Saturday, 28 January 2017

A perfect winter's day.

I'd say it doesn't get much better than this. If you like snow and Log Cabins that is ....

Friday, 27 January 2017

Safety with Solar Power Installations

Photovoltaic System - Equipment
•A photovoltaic solar system typically consist of the following equipment:
–Disconnecting Means (i.e., switches or disconnects)
–Overcurrent Protective Devices (i.e., fuses or circuit breakers)
–Conductors (or Cables)
–Load Center (s)
–Equipment and System Ground
–A Utility Meter

–Solar Panels
Risk of Fire or Personal Injury Fundamentals
•A circuit is considered to be able to start a fire or cause a personal injury if it is able to deliver no less than 2 volts and any one of the following conditions:
–An available continuous power level of 240 volt-amperes or more, or
–A reactive energy level of 20 joules or more
A fire may also be started by excessive temperature due to overload or arcing effect....


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Longest Life Batteries for Solar : Trojan T105 RE 6 Volt

Specifications: Model: T105-RE Voltage: 6V 20 Hour Rate: 225Ah 100 Hour Rate: 250Ah Weight: 67lbs Length: 10.375in.
Width: 7.125in.
Height: 10.875in.
Country of Manufacture: U.S.A.  Flooded lead-acid batteries have the longest track record in solar electric use and are still used in the majority of stand-alone alternative energy systems.
They have the longest life and the least cost per amp-hour of any of the choices. However the other side of the coin is, in order to enjoy these advantages, they require regular maintenance in the form of watering, equalizing charges and keeping the top and terminals clean.
Some examples of flooded lead-acid batteries used in solar and wind electric systems are 6 volt golf-cart batteries, 6 volt T105's and 2 volt industrial cells for large systems. Specially designed deep-cycle cells are much less susceptible to degradation due to cycling and are required for applications where the batteries are regularly discharged, such as photovoltaic systems, electric vehicles (forklift, golf cart, electric cars and other) and uninterruptible power supplies. These batteries have thicker plates that can deliver less peak current, but can withstand frequent discharging. Trojan Battery Company is the world leader in deep cycle battery technology. Since 1925, Trojan has been a pioneer in the development of superior deep cycle batteries..... 

Trojan batteries have been used in standalone power systems in remote cabins for the past 25 years with great success. Because of their low initial cost, they are the most affordable true, deep cycle batteries. The T105 golf cart battery is designed to be used in small electric vehicles where they are cycled heavily and last about 2 years. In a remote home system where they are cycled down 20% every day they can last 3 to 6 years. Trojan’s Renewable Energy (RE) Series is a line of technologically advanced lead-acid deep cycle batteries, optimized for renewable energy applications such as solar PV, small wind, and micro hydro. They have heavier duty separators and plates designed for longer life and their warranty has been extended to two years free replacement and 60 months additional pro-rated on the L16s and 36 months pro-rated on the T-105.
This series of deep cycle, lead-acid batteries from Trojan are optimized for micro-grid, solar, small wind, and other renewable energy uses. Designed for extended lifespan, the Premium line has a full two-year warranty, and a prorated for up to five years.

Trojan Premium line of batteries are made with a 10-year battery life in mind. They feature Alpha Plus Paste with T2 Technology, which considerably improves the porosity of the active material resulting in improved performance over longer periods of time; combined with Trojan’s DuraGrid design it increased the overall life cycle of the battery.

The case of of all the Trojan Premium batteries use their branded Polyon container which is a rugged protection against difficult environments and prevents potential acid leaks.

Providing increased lifespan, Trojan’s Smart Carbon technology is now featured in both the Premium and Industrial lines, improving partial state of charge (PSOC) performance and longevity alike. The specially designed formula of Smart Carbon enhances charge acceptance and efficiency by increasing the electrochemically active surface area of the battery. This is particularly beneficial (and efficient) when batteries are not regularly charged to full capacity.

Mechanical especifications:
Lenght: 10.375"
Width: 7.125"
Height: 11.25"
Weight: 67 lbs

Electrical especifications:
Voltage: 6 V
Capacity @ 20hr discharge rate: 225 Ah
Capacity @ 100hr discharge rate: 250 Ah

Available here $166 :

Note: I found the Trojan T-105  Available in Canada (Toronto) for $160 here :
I have contacted owner for Shipping Costs from Canada to USA, but $160 Cdn =  $112 US dollars so this is a very good deal.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Honda 2000 Generator for Offgrid Back-up

  • Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Inverter Generator

    Starting System: Recoil

  • Noise LevelP: 59 dB at rated load 53dB at 1/4 load
  • AC Output: 120V 2000W Max. (16.7A) / 1600W Rated: (13.3A)
  • Run Time per Tankful 3.4hr @ rated load 8.1 hrs @ 1/4 load
  • Super quiet, Inverter - stable power for computers and more

The Honda 2000W Super Quiet Inverter Series Generator produces 53 to 59 decibals of sound during operation, which is less noise than a regular conversation. It boasts a powerful Honda GX100 engine with a 0.95-gallon fuel tank capacity. It can operate for as many as 8.1 hours on a one tank of fuel. At 46 pounds, this lightweight generator is small and compact. It is still able to produce clean, reliable power, similar to that of a standard household outlet, using inverter technology. The Honda 2000W inverter generator can also be used in tandem with another identical generator for twice the power. To protect this outdoor power equipment, Honda Oil Alert is used. This turns the generator off when the amount of oil reaches dangerous lows. It is also equipped with circuit protection to prevent overloading from occurring during operation...

I ran this non-stop for 9 days .... Two refrigerators, 4 fans, a small TV, a few 
lights and charged cell phones. 13 years old and still starts on the first few pulls. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Portable Cabins Delivered to your Offgrid Property.

Side Lofted Barn Cabin:

Barn Style Roof with 6'6" height under loft
One 36"x70" 9-lite door and three 2'x3' windows are standard
10' wide buildings have 2'x4' loft joists, and 12' and wider buildings have 2'x6' loft joists
2'x6' pressure-treated floor joists spaced at 16" on centre
5/8" tongue-and-groove flooring
5/8" pressure-treated DuraTemp® siding
4'x8' porch positioned on side of building
All buildings can be upgraded to metal siding

Premier Portable Buildings is a family owned business that sells a variety of treated and metal buildings in 22 states and three Canadian provinces. Being in the building industry for over 16 years and fostering long-lasting relationships with skilled Mennonite craftsman across the United States and Canada, Premier Portable Buildings takes great pride in their work and is continually helping customers with solutions to all of their storage needs with backyard sheds, garages, utility buildings, lofted barns and cabins. They construct an attractive, affordable, high quality, hand-crafted, and often completely customizable building the old fashioned way!

Available here :

174 acres + Hunting Camp in Ontario, Canada $130,000 (SOLD)

SOLD SOLD SOLD ... (Feb 2017)

Welcome to this chalet style hunt camp nestled on 174 acres of land.

Enjoy the great outdoors on your private retreat with your own little babbling brook beside your camp.

Close to public boat launches for nearby lakes (Lauzon, Dubome, Matineda & more).

Features an open concept kitchen/dinning/living room with authentic log walls ion the dining area, loads of cupboards, all new flooring on main floor, all cedar exterior, outdoor sauna, and a large deck with a beautiful view of the forest makes this the perfect private retreat for you and your family.

Monday, 16 January 2017

A Cozy Off-grid Timber Log home in Oklahoma

1600 Sq Ft Timber Log home with full loft - all local milled wood. Full logs not log siding, 2nd floor all cedar, combination of 6" logs and 8" logs. The room in picture is a new addition. Logs secured with 12" galvanized screws.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Small scale Solar panels to power all your stuff.

I hear everyday that the reason people are not installing Solar Panels is because they are so expensive. And this is True.

I had a quote to provide 500 Kwhr/mo Solar Power (grid-tied)  to my house and the cost was $23,000 .... Add another $10,000 for batteries and you are easily up to $33,000.

Most people use 1000 KWhr per month of Electricity so you would need to double that cost to $66,000.  Yes, I agree this is very expensive.  Until they come up with a better Solar Technology most of us will never ever be able to afford Solar Power.

Unless.... unless you take a really good look at your consumption and see if you can reduce it to 300 KWhr / mo .... 10 kWh per day.  Or better yet reduce it to 100 KWhr per months. Is this possible in Canada or in very hot or cold climates ?

If you live in an area that has on average 5 hours of sunshine, with a 280 watt Solar Panel you can be making roughly 250 * 5 =  1,250 watt per day...  1.25 kwhr / day. That works out to 37.5 KWhr/mo .... Can you get your consumption down that low ?  Yes you need to have additional Solar panels and batteries for cloudy days and certain inefficiencies but you see it is possible if you reduce the amount of Electricity you are using.

The way I am approaching this is learning how much each appliance requires to run each day and for how long. When I go completely off the grid I will need a small solar fridge, propane cooking stove, BBQ, about 10 LED lights and battery to power my computer and other devices. Heat will need to be via a Wood stove. I am looking for an old Amish Cook Stove that can also help to heat a very small, well insulated Offgrid House I will build.

In order to learn this I am starting with Small Solar panels and learning what I can charge with each one. So far I am able to charge several LED lights, my computer, a fan, phone, and iPod.

I am now searching for the most efficient Solar powered Fridge I can afford.

$8.79 LightMe Portable 15W 130lm Solar LED Bulb Light, White-1 LightMe

$55.99  PowerGreen 21W Folding Solar Charger with Dual USB Port Solar Panel for all 5...

Friday, 13 January 2017

What do I need to live off the Grid ?

It depends on where you live. It is one thing to live off the grid in Costa Rica, it is quite another to live off the Grid in Northern Canada. The Technology is constantly changing, constantly improving.

The Basics are shelter from the elements, clean drinking water, food and power ....

We will cover each Topic in the coming days but starting with Power you will need to know how much energy you currently use and how much energy you will need to operate the critical appliances you use on a  daily basis. Lights, Fridge, Heating, computer  etc.....

Take a look at your current Hydro / Electricity Bill. Do you use 500 KWhr per month ? More ? Less ?  You will need to learn how to use less.

There are many sources for off-grid Power, but as you can see form the running poll on the right the best value is Solar. You need to know how many hours of sunlight you get each day? 5 hours ? More / less?  If you can capture 5 hours of sunlight each day, with a 280 Watt Solar panel you should be able to generate about 1,000 watt hours per day. - 1 KW hr....  so 30 KWhrs per month.  If you are using 500 kwhr per month  you would need 500/30 of these panels. 

So 17 - 280 watt Solar Panels + Controllers, Inverters and Batteries.

But you would also need a gas generator Back-up Power for the days where there is no sunshine.

We found this 400 Watt Kit that includes Solar Panels,Controllers, Inverter for $805 (Does not include 12 Volt battery) ....
WindyNation Complete 400 Watt Solar Panel Kit with 1500 Watt VertaMax Power Inverter RV, Boat, for Off-Grid 12 Volt Battery :

Complete kit includes: (4pcs) 100 Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel, 30-amp P30L Solar Charge Controller (w/ LCD Display and user adjustable settings), 40 feet of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, all necessary MC4 Connectors, all necessary solar mounting hardware + 1500 Watt (3000 Watt surge) VertaMax DC to AC Power Inverter, 2 pcs of 2 AWG Battery Cables for connecting the inverter to a 12V battery
  • Solar charging will provide on average 1600 Watt Hours (Wh) or 135 Amp hours of charge per day (depends on sunlight availability)
  • Designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, back-up and remote power use
  • Bundle and save! Purchase all the components together and save time and money!
  • Perfect kit for a off-grid 12 volt battery system. 1500 Watt VertaMax Inverter provides plenty of AC power to run your household appliances !

  • The best part about this kit is that it shows you in one diagram all the parts and pieces you will need to actually run something using Solar Power (except the 12 Volt battery) . Before you can decide what to buy though you really need to understand what you will be using Off the Grid.  A Computer ? 10 LED Lights ? a small fridge ?  (To be continued)

    Thursday, 12 January 2017

    DC - 12 Volt Cooler as a Fridge for Living off the Grid

    $97 with Free Shipping:
    Perfect for the RV, truck or car, or Offgrid Cabin the Coleman PowerChill Thermoelectric Cooler is fully portable, plugging into your vehicle's cigarette lighter. The PowerChill's new motor design provides quiet, long-lasting performance, cooling the contents down to 40-degreeF BELOW the surrounding temperature. 
    The PowerChill is designed with many convenient features, including a patented, adjustable door that can open on the right or left side. The cooler can be used in two positions, either as an upright or a chest cooler. An adjustable shelf divider helps keep things organized inside. 
    The PowerChill Cooler's molded handles make it easy to lift and carry.With a 40-quart interior that holds up to 44 cans of soda or beer in addition to snacks, the Coleman portable PowerChill thermoelectric cooler is ideal for the office, dorm, RV, truck, or car. The cooler is compatible with any vehicle's cigarette lighter. As a result, you can bring the PowerChill pretty much anywhere, from the campsite to the tailgater to your backyard BBQ. The PowerChill is equipped with a redesigned motor that provides quiet, long-lasting performance. The motor cools contents down to 40 degrees F below the surrounding temperature, so you don't have to fret once the ice starts melting in your standard cooler.The PowerChill includes several handy features, including a patented adjustable door that can open on both the right and left side, an adjustable shelf divider to keep things organized, and molded handles that make the cooler easy to lift and carry. The PowerChill even functions in two positions: upright or chest style. The PowerChill measures 15 by 21.75 by 17.125 inches (W x H x D).

    Monday, 2 January 2017

    Poll: What is the best Value / Return on Investment as far as Technology or Strategy for Living off the Grid ?

    New Year Poll:

    I know that it makes a huge difference where you live, whether you have long cold snowy winters, long hot humid summers, lots of sun, lots of wind, rivers nearby ... but just to get a general idea of what people have found to be the best Value / Return on Investment so far on the things they are using to live off the Grid.

    Take the poll in Right hand column   ->

    Is it Solar Power ? Wind Power ? Geothermal Energy ? Micro Hydro ? Building a Tiny Home ? Thick walls with double Insulation ? Some other Technology or Strategy not listed -  Earth Ship ?

    You could leave in the Comments below and I will revise the Poll at a later date ....

    Sunday, 1 January 2017

    Going off the grid - A practical Guideline by Mark Snow

    Going off the Grid for the Non Grid Tied Consumer prepared by Mark Snow,
    Ottawa, Ontario Canada. You can click on each slide to enlarge to full screen .....