7
7
7
9
9
16
23
23
10
9
1
3
20
21
22
4
5
12
15
15
17
17
11
13
15
6
35
36
26
25
26
25
24
71
69
26
27
25
34
23
36
94
14
27
16
23
19
37
38
37
17
33
31
8 22
Wiing 12 Volts For Ample Power
World Wildlife Fund Atlas of The Environment
Ecologue
Heaven's Flame Solar Cookers
Sowing the Wind- Reflections on Earth's Atmosp
Wildfire Across America
Mavericks in Paradise
The Incredible Secret Money Machine
Shelter
The Solar electric Independent Home Book
Solar Electricity Today
In Pursuit of Adventure and Freedom
Alternative Energy Sourcebook 1991
Alternative Energy Source Book 1990
The Solar Electric Independent Home Book
Alternative Transportation News
Electric Burro On The Road To Bogota
The Bladeless Tesla Turbine
Efficient Washing Machines
20
21
21
19
23
23
23
17
18
23
23
23
22
17
18
22
18
19
23
61
85
86
52
77
77
76
51
49
77
76
76
81
51
49
81
49
52
77
SWRES Research
PV That Meets the Nat. Elec. Code
The Shocking Story Of Grounding
To Connect Or Not Connect
Is PV Going To Grow Up?
Meet The Code
Load Circuits
The NEC and You
13
16
18
19
20
21
22
23
42
31
26
42
54
53
68
76
Index for HP1 to HP23
Communications
CB Radio
Ham Radio
Ham Radio
Nerd's Corner
R/T
R/T
Radiotelephones
Things That Work!
Things That Work!
Things that Work!
TV/FM Antennas
Computers
AC
Homebrew
Low Power
Low Voltage
Conservation
Urban
Controls
Alternator
HomeBrew
Homebrew
Homebrew
Homebrew
Homebrew
Hydro
LCB
PV Regulator
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Voltage
Cooking
Recipes
Solar
Solar Cookers
Solar Cookers
Solar Cooking
Things That Work!
Editorial
Alternatives
Commercial Power
Conservation
PVs
PVs
Solar
Why RE
Education
ATA
PV
RE
RETSIE
SERI
Teaching Kids
Teaching Kids
Energy Fair
1991 Fairs
An Idea
Announcement
Announcement
Fair Listings
Info/Schedule
Initial Responses
MREF
Multiple Fairs
CB for you and me
Back Country Communications
Amatuer Radio
Telenexus Phone Line Extender
Radiotelephones
Radiotelephones
An Affordable Radiotelephone System
The Select-A-Tenna
Sangean ATS-803A AM/FM/SW Radio Receiver
Radiotelephones
It's Gotta be Spring
3
2
5
14
4
7
12
18
19
8
11
36
16
31
35
29
32
32
28
47
38
25
AC Computing On A Budget
Commodore 64 Fiddleing
Computing On 25 Watts
Low Voltage Computing
21
23
20
19
45
71
44
37
Energy Conservation In The City
22 11
Build your own 12 VDC Engine/Generator
Shunt Regulator
Multi-Purpose Voltage Controlled Switch
ac to DC Electronic Timer Conversion
Build A Time Machine
Hacking With The RENAVAIR
Controlling Hydroelectric Systems
Linear Current Boosters
The SunAmp Power Co's PV Regulator
Backwoods Solar's PV Controller
Heliotrope CC-60 PV Controller
LCB Configuration for Water Pumping
Heliotrope CC-20 PV Charge Controller
A Regulator for all seasons
2
18
16
16
21
22
13
6
19
7
8
12
13
7
23
46
50
49
78
73
35
12
48
34
31
19
36
19
Recipes For Solar Ovens
Heaven's Flame Solar Cooker
Cookin' with Sunshine
Solar Box Cookers
Solar Box Cookers
The Sun Oven
20
20
7
12
9
19
29
27
15
14
36
44
For Spacious Skies... An Alternative
Hidden Energy Costs
Like Lemmings to the Sea
PVs and our Future
PVs- an alternative to life in a greenhouse
The Magic Sun
Renewable Energy Offers Freedom
20
16
9
2
10
4
22
46
21
34
6
14
35
35
PV for Practitioners
Learn PV design and installation
Sustainable Energies Research Institute
RETSIE 1988
New Science & Technologies
Batteries & Photovoltaics
Solar Battery Charger
13
10
11
6
13
15
16
12
20
21
18
31
5
14
Energy Fairs
People's Energy Fair -a dream
"Planet Fest '90 (Bloomington, IN)"
"Home Energy Fair (Truxton, NY)"
Energy Fair Update
"MREF (Amherst, WI)"
Energy Fair Update
Midwest Renewable Energy Fair 1991
Energy Fair Update
22
12
17
17
15
17
13
23
14
75
27
45
44
38
42
24
64
21
Reports
Energy Fairs
Reservation Form
Solar Energy Expo & Rally (SEER '90)
SEER
SEER 1991
Update
A.E. Fair in Summertown, TN
Update
Midwest Renewable Energy Fair
Update
SEER '90 Update (Willits, CA)
Updates And Reports Solar Energy Expo And Rally(SEER'90)
Updates And Reports Alternate Energy Fair Held At The Farm
Engines
Fuel
Fuel: its transportation, handling & storage
Ignition
Build your own Electonic Ignition
Generators
12 VDC
Build your own 12 VDC Engine/Generator
Batteries
Charging Batteries with a gas generator
Engine
Engine/Generators for Home Power
Glossary
Words
Definitions Of Home Power Terms
Health & Environment
EMF
ElectroMagnetic Fields and Home Power Systems
Heat
DHW
The Fireside saves hot water
DHW
The Copper Cricket
DHW
Passive Solar Hot Water
DHW
Soloar Domestic Hot Water
DHW
Crickets In The Country
DHW
Gettin' Into Hot Water
DHW / Solar Heating "Hands-On" Solar Power (CMC)
Distillation
Fresh Water from the Sea
FirePlace
The home built BTU Boss
Theory
The Fireside
Thermal Agriculture Ice Farming
Home & Heart
Washer and Vacuum Stuff
HP Survey
Renewable Energy
Reader Responce to HP Survey May 89
Hydro
ac/DC
Induction Generators
Controls
Controlling Hydroelectric Systems
Low Head
Ultra-Low Head Hydro
Nano-Hydro
Lil' Otto
Nano-Hydro
Siting for Nano-Hydro -a Primer
Philosophical
Seeking Our Own Level
Pipe Table
PVC Pipe Table- Pressure loss vs. GPM
Pipe Table
Poly Pipe Table- Pressure loss vs. GPM
PM Generators
Hydro Systems Using LCB's
Siting
Small Water Power Siting
Siting
Hydro Siting
Index
HP 12 Through 17
Home Power Index
HP 1 Through 11
Index To Home Power Magazine
Instrumentation
Battery VM
Build an Accurate Battery Voltmeter
DMM's
Ohm's Law & Digital Multimeters
Homebrew
Expanded Scale Voltmeters
Homebrew
Using Kwh Meters on 120 Volt Systems
Nerd's Corner
Fluke 87 DMM
Things that Work!
Thomson & Howe Ampere-hour Meter
Things that Work!
Digital Amp-Hour Meter
Things that Work!
Ample Power Company's Energy Monitor
Things that Work!
SunAmp's Bar Graph Voltmeter
Voltmeter
LED Bargraph Battery Voltmeter
Inverters
Basics
How an inverter works
Comparison
Report On The Inverter Shootout At Seer '90
General
Power Inverters
Nerd's Corner
EMI Noise & Inverter Filters
Things that Work!
Trace 1512 Inverter/Charger
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
19
16
23
16
16
17
18
18
12
38
50
37
36
43
42
40
4 18
7 30
2 23
3 32
1 19
18 52
23 24
3
8
11
19
21
22
17
10
4
2
21
27
20
19
35
43
38
19
29
21
27
66
23 79
10 25
3
13
23
13
15
2
8
8
17
1
8
17
35
6
15
17
17
26
25
39
7
17
18 50
11 51
2
16
12
17
15
11
16
20
22
10
31
46
34
50
41
39
40
40
55
26
23
19
1
14
2
53
29
22
35
29
93
Index for HP1 to HP23
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Usage Tips
Wiring
People
Education
Home And Heart
Hydro
Networking
Organizations
Pumps
Inverter Powered
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
PVs
Basic
Concentrators
Cost Analysis
Economics
Education
Homebrew
Homebrew
Industry
Installation
Pumping
Pumping
Racks
Charging NiCads
Repair
Sizing
System
Test and Rating
Test and Rating
Theory
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Things that Work!
Third World Health
Third World Health
Water Pumping
Systems
Basic Ideas
Code
Conservation
Design
Design
DHW/Solar Heating
Grounding
Hydro
Hydro
Hydro
Hydro/PV
Maintenance
Marine
Mega PV
Micro
Micro PV
Muscle Power
Overview
Power Use
PV
PV
94
Heliotrope PSTT 2.3 kW. Inverter
Trace 2012 Inverter/Charger
HP tests the Powerstar Inverter
The Trace 2524 Inverter/Charger
Statpower's PROwatt 600 Inverter
PowerStar's UPG1300 Inverter
Intelligent Use of 120 vac Appliances
How to Wire an Inverter to an ac Mains Panel
3
8
15
16
20
22
14
11
29
29
36
42
48
22
11
23
"so what can one person really do, anyway?"
Marginally Mountain
The Power of Personal Resourcefulness
Sol Sisters
Redwood Alliance
5
22
3
19
12
5
71
13
55
22
Submersible Well Pumps
PV Powered Econsub Pump
High Lifter Water Pump
17 25
13 22
23 58
How PVs work
Harvesting Sunlight-Concentrator PV Modules
The Price Of Power
Are PVs right for me?
Careers in Photovoltaics
Manually Operated PV Tracker
An Active Solar Tracking System
The State Of The PV Industry
How to Mount & Wire PV Modules
An Introduction to PV Water Pumping
Using PVs to pump deep wells
Rack Hacking
Using PV Panels To Recharge Small Nicads
PV Panel Glass Repair
How many PV Cell per panel?
Pond Areation using PV Power
PV Module Rating
How PVs are rated
Photovoltaic (PV) Cell Model
Ancient PV Panel
Echolite PV Mounting Brackets
PV Powered Econosub Pump
Sovonics Portable PV Panel
The Solar Pathfinder (solar siting)
No Smoke, No Flames
Solarizing The Cold Chain
Solar Powered Water Pumping
23
19
20
1
3
13
17
18
2
5
6
22
19
21
3
23
23
23
20
10
12
13
15
16
20
21
11
37
27
39
11
20
20
48
15
11
21
27
41
18
12
9
42
40
20
31
31
31
22
33
44
37
20
15
An Introduction To The Basics
Electrical Code Quality Systems
Saving Energy saves Money
Efficient, Low Cost, Reliable Systems
The Basics-System Design
"Hands-On" Solar Power (CMC)
Grounding and Lightning Protection
A Working Mico Hydro
Power to the People
Kennedy Creek HydroElectric Systems
Mini Hybrid Power System
Getting Ready For Winter
Alternative Power On A Cruising Sailboat
Tract Home Has Solar Electric System
Emergency Micropower Systems
The Wizard's Micro PV System
Pedal Power
The Integrated Energy System
The Basics-Power Use
A Stand Alone PV System
Having It Both Ways
21
8
10
12
22
17
6
6
8
20
11
14
18
16
14
15
23
3
21
7
21
67
27
21
10
59
19
16
5
13
7
5
7
16
35
9
31
48
6
68
5
25
PV
PV
PV & PV/Engine
PV Life Style
PV/DHW
PV/Eng/DHW
PV/Engine
PV/Engine
PV/Engine
PV/Engine
PV/Engine
PV/Engine
PV/Hot Air
PV/Hydro/Engine
PV/Micro-Hydro/Eng
PV/Pedal
PV/Wind
PV/Wind/Generator
Quickies
Quickies
Remote PV/Wind
RV CampGround
Shorties
Site Survey
Sizing
Sizing
Standards
Things that Work!
Voltage
Wind
Wind/PV
Wind/PV
Wind/PV
Tech Notes
Battery Gassing
Inverters
Theory
Physics
Transportation
Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles
EV Race
Homebrew
Homebrew
Information
Solar Vehicles
Solar Vehicles
Solar Vehicles
Solar Vehicles
Solar Vehicles
Wind
Do-It-Yourself
General
Generator
Generators
Homebrew
Machines
Maintenance
Repair
Siting
Thing's that Work!
Things That Work!
Towers
Towers
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Pvs In Downtown Long Beach, CA
PVs, Yes Seabrook, No
Big Uns & Lil' Uns
Lifestyle Freedom Through Renewable Energy
Huckleberry Homestead
Bridges' System
A Working PV/Engine System
The System that produces Home Power
Sunshine & Mountain Home Power
God's favorite place on Earth
Home Power Powers Home Power
Northern Sun Power
A Hybrid PV/ Hot Air System
PV/Hydro Systems/Lil' Otto Hydroworks
Independent Power & Light
A Pedal/PV System
Living With A Wind Powered Generator
Refrigeration at Shady Hollow Farm
System Shorties
System Shorties
Remote Area Power Systems In New Zealand
Experiment At Table Mountain
Quickies From HP Readers
The Basics-Site Survey
Choosing Components for a PV/ Gen System
Selecting System Voltage
"House Wiring, Standards & the Electical Code"
An Emergency Micro-Power System
Operating Voltage Revisited
A Floating Wind System
A Working Wind/PV System
A Wind/PV System
A Wind/PV System
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Tech Notes
Upgrade For Trace Inverters
19 50
22 57
Charge/Energy and Mass/Energy
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The Hybrid Electric Vehicle
The Hybrid-Configured Electric Vehicle
The Shocking Truth
Electic Vehicle Access Data
Maintenance Program At Jordan College
Solar & Electric 500 1991
Build Your Own Solar Powered Vehicle
Electric Vehicle Frames
Alternative Transportation News
The Solar Apprentice/The Global Walk
1990 American Tour de Sol
Solar Powered Ultralight AirCraft
Solar Powered Flight
Victory In World Solar Challenge
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A Guide to Wind Generator Plans
Introducing Wind Electric Generators
The Whisper 1000 Wind Powered Generator
A Primer On Wind Generators
Building Your Own Wind Generator
Wincharger and Jacobs
Wind Generator Blade Balancing
Rewinding Generators/Alternators For Wind
Wind Power Siting
Windseeker II
Trade Wind's Wind Odometer
Wind Generator Tower Height
Wind Generator Towers
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Home Power's Business
Home Power's
Business
"The man who on his trade relies
Must either bust or advertise."
Thomas Lipton - 1870.
Display Advertising
International Subscriptions
Full Page
$1,200
67.5 sq. in.
Half Page
$672
33.8 sq. in.
Third Page
$480
22.5 sq. in.
Quarter Page
$377
16.9 sq. in.
Sixth Page
$267
11.3 sq. in.
Eighth Page
$214
8.5 sq. in.
Due to the high cost of international mailing & packaging,
we must charge more for copies of Home Power that are
mailed anywhere that doesn't have a US ZIP CODE.
1 YEAR- 6 ISSUES
INTERNATIONAL RATES:
Canada: Nothern Alternate Power Systems, POB 14, Pink
Mtn., BC V0C 2B0. $22. Can.
Mexico: Air- $16. Surface- $14.
Central America, Bahamas, Bermuda, Columbia and
Venezuela: Air- $21. Surface- $ 15.
South America (except Columbia and Venezuela),
Europe, North Africa: Air- $27. Surface- $15.
Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean Islands,
Africa (other than North Africa), Indian Ocean Islands,
& the Middle East- Air $34. Surface $15.
Maximimum Vertical Ad size is 9 inches
Maximum Horizontal Ad size is 7.5 inches
We can set up and lay out your display ad. Camera
ready advertising is also accepted. For full color ad
rates and demographics, please call us.
Long term display advertising is discounted, so buy
ahead and save 10% on 3 insertions and 15% on six.
Home Power is published bi-monthly. Ad Deadline for
the Oct / Nov 1991 issue (HP#25) is 9 Sept 1991.
Call
916-475-3179 for further details.
Mercantile Advertising
All payments in U.S. currency ONLY!
Surface shipping may take up to 2 months to get to you.
All issues shipped in mailing envelopes. If you have
friends with a US Zip code who regularly send you
packages, then we can ship them an extra copy for
forwarding to you for $10 U.S. yearly.
Back Issues
One insertion per customer per issue.
We typeset all ads. We do the best we can to make
your ad look good. If you send too much copy, then
you're bound to be disappointed. Flat Rate $80.
Advance payment only, we don't bill Mercantile Ads.
Your cancelled check is your receipt.
Back issues through 20 are $2 each ($3 each outside
U.S.), while they last. Sorry no more Issues # 1, 2, 3, 5,
6, 7, or 8 are available. Back Issues of #21thru #24 are
$3.50 each ($5 each outside U.S.). All back issues
shipped ASAP via first class mail in an envelope or box.
Home Power Magazine, POB 130, Hornbrook, CA 96044
MicroAds
Home Power Magazine for Resale
MicroAd rates are 10¢ per character. Characters are
letters, numbers, spaces & punctuation marks.
$15. minimum per insertion. Send check with your ad.
We don't bill MicroAds.
Quantities of Home Power Magazine are now available
for resale by newsstands, bookstores, energy
businesses, and others. Please write or call for the
specifics.
Second Class Home Power
First Class Home Power
Home Power Magazine (6 issues) via First Class U.S
Domestic Mail for $20. Many of you have asked for
faster delivery of your issues. So here it is: FIRST
CLASS HOME POWER. All First Class issues shipped
in an envelope. We start your sub immediately.
Home Power Magazine (6 issues) via Second Class U.S.
Domestic Mail for $10. Second Class is forwardable, but
please let us know if you move! We start your sub with
the next scheduled issue, so please allow ten weeks for
processing your subscription.
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
95
Home Power MicroAds
Home
Power
MicroAds
Rates: 10¢ per CHARACTER, include spaces &
punctuation. $15 minimum per insertion. Please send
INVERTER FOR SALE. Heart model HF12-1200 with 50
Amp battery charger. 12 volts DC in and 1,200 Watts of 120
vac out. Excellent condition. Need bigger inverter. $695.
916-475-3394.
JACOBS WIND ELECTRIC replacement parts, new blades,
and blade-actuated governors. We make replacement parts
and have new blades for most all wind generators, pre-REA
to present models. Many used parts, too. Lots of used
equipment available: wind generators, towers, both
synchronous and stand alone inverters, and Aermotor
waterpumpers. Best prices on TRACE inverters and Bergey
Wind Generators. Whisper 1000, $1260 and we pay
shipping to anywhere in the lower 48. Trade Wind's wind
odometer for $140.00, delivered. Information: $1; specify
interests. Lake Michigan Wind & Sun, 3971 E Bluebird Rd.,
Forestville, WI 54213 Phone 414-837-2267.
FOR SALE HEART H12-1200X, 1200 watt ultra high
efficiency inverter. 12VDC input, 120vac output, regulated
RNS voltage. Reactive load compatible. Has 50 amp battery
charger, standby mode for use as an emergency system.
Excellent condition. $700. 916-475-3428
CEILING FANS,12 VDC, draws only 0.4 amp, 3 or 4 blades,
oak blades, for name of dealer nearest you, send S.A.S.E.
to R.C.H., 2173 Rocky Creek Rd, Colville, WA 99114
WANTED DISTRIBUTORS in Europe, Africa, Asia and
South America for the most energy efficient DC powered
ceiling fan available today. For free information packet write
R.C.H. 2173 Rocky Creek Rd. Colville, WA USA 99114
1991 GUIDE TO UNUSUAL HOW-TO SOURCES.
Describes 50 periodicals & handbooks on backyard tech,
camping, crafts, finding new friends, gardening, home
education, low-cost shelters, travel, woodslore, etc. All
addresses are included. Free for SASE. Light Living Library
POB 190-HP, Philomath, OR 97370
HYDROELECTRIC SYSTEMS: Pelton and Crossflow
designs, either complete turbines or complete systems.
Assistance in site evaluation and equipment selection.
Sizes from 100 watts to 5 megawatts. Manufacturing home
and commercial size turbines since 1976. Send for a free
brochure. Canyon Industries Inc., P.O. Box 574 HP,
Deming, WA 98244, 206-592-5552.
INVERTER SALE Before buying your Trace Inverter,
check with us. Our prices are hard to beat. Send S.A.S.E.
to R.C.H., 2173 Rocky Creek Rd., Colville, WA 99114.
INEXPENSIVE 12V LIGHTING. Use car bulbs in 110
fixtures with our nifty adaptors (See HP4 Things That
Work). $5 ea, dealer discounts. AE-powered home industry.
Northern Lites, POB 874-HP, Tonasket, WA 98855
SOLAR MIND - Newsletter with a holistic view to
appropriate transportation, technology, and mind. Also
electric vehicles and parts listings. Send $3 to: Stevenson,
759 South State St. #81, Ukiah, CA 95482
SOLAR WATER HEATER. Antifreeze system with
photovoltaic pump. You install and save. Illustrated
instructions, 96 page manual/catalog $10.95 (refundable).
Save On Solar, Inc., Dept. HP, 6905 White Rabbit Road,
Battle Creek, MI 49017.
GAS REFRIGERATORS, solar electric systems, kits with
complete directions. Photovoltaic modules, inverters,
batteries. Great mail order prices, plus expert assistance.
Will beat almost any sale price. $3 catalog. New revised
1991 SOLAR ELECTRIC INDEPENDENT HOME BOOK.
200 pp. 8 1/2"x11", 80 diagrams, 25 photos. Installation
guidelines and schematics, design, maintenance, for superefficient Photovoltaic systems for independent homes.
$18.95 (includes shipping and catalog). Fowler Solar
Electric Inc., Box 435, Worthington, MA 01098. 413-2385974.
MAKE FREE HYDROGEN FUEL from rain water and your
renewable power source. Send for plans to make your own
gas generator or buy a ready made Water Electrolyzer. For
plans and information, enclose $1.00 to - HYDROGEN
WIND, INC., Lineville, Iowa 50147
EDTA RESTORES SULFATED BATTERIES. EDTA
tetrasodium salt $10/lb. ppd., EDTA acid $20/lb. ppd,
catalog Trailhead Supply 325 E. 1165 N., Orem, UT 84057
801-225-3931
PURE CASTILE & VEGETARIAN SOAPS. Handmade in an
AE environment. We also have hard to find natural bath &
body care products. FREE catalog: SIMMONS
HANDCRAFTS 42295 AE, Hwy 36, Bridgeville, CA 95526
THE KANIKSU PROJECT-INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY
powered by sun, wood, wind & water 20 page Prospectus,
maps and gathering invitation-$300 POB 849 Glen Ellen
CA 95442
FOREST FIRE WILL DESTROY hundreds of homes and
cabins this year. You can prepare yourself with knowledge
most firefighters are unaware of. Send large SASE to:
Dragon Slayers Inc., PO Box 669/HP, Selma, OR 97538
6 X 6 PV NITE LITE $10+$3 S/H. 3 for $25+$7 S/H.
Inverters to 10 KW. AC and DC gen, sets. AE parts Pee
Wee Power Co. 16050 69th St NE Snohomish WA 98290
206-568-3685.
96
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Home Power MicroAds
STOVES, PRE 1960 Restored wood, gas, electric, &
trashburners. Classic models & work horses. Stoves that
were built to last. Johnny's Appliances & Classic Ranges
17549 Sonoma Hwy, Son. 95476 707-996-9730 Wed.-Sat.
10-6
SERVEL GAS REFRIGERATORS clean and good
condition $195-$395 Johnny's Appliances 17549 Sonoma
Hwy, Son. 95476 707-996-9730
FOR SALE: Large used Nife Nicad Batteries 450 amps at
1.25 volts, 75lb. each. From Ontario Government
underground communication center. 25 years old and
capacity tested. $100 each. Only 40 left. Will bring small set
to GLREA Fair in July. Dan Courtney RR1, Maberly,
Ontario K0H 2B0 613-268-2160 (after 7pm)
FOR SALE Used Heart 24-2500 $300 firm. New in box
Trace 2012 SB, BC, DVM $999, PowerStar 200 inverter
$109, Chronar PV 10 watt $58. You pay shipping UPS. Call
Dave Welton 801-465-4154; 827 S 880 W, Payson, UT
84651
SELF-SUFFICIENT NORTH WISCONSIN Wind/Solar
Powered Home on 15A. Contemporary 3BR, 1 1/2 bath,
Greenhouse, deck with screen enclosure and more! In a
majestic pinewoods setting. $57,900. (612) 699-9695
10' AREO MOTOR WATER PUMPER with 4' Stub Tower,
Restored condition, $1,200. 209-962-6187
FOR SALE: 1384 amp-hour Industrial Chloride Battery from
REAL GOODS. Brand new, Paid $2280.00 plus $600.00
shipping to Florida. SELL $1300.00, preferably to someone
in Florida (will deliver personally for cost of gas) Moving,
can not complete system. (305) 726-1219.
TEMPERATURE AND DATA RECORDER. Collect up to 3
months of remote data and display it on your computer.
LOGTROLLER, available assembled or plans for $9.
TENSOR, Box 2543 Thunder Bay Ontario P7B 5G1
CENTRAL N.C. WOODED 26 ACRES with a quality 6 yr
old 1728 Sq Ft PV house, 3Ac lake & creek & 1900 Ft
paved road front. Private & quiet in heart of golf-retirement
mecca. $148,500 Firm 919-673-4326 EST.
EXCESS INVENTORY SALE: NEW, in cartons, ARCO
photovoltaic collectors. 5.2V/6.7A 35W Model ASI-5-6600.
12" X 48". $4/watt = $140/panel. Call Mark at Good-All
Electric (303) 484-3080. Technical assistance available.
PROTECT YOUR PVs FROM THEFT. Use tamper proof
bolts and nuts to foil the criminal intent. Only $8.66 per
panel (four bolts with nuts) and $21.87 for the specialized
tool set. Call ECS (904) 373-3220. Don't let your
independence get ripped off.
EL-20 only $19.95 each (limit two at this price) shipping
$2.50. Quantity discounts available. Solar Electric POB 934
Travelers Rest, SC 29690
DO YOU NEED to match into an existing ARCO-SIEMENS
array and find yourself shocked at their new pricing?
BLACKHAWK SOLAR still has a good supply of new ARCO
panels at old prices. M75s at $339, M55s at $390, also low
prices on ARCO M51s, 16-2000s, Kyocera J51s, & Trace.
Sun Ovens $149, Cruising Meters $170. Wattsun Trackers
& UPG Inverters available. Blackhawk Solar, POB 1468,
Quincy, CA 95971, 916-283-1396
BUILD THIS PUMP FROM SCRATCH for $100 or less: 12V
pump, up to 100' depth, fits in 4" well, only basic tools + offthe-shelf hardware needed. Detailed plans $10. Gerhard
Dekker, Box 689, Steinbach, Man., R0A 2A0 Canada, (204)
434-6143
SMALL, EASILY RELOCATED MANUFACTURING
BUSINESS. Light, easily shipped, patented product you can
be proud to produce in a relatively small shop area. Tools,
dies, inventory and an exclusive license to produce on a
royalty basis: $60,000. Outright sale incl all patent rights:
$100,000. Principals only. 303-945-5334.
FERRO-CEMENT WATER TANKS. Build your own, any
size. Booklet tells all $10+$2 P&H to Precious Mountain,
1221 Niestrath Rd, Cazadero CA 95421 Satisfaction
Guaranteed.
NEW LOCATION, COST + 10% pricing! Best deal in USA.
$5 catalog; SASE for free info. & quotes. Abraham Solar;
Box 957; Pagosa Springs, CO 81147; 303-264-5185
INVERTER - 5,000 watt Heliotrope continuous rating.
Almost new, used three months - Steal for $3,000.00 213454-0345, John
NEW SURPLUS Glass Amorphous PV Panels Bought from
the now bankrupt Chronar Corp. Each panel is housed in an
aluminum frame 13" X 37" X 1" Unloaded output is approx.
20-22 volts. Typical loaded output about 15V@ 600-800mA.
Near 1000 panels remain. $64 ea. 10 for $499. Postage
paid. CA residents add 8.25%. Dealer inquires welcome.
ASA 6331 Glade Ave.#H202 Woodland Hills, CA 91367 or
call (818) 703-5930 Mon-Thur 5-7 PM ONLY
USED M51 MODULES $150. New Power Star 1300W
inverter $750. Craig PO Box 1802, Hesperia, CA 92345 ph.
619-949-9246 (will beat any ad's price)
WESTINGHOUSE Ele. & Mfg. Co. Generator 125VDC,
1800 rpm, 45 amps. $300. 916-938-2079
OSRAM SPECIALS - Special introductory offer on energy
efficient Osram compact fluorescent light bulbs. EL-15 or
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
97
Home Power Mercantile
Index to Advertisers
One insertion per customer per issue. We typeset all ads and do the
our best to make your ad look good. If you send too much copy, then
you're bound to be disappointed. Flat Rate $80. Advance payment
only, we don't bill Mercantile Ads. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
Solar "Skylite"™ Water Heater
The Water Heater That Looks Like A Skylight
• Aesthetically pleasing • Low Cost • Easy to install/maintain • Light weight/ cut
shipping costs • Nationally certified • Positive freeze protection • Dealer
inquires welcome • Send $1 for brochure/information
American Solar Network, Ltd.
12811 Bexhill Ct., Herndon, VA 22071 • 703-620-2242
SYSTEM ELECTRIC
Helping make it happen for less
J/K51 watt PV panels in boxes of 4 for $305 per panel, includes UPS
in Continental US, CA add tax, limited time offer
Discounted pricing on components and systems
Call or write for details Box 67, Lyndon, VT 05849, 802-626-5537
SPRING '91 SOLAR DESIGN CATALOG
-AN EDUCATIONAL SOURCEBOOKSPACE, WATER & POOL HEATING; COOKING
$3.00 S & H; CALL OR WRITE; VISA/MC
AAA SOLAR SERVICE & SUPPLY INC. 800-245-0311
2021 ZEARING NW, ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87104
"Muscle Power Into Electricity"
Flywheel * Positive-drive * PM Gen. Turn your Schwinn DX 900
Exerciser into a Battery Charger. See HP#12. The MP2E-1 kit is
$325. plus shipping (12 lb.)
Pedal Systems
POB 6, Westminster Station, VT 05159
98
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
Active Technologies - 72
Alternative Energy Engineering - 100
Atlantic Solar Products - 48
BackHome Magazine - 87
Backwood's Solar Electric - 24
Bergey Wind Power - 34
Blackhawk Solar - 58
Bobier Electronics - 47
Burden's Surplus - 63
C. Crane & Company - 58
Carlson Communications - 66
Carrizo Solar Corp. - 39
Cimarron Mfg. - 61
Cruising Equipment - 39
ECS - 47
Electron Connection - 31
Energy Depot - 20
Energy Specialists - 86
Energy Systems & Design - 72
Fowler Solar Electric - 68
Harris Hydroelectric - 71
Heliotrope - 62
Holistic Institute of Montana - 86
Heaven's Flame - 91
Home Power Magazine - 95
Hydrocap Corp. - 69
Hydrogen Wind, Inc. - 58
Integral Energy Systems - 48
Jordan Energy Institute - 48
Kansas Wind Power - 25
Kyocera America - 12
Lake Michigan Wind & Sun - 69
Lil Otto Hydroworks - 58
Northern Alternate Power - 86
Offline - 63
Pacific West Supply - 38
Photron - 41
PowerStar Products - 30
PV Network News - 63
Real Goods Trading Co. - 2
SCI – 60
Simmons Handcrafts - 87
Skyline Engineering - 72
Solar Car Corp. - 60
Solar Pathways - 78
Solar Spectrum - 69
Solar Technology Institute - 49 & 50
Solarex - 99
SoloPower - 61
Steamco Solar Electric - 74
SunAmp Power Company - 39
Sun Frost - 61
Sunlight Energy - 63
Sunnyside Solar - 72
The People's Power Company - 71
Trace Engineering - 5
Utility Free - 21
Wattever Works - 87
Wattsun Corp. - 69
Wm. Lamb Corp. - 13
World Power Technologies - 61
Zomeworks Corp. - 72
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
99
ALTERNATIVE
ENERGY
ENGINEERING
FULL
PAGE
BACK
COVER
100
Home Power #24 • August / September 1991
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