Win a copy of The Prairie Homestead Cookbook this week in the Cooking Forum forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
  • Dave Burton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Steve Thorn
  • Eric Hanson

solar cart; solar trailer; solarbago

 
master steward
Posts: 29107
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have three different things we have been calling solar carts, but the time has come to expand our vocabulary to clear things up.


Stuart will be bring this, which does seem the most likely to be called a cart:




We had this thing we called "the solar cart" which maybe should be a "trailer":




And currently nearing completion is the 3000 watt mega trailer:



Len Ovens suggested "Solarbago". Any other ideas?



 
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Would it make sense to name them by function?

I have seen 'solar trailers' which are marketing vehicles (PI) for solar installers. They contain equipment, and sales brochures, and boast large arrays of panels. They are intended to be taken on the highway.

I have seen 'solar trailers' which are living quarters (temporary or otherwise) which happen to be powered by solar panels.

I have seen 'solar carts' which are simply backup, emergency, or mobile power. And other which are vehicles with solar panels to provide power to the occupant (the winnebikeo for example), and others (like the Organic Transport Elf) which are solar boosted electric (and/or pedal) vehicles.
 
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=trailer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailer_%28vehicle%29

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=cart
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cart

The word cart gets used when something is pulled by animals. I think though the use bike-cart could be acceptable, since a bike is powered by a human which is a type of animal. But that's even stretching it. Trailer is used for a vehicle pulled by another vehicle.

And then there are other related words:
wagon
trolley
lorry
chariot
wain
and probably others.

Or just put some word in front of trailer to clarify, like was done 700 years ago to distinguish wheeled barrows from wheelless barrows:
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=wheelbarrow
 
Posts: 28
Location: Columbia, Missouri
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live near the Amish and they use a lot of those terms. A cart would basically be two-wheeled. A buggy is four-wheeled and usually used to hold people but you could apply the term to a still small, but four-wheeled solar buggy. Wagon is usually applied to something much bigger than a buggy and hauls large, heavy loads but it also has seats on it. A trailer would be similar to a wagon but you wouldn't be riding in it. It would be solely for cargo, like the trailer behind a tractor, as in tractor trailer.

So, in conclusion, if it small enough to pull behind a lawn tractor or by hand and had two wheels I'd call it a solar cart.
If it has four wheels and is pulled by a lawn tractor or tractor then it is a solar buggy.
If it has four wheels and needs a tractor or 4x4 pickup then I'd call it a solar wagon or solar trailer.

Greg
 
Posts: 23
Location: west central Missouri
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally, I like "cart, wagon and trailer" in order of size. Or we could use the old English "wain" for one of them. These are all used to bring solar power to the location, right? I enjoy the variety of topics that appear on Paul's e-mails.
 
Posts: 85
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cart < Wagon < Caravan but I think you should be very specific and call them by the rated capacity and storage
 
Posts: 13
Location: UK Zone 8a
(53.81°N, 1.55° W )
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A number suffix would be useful too for some idea of power output.
Solar blah nW
 
Posts: 23
Location: Central Texas
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Voltwagon!
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 29107
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good one!

So I am now leaning toward:

- solar cart (the little one)

- voltswagon (the medium sized one) (ken mart)

- solarbago (3000 watts) (len ovens)

 
ken mart
Posts: 23
Location: Central Texas
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All of them are as cool sounding as the project. Regardless of what you name it the model could be and EMF (electromotive force).
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 29107
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"voltswagon" is a big winner for the medium sized contraption.

"solarbago" seems to be losing traction. I wonder if we can come up with something that sounds like "mega-something" or "goliath" or ....

solar whale

solar leviathan

Maybe Omnipotus the Devourer of Worlds. And we can include a message on it that says "You can't eat the Earth! That's where I keep all my stuff!"

Currently i am leaning towards "solar leviathan"
 
steward
Posts: 6050
Location: Missoula, MT
1344
hugelkultur purity forest garden books food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are awesome name ideas out at this post on Paul's FB fan page, too.
 
Posts: 3395
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sol War Wagon (said with an Engrish accent). It is built so heavy it reminds me of a war wagon.
 
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
186
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the huge one should be the "Chariot of Ra" (the sun god). This, of course, would lend itself to some awesome embellishments. Heliopolis could be the place where all the solar vehicles reside when not in use.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
186
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Heliotron for the big one.

Helio Wheelio for the smallest one.
 
ken mart
Posts: 23
Location: Central Texas
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gigantiselectronus
 
Posts: 43
Location: McKinney, Tx
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i don't care where you place it in the hierarchy of the pull behinds, but the word buggy is just delightful. plus, i think it is a more permaculturey word than cart or trailer.. more organic somehow.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1481
Location: Vancouver Island
50
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Cory Collins wrote:i don't care where you place it in the hierarchy of the pull behinds, but the word buggy is just delightful. plus, i think it is a more permaculturey word than cart or trailer.. more organic somehow.



I have a hard time thinking of this as a part of perma-anything. To me it is a temporary tool to be used for setting up permaculture. Setting up a food forest to last hundreds of years, we use tools that may last only decades. Also, while I do find the patter of a diesel engine to be a friendly sound (much like the rumble of an old V-twin ) I can't put the idea of the sound and the word buggy together... A buggy needs a horse. This looks like it will need a truck. There may be a more permanent horse pulled solar buggy in the future... maybe a sleigh too.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 6050
Location: Missoula, MT
1344
hugelkultur purity forest garden books food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:"voltswagon" is a big winner for the medium sized contraption.

<snip>

Currently i am leaning towards "solar leviathan"



These two have stuck so far! I'm hearing "solar leviathan" as we prep for the workshop next week.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 29107
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yup!


Stuarts little cart is "the solar cart"

The 750 watt contraption currently giving us power on the lab is the "voltswagon"

And the 3000 watt contraption that will be wired up during the workshop is the "solar leviathan"

 
steward
Posts: 3997
Location: Montana
344
fungi books food preservation bee
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a pretty nice picture of the solar trailer. I believe this one is the solar voltswagon.

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 29107
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
a cool solar cart with music at the bullock brothers

 
pollinator
Posts: 193
Location: Nomadic
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Paul for that blast from the past. That cart at the Bullocks might be the same solar cart I was inspired by about 20 years ago. Carts and trailers make a lot of sense. I built a 1100 watt solar energy system for a single axle cargo trailer. That system has powered a lot of tools for a lot of good projects. And also powered outdoor kitchens with bread machines, countertop convection ovens, electric kettles, smoothie maker, and electric programmable pressure cooker.
This year the concept is getting upscaled to a 42 foot semi trailer that will be part workshop, part materials storage, and covered in solar panels. To be determined is if the excess energy can be sold back to the grid from this trailer. I’m guessing they may require the wheels and axles removed for grid tie application. Which may be what happens as the title is lost and I dont want to pay it moved again from my budget. But who knows what the future holds.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 1190
Location: Victoria BC
142
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Huh.. I saw that cart, or maybe it's grandchild, at the bullocks in 2015. Pretty great longevity if it's the same core components!

A semitrailer worth of panels, wow! What sort of battery setup will you use?

My neighbour across the road just put in a 40ft seacan with massive array rack mounted on top of the can. I want to guess around 8kw but haven't had a chance to get the details yet..


So we've seen all sorts of different wattages; do you folks that have worked with your trailers for a while feel like there are sweet spots in terms of power for certain applications? If you were building a new one, would you push for more panels?
 
Jeremy Baker
pollinator
Posts: 193
Location: Nomadic
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dillon, whoa, 8000 watts is big! That might be two pallets worth. I’ll likely use one pallet full of panels of the highest efficiency [~17%] I can find as shipping on a pallet full is cheapest cost per panel and easiest for the shipper too. Actually it is called “freight” when it’s a pallet full and goes down into a cheaper rate than “shipping”.  Way cheaper per panel rate in bulk but still can be $300-$400 for the pallet load. By the pallet is what I recommend to folks looking for panels. Or split a pallet load with someone else.
 So it’s not very scientific doing it this way. More practical. I call it “growing a system”. A pallet is usually between 20-24 medium sized panels. So 20@200 watts, for example, is 4000 watts to 4800 watts. Plenty for a simple 120 volt workshop. But I forgot to mention charging my goal of charging a golf cart. Now it’s starting to stretch the the system. Grid tied simplifies system design and use greatly. The golf cart can charge from solar during the day mostly using grid use timers. With the grid available as backup for the nights just in case.
 Another big savings is to use locally available unistrut for the solar array racking. Sometimes it’s called superstrut. I’ve built many racks, tilting, flat, or sloped with only unistrut, bolts and the unistrut joining plates. No welding required. 40,000 miles on my cargo trailer rack and I haven’t found a loose bolt yet. Welding is a nice luxury but not necessary most of the time. Unistrut even makes heavy hinges for building a tilting array OR big gate hinges from a hardware store can be bolted on.  Also the panels bolt right into unistrut with 1/4” *20  thread “clamp nuts” that slide down the unistrut track. Use stainless bolts and washers.
 My van has 240 watts and two @60 AH batteries on it. I can run small power tools but have not tested how long for with the van. I try to never run my batteries below 50% depth of discharge so bring the cargo trailer, inverter technology generator, or both if it’s a lengthy job. The inverter technology generator starts, depending on sunshine on the panels and battery state of charge, if I’m going to run a power tool or load for a long time.
 I like to have 800 watts or more if possible. I like to have extra panels then think of ways to use the features of PWM load diversion to use the surplus energy for hot water. Load diversion or auxiliary relays are standard on many charge controllers. Building a energy system involves a lot of “sizing” components. For example, my inverter runs on 24 volts DC. A 30 amp charge controller is rated for 720 watts at 24 volts. So in this example a 800 watt solar array is a good size. The charge controller limits the current and dissipates surplus energy in the form of heat but that isn’t likeky to happen. Maybe dissipates for a few seconds with “edge of cloud effect”.
 Having a huge heavy battery may not be practical if one is driving long distances or everyday. Having a inverter technology generator and a little fuel as backup weighs much less. My cargo trailer has 6@ 60AH batteries (roughly 350 lbs).  So it’s about trade offs. I’ve never heard anyone say “I’ve got too many panels” lol. Yet to see any in the thrift stores. That’ll be the good day.
 
You have to be odd to be #1 - Seuss. An odd little ad:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!