On the lake

Discussion in 'Post Your Photos' started by Tuicemen, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Just a outside view of my solar. Planning on adding a tracker, currently the panels on the pole are moveable only manually by hand.[​IMG]
     
  2. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Here's my 400 watt turbine on the tower.
    [​IMG]
    And a view from the base of tower looking back at house.
    [​IMG]
    Note the angle of the panels on the deck and pole both are set for winter (just to lazy to adjust ) I usually produce more then I can use during the summer even with these angles.
    Roof panels are completely covered in winter usually have 2 feet or more snow so these will eventual get moved along with the deck mounted panels to a pole mount.
     
    larry george likes this.
  3. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Here's my control room located in the basement.[​IMG]
    Note: the gray box with meters for solar and wind is left over from my very first setup and is no longer connected (I just haven't removed it yet)
    Hoping to use it in a 12 volt small cabin setup in the future!:rolleyes:

    I've wired the Tristar charge controller to my HP thinclient (modified & running Windows 10 24/7) so I can view my solar status using the Morningstar software created for the TriStar. Of course this only displays info from the array connected to it but it also shows the battery bank state of health.
     
  4. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Here's a close up of my moveable array.
    8 X 140 watt Kyocera panels wired for 48 volts feeding my Outback Flexmax 80
    On a good day (if I remember to turn it) I can get 564 ah 7.6 kwh
    Note the 75 watt panel on the dock I have it wired to enable the use of a portable device with a USB or cigarette lighter adaptor.
    Originally I had thought of using a small 12 volt fridge to keep beverages cool but that didn't pan out well.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    I removed the birch tree (starting to die) which in some pictures looked like it was leaning towards my pole mount array.
    I was actually leaning more towards the lake, but I was worried a strong wind could snap something off hitting the panels and maybe taking out the whole array.
    I removed the stump and figured while I have the hole I should put in a new pole for a large array using grid tie panels.
    [​IMG]
    I still have no intention of connecting to the grid it is just that they are the cheapest route to go for panels right now.
    I plan to purchase the panel pole mount then modify it for a sun tracker unlike the existing mount which was pieced together with things on hand.
     
  6. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    I finally got the 6 inch pole cemented in place. looks like it won't be til spring before I get the panel mount on as I want to modify it for a tracker.
    [​IMG]
    While I was at it I added the E/W actuator sensor and controller of the sun tracker to my old mount so no more manual turning it.:cool:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Finally got the new grid tie panels mounted!
    I rewired my old tracker array to 24 volt so I could use the new grid tie panels with my Outback flex 80 charge controller.
    Moving to a 24 volt system allowed me to place more panels per charge controller so panels from the tracker are now on the same charge controller as the ones on the deck.

    The new grid tie panel array currently isn't tracking but I plan to add a tracker to this in the future.
    This may only be a N\S actuator first as it is much harder to turn E\W then the smaller array mount. NewArray.jpg
     
  8. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Any one following this will notice above I moved the panel from the dock to just below the old array.
    The dog house beside it contains a charge controller and old truck battery to power the SunTura.
    I ordered a HD tracker from another supplier for my new grid tie array which has double the ratings of those distributed by Windy Nation (unfortunately they couldn't get these). This new Actuator requires 24 volt so I picked up a 12 to 24 volt step up converter and mounted it in the dog house as well. This allows me to run both Sun Tura trackers from the same battery.
    I was a bit concerned with the wire run but since I was assured the actuator would run on 18 volts I left the dog house in the same spot.
    Inside the dog house I insulated the walls and floor with pink Styrofoam SM. I found an old Styrofoam cooler and placed the truck battery inside it. I wanted to be sure the battery wouldn't freeze on a -30 degree winter night. So far this has worked.
    I placed a hinge on the roof so I can access things from the top.(going threw the door proved difficult lol);)

    The other day my HD actuator finally arrived! (Remind me to never use UPS again) I was leery after last experience with them but this was the topper.
    In any case I finally got the new actuator mounted today and ran an initial day long test.
    I can see I still need to do some minor adjustments to get my full East ward movement but I get enough now for the coming winter.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    The WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) is a big deal with getting any additional modifications or automation done here.
    So when I was asked if there was a way to move the solar panels off the deck to allow a more visible view of the yard I jumped at the chance to add a new pole mount.
    My Wife has already seen the benefits of trackers, So I asked if she though I should add one for those too (I already knew the answer but sometimes it is good to make it look like it was their idea) ;)
    I've started work on the array mount and got the base pole cemented in place.
    I suspect it won't be till spring/summer of next year till I get the panels move as nice weather is getting to be a sort supply now.
    I have the array mount figured out using power struts and some 2 inch tube which I've welded up to allow a dual axis tracker at some point.
    Since these are small 75 or 80 watt panels the array won't be that heavy, a standard SunTura kit would most likely handle it, however I'll go the HD route.;)
     
  10. Andy R.

    Andy R. WindyNation Engineer

    Really nice set up. Good for you.

    Tell your wife that "tinkering around" at your cabin helps keep you out of the bars.
     
  11. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    LOL :)
    Well she has never complained about my tinkering and usually encourages it.;)
     
  12. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    With the new pole or base pole of the new array cemented in I started to dig the trench for the wire so I can utilize the same run into the house from the other small array.
    new pole.jpg The pole isn't fully painted as a 1/2inch larger diameter schedule 40 pipe slides over which will allow E/W movement. I'll grease this up heavily before that is slipped over.
    I temporarily toped the pole off with a solar garden light (from Costco) which supplies a surprising amount of light at night.
     
  13. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Spring came late this year so I was a bit late getting started on this years solar project. Oncethe snow was gone it got real hot and the garden needed to get planted. I was almost 2months late getting my dock in:rolleyes:
    I manage to get the solar array off the deck in preperation for moving to my new pole mount the other day. I also added the mount for the array to the top of the pole. Now the weather man is calling for a week or more of rain:eek: this will slow things up:(.
    I made the mount a bit larger then required in case I wish to add a couple of panels. since I used power struts hole mount locations shouldn't be an issue.
     

    Attached Files:

    larry george likes this.
  14. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    20180610_164456.jpg Well I got all the panels off the deck and mounted to my new pole mount.
    I swaped out two 75 W shell panels with the 123 sharp on the dog house and a spare I had in the basement. I was able to utilize most of the wire from the deck mounted array but still need to get more wire. Currently only the 123 watt sharp panels are wired and producing.
    I'm looking at pylling two panwls off the roof munt to add to this which will increase my winter power production.
    It is much easier to keep the snow off panels on a pole the those on the roof.
     
  15. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    I managed to get all my panels hooked up on my new pole mount for the winter. I lock all pole mounts even those with trackers for the winter months as I can get large dumpings of snow over night. Usualy I unlock these in late March as the weather warms up. This year however I failed to unlock the north south tilt and kept it parked as the temperature failed to warm up till May. This made the tracker vunerable to high winds. Luckily I caught this before to much damage was done.
    My east west actuator mount was not only bent but the 1 1/2 angle iron was split and wires riped out of the north south actuator. I was unable to make repairs until June but It did allow me to beef things up with 3 inch angle iron. As well I learned if I plan to keep the north south position locked for winter use the east west must be kept locked as well. 20190612_130558.jpg
     
  16. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    I noriced my back up generator was starting to come on a bit more then usual but since I just fired up a upright freezer I chocked ot up to that. That was just part of the problem.it turns out my freezer was on it's last legs and was starting to fail keeping things frozen. I quickly purchased a small chest freezer and tetired the upright. With the chest freezer now in operation things improved but only slightly.
    Checking the voltage of each individual battery revealed 3 which were lower then the rest but not dead. Unfortuneatly each battery was in a different row. I pulled out my hydrometer and checked each cell of every battery in my bank (12 in total) all cells were fine except one cell in each of the batteries I had flaged as low voltage ones.
    My battery bank was increasingly having a hard time staying charged time to get the bad batteries out before a total fail.
    This resulted in two rows of 6volt batteries for my 24 volt system. I was looking to increase my battery bank size to 16 6 volt from 12. Time to start shopping arround.;)
     
  17. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    Keeping on top of fluid levels is a bit of a pain. Especially with a larg battery bank. While looking and pricing replace ment batteries I stumbled on a method of filling multi batteries at once. There were a few kits which promiced to reduce top up time to a few seconds or mins. Trogen batteries have such a kit but wait time for batteries from them was longer then I was comfortable with.
    I had decided to go with Crown cr430 batteries but seen no option for this on their web site.
    I then found flowrite http://www.flow-rite.com/ their kits are said to fit any brand on the market. I emailed them with the battery info and they told me the part numbers to order and that I could indeed get it threw Crown.
     
  18. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    At 122 Lbs a piece moving the batteries out of my battery box and the new ones in was a chore. I rigged up a hand winch to save my back and it made quick work of the task.
    The new Crown batteries are now in just waiting on the flow-rite kit.
     

    Attached Files:

    TomT likes this.
  19. Tuicemen

    Tuicemen Solar Guru

    20191011_085418.jpg 20191011_085255.jpg My Flow-rite single point battery watering system arrived the other day. :cool: Installing the system was very simple though hard on my finger tips. Each cap has a lock to help seal the capa in the holes which left my fingers feeling num afer installing all 48 caps. :eek: I went with the hand pump as Im a bit shy of the recommended hight for the gravity feed setup.
    After the install I hooked up the hand pump and had all batteries topped up in less time then it use to take me to just check (no top up) one battery. This is deffinatelt going to same enormously on fill time and time nursing a sore back from being bent over.
    This system comes with a 5 year warranty and is deffinately worth the money as far as I'm concerned.;)
     

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