frank li

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since Mar 21, 2016
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Recent posts by frank li

Couple things.

The collectors need at least a bit of pitch or elevation difference, outlet highest port or high corner.

The collectors need to have parallel risers. I cannot tell for sure, bit it looks like a serpentine waterway.
If so, it will not thermosyphon. It creates a series of traps.

Thermosyphon works best with a realatively large waterway, especially the manifold. Many small risers feed the manifolds and from that point it needs low restriction. At all points really but flow rate in the risers is so low they effectively have low resistance.

Keep all plumbing pitched or vertical when possible. Think chimney draft.

Long sweep elbows or bendable/flexible tube really help lower restriction and should be as few as will get it there.
That applies to systems with active circulation as well.

Cold feed to collector is the lowest corner, hot return to storage highest corner and tank above collector.

Since 2004.

4 hours ago
Farmtek/clearspan kits are awesome. 7 or 11 year warranty on the cover... cant remember.

Frame and hardware are good. Door and end wall kits are good (had rust on latch hardware after one season though). Cover is tough. Woven or film.

Just about any size. Hreat site to explore. We sourced and built one for a client. Great materials.;gs_greenhouses_high_tunnels;gs_cold_frames_1.html
3 days ago
I like reflective one side/white one side double bubble. It cuts easy, is flexible, thin and light weight. Can be tailored over foam sheets or thickness but up in layers for additional insulation, reduction of convection loops, sound damping, etc.

No/low offgass or odor, no fiber shed, high performance, water/vapor barrier.

I use it quite a bit. As thick as you can get and double, triple, etc...

White on one side looks decent, is tough but could use sheathing or a wainscot of something.
The tape for this stuff sticks, worth the money. Almost nothing conventional stics well to polyethylene.

The reflective side is quite festive with the right lighting! We use it as insulated window panels in the winter.

Makes it easy to perform great looking high performance electric water heater wrap too. Our woodstove boiler storage tank is diy and wrapped multiple times in 5/16" double bubble reflective facing in white facing out for looks. Looks nasa...

I found reflective aluminum foam also. More sound reduction, more weight, less insulation value?
3 days ago
You are likely right. Beside rip rap, a gutter catching the water from the array before it hammers the footing and diversion/drain away of any other uphill water is about it.
1 week ago
A fresh set of golf car batteries would be a fine improvement. More capacity amd longevity than what you have in place. They are tired by the sounds of it. You can get duracell 220ah 6v batteries nationwide for about $115 each.

Our Danby under-counter refrigerator consumes 750 watt hours a day to operate. I placed 1" reflective foam on the back where it felt cold to the touch.

A 750W array dedicated to it would be good for winter operation at Michigan.

We do not use it in the deep winter (November to march) 440ah at 24v is not enough storage for long strings of cloudy weather, no generator.
1 week ago

Mark Brunnr wrote:I'm using for purchasing my own gear, and they do have a turnkey system that will produce 10kwh or more for most of the US, depends on the number of sun hours in winter (and they have a map showing that) from this 7.4kw system: for just over $12k, plus the cost for batteries. Purchasing batteries locally to avoid the shipping costs could save you a lot of money if that's an option. This setup is already wired up and on a plate for you can mount it on the wall, then plug in the panels on one side and your batteries on the other. You are paying extra for them to do that but you'll know it's correct and working when it arrives.

Turn-key is a pretty heavy term here, as with most kits.

Hardly alte's or your fault, nobody could account for mounting and wiring options.

They have an option list. The system could easily cost an additional $8k-$10k with a moderate battery, mounting, electrical enclosures, wiring, battery enclosure, screws, conduit, sealants, zip ties, fuses, breakers, disconnects, comm cable, routers, etc.

Even if you mounted it on wood and went spartan on stuff, wire and screws and incidentals would run a couple thousand unless you are thrifty and have access to stuff. A battery could be from $2500 and up, likely.

It wants at least 200ah per inverter.
1 month ago

Jeremy Allen wrote:As a man of squishy sciences (biology, mycology, medicine- all squishy things) I’m less informed with things electrical. I’m setting up an 11kW solar system with PV to power my off grid home. Any helpful design sites out there? I’m having a hard time figuring out the best way to “plug it all together” including cables connecting the panels. YouTube has failed me. Much appreciated!

I would download or refence and read the manuals for all of the equipment you have and the stuff you might buy.

From there you should have a better understanding of the system and its requirements. The manuals usually have a glossary of terms and  explain function and relation of equipment within the system, generally.

The do's and dont's are quite important.

Get on and backwoods solar electric and read/watch the tutorials and explanations there.

There are actually not many major components to relate to and understand. There are not many different types of connection to be made.  Integration into building electric or yurt electric and other facets will add some areas to know.

Have enough battery.
Have enough charger.
Have enough inverter.
Have proper size wiring/cabling and overcurrent protection.
Have a minimal backup system and or spare components, especially in remote settings.
Make observations noting the system, usage and weather and operate accordingly.

1 month ago
We got rid of coffee machines in 2001 or 2002 and simply use a pan.

Once the water boils, it is taken off the heat and custom sized coffee grounds poured right in. A stir and while the mix is still whirling we set the pot on a log cut for holding the pan at a tilt.

Some observations.

Purified water or the best spring water only.

The combination of whirl and the low corner of the pot work together to help gravity sort stuff out.
Blowing over the top of the floating grounds releases them from the foamy surface mixture. I do this in the direction of spin.

Coffee is temp sensitive, too hot and it vaporizes the good stuff, too cold and you dont get much either. Steep with the lid on after a moment to flash off some.

Decant gently.

Getting groundless coffee without a strainer requires that the water is hot enough to expunge air from properly sized grounds, agitation to remove air bubbles clinging to grounds, and patience, dont be hasty or you will get the grounds too!
1 month ago
I am still interested in aquions. For newer tech, they have my attention. Toxicity is not what is claimed, basically edible or at least compostable active materials. Manganese can be quite problematic.

Better fire safety and general handling safety is always welcome.

Lithium needs a temp controlled environment and cannot be charged at low temps found at many installations.

Being able to charge 35kWh from empty in two hours instead of two days is awesome, however.... and being able to ebb and flow at low state of charge for a month or two without damage is also handy in our region.

Budget is nearly always the main determining factor in battery technology and size for a house battery. Budget spent on lithium could be used to properly size a lead acid one, ethical as they are and not have to recycle/re-purchase it as often, or it can be used to adopt new technology and see how it goes.

Lead toxicity is problematic and i look for phosphor-bronze terminals in order to avoid contamination during maintenance and installation. Usually found on agm or gel types.

1 month ago

Brian Church wrote:

frank li wrote:The heat engine is a great charger, i looked after commenting. One inverter would do, 12v or 24v. Not sure about charge control, and the temp differential requirements. A 24v vfxr2400w-3500w inverter with a mate3s and flexnet on 3 shunts would getter done. Likely a flexmax charge control can handle the heat engine.

frank, thanks for the responses.  

frank li wrote:
The machine can be run entirely offgrid or only pull from the grid to satisfy loads..... nifty trick!

If I'm understanding, it can function like a large/smarter uninterruptable power supply from the tech sector.  The good ones run the devices off the battery and use line power to charge the battery.  

Appreciate the feedback!  This site is great.

It will backfeed any power not usable onsite and transfer back and forth from grid to backup more or less seamlessly, your computer wont crash or anything, but you may just detect it, depending on lighting.

It will also attempt to use solar to power loads directly and overnight from storage in order to use max solar power and sip from the grid, no backfeed. Totally programmable.
2 months ago