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Thread: Living Off The Grid (power sources)

  1. #1
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    Living Off The Grid (power sources)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dendritic Xylem View Post
    ... and produce my own electricity ...
    May I ask, how far have you gone into this endeavor? Are you into planning only or had any practical experience too?
    Last edited by Awani; 01-29-2019 at 10:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by theFool View Post
    May I ask, how far have you gone into this endeavor? Are you into planning only or had any practical experience too?
    Mostly just research and little things like making/testing capacitive battery chargers and playing with coils/cores/magnets. Haven't built anything very practical. I'm also kind of ADD when it comes to experiments. Moving from one to the other without spending the proper time on a single endeavor.

    Free energy devices have been a main focus. The trick is finding one that is affordable and practical to build. Most require lots of machining or expensive materials or produce relatively little energy. I haven't tested them yet but I think the following two devices are a good start. The egg shaped magnet device can be made by stacking various diameter ring magnets to get a similar lopsided shape with hole through the axis.

    https://emediapress.com/category/spl...-the-positive/
    http://www.rexresearch.com/benitezba...g/benitez.html
    and
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2018/0337617.html

    There's also a third simple system that I was interested in a couple years ago...
    http://rexresearch.com/yablotch/yablotch.htm
    I actually contacted the British Library to obtain a copy of the patent for the rexresearch article.
    Gave it a half-assed attempt with a small copper antenna, but no luck. Although I was using a solid state inverter for my AC source and plastic insulators for my capacitors. So if you try it out make sure you use an alternator or magneto like Pavel did and similar capacitors/loads/etc.


    My dad recently got a huge industrial lathe and mill. So I need to get back into this stuff. Have you been researching/designing power systems?
    Last edited by Dendritic Xylem; 01-27-2019 at 06:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dendritic Xylem View Post
    Have you been researching/designing power systems?
    I haven't done anything practical since this post here: http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showt...4034#post44034
    (small solar system with battery).

    I have thinking about thermoelectric generators as a backup energy production method for the days the weather is rainy. Or having a small electric generator to charge the battery for those days. Both solutions compete very well with the option of buying bigger battery bank which has to be thrown away in 3-4 years. The drawbacks are that the generator is very noisy and the thermoelectric generators are still a new technology, somewhat expensive and applications are immature (means it requires some building/designing from your part).


    So this is mostly my progress. About free energy devices, I'm not into this for the time being. I found out that when you try to get practical there are many difficulties trying to implement even the well known technologies. Bringing to fruition a free energy untested theory (and violate a thermodynamic law in the process...) could be a lifetime endeavor.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dendritic Xylem View Post
    My dad recently got a huge industrial lathe and mill.
    Cool, it would be fun to build a tesla coil with the lathe!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by theFool View Post
    I have thinking about thermoelectric generators as a backup energy production method for the days the weather is rainy.
    Watch the following vid from 12:40 to 14:40. The guy helped design nuclear power plants. He was basically a rockstar in the early days of nuclear power.



    Quote Originally Posted by theFool View Post
    ...battery bank which has to be thrown away in 3-4 years.
    Check out the following article for tips on extending lead/acid life. Most people get a max of 5 years with heavy use, but allegedly you can get 8 or even 10 from deep cycle banks if you get decent ones and follow rules for charging and discharging. I got 12 or 14 years (don't remember) out of a red-top optima gel cell in my old jeep, and that's without any special charging/discharging attention. Of course gels are different than flooded...but still impressive.

    http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/t...ging-puzzle-2/

    I wrote down a cheat sheet years ago based on the article. Here's the basics for a 12v flooded lead acid...

    Resting voltage after an hour of sitting
    Charged--12.8v
    Dead--11.8v
    Don't let it fall below 12.2 to 12.3v or 50% charged.

    Charging
    When warm, charge up to 14.8v...When cold charge up to 15.2v
    Charger should be held at these voltages for some time (you can check for full charge with a hydrometer)
    Once fully charged, battery can be maintained by float charging at 13.2v (86f temp) or 13.6v (68f) using a low wattage trickle charger.
    High voltage (14-15.2v) charging "equalizes" batteries and can improve life, but off-gassing means the water will need to be topped off regularly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dendritic Xylem View Post
    Watch the following vid from 12:40 to 14:40. The guy helped design nuclear power plants.
    they used these to power satellites too. In my case of course the thermoelectric generator will have a more mundane heat source...

    Some interesting quotes from the article you shared:

    you can charge your batteries either by spending hundreds on a generator & some charging equipment, which you can run as needed when it won’t bother your friends & neighbors or you can spend thousands on solar equipment. Either way can work.
    We have only 345 watts of panels (that is less than three new 130 watt panels), which we tip up to 50 degrees in the winter and four golf cart batteries giving us 450 amp hours of storage, so we can get through a few cloudy days.

    If you decide to buy new batteries, get the six volt, golf cart type and run two of them in series to get 12 volts. The differences between batteries average out this way and they match up better. If you will do this, you will get better than twice the life of the standard 12 volt marine battery and around 20% more power. They are built heavier and work much better.
    Mine were over eight years old when I replaced them..
    If what he says is true, then he found a way to double the life expectancy of the battery (for the same money). So he replaces the 450Ah battery bank every 8 years. Compare this cost with what you would pay for electricity if you was on the grid...
    (plus some cooking and heating expenses which have to be covered from a different source (not electricity) since the solar panels can't cover them.)

    I had an 90Ah 12V flooded battery and a charge controller (it was also trickle charging it). After the third year, the capacity of the battery was diminishing and the fourth year I decided to change it. Now I have a gel battery made for solar power (double price), lets see how long will it last.

    After all that, I think that a small battery (150Ah) to keep you through the day, a few solar panels to charge the battery in the sunny days (and trickle charge them too) and a generator to help charging during cloudy days/winter might be the most economical solution. Also, the generator will give you the benefit of being able to run heavier loads if you just leave it running.

    What would cost less? Replacing 450Ah batteries every few years, or buying the gas required for the generator (and repalcing 150Ah battery every few years).
    (Those few years according to the article are 8. According to my first experience are 4.)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by theFool View Post
    What would cost less? Replacing 450Ah batteries every few years, or buying the gas required for the generator (and repalcing 150Ah battery every few years).
    (Those few years according to the article are 8. According to my first experience are 4.)

    Not sure, depends on fuel cost, generator efficiency, battery brand, etc.

    For me personally, minimizing cost isn't the top priority. Minimizing maintenance is.
    I want a system that is extremely low maintenance and long lasting. It's the reason I like hydroelectric so much. Such a system, if done properly, doesn't even need batteries. Just a year round water source with elevation drop, and I have plenty of that where I live. This is one of the few conventional systems that could be maintained for the better part of a century if we couldn't buy/order components anymore and had to fabricate everything from scratch (societal collapse).

    Another option with the combustion generators is to grow tigernuts for biodiesel...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyperus_esculentus#Uses

    Since the tubers of C. esculentus contain 20-36% oil, it has been suggested as potential oil crop for the production of biodiesel. One study found that chufa produced 1.5 metric tonnes of oil per hectare (174 gallons/acre) based on a tuber yield of 5.67 t/ha and an oil content of 26.4%. A similar 6-year study found tuber yields ranging from 4.02 to 6.75 t/ha, with an average oil content of 26.5% and an average oil yield of 1.47 t/ha.
    They also make excellent tasting plant milk which is high in monounsaturated fats (like olive/avocado). I think this crop has a bright future.
    Diesel engines are the way to go if running a generator. It depends on the model, but in general they can go longer periods between rebuilds and have fewer components (no ignition/timing). I really like the Kubota V2203 direct injection model. Industrial and Japanese. Thinking about dropping one in my jeep. Others who have done it claim to get anywhere from 27-41mpg depending on the vehicle used and if turbo was added. My gas motor only gets 15-17mpg.

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