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Topic by UnionLabel posted 05-22-2010 03:23 AM 4600 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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UnionLabel

70 posts in 4346 days

05-22-2010 03:23 AM

Since my retirement, my wife and I have moved to a small townhome community. I am in the process of converting part of the garage to my wood shop. Recently, I was elected as President of my townhome organization. In our neighborhood, we have a pond with a conventional aerator installed in it to help circulate the water. I have decided to look into getting it off the grid and go solar. I am thinking of going with a 24 volt battery system into an inverter to make it 110v. Also would like to use 24 volt marine charger to keep the batteries charged.
I am thinking about putting a plan in writing as a RFP and submit for a local grant as a educational tool for the local school system. I would like it to go WIFI, that way the local schools could connect and see what the sun can do. I think it would lend to earth science classes.
Anyone else ever do a project similar to this? Who knows, maybe it could lead to a community wide conversion to solar. We have an awful lot of these ponds in our areas using conventional power.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.



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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4989 days

05-22-2010 05:59 AM

I’m the sort of guy who’d seriously consider building everything from scratch, but I’d look around at the RV community to see who’s got systems to do this in place.

If you do decide to build it yourself, I’d find out a few things first:

How much current does the aerator use? This one starts out simple, it tells you how big an inverter you’ll need, but also feeds in to how much surface area you’ll need for the panels themselves.

What’s the duty cycle of the aerator? 24 hours a day? 8 hours a day? Does it have to run every hour (ie: 15 minutes on, 45 off), or every day, or can you skip a day here and there?

What’s the weather and climate like for you? If it’s like where I live, we can get a hundred days of straight sun, but we’ve also gotten nearly 60 days of straight rain. Thus something that needs to run, say, 30 hours a week, would need enough photovoltaic panels to run the system even when it’s cloudy, or a battery system that could store energy for two months (ha!).

Once you’ve got that, then you can start to figure out how to build the rest of the system. But also realize that unless you’re selling power back into the grid at legislated inflated prices, this isn’t going to pay for itself…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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UnionLabel

70 posts in 4346 days

05-22-2010 02:29 PM

Thanks Dan, yeah I’m pretty hands on too. I live in the Midwest, so we have sunshine but cloudy days too. The pump motor requirements are fairly low, so I am figuring a minimum of 3 – 430 watts per hour 24 volt panels will be required which in turn will charge all three banks of batteries to max in about 4 hrs. in full sun.
I’m looking at commercial grade AGM deep cycle 12 volt batteries at this point and 10 amp 12/24 marine style charger. Still plenty of research to do though.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4989 days

05-22-2010 06:57 PM

If the duty cycle allows, can you skip most of the batteries? That’s the part that goes bad and requires regular (5 years or so) replacement.

I’m looking for people line of sight to me to build a WAN using directional WiFi antennas, I think it’d be really cool to have monitoring for installations like this to talk to a network like that…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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UnionLabel

70 posts in 4346 days

05-22-2010 07:17 PM

The problem comes in that the system needs to run 24/7 365. However, I have been made aware of long term gel deep cycling batteries that supposedly have a longer life (7years). I don’t want to have to invest in a bunch of switching hardware to keer going to the grid at night. Once the aerator is on, it has to stay on. Winters here can be brutal, Ice can form at 1” an hour at -20F. Also, any condensation in the air line would freeze also if it shut down overnight.
In my area, we have WIFI in place with the cell towers, so a WAN setup will be easy, relatively speaking. I am looking into grants to help financially, we are non-for-profit, so there may be some private money available for education.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4989 days

05-24-2010 05:20 AM

Ouch. The aerator for my parents’ pond has like a 4 hour a day duty cycle, 100%’s kinda tough. Hey, stupid question: Is the aeration system just pumping air through the water? If so, would compressed air be a cheaper way to store the energy? You’d have to set up some sort of automatic drain for the holding tank, but a big pressure tank may be cheaper and would probably last longer than batteries.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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UnionLabel

70 posts in 4346 days

05-24-2010 02:27 PM

Unfortunately, it is a combination unit, both air and water. With that being said, what I am looking to do is to cycle the system during the day, photo voltaic for a period, then the batteries, then back to the panels then all night on the batteries. But at night, the output of the pump can be reduced by about 40%. So, there are some logistical items that need to be addressed.
Well, it is Monday morning, and I am off to talk with some people about grant writing and presentation.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

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terrilynne

3 posts in 4101 days

09-11-2010 01:16 AM

Have you considered adding a small wind turbine? When it’s cloudy and at night you would still be charging the batteries.

-- Terri Lynne Colorado / winter Texan

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UnionLabel

70 posts in 4346 days

09-11-2010 09:08 PM

Unfortunately, we are in a situation that would require supporting a rather tall pole. First, we haven’t the room for the required guide wires and second the location of a pole would be frowned upon by our neighbors. But thanks for the input.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

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BeckyCain

1 post in 2386 days

05-21-2015 06:48 AM

Have you read about the new tesla batteries, you could try put one of them.

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DeanCole

1 post in 2351 days

06-24-2015 07:50 AM

Try checking some of the Eco-friendly soil materials. Also I would consider trying out some energy saving, by using sun batteries on the roof and reduce the power grid consumption.

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