2015 07

Updated: 2015-07-04

I disconnected the old load center today and wired up a new one that I purchased before (see above.) I ran out of time before darkness, I didn't get started until later in the day as well so it's not quite finished. I did get it wired up well enough to have power and lighting again but will need to finish the work tomorrow.

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I still have to run the conduit and move the transfer switch against the wall just below the new loadcenter.

I had to temporarily wire the L1 and L2 as the combined wiring from the transfer switch (one feed from power company, and one feed from inverter) would not fit into the circuit breaker wiring point.

Instead tomorrow I have to split them up and make a jumper after I finish running the wiring through the conduit.

It was getting late and we had rain all day so it was dark as well. While I was working on the new load center I ran the refrigerator, wifi access point, ethernet switch and dsl modem from battery system in my office which I use as a UPS while I was working on the new load center.

I finally had to stop at 7PM as it was time to restore power even if I had not finished the last steps. I will complete everything tomorrow.

I have to dress up all the wiring inside the load center, pulling the romex back until there is no excess left inside. Those one-way wire retainers are a pain if you want to slide it back out.

I only had 7-runs to re-wire, I labelled the 20A runs and wired those up first then as the remainder were 15A completed those last.

I will move the transfer switch below the load center and then everything will be neat and flush against the wall.

I am going to try and add the display and controls for the inverter and the charge controller to a panel below or above the load center as well.

By replacing the old load center I have accomplished the following:

1. I have eliminated an arcing problem and thus eliminated a risk of fire.

2. I am now able to use modern Siemens breakers. The old breakers had become unobtainium.
I have (4) 20A and (4) 15A circuits wired with a few extra breakers if I ever need them.

3. Reclaimed a lot of wasted space in the corner of that room.
The old load center was built into a wall panel at right angles to the wall,
This new design will be flush against the wall and allow me to build some bookshelves around it.

Updated: 2015-07-05

I cleaned up the wiring (pulled the romex cable back outside the enclosure.) This looks a lot more
organized of course.

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This has been more time consuming than I expected. I did not yet finish moving the transfer switch
to the new location but I expect that to get done soon.

loadcenter-2015-07-05-001.jpg

I mounted the remote control panel for the Xantrex C60 under the box for now but plan on adding
a separate "control" panel for both the inverter/charger and the charge controller.

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It was somewhat difficult to get enough light to work today as the rain was pouring and it was dark outside. I ran the refrigerator and some work lights for about 5-hours off the 3KW/600AH battery system in my office while I re-wired the load center. It is also a modified sine wave inverter but I don't have any problems with most of my appliances.

When I turned on main power again I recharged the battery system in my office from "grid" power and made some more cafe latte. I also charged the main house battery bank from the "grid" power (transfer switch set to external power.) I was not able to produce much power after 12-noon as the rain and clouds shut out the sun.

Remember in my design the "generator" is the commercial power company when I would normally need to run a generator but I run this place from my panels and batteries most of the day but when night falls I usually recharge the main house battery bank from the "generator" if my voltage drops below 12.4V once before we shut down for the day. My days can be very long indeed so I tend to use a lot of power for computer and network gear. I also am wasting a lot of energy with my old inefficient refrigerator but I can't work on that yet.

My desktop computer uses a lot of power as well. It has mirrored 4TB disks running linux with vmware workstation 11.2 running a Windows 7 guest. I use my desktop machine for work mostly. I shut it down at the end of my workday and use a tablet most of the time but I do miss only just using a laptop as it's built-in battery allowed me to work safely, and it's total power consumption was minimal. In fact in case of an emergency chances are I'll just use a laptop as I can keep that, the wifi and the dsl modem up forever.

If you live off the grid most people can make use of laptops which use far less power but since I work on the net I need more than just a laptop plus I wear out their keyboards out quickly.

My computer background is very advanced and I have a lot of systems but I keep most of them turned off now. If I could I'd build a separate power system for everything but right now the forces of darkness are taking all my income.

I also am using both linux and windows on the same machine (32GB RAM) and boot the windows workstation under vmware and shut it down as needed so I am working as efficiently as I can in terms of power use. I like using large monitors.

I use 2 monitors on each of my desktop systems, but I seldom turn on the i7 (8 cores) it uses up too much power. I used to do some video encoding on it but no longer do so.

My daily workstation is an older I5 (4 cores.) but it does exactly what I need to work and doesn't use so much power.

I can go back to using a laptop again but right now I want to use a desktop. I only "begrudge" the power after the sun has set. When I am generating 60A in the middle of the day I don't mind it as much.

So meanwhile this project is incomplete I must relocate the transfer switch very soon since it is sticking up where the old wall used to be.

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Right In The Middle Of The Floor. Watch Out!.

I only hope that I can get this finished quickly but I ran out of time during this long weekend.

I also need to purchase some 1/4" plywood to patch that area of the flooring. A few years ago I laid down 1/4" plywood over the old flooring. In that area of the house I plan on installing carpet but also have to design a floor to ceiling cabinet/closet that will have some shelves in it as well most likely for additional electronics. If I have to keep it closed then I may need to consider cooling methods. I need a place to put a WAP (wifi access point) as well and maybe some audio amplifier I will use for the bedroom area. I keep hearing all that RF is bad for you even at such low power levels but I am not that concerned.

Updated: 2015-07-22

I forgot to mention that I covered the open area with plywood 2-weeks ago. I found some scrap piece I had leftover from before and it was large enough to cover the floor area in two large pieces and some fillers for the area around the conduit.

I have been busy with other projects including building headboard and a footboard for my bed. I didn't have space for my batteries in my bedroom so I decided to put them under my bed to utilizie that wasted vertical space. That meant building a very high bed.

This was because I needed a large "air space" or gap between the top of the battery pack and the bed itself. This was both for cooling and for ventilation.

I also keep the sides open to allow proper ventilation (hydrogen.)

So when I built this new bed I didn't make any headboard or footboard but things kept falling off the bed so I built a headboard and footboard for my bed last weekend.

I still have not relocated the transfer switch. I may build it into a cabinet that will cover up the load center and the control panels from the inverter and charge controller.

I will post a picture soon of the floor area around the conduit.