If you’re going to run your home ,cabin or garage off grid, you are going to need some way of having power. Enter Solar and Wind. This project goes over the build of a complete off grid power generation system that can harness the clean and green renewable energy of the sun and the wind.
Here is the basic rundown of the system .We go from sun to solar panels, there is no limit on how many solar panels we can put. It goes into a charge controller, it helps the solar panels create really efficient electricity to be pumped into your battery bank. Charge controller also makes sure that the batteries are being charged correctly and stay optimum. So solar panels to charge controller, and then that goes directly to your battery bank.
The other source of renewable power is wind. The wind turbine is connected to a stop switch that goes into your battery bank. In some cases in between you can put up a wind turbine charge controller.
Next step is converting the DC power to AC power with an inverter. The inverter basically converts the power to make it usable for your home. The inverter also has to be sized appropriately. From inverter to breaker panel which spreads the the power out throughout your house through your light switches, wall sockets. From breaker panel straight to your house or cabin.
The first step is sizing your system. The battery voltage is going to determine what type of equipment you are going to be buying, and how you are going to be wiring your battery bank. So if you go with a 12 volt system, then you are going to want to make sure that your solar panels are wired up correctly for 12 volt. Even when you go with a wind turbine, you are going to want to make sure you buy the correct wind turbine for your battery voltage .So everything has to be sized appropriately so that you can collect as much energies as efficiently and then you can draw that power out.
The golf cart batteries in my system are of 6 Volts. I have 6 of them wired in parallel, and in series to give me a 12 volt battery bank. The control panel box consists of my charge controller, voltmeter and 2 ammeters for both reading both solar and wind power amps.
Four 12V Solar panels , each 100 watts are wired together . All the positives are connected to each other and all the negatives are connected to each other. The wiring goes straight into the control panel.
The wind turbine used here is also 12V.The 3 Phase connections from the turbine goes into the bridge rectifier. The negative connection from the rectifier goes straight to the batteries, the positive goes to a junction box that connects the turbine and the inline fuse and 50amp breaker. The negative of the inverter goes into the negative of the batteries ,positive to positive. The romex wire from the inverter goes into the breaker panel in the house.
The Permanent Motor Alternator turbine stands on a 6 foot pole .We have these two steel pipes that go down into the ground, three feet. There’s another piece of steel that runs across here that’s welded together, and it’s in the bottom, and then we poured concrete over it to anchor it. Three tie down points are connected to the turbine to keep the pole steady from rocking around especially in high winds. So that way, when the blades turn, the bearings don’t get worn out prematurely from wobbling. The Permanent Motor Alternator (PMA) used in this turbine consists of 2 shell casing, two bearings, a rotor inside and a stainless steel shaft.
The tail of the turbine is made from a sheet metal cut to look like a fin.It is attached to a steel pole.This is further connected to the PMA alternator.
The 11 blades of the turbine is attached to a hub and a pulley through a steel shaft. The belt is connected to a secondary pulley which is connected to the Permanent magnet alternator. The wire from the PMA is connected through MC4 connectors to the control panel.
Wind turbine and solar power system overview :
Setup of the wind turbines :
- How to convert an Old Ceiling Fan Motor into a 70W Efficient Single Phase Alternator GeneratorThis project goes over the conversion of an old ceiling fan motor into an single phase alternator .You can't take your standard AC electric motor and spin it and get an electrical current out of it unless you modify it. The ceiling fan motor used here will produce about 70 volts at one amp which is roughly 70 watts. Through a bridge rectifier we can get about 70 watts of power out of it. We start by pulling the cover of the fan. Inside we have a squirrel cage rotor in the middle and 6 coil windings around it. The coil windings are placed in clockwise and anti-clock wise directions inside the stator. Next we remove the circular rotor from the threaded shaft which is attached to it with help of a vice. We attach the shaft with the rotor through it within a vice. With the help of an extra piece of pipe to give leverage, we press them against the rotor and push it away from the rod and pop it off. We are replacing the rotor that we have detached from the shaft with a two inch hex steel bar . It has six sides that matches with the six coils from the stator. With the help of one eighth inch drill bit we cut a hole in the center of our hex bar. We put the hex bar through the shaft and fit them snugly around the threaded area. We take six one half inch neodymium or rare earth magnets and place them along the the 6 sides of the hex bar. We place them in such a manner that the poles of the magnets are opposing each other. For permanent usage, wrap this with a little bit of tape or glue so that they are held in place securely. We place our modified rotor in the middle of the stator and align them such that they fit in tightly. The outer screen is bolted back onto the motor. We can also add second set of magnets to increase the magnetic field of the rotor .This will also bring it closer to the coils on the outside and increase the overall voltage. To convert the alternating current generated by our ceiling fan alternator to direct current, we use a bridge rectifier. It has 4 poles, 2 for connecting our alternating current, the other plus and negative for DC power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-4IbLOZwnA
- How to build a Powerful DIY Off-Grid Emergency Backup Generator .Fully Portable!!This project goes into the build of a portable and powerful off grid emergency solar generator with higher capacity than commercial units at a fraction of the cost. This system can keep a small fridge operating 24/7, charge your devices, power TV ,LED lights, Laptops. it is small enough to be stored away in your garage and portable enough to move where it was needed. The main components used to build this generator are as follows. 4 Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Renogy Rover 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Battery 12 Volt 100Ah Sug 2000W(Peak 4000W) Power Inverter Pure Sine Wave DC 12V to AC Renogy 20 Feet 10AWG Solar Extension Cable with MC4 Female and Male BLACK+DECKER BM3B 6V and 12V Automatic Battery Charger / Maintainer 6 Circuit Fuse Block W/Negative Bus Milwaukee Hand Truck with handle Control Panel with USB Charger,LED Voltmeter,12V Power Outlet, ON-OF Switch. To create a solar system that can truly meet your needs and cope with the variability of your environment, you really need to do some planning. This will help you avoid building a system that isn't up to the job and can save you considerable money by preventing the expense of replacing components later on. To calculate the number of batteries and solar panels you will need to create a system to provide power in all seasons through inclement weather and at your particular latitude, you need to determine the devices you intend to power, log their power consumption across a few days using a power meter. Then find the reserve days . This is how many non sunny days the system can tolerate while still powering your devices. Also find the recovery time by calculating how many days of sun that will be needed to fully recover when the batteries have run down due to lack of sun. You also need to know the usable charging hours in day and the actual battery round trip efficiency since batteries give back something less than the amount of power used to charge them. Here we use 4 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panels to charge our 12 Volt Deep Cycle Battery. The panels are wired in series so that the voltages add together and you can get up to 80 volts from four panels. With this system there is enough voltage to begin charging as soon as there is any daylight at all. It also charges the batteries right up until dusk. Another advantage of the series wiring is that it is much better for long wire runs when the solar panels are not close to the generator and you can use less expensive smaller wire gauges for the solar panel runs. To use panels in series you must have an MPPT type charge controller. They are specially designed to accommodate the high voltage of panels wired in series up to the particular controllers voltage limit .MPPT controllers are much more efficient converting nearly all the energy coming from the panels into charging power for the battery. A 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter is used that can provide up to 4000 watts of surge power, and with enough battery support can run any conceivable device including those with motors. To store energy we use a 2 12V AGM marine batteries . These give plenty of reserved capacity that will last with reasonable care . They don't leak and can tolerate cheaper discharges and have very good round trip efficiency. Four 100 watt solar panels are connected through the 40 amp MPPT charge controller . The panels can deliver up to 2400 watts of solar power in the shortest days of winter. And the charge controller converts solar power to charging power very efficiently and also support serial panel configurations increasing the systems capability. A heavy duty hand truck is used for loading all the components . A frame made of angle iron is welded on to the platform to mount the batteries. Two angled straps are welded across the truck to provide more support for the battery frame. The various components are mounted on a back support made of five eighth inch plywood. I use a tapered punch to make starter holes for all the screws that hold the components. The hand cart is laid on its back and the plywood board is aligned in such a way it doesn't block the holes. While the cart was on its back I screw down all the components with stainless steel screws. For the project we use a thinner 18 gauge wire for the low current circuits, medium 14 gauge for the 12 volt port and heavy 10 gauge for the high current charging circuits. Red is always connected to the plus or positive connectors, black always to the minus or negative. The positives and the negative connection coming from the solar panels are connected to the solar charge controller with the help of a quick disconnect Wire Harness SAE Connector. The negative of the solar charge controller is directly connected to the negative connection of the battery while the positive goes through a fuse block before connecting the positive of the battery. The negative connections from switch, voltage display ,USB ports and battery charge meter is connected via a medium 14 gauge wire to the battery negative. The positives are connected to the battery through the fuse block. The 12 volt port is on its own fuse so it gets separate wires in the medium 14 gauge. The positive of the 12V Battery Charger is connected to the fuse while the negative is connected to the battery. The batteries are placed on platform of the cart facing opposite directions so that positive and the negative terminals are near the plywood backboard where the components are attached. The battery connection cables are cross connected to create a parallel 12 volt configuration careful to ensure the block cable connected only to minus terminals at both ends and the red cable connected only to plus terminals at both ends. Next step is the orientation of the solar panels. As you probably know the sun is lower in the sky in the winter higher in the summer. In the winter, the days are also shorter as you really want to optimize for winter to get as much energy as you can when the days are short. Since my panels are fixed, we want to point them due south and angle them for the winter sun. There are tables you can find online that can give you a pretty good idea of the right vertical angle for your geographical location. In the summer the sun is pretty much straight overhead, so the panels are optimal when laying flat. The angle panels are their most productive in the depth of the winter losing a little each day until the height of the summer as the sun is further off the winter angle. Meanwhile, the flat panels are less efficient in the winter because the sun is at a low angle but gaining each day as the sun gets higher in the sky. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZYAAatdlmc
- How to build a Cheap Waste oil Barrel Heater for your Garage .Generate Free Heat from Used OilThis project goes over the build of a homemade waste oil garage heater made out of an old standard 55 gallon drum and a propane tank. This setup also doubles as a cooker. The first step is to make the Waste Oil Burner Unit. This is made out of a four inch tin can and a candy tin. Place the tin can in the center of the candy tin and mark around them. Cut a hole out of it with a chisel. Drill around 15 small holes around the tin can. The tin can acts like a chimney brining fresh air for the combustion. The open end of the tin is placed into the hole at the center of the candy tin. This burner uses a little over two liters of used waste oil per hour and makes lots of heat from that amount of oil. Make sure that the propane tank is empty. Fill it with water and let it sit for a day before we begin to disassemble them. Once the tank is safe to work with, we begin by cutting two sections on the them and divide it into two chambers .The top one is seven inches high and the bottom one is three inches. We also cut two openings at the top of the tank for exhaust fumes. We make a disc separator out a 4mm steel plate with a hole in the middle. This disc goes in between the upper and the lower chamber. We place the tin can burner unit inside the upper chamber . The lower chamber is for the air intake. Doors are made with the leftover cut pieces of the tank . The door for the upper chamber has a screen welded onto them for viewing purposes. The air for the combustion comes through the lower chamber ,passes through the disc separator hole and goes into the burner unit. To radiate the heat , we place a 55 gallon drum over the propane tank burner unit . To make this unit , we take the drum and place it sides and cut out a portion . A steel plate is placed in the middle . This can act as a cook top . One the other side of the drum ,we make a hole so that it sits in tightly on the propane burner tank. The two upright sides of the barrel is welded with a six inch steel pipe for heat distribution. This pipe acts as suction for the flue pipe . The flue pipe is welded onto this pipe in the middle . So the exhaust gas from the burner comes up and heats the plate over it ,travels up through the barrel into the pipe and moves out through the flue. To control the waste oil coming into the burn chamber of the barrel stove , we use a drip feed system. The oil stored in a bucket is connected to a half inch pipe with a ball valve. The pipe goes into a standard half inch gate valve and further connects to a pipe in pipe system. A half inch inch copper pipe is placed inside a one inch mild steel pipe . The pipe coming from the gate valve is connected to the copper pipe which is inside the mild steel pipe through an elbow. These two pipes goes straight into our burner unit inside the propane tank. The oil gets drip fed into the candy tin of our burner. To get started ,we add some kerosene and light up a fire using the torch. We slowly open the valve to start the oil feed into the burn chamber.