question for the people here - solar and wind power vs load

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by hank2222, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    on a couple of other forums i belong to that deals with solar and wind powering there off grid places ..i find that most people are allways telling the new person to dump the following things

    1-mircowave oven


    3-anything thing that they think is useless in a house that off grid ..

    i had one gentlemen flat out go crazy on me when i asked the reason why should a person get rid of those items if there system can support it with wind and solar power only system ..

    plus when i pointed out the whole point of going off grid was to live as comfortable as we can afford to make our system support our lifestyle that we want

    the gentlemen who was going off was like your stupid and you need to think beyond the end of the world thinking that people seam to have today on this forum i was on ..

    i bought up the fact as fuel prices raise you must be ready to adapt to the something else than a fuel driven system to charge your battery bank in times there are no wind or sun ..

    i bought up the point what happens when the propane and other items become to costly to run your system and not haveing to reley on propane or lg or deisel or gas to be part of the three unit off grid of power makeing to charge the batties in cold weather months

    most people say that is allways going to be there and i go at what cost to you is going to have it be there to power the place ..

    in one of my post i explained to the gentlemen who had asked about just keeping solar and wind as the only option for his off grid place and i said it nice to have the third option of a fuel drive system but in the long run it better to just have the solar and wind as your basic system because of the socalled raiseing cost of fuels in the areas of Deisel & Gas & LG gas & Propane gas and some day it going to go beyond the price i'm willing to pay for a gallon of these products

    i also explained to the gentlemen in a PM that the raiseing cost of fuels is the one thing that has me not buying a anything that is fuel driven system and that is propane or lg or deisel or gas gen set up for winter time ..

    i did tell the guy to look at the socalled menthol fuel cell set up gen set that are comeing out of europe right now and starting to see them over here like the one in my pictures on thermo fuel cell ..

    that started a whole other round of things that was beyond what was need to be said on the forum

    so do you think that some people can not think past what is right there on the page in front of them when it comes to thinking about the future and powering the home in the future
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  2. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    most humans will never think or see outside the box let alone survive it when they get there
    as for fuels to run like generators or fridges... theres methane, woodsmoke, veggie oils, animal fats and of course
    but any fuel you have to buy isnt worth goin after
    it will probly dry up on you and then where will you be?
    Kingfish and hank2222 like this.
  3. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Hank there are so many response's to your question's that probaly the most direct one will work...
    Don't worry about what other people are telling you to get rid off..
    If it's working for you...Then run with it...
  4. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    They may be well meaning idiots.

    One problem with microwaves and typical household style refrigerators is that the draw when in use is beyond the capabilities of all but the most deluxe/expensive battery bank and means to replenish that battery bank (solar or wind). I mean, a really good, high dollar inverter is in the 2000/3000 watt range and that microwave is 1500-1800 watts.

    Then again, if your microwave use is calculated in minutes per day, the system might be able to keep up. Every amp hour taken out of the batteries has to be replaced. Take too many out without replacing them and you get sulfation in your batteries which will cut their life in half.

    Many 'off grid' types have other culture goals and the microwave and TV run counter to those goals.

    I've been camping in my RV the past 10 weekends and can tell you that I've learned to count watts and amps when dry camping or boondocking on a single 12 V battery. Without means to replace those amp hours, it will deplete to below 50% and that is to be avoided at all costs. Working up a dual 6 V golf cart battery setup now and looking into a 400 W wind turbine to replace what I've used. I'll let you know how it turns out.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Hank, As one who actually LIVES in the Off-Grid environment, I can tell you, that one MUST know the AmpHours, of Load, used each day, and compare that to what your Power Source inputs, each day. Then one needs to stay on the Positive Side of that each and every day. More "goesinta" than "goesoutta" It is that simple. The bigger the Battery Bank you have, the more reserve you have, HOWEVER you still have to replace ALL the used AmpHours used, PLUS what extra is required, by the charging efficiency of the Batteries. It takes more "IN" to recharge, back to Full Charge, than you took "OUT" I wouldn't get rid of ANYTHING, to start with, and just see how you do, during your typical day. It will become very clear, very fast, if your Loads, are more than you Source Power. At that point you can start eliminating those Loads that you can live without. Every system is different, and each household has different Loads and use patterns. This is really and OJT exercise, where you learn from DOING, rather than what others tell you, because their systems, loads and use patterns will NOT be the same as yours. Melbo is exactly RIGHT. He found that he needs a BIGGER Battery Bank for his uses, while camping, and is now working on getting that requirement filled. You do need to plan, and look at, just how you are going to setup your system. You also need to plan for expansion, unless you have a pile of money to invest right off. There are good "Rules of thumb" that can help, in that planning, and those of us Monkeys that already live Off-Grid and have stable systems can steer you in the right direction. TnAndy is one for sure. ..... YMMV....
    Ganado, Hillbilly549, LogOut and 4 others like this.
  6. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    guys what you say is true and you look at the diff things that we have on the battery bank but here the one thing here guys as much as i might say something that might not work at least we can have our diff way of thinking and be civil but it got to a point on that form i said something that got me a 24 hour time out for telling him to go hump his mother leg but not in a nice way .. ..

    right now i'm venting a little and i'm sorry for the long post here ..

    what go this guy into our hair was over what and was not in or on the bank and what basic items that are 110.volt power and some of the question about some of the basic things like a mirco wave or washing machine or hot water heater unit in a off grid section ..

    because of the gentlemen was building in a monolithic dome home that was going to be buried all the way with a walk out set like the one in eastern texas .. we had talked about not useing proprane or other forms of gas type appilances in the place because of dealing with the whole thing about gas items inside a dome home and the safety of haveing the socalled units inside the unit ..

    call me old fashion in this are but i will not have any type of gas type appilance inside my place it had to be electric items only ..

    we where talking about some of the basic items inside the house and i told him think about everything that he might want in a place and write down what he might want and then narrow down the basic list to a few items that he would want in his place ..

    i told him my list of items i had in place and i told my top five list for 110-120.volt and 12 .volt items

    here is my top five 110-120.volt items

    1-kitchen area -mircowave oven-single burner induction stove top burner-toaster-bread machine
    2-stand up fulcum reading light also know as a sunshine light for use in dark rooms for reading papers
    3-combo washer and dryer unit
    4-tankless hot water heater
    5-cable modem for laptop

    along with my top five in 12.volt power items

    1-tv and dvd player

    2-rv high pressure water pump


    4-laptop & printer along with the diff itesm i might need to work with the laptop

    5-diff lights that are on dureing the day and night time ..

    plus i said i did not go with cable tv or sat tv set for it was another thing to add to have it draw power from the battery bank ..i did tell him i use the tv to watch dvd tv series i like and movies along with read for past time pleasures at my place

    along with chargeing my cell phone and ipad & philips electric razor here and there ..

    there was about four in the post like here and it was going back and forth in exchange of ideas about hey if this does not work try this ideas you get here or that ..

    we talked about my crazy solar hot water heater and a couple of other things on the post about what we can do to cut down on our personal needs and wants when design our system ..

    one guy said a tube like copper with the water cycled through it about every 30 mins on a hot day would or could work better if was painted black and ran cold water through it here and there to help with the heating of the water ..

    i explained to him that i had change out my cooking system to four units in the place -1- single burner induction cook top 2-mircowave oven -3-toaster-4-breadmaker set up ..

    i explained the reason behind the reworking of the kitchen and the one of guys was like ok i get now because of beening single and not really useing a whole stove you cut down on anything outside the basic of cooking .. i go yes because it waste of whole stove just to use one burner all the time on a stove ..

    this guy was like the gunkid over thinking and someone else asked why he was like he told all of us we where stupid and we need to be kicked off the form over this type of post ..

    the whole time every five mins after you post a idea he was right behind it going that stupid or do we need the gramer police in here or do i have to come over in everypost about solar and off grid liveing and explain everything to you new people time and time again

    we where throwing ideas around and some of them might be stupid to someone else way of thinking but those who build underground understands that some rules are applied to a very hard rules of building a building underground along with what will go in and will not go into the building is a rule that we all live by when building underground ..

    i told them to come over here and register and you might get rode alittle hard at times but it all done in good fun
  7. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    Well Hank, not to be a jerk, but your posts are often hard to read. It wouldn't hurt to compose a post in MS word and use spell check. It's not worth nitpicking somone over, and getting hostile- we allmake typos now and then, but I often skip over your posts because they are just too much work to figure out.

    Second, I am not sure why you consider using electric over gas to be "old fashioned". Your system is going to have two constraints you need to consider- how much electricity you will use all day, and how much you will use at one time. Converting electricity directly to heat is one of the biggest draws and least efficient use of your juice, and heat can be generated so many other ways, while many other applications actually require electricity and cannot be powered any other way.

    I like cooking with gas, it heats food quicker and more evenly. Electric tankless heaters draw a LOT at one time. Microwaves can be very convenient, and I wouldn't necessarily get rid of it. A small microwave can probably be more efficient for some applications. Especially one in the 600-800 watt ranges instead of 1000w or larger.

    There are lots of methods for making your own fuel. The national grid of gas stations didn't spring into effect over night- diesel fuel can be made from animal or vegatable oils, alcohol (ethanol) can be distilled from wood pulp and sawdust. Methane can be generated with a tank and some tubing. I agree that the point of living off-grid for me, includes living well and comfortably. I don't want to give up the Internet, I don't want to give up having a comfrotable range of temps inmy home, and being able to cook and work using modern, controllable conveniences rather than having only fire as an option.
  8. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    that is true in alot of areas but for those who build underground it has it own set of rules that you have to follow in building when the place is completely buried under the dirt and as long as you play by those rules you fine but mess with one them and it can kill you in a heartbeat by breaking one of the rules that laid out in the ground foundation of building the place

    i was looking at wood gas for above ground power use but the idea never did pan out the way it should ..
  9. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    I can see you might have some concerns about ventilation when using gas of some kind.

    However, even if your house is completely underground, even if you bury your generator shack, it doesn't have to be in the same living spaces.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  10. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Hank..If you live near a running stream then i would look into some sort of paddlewheel/generator set-up backed up by a wind generator.Lotsa way's to have mother nature help you out.
    I work with natural gas all the time,I can understand some of your concern's about having it inside,However we over engineer it and put in safety system's to warn us and or shut down the source.Just throw'n out a few idea's...And the keyboard is not alway's my friend either...ccc
  11. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Hi all. I live totally off the grid as many of you know. My fridge/freezer and chest freezer are both on timers and come on early in the morning and go off early in the evening. Everything my wife and i use during the day is done with no problems most times, including the micro wave. The reason we don't use it much, is we don't like the taste of food when it comes out.

    Now , Bastidge, Hank is a friend and I invited him over here from another forum. He is far more intellegent than you suspect, and may surprise you a lot from time to time. I don't like to see people picked on , because their grammer or spelling is not "politically correct" It reminds me of some long gone neighbors who are very far left wing loonies. If you eat anything other then green stuff , you are killing animals etc. Like I said , they are gone. Very nice place for them to be.
  12. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    Whoa- nobody's getting picked on, and we discussed it separately. I understand his situation, never claimed he wasn't intelligent. But using punctuation, reasonably accurate spelling, and grammar, are not just decoration. It makes a big difference in being able to get some use out of this collaborative effort we call a forum.
  13. Tommygun0101

    Tommygun0101 Monkey+

    I'd like to weigh in on this thread. LOL

    I'm sure there's a lot of things that people might classify as "useless" in off grid living, for example, air-conditioning. I, for one, consider air-conditioning ESSENTIAL, but that's me. I mean, who's to say what is, and is not essential equipment for off grid living. I happen to like my creature comforts. Sue me.

    I personally prefer a waterwheel powered generator, or possibly a hydroelectric turbine generator, although a waterwheel is simpler. I like things to simple, and uncomplicated. I'm not very mechanically inclined. LOL There's nothing wrong with redundant backup systems.

    In a word? YES. Unfortunately some people suffer from a terminal case of stupid. It happens. Not exactly sure why, but it does.LOL I think it has something to do with people's ideas/opinions on what or how the world will end, and that really doesn't matter when talking about off grid living. I don't plan on cutting anything out. Every electronic device I have in my house now, I plan on having in my off grid house too...and then some. ;)

    Just my opinion, do with it what you will. :D
  14. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    *Useful* water wheels are not necessarily simple. Most applications other than pumping or a grain mill require a fairly high speed application and probably a flywheel for storing energy and smoothing out the power profile. Gearing for a high speed application from a low speed water wheel involves a lot of parts and engineering.

    An electric generator or a saw mill; either would require some gearing. Saw mills used to be pretty dangerous places because of the difficulty of engineering a mill that could take the stresses and produce a high enough speed to not bog down in the middle of a log- a very dangerous proposition if that happened and something sheared.
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Off-Grid Power is mostly a matter of what sources are local to the site. If your lucky enough, or rich enough, to have selected a site with a year-round flowing Stream or Creek, then MicroHydro is the cheapest power source that can be had, baring a Natural Gas Well on the place, and you own the Mineral Rights.
    Solar is good, however fairly expensive, on the front-end, and requires lots of Sunshine, and not many clouds. Not so good up where I live, in the winter, when the sun is above the horizon, only 5 hours a day. Wind can be good, IF it blows steady, on a daily basis, at the site. It is not so good if you have many calm days, and then, the occasional 150 Knot Blows. Those will tear any wind machine, into pieces, really quick. For "Me" it is Dinosaur Guts, as I am the local Fuel Distributer, my energy is "a cost of doing business" and I have a BIG Tank Farm, to pull from. It is all energy, and how you get yours, is the real issue, that has to be dealt with. ..... YMMV....
    Kingfish likes this.
  16. Tommygun0101

    Tommygun0101 Monkey+

    Water wheels are simpler than hydro-electric turbines, I think. Water has been used to create power for longer than anything else, if I'm not mistaken. I just think, IF one has the option of using water power, it would be better than anything else. Of course assuming that the water is always moving.

    Just my opinion, do with it what you will. :D
    Kingfish likes this.
  17. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    waterwheel gearing is the simplest to build
    the water provides plenty of power
    you just gear up to the speed
    and it doesnt take that many gears
    Kingfish likes this.
  18. Tommygun0101

    Tommygun0101 Monkey+

    Yup, mankind has been using water power for hundreds of years.... no reason to stop now. LOL

    Just my opinion, do with it what you will. :D
    Kingfish likes this.
  19. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    I live on the top of a hill looking down on a lake. I have thought many times about a micro hydro plant. My problem is how to get the water up the hill.

    Nadja told me several moons ago as did many others on this site that if you spend the big bucks of energy efficient appliances you will save thousands on solar. This is absolutely correct. I just went through a 3 day power outage and ran all esential things on one 20 amp circuit . The source was a Honda 3000 watt gas generator. I still have a 20 year old refrigerator and a 1993 Freezer. If I were to go with Sunfrost or even to a couple of new 5 star rated appliances I could run them on half that. This is the best way to do tis and still keep comforts. This guy who said you should drop you microwave and fridge is nuts. He has not researched this and is ignorant of the facts regarding modern appliances. I will have to say however that electric hot water is not going to be energy efficient.

    Now my goal and plans have changed several times in the past year. At first I saw this as failure but now see this as being smart and listening ,learning ,and leveraging . If I had not met the guys on this board I would still be on the wrong path. Prepping, survival, and living. At present I am now setting things up to work my way into a more self reliant lifestyle. If I can make 20 % of the power I use today with solar? I am self sufficient to a point where I can outlast a major shtf scenario. My goals changed from a 100 amp solar powered system to a pair of 20 amp inverters. That takes energy efficient appliances to do that. The rest has to be wood . Cook with wood , heat water with wood, backup power via wind or wood gasifier. My Propane reserves will only last as long as propane is available but in the meantime the grid is still my security blanket. So I am working towards becoming self sufficient or self reliant. I may never get there. Also in the mean time some kid out there is going to have a brilliant Idea and save the world with it. The new Nano tech battery stuff has me excited. A battery that does not wear out??? I want some. I have faith that out there somewhere there is a young man with a vision and the intelligence to make it happen. Magnet motors, sterling engines, bio fuels, methane digesters, veggie oils, Wood gas, wind, solar, and who knows what the next Edison will bring to the table. Hank? tell that guy to go read a book. Kingfish
  20. Tommygun0101

    Tommygun0101 Monkey+

    A battery that doesn't wear out? Is there such a thing? Are you talking specifics, or just theorizing? I must know more. :)
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