Solar Power Workshop - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-02-2010, 01:20 AM   #1
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Hello all,

I am going to teach another Solar Panels workshop at the Gathering this year, and I want to know if there are any topics you particularly want covered in the workshop.

Here are the things I am thinking about doing in the workshop:
  • Smart Choices: Deciding whether solar power will work for you and the way you use your trailer.
  • What kinds of appliances and other devices CAN I run on a solar power system?
  • What kinds of appliances and other devices CAN'T I run on a solar power system?
  • Does solar make sense for the way I like to camp?
  • Alternatives to solar.
  • Different parts of a solar panel system: The battery, solar panels, solar controller, and 12v electrical appliances and lights you use.
    • Different kinds of batteries: What kind of battery to buy.
    • Different kinds of solar panels: What NOT to buy.
    • Solar power controllers? What NOT to buy and some suggestions.
    • Short talk about the things we use battery power for.
  • What a Watt is? As in "How much power does a 50 watt panel provide?"
  • A short primer on LED lighting and why it's important.
  • Different heating options: Furnace vs Catalytic and Ceramic heaters vs a really warm quilt or sleeping bag.
  • Different refrigerator options: Danfross (12v compressor), 2-Way, and 3-Way 'fridges.
  • A word about 12v DC to 120v AC inverters and alternatives to using one.
  • I will assemble a simple, inexpensive (under $200), really-good-quality 40w portable solar panel setup system.
As it stands I'm already pushing the limit of what can be covered in one hour with that list of topics, but is there anything I left out that you would like me to cover as well? Anything you think I should leave out?
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:45 AM   #2
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Peter:

That already sounds like a challenging and comprehensive program! You might want to provide people some references (web sites, books you have found helpful) to put less pressure on you to cover everything on the topic. Perhaps you could preface your presentation with an introduction to yourself (how you know what you do) so people can put what you say in perspective.

Brian
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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I'll take your assembled 40w display system when your through telling everyone it isnt enough really for what they need........lol
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
  • Different parts of a solar panel system: The battery, solar panels, solar controller, and 12v electrical appliances and lights you use.
  • Different kinds of batteries: What kind of battery to buy.
  • [b]Different kinds of solar panels: What NOT to buy.
  • Solar power controllers? What NOT to buy and some suggestions.
  • Short talk about the things we use battery power for.
Like mine, for instance?
(I can bring them to use as a bad example.)
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:53 PM   #5
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Sounds like a great program!

We're just finishing up nine days in the mountains of NC, without ever having to fire up the generator, thanks to our pv panels.

I love solar power. Even with rain on three days, by managing power consumption (especially when we use and charge the computer... biggest amp gobbler in non-heating season...), we have lived quite comfortably, off the grid, enjoying the quiet of the mountains.

Even though I can't be there, I'll look forward to hearing about your seminar. How nice of you to do that, Peter.

Sherry
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Like mine, for instance?
(I can bring them to use as a bad example.)
I'd like to borrow your panels again Frederick. They're a good example of the older, amorphous coating technology. When you got them they were a good price point for an entry-level solar system, but technology has changed.

The two-panel system I'll be assembling and demonstrating at the end of my talk is less than 1/3 the size and weight, folds up into a compact 12" x 24" x 2-1/2" package, and puts out at least as much power.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:56 PM   #7
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Peter Sounds like an impressive program and I am looking forward to it. I have a 1985 Uhaul with a solar panel that I don't even know if it is functional. Since it is now 25 year old technology I doubt it is even worth keeping ? In any case I am very excited about your workshop ( I personally don't care if it goes to 2 hours I just want to learn about solar ). Lee
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:12 PM   #8
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. . .we use and charge the computer... biggest amp gobbler in non-heating season . . .
It's beyond the scope of the class I'm teaching, but one way to cut down on energy consumption when charging a laptop(s) is to pick laptops that have 12v power supplies, as most "Netbook" and Intel Atom-powered laptops do, that way you can save on the power conversions from 12v to 110v and back down to your laptop's charging voltage. Saves about half of the energy otherwise wasted when you use the laptop's power supply and an inverter.

The two catches for doing this are, first, you can't use the laptop while you're charging it, and you have to build a small 12v power regulator circuit to make sure the laptop circuits don't get hit with the high, fluctuating voltages of a solar charging system, converter, or house battery charger.

Short of that, I have a 150w inverter wired to a 2-hour timer on my trailer. I plug the laptop (and other has-to-be-charged off of 110v devices) into the house 110v outlets, set the house outlets to "inverter," and turn the timer over to run the inverter and whatever I have connected to it for an hour or two.


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Old 07-06-2010, 10:08 PM   #9
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When is this demo?

I would like to see this.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
When is this demo?

I would like to see this.

Thanks,
Steve
See the Tentative Schedule Here
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:55 PM   #11
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Hi Peter it was a great class. Did you ever get around to posting your instructions to the site as you indicated you where going to. I've been looking but can't find them.

THANKS
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterh View Post
Hello all,

I am going to teach another Solar Panels workshop at the Gathering this year, and I want to know if there are any topics you particularly want covered in the workshop.

Here are the things I am thinking about doing in the workshop:
  • Smart Choices: Deciding whether solar power will work for you and the way you use your trailer.
  • What kinds of appliances and other devices CAN I run on a solar power system?
  • What kinds of appliances and other devices CAN'T I run on a solar power system?
  • Does solar make sense for the way I like to camp?
  • Alternatives to solar.
  • Different parts of a solar panel system: The battery, solar panels, solar controller, and 12v electrical appliances and lights you use.
    • Different kinds of batteries: What kind of battery to buy.
    • Different kinds of solar panels: What NOT to buy.
    • Solar power controllers? What NOT to buy and some suggestions.
    • Short talk about the things we use battery power for.
  • What a Watt is? As in "How much power does a 50 watt panel provide?"
  • A short primer on LED lighting and why it's important.
  • Different heating options: Furnace vs Catalytic and Ceramic heaters vs a really warm quilt or sleeping bag.
  • Different refrigerator options: Danfross (12v compressor), 2-Way, and 3-Way 'fridges.
  • A word about 12v DC to 120v AC inverters and alternatives to using one.
  • I will assemble a simple, inexpensive (under $200), really-good-quality 40w portable solar panel setup system.
As it stands I'm already pushing the limit of what can be covered in one hour with that list of topics, but is there anything I left out that you would like me to cover as well? Anything you think I should leave out?
I wish I could be there as I am very interested... Is it possible for you to post your presentation afterwards so that it could be downloaded for reference?
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