Gaining on off grid slowly

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by farmboyJD, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. farmboyJD

    farmboyJD Monkey++

    This summer I've been working on an area in a barn to place an inverter and batteries. I have a large metal barn 175 ft from my home, with a row of cedar trees next to the barn. So far, inside the barn I poured a concrete pad 7ft x 12ft. I've enclosed an area of the pad 7 x 8. I'm going to place 2 small generators, stacked, on the other part of the pad, which is still in the barn. This week I rented a trencher and trenched from the barn, through the cedar trees, across the driveway and to the side of my house. In the trench, I placed two 2in PVC conduits.

    As I laid the first conduit, I ran heavy poly baler twine as I glued each joint. Then pulled 5 wires of #3 copper. I already had the copper wire from a building I salvaged several years ago. I'm going to parallel 2each of the #3's. That way I know I'll have the capacity for about anything I want to do. One #3 would have been sufficient for 240v at 80 amps, but I had the wire. I'm going to run Cat5 wire through the other conduit for computer, security cams, telephone. I separated the conduits with about 1 ft of dirt. I also placed in the trench a 3/4 inch poly line for propane, and connected to my propane supply line. Now I'll have propane the the gens also.

    A lot more work to do, as I can. Next up, mounting inverter, disconnects, etc., and mounting gens. Wife doesn't have a clue of what I'm doing, or why. Totally oblivious.
    Nadja, Guit_fishN, STANGF150 and 2 others like this.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Sounds like a very good plan, you have worked out for yourself. I think I would have two, or three, runs of the CAT5 in the second conduit, as it is much easier to put in all at once than to re-pull more later. You can never have enough Pairs in a conduit. Your distance is well within the 10BaseT Ethernet (4-4-2) Rule, and you may be able to push 100BaseT if your Switches on each end, can push it. That would give you plenty of bandwidth, for whatever you want to move between the two ends. I wonder what Gensets you are thinking of using, for you backup Power? What pressure are you planning to run on the Propane Distribution Line. The Pipe size isn't big enough for 11 in. Water Column for the Gensets at that distance. Should be sufficient if you run it a 3 PSI though. Pictures would be nice for those who are thinking along the same lines as you are, as your system progresses.
    Nadja and farmboyJD like this.
  3. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    You regard having to rely on a propane supply as off grid ? Seems like trading one devil for another to me, with the exception you can store the energy in advance......but once it's gone, you're out of electricity.
    beast likes this.
  4. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    i didnt think they allowed propane underground to be plastic?
  5. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    When I was still working , building houses, I have seen many times a yellow roll of plactic based pipe just for propane. I have seen this many times over the last few years. But it MUST be coded for propane. Never use reg. pvc of any kind for propane or natural gas.
  6. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    i think every state, county and township have their own codes too
    so make sure what youre doing is legal in yours
  7. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Here in NC, the few counties I have lived in required copper.
  8. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Tikka. Here in Apache cnty. Az. copper pipe is NOT allowed for fixed gas lines. Watched a man have to tear out all his copper gas lines. All states, counties and even cities are different and for different reasons. Be sure to check what is legal in your area before you buy or do anything on this one.
  9. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    Honestly, if I were running any distance, I would go with fiber optic for networking. Cat5e/6 is fine for short distance (100 meters or less) Anything more than that and you start having problems. You can run GigE at that distance, which will increasingly be the standard. Cat6 cable will allow you to upgrade to 10Gig connections when that equipment becomes more widely available.

    It's a lot of work to trench and run conduit. Much easier to make sure it's right the first time. And having multipe cables in there the first time around is also a best practice.
    Nadja, farmboyJD and beast like this.
  10. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I don't think any of you know what farmerjd is actually doing. The conduit he is laying is mostly for power to the house. He will be installing a watson tracker, panels, and a wind generator very soon. The generators are for back up and also some equip. he needs to run that are far to large for the solar to handle. He will have a few questions, but all in all, his head is screwed on right. Make no mistake about it. He goes slow and very carefully.
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