New Solar and Misc. Projects (3/2/2016)

Since I was off the first half of the week last week, I decided to head to the ranch on Wednesday last week.  I could work remotely Thursday and Friday, and then get some stuff done after work and on the weekend.  Upon arriving Wednesday I found that indeed the batteries were not being charged by my little 40 watt panel, and the power for the fridge was off.  My first task of the day was to start the solar rebuild so we could get some ‘real’ charge on the batteries and give me power.

We purchased two new pieces of equipment, among miscellaneous items such as fuses, switches, bus bars, and new cables.  The two major (unplanned) purchases were a new Renogy MPPT 40A Charge Controller and a Renogy 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave inverter were made to replace our blown charge controllers and the modified sine wave inverter we were using.  After doing research I found that a modified sine wave inverter takes more power to function.  So, my first task was to remove all of the previous components and wiring configurations.

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I then moved the solar panel input to the left wall and added a fuse on the input.  In the future, when I add more panels, I will want that wall to hold a combiner box so that all the individual lines come in to the shed and I combine them there in any configuration I want.

Next I added voltage bus bars at the bottom of the board, so that no longer will I be going to the batteries to add/remove any components.  I have one location now, a common bus bar.  I took the 4 gauge wires from the batteries and attached them to the DC voltage bus bars.

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It looks a little jumbled, but I have some loose grounding going on and some extension cords for now, but overall very happy with the way it turned out.  You can see the bus bars at the bottom, and the different switches for each area of power.

I think on Friday I added the A/C panel back to the mix, so we would have power upstairs to charge things.

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This is pretty much the finished configuration.  The shelf I added I will be extending on my next trip.  I also added a 110V outlet in the upper right hand corner of the shed that you can’t see.  A generator fed A/C sub panel will be added to the right side in the near future so that in case anything happens to the solar, we can power up the generator, plug it in to the box, and get power to some major appliances.

Oh, so back to my story…after completing everything, except the A/C panel, it was too late on Wednesday to get a charge back on the batteries, and I needed some cooling….not just for beer, but for food as well.  I had to head back in to town, yes hooked up the horses to the wagon, to get some ice for the night.  The next day refrigerator was back on and running normal.  Over the next couple of days I had a lot of charging on the batteries and running anything I needed to.  We are back on our way to power freedom, I hope.  I will know more tomorrow.

Another task I needed to finish, as rain was expected on Sunday, was the rainwater input.  Something I found out, that was kinda funny, is my first flush diverter I installed, you can see it here.

Well, I opened it up to clean it out and what did I find?  The oversized ping pong ball it uses to float and close the diverter was squashed completely. ha.  Something definitely happened over the winter.  I ended up taping it to a long piece of PVC and shoving it up there to divert all of the water.  I will have to cut that thing off and cap it so all the water flows in.  Since I added the Banjo inline filter, not sure how much I need that first flush working.  I got the last piece installed, so that we have that inline filter in place, and now just waiting for rainwater.

I am pretty sure my days all ran together, with a mix of work and ranch project work.  Another thing I wanted to work on was adding a PVC conduit for power lines so we could close up the wall behind what will be our bedroom closets.

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This will make it possible to put the back wall in place and still run power lines from the utility shed up into the ceiling where they will be routed to where they need to end up.  I think it turned out pretty well.

Another project I wanted to get one was leveling the new container, Crusty, somewhat to remove about 1.5 inches in slope.  This was fun for sure.  Using a little bottle jack there is somewhat a lack of stability when jacking up that think.  We had done it before on our first container, so no reason it wouldn’t work again.  I found that the jack would tilt left or right and the container would move that way as well.  Not good.  I finally got about an inch of slope out and that is all I wanted to risk.

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The next thing I did was to frame out the door opening to accept a 36″ house door we are moving from our other container.  I think it went really well and will be ready to move the door once we have the opening between the two containers.

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Now, some might notice the support framing above the door…and yes there is really nothing to support since it is a solid metal framed container, but I just couldn’t help myself. ha.  That frame is ready to go whenever we move the door.  The plan is to move that single hung door from the the other container to this wall.  Then we are going to move the patio door from the loft down to the other container, once we move the bed down to the main floor.

Today is Thursday the 10th, and I am heading out tomorrow afternoon for another five day stint.  I am hoping being up there for multiple days will help the progress all that much more.  We shall see.

Oh, thanks to my buddy Dave, we now have a webcam to test up at the property.  I am going to get it connected this weekend so that after I leave it will upload a couple pictures per day to a webpage I have running.  Very exciting!  More on that later.  Thanks Dave!