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#147194 - 09/03/08 03:50 AM Another 12v Power Question
NorCalDennis Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 61
Loc: Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
Earlier this year I transformed an old shed into a chicken coop, and now have restored an old nieghboring horse stall/tack room into a pig pen w/ store room. My dilema is that there is no power to these two buildings and they are several hundred feet from our AC power at the house.

I am looking for a reasonably low cost solution for creating a 12v power source using a used PV solar panel, descent sized deep cycle AGM 12v battery, and 12v lighting in the three spaces (coup, pen, storage room). I will also need the capability to have a timer on the coup lighting so that we can extend the chicken's laying through the winter - and hopefully some motion sensor exterior lights.

I am having a hard time pulling the resources together to make this happen.

Any recommendations on how I can make this happen?

Thanks, as always, for your insight and recommendations.
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While I have long believed that I will never get old, I have come to the realization that sooner or later there will be more people younger than me.

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#147197 - 09/03/08 04:27 AM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: NorCalDennis]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
I`ll be following this as we will need to do the same soon too smile

Where are you in the foothills?
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#147204 - 09/03/08 05:48 AM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: Todd W]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
For less than the cost of the batteries you could rent a ditch-witch, drop in a run of #10UF cable, set a small six circuit 240v MLO panel, set a two-pole 20A CB in the house end and a couple of 15A CBs for 120v circuits on the shed end.

I would have to run the numbers to confirm the wire size but 15A on #10 at 200' each way sounds about right. Simple enough to do the calculation but it is late.

Two 15A circuits would give you all the lights you could want and a circuit for tools, a small space heater in the winter, a fan in the summer. A lot simpler and reliable than messing with batteries that will need replacement, solar panels, chargers and all the rest.

You can rig a solar setup on the house where you can more easily mess with it.

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#147211 - 09/03/08 10:05 AM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: Art_in_FL]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Doing that, I'd want some kind of conduit. A woodchuck that chomps down a wire thinking it is a root is a rather impressive thing.
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When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#147219 - 09/03/08 12:53 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: ironraven]
CAP613 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/22/05
Posts: 87
Loc: W. PA
How about the low voltage out door yard lights, I think they are 12 volt, I do not think I have seen any 12 volt timers.
If you go with a 12 Volt set up I would also invest in a inverter so you could run small power tools in the coop if needed, probality 400 watt would do, I would assume that if you where doing and heave work you would runn an extenstion from the house or use a generator.
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#147220 - 09/03/08 12:54 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: ironraven]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
The simplest and probably least expensive way to do it is to look for one of the better yard pathway solar lighting systems these have sensors to come on at night and turn off during the day. And charge during the day. If all you want is light, these seem like the best way to do.


But if you want more power a 45 watt solar panel & charge controller from Harbor Freight ($180.00 on sale about every other month, normally $249.00) and a battery. Then look for a 12-volt LED light that comes on at night.
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#147233 - 09/03/08 02:51 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: BobS]
NorCalDennis Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 61
Loc: Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
ToddW - We live in the area outside of Grass Valley.

The terrain, fencing, very rocky soil, and existing irrigation lines would make it very difficult for the 200' run to bring power to this spot. The Ditch Witch is also too small a unit to be effective in our area givin the soil conditions.

I will check out Harbor Frieght for the sale Bob S mentioned. I assume I can find some standard RV/TT light fixtures that could be used with LED lights. The chickens don't need all night light, so I need to find, or at least create, a timer system that would come on at 5AM and run until sun up - this would be enough to keep them laying through winter.

Has anyone seen and 12v motion sensor lights?

_________________________
While I have long believed that I will never get old, I have come to the realization that sooner or later there will be more people younger than me.

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#147293 - 09/03/08 10:32 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: ironraven]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: ironraven
Doing that, I'd want some kind of conduit. A woodchuck that chomps down a wire thinking it is a root is a rather impressive thing.


In my experience very few animals actually will bite into a live line. I have seen gopher tortoises and both moles and gophers dig around them but I have never seen them do any real damage. once saw where a tortoise dug around a pole and cased it to fall over. Generally if you plant them 24 inches deep the only real and probable risk is humans. And if someone comes at it with a Ditch-Witch, backhoe or PHD odds are a conduit, anything less than RMC and a lot of luck, doesn't do you any good.

Of course if the ground is solid rock poles or skyhooks are the way to go.

I wouldn't worry about any irrigation or water lines. Usual plan is to figure out the type and size, lay in a supply of pipe and repair fittings and just count on running the Ditch-Witch through them. You chose your route to avoid the bulk of those you know about. No need to make more work. But in the end water line repairs are quick, easy and cheap. I don't even hand dig around them unless I can do it in a minute or two. I just try to hit them square so the damaged sections are short and make sure I know where the isolation valves are so they don't flood my ditch.

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#147313 - 09/03/08 11:42 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: Art_in_FL]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
In my admittedly slim experience with running electrical lines underground, local codes required that the line be in conduit, and something like 18" below the surface...
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#147318 - 09/04/08 12:07 AM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
Originally Posted By: OldBaldGuy
In my admittedly slim experience with running electrical lines underground, local codes required that the line be in conduit, and something like 18" below the surface...


You mean I can't hang them from branch to branch frown Darn!
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