Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.




43 posts

Geek


# 142780 24-Mar-2014 15:18
Send private message

My garage space is situated remotely from the house and to all intents and purposes is off the grid with no power. I’d like to look into putting a solar panel on the roof and gather enough rays during the day to power some lighting and perhaps through an inverter be able to run some basic tools (I don’t need to run a welder or anything particularly grunty, just a worklight/drill/grinder sort of thing). Would anybody with experience of these systems be able to talk me through the various components?

My main requirement would be light, enough to illuminate the (6x6m approx.) space to allow me to work in there in the evenings. Presumably in this age of LEDs this should be readily doable? I understand there are some pretty good LED striplights available now...

My understanding is that a simple system would consist of an appropriately sized panel, a charge controller, battery/batteries and an inverter. But the devil is in the details... I guess I'd need to work backwards from the required electrical load and duration and then size the individual components accordingly. An unknown here is the lighting aspect; say I wanted to install six overhead led strip lights at, say, 20W each and have them on for a four hour stretch at a time and still be able to power an inspection light (compact flouro) or run a power drill or angle grinder for a period. I know that induction motors like these have a high draw on startup which then drops during operation.

So if I were to work backwards from, say, a 1000W inverter, what would I need to put in place to run it? If I could be pointed towards useful resources and products from the likes of Jaycar that would be great. I'm not looking to become an expert, just wanting to put a basic system in place without paying an arm and a leg.




Filter this topic showing only the reply marked as answer View this topic in a long page with up to 500 replies per page Create new topic
 1 | 2 | 3
4197 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 1011868 24-Mar-2014 15:37
2 people support this post
Send private message

SHort answer, probably not worth it

There's better ways to convert sunlight into worklight than converting it into electricity and then using that to run electric lights. Almost any tools will require a significant sized solar array, and then you can only use them when it's sunny.

Get some light tubes and buy a cheap generator - or pay to have someone run power to the shed. It will be cheaper than a solar system and work better

Cheers - N





--

 

Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.




43 posts

Geek


  # 1011902 24-Mar-2014 16:11
Send private message

Thanks for your reply, doesn't sound terribly promising but I hear what you're saying.

Unfortunately noise would rule out any kind of petrol generator and accessibility/distance from the house pretty much rules out that option also except at very considerable cost and probably an additional meter.

I'm not asking that it be efficient and I appreciate that conversion of solar energy to AC/DC current is not going to be.

Even if tools were going to be a problem I'd consider doing it just for lighting alone and using battery operated tools which could be left to recharge during the day.

 
 
 
 


4197 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 1011903 24-Mar-2014 16:15
Send private message

Well, here's your starting point

http://www.jaycar.co.nz/productView.asp?ID=MP9011&w=solar&form=KEYWORD

You could probably get power run a fair distance for that much...

Cheers - N





--

 

Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.


4197 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 1011906 24-Mar-2014 16:19
Send private message

If you just want lighting though, a 12V car battery with a few small solar trickle chargers _MIGHT_ do the job...

http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/car-parts-accessories/batteries-chargers/auction-709740318.htm

Or something like this... But I still get the feeling you would spend more on it than you'd ever spend in batteries for lighting.

http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-farming-industry/industrial/generators-power-supply/solar/auction-707861664.htm

Cheers - N





--

 

Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.


4079 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1011907 24-Mar-2014 16:21
Send private message

For lighting what you ask is probably doable with a small battery, and low wattage invertor.

But as others have said, the load requirements from any sort of power tool is going to quickly escalate your budget to a point where you could probably justify a feed from you main building, or buy a decent hush boxed Genset

2298 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 1011923 24-Mar-2014 16:36
Send private message

Alternatively look at cordless tools and a car battery to drive some lighting. Just need to bring cordless tool batteries into the house to charge each night (provided that you don't work for extended periods) and the car battery periodically. A good set of cordless tools could run up towards or over $1000, but sounds like this will be cheaper than alternatives outlined here (quiet gennie or proper solar setup).

3267 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 1011929 24-Mar-2014 16:39
Send private message

You probably need about 60W of LED lighting as a starting point, which is 5A.  Suppose you want to work 3h per night, that's 15Ah.  For a lead-acid battery (especially if you use alarm batteries) you need to size the battery about 2-3 times this because they are rated for 20h discharge, not 3h.  You also need to keep them charged or else they fail, you do not want to discharge them more than about 50%.  Charging efficiency is also bad, about 65% or so.  You end up with a large battery that need an oversized solar panel, might be better to get a LiFePO4 battery which does not care about state of charge as long as it is not deep discharged, is much safer than any other Lithium technology (no safety circuit needed), and over 95% efficient.  Trouble is no one will help you with the system design (which is actually not that hard, just unfamiliar).

For lights I'd go with dedicated light fittings fro Quality LED Lighting, and throw away the inverter.  Then buy a low voltage LED driver off Deal Extreme.

You might want to shed some light (pun intended) on run time and budget.




You can never have enough Volvos!


 
 
 
 




43 posts

Geek


  # 1011950 24-Mar-2014 17:01
Send private message

Niel: Trouble is no one will help you with the system design (which is actually not that hard, just unfamiliar).


And that friends is why I'm here :-)

Good info so far, thank you. Ok, so let’s take corded power tools off the table as a non-starter and look at space lighting alone, perhaps a smallish inverter (just because) and set a budget of $500 and usage of, say, three periods a week of three hours.

20W solar panel $179 http://www.jaycar.co.nz/productView.asp?ID=ZM9095
Solar charge controller $62 http://www.jaycar.co.nz/productView.asp?ID=MP3720
26ah deep cycle battery $160 http://www.jaycar.co.nz/productView.asp?ID=SB1698

400W Inverter $109 http://www.jaycar.co.nz/productView.asp?ID=MI5107 (non-essential but I’ll throw it in there anyway for now; consider it outside of the proposed $500 budget…)

I’m sure better prices can be had on batteries and likely other components with shopping around but for the sake of argument and specs let’s stick with the Jaycar range.

If cordless tool(s) were used could they be left to charge from a solar setup? They wouldn’t have the high load requirements of operation but instead a trickle charge over time.



22503 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted
Subscriber

  # 1012002 24-Mar-2014 18:39
Send private message

There are car chargers for most brands of cordless tools so that will see you recharging ok.

Keep in mind that real power to the garage will help when it comes time to sell. A home brew oddball solar install will be less appealing than an unpowered garage.




Richard rich.ms

2476 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted
Subscriber

  # 1012004 24-Mar-2014 18:43
Send private message

What is the actual distance from your house? If you can't run a cable is it feasible to transport batteries on a trolley? Then you'd have no need for solar and could buy a decent battery rather than a crappy 26Ah battery designed to run an alarm system.

8698 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1012098 24-Mar-2014 21:55
Send private message

While on the topic of solar / battery systems...
I stayed in a friend's UK import caravan the other weekend.  It had a 140AH deep cycle battery (that's large - over twice the size of a typical car battery).
It had the original price sticker on it - £69.95 (about NZ$135).
Gee - we get ripped in NZ - that would retail for about $4-500 here.



22503 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted
Subscriber

  # 1012099 24-Mar-2014 21:57
Send private message

And batteries that are not a rip in NZ are useless rebranded junk ones which die in no time.

Dont think you could youshop a battery like that however :(




Richard rich.ms

2476 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted
Subscriber

  # 1012105 24-Mar-2014 22:19
Send private message

The price of batteries is interesting. I used to work for an importer of VRLA batteries and there was money in them but not as much as you would think. The problem with them is they are perishable and to get decent pricing the Chinese want you to buy container loads of a size.

The biggest problem was the self discharge - anything much older than about six months had to be taken out and charged otherwise you could end up with warranty issues. 12V 7ah had a really good stock turnover but other sizes could be a pain.

22503 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted
Subscriber

  # 1012106 24-Mar-2014 22:22
Send private message

That's the same with anything from china, and why all these small time importers in NZ cannot get decent pricing on things when compared to TWH or Kmart etc. And by the time something like a SLA has been thru the electus/jaycar distribution chain its an absurd price compared to what it would be on the shelf somewhere in the states.




Richard rich.ms

3885 posts

Uber Geek

Subscriber

  # 1012122 24-Mar-2014 23:14

Do you have Vehicle access to the garage? Just install the inverter in your car and run a lead in when you need mains power. And wire up a separate lead with a cigarette lighter plug on the end to get 12V from the car to run LED lights. Install an "always on" cigarette lighter plug if the factory one only works with the ignition on. And install the biggest battery that will fit in your car's standard battery location. So you can use the lights for a few hours without needing to start the car. And just leave the car running when you need to use power tools.


Lower capital cost since no need for solar panels or a charge controller. And you will now have mains power wherever you drive your car to.

 1 | 2 | 3
Filter this topic showing only the reply marked as answer View this topic in a long page with up to 500 replies per page Create new topic



Twitter and LinkedIn »



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:





News »

D Link ANZ launches EXO Smart Mesh Wi Fi Routers with McAfee protection
Posted 15-Oct-2019 11:31


Major Japanese retailer partners with smart New Zealand technology IMAGR
Posted 14-Oct-2019 10:29


Ola pioneers one-time passcode feature to fight rideshare fraud
Posted 14-Oct-2019 10:24


Spark Sport new home of NZC matches from 2020
Posted 10-Oct-2019 09:59


Meet Nola, Noel Leeming's new digital employee
Posted 4-Oct-2019 08:07


Registrations for Sprout Accelerator open for 2020 season
Posted 4-Oct-2019 08:02


Teletrac Navman welcomes AI tech leader Jens Meggers as new President
Posted 4-Oct-2019 07:41


Vodafone makes voice of 4G (VoLTE) official
Posted 4-Oct-2019 07:36


2degrees Reaches Milestone of 100,000 Broadband Customers
Posted 1-Oct-2019 09:17


Nokia 1 Plus available in New Zealand from 2nd October
Posted 30-Sep-2019 17:46


Ola integrates Apple Pay as payment method in New Zealand
Posted 25-Sep-2019 09:51


Facebook Portal to land in New Zealand
Posted 19-Sep-2019 18:35


Amazon Studios announces New Zealand as location for its upcoming series based on The Lord of the Rings
Posted 18-Sep-2019 17:24


The Warehouse chooses Elasticsearch service
Posted 18-Sep-2019 13:55


Voyager upgrades core network to 100Gbit
Posted 18-Sep-2019 13:52



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.


Support Geekzone »

Our community of supporters help make Geekzone possible. Click the button below to join them.

Support Geezone on PressPatron



Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.