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David Taylor

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since May 29, 2013
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Recent posts by David Taylor

paul wheaton wrote:I think you can follow me on kickstarter.  I've never used that feature, so I don't know how that works. Here is my last kickstarter.

To follow Paul on Kickstarter (as a previous backer anyway), be logged in, click your profile icon on the top right, then click "follow creators" on the left under "my stuff". It will take you to a page of all your previous backed creators. Then just find Paul and click "follow"

Not sure exactly how it works if you haven't backed one of Paul's projects, I think maybe there's a "follow this creator" link on the top left of one of his previous projects. I know it's there on active projects, not sure about completed. BTW, I'm now following you, Paul =)
2 months ago
My mom's boysenberry is the best pie I know of. Have not tried cranberry orange. Would like to!

Jennifer, that picture of the cherry pie is amazing. If I look at it any longer it will drive me mad.
5 years ago

Marcos Buenijo wrote:Listen to podcasts available at Also note that Steven Harris has done about 15 such podcasts on The Survival Podcast hosted by Jack Spirco. These are packed with practical alternative energy information.

Steven Harris considers the hydrogen production from batteries to be neglible, but you'll have to listen to the podcasts to get his full discussion (starts at 65:45 of part 1).

I will check those out, thanks.
5 years ago

Marcos Buenijo wrote:

Hi David. Where can you buy the computer you mention here, and what kind of pricing are we looking at?

Hey Marcos,

I got it at Amazon here and it's currently $379 with free shipping. And here's the specs for it. That company makes several different mini low power PCs so you may want to check a few of them out. One of them uses 3 watts at idle! Unfortunately that one is Linux only and does not support Flash (youtube) so that one was out for me. So far the one I got has been working very well. Running Windows 7 and it's plenty fast for it's size and power.
5 years ago

Cj Verde wrote:Well, we run our whole house. We do have a sun frost fridge/freezer which we've had for like 20 years but the fridge part hasn't really worked work well for a few years & even new I wasn't totally thrilled for the price.

The point is reduce your energy consumption - big time! We do run our generator quite a bit during the winter especially to run our pump. A great thing we did last winter was to put the pump on a timer switch because we used to turn it on and if we forgot to turn it off it would really run down the battery if the pump kicked on.

There are things you should just do without like a frost free freezer or a toaster oven or AC or electric dryer or electric water heater....

We do have a DSL modem on all the time (sometimes I'll put a timer on it so its off for 6 hours while everyone should be sleeping - I've got 2 teenagers). I do have a small aquaponics setup and the pump runs 15 minutes / hour (15 minutes / 3 hours at night). My husband isn't thrill about that though. He thinks its a drag on the batteries.

Yes, I am already in 'reduce-big time' mode. Recently sold my 250 watt max/80 watt idle tower PC and invested in a 26 watt max/9 watt idle Fit-PC3 mini PC (also happens to run off unregulated 10-15 VDC so could run off panels directly and bypass inverter). And have started monitoring all my power devices with a Kill-a-watt meter and am thinking about how long I use them and if I even want them anymore. It is definitely a mind-set. I'm fortunate to have a buffer period to learn, adjust my habits and plan ahead while I'm living with my parents.

5 years ago

Cj Verde wrote:No, that's not what I meant.

100 watts dc 12v is like 10 watts ac 120v!

I'm used to thinking in amps though. So my when my charge controller says we're getting in 40 amps on a sunny day that's great but the well pump uses 11 amps AC which is 110 amps DC! See?

Ahh ok. Thanks for the heads up about that. I definitely did not realize.

Cj Verde wrote:Here's an important formula:
watts/volts = amps

Good to know. I will write that one down.

Cj Verde wrote:One more thing for reference.
I have 17 panels of various wattage and the smallest chest freezer I can find. I only run it late spring/summer early fall so I'll be turning off soon. Of course, my whole house is off-grid, and I live in Vermont which I think gets an average of 4 hours over the year!

Cool. Sounds like you built your solar collection like I'm planning panel at a time over a few years. Is that right? What other kind of devices do you run off that setup? Thanks again for the help.
5 years ago

Cj Verde wrote:

David Taylor wrote:
One 100 Watt solar panel producing 80 Watts per hour (after system loss) for 6 hours a day is 480 Watts or .48 kWh per day. Right?

So (2) 100 Watt panels would be .96 and (3) would be 1.44; enough for the freezer and then some.

Not quite. I think you've forgot about converting 12v to 120v.

Actually, that's why I figured in 20% loss from the charge controller and inverter. After everything said here, I am now prepared for up to 50% loss including from the batteries. Really hoping it's not that much though!
5 years ago
Thanks so much for all that great information and the ideas, Marcos. At this early point in my experiments with solar power, with sooooo much yet to learn and absorb, I just need to hook it up and start reading the numbers and see what I get. I'm glad you gave me the heads up about the much higher loss than I had been expecting. Frustrating to learn that but I'm anxious to see what I get from the components I chose. Will keep you posted.
5 years ago

Marcos Buenijo wrote:

David Taylor wrote:Thanks Tom, I had forgotten about the loss in the charge controller and inverter. And did not know about only getting 6 hours due to the angle of the sun at morning and night. Looks like Ill be getting another panel. Had planned on it anyway, just need to do it sooner now =)

Hi David. A 200 watt off grid system is not nearly enough for 1.4 KWh per day. Also, the battery may have to be larger than you think as well. Also, please note that the battery losses can be substantial. Figure battery losses on the order fo 20-30%, inverter losses at about 15%, and controller losses at least 5%. Add other losses like transmission losses and dust/debris on the panels and you're looking at overall losses of nearly 50% for an off grid solar PV system. A conservative estimate of actual production can be found by taking the product (solar insolation)(PV array wattage)(0.5).

Oh wow, you added a bit more as I wrote that reply...I will read it carefully and post my thoughts.


Ok, ouch! 50%? From what I had gathered from a few different sites when I was researching, including Tom OHern's post earlier in this thread, the general consensus was 15-30% loss. Looks like I will just have to finish setting it up and test the numbers. I will clean the panels regularly to maximize their efficiency.
5 years ago

Marcos Buenijo wrote:Hi David. A 200 watt off grid system is not nearly enough for 1.4 kWh per day. Also, the battery is going to be larger than you think as well.

Hi Marcos,

This small beginner setup is just to experiment with to see what kind of numbers I get and to help teach myself the difference between all the power terms, what they mean and how to do some calculations. Yes, I am learning already that a single 100 Watt panel, even 2, will not be enough to power my chest freezer. However I see it as a bit closer than not nearly enough. The chest freezer does not draw 1.4 kWh. I had it connected to my Kill-A-Watt meter for 368 hours and it measured 17.32 kWh over that time. So that works out to about 1.13 kWh per day.

One 100 Watt solar panel producing 80 Watts per hour (after system loss) for 6 hours a day is 480 Watts or .48 kWh per day. Right?

So (2) 100 Watt panels would be .96 and (3) would be 1.44; enough for the freezer and then some.

As far as the batteries go, I bought (2) deep cycle marine batteries from Costco that are rated at 85 Ah each. So if fully charged they should be able to provide 2040 Wh at 12 VDC or 2.04 kWh. Plenty to keep up with the chest freezer and several other devices. Granted, they are limited to the amount of power they are being charged with, so I would just have to make sure I stay below that with how much I draw. So a lot of their potential would be going unused. At least I have that buffer so I can add more panels.

The charge controller I got is a Sunforce 30 Amp so that would limit me to (4) 100 Watt panels, maybe 5. The panel I got has an Ipm rating of 5.59 and an Isc rating of 6.19. Google told me that the Ipm rating is the ideal current production level, and the Isc rating is the most current the panel will produce before it shorts out. So ideally, 5 panels would produce 27.95 Amps, but even if they each produced just a little more than 6 amps each and stayed under their Isc, they could still overload the charge controller so that tells me I should stay with no more than (4) 100 watt panels and maybe 1 more smaller one.

Does this all seem right to you?

As for the original topic of this thread, I have the outdoor battery box nearly complete and will post some pics of it soon. And I have the 1 panel on the roof. No drilling or mounting hardware necessary. More on that when I post the pics of the box. It involves the peak of the roof, some rope and a counterbalance...
5 years ago