Michael Qulek

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since Oct 22, 2013
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Recent posts by Michael Qulek

Finally finished my 4th generation solar array frame, which was assembled last weekend, the panels mounted and are now producing power.  The homestead cabin now has 5500W of power, the workshop 2000.  Each got a 1000W array as described below.

I re-designed my solar frames to be modular, allowing for easier on-site assembly. They're divided into two halves, the lower "T" module, and the upper "double H" module.

The lower T module sits on a 8 foot long 3.5" steel pipe sunk in concrete. Five feet is sticking out of the concrete. The "T module" can rotate left and right for daily sun tracking.

The "double H" module which holds the panels is bolted onto the "T module" after its sitting on it's pole. Finally, once the two halves are mated, the reinforcing trusses are bolted on. In the pics, notice that the two outer trusses are welding onto the "double H" frame, while the inner trusses are bolted on, because they cantilever over the hinge area.

This array is designed to mount panels in two different orientations, four panels vertically, or six panels horizontally. Since my standard array voltage is 120VDC, I wired 4 panels in series. Someone else though could use this design with 6, wired in a 3S2P configuration.
4 weeks ago

D Nikolls wrote:
I'm intending to use sockets and plugs near these loads rather than hardwiring all the way, so that in the future it will be easy to, say, run a welder over by the pond instead of the pump.

I've got a question for you?  What inverter setup do you have, and have you already used it to power your welder?

I have a Schneider XW6848, which produces split-phase 120/240VAC.  The one thing I have never run on it though is my welder.  I've seen warnings on other sites that welders are extremely hard on off-grid welders, so I've only run mine off the generator.  What's your experience been?  What kind of current does your weld draw when its operating.

BTW, the only spots I've placed twistlocks are for the generator to inverter charger, and my wellpump, which are both 240V.  The rest of my cabin, and workshop are wired with standard grounded duplex outlets (sinks get GFCI).
1 month ago
Here's an example of how I do solar.  The pic is a rotating array I built out of unistruts and schedule 40 steel pipe sunk in the ground.  I'm using four grid-tie panels similar to the one described above that are wired in series to produce 120VDC.  The raw 120VDC is run into my solar-only workshop system to charge a 24VDC battery bank.  The MPPT controller transforms the raw 120VDC down to the 26-27VDC the battery needs to charge.  The battery bank in turn fuels the 24V inverter than can produce pure sinewave 120/240VAC power.  Sinewave is what you want for running sensitive electronics like TVs, stereos, and computers.  In my case, sinewave is very good for electric motors, so I can run all my powertools with very clean AC.

If I rotate the array east in the morning, and westward in the afternoon, my array will produce 6-7kwh of power over the course of the day.
1 month ago

S Bengi wrote:Your panels are generating 520W at noon, So I dont see why it cant power a 300W load at noon.

No, that statement is most likely incorrect.  Their 260W rating is determined in a controlled temperature test chamber under artificial sunlight scaled at 1000W/square meter.  Voltage goes down with increasing heat, and panels sitting in the noon sun will NOT be at the 25oC test temperature.  And, the real sun can't be counted on to be producing 1000W/M.  For people that work in the real-world with solar, derating the panels to 80% is typical.  Less than perpendicular orientation, and it's even less.  I'd say if at any point in the day if the panels passed the 400W mark, I'd say that was outstanding.
3 months ago
I've had excellent results using plain black electrical tape.  I like it's stretchy plasticity.  It does though have a tendency to unwind, so I've finished the tail end with a 360 turn of scotch tape.  I've successfully grafted apples, pears, peaches, plums, Japanese plums, and apricots with this tape.
4 months ago
What about the lineman working outside up on the pole?  With a PROPERLY installed grid-tie system, there is an automatic disconnect (transfer switch), that automatically shuts down solar production when the grid goes down.  That's to keep the electricity from the solar inverter from energizing the wiring the lineman (linewoman) is working on.  I'm guessing the current from 9one panel is not going to kill a lineman, but if there is some current, it might be detectable with their equipment, and repair operations might be brought to a complete halt, until the linemen can determine were that current is coming from.  What are the neighbors going to think when they find out that their power stayed off longer than needed because of someone's solar panel.  The words eviction and criminal charges come to mind.
4 months ago
I bought seaberry seedlings from the folks at Burnt Ridge. They sell a bundle of 10 seedlings for 35$. That's the route I took and my plants are already bearing fruit while still in pots.
4 years ago
You've probably seen some of my other posts where I've complained about all the animal damage to my trees. Deer strip the leaves, mice peel the bark, and squirrels and raccoons eat the fruit. On tree was completely knocked over by a bear. Finally a have an answer to protect my fruit from preditation. My wife's nylon stockings! Here's a pic of a Stanley plum with the branch covered with a stocking (uh, knee high).

Here is whats under the nylon

This is the one and only branch on the tree that still has fruit on it. The rest of the tree is stripped bare. As are almost all the other trees in my orchard.

Put the nylon on while the fruit were still tiny and green. Think they'll be ripe in a few more weeks.

The most amusing part was when I asked my wife for some of her stockings. You should have seen the look she gave me!
4 years ago