Anyone Have Solar Panels On The Roof?

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Dwight Ward, Oct 30, 2022.

  1. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I don't know if this is still the case, but the main power lines coming into homes used to be protected with big cartridge fuses (one on each line.) Weird things would happen when only one of them blew.
     
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  2. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Veteran Member
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    The house I grew up in was as you describe, with the huge fuses. I rewired the whole thing for my folks because it was downright dangerous. There were actually bare wires wound around pegs inside the walls, which were plaster and lathe.

    In the era it was built electricity for homes was just coming in so they were transitioning between gas lighting and electric lighting. It had both, but only a single ceiling light in each room was power fed. There were no wall outlets originally. The whole setup was a strain on the 30 amp service.

    The house I live in now was built in 2003. Looking at my box I'm see nothing but breakers.
     
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  3. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I grew up in a house like that...it was retrofitted with electricity. The original fuse box had 4 circuits...eventually the setup looked like an octopus with BX going to a myriad of 2-circuit and 4-circuit boxes as it expanded over the years. The very definition of "fire trap."
     
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  4. Marie Mallery

    Marie Mallery Veteran Member
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    I vaguely remember fuses being changed when I was young.
     
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  5. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Veteran Member
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    Okay then Got my solar panels wired up and working and charging the batteries. I was actually pleased to burn out my $20 multimeter. The ammeter on it had a 20 amp maximum unfused limit. I placed it in series with the panel output. At noon on this short winter day it was evidently well over 20 amps. I'm guessing it took 30 amps to burn out the ammeter. So I'm guessing that just these twos panel are putting out over 300 watts at peak output.

    Not bad. In summer it will be twice that at peak plus the longer day.. ... learning as I go.
     
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  6. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    I haven't kept up with the latest solar systems, but I still read iron-nickel batteries are the longest-lasting and have many advantages over lead acid. One disadvantage is the size for the power. Back when I had solar, I used nickel-iron with good success. They can last up to 30 years which is a real advantage. They are certainly more affordable than lithium, but if space is an issue, then they aren't a consideration.
     
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  7. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Veteran Member
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    I'll check into that. This is the first I've heard of iron-nickel batteries.
     
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  8. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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  10. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Veteran Member
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    One disadvantage I see with NiFe batteries is the high self-discharge rate. This would be less of a flaw in a system that is constantly cycling and more of one in a system that is used for long term energy storage or emergency backup. The energy loss over time would mitigate against their use for some applications. It would be a complex calculation to determine if they were suitable for any specific installation.

    There are more factors than I can think of off the bat but if the battery cost were substantially lower than other types and storage capacity comparable or better they might be preferable, but I understand that they are not much cheaper than other types. This might be offset by their better durability. I see where they were used to power some of the first electric cars and that is the ideal constant cycling situation as would be powering a home for everything except winter heating or summer cooling.

    For my small home installation I'll stick with lead-acid simply because they have a predictable cost, energy capacity and shelf life. However, I'm glad to learn about NiFe batteries.
     
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  11. Alan Sidlo

    Alan Sidlo Very Well-Known Member
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    lolz... i've been around a lot of solar installations (mostly not of my own) and it seems to be lead-acid all the way but occasionally run across uniqueties such as a private mini-power plant from a century ago. just set my eyes on a stack of ancient edison/exide glass battery parts. have to admit that for a moment my heart jumped a beat at the prospect.
     
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  12. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Veteran Member
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    Alan, you seem to know much more than I do about these things. Now you've made me have to find out what in the heck an edison/exide battery is. Shame on you for giving an old man more work to do.
    :(

    Just kidding. I still like learning new things.:)
     
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  13. Alan Sidlo

    Alan Sidlo Very Well-Known Member
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    it was weird that the topic came up just as i was putting 2 'n 2 together... all with your guys help along the way!
     
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    Last edited: Dec 11, 2022
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  14. Dwight Ward

    Dwight Ward Veteran Member
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    ... from Wikipedia. This is getting interesting. There is a lot of history to follow in this area where one topic leads to another. Nickel-Iron batteries have been around a long time.

    The Electric Storage Battery Company entered the dry-cell battery industry in 1957 when it acquired the Ray-O-Vac Company, the then second-largest producer of dry-cell batteries in the US.[21]

    [​IMG]

    London Transport RT Bus with 1950/60s period Exide Advertisements
    NASA used solar-charged, nickel-zinc Exide batteries on all of the Apollo program missions.[22]

    In 1967 The Electric Storage Battery Company was merged into ESB Incorporated.[23] From 1974 through 1978 ESB Inc. became Inco Electroenergy Corporation as the result of the first hostile takeover in the US.[24][25][26] In 1983 Inco sold their Exide Corporation unit to the First Chicago Investment Corporation and principals of the Spectrum Group.[27][28]

    In 1972, ESB Inc. acquired the Edison Storage Battery Company, which had developed a practical nickel-iron battery in 1901. The production of this type of battery was subsequently discontinued in 1975.[29]
     
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  15. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Not to mention the smaller storage space.

    Regarding dry cells...I recall these from when I was a kid.

    [​IMG]
     
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