(9) NEW Update 8/20/15 Morphed Into Emergency Portable Solar Power (see Step 10)




Introduction: (9) NEW Update 8/20/15 Morphed Into Emergency Portable Solar Power (see Step 10)

About: Been To:1) All 50 states 2) Guam 3) Adak 4) Hawai'i, Mo Bettah. The only good thing about snow is that it goes away...Would that it never comes.

I moved from Hawai'i to Idaho and so now I can breathe and spread out a bit.

THIS is the new Portable System I have on line. I no longer have to power the things outlined in this i'ble, the Portable Power System is now capable of providing supplemental power to any Recreational Vehicle for as long as needed. I have a system that provides 115V from a 100W panel that needs no battery to operate for under $200. Now RV'ers can enjoy a fully powered RV with no worries of battery levels. Topping the battery banks in winter is a piece of cake now with the 'Set It And Forget It System' available from 'Seven Ridges Solar'.

For Emergency Backup this system can power your refrigerator, provide lights and radio during a power outage. Winter is coming and we are already in Hurricane Season on the East Coast.

Think ahead...

The Solar Generator Is A Valuable Tool Guys, and one that will make YOU look like a Genius when the time comes..

And The Madness Continues..........

A link to a related Instructabes...

Step 1: Kill-A-Watt

The Kill-A-Watt Meter is a very necessary item to find out how many watts are used each day in order to be able to size your solar panels to the batteries to the load you want to use. Too many panels is ok. That just allows you to upgrade the battery bank at a later time. Too many batteries and you won't get a full charge on them during the day.

The Kill-A-Watt meter is used to record cumulative use of watts in thousands of watts used [KWH] for what ever is plugged into it.
The photo shows that a reading of 0.37 is less than a thousand so 370 Watts has been used.
If the purple KWH button is pushed the meter will read how many hours it took to use the 370 Watts from the time power was applied to the meter. In this case 8 hours.

The 'Hz' button reads the frequency of the electricity coming into the meter. I was surprised to find it was not always 60Hz.

I have not used the 'Watt' or 'Amp' buttons as yet because I have not found a need except to satisfy curiosity.

The 'Volt' button reads the Line Voltage coming into the house. Line Voltage in Hawai'i is never steady. I have found [it] to be as low as 114 volts all the way up to 125 volts. During the day Line Voltage drops I think because there is more of a load on HECO's system. To rev up the generators uses more fuel so HECO tries to maintain at minimum voltage during the day. At night the Line Voltage goes up because there are fewer major users.

Step 2: Photo Voltaic Panels

Yingli Solar

Peak Power 20 Watts
Open Circuit Voltage 22 Volts
Short Circuit Current 1.28 Amps
Peak Voltage 17 Volts
Peak Current 1.18 Amps
Maximum System Voltage 600 Volts

20 1/2" x 13 3/4"

The cables that came with the panels were too stiff. I removed them until I can get some heaver AWG wire to connect them with plugs and route the wires so they stay protected.

Step 3: Charge Controller

TOP Panel

The DC to DC Converter provides me with fractional voltages 1.5, 3, 4.5@ 300mA, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12 volts @ 1.2A.
The meter is a Radio Shack cheepie and is switched (On/Off) with the Red switch to the bottom left corner of the meter.
The DC Outlet is the tap for small loads and is fused above it.
The main switch at top turns On/Off all DC to DC Conversion, Tap and Meter.


I purchased a SunForce 12 volt 30 amp digital solar charge controller.
They can be had online for about $89.
I paid $115.
I live Hawai'i.

Step 4: Wiring

All Wire #12 Stranded Cu for panels to charge controller.
Ground Wire #6 Solid Cu
Square 'D' Disconnect Box
Square 'D' Circuit Breaker Box
8 Amp Circuit Breaker For Solar Panels
30 Amp Circuit Breaker For Charge Controller

Step 5: 1 Battery Bank

The battery is a J185P-AC 185Ah 12 Volt Trojan and will give us 2 days autonomy for our application.
Recharges in 5 hours with direct sun on our inside window mounted panels.
Purchased at 'Battery Bill's' in Honolulu for $298 with tax.
I Live Hawai'i.

Battery box is not finished but does have castor wheels for easy moving.

Step 6: Inverter

Xantrex PROwatt SW 2000 Inverter For Possible Up Grade In The Future.

Step 7: The Load

A Peritoneal Dialysis Machine rated at 125 Volts @ 5 Amps = 625 Watts when everything is turned on at the same time.
A very misleading rating. My guess is they put this machine in a walk in refrigerator with the water bags on top of it connected to simulate PD Treatment. The machine struggles to keep the bags warm so the heater is on all the time and so the High Wattage Rating.
For us during any given night this machine only uses around 420 Watts +/- for 8 hours use.
This is where the Kill-A-Watt comes in very handy. When the system is up and running, the batteries charge in about 5 hours (or less) full sun.

The thing to remember is the Watts you take out at night you have to put back in during the day.

Step 8: Plus's & Minus's

In the winter I cut my HECO bill by 2.94 KiloWatts. Two kW was my Goal so I have met that.

In summer I cut my HECO bill by 12.6 KiloWatts. I can afford to eat now.

I live in a very small micro apartment with no lanai and no yard so all I have is windows to the world.
Even so, these windows to the world are lit by the sun for most of 7 hours in summer and 5 hours in winter. In summer I can use the system every day. In winter I can use the system every 3rd day.

I don't have the PV Panels directly pointed at the sun like they should be and yes they are in the windows.

Combine these two things and what I have is a system that operates at way less than 100% in winter. If ever I move to a better apartment with a Lanai or a Yard, my system will run amock making DC Power.

Nothing Is Cheap, I Live Hawai'i.

Step 9: After Thoughts...

New Technology


Nuff said for now~

UPDATE: 3/26/13

After using this solar power just 3 times in February I have seen my electric usage go from 145,000Watts in a month to just 114,000Watts. March usage was 125,000Watts and the bill was $51 and change. Big difference. I just think of when we are able to have a place to put the panels in the full sun outside, a lanai (aka porch) or a yard would be nice.

UPDATE: 5/6/13

A solar install for home power is nothing without things that can be Plugged In.
As a result of not finding individual items that can be Plugged Into solar PV systems I have started a series of Instructables that produce 'Pluggables' to use with solar power as they would be used with "Normal" electric systems. Most without an inverter because I believe in lowering Home Voltages to 12 volts or less.

UPDATE: 7/3/15 Juliaetta, Idaho

I have converted all that you see in the above I'ble into a Portable Solar Power Cart that is easy to move from anywhere to anywhere. Google Search 'Seven Ridges Solar' for more info.

Step 10: Update 8-20-2015

Gone is the power panel !

The panel was incorporated into the side gate to make it more presentable and to tighten up the cart.

Prior to me doing this the cart would rattle every place I rolled it.

The equipment is installed in a thin sheet of plywood that was pop riveted into the frame of the removable gate.

The addition of the plywood made the gate tighter when locked closed so it no longer rattles when rolled.

I had to use string (the wrong kind) to Lace (bundle) the wires together because I had no zip ties. Very old school but NASA still uses it. I am not NASA certified to do this for them...I don't know the knots involved.

I had to air up the tires to 30 psi because they had very little pressure, in fact the pressure did not even show on a pressure gauge.

I can't tell you how satisfied I am with this Garden Cart and how easy it pulls with full tires.

I am sure there are more improvements to be done in the near future so stay tuned !

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm guessing that having dialysis machine that can run even if the power is down would be worth it.
    Don't know how often YOUR power goes out, but it's out here often enough that I wouldn't want MY lifesaving medical equipment to rely on the power company.

    I wonder how much power you lose being behind glass like that? Are the window panes plain glass? or UV coated(to help reflect summer heat?)

    "Lanai"? so... I'm thinking it's the open porch type thing? The quick googling I did describes that word as the type of house with a porch facing Lanai, or the island itself...

    You did mention "conflict oil" a few times, so consider where your solar comes from also. A lot of the materials for those come from questionable sources in China... if not the whole cell coming from there. Technology is moving forward, and we may soon be free of THAT moral dilemma... but not yet.

    Given the number of active volcanoes, is geo-thermal not an option? I know it wouldn't work for you on a personal scale, being in an apartment, but the state grid should be able to benefit from it, I would think.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Plain glass windows, the panels sit on the inside of the glass up against the glass. I lose quite a bit of power having to do things this way. The electric is reliable enough. I don't Depend on the solar or HECO so much as the idea was to lower the high bills ah bit. Done.

    I need ah nice porch to put this on, it does not need to face the island of Lanai.

    I have a thermometer set up in the back of one of the panels so I will be seeing how hot things get this summer. I don't expect too much heat.

    I have thought about Where the panels are made and who makes them but consider this, I don't have to buy them but one time, not like Oil and Gas from BP or anything. Not having the Technology Yet is not an option, I really don't need to 'Wait For It'.

    The state is doing Geo Thermal however they have had some setbacks in that their system leaks and they have to evacuate the neighbor hood when it does. I suspect they have put it in the wrong area that is geologically active in the Big Island's Rift Zone.

    All I want from this is a little relief from high bills and I have done just that. It works and that is All I care about at this point till I can move to a better place that has a Yard.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    congrats. Hope the plans for moving go well for you.
    I know island living can be downright outrageous in pricing.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Have moved to Idaho and cut my rent from $650/month to $300/month for 5 times bigger!

    Electric bill went from $58 to $17/ month.

    Best of all I now have a huge Lanai that gets sun all day long...now for winter. ug


    Reply 7 years ago

    Not much time before the deep freeze sets in. Time to get crackin on the warmer side of things. https://m.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Soda-Can-Heater/


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    It's May now and I have been heating my house with an Eden Pure electric heater. the electric bill got to $100us before I installed the heater. I'm glad I did too. The baseboard heaters (4 of them) used 3300 watts each and the Eden Pure used 985 watts. I dropped the E-bill to that of my Hawai'i E-bill around $58. Soon I will be back to $17/month.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hawai'i has gone more solar than most Other states. We have huge Wind Farms as well being that we have the Trade Winds to benefit us.
    Our state is using less Gasoline as well. We lost one of two oil cracking plants last year when they went out of business due to lower sales.

    I only deal with what I can change, my source of power for a power pig.

    What do you have as an Electric Supplier? Oil? Coal?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Illinois, so we mostly burn coal, and run nukes.

    BUT the big issue here is weather. Snow and wind and water take out water every couple months. Sometimes only for a few hours, sometimes a couple days.
    It's the transmission lines that are our weak link. :-(

    We've lost a few oil crackers in the past couple years too. one was less than 10 min away.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Illinois weather I know well. I used to live in Arlington Heights.

    So what do they do with the coal slag and the Nuclear Waste?
    I think you guys need to shrink your energy/carbon footprint ah bit and get rid of the Nuke Plants.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    well, I KNOW what they do with one, and have an educated guess with the other.

    The nuclear waste goes the same place as all the other nukes... they bury it out in old salt mines, in the middle of the desert out west (or east for you :-)

    At least SOME of the coal slag gets ground up, and sprinkled on the roads down in the south of the state, in lieu of salt. The VAST majority of the coal waste gets substituted into concrete products. and 10% or so of it goes back into the mines from which it came, to fill the hole back in.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    What of the slag ponds? I seem to remember one that broke its bounds a while back and turned ah good chunk of a valley into a Superfund fiasco.

    Bury the nuke waste out west? I wonder how long before that pollutes our water tables, salt domes or no salt domes.

    My point is, the stuff you just posted will be in need of service on a very regular basis. We keep paying and paying to store garbage for...ever. What happened to "power too cheap to meter"? It got kinda expensive, no?

    Solar and Wind Power still beats out anything else.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    FYI, for anyone coming into this late, I am NOT encouraging, making excuses for, or even implying the good of coal and nuclear energy production in Illinois. Just explaining best I can how things ARE right now.

    the slag ponds... best I can do is refer you to what the Illinois EPA has to say about it. http://goo.gl/GrwGY

    Buried nuclear waste... well, it doesn't contaminate the water tables at all.
    Baring a 'great flood event' or major geologic movement that renders current landmasses unrecognizable... those salt caves are darn stable. if there WAS water, the caves would not exist. Again, I defer to experts, but the general principal has been deemed sound. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_geological_repository)
    The normal mode of "failure" in those cave and mines is for the salt to "creep", which ends in the facility turning into a solid block of salt instead of a cave like structure. Making the storage of nuclear material there SAFER after the 'failure'.

    Now I DO have a better idea for SAFE and PERMANENT disposal of spent nuke-fuel. But that's for another time... like after a more through patent search/application. I did discuss it once, a bit, with a state legislator, but since he's dead now... I think my 'secret" is still safe.

    I totally agree that solar and wind are the ways forward. We had MASSIVE wind farms all over the plains now. On my last trip down to Springfield, I passed a wind farm that took me over 20 min to drive past. at somewhere near 65MPH! And that was the SHORT side of the farm. As to solar, I really prefer the spanish tower power setup, over photo voltaic. http://inhabitat.com/sevilles-solar-power-tower/
    The part I REALLY like about it is... using standard construction materials, readily available ANYWHERE, and rare-earth free. OK, so my thoughts here are a little disjointed. it's early in the morning here ;-(
    Anyhow. The solar towers are, at their most basic, steam boilers.
    You could demolition and dispose of the nuclear part of a reactor, build one of these power towers, and hook it right back up to the steam turbines from the old nuke, and keep on producing power. And since there's no moving parts, it should placate the people complaining that wind farms harm birds and bats.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Cats destroy more Birds than any Wind Power operation ever did BP Oil let the pressure off in the Gulf and the Giant Sink Hole started shortly after that; http://www.opednews.com/articles/Nightmare-Sinkhole-Out-of-by-Meryl-Ann-Butler-130213-579.html

    (BTW I am not saying you support any of what I call 'Conflict' operations. Our thoughts do need to get out at every opportunity so have at it ironsmiter, the flow of ideas wants to be un-leashed.)

    How many of the Wind Farm complainers actually install Bat Houses or know anything of Bat Migratory Routes or where Bats even live?

    ironsmiter you have some very good ideas, keep them coming.