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opinions on my off-grid system - Page 8

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Posted by Jim Wilkins on January 11, 2014, 8:44 pm
 

Amorphous means without form or shape. At the molecular level it means  
jumbled, not organized into a crystal. You could think of amorphous  
lead sulfate as a loose pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces and the  
crystalline form as the solved, assembled puzzle. The loose pieces are  
very easy to move around, while the assembled puzzle takes some effort  
to break apart.
jsw  



Posted by twnick on February 1, 2016, 2:34 am
 
I'm new to this Google Groups thing. It looks like this thread had died out
 a while ago. But by the comments I've read here, you guys know what you're
 doing.
My question here is, I have an old "Mallard" mobile home trailer type thing
 that I use as a summer camp. I just got a small solar panel, battery, and  
inverter system hooked up to it. The lights that are used are all hooked up
 to a 12v car/deep cycle type of battery system. I want to go at least 24v  
to make it more efficient. But the downside to this is, the light system it
 has is only for 12v. What can I use to step down the voltage for the light
s?

Also, I had a generator hooked up the electrical system and when I plugged  
the power to the generator, the generator started going overtime like it wa
s struggling to keep on until I unplugged it. What can I do to fix that? A  
neighbor said to install thinner power cords to the trailer but I feel like
 that won't really do much.  

Any help is appreciated!

Posted by Jim Wilkins on February 1, 2016, 1:52 pm
 I'm new to this Google Groups thing. It looks like this thread had  
died out a while ago. But by the comments I've read here, you guys  
know what you're doing.
My question here is, I have an old "Mallard" mobile home trailer type  
thing that I use as a summer camp. I just got a small solar panel,  
battery, and inverter system hooked up to it. The lights that are used  
are all hooked up to a 12v car/deep cycle type of battery system. I  
want to go at least 24v to make it more efficient. But the downside to  
this is, the light system it has is only for 12v. What can I use to  
step down the voltage for the lights?

Also, I had a generator hooked up the electrical system and when I  
plugged the power to the generator, the generator started going  
overtime like it was struggling to keep on until I unplugged it. What  
can I do to fix that? A neighbor said to install thinner power cords  
to the trailer but I feel like that won't really do much.

Any help is appreciated!

======

Assuming you know something of electricity, the essential tool for  
diagnosing electrical problems is a meter like this:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
or whatever you can buy or borrow locally. If you don't understand  
basic electricity you should find someone local who does rather than  
asking distant strangers on the internet.

I don't own that particular model but I just bought their UT61E and am  
quite impressed with it. I prefer industrial-quality US-made  
electrical test equipment when I can find it in second-hand stores.  
The web page at least shows the proper type of equipment for  
troubleshooting.

You close the pliers-like clamp around -one- of the two AC wires to  
measure the current through it safely. You can isolate the wires by  
removing a section of the outer jacket from an extension cord or  
(safer) buy a "line splitter" which separates either one or ten turns  
of one side of the line. If you clamp around both wires the current  
coming back cancels the current going out and you won't see anything.  
The page for the $3.99 splitter says it has receptacles for the meter  
probes to measure AC line voltage, a risky procedure I was taught to  
do one-handed.

That meter also measures DC volts on the battery and solar panels. It  
doesn't measure DC current, the clamp only detects AC although some  
more expensive clamp-on meters can read both. In my experience their  
DC current readings drift rapidly and significantly with temperature  
changes, requiring frequent re-zeroing. Otherwise measuring DC current  
requires the knowledge of how and where to insert the meter into the  
circuit without risking damage. Short circuiting a battery can make  
wires explode.

-jsw  



Posted by clare on February 1, 2016, 6:31 pm
 On Mon, 1 Feb 2016 08:52:26 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"


24 volts works better for running invertors becuse the DC current is
cut in half, but for running 12 volt accessories you are further ahead
to stay with the existing 12 volt system.

When you say you plugged the generator to the electrical system, what
else was supplying the electrical system? On an AC system it is
extremely impractical to connect 2 power sources to the same syatem
unless one is a "grid tie" inverter.

A "grid tie" inverter can suppy power to an AC system connected either
to the "grid" or to a generator, but cannot provide AC without being
connected to either one - which makes it impractical for your use. The
problem comes from attempting to "synchronize" the sine wave output
from 2 AC sources. Out of synch, they just fight each other (as your
generator so plainly showed)

Posted by Vaughn Simon on February 1, 2016, 1:58 pm
 On 1/31/2016 9:34 PM, twnick@alaska.edu wrote:

They do make something called a "DC to DC converter" that will do what  
you want.  That said, I suggest that you reconsider going to a higher  
voltage with such a small system.  Why not keep things simple?  Besides,  
any conversion will involve some loss, so that will reduce any gain that  
you get from increasing the system voltage.  You can parallel two or  
even more similar batteries for more storage.

You didn't mention anything about a charge controller above.  You do  
have one don't you?  Without one, I guarantee you will eventually ruin  
your battery by overcharging.



There really isn't enough information here for me to give you a useful  
answer.  In short, you need to find out where all that current is going.  
  Unplug everything.  If that fixes the problem plug things in one at a  
time.  Perhaps the answer will suggest itself.

Alternatively, there is a short circuit somewhere in the system.  Are  
there any homemade power cords?


  A neighbor said to install thinner power cords to the trailer

No!

Regards
Vaughn


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