This project goes over the details on how you can setup and install a 300W Off the grid Micro Hydro System for your home .
The water source mentioned in this project have a flow rate of 15 – 30 gallons a minute and the drop between the source and the house is about 150 feet.
The first step is to make an intake angled screen box for the system that helps in channeling the water from the source. The aluminum screen on the top blocks leaves, sticks and other debris to pass through into the box . The box is made of a 24 inch 2X10 ,2X4 and an 2X8 angled piece treated lumber.
We add 3 one and quarter inch attachment points on the lower side of the box for the hdpe poly pipes. The box is secured using exterior screws on the outside and inner tubes on the seam to prevent leaks.
The box is installed on the creek with help of couple of three and half inch concrete anchors and two boards are screwed on both the sides for support.
The outlet poly pipes from the intake screen box goes to 55 gallon plastic barrel which acts as a silt catchment and also an air free source. The 3 outlet pipes are connected to the top of the barrel with the help of uniseal rubber gaskets. A 2 inch pipe is installed midway on the tank for the penstock.
We also install an overflow pipe near the top of the tank to take the extra water out and a three inch cleanout pipe at the bottom . The cleanout pipe can be unscrewed to remove the silt and debris out.
To take the water from the intake to the turbine, the penstock used here is a 100PSI 1100ft 2 inch poly pipe. A threaded adapter is glued to the outlet coming out of the barrel. It is then connected to a two inch full port shutoff ball valve followed by an another threaded adapter and a pipe. The penstock poly pipe is attached to this pipe using barb fittings with hose clamps.
Next step is to install the pressure gauge and the surge tank to our penstock pipe. Water will come down through the poly pipe into another PVC pipe fitted with a pressure gauge, surge tank, two inch closing ball valve and a union to remove the turbine from the pipe. The surge tank is made of a standpipe that will prevent any water hammer affecting the pipes.
The two inch poly pipe coming out from the barrel is connected to the two inch PVC surge tank and pressure gauge using regular . If the main shut off valve is suddenly closed, this tank will allow some of the surge to be absorbed.
Next step is to build a housing for the micro hydro turbine. It is going to have a lid that opens up and a drain field pipe that goes out back to the creek. The housing for the turbine is made of three quarter inch plywood that is 2 X 2 foot wide and one foot tall. The turbine sits inside the hosing in the middle with the help of some 2x 4 scrap wood and a bucket lid piece. Then a 3 inch exit pipe comes out of here down through the middle of the housing .This drain pipe keeps the water from piling up under the turbine.
The Micro Hydro Turgo Turbine is custom built based on the head pressure and the flow rate of the water source. It has three ball valves and four quarter inch jet nozzles coming out of them. The ball valves can be separately turned off when there is not enough water .The turbine is wired up to be three phase. The water coming out of the penstock hits jet nozzles that turns the Pelton wheel which is connected to 3 phase AC motor.
To connect the turbine to our house, we use a 10/3 underground feeder wire. The wire is enclosed in a one inch conduit pipe. The proper way to install wire into a conduit is to get your conduit all glued together. And then you have a vacuum that pulls a string through. You tie your string to the wire and then pull the wire through the conduit. The wire goes into the house through a PVC conduit body.
We install a junction box on the housing of the turbine to join the 3 phase turbine output wires to the 10/3 UG feeder wires coming from the house. Inside the house, we connect a rectifier to the three legs of the three phase coming from the turbine .This converts the AC generated into DC power.
To generate useable power from this micro hydro system we need to install certain electrical devices in our houses. These include the MPPT Charge Controller, Grid Tie limiter Inverter, breaker box, disconnect switches and the batteries. These components are mounted on a 2 X 2 foot ,three inch plywood board. In case there is some excess heat for one of these electronics at some point, we cover the plywood board with a piece of sheet metal so that it will act as a heat sink.
From the rectifier, the connection goes into a 25amp breaker box .The red wire goes into the breaker box and then further connects to positive of the charge controller. The negative white wire is directly connected to the negative of the charge controller.
The five 12V AGM batteries are connected in series using four gauge cables. The positives from the batteries are connected to the charge controller and the inverter via DC switches .These switches allows us to isolate and disconnect the components individually. The negatives from the batteries are connected to the negatives of both charge controller and inverter respectively. The inverter is further connected to receptacle from where it goes straight to the main supply.
- How to build your own DIY off grid / grid down Solar Power Back up system from scratchThis project goes over the build of a Solar Power Grid Down Backup System to generate your own alternative power.A great way to utilize renewable energy as a backup source of power. Whatever may be the reason , may be to offset electricity bills or for self reliance to provide when the grid goes down, a solar backup system is simply a great way to provide alternative power to maintain a lifestyle of reasonable convenience. If the grid should go down, I can have a freezer, power lighting, pump water, maintain communications, use tools, and charge every little device I have from flashlights to kindles. This Off grid Solar Power System is composed of 5 components. Solar panels to generate the power, a charge controller to charge the batteries, the batteries to store the energy, the inverter to provide AC to the household items you wish to power. Also you need a Kilowatt meter. The kilowatt meter measures two things you have to know how much energy your devices draw at any given moment, and how much power they consume over time. Here we use 100 watt monocrystalline panels, a 40 amp MPPT charge controller, a 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter and to store the energy, 446 volt golf cart batteries totaling 470 amp hours. First you need to size your system by figuring out how many devices you are going to want to run at the same time. This will determine the size of your inverter, the inverters function is to take DC power from the batteries and converted to AC power for use with household appliances. If I have 1000 watt inverter, this means I can run up to 1000 watts worth of devices at the same time. Once you have evaluated every device that you feel that you are going to need, should the grid go down, you are gonna have a good idea of how much power you need to generate each day. The battery bank consists of four, six volt, Duracell SLIGC 125, golf cart batteries connected in series. Golf cart batteries are designed to deliver a lower amount of power over a longer period of time and then recharge quickly. When picking a spot to locate your panels, you have to consider that the sun will be lower towards the horizon in the winter, and closer to directly overhead in the summer. Building a system that actually tracks the sun would be best as the panels are always pointed directly at the sun. Also mount your panels as close as possible to the batteries. This is because the longer your wire run, the more energy is wasted due to resistance. You also need to select the proper gauge wire to transmit the power from the solar panels to the batteries. Between the panels and the batteries is the charge controller ,it controls the charge of the batteries and make sure that the batteries get the proper voltage that they need and that they don't get overcharged. Here we use an MPPT Solar Charge controller. If your solar panels are wired in series and connected to an MPPT charge controller, the voltage adds up ,thus giving us enough voltage to charge the batteries. An MPPT charge controller can charge your batteries nearly the entire time The sun is out. If your panels are far away and you want to save money and wiring, then the MPPT charge controller is way more efficient than PWM. The first step in making your solar system safe is making sure that there's an automatic and a manual way to disconnect power in each segment of the system. Starting right here at the battery box we have a 300 amp manual switch to kill the power from the batteries to the inverter as well as a 200 amp fuse that will blow automatically. Another component to the safety is the grounding. Grounding your system is quite easy to do. So get an eight foot grounding rod and drive it into the ground. Then pick up some copper grounding wire, some lugs and connect the frames have all the panels in any metal components in the system including the charge controller and the inverter.
- How to Generate Alternative Offgrid Power by building a Homemade Waterwheel Hydro Electric SystemThis project goes into the build of a homemade alternative offgrid power generation system using a water wheel and flowing water source like a stream or creek. In order to catch the water from your spring or creek , the first step is to build a small dam. This enables us to produce maximum power from the running water wheel . First, We use a 4 inch pipe to divert the water before starting the construction of the dam. With a solid concrete foundation ,we aim to make a 42 inch dam with 30 inch of head . A six inch 36 inches long PVC drain pipe is installed on the high water side .The dam is constructed using four layer of hollow blocks and quickrete blended mason mix .Try raising the water higher to see how much higher it needs to go before it overflow through the sides. The dam board gates made of deck boards are installed in the middle .The back board and the front boards are spaced apart an inch and three quarters. The dam stop gate made of plywood with dimensions of one and half is inserted between the boards . To get a tight seal a half inch rubber tube is stuffed between these boards. With a 13 and half inch treated plywood and couple of 2X6 plywood side boards, the flume is built. The side boards are glued to the plywood base using adhesive sealant and screwed with exterior grade screws. To resist twisting and to keep the width of the plywood steady , four cross spacers are installed on the flume board. To divert the water without having to drain the dam, we make a small trap door in the flume near the opening . The trap door is made seven inches back from the face of the dam. The door is supported by a flange around the back and a stainless steel hinge. The flume is installed on the creek with the help of rebars and supporting deck boards. The rebars are attached to the boards using u-bolts and drill bit. Three more subsequent flumes are attached to each other. The gap between the flumes are sealed with poly foam caulk rope. The waterwheel is made out of a section of 55 gallon HDPE drum . The blades are made of 4 inch PVC drain pipe. The blades are curved so that it retains most of the water making it more energy efficient. 24 blades are attached to the drum using 16th by half aluminum angle pieces. A three quarter inch jack shaft from an old go-kart is used as the drive shaft. This is supported at both ends of the wheel with a help of pillow block bearings. Two 28 inch Circular end pieces made of plywood is bolted along both sides of the barrel using a 6 ten inch long half by thirteen carriage bolts to make the wheel build complete. Two square collar blocks are mounted on to shaft to center them. The holes are larger than the shaft so that the wheel can be adjusted to get the runouts reduced.To center the waterwheel and to adjust the runout of the center shaft , we use four blocks and adjustment bolts around the center block like a four jaw chuck . To install the water wheel securely, a support structure made of 2x4 boards are installed near the end of the flume. The water wheel is secured on these support boards with the help of couple of swivel block bearings. We use an adjustable Unistrut to mount the bearings,sprockets and the motor. This can be adjusted for chain tension as well. The Unistrut will stand vertically on top of the cross support that is under the flume.The Unistrut's are mounted onto the wheel on both the sides with help of bearings and T-nuts. A Number 35 sprocket with 72 tooth is mounted onto the center wheel shaft. This sprocket is connected to a half shaft with 11 tooth sprocket with the help of a size 35 go kart roller chain. A Permanent Magnet Brushed DC motor mounted on 2x4 board is further connected to this shaft via another sprocket. This gear system has a ratio of 30.86:1 Using unistruct angled brackets, the wheel is mounted onto the support board near the flume. The wheel is positioned near the flume in such a way that the water where it meets the wheel is exactly at the top. The charging system consists of a 12V DC emergency standby battery, MPPT charge controller, 300W sine wave inverter . The connection from the water wheel DC motor goes to the charge controller.The charge controller is also connected to the battery. Finally the inverter is connected to the battery which is further connected to a load. To make this charging system secure, make sure to make fuse connection between the components. All these components are mounted on a temporary wooden board. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDda5L4aJUB-IuU3SWstKewFvzfv3wJGI
- How to build an Inexpensive Geothermal Solar Air Conditioning System to Cool your Garage using an Old Car Radiator ,Solar Panel.This project goes over the build of a cheap Geothermal Solar air conditioner that can cool your home with the Earths natural cool temperature. A few feet underground, the temperature remains between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is true regardless of the weather above ground.The geothermal unit siphons heat from inside and vents it into the water or refrigerant in the loop. The cool temperature underground then lowers the temperature of the liquid back to 55 degrees. In my case when I draw the water well, the static water level is 2 feet above the ground and and what that means that there is a free flowing well that runs down the hill. This is connected to a 55 gallon drum buried in the ground to keep it cool. A circulator pump is used to pump the water to the radiator. The water well is about 85 feet.We drop a 10 foot pipe in there and get a cheap pump from a car and probably some check valves valves and maybe start a natural siphon and run out of solar. You will need an old car radiator for this project. The Radiator used here is from an old Volvo Car. This is used to circulate air using a solar panel. The water coming in is connected to the radiator and the water coming out the is attached to a PVC drain pipe . The radiator is hooked to a motor connected to a solar panel. A Temperature sensor is attached to the radiator fan to detect the indoor temperature. The pump is out of the same Volvo car from which I got the radiator. A Coolant temperature sensor can be added to measure the temperature difference from the inlet versus the outlet and just see how much heat get pulled into the water . The system works on Solar.You will need a Charge controller,DC to DC Convertor and 12 or 24V batteries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOxnJ5DceeU&list=PLpZKoEWMZEz_OeTiV3mx47jy1jOUL6yqe