Catching Up, And OMG It’s On The Way And I’m Not Ready

Finally some temporary mounts for the solar panels after a couple of months of sitting in the snow and mud alongside the garage.

Let’s catch up with what’s been going on.

The weather finally got nice enough to let me get some chores done outside. First thing I had to do was get the solar panels up off the mud. I threw together some temporary frames and supports out of pressure treated lumber. I’m not putting in anything even semi-permanent yet because it’s all going to get changed around and more panels purchased in the near future to feed the new solar system we’re going to be installing. More about that a bit later.

The new setup seems to have made a huge difference in power production. I didn’t get this set up until early afternoon and at that time we were seeing high clouds that were cutting power production, but even with the clouds I was getting 500 watts or more. When the sky did clear momentarily they were peeking at around 750W for a time. At 4:30 PM after the skies had cleared I was still getting about 450W. For most of the afternoon I was running the entire basement, my radio equipment, the grow lights for our seedlings and the heating pad for the little greenhouse we have set up in the basement, the chest freezer and the living room, all running off the Bluetti with more than enough power coming in to run all of that and keep the batteries topped off. Of course there isn’t a heck of a lot of power being used for any of that. I think that peaks at around 600W of load. Still, that’s 600 watts of power we aren’t paying the utility company for.

Today is supposed to be warm and sunny so I’ll see just how much power those panels produce now that they’re more properly oriented. I am really pleased with those HQST panels. They’ve been doing much, much better than i anticipated.

The weather was so nice yesterday that I finally got the bike out of storage, checked over and out on the road again. After about 5+ months of a woefully sedentary lifestyle I was pretty stiff and after about five miles my legs were complaining already. The Vado up there may be an e-bike but it doesn’t do all the work for me. I still have to pedal it and I run it in “eco” mode so it only does about 25% of the work for me. Although I admit I will kick the assistance level when I’m going up a steep hill. Hey, what can I say? I’m old. I’ll be hitting 70 this year.

It was nice to get out on the road again on the bike but there isn’t much to see this time of year. The countryside around here is still mostly, well, looking like this…

Not very appealing but give it a few weeks.

The weather has been, as usual, odd. We went from rainy, cloudy, cold weather with daytime highs of around 40, to 70+ degrees literally overnight. It’s supposed to hit 80 degrees this week before the temps plunge back down into the low 40s again by the weekend.

And now the OMG part…

We made the decision to go ahead and make a significant investment in equipment for a rather large solar power system. I’ll go into all of the details later but we’re sinking a significant amount of money and effort into this and I hope it isn’t going to turn into a fiasco. We’ll see.

I thought I was going to have some time to prep for this. The company I’m buying the stuff from said it would probably take 2 – 3 weeks to put the order together, get it on a truck and ship it here. So no big rush in preparing. I need to clear space out in the basement, a difficult job because our basement is packed with stuff, a lot of which belongs to eldest son, and a lot of it is electronics so it just can’t be shoved down into the storage unit. And because of the condition of our basement there are limited places where a large electrical system can be installed. It’s going to take a long time to clear out space for it. And then I need to get miscellaneous parts like fuses, electrical cable of different types. a new transfer switch or lockout system for the main breaker panel… The list goes on and on.

So I thought I had at least two weeks to get ready for this. I don’t. It’s coming Monday. Something like 500 pounds of stuff on two pallets is going to get dumped off in my driveway sometime on Monday, I’m told. Or at least that’s the projected delivery date according to the shipping company.

Oh, goody…

I’m going to be busy, it seems…

Author: grouchyfarmer

Yes, I'm a former farmer. Sort of. I'm also an amateur radio operator, amateur astronomer, gardener, maker of furniture, photographer.

10 thoughts on “Catching Up, And OMG It’s On The Way And I’m Not Ready”

    1. It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure! From the shipping list I got yesterday from the company the only thing on backorder is the battery cabinet and I don’t need that to get the system set up and running. i’m still going to need to get some misc. parts, possibly make battery cables, buy wire, connectors, fuses and some small stuff. And I still have to decide what to do about solar panels. I’ll need to at least triple the amount of solar power coming into the system to keep it charged up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I built a wind generator on a whim, and consequently wired some batteries up for a battery bank, I found a local pawn shop that sells copper wire to people who use it with car stereos. It wasn’t real expensive and good quality wire. Comes in many sizes.

        I’ve also reached the point where I use shrink wrap tubing on just about every electrical connection I make these days.

        I’m a bit jealous you are rigging up such a system. I love tinkering with stuff like this. But right now I’m real busy in “metal shop.” Building a winch/boom for my diving boat. Old fuckers with bad backs don’t need to be pulling heavy bags in a boat. 😉

        I made a capstan out of an old boat motor starter and a rim from a dolly wheel. If there is any point of failure it will be the side load on the starter. If it works for a while before it fails I figure I’ve proof of concept and will splurge for a 12v motor with a bearing supported shaft instead of a bushing. Plus the shaft is only 12mm I need at least 1/2″ shaft. The thing is, it was just lying there in my shop, and didn’t cost me anything but time to rig it up 😉

        Failure is always a learning experience!


        1. I love tinkering with stuff. I always seem to have some project or other in the works. Some of them I even get finished! I’m both excited and a little nervous about this solar project. If it works half as well as I think it will it will be worth it. We’ll see.

          I know what you mean about how old farts shouldn’t be messing around with some stuff. I was 20 feet up two different trees yesterday hanging antennas and this morning I really wished I hadn’t done that! Moving this solar equipment around when it gets here is going to be interesting. Those batteries weigh about 100 lbs each.


      1. I got sick of blogger too and so now I am back on wordpress.
        I am old and not as stable as I once was .. sorry for the inconvenience.
        While I am at it, I love that Vado bike of yours. I used to have a regular hybrid bike but I got too old to ride it … I am thinking about an electric bike …we have extensive bike trails around here …are they awfully expensive? How long can you ride on a single charge of the battery>


        1. I love that Vado. Buying that was the best decision I made in ages. It is, alas, expensive even for an e-bike. This model was $3,800 but I’ve never regretted getting it. I put about 1,000 miles on it last year and it never missed a beat. You can get decent e-bikes for less than half that though. This one is so expensive because it has pretty long range and a high load capacity, has hydraulic disc brakes like a car and other goodies. Supposedly I could put saddlebags or a carrier on it and lug around 50 pounds of cargo as well as myself.

          Range on mine depends on riding conditions and the level of motor assist I use. I generally keep it in “Eco” mode which is the least amount of assistance. It picks up about 25% or so of the effort making it a lot easier to get up hills. In that mode, with the way I ride, I think I’d get at least 75 miles on a charge, possibly more. I did 22 miles one day and the battery still had 79% left. If I ride in the default mode it uses more energy, taking up about half of the effort of peddling. In the highest level of assistance it does almost all of the work and I just have to move my legs up and down.

          Top speed is about 28 MPH which, to me at least, is scary as all hell when riding on a bicycle. I usually just toodle along at about 12 – 13 mph. I’m in no great rush to get anywhere.


          1. I might just look into getting an electric bike myself although I am ashamed to admit that I am old enough to have to consider it .. after decades of riding on my own steam …but whatever will be will be and I am glad you have yours and that you enjoy it so. Yes, it does sound great! Thank you for sharing.


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