Skip to comments.DIY electricity
Posted on 12/06/2012 5:20:29 PM PST by Kartographer
The Dallas Observer published a report1 recently that Texas has worst electric grid in the nation. This was based on a North American Electric Reliability Corp report2. Thats not very encouraging. They are also reporting that there is the possibility of rolling blackouts in 2013.
For a couple of years I have had the interest in setting up a backup power system for home use. There is a mobile system that provides power for work a couple of times per month, and is a backup system when at home. It provided power for 2 freezers, a refrigerator and a fan during 3 days of outage one summer several years ago. But we really want a system that has the specific purpose of supporting the house.
When looking for a mobile 120 volt (V) system I did talk to an expert who wanted to sell the best system that they had. He wanted to get me excited about selling power back to the electric company. After redirecting the talk with the expert to a mobile plan, and taking some of his advice, it proved to be an exercise in frustration.
(Excerpt) Read more at thesurvivalistblog.net ...
The bad part is that it can set fires.
I've done the off grid thing up in the mountains for over a year, so I've had all the seasons.
It's expensive, depending on what you want to run.
E=I*R and P=I*E. Those things never change. AC adds an element of .707 spice to things.
I’ve had a thought, although it probably won’t work due to some of the features of Natural Gas. We have a surplus of Natural Gas in this country, how about if a house that has gas already hooked up were to install a generator powered by Natural Gas, ready to power up as soon as the power goes out. Would that work? If not an internal combustion engine, how about a gas fired steam engine run off of Natural Gas, would this be feasible?
Part of Texas’ problem was the major push by ERCOT to build lots and lots of windmills, though I don’t know to what degree you can blame T. Boone Pickens for this. So we get hundreds of thousands of new people moving in PLUS population growth from a high birth rate, and most of the new power generation is unreliable wind. Then you get the shut-downs of a few coal fire plants and a continual hold-up on the nuclear plant expansions in Commanche Peak (east Texas) and South Texas Project (near Houston), and we see reliable power stalled while unreliable power expands.
Then last winter, they learned that their new wind turbines could FREEZE at low temperatures and high winds, triggering winter blackouts.
You forgot P=I2R:). Sorry don’t know how to do subset or superset on the 2.
Generac is a widely available unit and have nat gas or propane versions.
Natural gas fired generators are quite common....you can buy them at any Home Depot...Propane as well.
Home Depot will even install them for you with the proper automatic transfer switching so power is never interrupted...
Natural gas lines require electricity to run the compressors that ‘push’ the gas through the lines. For many situations natural gas generators are ideal, but not all, for instance in earthquake zone a serve earthquake will rupture gas lines and so the gas will be shut off.
I would go with a hybrid system of DYI solar and an outside generator that runs on LP gas. I wouldn’t even think about selling back to the electric company as I don’t believe it really works (educate me if it does).
If you had gas to the home I would use a dual system of city gas, and a 100 gallon LP gas tank. I don’t know if you can resevoir the city gas or if you even want to safety wise.
But a combo of solar and LP gas ... if you have the sunlight for it could last 3 months.
If you’re really wealthy, throw in a backup packet switched ham radio internet connection.
One thing people need to think about is “How much power do I actually use, actually?”
Here in the PNW, PSE (Puget Sound Energy) has these nifty little charts that they print on your power bill. I have, over the last few years, significantly reduced my usage/bills by simply watching what’s on or off. For instance this last November, my usage was down about a quarter from the November last year. This resulted in about a third decrease in my bill, because you get a certain number of KWH at a cheap rate, then the rates zoom for KWH over a certain amount.
So LOOK AT YOUR BILL!!
My bill shows me using, pretty consistently, about 34-36KWH per day, wintertime.
Any plans for household generation capacity needs to target having that much capacity.
I have more than enough capacity for that using generators and/or inverters, but that depends entirely on the fuel supply.
My house is not set up for natural gas, so I bought a gasoline fired generator and converted it to propane. Propane is much safer to store and does not go bad.
I then bought the necessary equipment to plug the generator into the house. This equipment takes the house wiring completely off the grid, so I do not have to be concerned with electocuting a lineman.
Awww Come on! Texas has their "own" seperate grid. I have lived in TX, NM and OK. And I see NO difference in the reliability of them. They are all good. Even the Rural Electrical systems are not that bad, and they offer cheap electricity.
And we have 2 gasoline AC Generator/Welders. One of them is a very large unit.
If EVER I've felt STUPID, it was after reading that. Oy!
Now if you figure out how to make producer gas aka syngas, and have a woodlot, you’ll be all set.
Never fails any good idea I have is always is use already:)
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Thanks but after I posted I looked it up. It has been a while since I did web pages and that particular tag slipped my mind. Thanks again, I appreciate it.
Here is what I posted a while back, still works great, completely off grid.::
Do it yourself, I did
Magnum ms4024pae 24 volt 4000 Watt/240 volt pure sine inverter $2000
6 175 watt 24 volt Solar Panels, Craigs List $175 each
8 Trojan T105 Batteries $100 each
miscellaneous wire,boxes,breakers... $500
Runs my Well, any lights and TV I want, refrigerator....as is will provide basics plus a little extra. All is needed is to add panels and batteries and will run a modest home,(in progress) add another inverter and more panels and batteries and will run an average size home.
Xantrex C60 Charge controller $100
This is a pretty basic and small system that with upgrades is a real powerhouse for those times in need. total cost about $6000. no credits,incentives, all out of pocket and nobody but you and your family know about your preparedness, especially your Power company which by the way has RIGHTS to your SOLAR ELECTRICITY if you pursue Government Incentives to offset costs, which also doubles initial out of pocket costs.
Purchase the items I listed and you will be pretty well off to start. The guy on craigs list has an endless supply of panels but he is in Long Beach, Ca.
If you plan on running any kind of electronics, you better get a Pure Sine inverter. Inverter is The MOST IMPORTANT part of your System, this one is a Grid Tie or Stand Alone, Have Generator back up also, 105 amp built in charger fully charges batteries in 2 hours with 6000 watt generator, also with control module add-on and generator auto start option, it will start generator for those times needed. Also I needed 220 to run my Well Pump. I did a lot of research and searching to put together a system for about half the price of a 1000 watt system, and this system will run 2 computers FOREVER, All the Water I want as well as TV,lights,basic cheap fridge(nothing fancy) FOREVER, limited use coffee maker, microwave, ,... Am going to add 8 more Batteries and 4 more Panels next week, then I wont need generator very often. Microwaves and coffee makers use the most power,as does the Well Pump, but the rest is NEGLIGIBLE.
all from this thread:
.707? Thats just for theoretical power calculations, You’ll also need to know about PF and efficiency to make your calculations actually correct.