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DeepBass9

Off grid lodge - Various low tech - high tech solutions

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I just came across this site so I thought I'd share my installation. This has been a long process starting some years ago and culminating with going fully off grid last month. My wife and I have a lodge - www.dreamlodge.co.za which has 3 cottages we built to be off grid, all have solar water heaters, 2 have candles and paraffin lamps for lighting and the other has solar PV (12V running a few lights), gas fridge (an antique) gas stove, and a wood stove for heating. 

 

Since the beginning of the year we started taking our house off grid as well so as to finally say goodbye to Eskom.

 

We already had a 300l solar geyser which we had used for years, and a gas stove and oven for summer and a wood burning stove for winter:

 

wood.jpg

 

The first step was to get a generator for when everything goes pear shaped (sun doesn't shine etc). So I was hunting around for a reasonable priced genny. I then came across this in junkmail, and couldn't resist it!

 

induna2.jpg

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Apart from reconditioning the head, the engine was working. It also took some time to figure out the the packet of brushes I got amongst all of the other spares, were actually supposed to be inside the generator, so once they were in I had lights!

 

Recon head and new OEM Lister head gasket :

 

h1.jpg

 

head.jpg

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Now I had to build a room for the genny to live in, and for the PV panels to live on top. The old bathroom/kitchen on the original house had the main DB board where the Eskom feed can in so that was the obvious place:

 

Remove old roof (rusted), and break down some walls for a new door:

 

broke.jpg

 

Build a concrete block to mount the genny on:

 

f.jpg

 

And finally install the genny. Note the electric light!

 

light.jpg

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So now the genny was working, next was to get the solar up and running. I built a frame for the PV panels from angle iron on the roof of the generator room. The best fit for the roof was 6x300W panels:

 

Frame:

 

fff.jpg

 

Panels:

 

SKA.jpg

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And finally, hook the genny, panels and some batteries together:

 

Currently I have a 6KVA JSM Power inverter/charge to charge the batteries from the genny and supply the 220VAC for the house, 1800W of panels into a Microcare 60W MPPT. I have 4x 150Ah Trojan T1275 batteries in series to give 48V.

 

www.jpg

 

Generator installed and wired in at the other end of the room.

 

zb.jpg

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Our Eskom bill was about 250-300kWh per month. Problem with that is our connection fee was quite high so we were in effect paying R5/kWh (R1200 connection and about R300 usage).

 

Its easy to make a case for alternative energy at R5/kWh.

 

So about 2 weeks ago we Eskom shed and have been off grid ever since.

 

Currentlt I get about 6-7kWh/day from the panels and run the generator for an hour or so to make up the rest during high load times. Part of the low output from the panels, is the battery is too small so it is completely charged while the sun is still shining. At the end of this month I am going to get another 4 batteries and then should only have to run the generator occasionally.

 

So thats it in a nutshell! (pictures still loading, give it a minute.......)

 

In total we have the following free energy/energy saving gizmos:

 

Water pumping:

Wind pump - 6ft Climax

Solar pump - Watermax OB 200W of panels

700W 220V pump connected to house inverter (failsafe for when the other 2 don't work)

 

Water heating:

Main house : 300l Sun tank high pressure flat panel indirect geyser

3 Cottages : 3x 150l low pressure tube geysers (various suppliers)

Big kettle on the stove....

 

House heating:

 

Wood fire

Blanket

Extra jersey : :)

 

Cottage heating:

 

Wood burning fireplace x2

Wood burning oven x1 

 

Cooking:

 

Smeg 5 plate gas stove & oven

Jewel wood burning cast iron stove

Braai :D

 

Lighting:

 

House - 220V LEDs throughout

Cottages:  Candles and paraffin lamps x 2

12V solar setup - 50W panel and 2x 100Ah batteries 12V LEDs and 12V flourescents (LED is much better than flourescent)

 

Cooling:

Bosch AA+ rated 220V fridge

Chest freezer 220V

 

Power

1800W of solar panels

5KW of generator.

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Love 6/1 Lister but they are thirsty. I don't see a running compression screw on yours. They have a starting compression and then you manually enlarge the size of the cylinder head to lower the compression at which it runs. Probably a good candidate for biodiesel as it has very wide running tolerances. I have seen very worn 6/1s that run perfectly smoothly (smoke like hell but still run smoothly).

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Love 6/1 Lister but they are thirsty. I don't see a running compression screw on yours. They have a starting compression and then you manually enlarge the size of the cylinder head to lower the compression at which it runs. Probably a good candidate for biodiesel as it has very wide running tolerances. I have seen very worn 6/1s that run perfectly smoothly (smoke like hell but still run smoothly).

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Its an Indian copy of an 8/1, so no compression changeover valve. I haven't noticed it being particularly thirsty? They are supposed to be more efficient than a modern high speed engine. Mine uses less than 1 litre per hour with about a 2-3kW load on it. Also doesn't make that horrible, small diesel at 3000RPM  KrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKrKr noise, its a lot less offensive at a more leisurely 850 RPM.

 

I bought 4 more 150Ah batteries today to get my storage up to a theoretical 7kWh at a 50% DOD, so I now have 2 x 4 batteries in series, so 300Ah at 48V

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Man, those old listers engines were brilliant :D

1L of diesel in 1 hour is nothing!!!

Great systems you have going there.

 

If you on a farm and do get a lot of wind thing a wind turbine is a great idea, as they can supplement power during the night, saving on battery power.

Your biggest decision would be if you going to run 230V AC or 48V DC on the turbine.

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Thanks,

 

I would probably go 48V on a wind turbine as it would hook right into the existing system. I am toying with the idea of DIYing a generator onto on my vertical axis turbine that is spinning and doing nothing currently. It always seems like a good idea at this time of the year, but the rest of the year there is little or no wind so its kind of pointless.

 

Here's a pic of my 8 battery system. 

 

post-882-0-82729000-1437482018_thumb.jpg

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I am busy building a waste heat water heating system onto my generator. I rarely use the generator in summer, except if welding maybe, but in winter on those cold cloudy days, the generator will be used I'm sure. Since the cooling system is a thermosiphon through a drum of water, it makes sense to use that waste heat to do something useful. The plan is to circulate the engine cooling water through wall mounted radiators in the house.

 

The original cooling tank was a 100 litre drum, so I visited our local scrapyard and acquired an old steel 150l geyser. I made plumbed it into the engine for cooling, and put in some blanked off T pieces for a hot water send and cool water return to the tank.

 

I have ordered a fridge controller with a relay to start a circulation pump when the engine gets up to temperature and then continue circulating the water until it is cool (so even after the generator is off). http://www.coolsense.co.za/pshop/temperature-controller/332-digital-fridge-thermostat.html

 

Currently the setup looks like this. I am now looking for some wall mounted radiators to put in the house. They used to be in every old school, office and staatsdiens gebou so I should be able to find some used somewhere. If anyone can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. 

post-882-0-02385200-1449557307_thumb.jpg

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Thanks, they are both in Cape Town though, so not much use here in NW.

Ask them if they know of anyone up there.

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I'm going to use my gennie cooling water to run 4 radiators so I built a manifold from copper fittings and broke a hole through the wall in the appropriate place. There are 4 pipes with valves to each radiator, and 2 return pipes as the return pipes will cross somewhere. I will make that wall into a cavity wall with insulation for sound to keep the gennie noise as little as possible.

 

Still looking for radiators, but may just make some from copper piping and apply lots of brasso, that could look nice!

 

 

post-882-0-03124600-1452178004_thumb.jpg

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Still busy with the heating project. Hopefully it will be up and running by winter. Currently my Lister is in pieces. I am giving it a new piston, sleeve, big end bearing and crank bearings. Hopefully it will last for another 70 years when I am finished.

Once the engine is runningagain, l'll make some copper pipe radiators for the house.

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Got the engine back together. What a mission looking for imperial size all sorts of bits. It now has a new piston, rings, sleeve, big end engineered to a precise fit, main crank bearings and seals. Starts on the first compression stroke every time! Now it purrs like an Isuzu bakkie...

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