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Polysorbate80
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Reply #210 on: November 09, 2018, 09:44:03 PM

If he means a geothermal heat pump for heating/cooling, it’s definitely a home-sized option.  We had it put in when we built the house.  Geothermal + modern insulation = lower heating bills than a home 1/4 of the size built in 1927. 

The big expense will likely be trenching and laying the coils, especially if you need to go deep (mine are down 7’).

One other consideration for going off-grid:  the heat pump has a fairly high locked rotor amperage at 220 to kick in. But that may vary if you need a lower-tonnage system; I’m supporting a 5000’+ house.

“Why the fuck would you ... ?” is like 80% of the conversation with Poly — Chimpy
Samwise
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Reply #211 on: November 14, 2018, 02:02:59 PM

Recent useless project I've been chipping away at (literally) has been removing paint from the tiles on my fireplace.  Got all inspired after going on a Victorian home tour and seeing the pretty tiled fireplaces (my house is a tiny Edwardian, not a big fancy Vic, but still has some nice little details here and there).  It's a slow process -- I slather some Citri-Strip on before bed and then scrape it off in the morning, and that gets one layer of paint off if I'm lucky.

This morning I finally got my first glimpse of the original tile, under layers of gold paint, pink paint, and teal paint -- cobalt blue!  Never would have guessed something that vibrant was underneath all that gross paint.  So I'm excited now to get more of it uncovered. 

I guess at some point someone decided the glazed tile looked old fashioned and decided to cover it up with ugly paint, and then as styles change successive owners have covered it up with ugly paint in more contemporary colors.   swamp poop  What is wrong with people?

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Polysorbate80
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Reply #212 on: November 14, 2018, 02:16:10 PM

People are lazy and not bright?  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

Although I've seen some really, really bad tile decisions made as well.  Hope it tuns out, post a picture so we can see.   I wouldn't want to own a Victorian myself but I do appreciate the colors and detail work that went into many of them.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 02:36:29 PM by Polysorbate80 »

“Why the fuck would you ... ?” is like 80% of the conversation with Poly — Chimpy
Polysorbate80
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Reply #213 on: November 14, 2018, 02:36:02 PM

I've been tied up lately doing not-useless projects.

In the space of two weeks I learned my mother had a second bout of breast cancer (note, she never ever mentioned to any of the kids she'd had a FIRST bout of it).  And then that it has spread to her lungs and liver.  The prognosis is...barring some weird cancer miracle it's her last Christmas.  We spent a few days in East Moline fixing/cleaning the house, arranging health care, etc. for both her and dad, who isn't physically or mentally up to dealing with it all.

But, she's now back at home and as comfortable as she can be there right now, so on to the delayed fun projects:

This was a mess before I added the receiver for surround sound, but now it's just not working for me visually AT ALL:



I got a nice deal on a matched pair of 11' parota wood boards, cut from the same tree.



They're cut down to 7', with the 4' sections to be used for legs and the center shelf.  This is a rough idea of the project, with wood just laid in place.  That large vertical piece in the center has actually been cut into smaller pieces such as the ones on the end, and there will be a 4' shelf in the center of the whole thing to hold more electronics.  If that made any sense.  Also, I note that the sawdust from this wood seems to aggravate my lungs more than most; definitely need a mask while working with this.



I'd originally planned to use another separate piece for that shelf, but I revised my plan, and decided that rather than cut that one down to fit in the entertainment center I can make a new coffee table for my office with it.  First thing I gotta do with it, though, is epoxy up that crack to stabilize it.




“Why the fuck would you ... ?” is like 80% of the conversation with Poly — Chimpy
Samwise
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Reply #214 on: November 14, 2018, 03:44:29 PM

Sorry to hear about your mother, Poly.  Sounds like you're taking good care of her.

Hope it turns out, post a picture so we can see.

Here's a work in progress pic I took this morning when I caught my first glimpse of that beautiful blue, which so far is only showing up in the grooves because that's where the citri-strip pooled overnight (so now I know that for good results I need to slop it on really thick...):



For comparison here's the corresponding tile on the other side of the fireplace, with its "original" coat of gold paint (I'm guessing circa 1980s but who knows; I bought the house in 2008):



Will update periodically as the scraping continues.

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Polysorbate80
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Reply #215 on: November 14, 2018, 03:51:30 PM

Calling baby-shit brown "gold" is being a bit generous, isn't it?  awesome, for real

“Why the fuck would you ... ?” is like 80% of the conversation with Poly — Chimpy
Samwise
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Reply #216 on: November 14, 2018, 05:11:49 PM

It's shiny enough that I can tell they were shooting for gold, but I'm certainly not gonna defend their bad taste.   Cthulu

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Mandella
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Reply #217 on: November 14, 2018, 05:20:46 PM

Sorry to hear about your Mom, Polysorbate80. Hope everything goes as well as it can.

@Samwise. The good thing is that it looks like the original work is nice and will look great once you get it exposed and cleaned up.

I had a recent project where I pulled up all the crappy carpet and underlayer off to expose the beautiful original hardwood floor under--- on no this is a completely rotted mess under here, where generations have just been piling floor on floor to cover it up.

After all this solar stuff, my most recent project is going to be running a propane line to the media room so my wife stops freezing. I can sit in mid-fifties (Fahrenheit) comfortably, but my wife needs a bit more caloric energy in the air, apparently. Plus I have to admit that the current electric fireplace just doesn't throw out all that much heat when it's cold and rainy.
Samwise
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Reply #218 on: November 14, 2018, 05:54:44 PM

I had a recent project where I pulled up all the crappy carpet and underlayer off to expose the beautiful original hardwood floor under--- on no this is a completely rotted mess under here, where generations have just been piling floor on floor to cover it up.

I had the same deal when I first bought this house; previous occupants had carpet and lots of dogs, so the damage was severe.  Ended up replacing the parts that were rotted out and then bleaching, sanding, and re-staining everything so it'd all match.

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Chimpy
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Reply #219 on: November 14, 2018, 06:17:24 PM

Also, I note that the sawdust from this wood seems to aggravate my lungs more than most; definitely need a mask while working with this.

ALWAYS use a mask when dealing with exotic/rainforest woods, the chemicals in them that make them good for things like outdoor furniture are probably not the best thing for your lungs. You wouldn't snort the dried contents of a can of Thompson's Water Seal, would you?  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Samwise
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Reply #220 on: November 14, 2018, 06:27:56 PM

You wouldn't snort the dried contents of a can of Thompson's Water Seal, would you?  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

You're not my supervisor!

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Soln
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the opportunity for evil is just delicious


Reply #221 on: November 17, 2018, 02:06:43 PM

What do people recommend for portable heaters when there’s no power?  I don’t think there’s a viable portable battery big enough to handle a regular space heater.  Prefer not to do gas because of CO threat.

Maybe a better question is what do you do to prepare for Winter power outages?  Thanks.

Edit:  apologies that I wasn’t caught up on the thread.  All the best to your Mom and family Poly.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 03:57:26 PM by Soln »
MahrinSkel
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Reply #222 on: November 17, 2018, 02:17:26 PM

What do people recommend for portable heaters when there’s no power?  I don’t think there’s a viable portable battery big enough to handle a regular space heater.  Prefer not to do gas because of CO threat.

Maybe a better question is what do you do to prepare for Winter power outages?  Thanks.
Good catalytic propane heaters don't have a significant CO threat, but a small generator that can keep your furnace running (assuming you're not on a heat pump) is probably the safest bet, assuming you're up to the wiring involved in setting up your furnace/thermostat to be isolated from your main power.

--Dave

Edit: Camco (natural gas) and Mr. Heater (propane) are probably your best bets
« Last Edit: November 17, 2018, 02:20:09 PM by MahrinSkel »

--Jello Biafra: "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve."
Mandella
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Reply #223 on: November 17, 2018, 06:52:40 PM

If you're worried about CO I would definitely advise getting a battery powered detector anyways.

Then just fire up a portable kerosene heater a beat the chill.
Polysorbate80
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Reply #224 on: November 17, 2018, 07:41:25 PM

We hill folk prepare with fire  awesome, for real

10kw gas/propane generator, two fireplaces on the main floor and a giant-ass wood stove in the basement.  I don't have enough sunlight for solar to be viable half the year, and it never seems to be a good time to get the windmill project rolling (note:  I will not be building that myself  Ohhhhh, I see. )

But I did (almost) finish the new coffee table for my office.  The finish needs a few more coats, but while this layer is still wet you can see what the final project will look like




No progress made on the other project, other than having this one out of the way...

“Why the fuck would you ... ?” is like 80% of the conversation with Poly — Chimpy
Mandella
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Reply #225 on: November 17, 2018, 09:48:55 PM

We hill folk prepare with fire  awesome, for real

10kw gas/propane generator, two fireplaces on the main floor and a giant-ass wood stove in the basement.  I don't have enough sunlight for solar to be viable half the year, and it never seems to be a good time to get the windmill project rolling (note:  I will not be building that myself  Ohhhhh, I see. )

But I did (almost) finish the new coffee table for my office.  The finish needs a few more coats, but while this layer is still wet you can see what the final project will look like





No progress made on the other project, other than having this one out of the way...


That is a fine looking coffee table!

I know it's wet, but that stain is really bringing out the best in the wood.


As for solar, I'll warn you it's the new vegan, in that I've discovered that it doesn't take much to set me off on the virtues of it. So that said, looks like I'm still getting, even with the short days this part of the season, a nice 25 Kw per sunny day, but, no surprise, mid teens on partly cloudy days, all the way down to less than 4 Kw in the rain and once a miserable 500 watts one day it rained hard from dawn to dusk. I've really got to get a battery bank, but have committed to make no commitments on that until next year.

What's your average snowfall up there in the hinterlands? The panel angle up there might be steep enough to shed accumulation.. Maybe...
Polysorbate80
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Reply #226 on: November 17, 2018, 10:40:26 PM

I had to look it up; average is 4 feet.  That’s highly variable, though.  I’ve had winters I bothered to plow maybe once, and winters with over three feet piled on the roof all at once.  My roofs are all engineered for 6’ of wet snow, so I hopefully never have to climb up and knock it off but it can make a mess when that much slides off the shop’s tin roof all at once.  Last time it snapped 4” posts like twigs, you wouldn’t want to get caught under it.

There are a couple places in town with substantive solar setups.  I should ask the owners what kind of output they average.  I have an entire south-facing pasture after all...but I’m pretty sure wind makes more sense for my location.  It’s done commercially throughout the local area, while solar is uncommon.

“Why the fuck would you ... ?” is like 80% of the conversation with Poly — Chimpy
Mandella
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Reply #227 on: November 18, 2018, 12:30:22 PM

That's.. a lot of snow. But then, I come from near here:

 awesome, for real


Samwise
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Reply #228 on: November 24, 2018, 01:14:29 PM

Bit more progress on the tile.  Looks like the blue glaze was an accent — I guess huge swathes of garish color had fallen out of fashion by 1925.
 

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Chimpy
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Reply #229 on: November 24, 2018, 02:09:35 PM

I finished hanging the drywall in my garage this morning. Now I get to mad scramble this afternoon/evening to get the taping and muffing done while we have a brief warm spell today and tomorrow.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Mandella
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Reply #230 on: November 25, 2018, 02:49:43 PM

I finished hanging the drywall in my garage this morning. Now I get to mad scramble this afternoon/evening to get the taping and muffing done while we have a brief warm spell today and tomorrow.

My hat's off to you if you can do a good job with sheetrock. I've worked with drywall for years and I still absolutely suck at getting a neat job done on the first, second or third try. It used to bother me until last time when I just broke down and hired some "professionals" to do it, and discovered I was paying them to do just as shitty a job as I could have done (although to be fair in like a fifth of the time).
Chimpy
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Reply #231 on: November 25, 2018, 03:32:32 PM

I finished hanging the drywall in my garage this morning. Now I get to mad scramble this afternoon/evening to get the taping and muffing done while we have a brief warm spell today and tomorrow.

My hat's off to you if you can do a good job with sheetrock. I've worked with drywall for years and I still absolutely suck at getting a neat job done on the first, second or third try. It used to bother me until last time when I just broke down and hired some "professionals" to do it, and discovered I was paying them to do just as shitty a job as I could have done (although to be fair in like a fifth of the time).

My garage had some weirdness in terms of where the centers were on the framing so I had some gaps up to 1/2" to fill with mud. The initial mud job was not too pretty but I am confident that I can get it to be good enough for a garage with just another coat of mud next weekend. It is just a garage after all, and I am going to use 1-2-3 to prime it which helps cover up a lot of sins  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?.


'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Polysorbate80
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Reply #232 on: November 26, 2018, 06:01:15 PM

Samwise - the tile looks nicer cleaned up, even if it doesn't have more color

On hanging drywall:  most of the "professionals" I've seen at it were drunk/stoned/both?  Maybe that's the key...?

“Why the fuck would you ... ?” is like 80% of the conversation with Poly — Chimpy
Samwise
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Reply #233 on: November 26, 2018, 06:14:38 PM

Samwise - the tile looks nicer cleaned up, even if it doesn't have more color

It's been pretty slow going since I managed to expose that first corner -- there's just so goddamn much of the stuff caked on and it takes a lot of elbow grease to get even one layer of it off.  I'm gonna get a motorized scrubber I can attach to a drill and see if that speeds things up.

Also starting to solicit quotes from tile restoration professionals who might just take the rest of the job off my hands.  It was really satisfying to get that first tile uncovered but iterating over the rest of them has less appeal for some reason.   awesome, for real

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Draegan
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Reply #234 on: December 04, 2018, 08:17:56 AM

Drywall is an artform and I'm a shitty artist.
schild
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Reply #235 on: December 07, 2018, 12:25:12 AM

doing drywall well requires a patience in absolute monotony and horseshit that i am simply unwilling to accept

drywall is horseshit

100% of the time something i'll hire someone to do
rattran
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Unreasonable


Reply #236 on: December 12, 2018, 08:33:17 AM

Drywall, insulation, and cement work more than a post footing are things worth hiring a professional for.
01101010
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Reply #237 on: December 12, 2018, 09:04:38 AM

Never found drywall to be difficult. Hanging, taping, patching, repairing... just mud and knife technique, and small increments. Guess those 4 years working in construction paid off with some experience. That said... I'd only do it for myself now. No way I'd get caught up in doing a side job for family of friends.

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Count Nerfedalot
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Reply #238 on: December 13, 2018, 11:08:08 PM

I've never hung a full sheet of drywall, but I've done lots of patch up jobs covering holes and such, with no real problems. That said, houses, and wood, are never completely square/level/even, and I can well imagine what a b**ch trying to get full sheets to line up right would be. That stuff is not light, either!

One thing that helped, for me, with patching holes and working with small sheets anyway, is using the right spackle and having a little patience makes a world of difference. The old fashioned stuff is the good stuff. You can mold and shape it almost like clay. Sand it smooth to the surround, shape it to fill fancy molding, etc. If you have big gaps it may take a couple passes, with a couple/few hours between, but you can make it completely invisible. This newfangled quick dry foam stuff is crap, and you (I) can't work with it, at all.

True story: one time I was helping with a Habitat For Humanity build, just doing grunt work and such, when I had the opportunity to watch a true master sheetrocker (or whatever they call themselves) at work. That guy was amazing. He could board up a room almost as fast as we could haul the sheets in off the truck.  Measuring the space and cutting them as needed and single-handedly shifting full sheets around into place, including the ceiling !!!!, then holding them there with one hand while tacking them in place with his nail gun with the other. Not a single busted corner, not a single mis-cut, not a single "close enough" annoying gap, not a single nail driven too far and breaking the paper. You could barely find the seams to mud them when he was done.  Sometimes I like to make a joke about work, but this time it was true: "Work fascinates me. I could watch it all day!"  He was a true craftsman, and I am still, 20+ years later, in absolute awe at his skill.  I'd hire him to do any work I needed in a heartbeat, whatever the price. Well, except that was 25 years ago and 400 miles away. I truly hope he found happiness and prosperity in his craft, because people these days just don't seem to give a shit about their work anymore and that really pisses me off. And yes, I'm willing to pay well for good work, it's just ridiculously difficult to find anyone willing to do a good job at any price. It usually takes several tries with each trade, with lots of wasted money and time, and then once you find a keeper he retires or moves before your next project. :(

Yes, I know I'm paranoid, but am I paranoid enough?
Mandella
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Reply #239 on: December 14, 2018, 12:33:32 PM

Ain't it the truth. If you find a good general handyman, electrician, roofer, etc, *never* lose their number.

Unfortunately my favorite craftsmen locally are all getting (or have gotten) old now, and it may just be that I'm not out enough in the construction business but I'm having trouble finding anyone quality to take their place.

On the subject of watch while they work, a master mason is also a joy to observe. Watching some dude/dudette casually tossing bricks into the air and trimming them with hits from the trowel is amazing.
Samwise
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Reply #240 on: March 22, 2019, 12:07:14 PM

After a long break I've gotten back to the fireplace restoration project and have made enough progress for a good after/before photo (should have started on the right side, lol):



The motorized scrubber gizmo has been helping a lot.  It's taking a little bit of the (unglazed) tile off along with the paint and grime, but I don't reckon shaving a half millimeter off the surface is really that big a deal.  Once I'm all done I'll apply some kind of sealant to it.

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
01101010
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You call it an accident. I call it justice.


Reply #241 on: March 22, 2019, 04:14:04 PM

It begins...


So the story begins last fall when the wife and I were chatting about getting a scaly creature pet. We kicked around the idea of a chameleon, but those were a bit complicated to care for with environment conditions and diet, etc. So we were exploring the idea of a ball python. To that end, Black Friday rolled around and I found the terrarium above at PetSmart on sale. Regularly, that tank (36x18x18) is ~$230 but I got it for $120. Started researching ball python stuff as a good nerd does. Got in touch with the local reptile people and started looking into local reptile shows. Set up the tank but was having a hard time keeping the temps up in the tank to where they needed to be over the winter.

Flash forward to February and the wife and I took a trip to Shedd while we were in Chicago for my buddy's kid's birthday party. We got caught by the dart frog and tree frog displays and got to talking about how we both always really liked frogs. I started looking into it and found they are a fairly low maintenance animal to keep once the initial parameters were set up. So I am taking this huge terrarium and building a vivarium to house 4-6 dart frogs. Tore down the snake stuff and am beginning the build which I hope to have fully planted and functioning with waterfall and all the goodies by May. Luckily, the reptile shows we have here also include a vendor or two that do amphibians and 1 guy would breeds dart frogs so I'll have to pick his brain about caveats to look out for.

So starts my useless project addition.

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
rattran
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Reply #242 on: March 22, 2019, 04:51:31 PM

I have an employee who lives in Milwaukee, she has a pacman frog in addition to chameleons, lizards, hognosed snake, etc. I think the frog is the lowest maintainance of the lot.
Samwise
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Reply #243 on: March 23, 2019, 09:50:16 AM

Gonna do some kind of moss wall in the back there?  I've been thinking about converting one of my tall fish tanks into a terrarium with a moss wall to grow carnivorous plants on.

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Mandella
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Reply #244 on: March 23, 2019, 12:36:49 PM

Frogs huh? Gotta be easier than fish, right?

You've actually got me considering it, since I've yet to rehab the fish tank into usability again.

Different subject, hey is it time for a solar report?

Pretty happy with the first three months of operations through winter. In money terms, we averaged about one hundred dollars off the bill Dec, Jan, and Feb, with an average daily energy production of ~14 kilowatts. Towards the end of Feb and into March I've been peaking at over thirty. Assuming the summer months give me a higher average (and they really should) the system will pay for itself in seven or eight years, which seems reasonable.

Had one "Optimizer" (some sort of proprietary solid state fanless capacitor stack from SolarEdge) become unreliable, and be promptly replaced. Since I've got a ground mount it was a matter of minutes to replace the failed unit. This is pertinent because lots of people are reporting that the SolarEdge Optimizer has a lot higher failure rate during burn in than advertised, but since they replaced mine with no question I'm good -- unless more start dropping out.

I may have outsmarted myself with the battery backup. By keeping the system battery-agnostic from the start I'm going to have to pay more when I go ahead and add a battery in. And since it looks like my best choice is the LG Chem Resu10H (which the SolarEdge system is designed from the ground up to be compatible with) anyway, I should have just set it up that way from the start.

But otherwise 10/10 would do it again.
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