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Remote Monitoring of Solar Charger

by on Sep.25, 2014, under Electrical

Over the labor day weekend, I installed a new add-on for my Midnite Solar Charge Controller.  It is called a Whizbang Jr.

Basically, this allows the charge controller to measure the actual current directly into and out of the battery, without worrying about what loads I might have turned on at any point in time.

This allows the charge controller to make better decisions on when to stop charging on any given day, putting less strain on the batteries.  It also will allow me to more effectively monitor the actual state of charge of the batteries, rather than guessing based on battery voltage.  But that part hasn’t been added to the software, yet.

I haven’t grabbed any photos of my install yet, but here is a generic one that I’ve borrowed from the manufacturer…

Whizbang Jr.

Whizbang Jr.

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September 2014 Finishing Cleanup

by on Sep.25, 2014, under Ranch Maintenance

After Labor Day, I came up to the ranch again in the weekend of the 13th.  I wanted to finish cleaning up the back yard

It was a beautiful weekend, with warm, breezy days and cool nights.  I love this time of year.

Meadow in early evening

Meadow in early evening

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Labor Day 2014 at the Ranch

by on Sep.24, 2014, under Seasons

Our trip up for Labor Day this year was mostly to do some more cleanup behind the LittleHouse.

We ran into a few critters under the debris.  One of them was a nice taurantula. He was friendly, and posed no harm.

Taurantula Crawling on Ground

Taurantula Crawling on Ground

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Battery Maintenance

by on Aug.12, 2014, under Ranch Maintenance

While waiting for the scrap lumber to burn down, I did battery maintenance.

First, I let the solar panels charge until the charger went into float mode (about 1:00 pm that day).

Then I checked that the water level was above the plates of the battery (it was in all cells).  I had not filled the batteries since May, so I was concerned, but all was well.

I checked the initial voltage on each battery. They were all in the 6.53 – 6.55 range (I wrote them down, but didn’t capture the figures in the snapshot I took to bring back to town).

Next, I put the charger into equalize mode. I ran in that mode for about an hour, but for the last 15 minutes or so, it had clouded up, so wasn’t fully effective.  I’ll have to run another equalize charge next time we come up.

Finally, I let the system go back into float mode, and measured the voltages and specific gravity for each cell.  All were in the good range (1.265 is usually considered 100% charged).

Battery # After Equalization Float Voltage Cell 1 SG Cell 2 SG Cell 3 SG
1 6.55 1.265 1.265 1.265
2 6.54 1.265 1.265 1.265
3 6.56 1.265 1.265 1.265
4 6.56 1.265 1.265 1.265
5 6.52 1.265 1.260 1.260
6 6.56 1.260 1.265 1.265
7 6.56 1.260 1.265 1.260
8 6.53 1.260 1.260 1.260

 

Checking Specific Gravity.

Checking Specific Gravity.

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Cleaning Up…

by on Aug.12, 2014, under Ranch Maintenance

I’m ashamed to admit that I got a little lazy with properly disposing excess lumber during the building process.

Since the burn bans are over for the year, and everything is nice and green, I decided to burn up the scrap lumber pile that had been stacking up for years.

Burn Ring

Burn Ring

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