780 Watt Solar System, and fridges, and LED lights...

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 11:45
ThreadID: 21902 Views:3255 Replies:3 FollowUps:1
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Well, that's what my long time friend has running his house on his 150 acre property at Venus Bay.

780 watts @ 24 volts. Big arsed weapon batteries, computer controlled stuff, and well, just waaay cool...........

I fabricated the aluminium heat-sinks for the bridged diodes, and placed it all in an IP 56 box for him.

All in all, a good system, runs the small house quite well.

Whilst over there, I spied his new english wind generator, still in it's box.0 Quite a very heavy unit, as in it's construction. They use these very same units along the north polar regions, and they have proved themselves over the last 20 or so years. A bit Heath Robinson it it's construction, but that is why it's good, because it's VERY robust.

I asked my friend why he needed this wind generator.

Apparently, as good as 780 watts sounds, if there is cloud cover, he is only able to get maybe 3 amps charge!

So, solar is good, and it does work, but even a 780 watt system, can have it's downfall on successive overcast days.

The wind generator is also fraught with it's own inherent problems. It must always be on load, which necessitates a resistor heat bank to be inline when battery charge is sufficient. Seems nothing is quite simple.

Still, when we were over there just recently, we bought both of our fridges, and ran them exclusively on his system. This was to see wether he would opt to upgrade to electric fridges, or renew his gas fridges. Seems like electric is the go...

I thought I would post this, because there is a lot of interest, and discussion on the merits of solar cells whilst camping.

If I had my way, and I was a fridge mechanic, or whatever they are, I would design & construct a fridge that runs on my car battery, like a Waeco - Engel, like a compressor fridge. When we stop for a day or so, I would then use gas, so the fridge would need to have both operating systems inherent. I don't think it would be that hard to do, surely, and it would give us the BEST of both worlds, not like the 3 way units we have now, but way better.

Now..... L E D lights. I bought a 90 cluster unit a couple of months ago, from a camping store. It hasn't had that much use. Some rows of the LEDs now don't work :(.
Still, you have to try......

I wont be renewing it, I will buy another fluro instead.

Okay, that's all folks....


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Reply By: Peter 2 - Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 20:05

Saturday, Apr 09, 2005 at 20:05
As far as refrigeration when on battery/solar/wind power the best way is to just use very efficient electric fridges.
An Autofridge can run indefinitely on a small panel, in fact there are places converting full size domestic fridges and freezers to run on 12 or 24v by fitting the latest Danfoss compressors (which can handle either voltage), they even have autodefrost still.
Quirks are one place that is doing the conversions.
AnswerID: 105923

Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 09:19

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 09:19
Yep Wolf - re the fridge configuration - seems to me that if someone made a 3 way with a Danfoss type compressor too, it would be THE Camping Fridge ! Guess the reason is cost and cabinet bulk ! Might make it unweildy. You can buy the danfoss type units as stand alone - self contained far as I know .. they can be fitted into a cabinet of your choice - they have a hot side for outside the wall panel in question, and the cold side for inside the cold compartment...used in marine applications I'm told - such as empty bulkheads on yachts, tuned into a fridge/freezer (with insulation of course, and an access hatch).
The snag is, those units cost heaps !
AnswerID: 105971

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 11:57

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 11:57

I'm no Refrigeration Mechanic but if it could have been done, don't yoose think it would have?

i.e. How do you run a compressor on GAS???

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 105987

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 15:57

Sunday, Apr 10, 2005 at 15:57
I guess, if you still had the one condenser, but still have both a compressor & heater unit.

I think that once one manufacturer does it, others would follow.

It would almost be worthwhile, buying one of those Electrolux 3 way jobs, and fitting a Danfross to the unit as well, just to show it could be done.
FollowupID: 363074

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