2015 01

Updated 2015-01-08

I assembled one of the skid mounts today. I have to get some more hardware to finish assembling the other mount (seen lying next to this one in pieces) and get the other three panels up. I will work on that sometime in the next few days assuming the hardware I ordered shows up on a timely basis. I forgot to mention that these are Sharp ND-230UCJBX panels (x6.)

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Updated 2015-01-10

I finished assembling the second skid-mount. I am still missing some hardware, which has been ordered and will mount the next 3-panels when that arrives. I have to cut the mc connectors from the other panel and then will splice longer wiring onto each so that the run to the combiner box is long enough. The weather is turning bad again so it may be more than a few days until I get that done. I'm not that much in a hurry as it is. As you can see we still have some snow on the ground.

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Updated 2015-01-11

I picked up the (2) sets of 8 batteries today. One set is (8) 400AH batteries and the other set is (8) 300AH batteries. I will get them all charged up and then join (8) of each together and keep them on a power supply/charger until they are needed.

I still need to purchase one more Xantrex C60 charge controller (with remote panel) and a 100A transfer switch but like most people am limited by how much I can spend at a given time.

Updated: 2015-01-24

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The hardware I needed finally came earlier this week and the weather cleared up so I mounted three more panels today.

I already received the C60 charge controller and the remote monitoring panel. I still have to attach the combiner boxes and trench the cables from the panels into the house.

I am also waiting on the transfer switch that will allow me to switch between the grid and the internal power system. In this design the grid will be considered the generator as I only intend to switch back to the grid in case of emergency.

I will also parallel a connector for an actual generator at some point but I will have to turn off the breaker at the pole outside unless I wish to add a second transfer switch.

As you can see we've still got snow on the ground. During the day as it melts we have a plethora of mud.

Updated 2015-01-26

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I have wired up the charge controller and adjusted the float and bulk charge settings to match my batteries.

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Updated 2015-01-31

I obtained some 6/2 (with ground) power wire so I can begin to wire up the inverter feed to the transfer switch.

I also obtained 100" of 10-ga black solid wire so I can work on some of the wiring for the other projects I am working on (mainly wiring up a set of 12-900 lumen LED lights. On the DC side they each draw about 900ma but if you use a small 12V power supply (AC-powered) the current load is moot. It really is almost like making "free" power. I can feed a lot more lighting using AC thanks to these tiny ac power supplies built-in to each light.

I also obtained a bunch of various grounding parts (extra clamps to attach to existing ground rods outside so that the panels themselves are going to be grounded) some pigtails so I can dress up any ground problems I encounter.

I moved all of the first set of batteries underneath the master bedroom bed.

I am going to run conduit through the floor, underneath the floor across to the existing load center and then run the 6/2 (with ground) from the inverter over to the transfer switch. I also have to run the remote cabling for the inverter and the charge controller over to a "control panel" near the load center. These are RJ-11 cables that will attach to the "remote head" of each and so they are easy to check without crawling under the bed platform.

I built a large platform made from two-by-fours and a lot of wood screws about 19" off the floor so that I could store the battery bank under the bed.

I will run conduit (protuding up from the floor) and feed in the outdoor runs from the solar panel (2 combiners = 4 10-awg wires coming in (1) positive connections from each set of (3) 230W panels (about 24A on each with a combined total of 48A at daily peak power output) and (1) negative conections from each set of (3) 230W panels. They will be terminated with ring-lugs and then attached to the terminal strip you see above. Then the terminal strip will be mounted on a backboard under the bed along with a fuse or circuit breaker to cut off input from the panels.

Ventilation. These are SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) batteries so unless they're venting heavily (and ergo destroyed) there is no concern from hydrogen gas. The sides of the bed are kept open with nothing to impede air flow. There is about 8" of clearance under the bed and to the top of the battery terminals with about another 2" to the tops of the batteries. I am leaving a 4" gap between each battery as well.

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The conduit will come up from underneath close to where the large terminal strip is laying now. The backboard will mount the C60 controller on one side and the terminal strip on the other side. The AC feed from the inverter/charger as well as the AC INPUT to the inverter/charger from the other incoming AC circuit (controlled by the transfer switch) will be able to power the inverter and charge the battery bank from the other source of AC. In the beginning the "other source" will be commercial power provided by the power company.

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The reason why the voltage is so low as these batteries have been sitting for awhile with nothing maintaining them. I will eventually charge them as soon as I get the combiner boxes wired in.