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MahrinSkel
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When she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back... she was bullshit!


Reply #175 on: September 09, 2018, 02:46:57 PM

I rigged up solar for my little RV, which kept my computer, a WiMax modem, and a little fridge working just fine. About 1/10 the scale of what you're doing. But I've done a lot of research into something about 4X the scale for a bigger RV.

Lead Acid is by far the cheapest dollars per watt hour solution at residential scale, especially if you're not going to be drawing from it very often. PowerWall is way too expensive if you're on grid, it's advantages all come from the tolerance for repeated discharge and low weight. Lead acid will only last a couple of years if you're cycling every day. If you want a true 24 hour buffer, you're looking at about 10 8D's, or 16 4D, either way about $2k. There are other solutions (the most efficient being banks of 300 pound 2 volt cells), but they tend to be more expensive, nearly impossible to handle without equipment, and again, not really needed if you aren't cycling daily.

You'll need to replace them every 5 years or so, but it's a standard commodity-grade size that will be easy to find alternate sources for. 48V setups require keeping them in banks of 4 and slightly more expensive inverters and chargers, but will more reliably handle startup loads for things like freezers and well pumps. Higher voltage is even better, but then they start getting *really* expensive.

You can also go with 6V golf cart batteries, which are cheaper per watt hour and common as dirt.

--Dave

--Jello Biafra: "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve."
Samwise
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Reply #176 on: September 09, 2018, 02:59:42 PM

You should look into standard lead-acid battery systems for storage. Sure they take up more space than the Li-Ion stuff, but they are still a lot less expensive. Looking at where your installation is, it doesn't look like you are hurting for space. You could just build a little shed to keep them in.

A friend of mine built an off-grid vacation home in the mid-2000s with a shed full of lead-acid batteries as his powerhouse; they aren't as small or long-lived as lithium, but being cheap means he can replace them as needed.  He built and tuned a monitoring system that manages power usage and temperatures across the battery bank and alerts him when a particular battery is hitting the end of its usefulness.  It's pretty cool.  Curious whether with advances in batteries over the last decade he'd do it differently if he were starting from scratch today, though.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
MisterNoisy
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Reply #177 on: September 14, 2018, 08:19:37 PM

Lately, I've been fucking around with the more 'constructive' elements of locksport - I'm about to send out a bunch of challenge locks (made from brass rim cylinders I bought for $1.20 each from a local discount building supply outlet) with custom security pins - just chuck the pins in a Dremel clamped to a workbench and hit them with needle files and an Xacto razor saw and you can make some fun stuff.  Also, cashiers give you weird looks when you show up at the register with 30 door locks and nothing else.

Also about to start making myself some custom lockpicks with pinned/epoxied wood handles out of 301 stainless feeler gauge stock - it's sort of like making knives, just smaller.  :D
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 08:22:08 PM by MisterNoisy »

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Polysorbate80
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Reply #178 on: October 03, 2018, 02:42:47 AM

I was home Monday afternoon for one of those lovely "Hey, we'll be there between Noon and 5pm to fix your DSL" appointments (turned out they had me hooked up to a bad port in their system, they could have fixed that without ever coming to my house) when I get a call from my wife:

"Hey, you're home this afternoon right?  The electrician is coming by at 3pm to see about installing that chandelier!"

"That" chandelier was purchased with gambling winnings in Vegas this spring and has been sitting around waiting for installation since then, because I didn't really want to climb up and install an 80-pound chunk of glass and pointy metal bits on a second-story ceiling.  "Sure, I'll be here" sez I.

2:50 pm, another call.  "Hey, can you put up the scaffolding for the electrician?  I kinda told him it would be set up."  Twelve feet of scaffolding is a bit more than a 10-minute setup job, thx  Ohhhhh, I see.

I'm barely into it when the electrician arrives, and we unpack the two boxes containing the light fixture.  First thing we find is that he's a bit confused by the mounting point.  It's not something he's familiar with, not actually surprising since the light is an import.



Ok, I guess next step is to see what we've actually got in the ceiling to mount it to.  A standard light box will only support 50 pounds, but our contractor did know we planned to swap the old hallway chandelier for a new one later, so hopefully he used the right mount...



Scaffold up, you can see why I'm not super happy about working 12' in the air lifting heavy things over my head



We're in luck--partially.  The box mounts over a crosspiece, not next to it like a normal light box.  I don't know if that's a 2x4 or a 2x6; knowing my contractor and how he tended to overbuild I suspect it's a 2x6, but I can't confirm it.  Popping into the attic I find that there's no access to that small portion of the roof unless you're a 10-year old gymnast.  I could drill through the box next to the wood to peek up past it, but there's not a real need.  On a short span like the width of a hallway, a 2x4 is sufficient to support the kind of weight we're talking about here.

The only bummer is the hole already drilled partway into the wood to accommodate the old fixture.  There's still at least two inches of wood up there, so it could accommodate a lag hook, but thinking about it any hook that close to the ceiling will be a nightmare to actually wrangle the chandelier on to--there's a limit to how far it can tip sideways.

Electrician goes home for the night to think about mounting options, I head to Home Depot to look for 36 LED candelabra bulbs.  The only ones they have in sufficient quantity are either daylight color and/or 40/60 watt equivalent.  The 40 watt equivalent are 300 lumen, so we're talking 14,000+ lumens.  The glass is colored and opaque, though, so it might be tolerable.  I bite the bullet and buy ~$100 worth of bulbs.

On the drive down (it's 40 miles away, but the only hardware store open after 6pm) I have time to think about the mounting issue, and I Junior Engineer a solution:



What we're looking at here is two 5/16" lag eyebolts, inset at a slight angle to reduce the footprint.  Capacity, 250 pounds each.  Between them is a 1/4" Grade 8 bolt and locknut, shear strength just under 4500 pounds. The doubled-up washers and spacers are only stainless, but they're just to prevent lateral shifting.

This is where I mention that this chandelier suddenly has a lot more sharp pokey bits than I remember, and I'm wrasslin' 50+ pounds of metal over my head solo in an OSHA-unapproved manner while cursing non-stop. Luckily only one minor injury, the only bandages I can find are my son's Star Wars band-aids



When in doubt, send in the Wookie.  Chewie would understand my pain.

Next day, electrician is back for the wiring hookup.  I could do it, but if several thousand dollars of chandelier blows up, I want someone else to take the wife's ire  awesome, for real 

Oops, minor snag #2:  I mentioned it's an import?



Darn Euros and your non-'Murican wiring codes.  We have to look it up:  Brown is hot, blue is neutral, ground is still ground.

It's finally up, breaker is flipped, nothing goes up in flames.



It is a little brighter than the old one, but still a tolerable level.  With the colored glass it's rather like having the sunset through that west-facing window all the time.  Installing a dimmer woud be the next logical step -- they were supposed to put one on originally, but somehow this kind of shit gets overlooked by the contractors  swamp poop  LED dimmers will only handle 300-ish watts of power, but at 4.5 watts/bulb we're still within the limit.  It's certainly better than having that thing sucking 1,440 watts of juice every time it's on.
Draegan
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Reply #179 on: October 03, 2018, 10:56:05 AM

I'm about to embark on a new project now that fall is here. I live on the side of a mountain and there a lot of rocks. You can see in the firs picture a large collection of them and I am waiting until the ferns die until I can haul down some more.

I'm going to build a 2ft fake retaining wall just above the smaller rock line.






Straight across you can see there is about a 2 foot or so height between the rock line and the "top of the hill'. This will be a multi year project as I get time to do it. It's pretty long going across. Should be fun?

« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 10:58:50 AM by Draegan »
Mandella
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Reply #180 on: October 04, 2018, 01:22:58 PM

@Polysorbate80:

I am totally envious that you own your own scaffolding. I always rent, or more usually construct some horror show of ladders and scrap lumber.

Also, how much are you paying that electrician to stand around and watch you work?

 awesome, for real

@Draegan:

That is a very relaxing looking back yard. I really like those ferns as ground cover -- wish our climate here was more conducive to that sort of vegetation.

I'm also envious of your rocks. Not that we don't have plenty of rocks here, but not pretty ones that you'd want to use for edging.

Okay. We do have nice ones in the creek bed, but I'd have to haul them up from the creek bed. What I am saying is that I wish I had nice rocks just laying here within easy reach.

It just occurred to me I may be lazy...


But speaking of me, just got the line for the underground cable trenched out, and I'm sitting here waiting for the replacement panel to be delivered today. I really hope to be drawing power by two weeks from today, hopefully sooner.
Polysorbate80
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Reply #181 on: October 04, 2018, 05:33:29 PM

The scaffolding wasn't too expensive from Home Depot, a few hundred I think.  It's a little narrower than some units since it's meant to fit through doors/halls, so it's a little unsteady without the outriggers.  You certainly wouldn't want to put a third level on without them.  They fucked up and sent me the large outriggers instead of the shorter indoor-friendly ones I ordered, so I use it with wheel locks and a prayer if there's nobody there to counterbalance the other side  ACK!

After the discussion the first day, I had everything up and ready to go before he was able to get back the next afternoon to hook up wires.  He wasn't there that long, and these guys are reasonable for electricians.  And not getting the finger pointed at me if the electrical goes south is worth the money  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?
Draegan
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Reply #182 on: October 05, 2018, 07:32:25 AM


@Draegan:

That is a very relaxing looking back yard. I really like those ferns as ground cover -- wish our climate here was more conducive to that sort of vegetation.

I'm also envious of your rocks. Not that we don't have plenty of rocks here, but not pretty ones that you'd want to use for edging.

Okay. We do have nice ones in the creek bed, but I'd have to haul them up from the creek bed. What I am saying is that I wish I had nice rocks just laying here within easy reach.

It just occurred to me I may be lazy...


But speaking of me, just got the line for the underground cable trenched out, and I'm sitting here waiting for the replacement panel to be delivered today. I really hope to be drawing power by two weeks from today, hopefully sooner.

Yeah that pile of rocks was just 30-50 yards up the hill. Luckily i just have to drag them down!

I think I'm going to start tomorrow morning but I'll have to take a break and coach my daughters soccer game.
MahrinSkel
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When she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back... she was bullshit!


Reply #183 on: October 05, 2018, 09:45:04 AM

I can't help but think there's a way to solve both problems at once....

--Dave

--Jello Biafra: "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve."
Mandella
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Reply #184 on: October 05, 2018, 02:17:26 PM

Team building exercise!!!

 Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?
Chimpy
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Reply #185 on: October 05, 2018, 11:33:54 PM

I did the demolition of the shitty sagging ceiling drywall and shitty 40 year old pegboard walls (and fiberglass insulation) n my garage last weekend. My new drywall/insulation is being delivered tomorrow and I am going to hang the sheets on Sunday. Tomorrow morning is re-doing a bit of the electrical in prep and then putting in the insulation.

I have some before/after pics of the demolition on my phone. Will post them at some point when I have time.


'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Draegan
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Reply #186 on: October 07, 2018, 11:43:54 AM

I can't help but think there's a way to solve both problems at once....

--Dave

Good idea in theory but they're all 5 years old. They can't pick up the rocks of the size I need!

Update:

For reference it's about 2-3 feet in height. Closer to 2 than 3.





Alot less digging than I thought. The issue here is that I need a lot of back fill to fill in the slope and the wall. At first I was going to use dirt but my land is so rocky there are very little places I can just dig up dirt. So I'm using rocks.

Yesterday I did about 2 or so hours work and today I added an extra layer and backfilled a lot of rocks. I hope as I work to the left the slope is a lot more steeper and there will be less need for as much back fill. We'll see. Luckily there are so many rocks it's just navigating the large hill above me. I got a few cubic feet of rock in the time it took me to haul 1 cubic foot of dirt.
Draegan
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Reply #187 on: October 20, 2018, 05:34:31 PM

Progress...





Draegan
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Reply #188 on: October 20, 2018, 05:35:14 PM

Next time I'll get pictures from the top of the hill and my source of rocks. The pictures don't do it justice. at the top of the hill (there is no top it keeps going for about a mile) where the ferns thin out is about my roof line of my 2 story home.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 05:36:51 PM by Draegan »
Polysorbate80
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Reply #189 on: October 21, 2018, 12:44:45 AM

Lookiní sharp, I wish I had a ready supply of rocks. Iíve been buying and moving half a yard of cobblestone at a time in the older beat-up pickup.

On a project-related note, Iím upgrading tractors to a 50hp New Holland model.  Iíll miss the red Case tractor, though (NH tractors are blue), it matches the pirate flag better.  Maybe time for a new tractor flag too...
Druzil
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Reply #190 on: October 22, 2018, 08:47:33 AM

@Polysorbate80:

I am totally envious that you own your own scaffolding. I always rent, or more usually construct some horror show of ladders and scrap lumber.

Bit late to the conversation but I am also envious of the scaffolding.  I normally just do everything with an extension ladder(s) and/or some boards.  For my last siding project I borrowed scaffolding from a friend and it probably took half the time off of my project and it let my kids help out.   As soon as I have room to store it, I'm going to pick some up.


Also Draegan, that wall is looking great.  Cool project!  There's a couple of those rocks that look like they took some serious effort to move.
01101010
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Reply #191 on: October 22, 2018, 09:42:01 AM

@Polysorbate80:

I am totally envious that you own your own scaffolding. I always rent, or more usually construct some horror show of ladders and scrap lumber.

Bit late to the conversation but I am also envious of the scaffolding.  I normally just do everything with an extension ladder(s) and/or some boards.  For my last siding project I borrowed scaffolding from a friend and it probably took half the time off of my project and it let my kids help out.   As soon as I have room to store it, I'm going to pick some up.


Also Draegan, that wall is looking great.  Cool project!  There's a couple of those rocks that look like they took some serious effort to move.

I'll stick to renting scaffolding from the home depot down the street.   awesome, for real

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Draegan
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Reply #192 on: October 22, 2018, 09:42:05 AM

I work down hill, gravity helps a lot.
Mandella
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Reply #193 on: October 30, 2018, 09:37:37 PM




That sharply sloped little line represents the first 7.13 kW my first day's test of the solar rig produced. I started it already a bit late in the afternoon, and I still need to chainsaw down another stand of pines that are casting a shadow (sun is kinda low this time of year around here -- they weren't a problem when I started the project). So 7.13 kW is pretty respectable for that short run, all in all. Of course, tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy, but I'm pretty interested in just what I'll be getting for the first all day run, clouds or no.

Made several huge mistakes during the final stretch, two of note I'll recount:

Wire size. My shopping list clearly calls for #6 ground and #8 everything else, but as most of the tutorials I was following used #8 ground (shorter runs I guess) I screwed up and bought that size. I was actually fairly far into the install when I realized my error and had to unpull some of my runs. Whups. Also can't return the #8, so I guess I've got a head start on wire for my next project...

I had a ridiculously hard time getting the system to activate and count the Optimizers. It just kept failing and dropping into Night Mode, which happens when the Inverter isn't reading any voltage at all from the panels. Problem was, I was seeing plenty of voltage with my handy multimeter, so it was kinda aggravating. Then I actually paid attention to the little pluses and minuses on said multimeter. Turns out the DC shutoff mounted on my rack swaps polarity. The wires going in the bottom negative on the left and positive on the right come out the top positive on the left and negative on the right. I still see absolutely no documentation describing that fact -- I guess it was something I was just supposed to know.

So swapped them back and, ta daaa, power from the heavens, hallelujah.

Not really an error, but another issue that delayed the whole production another couple of weeks was the company that engineered the project for me is based in California and used California codes. Now this makes good sense for them, as it would be impossible to be expert in all codes across the nation, and California has some of the toughest codes around so anything built to them should be over code everywhere else.

Good in theory, but in practice I was constantly running into needing something I would be able to drop into a California Home Depot and pick up, but they would honestly around here have no idea what I was talking about, and I'd have to order some little buck fifty widget and wait on it. For a lot of the structural issues I just checked local codes and downgraded accordingly, but for the electrical, especially the grounding, it seemed prudent to go as close to the original plan as possible.

But all in all a fun project. Family is home now so I'll go into battery plans a little later.
Polysorbate80
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Reply #194 on: October 31, 2018, 12:08:45 PM

What's the system theoretically capable of outputting?  I'm curious to see how close it gets to its rated output, but I suppose you really need a year to average out.

I just got the wood shipment for my next winter indoor project, a shelf/entertainment center for the basement to hold all the electronics under the wall-mount tv.  Since I added the receiver for the surround sound, it needs something better than the re-purposed coffee table to hold everything.

But first, a boring mini-project:  I need to re-clean and organize my woodshop, it's turned into a cluttery disaster over the summer and now I can't get anything done in there  Ohhhhh, I see.
Mandella
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Reply #195 on: October 31, 2018, 11:50:56 PM

This is good.




On a slightly hazy day with some shading issues still I managed to pull down 22.41 kW. I'm pretty happy with that.

Quote
What's the system theoretically capable of outputting?  I'm curious to see how close it gets to its rated output, but I suppose you really need a year to average out.

Well, that is an interesting question. My panels' maximum output can be 5.2 kWh, but there may be a limiting factor, if I am reading the specs right. I think my Inverter is limited to a max of 4 kWh, which would be somewhat disappointing, although if it bothers me too much I could always string in another Inverter, but I think this will be fine for my purposes. From what I understand from someone living in the same solar band I can expect about 35 or more kWh in midsummer, but down in the teens during bad weather in the winter. I'm actually pretty amazed by the fact I'm still pulling down a useful amount of power pretty late in the day -- a fact which does not bode well for the future of some trees I did not think I would need to trim back...

And I'll see you one messy woodshop and raise you a storage shed with yellow jackets taken up residence, and not in an easy to get to spot...
Draegan
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Reply #196 on: November 03, 2018, 01:10:23 PM

Time and lack of rain presented itself. I can only haul rock for 2-3 hours a day it seems. Getting old and fat.

Progress...


This is from the end of the wall, shows you the depth behind the wall.


This is my source of rocks.



And if you turn around, this is how high I am.

And now for some fall imagery of the wall.








Mandella
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Reply #197 on: November 03, 2018, 09:03:33 PM

I figured from earlier pictures that your place would be a color explosion in the Autumn, and I was right. Also, nice landscaping over all.

Sigh... I've got to tackle that here before Spring. My yard is a riot of competing chaotic vegetation. I've even got blackberry briers growing out of the juniper. But I like building new stuff a lot more than weeding and pruning and stuff -- I may just have to hire somebody.

What is that red shrub?
Soln
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the opportunity for evil is just delicious


Reply #198 on: November 03, 2018, 10:54:29 PM

Looking very good.  I expect you get a lot of deer in your area? 
Draegan
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Reply #199 on: November 04, 2018, 06:54:50 AM

There is/was a family of 8 or so that roam the area. They eat everything.
Draegan
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Reply #200 on: November 04, 2018, 06:57:34 AM

I figured from earlier pictures that your place would be a color explosion in the Autumn, and I was right. Also, nice landscaping over all.

Sigh... I've got to tackle that here before Spring. My yard is a riot of competing chaotic vegetation. I've even got blackberry briers growing out of the juniper. But I like building new stuff a lot more than weeding and pruning and stuff -- I may just have to hire somebody.

What is that red shrub?

I'm not sure. The wife handles all the names of stuff. Looks like a thin maple leaf almost if that helps.
Mandella
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Reply #201 on: November 04, 2018, 12:10:53 PM

I figured from earlier pictures that your place would be a color explosion in the Autumn, and I was right. Also, nice landscaping over all.

Sigh... I've got to tackle that here before Spring. My yard is a riot of competing chaotic vegetation. I've even got blackberry briers growing out of the juniper. But I like building new stuff a lot more than weeding and pruning and stuff -- I may just have to hire somebody.

What is that red shrub?

I'm not sure. The wife handles all the names of stuff. Looks like a thin maple leaf almost if that helps.

I just realized why it caught my eye: there are fields and fields of that stuff in Horizon: Zero Dawn.

 awesome, for real

I have to fight the urge to slid towards it and crouch...
RhyssaFireheart
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Reply #202 on: November 05, 2018, 08:45:30 AM

Could be Japanese Maple, maybe specifically a Red Dragon variety. (random internet link)

That wall is turning out very nice looking, Draegan.  Lots of work but you'll love it when it's done.

Mandella
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Reply #203 on: November 05, 2018, 11:36:39 AM

My wife concurs on the Japanese Maple ID, and warns, dwarf or no, it is going to get a lot bigger.

We actually have a variant in the yard, but as it is tree size and with a different leaf I was thrown off.

Love that red autumn shade tho...
Draegan
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Reply #204 on: November 06, 2018, 06:17:02 AM

I'm not sure bigger. We didn't plant it and it's been that size for 2 years when we moved in.
Count Nerfedalot
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Reply #205 on: November 06, 2018, 09:37:50 AM

Japanese Maples come in all sizes, literally, from bonsai to 80+ feet. We have two small ones, one we've had 10 years and has grown maybe 3 inches making it still waist high, with these cool feathery leaves that stay red to reddish-purple. Very hard to predict how big yours will grow unless you know the exact version you got, but unless it's struggling to survive it sounds like it will likely stay pretty small.

Yes, I know I'm paranoid, but am I paranoid enough?
Mandella
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Reply #206 on: November 06, 2018, 11:14:06 AM

Huh. I'll have to check in with some local nurseries then. I'd love to add something like that near my new panels, as long as I can count on them not getting too big.

I want shrubbery, not shade...
Mandella
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Reply #207 on: November 07, 2018, 04:44:20 PM

So yeah, I gotta share this with someone. Hope my inspector isn't lurking here...

So even though I activated my Inverter last week, that was in "test" mode (yeah, I tested it over four days -- needed varied weather conditions to get a good feel of the system). So after that I dutifully shut it back down and made an appointment for the Permit to Operate inspection.

Now I don't mind telling you that I've been sweating it. I'm fairly confident in my work, and honestly if there is something unsafe I'd like to know to correct it, but that said this house is pretty old, and I *know* that there are things not to code in some of the older construction. It could (and will, when I get around to it) take lots of time and money to update everything. If the inspector wanted to be a dick he could really add a lot of additional work to get okayed. Plus the California firm that engineered it has been coaching me pretty hard on all the inspection traps that are easy to fall into, so I've been over the entire thing a couple of times a day neatening and tightening it all, and taking care of anything I could see that might trigger the trained electrical professional coming out.

Well, I just passed the inspection. Over the phone.

The inspector did seem to be a good guy, and he admitted that part of the problem was that they had no idea what was what with these newfangled solar power installs, and since it was DIY the liability was all mine anyway. So have fun and don't burn up. Okay I paraphrased a bit, but that was the essence.

So yay?

The next hurdle is to get my net metering turned on, which I couldn't apply for until my inspection, which might take up to 45 days to activate from the power company. They have to physically change out the meter from what I understand. I don't *think* I'm even supposed to run the system until then, but I hope I'm incorrect since I'm wasting sunlight now if the system isn't on. I'll ask tomorrow when I turn in my paperwork to the EMC.
Viin
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Reply #208 on: November 09, 2018, 02:48:15 PM

Nice work. We're looking at a PV array and geothermal (though probably not DIY) to try to get near 'net zero'. Nice to see it's getting to the point the 'average Joe' can understand this stuff if they do the research.

- Viin
Mandella
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Reply #209 on: November 09, 2018, 08:46:04 PM

Nice work. We're looking at a PV array and geothermal (though probably not DIY) to try to get near 'net zero'. Nice to see it's getting to the point the 'average Joe' can understand this stuff if they do the research.

I'm certainly going to want to hear about the geothermal. I had no idea there were residential sized generators available using earth heat.

I'm going to hold off any more battery discussion until I'm ready to take the plunge. The options available in even a few months should be even more involved than what we have now.
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