Setting up Solar - need some advice.

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by fortunateson, Jun 4, 2010.


  1. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    So I'm going forward with my small scale solar project.
    Just a brief description:

    I"m going to wire my house with an extra set of receptacles - one on each floor.
    They will all be tied into a 1500w inverter which will be fed by (2) 75ah deep cycle batteries for a total of 150ah.
    I just purchased a 100 watt polycrystaline panel on ebay. Will report back on the quality when I get it.
    Have yet to get a charge controller, wires, etc.

    The whole point of the system is to provide a small amount of renewable standby power in case of outages. I don't want to get into the whole grid-tied thing at this point.

    Here's where I'm hung up now:
    1)
    Since the 110v side will be a long series of receptacles (maybe over 100feet) I'm looking for data on the proper Romex wire gauge. It is only going to carry max 10 amps now.
    Can't find any data on length of travel. 14 ga should be fine - but true if it's over 100 feet?
    What if I upgrade to 20 amps. Just go with 12ga?

    2)
    Inverter says that if it's not mounted in a vehicle, the ground should be attached to the negative battery terminal. Ok, but wouldn't a house ground be better? What about driving a separate grounding pipe? I'd think it would make sense to have a "real" ground at each of the receptacles.

    3)
    From battery to inverter and battery to battery I'm going to use #2ga. Ok?


    Any and all help is appreciated.
     
  2. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

     
  3. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

     
  4. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Make sure which side the inverter fusing is on.....most likely, it's the OUTPUT side, not the input. You need both.
     
  5. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!


    Gotcha.

    Does anyone have any idea about wiring up the ground?
    Just bind it to the - terminal? I don't anticipate setting up any GFCI outlets, but I figure it can't hurt to have a real ground.

    Strike that - now methinks I will put the whole setup in the shed and run romex underground to the house - in which case I should really set up a GFCI at the source. New challenges!
     
  6. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Besides the 100 watt panel, what type and size of invertor are you using, type and amount of batteries. And are you planning a SEPERATE set of plugs from the invertor which will NOT be tied in with your standard house service ? Do NOT attempt to join the solar with the house incoming power as you CANNOT have two seperate sources of incoming power in the same links or you will go poof. I live off the grid totally and have for about 15 years now. You can contact me and we can go over this as much as you want and I will help you as much as you want. If I don't know how a laymen does it, I would refer you to an "expert". I have installed all of my solar and wind myself.
     
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    +1 - What he says about POOF!! :D However, there are easily available panels with interlocked breakers that will keep you honest, and there are also (pricey) transfer switches that will do the same. One or the other is absolutely necessary to prevent inadvertent cross connections between the power supplies.
     
  8. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    Nadja is right...must be separate. I don't know those US gauges of wire, but we run on 220V@50Hz, and minimum wire for house wall wiring is 5x2.5 mm solid wire. For extension cords, multiple devices, I use 3x2.5mm braided wire...I don't go under 2.5mm.
    100 feet is about 33 meters, so 2.5mm has no problems. If you don't have 2.5mm in US gauges, take next larger diameter.
    2.5mm solid wire holds over 40Amps...If possible, try using solid wires for fixed wiring.
    All in all...the thicker, the better...I don't trust anyone with electricity home, so I do all myself...
    And another thing...do not ground batteries, or inverter in circuit, DC part. If it has grounding pin, put it on - battery. You can earth ground inverter out, AC part.
     
  9. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I ground my invertor and all 4 of my charge controllers with a solid heavy copper wire to a solid copper ground rod , which is pounded 7' into the ground. This is what is recomended here in the U.S. by UL and is legal.
     
  10. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

  11. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I would love to be able to post pic's of my solar and wind system here, but cannot figure out how to do this. Can anyone out there in cyber land help a mentaly deficient computer guy do this ? Thank-you in advance
     
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Do you have a digital camera? Does it have a connection to get to your computer? It gets really easy if you do, and several different routes you can take. Let us know what you have for pix, and we'll point you in the right direction.

    For a first hint, if you scroll down from the blank you use to post, you'll see something about manage attachments ---

    Then, there is scanning hard copy into a file on your computer ----

    Then, there are services like photobucket --
     
  13. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Ghrit, thank-you. Yes , I have two digital cameras and thousands of pic's on my computer in folders. I use them to post items for sale on my web sites and also on ebay etc all the time, but cannot seem to get them here. Have some killer pic's of my solar and wind that I would like to share with everyone here that is interested in seeing them. You can get a gandor at : buildingatower
     
  14. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    First Pic Attempt

    Ghrit, I am giving this a try . Pic is random only Thanks Nadja
    Solar 005.
     
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Actually, doing it the same as you did for the tower erection is a fine scheme. But if you want to put pix in your posts, open the message screen, type your message, then scroll down to where "manage attachments" shows up. Klik on that, and a window will open. Klik on "browse" and find the pic on your computer that you want to upload. Then (obviously?) click on upload. When it's done with the upload, the browse slot will go blank so you know it's done. Then hit preview to make sure, and post it.

    For those cases where you've a slew of pix, using the scheme you did for the tower build is much better. Folks that want to read rather than wait out a download of pic laden messages can pick and choose from thumbnails which shots they want to look at.

    Another way to load up pix for easy reference is to go to your CP and generate an album. Then, in your posts, you can link to it, again saving download time for the readers. So far as I know, there is no limit on the number of albums you can create. (Admin?)

    With pix, it's key to know that every time a thread is opened, any pix in the thread download, and it can take a while before the most recent post in the thread comes into view. That can be a royal PIA for anyone that just wants to see an updated thread.
     
  16. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Thanks Ghrit. I am going to head out to my neighbors/friends house in a bit to help him add a new panel to his tracker which these pic's are of. Will try the other method of creating an album also, as that would be better. Especially if your on snail speed. Nadja
     
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