Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger = ?

Posted by: groo

Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger = ? - 08/20/04 12:25 AM

Four (five, I dunno... gave up and got a hotel room) days without power was not fun.

Ideally, I'd like a system that would let me run an inverter off a 12V battery at night with solar recharging during the day. I've googled, and there seem to be a lot of options, at least for the various components of such a system. Don't know where to start, though.

Anyone have any experience with something like this?

Posted by: bountyhunter

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger - 08/20/04 01:58 AM


I do not have any personal experience, but when I "Webcrawled" (I like to give the underdog search engines a chance.), I get the impression that solar, and wind energy systems are very extensive in Australia.

If they use a lot of those systems there, it would seem to stand to reason that they would have more knowledge than places that make it hard (U.S.A.?) for people to get off the grid.

Good luck.

Posted by: David

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger = ? - 08/20/04 05:12 AM


Go to Backwoods Home magazine's web page. Look in the "Current Issue" section for an article by Jeff Yago. It's part of a series they're currently publishing.

The "Article Index" has a number of articles on energy that are available on-line.

Their back issues, annual anthologies (each year's 6 issues softbound into a single book), CD-ROMs, etc, offer an abundance of information & sound guidance. Their bookstore also has several volumes on the topic.

I've been reading & subscribing to BHM since the start of their 4th year; they're a great magazine & resource. The web site is a veritable gold mine at your fingertips.

Good luck!

Posted by: NeighborBill

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger = ? - 08/20/04 12:06 PM

Has a good article on a fairly inexpensive "home" solar rig, which is designed to be expandable.
Posted by: KG2V

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger = ? - 08/20/04 12:13 PM

Where do you start? You start with the following questions:
1)What am I interested in running?
2)How long do I want to run it for?

If your talking "whole house" solar systems - hate to say it, they probably won't survive a hurricane, so now your talking a solar system you can store, and setup POST storm, which is going to limit what you do. Solar is also NOT cheap. I've looked into it for Ham radio backup, and it was going to cost me close to a grand just to power my radios!!!

Frankly, generators are a LOT cheaper, more compact, deliver more power, but you need FUEL - which means you are going to have to store the fuel.

I doubt you have oil heat in Florida, otherwise I'd remind you that Home Fuel Oil is basically desiel - yeah, you can't use it for your car (just tax rules) but that doesn't say you can't use it to run a generator. Gas? Yeah, but there is a fire hazard - You always "fill on warning", BUT is something unexpected happens, your hosed (you can tap off the car, but) Natural Gas? You rely on them supplying it. Others all have problems

Good luck
Posted by: RayW

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger = ? - 08/20/04 05:32 PM

Groo, just running the fridge will cost you several thousand dollars in PV panels. What you need to do is determine exactly what you want to run and the wattage required to run it. Most of the sites selling solar have calculators to determine how many panels will be required. If you start compairing generator to solar, the price of solar to run the refrigerator will buy you a generator large enough to power the whole house with automatic transfer and start switches.

As an alternative you might want to look into generator+deep cycle batteries+inverter. This combination will allow you to turn off the generator at night and still have power. If you live in a development your neighbors will tend to frown on leaving the gen-set running all night long. If you go this way you can run voltage sensitive equipment off of the inverter, such as your computer.

Bountyhunter, most of Florida doesn't have a high enough average sustained wind speed to make a wind system cost effective and a hurricane is a little too much wind for one. If politicians wanted to produce power in a environmentally safe way they could produce enough power for the US just by installing wind mills all the way around DC.
Posted by: bountyhunter

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger - 08/20/04 06:59 PM


Was talking about after the Hurricane for supplemental emergency use. I understand the limitations of low end windmills.

There is one thing being overlooked in these posts. You could buy some 12 volt dc current appliances that you feel are necessary for emergency use. They are a little more expensive up front, but from what I have read about inverters and rectifiers reliability, I would rather have a 12 volt refrigerator, freezer, coffee maker, fan, small oven, and hot plate than rely on inverters and rectifiers for my emergency appliances.


P.S. Did you read about Senator Ted Kennedy being put on the "No Fly" list by the TSA for a couple of weeks?
Posted by: Nomad

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger - 08/21/04 12:57 PM

I would recommend a generator for your purpose. If you are handy with tools, take a look at the following url for info on making a small generator from a lawn mower engine.
Home Built Generator from Lawn Mower Engine

Looks interesting, but I have not tried it.

Posted by: bountyhunter

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger - 08/21/04 03:32 PM

"Mother Earth" journal had a similar article a long time ago that showed how to make a portable welder with everything mounted on the lawnmower deck so you could wheel it from site to site.

Posted by: RayW

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger - 08/21/04 11:28 PM

Yes there was an article on Teddy in the local paper, it was rather amusing.

From what i have read the better inverters have very high reliability. But you are correct that inverters are not 100% effecient, there is always a power loss. And if you size your inverter to run the well pump then only run a light bulb the ineffeciency of the inverter is quite substantial.

The only problem with 12v appliances is the the extra expence involved and then trying to convince the cook of the house that you want to buy a new refrigerator that doesn't defrost itself.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger - 08/24/04 10:16 PM

I am reminded of Soilent Green and the power generation there - a bicycle on a generator. I know that there are simmilar in use in Austrailia. soylent green

Posted by: brian

Re: Inverter + Deep Cycle Battery + Solar Charger - 08/24/04 11:30 PM

I read the article and I have an old lawn mower in the garage... sure is tempting to try just for the fun of it. <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />