We live off grid and are looking for answers for power and grey water system. Can anyone help? ?

We currently have a gasoline generator and this provides all the electricity but would like to use renewable resources. We have built an elevated water tank and use gravity but this is only accessible during the summers, we live in Iowa. We haul the water in and bring drinking water we bring (only there on weekends currently). In our county they said we need to have a septic tank. We have an outhouse but no grey water disposal. In our county we cannot allow anything which touches the body to touch the ground so throwing it out on the ground isn't a long term option. Any options we are aware of are OK with the county but we would still have to run it through a septic tank first. This defeats our low budget project. We want to live simply and I have a hard time understanding why it is OK for the cattle lot just up the creek from us to run off from the lot into the creek but our bodies would contaminate our land. (I think the cattle lot already does this as it is sewage washed down to us) We do not currently use any of this creek water. Our cabin is about 1/4 mile away from the creek. Any new ideas?

Question by kathyrobbins   |  last reply


battery operated dehumidifier ?

Question by john53   |  last reply


Any tips or tricks to obtain free or buy cheap land in the pacific northwest ?

I'd like to give up the silicon valley and move on my own land somewhere that is suitable for an off the grid cabin/year round home. Ideal land would be suitable for small family sized garden, be near fresh water and not be a total snow pile like in klamath falls in the winter. 2000 feet above sea level or lower would also be ideal for what I'm looking for. But I'm sure others might like to know how other people have gone off the grid without having to save money for 20 years just to get there.

Question by solar   |  last reply


No nails Australian wood shelter?

I saw part of a show about how to build a wooden shelter using no nails from logs.  It didn't look like a log cabin.  The sides were split logs held in an upright brace also made of logs.  It was simple to make but very hard work as much of it was done with hand tools.  But I think modern tools could be used now. ( This was sometime in the 1960's.) Anyone know anything about it?  It would be a good thing for off-girders.

Question by rookie1 


ReadySet Specifications

-----  Charge Input Specification Solar Solar Array Voltage: 16-60V Solar Array Power: 5-75W (up to 5 of the Fenix solar panels in parallel) Solar Power Algorithm: Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) Note: Due the characteristics of the battery, the charge rate is limited to a max charge power of 30W regardless of available solar power. If energy is being drawn from the power ports while charging, the ReadySet can convert up to an additional 30W of solar energy and provide it directly to the outputs (bypassing the battery) for a total of 60W of solar energy conversion. AC-DC Brick Normal Power Brick Voltage: 16-19V Normal Charge Power: 20W Normal Charge Current: Charging is constant power, current will vary based on input voltage High Power Brick Voltage: 20-60V High Charge Power: 30W High Charge Current: Charging is constant power, current will vary based on input voltage Charge Source Qualification Once voltage is detected on the charge input, the ReadySet qualifies the input to determine what type of source has been attached. Voltage is measured and current is pulled from the input source to determine its stability and characteristics. If measured characteristic match those of a solar array, MPPT is enabled. If not, constant power charging is assumed and charge power is set based on the open circuit DC brick voltage (per previously enumerated AC-DC brick supply specs). The brick included with the ReadySet Kit is rated at 18V, 1.3A (23.4W). -----  Charge Output Specification CLA Output Voltage Range: 11.5V - 15VDC (nominal 12VDC) Current Limit: 6A±0.25A combined (approximately 72W@12VDC) USB Output Voltage Range: 4.75V - 5.25VDC (nominal 5VDC) Current Limit:  2A±0.1A combined (approximately 10W@5VDC) Note: Upper USB port is configured to signal 1A charge capability for Apple devices -----  Battery Specification Nominal Voltage: 12V Capacity: 9Ah Chemistry: Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid Max Charge Power: 30W Usable Energy: 54Wh Note: Usable energy is intentionally less than the full battery capacity to protect the battery from deep discharge and extend the lifetime of the battery.

Topic by ReadySet 


Contest Prize Help

I won a prize inthe off grid contest and haven't recieved anything.  I entered my address in the link bar. The rules say I have to fill out a form, and to either call or email support.  I called and got a meesage to email and then a beep and the call disconnected.  I emailed and got a n autoresponder about how to cancel my membership. Needless to say I am a little confused about how to get the prize, which is sad because I was planning on doing a video review of the cool fenix kit for my website, but cannot because I just cannot seem to get it in the mail... tngun

Topic by Daves Homestead   |  last reply


Off-Grid Stealth Cabin Plans

Hi everyone, I just entered my off-grid cabin design in the outdoors contest and I would like to invite you to view it, leave feedback and vote if you like the cabin and off-grid systems. I am a long time off-grid homesteader and I live in a 14x14 solar and wind powered cabin with many off-grid systems of my own design. My contest entry:   https://www.instructables.com/id/Off-Grid-Stealth-Cabin-Plans/ Thanks LaMar

Topic by LaMar Solarcabin   |  last reply


What's the most efficient way to build a new small home in a midwestern climate? Can a laymen really pull this off?

I'd like to build as green and as efficiently as possible, most likely building it off-grid, and incorporating a composting toilet (clivus multrum style), and energystar appliances.

Question by bhsx   |  last reply


How to power a 12V motor with a pair of 250W solar panels?

I am on a team in a solar vehicle competition that doesn't allow for the solar panels to be connected to the circuit while running the 12V motor in a solar power race.   The solar panels are 24V @ 8.6 amps each. We have 2 of them, and are going to connect them in parallel for a total of 24v 16 ish amps. The panel's over voltage is 30.4V. The maximum current through the decades old (but free to us) brushed 12V electric motor is 35 amps. We are planning to run a DC to DC step down / voltage regulator between the Array and the motor, and a small charge controller to a battery for in between races. We are looking into charge controllers that allow a small battery and a load to be connected to them at the same time for charging and between races. The battery size is limited by the race organizers to 180Watt hours.    1st ?> Are charge controllers powered off of their Input sources? I.E. Will the charge controller even turn on with out a battery present? 2nd ?>   What would happen if my array is connected to the charge controller and the battery isn't connected to the charge controller? Wouldn't that be harmful to the charge controller or motor? 3rd ?> If charge Charge controller to motor is a viable option, then would a DC to DC step down still be necessary? Thank you in advance, Tony S.

Question by AnthonyS126   |  last reply


Modding a laptop to be solar?

I saw an instructable for a solar-charged ds lite (the solar panels soldered right to the top) and I was wondering if it would be possible on a larger scale for a laptop. Would this be terribly tricky to do? Would it hurt the screen? Any information at all would be awesome, many thanks.

Question by Nekkyo   |  last reply


Tips on wind power?

I am looking for tips on creating a small windmill to charge a twelve volt battery. what is the best type of motor to use? Does anyone know how to make a charging circuit, so that even when the winds are low, it can charge the battery? What is the best type of battery? Are there any other questions i should be asking about wind power, and what are the answers to them?

Question by cyc4015   |  last reply


off-grid solar/wind powered greenhouse

 Hello DIYers, I am planning on building a simple greenhouse (hoop-house) this spring. The construction will be for an 8'x12'x8'H design. Building this part is wonderfully easy. The hard part is building the off-grid power to supply power to the greenhouse fans and hydroponic pump(s). I'm not sure where to start with the plans.  Here is what I am needing some guidance: Do I build a PV panel then design my electrical needs around that...or vice-versa?? (I have forty 2W solar cells on order) I know i will need batteries...how many 12V batteries do I need? Type? What is the best configuration for the batteries? Should I use a DC hydro pump or AC hydro pump? DC or AC fan for cooling? Future plans include using an arduino to be the main controller.... Please keep in mind that this is a small(ish) hobby greenhouse and I hope to build it to be fully off-grid, at least for the summer months. I have the time to build it, but don't have the know-how for fully designing it (electrical stuff confuses and scares the crap outta me). I'm not against keeping the price low, but am willing to spend a few extra bucks to make sure it's designed right.

Topic by Tweac-it   |  last reply


tesla ?

Hey guys is these two power sources plasuble http://www.teslasecret.com/ http://www.greenearth4energy.com/zero_point_energy.html for me to bulid 

Question by tinker234   |  last reply


OFF GRID POWER Systems MSW invewrters Answered

Hi, Recently I purchase a 5000 watt 60cycle, 24vdc to 220vac inverter (MSW) to run my off grid cottage on, when I received it it had a 2 wire out put. could I conect the inverter 220v out to a 220 to 119/220v transformer  so i  could connect it to my north american house hold elecrical panel?? This would give me the 220v split single phase (full sinewave) similar to hydro power?? Our cottage maximum wattage reguired at any one time we only reguire 12-1500 watts as we have propane stove, fridge, furnass,and hot water. Therefore we only need power for vacum cleaner, washing machine, microwave oven and Led lighting. regards ron

Question by musselbeach   |  last reply


DIY Solar Cells through screen printing

I was wondering if anyone has seen the "plans" offered by fuellessamerica.com on producing solar cells cheaply and at home through screen printing. They claim efficiencies of 12-14% can be achieved. I know most solar cells are screen printed, but I know the doping can be difficult. Has anyone seen/done this? I have seen the American patent held by a Japanese company that outlines the process. I didn't have much time to peruse it however. I did notice they were using correct terminology, but it was obviously geared towards commercial enterprise. Any thoughts?

Topic by bowakowa   |  last reply


Long Range Off the Grid WiFi Repeater

Hello Everyone,  I've got quite the project that I am undertaking and I am looking for a bit of advice. This will be my very 1st forray into long-distance wifi, as well as off-grid power resources, so Im biting off quite a bit at once! I have a friend who has been helping me with the research who has a much firmer understanding of both electricity and hardware, but he will be out of town for the next week and I would like to get a bit of progress on this while he is gone. SO, I shall consult the hive mind known as the internet. Alright, this project consists of creating an uplink between a remote shed, and a home in a nearby city, with a broadband connection. The rub, there is 10,000 ft mountain range in between the two. We have a site were we can put a repeater node at approx. 10,000 ft elevation, that has wonderful line-of-sight to both locations. However, this site is very remote, and will have to run off the grid obviously. The distances are as follows: Home to repeater: 3.96 miles (thats with Google Earth following the contours of the          mountain/valley, not sure how to make it just do a straight angled shot, so thats a rough estimate) Repeater to Remote shed: 2.68 miles (same issue) Background environment info: shed has generator + 60w solar array with 3-4 deep discharge lead RV batteries at 7400 feet. Has spring fed running water, which could be utilized for power as well, as obviously its always running. Repeater location is at 10k, as stated. Moderate to high winds very likely (data from peaks of similar altitude in the general area show gusts ranging from 40-60 mp/h, temperature ranges of  averaging 7 to 90+ for a the later part of July and August (F). Obviously, its very possible to get soemething below this, though the lowest Ive ever seen at the shed has been -15 (f), I would say most winters we could get a few nights that see temps below 0, but not often. Equipment Ideas: So to pull this off, we have come up with two ideas for the network equipment, which I shall discuss 1st, then I will show you what we have come up with for power.  - Network    - Repeater Node: rb433 wireless access point ($99.00) http://www.routerboard.com/pricelist.php?showProduct=43         with 2 r52h mini PCI wifi chips ($59.00 x2) http://www.routerboard.com/pricelist.php?showProduct=69         2 8-18 inch satelite dishs converted for long-range WIFI use (20.00 x2) http://www.engadget.com/2005/11/15/how-to-build-a-wifi-biquad-dish-antenna/ OR instead of a rb433, we could use 2 WRT54G Linksys routers like this. (I also have 2 BEF 801.11b routers that are legacy to the WRT54G. I would like to use this if possible! http://hackaday.com/2005/08/23/how-to-greyhat-wifi-repeater/ Now, I know that this later choice would increase power use by about double. From what I have been able to find, the WRT's would at anywhere from 4.2w to 8w of power. Anyways, I like this later choice because it would be significantly cheaper for the equipment, but do you have any other ideas? I know that the RB433 would work great, but its rather expensive all said and done after I throw up the power as well. Plus, if it takes a lighting strike, its out of commission, and 2 cheap linksys routers are much cheaper to replace! Anyways any input here would be great! - Power  so power to the repeater node is the real challenge. We crunched the numbers and came up with something almost exactly the same as below: From the datasheets, a routerboard will draw between 6-10W. So design for 10W. Over 24 hours you will need 10Wx24h = 240 Watt.Hours of power. For 7 days, you need 7x240Wh = 1680 Watt.Hours. A single, large deep cycle 110Ah 12V battery gives you about 1320 Watt.Hours of power, almost meeting the requirement. Now, to look at the solar panels: A good rule of thumb is to install 6 times the wattage that is drawn by the device. This is because only about 8 hours a day in sunny weather gives you maximum power output from a solar panel. So the other 16 hours you need to draw from the battery. (So already you need 3 times the wattage drawn by the device to break even each day) To generate 1 full day of extra battery power per sunny day, you need another 3 times the wattage. This is how we arrive at 6 times. 6 x 10W = 60W. So at a minimum I would recommend 60W of solar panels. That qoute comes from http://diywifilink.wordpress.com/ and http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php?179547-Advice-needed-Setting-up-wifi-repeater-11km which is a project from a guy in South Africa almost exactly the same as the one that we are working on. The numbers came out to be about the same (Though they were a bit different when we calculated for the WRT54G option.) so, 60w of power generation to keep a decent charge on a battery. Now, we have a 60w panel at the shed, which is rather large to take up to 10,000 ft and place on the side of a mountain, and given the consistent wind element up there, we are hoping to do a hybrid system of both solar and wind. This is where things get tricky. A perfect balance, or even a more wind heavy balance would be great, such as 30-40w wind 20-30w solar. That keeps the panel size down, and uses a power source that runs 24/7. A Faroun Savonius wind turbine seems like the best system, but the controller to prevent overcharging etc is where I get nice and lost, having breached into very unknown territory. https://www.instructables.com/id/Faroun-Savonius-Wind-Turbine/ http://www.fieldlines.com/board/index.php/topic,129060.html This looked at 1st like a good, cheap system to use a controller board for the wind, but my question is would the controller board that comes with these solar panels (see below) work for both. That below is the setup that we use more or less at the shed, with some mods, such as a better alternator. http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11298029&search;=solar&Mo;=5&cm;_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search⟨=en-US&Nr;=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp;=S&N;=4001192&whse;=BC&Dx;=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk;=Text_Search&Dr;=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne;=4000000&D;=solar&Ntt;=solar&No;=3&Ntx;=mode+matchallpartial&s;=1&topnav;=&Nty;=1&s;=1 So, can a small, 30-50w wind turbine and generator be built, with a small solar array to power this thing? I dont care if we have some down time, this is primarily going to be used as a system to get a weather station with web cam to send in hourly photos during the peak hours. I can have the system at the shed shutdown automatically  using some cron jobs in linux during the evening to conserve power. When there are people at the shed, we would like to be able to get a good enough wifi connection to use a wifi device (such as an android phone or ipod) to use as a voip phone in essential communication. The teenagers aren't going to be chatting with their friends for hours, but we would like to be able to put a short call through in case something goes wrong, or we just need to get ahold of someone at the shed or in the city. Next the equipment at the shed should be comparable to the repeater node,  sans 1 antenna and just some low power embedded system. We would like to get a webcam and weather station hooked up on this end, but that can wait for upgrades later if needed, if power doesnt allow it. like I said, a simple water turbine could be used (something similar to the wind turbine perhaps?) and even another wind turbine could be built to add extra power dedicated to running any system at the shed, though I dont think the wind is quite regular enough to be viable here, but if its cheap, we could throw it on anyways. equipment at the home in the city is simple, just use an extra laptop or desktop we have laying around to be server/router, hook up antenna to this, broadcast connection, run the weatherstation/webcam web server off of this. So, thats the plan, but load of input is needed to try to come up with this. We hope to try to keep this sub $1000.00, but the budget could go higher. This is DIY at its finest! Thanks in advance for you help!

Topic by kydan   |  last reply


how can I start living off the grid? Answered

What are all the steps that can be taken to live off the grid and still live with all the things I have now?

Question by jakemaur   |  last reply


Scottish Island Stays off Grid - replaces diesels with 95% Green resources.

The Scottish island of Eigg (pronounced "Egg") has never had mains electricity, and has had to rely in expensive diesel generators for the power they do use.Devices that require 24/7 supplies, such as fridges, have been an unknown luxury.Today, though, that all changes:A renewable energy supply giving the Isle of Eigg power 24-hours-a-day has come online for the first time.The £1.6m system for the island in the Small Isles between Skye and the Ardnamurchan peninsula uses a mix of hydro, wind and solar power.It has been designed to generate more than 95% of Eigg's annual energy demand and is backed up by a battery storage system and two diesel generators.Residents have previously relied on diesel generators and hydro schemes.The dream of green power has taken 10 years to realise. A total of 45 households, 20 businesses and six community buildings on the island are linked together by six miles of buried cable that forms a high voltage network.The whole project was organised by the community themselves - at the switch-on ceremony (in the local tea shop), the island's children gathered round a candle-lit map of the island and blew the candles out as the power came on.Before the switch-on:homes were powered by diesel, wind or hydro-generatorselectricity was unreliable and restricted to certain hourssome residents went without washing machines and vacuum cleanersthe noise from the generators could be heard for milesDiesel was delivered by boat but services sometimes cancelledBBC News storyBBC Magazine article, with comments.

Topic by Kiteman   |  last reply


Self sufficient garden idea? possibly off-grid? Answered

I had this idea for a rain barrel + solar timed pump+ drip irrigation system, but was having trouble about the pump itself. I would like the pump to let water drip every couple of hours, for about a week. I have had no such luck finding this item online or otherwise. Any information on such a product, like how to build or where to buy would be enormously helpful!

Question by Nekkyo   |  last reply


Alternative Energies house hookup?

I was wondering if there is a name for a specific term.  I want to create a wind or water turbine using old PC fans and rectifier diodes (which i have successfully done before).  I intend to create many of these and hopefully hook them to my house which is currently still on the main grid.  But i was wondering this.  Is there a way that i can hook up the output wires from the diodes (where the useful energy comes from) to a battery bank (which i have also created) and then make it so that when those are full, it supplies the extra occasional energy from the wind turbine, to any part of the house that might need it? and then when the power goes out the batteries kick in?   If not, is there a way i can make it so the batteries will fully charge off the wind turbine, then when fully charged, they will kick in and supply power to part of my house until they run out, and then allow it to switch back to the main grid while the wind tubines recharge the batteries? I have a large house so i know that my house can never be completely 24/7 dependant on wind/solar/water power.

Question by Gamingfield   |  last reply


off-grid, affordable, and open-source shipping container house

Howdy,  I've launched a kickstarter to build an affordable, off-grid, and open-source shipping container house:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1868967872/shipping-container-to-off-grid-house-conversion . Any feedback would be appreciated; thanks!

Topic by liseman   |  last reply


Help with building an off-grid solar powered greenhouse

Hey All!  I've been wanting to build an autonomous greenhouse (a growbox, frankly) in my apartment, as a proof of concept to build a real one in a place where is difficult to get energy to. I've some experience in building things, I know my way around a solder and given a schematic, I can pretty much do what needs to be done, but I have almost zero technical knowledge on the why the parts go where they go. My real question is if there is an instructable here that I haven't found that would allow me to build something that works like an alternator, that would allow my battery pack (4 unprotected 18650) to power the arduino controller when the solar panel isn't outputting energy enough and to recharge my battery pack when the solar panel outputs enough energy to power the arduino with some surplus (that would go to the battery). In case the battery pack is at full capacity, the excedent would be directed to a another output (that I would most likely not use, or would use something to drain that, like led strips or something). If there isn't an instructable, any site with this info would be nice. I also could use lots of Instructables (or outside sources) to build the thing. I tried to search for it, but english is not my first language, so I don't really know how to search for this. I don't know if I was clear enough or if this is the right place to ask. In case there's need for more info, just ask me, please! Thanks in advance for all of you who makes this community awesome!

Question by acustodio1   |  last reply


Help: Pump water into barrel for cheap? (and off-grid)

I'm sort of undecided on the best way to go with a water pumping project and hoping someone had some advice/ideas. The goal: pump water from a small stream into a rain barrel (or IBC tote) in a location with no electricity. It's for having water available for watering fruit trees and doesn't need to pump much volume (even 100 gal/week would be great).  It does have to do it while I'm not around though and I'd like to do it as cheaply as possible. My idea is to make a small diaphragm pump out of pvc (for the housing) and some rubber (for the diaphragm) and a couple check valves.  My inspiration is this guy's pump.  I could drive it with a small DC motor powered by a solar panel.  Maybe install a float switch that turns it off if the barrel gets full. Any other ideas on making a diaphragm pump using cheap or found parts? I've never done anything with solar and would appreciate any advice on components.  What needs to go between the panel and the motor, if anything?  I've heard talk of a "controller" but have no idea what it is or what I'd need...  Also a goal is to design using as low power motors as possible so that I don't have to spend much on panels. I've also played around with the idea of something wind powered, like this thing (but cruder, presumably).  And had this other crazy idea to make a bellows-style pump for a windmill using a toilet plunger. Anyway, any thoughts and ideas are appreciated!

Topic by Sam_NY   |  last reply


ASAP!!! Converting an 120v AC charger to run off 12v? Answered

Basically, I have a camera battery charger that runs off of 120v AC. On the charger it says it outputs 8.4v at .43 amps. I have a solar panel that does 12v at 300ma (or 6v at >1A). Could I take the charger, and wire it into the solar panel? I know the output of the panel at 12v is less than the charger, but it might be able to charge. Has anybody done anything along the lines of this? I would be really happy if I could charge my camera batteries from the sun, as I am going on a trip soon, and they don't have a great power system :) The batteries are LI-Ion, so they DO need a charger...

Question by astroboy907   |  last reply


Compressing home made biogas

Hi I'm working on a project where we are using an anaerobic digester along with a series of gas scrubbers that yields biogas containing roughly 80% methane (ch4) and 20% oxygen. I know that this proportion of methane is well above the upper explosive limit of methane (about 15% methane by volume) but the presence of that much oxygen makes me nervous.  Am I going to have trouble compressing this gas mixture without blowing a new hole in my head? I am planning on compressing the purified biogas to about 20psi at between 60-80 degrees farenheight and in a respectably blast proof gas container.  please help! (Trying to help our planet!)

Question by Jdouenias   |  last reply



Rechargeable LED Strip Lights off a 12v DC Battery

Hi Guys, Here in South Africa, we have something called "Loadshedding" which at the moment involves daily 2 hour long blackouts (usually at night). So I need to build an LED strip light setup that can run off of a 12v battery for at least 2 hours and that can be recharged when the power comes back on. Ideally I would like the battery housed in a box (out of sight) with a connection on the outside of the box (to be connected to an adapter to recharge when necessary) as well as a switch. Does anyone know the easiest and cheapest way to accomplish this?  Thanks!

Topic by sakershaun    |  last reply


Can you attach a micro inverter after a ups to stop feeding back into the grid ?

I have a couple off ups set up so that they use solar to charge a battery bank and use that power before switching onto the grid (basically in reverse to how they should work). now id like to take some off the load off the inverter and use micro inverters to add to my inverter however i am not allowed to feed into the grid so if i attach the the micro-inverter after the ups would it feed into the grid when the ups is in grid mode or would it only power devices attached to the ups ?

Question by Kieren-J   |  last reply


off-grid home lighting from solar panel and 12v battery?

I ran 3 parallel circuits DC all hooked to a circuit going to battery. each circuit had a 5w and a 3w high-powered LED and a 2w resistor. I spaced the led's about 4 feet apart in each circuit and the lighting was spectacular. lit up 300+ sq. ft. with 6 led's. then one of the 5w led's flickered, turned blue, and dimmed permanently.  I don't know what I did wrong. I thought led's would only use power available. the guy at superbright led wanted to sell me a $20 direct current driver for each light, which would make the cost 50 times higher. he said my math was ok and it should work. each light had it's own heat sink. any help greatfully appreciated

Question by johnsurvey   |  last reply


Powering LED array with 12V AC/DC converter?

Hi! Long time lurker here! I have a project in mind that involves the construction of an array of 121 LEDs in an 11x11 configuration. I want to power the LEDs off a 12V AC/DC adapter, but I'm a little unsure about how current works in this case. The adapter is a regulated 12V 1A adapter. The LED array, however, needs only 820 mA. I know the maximum DC current is 30 mA so if the full amp is spread across the 41 parallel series it should be passing ~24 mA through the LEDs. Will this cause any major problems? Is there a way to limit the current to the suggest 20mA? Furthermore, if anyone has any good ideas as to how to mount 121 LEDs in a square grid of inch spacing, I'm all ears. I considered using pegboard, but I can't seem to find any, and veroboard large enough is also proving difficult to source. I don't really have the resources necessary to make my own PCB. Maybe I could drill some pegboard of my own and attach some thin conductive strips for the 12V and 0V rails. Thanks for any help! I've taken a practical electronics course at university and done some soldering (just op-amps and the like), but this is the first real electronics project I've taken on, so any help is greatly appreciated.

Topic by headphoned   |  last reply


Gas furnace plugged into 120V solar/wind generated power bypasses the thermostat control and starts immediately. Why?

The sine wave generated by my 12v to 120v inverter scopes even better than the grid current.  All other appliances function normally on off-grid power.

Question by Twicewidowed   |  last reply


45 WATT Towel Rail - would there be any way to power this off grid?

Was thinking that perhaps, because of it's low wattage that perhaps there might be a way of powering thing so that dry towels might be possible if the central heating wasn't on. BUT I'm not an electricity guru so help required!!  :))

Question by ITSACAKETHING   |  last reply


How to limit A/C current draw from gird and draw power from secondary grid tied solar inverter ?

Micro grid tie inverters are an excellent power source and can be linked together to generate energy, however they do not function when grid is down, this is for the safety of line workers. In a real world scenario I want to ensure that all power is drawn from the energy produced by the micro solar inverters as the primary source while it can produce power and not from the grid which will act as a secondary power source, this will require some sort of current limiting solution from the grid without reducing the voltage to keep the inverter working.   For the safety of line workers I would like to have an automatic transfer switch which will have both the primary power source from grid and a tertiary inverter backed battery backup so that when the grid is off, the power is drawn from the Inverter and there is no power fed back into the line keeping lineworkers safe and since pure sine wave produced by the inverter can activate the grid-tie inverters and it should theoretically increase the VA of the UPS to the size of the installed Grid-tie micro inverter capacity, the automatic transfer switch should take care of switching between grid when power is on and to the backup inverter when power is off.  TIA for any advice in this regard !

Topic by Ruben GeradM   |  last reply


What LEDS do I need to make a "Grow Light" for growing plants and vegetables indoors? 110V & 12V. Thanks! Answered

Indoor Grow Light for plants and hydroponic gardening.  I need both 110Volt and 12 Volt schematics for out off grid home. My LED knowledge is very limited so I need the specs on the LEDS.

Question by GrumpyOldGoat   |  last reply


Voting on entries that are entered in multiple contests

When an entry is entered in multiple contests, what decides which banner appears above. I have an entry in the hack it contest and the off grid contest. The banner above it is for the hack it contest, so it won't get as many votes for the off grid contest which is in the voting stage. Is it possible for instructables to change it so that the banner is for the contest ending soonest/altready in the voting stage rather than the most recently entered contest ?

Topic by scraptopower   |  last reply


Site takes me to malware

I was interested in going to the site on the off grid solar panel that I recently got an email about. The reference take you to a malware site

Topic by richardnml   |  last reply


What would be the average solar panel wattage needed for one person to live off the grid in a 32 ft. travel trailer?

Just want a ball park figure -- this would mean just simple living needs, not many electrical appliances (no A/C, washer, dryer). Anyone doing this who can give me an estimate? I know normally you would need to add up your wattage of usage, but I'm just trying to get feedback or an idea from those who are doing it.

Question by arnold54   |  last reply


Is it possible to live in my small trailer on Direct Current only?

How can I do it? I'm living off the grid with 2 deep cycle 12 volt batteries. Wouldn't my batteries last longer without converting all the time to Alternating Current? Can't I just use 12 volt accessory plug-ins? What do you think of DC vs. AC? I'd like to also start adding solar panels as I can afford to, one at a time.

Question by arnold54   |  last reply


Looking for instructions for Exercise Bike Blender. We want to be able to make magaritas at our "off the grid" cottage!

Most instructables are for using a regular bike and we want to use a stationary exercise bike. Should also be somewhat portable.  Any ideas?

Question by schwartl   |  last reply


I am looking for an off-the-grid power source for a Bi-Pap machine so that we can go camping.

We are also in a rural area where power outages are a problem, so we need a back-up power source for the machine at home.? My fiance uses a Bi-Pap machine for his sleep apnea, and we need to figure out a way to make this more portable. We have a campsite where generators are not permitted. In theory, we can use a batter & inverter, but still need a way to charge the battery. Others have told us that a truck-type battery will last one night.

Question by BlackfeatherBks   |  last reply


Advice needed - DIY off-grid solar electrics DC charging via AC from generator

Hi all, new to this forum... I'm looking for some advice regarding an off-grid electrics setup i'm running. Currently i have a PV solar panel charging a battery bank through a charge controller. It's a 12vdc system. For 240vac i use a small (500W) inverter. For larger loads i use a diesel generator. The inverter is basic but very high quality sine wave, it doesn't do any charging nor does it automatically switch the load between the AC of the generator and its own AC (i do this manually). In order to recharge my batteries when there isnt enough sun (which is often!), i use a simple AC powered charger that isnt specifically designed for off-grid/solar applications. In other words it is not "intelligent" and doesnt have bulk, float or equalization settings - it's just a DC charger that gives decreasing current as the voltage of the batteries rises. In fact it is very prone to overcharging if left charging for too long and will keep putting current into the batteries even after they've reached 15.5vdc or more. My question is this: is it a good idea to feed the DC charging current from my AC-fed charger into my solar charge controller in order to allow the charge controller to regulate and/or limit the charge as appropriate? I did this for a period of time and it seemed not to cause any problems. However, my AC charger did eventually blow its recrifying diodes although i'm not sure if this was due to a separate issue with the AC power coming from my generator which at the time was an old one and may not have been giving proper AC voltage (it may have been low due to engine speed problems). The solar charge controller is a PWM type. The way i had it set up was the DC from the solar panel and the DC from the charger in parallel to the charge controller. If there is no difference between the DC from the charger and the DC from the solar panel, i don't see how there could be any problem as it amounts to the same thing as having two 12v PV panels in parellel. However, what i dont know (due to insufficient technical knowledge) is whether rectified DC is any different to the DC from a solar panel. My setup is as follows: 1 x 200W 12vdc PV panel 60A tristar PWM solar charge controller 2 x 6vdc Trojan t105 batteries wired in series to give 12vdc Mastervolt 500w pure sine wave inverter (12vdc in, 240vAC out) SDMO 6kva diesel generator (240vAC) Wolf Max 50 battery charger (AC powered 40A DC charger)

Topic by RionZion   |  last reply


Grid tie solar inverter power from a fixed voltage source?

Hello there! We have a 4Kw solar system installed at our home. We also happen to have 2 seperate circuits (ie 2 electricity meters). Annoyingly the solar panels are installed on the circuit that we don't use much electricity off so most of the generated electricity flows into the grid and (I know it's selfish) we don't benifit from it at all. There happens to be one lonely socket next to the solar inverter that is powered off the other electricity circuit and I'm fairly sure that the two circuits are on different phases. This is what I wanted to do and I was hoping someone might be able to validate this: I install a 240v AC to 24v DC converter (PAK650-24) and then an inverter to convert this back to 240v AC to supply that lonely socket where we need the power. Our solar inverter has a clever power detecter that switches a relay when production goes above 1Kw so I would connect this circuit to that relay. I also wanted to use a solar grid tie inverter from ebay because they seem most reasonably priced. They do however have a MPPT algorithm which is where I am not sure how it would react to a voltage source. Might anybody be able to tell me whether it would be fine to do this and most importantly about fixed voltage sources and solar grid tie inverters (which aren't really meant for fixed v sources). Many thanks, James 

Question by fotherby   |  last reply


Help with charlieplexing

Hi all,I recently decided I want to make something fun again, and then I came across the LED cubes.I would like to build a handful of 5x6x5 LED cubes, I haven't actually built any yet, only in simulation thanks to Proteus. My first attempt was a single 6x5 grid (30 leds using 6 i/o pins), which was then scaled up 5 times, ie 5 sets of 6x5 grids. (150 leds, 30 i/o pins) All this works fine, but seems a bit of a waste when i need a few of these cubes and I could run the whole cube off 13 pins as one big charliplexed grid.However the problem arises that I cannot visualise how the actual cube itself is built. I have no problems drawing a schematic to connect up the 156 led charliplexed grid, it's just the construction that baffles me.The Christmas Tree indistructable is the best one I can find, but still it is not entirely clear. Maybe it would help if the LED's were numbered. Do they run in sequence? ie, If I you arrange a grid of 156 as 13x12, could you then count them from left to right into smaller grids of 30 as 6x5, or top to bottom?TIA

Topic by crashmeplease 


Would it make sense to draw power at night from the grid, and store it in batteries for use during the day?

I was flipping through Make:18 that was talking about energy use. I realized that some people include a large battery array in connection with their solar setup to provide power for their EVs, or potentially their house... So stepping away from that, could you take a large battery array, and have it store up power during the night, to use during the day? This would offset grid consumption during the daytime hours (when it's higher), and potentially lower energy costs (as drawing power at night is sometimes cheaper... although that would probably be negated by the battery array)

Question by aarone   |  last reply


The wimpy power grid! Low pressure air for little jobs. I pumped water 6 ft high with 0.2psi!

So I am not talking a 0.2 psi grid.  Anywhere from 1 to 4 psi should work for the little jobs.  All  you have to do is make feeble wind or water or solar panel or Stirling engines to power the  pumps and the pumps are just a couple of ft of tubing!  So, 1 psi is nothing! We should be able to make it in all sorts of ways.  My air comes from a 3.5 Watt bubble pump until I (or you) figure out how to run a tiny compressor off my 15 Watt solar panel.    I have a few demo videos including the one here  

Topic by gaiatechnician 


What would be the VERY BEST way for me to TRANSITION into my newly adopted off-grid, survivalist, subsistence lifestyle? Answered

A 16'x16'x16', 256-square foot, A-frame cabin on an elevated 3' concrete paver floating DekBlock foundation with a 3'x 6'8" front flush door, one rear 48"x 48"horizontal slider window, and another upper 24"x 24" horizontal slider window for the sleeping loft.I'm thinking that one of those standard U.S. Stove designs might provide just a little too much heat for my needs up in the Copper River Basin region of ALASKA's rural backcountry. Who knows? What are your suggestions for the above described "habitat"? Where can I find the best deals for my 256-square foot space? (Heating/ventilation-wise, we're speaking of subzero temperatures and heavy snowfall, so, I don't believe that "opening a window" is a practical solution for me if it gets too hot and smokey inside my A-frame.) Plus, I've done the HEATING ESTIMATE for the A-frame I'm going to build and the numbers come out to about a 620,000 btuh (heat loss) for the new dimensions I'm finally settling on: 16'x16'x16' or 256sq.ft. This calculation is for -50 degrees F with cold floor, ceiling, and glass surfaces taken into account. (Insulation isn't a factor this early in the design.) "Wow!" I thought at first. "A 620,000 btuh HEAT LOSS! I reckon you can never have too much stove even for an A-frame design." (Being that A-frame cabins retain heat so well, and that my sleeping loft may get really HOT in the Winter, this was a preliminary concern.) Foundation:(4) 8"- diameter cardboard cylindrical concrete forms for pin-point piers;(4) 84" reinforcement rods for pin-point concrete forms;(16) Bricks for base of footing;(24) Layout stakes;(8) 5' batter boards;(1) Spool of wire for joining the two 14" reinforcement rods for each footing base;(1) Spool of line for marking building layout lines;(?) Bags of cement;(?) Bags of gravel;(?) Bags of sand...*A few questions about the amount of concrete needed for the four footings and the four concrete piers: "How much concrete will be needed for four 8"-deep concrete footings poured into four 16"-diameter, 44"-deep holes with each containing four bricks and the four reinforcement rod supports? How much concrete will be needed to fill four 8"-diameter pin-point concrete pier forms to an estimated height of about 80"-inches? How many total bags of cement, gravel and sand (aggregate) will my foundation require? Most importantly, how much will it all cost?"A-Frame Structural Triangle (Theoretical Dimensions):Sides = 16'Base = 16'Angles opposite sides = 60 degreesAngle opposite base = 60 degreesArea = 110.85125168441 sq. ft.Perimeter = 48 ft.Framing:(2) 2"x 10"x 16' girders;(12) 2"x 6"x 12' rafters;(6) 2"x 6"x 8' joists;(4) 2"x 4"x 4' collar beams;(10) 4'x 4' plywood sheets for subflooring;(2) 16' framing braces for structural support against wind damage;(?) 3200-square feet of roof/wall sheathing material for exterior surface areas...*A few questions about the amount of roof/wall sheathing material needed to cover the 3200-square foot exterior surface area: "How much exterior sheathing will I need? How much will it cost? I understand that metal sheathing is preferred in the Copper River Basin region for its snow-shedding ability, so, given everything I've just said, what are my options for the A-frame I recently designed?"My total approach to this whole subsistence lifestyle (i.e. living off the land within a small, confined space) is probably all wrong. I understand that I might need to change my complete "mindset" and adopt a sort of NAUTICAL (or MARITIME) theme with my decor, furnishings and appliances.Since I'm really getting into boats anyway (my one chosen option for escaping the bitterly harsh winters of ALASKA's COPPER RIVER BASIN if all else fails), I feel that marine stoves, composting toilets, and an overall nautical aspect in the "finish work" might help me cope since sailboat cabins tend to be tiny, and I may need to transplant a lot of what I have to my seagoing vessel, "Vera Essie".www.geocities.com/wduncanbinns

Question by Herr VOLKMAR   |  last reply


is it worth it to put solar panels on a seasonal residence (used 3 months of the year)?

I work at a summer camp and i am currently working on a project to green the grounds. we want to do solar panels but there is some concern about the camp only being occupied for june, july and august. can they be snowed on in the winter if there is no one there to sweep them off? can we sell the energy back to the grid that is produced in the off months?

Question by allenle   |  last reply


photovoltaic or solar thermal? Answered

I've been designing a high tech, off grid, self sufficient home over the past few months as a hobby. So far it consists of an artificial island floating on recycled plastic bottles and other buoyant devices (see: Spiral island) with an average sized house made of recycled shipping containers and plywood with a greenhouse. I basically want it to be a more high tech version of Spiral Island, but I have two questions. 1.) I'm trying to decide on whether or not I should use a Solar thermal generator or an array of Photovoltaic panels, but which has a better efficiency rate in terms of power and cost? 2.) Does anyone have any suggestions on plumbing? cause so far all I've thought of is a self composting toilet, but it would be really cool to have running water.

Question by tieguy   |  last reply


Not Original Tutorial enter the Contest and few of then has be a winner

I found some tutorials that I think don't original after searching from the original source. a few of  them enter for the contest and some became the winner. I think it is not fair to the other. my new account I created is indeed only to convey this by intention so that nothing happens. Thanks i think is not original tutorials. https://www.instructables.com/id/Edidoom-Intel-Edison-based-video-game-console-play/  the original at http://2ld.de/edidoom (just copy paste) is differen author https://www.instructables.com/id/Off-grid-Solar-System-Monitoring-using-raspberry-p/ the original is https://hackaday.io/project/2333-my-off-grid-solar-system-monitoring (copy paste) differen author and many more i think.

Topic by mark kelvine   |  last reply


Can anyone come up with a methane digester and a way to run a house on the gas? Answered

I saw a program on TV about the use of methane gas in rural Chinese homes. They had a digester under the floor of the pig pen which was attached to the house ? The pen was cleaned each day and the waste was washed down a drain which was the waste holder for the digester. The whole house was heated by methane gas and all the lighting and cooking as well. It sure looked like a good idea for someone off-grid . The way fuel prices are going, it my be a pretty good idea for people who are held hostage by the fuel providers. I am of the opinion that there are a lot of very smart people on this site, so if anyone can think of a way to do this, let's hear from you.

Question by rookie1   |  last reply