Solar panels

Solar energy, wind turbines whatever it is then here is your place to talk about it.
cheap&cheerful
Tom Good
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Solar panels

Post: # 4168Post cheap&cheerful
Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:58 pm

Hi Wombat,

Are you totally off the grid?? Can you give us any tips if you are.

We have just bought 12x80watt secondhand panels off ebay so that we can hopefully achieve that.

We were told that one of the biggest juice guzzling problems would be the washing machine. Because of the amount of power it would take to heat it up and the fact that until it reached the temp it wouldn't kick on to the next cycle. Luckily John found me an old twin tub down the dump, so that resolved that problem. I'm waiting for him to turn up with a flat iron for on top of the stove...believe me it's on his shopping list!!
We've got solar water panels, a small wind generator off a boat and a reasonable generator as back up.

We've just ordered a wood burner with a back boiler for our winter heat/water, also I'm going to cook on it as much as possible. Plus we've got all the batteries etc. John is a right forager and there's hardly a day goes by that he doesn't drop into the dump on his way home from work to see if it will yield anything.

Looking at our list do you think it will be enough. Johns concerned we might end up with candles half way through the night.

Jill.. :flower:

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Post: # 4181Post Wombat
Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:07 am

G'day Jill,

All our lighting is on the 12volt but most of the rest is still 240v. We have 5to6 people here, some who are mega-fussy so it will be a bit difficult until the "kids" move out.

12 x 80 watt panels is pretty impressive, how much battery storage do you have? do you use an inverter? Do you use a regulator? Have a look at my article on the main site.

I find a big problem is cooling, because it is a constant drain, even overnight when the panels provide no electricity. With the wind generator it would ease your problems a bit, depending on its contribution to the system. Obviously the generator will make things better, but how will you set up your system 240volt, 12volt a combination or another voltage (eg 24 or 32?)

On a clear day I can run the washing machine off the inverter, but it doesn't heat the water, we have washed in cold water for 20 years anyway! I believe that twin tubs are best for alternative systems, I have an article around here somewhere converting one to 12 volt i am sure.

Nev
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Post: # 6867Post sunpuppy
Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:08 am

Wombat wrote:On a clear day I can run the washing machine off the inverter, but it doesn't heat the water, we have washed in cold water for 20 years anyway! Nev
Yeah, why DO we wash clothes with hot water? Does it make them any cleaner? Is cold water with some eco-friendly washing powder effective?

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Post: # 6879Post Wombat
Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:02 pm

G'Day Sunpuppy,

Hot water does make emulsifying the grease easier, but cold water works for us!

Nev
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Post: # 6904Post sunpuppy
Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:16 pm

Wombat wrote:Hot water does make emulsifying the grease easier, but cold water works for us!

Nev
Aah, I see. In that case I'm going to try washing my clothes with cold water and see if there's any difference in quality of wash.

I mean, I'm sure that's what people did before the advent of washing machines, and I can't be that greasy! :lol:

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Post: # 6915Post Wombat
Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:12 am

It's worth a go Sunpuppy!

Nev
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Our website on living more sustainably in the suburbs! - http://www.underthechokotree.com/

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Post: # 6916Post Millymollymandy
Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:35 am

The problem is, that a lot of washing machines won't let you wash on cold! I can do a wool cycle on cold but the rest of the cycles start at 30 or 40C.

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Post: # 6917Post ina
Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:37 am

sunpuppy wrote: I mean, I'm sure that's what people did before the advent of washing machines, and I can't be that greasy! :lol:
Actually, before the advent of washing machines people used to boil their clothes... At least the white stuff. Our house must have been one of the last that was built with a huge boiler (solid fuel fired) in the cellar, just for wash days. My mother always was a bit oldfashioned... But I do remember those big wash days - always Monday - from my childhood, early to mid-60s.

And the public wash houses weren't called "steemies" for nothing - the water must have been hot to steam!

I think the heat was more necessary then because they didn't change their clothes so often - washing was just so time consuming that they couldn't afford fresh undies every day. Nowadays nobody I know uses the really hot wash cycle on the machines.

Ina

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Post: # 6921Post Millymollymandy
Fri Oct 21, 2005 12:36 pm

I do when I am doing the dust mite covers for the mattress and pillow slips. They should be done at 95C in order to kill off any mites. However what is really irritating is the damn things shrink so much it is a real tug of war to get it back over the mattress. I do wonder if they are really effective anyway.

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Post: # 6924Post sunpuppy
Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:23 pm

ina wrote:I think the heat was more necessary then because they didn't change their clothes so often - washing was just so time consuming that they couldn't afford fresh undies every day. Nowadays nobody I know uses the really hot wash cycle on the machines.

Ina
Yes, I guess the washing machine does labour-save in that respect, and it is nice having fresh undies every day!

Does anyone use a twin tub? Are they more efficient than a drum washing machine? At least with twin tubs you can control how much water you use, and the temperature.

Don't think I would enjoy doing the laundry much without some kind of washing machine, but I would like to save energy by using cold water if poss.
Live Life Laughing...

alcina
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Post: # 6930Post alcina
Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:06 pm

I remember a period as a child when our washing machine broke and we couldn't afford to buy a new one for several months, so all washing was hand done. We *all* had to help out - bedding was washed in the bath, the rest in bowls and the kitchen sink. We had a dolly (bit like a milking stool on the end of a broom handle) and an old hand cranked mangle and boy do those two things really help!! Even so it takes ages and ages to do the weekly wash and is simply exhausting! I look with total respect at "washerwomen" of old - those biddies were strong!!! This reminiscing is just by way of saying that ever since then, for me, the washing machine has always been the most amazing and unbelievably labour saving device ever invented! It's a mechanical mircale that I equate with the wheel! Unfortunately it is electrically powered but even if it were the only electrical device I could afford to run I would run it in preference to anything else!

Though...having said that...I do recall being without a fridge for a month in the height of summer....

Alcina

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Post: # 6936Post Wombat
Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:59 am

Yeah Guys!

When I was a kid, my mother did all our washing by hand and from what I remember, I go double for what Alcina said! My father used to use a twin tub and found it worked well for him, but he kept the loads small. I do remember reading somewhere that twin tubs were easier to convert to alternative power such as 12 volts.

Nev
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Our website on living more sustainably in the suburbs! - http://www.underthechokotree.com/

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Post: # 6938Post Millymollymandy
Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:52 am

I know nothing about twin tubs. They seem to be popular in France. What is the other tub for - the spinning? If so, why make more work for yourself? They seem to be the same price as front loaders. I'd always thought they were some old-fashioned thing that was around before modern front loaders!

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Post: # 6945Post Wombat
Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:34 pm

Yep MMM! one side has the agitator (horizontal shaft) and the other is the spin drier so you do have to pull the clothes out from one side and put it in the other.

Nev
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Post: # 7959Post sparticuss
Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:24 pm

sunpuppy wrote:
Wombat wrote:On a clear day I can run the washing machine off the inverter, but it doesn't heat the water, we have washed in cold water for 20 years anyway! Nev
Yeah, why DO we wash clothes with hot water? Does it make them any cleaner? Is cold water with some eco-friendly washing powder effective?
I would hazard a moderately educated guess. While dirt washes just as clean in cold water, other bits such as grease, (I do my own vehicle maintinance) and good honest sweat, wash cleaner in hot water.

To get some idea try doing the dishes in cold water and see how clean you can, or cant, get them.

BTW If youve got a decent solar hot water then the whole issue shoud be a non isssue. If you haven't then just pop a "wanted to buy two more solar hot water panels" into the swap board and add them to your existing system

I havne't finished installling mine yet but several consultants have told me that I've got a good chance of never needing gas back up.

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