my 12v offgrid system

stevo

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This is my "build thread" for my offgrid home system. This could get a little bit messy. I'm saving about $200 a year off the electricity bill. My aim is not really to save money from the "ongrid" bills, but to try get to an "offgrid stage".. it's one of my hobbies. I love all the offgrid and low voltage stuff.

Current Specs:
2 serparate systems with the same specs:
==========
2x
85 watt panel
120ah battery
==========
supplies:
  • laptop
  • TV
  • lights
I am setting up this offgrid system... here's my light switch... it has 4 options for the light switch.. (all 12volt offgrid)
I put this 240v switch box in, it contains all the regular 12v wiring, and has a fuse inline.


kitchen downlights



my "Garden Bar"

 

Mark

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That's a nice savings 200 bucks a year is nothing to sneeze at...

What would one of those 85 watt panels cost?
Pardon my ignorance but the wiring job - can it be done legally by a non-electrician (assuming it can if it's not connected to the grid)?
Does the battery recharge fully each day and how much use roughly could you get out of it of a night?
Do you mean get your whole house to an off grid stage?

Sorry for the thousand questions :)

P.S Quaint little outside bar :cheers:
 

stevo

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argh i can't edit my original post.

Mark, it's just 12v and yeah it's not connected to mains power, i'm not sure if there's any rules about 12v wiring, ( i uploaded and replaced the lightswitch photo so no one gets the wrong idea). This setup is just temperary and is under development, i don't really want to drill holes in walls to run wiring, i'd like to build up the system and get everything where i want it.

The batteries charge fully if it's a good sunny day. One system runs the fridge and lights, the other system runs the laptop, tv and fan. The fridge has been running for about one year. The laptop can run all day, or run the laptop and tv for about 6hours at night. (guestimates).

These are Suntech panels, 85watt is about $400 each. There's a lot cheaper panels out there. I'd like to get some 200watt panels in the future. 120AH batteries are about $400 each.

Yeah i'd really like to get fully offgrid with power, i haven't figured out the hot water system or stove yet withou spending lots of money.

I used to have one panel on the ute for running the fridge for camping, and this system can be easily put on the ute for my usual christmas camp. That's why it's mounted on a roof rack.

 
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Steve

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I've never really thought about running 12v through the house but why not. We do it while we're camping where just about everything is 12v.
And if you need 240v you just run an inverter.
Might need keep this in mind for a rainy day.

Good job Stevo.
 

Mark

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Love the roof rack idea - from running the home fridge one day to fitting it on the ute and camping the next...

So you pay your costs back over a few years but I guess the panels should last 20 so it's a good investment.

And if you need 240v you just run an inverter.
Yeah, easy as :)

argh i can't edit my original post.
Look, what I'll do is create another user group (like premium or valued member) and increase the editing time to 24 hours for cases like this when a member wants to edit a post. Currently, registered members have 30 minutes. Let me work on on the parameters and come up with something...
 

stevo

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cheers Steve, yeah there's lots of 12v stuff available, but a lot can be pretty average quality. It seems to cost a fair bit to try get energy efficient appliances.

Maybe one day i'll buy a block of land and build a offgrid shack :cheers: ... i like all that shack / tiny house stuff

cheers Mark
 

stevo

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I added some more, I installed another lightswitch, this will be for the outside areas, 12v pump in the pond, 12v LED light in the pond. I'm not sure about the life of the pump, it's a pump i had for the boat, it's used for aerating water in a boats live tank.


 

Mark

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Very professional! And all using free power. A proper switch is so much better than wires hanging out everywhere. You're giving me plenty of ideas with this thread :cheers:
 

stevo

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cheers Mark, I do actually have wires everywhere for different projects, I set things up and see how they work for a while before making them permanent. For years I just used auto electrical stuff like switches and things because I never thought about using house stuff, but this is way better for the application. When you have something set up and easy to use you do use it more. If something is set up in a half done impractical way you tend to forget about it.

One thing I noticed with the switches, when ON, they send the full 12v through, when OFF they send 4volts through, so they're not a real isolating switch. Maybe that's why they say to unplug your appliances, because they will still get and use power even if turned off. I noticed this a while ago with one of my camping systems. When it was dark and everything was off, the LED lights were glowing, so still using power when off! This may not matter to most people, but when you're trying to set up an small offgrid low voltage system it all matters.
 

Mark

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One thing I noticed with the switches, when ON, they send the full 12v through, when OFF they send 4volts through, so they're not a real isolating switch. Maybe that's why they say to unplug your appliances, because they will still get and use power even if turned off. I noticed this a while ago with one of my camping systems. When it was dark and everything was off, the LED lights were glowing, so still using power when off! This may not matter to most people, but when you're trying to set up an small offgrid low voltage system it all matters.
That's very interesting I never knew that! I thought off meant off - obviously not :shock:
 

Steve

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One thing I noticed with the switches, when ON, they send the full 12v through, when OFF they send 4volts through, so they're not a real isolating switch. Maybe that's why they say to unplug your appliances, because they will still get and use power even if turned off. I noticed this a while ago with one of my camping systems. When it was dark and everything was off, the LED lights were glowing, so still using power when off! This may not matter to most people, but when you're trying to set up an small offgrid low voltage system it all matters.
Stevo, something isnt right here o_O. I've never heard of a electrical switch that doesn't cut 100% of power off.
I would recheck this as it could be a faulty switch. You could completely remove the switch from power and check resitance (ohms) across it to check its integrity.

I'm no electrician so I could well be wrong but it doesnt sound right to me. Hmmm
 

stevo

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ok false alarm :tease:The new switch tested perfect. The first switch is a bit suspect, i think i'll have to take it apart fo a closer looksee.

Out of interest i tested my two solar regulators, they have an "12v output for appliances" with a on / off button. In the off position , one tested ok but the other one still puts out 7.8volts :eek:
 

Steve

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ok false alarm :tease:The new switch tested perfect. The first switch is a bit suspect, i think i'll have to take it apart fo a closer looksee.

Out of interest i tested my two solar regulators, they have an "12v output for appliances" with a on / off button. In the off position , one tested ok but the other one still puts out 7.8volts :eek:
Might need to check that one out too.
Maybe check your gauge too? Weird for sure
 

stevo

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under development...

Today i connected up a 12v timer to one of the switches, this is connected to a 12v submersible pump. The pump is submersed in the pond. I have set it so at 3pm each day it will pump for 5 minutes. I have set up a basic irrigation system for the vegie garden with a long length or cheap irrigation hose with holes punched in it. The tap in the photo allows you to regulate the pressure, and by leaving it a little open it also stops the irrigation pipe from syphoning the pond. I figure i'll just run it for five minutes a day, it may not be enough water for the garden but i don't want to take too much from the pond at the moment. I top up the pond from the water tank.




 
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