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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Question for Jimbob up there in Mich.
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Mike D.    Posted 02-05-2003 at 06:38:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
You mention that you are going to build your battery bank. Where did you find the tech. info on producing your own batteries? What will you use for cases?

Are you familiar with wave pulse generators and battery recyling?

What is the primary difference between those costly sine wave inverters and what you plan to use?

You got me thinking, heck now our smoke detector has gone off again...


Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 09:07:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have not figured out the cases yet, they will be made out of plastic. A lead acid battery uses pure lead plates for long life. The newer automotive batteries use a 'sponge' type plate. This makes the battery compact with regard to peak cranking amps. These just are not good for deep discharge service. A pulse-wave charger? I am not knowing this, however sounds like a high peak to average voltage is applied.
The industrial UPS, even computer type, are an inverter. A UPS takes DC voltage & converts it to AC voltage at 120vac. Most industrial type do produce a sine-wave (more desirable) over a square-wave output. The reason inverters for battery backed systems are so inexpensive is that most poeple do not know what a UPS is. I will by a used 15 to 25 KW Industrial UPS. I expect to pay about $1500 less batteries. One down fall is the owner who can not repair a large UPS. I can, thus would not suffer a long power outage or expensive repair bill. Being about $1500 or the cost of a good new 4KW unit, I find them a good bargain. Many businesses expanded & had to upgrade their UPS capacity. Other have simply gone out of business.
An alternate to a large UPS is many small 500 watt to 1000 watt computer UPS units. It is called 'strength in numbers'. If one fails, no big deal. I seen used 500 to 1000 watt UPS units on eBay for under $100 each! Most come with a Gel Cell battery, however you do not want it as the tiny battery is good for only about 30 minutes of use. You need to know how to wire & properly fuse these. Electricity is dangerous. My proposed wind Gen system is not for everyone!




Mike D. another question for you Jimbob-    Posted 02-05-2003 at 14:51:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Have you looked into used industrial batteries? I read something a while ago about fork lift batteries.

A wave pulse generator that is set up right can break down the sulfation on lead plates wet cells. There are some scientific types that swear a lead plate wet cell battery can last from 20 -70 years if it is conditioned with one of these devices. I have saved 2 batteries and have started on #3 last week. I'm a carpenter, so I can't claim any technical background (other than knowing what to hit with a hammer & where). I just know what has worked for me. If you can find a source of these large units it may be cheaper and less worrisome to recondition rather than build. Food for thought...


Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 18:38:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have not looked at industrial batteries. Figured too expensive. The Edison cell is one that lasts a lifetime. I think its a nickel-lead design.


Mike D. **not just the Edison cell    Posted 02-05-2003 at 21:03:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Spent some time looking into this subject. To tell you the truth I can bend nails easier.

There are any number of industrial battery sizes and voltages out there. Usually cheap too.
It is easier for many outfits to sell their surplus dead batteries cheaply than it is for them to dispose of them- read: thank you EPA...

What did you think about wave pulse generators?
Some here on this forum have called the idea 'snake oil'. I know different.

If, in fact, wet cell batteries can be conditioned to withstand the degradation of sulfer erosion, than it would behove an aternative energy producer to look into it. My 2 cents worth.


Jimbob    Posted 02-06-2003 at 03:35:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
I do not know anything about wave pulse generators. One thing I do not want is sensitive electronics. The electronics are sensitive to electrical surges. A direct lightning strike is bad news, a nearby strike can also ruin electronics. A person a chat with had a wind gen system that used to get a strike about once a month. he reported no failures. The surge protection system plus simple system save them a lot of grief. I may build my own regulators using magnetics & even a vacuum tube for regulation. Very hardy against power surges.


Mike D.    Posted 02-06-2003 at 05:38:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yep that's what I've heard about home built systems and a strike.

Those wave pulse generators are something you may want to consider for possible recyling of serious storage batteries that you may be able to buy for pennys on the dollar. The pulsers are not left on full time. Just used to condition. Do a web search on them. You may be as surprised as I was at the depth of some of the forums that you will find. Being an EE you should be able to build your own on the cheap. The schematics are on the web. Lots of home grown electrical types are using the thing. If you have time check it out. Could be a big savings to you in the set-up costs in your home built system.


Willy-N    Posted 02-05-2003 at 09:58:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Are you still going to be on the grid or is this set up just for a offset of KW need to live? How are you going to run your Welders, grinders, drills and pumps? Produseing large amounts of electricty cannot be done as cheap as you can buy it. Maintaining the equipment is a lot of exspence to do. Just finding parts later on in years will be hard. Obsoete equipment now will be even harder to fix later. The cheapest method for fast large amounts of power is a Generator. But if you only need power for some lights and small draws wind power is a good way to go. Living in colder climents will require heat tapes, stock tank heaters, outside lighting, pumps for livestock water and house hold use. Your water heater and range will suck up anything you could make with wind generators and a lot more. If you go natural gas you will still be on the grid. Propane is big bucks to running these things. Keeping the buildings warm for your electronic equipment will also need fans or multible heating sourses or one flat large building. Acid Storage Battries need venting to keep corsive gases out of the area. Just wondering how you are addressing these areas of concern? Mark H.


Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 12:15:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
I used to build power generation plants, install huge UPS systems, power distribution, etc, etc, etc. All areas you mentioned is true & I reviewed all of them. Buying electricity from a local utility is one of the better deals out there- no doubt.
I want to be independent is all & it is not cost effective either right now. I live on a very windy hill. Calculated 5 windmills at my site will generate 750 kw per month in the summer & well over 1000 kw per month in the winter. During the winter, much more wind here. Based upon my somewhat energy efficient house, our 'electric life style' will be only slightly changed. The electric dryer will not see much use. Reduce two freezers to one during the summer months. Get rid of second refridgerator. Keep a watch to turn out the lights, etc. During overcapacity generation, this extra energy will heat water & alert us to use the electric dryer or other high energy use items such as the electric stove for sublimental heat. The electric stove & microwave will still be used as before. Smaller amounts of AC will be used in the summer as well. As for heat, we use woodheat for the last 17 years. If I went to 5 10kw units, the wood could go and we would also heat the house with electricity using a heat pump.

System maintenance is minimal. As for extra energy needs, we have a 7KW gen-set. I may upgrade to a Petter Diesel for a 30+ year engine.
I can say, this system is not real high on my priority list either.


Willy-N    Posted 02-05-2003 at 12:45:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
I consume around 3,650 kwhrs per month a little less than that during the summer more light hours and less heat needed for freezing reasons. I would need a lot more energy to get off the grid. My electric bill runs about 130.00 to 180.00 per month which is not bad because in generates a 70,000.00 gross income in a home based bussiness plus the electricity I need to live. I thought about produsing my own power but the cost did not allow me to do it and save anything. I would still allways depend on the system to pervide me with the ability to get it. So I went the cheaper route staying on the grid with back/up power for outages. If I only needed a little electricty I would go the other way but I am liminted to our oven choise and Gas is out of the question money wise. A good wind generating system would run as much as building a house to pervide us what we would need and it would still need to be maintained. Our KW Rates are low enought to not change yet. I have 7 freezers, 4 ovens, and a bunch of other items I need to run so it is out of the relm of cost for me to get off the grid. Gave it a lot of thought being a electrician for over 30 years. But I do have a 10 kw back up system that will get me by if needed for short time use. With fuel on hand I could probley stay on line for 3-6 months depending on what time of the year it is and if my rigs were also full went all fuel supplys were cut off. I do try to keep them at least all 1/2 full if not topped off. Mark H.


Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 14:56:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
We use about 900KW here per month. Easy to trim back to 750kw. All lights are flourescent. One refridgerator is energy efficient, the other is not efficient. I have two freezers as well. We do not use the heat cycle in the dishwasher, sometimes just wash by hand. Our water heater is propane powered, I have a coil from the wood stove for winter use. We do not always use the electric dryer, we hang clothes in the basement during the winter & outside in the summer. Although we have 1500 sq ft of living area (not including the basement), we only need one 8000 BTU AC in the summer & sometimes convert to two 5000 BTU in the beedrooms an hour before bedtime a few days out of the year. The third bedroom seems to stay cool. We keep the AC temperature at about 82 degrees. Being in Northern lower Michigan, the AC load falls off quickly at night & it is usually windy on top of our large hill. We open the windows & patio door. The house does have 16" of insulation in the roof. Perhaps this is why our AC energy use is low. Gee, I thought our electricity use was average to somewhat higher than average electrical energy use for a typical house.


Willy-N    Posted 02-05-2003 at 15:15:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
Probley is. I am all electric even tho I heat with wood; I heat the bakeing area with electric till the ovens keep it warm in the winter. I do not use A/C I just open the windows as needed. We are insulated to R-19 in the walls and R 48 in the ceiling and R 32 in the floors that way it dose not take much more than 3 1/2 cord a year to heat the house and winter is 5+ months of the year too. Mark H.


Red Dave - Hey Jimbob...    Posted 02-05-2003 at 12:28:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
A few questions, if you don't mind.
Will you keep the system independent from the local electric utility supply or tie it in to sell some back? If you are going to synchronize it, will the waveform of the inverters be a problem? And how will you keep multiple paralleled inverters sharing the load without one of them trying to carry it all?
Sounds like an interesting system.


Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 12:35:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
I will keep it independent, prefer not to sell back for profit.


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