Friday, October 29, 2010

The Secret Lair is Electrified!

Busy morning, and it's gonna be a busy afternoon so this'll probably be the only post of the day.  Shit-shoveling early, followed by a quicky labor gig that fell into my lap.  Followed by a trip to the Lair to try out/burn up my brand new inverter!

This one's much cooler than the one I blew up.  It's got read-outs for volts in and amps out, and it's got some serious protection against short circuits.  When I got it plugged in, it promptly told me my battery bank was putting out between 13.5 and 14.1 volts - depending on sunlight, of course - and that's a good volt better than when I started diddling with those batteries.  Got the cabin circuits plugged in to the inverter, and everything I can turn on works great! 

Now I need to get some more lamps in there, and I'll bring a power saw down to see whether that extra 500 watts will put me over the top with small power tools.


This has been a triumph of the scrounging art, even if I do say so myself.  The only major component I bought new is the inverter, and that's only because the one I did scrounge blew up over a little thing like a dead short.  No sense of humor at all. 

The solar panels - six ancient 45-watt jobs - came from an abandoned cattle-watering station.  The batteries came from Landlady's old set and were supposed to go to the recycler.  I rejuvenated three of the best four by alligator-clipping a solar panel directly to each one, throwing 18 volts across them, and leaving them out in the desert sun for three weeks.  The charge controller got obsoleted out of Landlady's old system.  I did try to scrounge wire, but it turned out the wire W's friend had torn out of a demolished house had sat out too long and was corroded.  So I did use all new Romex.  All the outlets, breakers and switches came from demolition jobs, and the lighting fixtures will all be scrounged from RVs.

Now I've got to build a rack for the panels and a cover for the batteries, and then it's back to plumbing.  Gotta get the septic system in before things start to freeze.  I'm running out of time.


Anonymous said...

If you can find them reasonably priced, get LED bulbs(or maybe automotive LED marker lights). I paid $6 each for a few 120 volt LED bulbs-newer ones are better than the ones of a few years ago. Current consumption of a few milliamps, very long life. Bought a LED conversion kit for my maglite,and it runs almost 40 hours on a set of fully charged Nimh AAs.

Joel said...

Will definitely be looking into LEDs in the nearest possible future. They're not available in the little town nearest where I live, though CFLs are for about $3.50 apiece. What LEDs will cost, I don't even know.