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Direct Current Solar Powered Homes- Can a strictly direct current environment be used for a house? Answered

How to power a home with on direct current colar power.




Best Answer 8 years ago

One of the main easy-savers that comes standard in 12v is lighting. Also, a lot of a house's power is consumed through lighting - so it is ideal, efficient, and relatively safe(r) than high voltage for lighting. As others suggest, motors, or anything standard will have troubles. Thankfully high efficiency inverters run a few hundred dollars for topical applications, a few thousand for a full-house-capable installation. There are computer power supplies that run on 12v...

What is the % of power loss with an inverter?

I forgot to mention - a lot of houses in flood plains these days are required by code to have low voltage only mains on any floors/basement that may potentially flood - these houses have the breaker box and equipment in the attic instead of the basement.

That sounds like a dumb idea. Put an RCD on the circuits and you'd be fine. I can see why you put the breaker box upstairs though. And here's me thinking only we English are stupid enough to deliberately build on flood plains.

settlements are traditionally built on/around water - its an essential resource. Why is it a dumb idea?

Flood plains. The natural space for lots of water to sit when a river is in full spate. Clever builder build near or just above floodplains. Not on 'em

Rich people in particular usually want to be as close to the water as possible :(

I live in East Anglia - our highest point is 50 feet about sea level, and that's the site of a TV antenna outside Norwich.

Anyhoo, ten miles from the sea, our river is still tidal, and we got floods in the recent storm surge.

Down beside the river, the roads flood every high tide when the river backs up through the drains, and there is a patch of ground that is actually below the usual level of the river.

It has a new-build estate on it.

Insurance? I don't think so...

One advantage of low voltage is that you have a reasonable chance of it working while wet. Tripping out is safe, but running while soggy would be an advantage? L

The trouble with 12V lighting will be the cable losses - they'll crucify any kind of efficiency. Its not "safer" if your wiring melts....

Efficiency is a concern, but in short household runs I don't think it would be a huge concern. Yes long distance low voltage is a huge loss - but from the main rectifier upstairs to is not much at all. At the movie theater I worked at we had the rectifier at one end of the theater, and the furthest projectors 30-40 meters away. 5-7000 watt xenon arc bulbs that run on relatively low voltage dc...if it was a gigantic concern they would place the rectifier central instead of at one end of the theater.

I have seen bad dimming even on quite short runs run in what would be by mains standards more than adequate for a light circuit - like 5 metres of 1mm2 and the lights distinctly brown.

In your cinema, the cost of the copper is less likely to be a major issue.

That is true - they couldn't afford to spare expenses in the theater - or it would have certainly caught fire!

You will struggle, as kmh says with motors particularly, though universal motors like the ones in appliances like hairdryers may work, the ones in refrigerators and the like won't. I wonder if a PC powersupply would run on 110V DC ? I can see why it might, I can say why it might not.... Don't think you'll get away with a "12V DC" main circuit - you need the volts to drop the cable losses to a reasonable value.

Regular olde-fashioned light-bulbs, yes. Basic simple electric heaters without fans, yes. Anything else I'm struggling to think of. kelseymh has said the rest.


What sorts of appliances are you going to have in your house? Since the modern electrical infrastructure is based on alternating current, you may run into significant incompatibilities: motors, some timing systems, etc., assume that the incoming voltage is 60 Hz, 117 RMS VAC.