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Small Project need help

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Johnny MAX!:
I am wanting to make a single Solar circuit that will run my refrigerator and freezer. I figure I need 4 major components (excluding wire and connector).

1) Solar Panels
2) Charge controller
3) 3 deep cycle batteries
4) Inverter

Has anybody found a goor source to order these items. I have found them on eBay, but I want a good deal and a quality product.

I think this single circuit will help a little on my bill, but the main reason it to same my food duting a power outage. We went without power for 6 FULL weeks after hurricane Rita (3 years ago) and 2 weeks last year for hurricale Ike. I would take down any solar pannels until the hurricane passes, then put them back up.

Any help and suggestions are welcome. I am working 72.5 hours this week, sO I may have some money to put towards this project and I figure I will have until September before we get hit again.

I don't know your appliances specifically, but you should get a 2000 watt inverter to run your fridge or freezer safely (you'll have to alternate).

If you're running those appliances in the hot season, you're looking at running them both about 5 hours a day each. I don't know the exact specs of your appliances, so I'll assume 1000 watts consumption when running (the startup for the compression is much more, which is why you need the 2000 watt inverter). So if you're running 10 hours at 1000 watts, that's 10kwh a day.

At 12 volts, that's roughly 833 amp-hours.

Now assuming you want decent life out of your batteries (5 years), you want to keep them at 75% charged or higher (deep draining is hard on all batteries, even deep cycle). So you're looking at about 3300 amp-hours of battery storage, and you'll want to double that in case of cloudy days -- so about 6600 amp-hours of battery. And get the sealed batteries... the open ones you top up with water require special care.

And since the sun doesn't always shine, you'll want excess panel capacity. If you can get 8 hours of light, you'll need at least 1250 watts of panel just to break even. Of course, that doesn't account for cloudy days, so you'll want excess capacity to catch up when the batteries are low... so 2000 watts of panel should do.

Also note even partial shade totally kills a solar panel's output -- so they really need full sun as much as possible (clouds are unavoidable).

If you do go this route, you'll probably want to make sure you have a very energy efficient fridge and freezer to possibly reduce your solar needs.

This setup would pay for itself in a few years, if used all the time.

Or you could save thousands by buying a generator and paying the gas as needed. Solar ain't cheap for occasional use. 8)

Johnny MAX!:
I bought a meter that measures the draw and how many amps to start it up. You just plug it into the wall and plug the apliance into it. It will measure hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, average kw's and peak loads. I will get all that info first. I bought it from Harbor Freight for about $22 I think. We are going to put it on every plug in the house a figutr out where we are burning electricity.

A well know one is the Kill-a-watt meter.

Be sure to check all the electronics as well. They use a surprising amount when turned off as they still need power to work remote controls, and things like wallwart plugs contantly drain power, too.

Here is a sight I saw on the forum that has deep cycle batteries that are used for 2 yrs.


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