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Learning the difference

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Posted by George Ghio on June 15, 2007, 12:09 am
 



June 15, 2007
The danger of solar power information, and indeed information for any other
pursuit, from the web
and/or news groups is a combination of self delusion, self aggrandizement and
greed.

SELF DELUSION; This is a big trap for for many people. It works like this, a
person decides that he
would like to use solar power. This person has a preconceived idea of solar
power based on what they
have been told by someone in a pub, seen on TV or just wishful thinking. It
really doesnít matter
where the info comes from. What matters is that it is, nine times out of ten,
utter nonsense. The
problem is that the person wants to believe this information. Why do they want
to believe what is
patently rubbish. Well, the main reason is that it suits their idea of how
things should work. They
want to believe that all they need is a golf cart battery and a couple of
fifteen watt Harbor
Freight panels and they will have free power for life. Itís true, they will
believe what makes them
feel good, and the truth will not be allowed to get in the way.

SELF AGGRANDIZEMENT; This often follows on from self delusion. Our person
cobbles together a system
that will light his front porch or finds a system design  in a magazine that
looks wonderful and
copies it. In either case there is no regard for their real needs. No
understanding of system design
or their loads what-so-ever. But, all of a sudden they are the undisputed
masters of solar design.
Of course they must now share their expertise with anybody and everybody. They
put up a web site to
share their considerable knowledge, others look at the site and become self
deluded thus starting
down the path to becoming an expert in solar power. It is not long before there
are hundreds or
thousands of experts in solar power selling the same golf cart battery and and
HF panel fantasy to
other people who want to believe that you can be energy independent for a couple
of hundred dollars.

GREED; This is a different beast all together. Usually this type of person
starts out as a second
rate automotive - marine - golf cart battery salesman who all of a sudden
discovers that there is
money to be made from self deluded wannabes in the solar game. He is usually
still selling the same
old batteries but now they are, of course, just as good as the worlds best, at
half the price. Just
stick ten or twenty in parallel and Bobís your uncle. The only person to win is
the battery
salesman, he has your money and you have a truck load of manure.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Well, you can learn about solar power design. The first thing to learn is that
there is no great
magical art involved, just basic math skills and a willingness to accept that
solar power is free,
but the equipment required to use it is not.

Second thing to learn is that if the person giving you sage advice can not put a
watt hour figure to
every load in their system, it is highly unlikely that they know enough to be
giving advice.

Third thing to learn is being able to tell the difference between 1) Look what I
did, pat me on the
back, arenít I a clever little boy, web sites and 2) those that offer real
advice, using real
numbers, in a clear and precise way.

Fourth thing is that people who tout that any number of parallel strings of
batteries are as good as
a single series string of cells, are totally out of their depth as far as home
power systems are
concerned. If there is absolutely  no other option then limit the number of
parallel strings of
batteries to two.

Fifth, reduce your energy use. If you canít knock a third off your energy use,
youíre just not trying.

Sixth, Donít come to a forum such as this one and ask:

ďI have an average home, how much will solar power costĒ.

It only excites the wannabes and starts a barrage of nonsense. If you must ask
how much, at the very
least look at your last power bill, work out what you used for a single day and
post that number.
But, OTOH, the better thing would be to get copy of a spreadsheet and put your
number into it. And
of course the very best would be to do a complete energy audit of everything you
want to run and use
the final number in your spreadsheet. A good spreadsheet will tell you how many
panels and batteries
you will need in under two minutes. Then you can get on the net and find some
prices.

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


Posted by merlin-7 on June 15, 2007, 2:28 am
 


 George
  It may be true that your post is correct in many ways but you leave out a
great many things.

 The first one is, many people need to start small and work their way up.
This is not the most cost effective way but It does work.

 The way I look at it is, If someone installs a solar system (using golf
cart batteries or whatever) and they use it to run their porch light and
charge their cell phone, so be it. That's a few watts less used by burning
fossil fuels and they are learning.

 I have no idea why you think that  the HF 45 watt kit is bad...lets look at
it...
 You get 2 5 watt cfls, 3 15 watt panels and the mounts for them ( I do hate
the charge controller but it does make a good distribution box) for a very
good price per watt of panels, the other items are just gravy.

 As for paralleling batteries, It can be done but requires a lot more time.
Such as, Charging each set of batteries for 1 day a month by itself and
equalizing each set when needed) but it can be done, not the best way to do
it, but It can be done.

 Lets look at you George...

 Let me say first off that I have learned a good bit from you and am
thankful, that said. I do not understand why you always have negative
comments about people just starting out and the people tying to help them
with their first system. I think that everyone that wants to build their own
system should start out with a small set of panels, a small charge
controller and golfcart batteries or some other cheap battery. That way they
get to learn without investing a butt load of money into something they do
not understand.

 George, I am here, to learn and to help others, when I can.

 I do not, insult others or look down on anybody. I may make suggestions or
state a fact that I have learned from experience but I never insult.

I made many mistakes with my system but it always preformed the way I
expected it to, correcting the mistakes just improved it.

 Some how, I have managed to keep my battery bank up and running for over 2
years with a wild mix of batteries . Two optima yellow tops (sealed) and a
D-4 wet cell. Granted I only have 350 watts of panels (including 3 HF 45
watt kits) I also have to equalize the wet cell once a month or so but It
does work. It is not the best set up, but it does work.

George, do you realize, That if everyone listened to you, no one would ever
try to start a small expandable solar system?

 Something to think about...

 Joe



 As for

other pursuit, from the web

and greed.

a person decides that he

solar power based on what they

It really doesnít matter

ten, utter nonsense. The

want to believe what is

things should work. They

fifteen watt Harbor

will believe what makes them

cobbles together a system

that looks wonderful and

understanding of system design

masters of solar design.

They put up a web site to

self deluded thus starting

there are hundreds or

and HF panel fantasy to

couple of hundred dollars.

starts out as a second

discovers that there is

usually still selling the same

best, at half the price. Just

win is the battery

that there is no great

that solar power is free,

put a watt hour figure to

be giving advice.

what I did, pat me on the

advice, using real

of batteries are as good as

home power systems are

of parallel strings of

use, youíre just not trying.

ask how much, at the very

day and post that number.

your number into it. And

everything you want to run and use

many panels and batteries

some prices.


Posted by George Ghio on June 15, 2007, 4:59 am
 

merlin-7 wrote:

Those that want to play with solar can do so. I'm talking about serious design
and installation.

Fine by me, except, after they get their porch lit they become an expert. Well,
let's face it they
aren't. Not by any stretch if their imagination.

15 Watt panels are toys. you buy them for your children to play with and perhaps
learn something

Of course it can be done. It is now and has always been and will continue to be
the second best option.

Look, the plain and simple fact is that, there is just not that much to learn.
Why people want solar
to be so mysterious is beyond me. Anybody can design a solar power system with
nothing but the
correct formula and a calculator in around five minutes. And it will work.

Well, I'm sorry. But you help perpetrate the same old myths about batteries and
design that do more
harm and cost people more money than if they just learned to use the correct
formula.

Good, you learned that parallel batteries work, and because they work and you
use them you feel free
to tell others that it is a good idea.

You have built a system. This is not the same as sizing and designing a purpose
built system to meet
a required load.

And a bloody good thing that would be. Small expandable systems are called toys.
You are still in
the first category. You want to be right and you want to be seen as possessing
knowledge. You lurch
from one poor solution to another with out benefit of an end goal.

Try this;

Do an energy audit that defines your final goal in kWh.

Get a copy of the correct formula or a spreadsheet. I will send you one if you
like.

Compare the sized system to what you have now and see if what you have done so
far is compatible and
able to be expanded to what you require for a price that is realistic compared
to having just built
the system you need.

Something to think about.

Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


Posted by Todd on June 15, 2007, 3:37 pm
 


and installation.

Well, let's face it they

perhaps learn something

And then he says:

Why people want solar

nothing but the

What's wrong with this picture?


be the second best option.

And the first best option is?


and design that do more

formula.

And the correct formula is?


use them you feel free

And the better alternative is?


purpose built system to meet

Are we back to: "Look, the plain and simple fact is that, there is
just not that much to learn. Why people want solar to be so mysterious
is beyond me. Anybody can design a solar power system with nothing but
the correct formula and a calculator in around five minutes. And it
will work."   ???


toys.

Of course they are. General Motors and Ford started business making
10,000 cars a day didn't they?


And GM and Ford and George have rendered the first category obsolete.


This is the ARROGANT AVOIDER EXPERT tactic. Sell the analysis:

Final goal kWh isn't of much use if you don't know the demand pattern.
And I'll bet George's analysis does not reveal that. In fact I bet
nobody's does. I bet they just add a fudge factor to apply to the kWh
and hope for the best. And if they do that they might as well look at
the light bills and back calculate to kWh and do the same thing.



like.

You make a big deal about this formula: Is addition now called a
formula?


far is compatible and

to having just built

Right ... and we've moved so much closer to the true answer to the
question haven't we?



Posted by Anthony Matonak on June 15, 2007, 4:20 pm
 

Todd wrote:

perhaps learn something

learn. Why people want solar

with nothing but the

What's wrong with this is...
You read his post.
You responded to his post.
Anything past that gets lost in the noise.

Just as point of reference, most laptop computers use around 20 watts.
A single 15W panel would be enough to run a laptop a couple of hours a
day (more or less).

One could argue that "Laptops are toys. You buy them for your children
to play with and perhaps learn something." but that would be obviously
wrong.

We could compile an entire list of things you can do with a single 15W
solar panel but what would be the point? It won't make the newsgroup
any better. It'll only place us under attack and feed the trolls.

Anthony

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