Got a solar panel!

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Cabin Lady, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    Hi all.
    My lovely son gave me a solar panel for Xmas. I still need a battery but he said he will get me one later. But it is a start for a solar power system. I'm so happy! I will be independent for charging my phone soon! And I can have a good bright light for the living room.

    Now I use 3 solar lights which are great. But on days with no sunshine they don't work too well.
    I use battery operated lights too during the winter months. But I don't like to spend money on batteries. It ads up fast.

    I live in a 16 by 24 feet cabin. Not all finished yet. Inside needs more done and outside needs siding. I heat it with a woodstove. I have a one burner propane camping stove for cooking.

    I have no running water and no plumbing.
    I use a camping toilet bucket. I put a large kitchen bag in it and waste goes with garbage after I dispose of urine by making a hole in the bag and let it drain around the yard.

    I haul water from the community well every 5 days. In summer I use my water tank to fill up the horses water tub and bottles for in the cabin. During winter I have 18 bottles and fill those at the well. I water the horses 2 or 3 times a day by giving buckets of water.

    I have daily sponge baths and wash my hair when needed with help of 3 pails of water.

    I grow a couple of gardens in summer. It's not easy because the ground is pure sand. So I made 3 above ground gardens and have a few on ground ones and add soil and compost and slowly I'm getting good garden soil. Potatoes did great. I had to get rid of a lot of hay waste and grew potatoes in it. Worked awesome. Plenty of potatoes for winter.
    I also love flowers so that keeps me and the bees busy. :)

    I spend lots of time on fencing pastures for the 3 horses I have.

    So this is just a little bit more about how I live on my 30 acres in saskatchewan. Merry Christmas:)
  2. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    How many watts is your panel? Do you have a controller, too?

    Very long hair is quite nice.
  3. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Congratulations on the panel. With LED lights, low power computers, low power radio and music, life can be very much enlightened with a couple hundred watts of panel and a simple battery. Good luck in the new year.
  4. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    It is 40 watts and has a controller. Yes, long hair is nice but more work washing. Hahaha.
    Aeason, Asia-Off-Grid and chelloveck like this.
  5. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Hi Cabin Lady, you really are "off the grid" hauling water for 3 horses? No ponds or streams on this 30 acres?

    Aeason, Cabin Lady and chelloveck like this.
  6. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    CL, I have to ask... I am wondering why you haven't dug an outhouse as opposed to dealing with the waste in this manner. Wouldn't an outhouse be easier? I assume there must be a good reason so I'm curious.
    Aeason and Cabin Lady like this.
  7. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    No outhouse... for one reason, you'd have to go outside, this is Saskatchewan.

    Aeason, Cruisin Sloth and Cabin Lady like this.
  8. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I've been in Saskatoon many years ago during the winter ,lots of snow .
    your experience is a welcome one to many of us here.
    On the battery.
    I am on solar as well and use 6 volt deep cycle batteries,
    very happy with them .
    They are wired in series positive-[6V] negative--positive [6V] negative =12 volts.
    By using 6 volt batteries I can power things /lights directly that are 6 volt tagging off just one of the 6 volt batteries .
    It would pay you to get a book on motorhomes that features living off grid and solar .
    There are a lot of newer technologies out there that make the all more fun.
    Some day you may like to get a wind mill, if you've got any wind . Especially if the wind continues throughout the night it is a strong supplement to the whole system. I enjoy it a lot .
    Aeason and Cabin Lady like this.
  9. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    Yes, hauling water forv3vhorses, 3 dogs and 3 cats and myself. :) no ponds or streams. But it's not too bad. In winter my horses like to eat snow too and drink less then summer. But then I fill up a big tub and bottles to fill it up when it gets low. It's easier in the summer but oh crazy person here. Hahaha. What we do for our animals huh?

    I sure will build an outhouse. But up to now I had other priorities to deal with and in winter I can't build. We get temperatures of minus 45 c with the windchill and even colder. But even with an outhouse I would not use it in winter. Lol. I like my butt stay warm. Hahaha

    I'm really not handy with anything electricity stuff. If it's simple maybe but I even manage to ruin my tractor battery by connecting it wrong. Lol
    I would love wind power too. Slowly I get there is hope. Little steps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2016
    Aeason and BlueDuck like this.
  10. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I will have to stay in Cambodia. I couldn't tolerate those temperatures. Wow! That is cold!
    Aeason and Cabin Lady like this.
  11. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    Yes it can be brutal. As long my stove works well, I'm happy. I dress very warm when doing chores like splitting wood ( by hand) and kindling, feed and water my horses and 2 outdoor dogs and shoveling snow when needed. When the sun is out it's rather nice even in cold temps. I love bird watching and sometimes the chickadees eat from my hand and often sit on my hat and shoulder. They know I feed them. Even had an owl flying around that would come when I called him. He hang around for 2 weeks, and would come and fly so low that I could almost touch him. But after 2 weeks I didn't see him anymore. :) I like the extreme temperatures here. I'm originally from Holland and there it was so damp and rainy during winter. Here hot summers and cold winters. I like it. Just have to dress for it.
    Aeason, BlueDuck and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  12. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    I hope your Horses are the power to haul up the water etc !!
    Aeason and Cabin Lady like this.
  13. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    That phone ya got take pictures ?
    If so take a picture of the spec's on the back of the panel & of the controller .
    As for electrical , we have some smart folks here . go slow & ask lots , You do need one tool to do any power .
    A DVM (Digital Volt Meter) now these are in manual picking [​IMG]
    Kinda like this , See YOU need to pick the scale it reads !!!

    They are Cheap , I have 10 + & all are different (But I know this is one of my trades)
    The one that confuses the most is the auto ranging type like this :[​IMG]

    They are the worst to learn from !! THE WORST !! Your in learning mode & it's EZ ..
    The manual ones are from 5 bucks -12 bucks CDN & help seeing power.

    Aeason and Cabin Lady like this.
  14. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    Thank you. Yes my phone takes pictures. Yeah I'm really not good with meters and such. But I will try to understand. The thing is that I look and read it and my brain goes blank. The only meter I can work with is a fence tester for electric fences. That's as far I got for electric stuff. Probably for that reason my solar set up is a slow progress thing. But I will try to get a meter like you showed. Thanks again. Very much appreciated. But can you believe that my new solar panel is still in the box? Lol.
    Aeason likes this.
  15. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Slow Down , look at the meters , see the difference FIRST !!
    DO NOT think ya can't learn this , SLOW DOWN . Things take Time & your in charge of YOU .
    Never think you can not understand , ask & play & take pictures etc will make your brain see this "Magic " with the meter understand .
    This is basic when you can see it with a meter you understand.
    Im An Instructor as my job since way back & till today .
    Have trust & learn the meter & then if in doubt , take pix of what your trying & many here will know & help .
    Panels all come in different versions , Im solar & RE dude.

    Aeason and Cabin Lady like this.
  16. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    This solar panel is like a kit. I only need a battery and something else but not sure what but my son said he would get it for me later. I will try to upload a picture of the panel box.

    Aeason likes this.
  17. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    You might want to get a much larger panel, like an 80 to 120 watt, with charge controller.
    Cabin Lady likes this.
  18. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    please take a picture of the BACK of the panel , like up the Dress ,
    We need to see the sticker on the back of the panel , your showing adds of pure selling BS .
    we all need to see the nitty gitty & up the real specks
    Cabin Lady likes this.
  19. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    What did you do for electricity before you got this panel?

    A 40 watt panel doesn't sound like much, but it's quite a bit to the person who previously had nothing.

    I suggest a 30-35 amp-hour sealed battery to go with that panel. Any more and it will take too long to fully charge. Any less and you are wasting the potential of the panel.
    Cabin Lady likes this.
  20. Cabin Lady

    Cabin Lady Monkey

    For me this is great. As long I can charge my phone and have 1 good light I'm happy. I will add more panels in the future. Right now I have 3 solar lights and use 3 laptops and my truck to charge my phone. Laptops I charge at friends.
    BTPost and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
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