Hello. I’m new here. 1st post. Looking for general input for electricity… remote cabin

Nan_wpg

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Greetings everyone. I’ll explain what we got, what I need (or think I need), and I’d like to explore different solutions.

im open to everything and let’s treat it as a clean slate. Money isn’t unlimited, but it isn’t scarce. Basically I’ll spend what I need to but not more than I have to.

cabin is remote, boat access. No power, sewer/water, outhouse. It’s 1400,sq ft. Propane oven, and fridge. Heat is wood stove. Water is pumped(gas) onto the roof to a holding tank and gravity “pumps” our,water to the cabin. Water is heated by kettle on the stove or wood stove.

cabin is powered by a Honda 2000ie (15 years old) and the cabin is wired as one single circuit, terminating into an extention cord that plugs into the 2000.

it works, but it’d be nice to not have to shuttle fuel and we just run the genny for a couple hours a night. I do use a cpap so when I first came out to the cabin I bought a typical power pack with ac and dc outputs. Plug it into the wall charge it up, use it, and repeat.

this got me interested in solar as some of the other cabins have solar. So, I bought myself a,2 wheeled hand cart, cut some plywood , bought:

-12v 100ah lead battery
-150 watt 12v panel
-boggart sc2030 charge controller
-boggart tm2030 battery monitor
-Morningstar suresine 300 watt inverter
-12v cigarette plug
-iota 12v charger

then I learned about volts, watts, amps, pwm, mppt, wire sizing for current. I learned about batteries, bulk, absorbtion, float, and equalizing. I’d watch the battery charge, and the amps drop as the voltage peaked.

solar panel was outside. Each day I’d wheel my cart out and plug in, charge up. At night I’d plug the cpap into to the 12v plug, and charge my iPhone with the suresine. Boom.

the idea was to learn, become non dependent on the Honda 2000, and be able to take my stuff home at the end of cabin season and trickle the battery.

I’ve since acquired a partial ownership in the cabin and would like to take it up a notch with solar. As I said I’m an open book, and appreciate,all input.

I like to tinker, and what not but there are others using the cabin so I’d like to keep it as simple as possible.

the cabin was wired decades ago as a single circuit. This was before current electronics. Starlink is in the works, and I’m tired of wheeling my experimental solar generator in and out each day.

for discussion here’s where my heads at for solutions:

1. Continue with Honda 2000. Run when needed, and swap out my current home made power box for something smaller.
2. Add some panels on the roof and if I go this route I can either:
a) do a permanent set up I.e charge controller, inverter, batteries or
b) buy something like a renogy lycan,5000 And take it home for the winter.

id like the ability to charge the batteries if needed. If I can reuse what I have great. If not, we’ll it is what it is. I like the inverter/chargers

im leaning towards keeping the extention plug so everyone can either “plug” the cabin into the solar system, or “plug” into the generator.

I really like the “all in one” solutions out there.

im not opposed to a rewrite of the cabin (properly with a panel, circuits, etc).

thoughts, ideas? What would you do? Not do? Do over again?

at some point I will dump the gravity water system (see what I did there??) and gravity feed a small 12v pump into a pressure tank.

our site isn’t the best for panels and I’d prefer parallel wiring to series due to shading.

im also old school and am Leary of new stuff, lol. (thus the 12v pwm system)

anyway, I’m all ears
 

MisterSandals

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anyway, I’m all ears
You should start with an energy audit to determine how much power you use so you can figure out how big your system needs to be.

Then get enough solar to produce that amount of energy each day. Get a battery big enough to store the power you need at night and periods of no sunshine. Then get an SCC that accepts the power from your array and charges your battery bank.

Its a fairly mechanical process once you determine your energy needs/goals.
 

12VoltInstalls

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im not opposed to a rewrite of the cabin (properly with a panel, circuits, etc).
A 100A is not required to have 100A going through it. And 100A entrances are inexpensive as are 200A.
However, I’d be inclined to do the 100A entrance panel and wire rooms properly. You would just need to inform the other users of the limitations of the solar and battery part of the system so they don’t think they can just go plug their 50,000 W hairdryer in. 😂
thoughts, ideas? What would you do? Not do? Do over again?
So I would have a manual transfer switch. If the battery bank depletes, you’d have to manually switch to run the generator.

Then I would do components. No I exist off grid with a relatively small system that has some compromises. Not everybody could tolerate that especially if you don’t know how to make everything work like other users will likely be.

Nevertheless, there is a better solution that just requires rectangular dollars and a few other engineering considerations. Did you see the recent video that Will did on a homebrew substantial system that takes the place of a blue Eddie or Eco flow overprice suitcase? That is one possibility but it will use or at least need one kilowatt a day just to run it with the idle consumption. However, the all-in-one units do offer a tremendous benefit as far as simplicity. I am currently using an MPP solar 1012 LV-MK all in one unit that I’m quite impressed with. It will take your generator input and charge the batteries and it’s really just so simple to use it’s hard to argue against it. The homebrew solar generator is about 2500 bucks whereas that 1012 LV – MK is only 632 bucks plus the price of a battery or batteries.

I said all that to say that for my experience over the last four or five years and involvement with other projects and construction trailers with solar etc. my thought for you would be to have about four or 500 amp hours of lithium battery storage – that is to say if your cabin does not experience below the freezing temperature of water is that will destroy the batteries if you charge them below freezing. Then 14 to 1800 W of solar panels arranged for several parallel configurations to deal with your shading issue will probably do it. But that’s a wildhat guess just based on your colloquial description. If your budget will support two to $3000 or maybe a bit more, you should have a pretty robust system that won’t tax itself and yet still not requires a generator
 

Mattb4

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There is a basic problem with anything you do. From your description you share this remote cabin usage with other people. Those other people may or may not be able to properly take care of any solar setup you put in. Most likely they would bugger it up without you there to make sure it was used as intended.

Partial ownership of anything causes limitations.
 

Nan_wpg

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A few more things. The cabin freezes. It mostly sits empty all winter.

yes it’s a shared cabin which present challenges. I’m “on top” of things and am conscious of system limitations. Others leave lights on and everything plugged in. I try and use the unused amps when charging, I.e “run the washing machine in the sunshine”


daily energy use will vary day to day depending on who’s at the cabin. (Which is why I wanted the renogy lycan5000…. Take it all home at the end of cabin season)

I also need the ability to generator charge and/or charge batteries while passing through generator to power loads
 

Rednecktek

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A few more things. The cabin freezes. It mostly sits empty all winter.

yes it’s a shared cabin which present challenges. I’m “on top” of things and am conscious of system limitations. Others leave lights on and everything plugged in. I try and use the unused amps when charging, I.e “run the washing machine in the sunshine”


daily energy use will vary day to day depending on who’s at the cabin. (Which is why I wanted the renogy lycan5000…. Take it all home at the end of cabin season)

I also need the ability to generator charge and/or charge batteries while passing through generator to power loads
I'm in the same boat with my setup which drastically changed my plans. I ended up dropping the 24v based system in favor of a 48v system so I could use the Trophy batteries to deal with the cold aspect.

As for dealing with the other people who use the place the best I can do is printing out a How To guide with pics and step-by-step instructions on how to run everything to try to simplify as much as possible. I'll have the generator connection and all pre-built into the system for use come winter if the panels can't keep up.

First I gotta settle out life, get back to work, and clear a LOT of trees.
 

littleharbor2

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So I would have a manual transfer switch. If the battery bank depletes, you’d have to manually switch to run the generator.
The all-in-one units the OP is leaning toward have built in transfer switches with their charging circuits. I have installed a number of the Midnite Solar units recently. They are very DIY friendly and have the bonus of Midnite's excellent customer service.
 

Leeds

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Have you considered wiring a second set of outlets in the building? Keep the existing generator-based system as is but add a proper panel feeding a few new outlets that are run only by solar.

This way if/when you take components home the rest of the house still works as it always did.

If you put a different color of outlet (or the plastic that goes over it) everyone can easily know which outlets are hot depending on the generator or solar system.
 

Nan_wpg

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The all-in-one units the OP is leaning toward have built in transfer switches with their charging circuits. I have installed a number of the Midnite Solar units recently. They are very DIY friendly and have the bonus of Midnite's excellent customer service.
Yes! For example (not all in one) but if I use a magnum inverter/charger no need for a transfer switch. Magnum runs the cabin off the batteries. If they need a charge we run generator through the magnum. It charges batteries, and passes through power to the cabin.
 

Nan_wpg

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Have you considered wiring a second set of outlets in the building? Keep the existing generator-based system as is but add a proper panel feeding a few new outlets that are run only by solar.

This way if/when you take components home the rest of the house still works as it always did.

If you put a different color of outlet (or the plastic that goes over it) everyone can easily know which outlets are hot depending on the generator or solar system.
Was hoping to keep the same set up (“plug cabin into solar”). If solar fails/gets stolen/abducted by aliens, then unplug the cord from the solar and plug it into the generstor. (Old school human transfer switch, lol)

personally I’m ok with whatever. I will to what’s needed to maintain. Problem is if bil goes out in winter, leaves something on, doesn’t check batteries, etc then trouble. If I get something like a renogy lycan 5000 it comes home for the winter and he can use the generator like he currently does.

just want something to run a cpap, some lights, starlink and a Tv. Needs ability to generator charge the batteries. Needs to be easy peasy or be able to be brought home.

dont,want to insult family either. Not everyone is handy but I don’t want things to be destroyed either
 

shampeon

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I think the cheapest, simplest option is an interlock on a small electrical panel, or a manual transfer switch, with a big label that says "Solar <- -> Generator" or whatever. Then you can use any inexpensive off-grid inverter (you don't need a generator input like the Magnum) and it's just a matter of throwing a switch to connect the existing circuits to either system.
 

Nan_wpg

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I think the cheapest, simplest option is an interlock on a small electrical panel, or a manual transfer switch, with a big label that says "Solar <- -> Generator" or whatever. Then you can use any inexpensive off-grid inverter (you don't need a generator input like the Magnum) and it's just a matter of throwing a switch to connect the existing circuits to either system.
I would like the ability to charge the batteries with the generator. I do have an iota charger, and can use that (if I go 12v) but I’d like to keep the instal less complicated (and cleaner). Even if that means spending a bit more money.
 

shampeon

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Then you could use the generator as the AC input for grid-assist inverters. E.g. on an MPP Solar LV 1012 inverter, the inverter can be set to use solar first to charge the batteries, then "grid" (i.e. the generator). This thread is about something similar to what you're trying to do.
 

Nan_wpg

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That’s pretty slick. All in one, no fuss, clean instal. 24v. Just add some batteries and panels and away we go.

im thinking of sticking either with lead acid or lighter lithium but take the lithium home for the winter.
 

AnarchyJet

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This would give you a little more power that the generator and would be super simple to add.
Its limitation is the low amount of solar it can handle but 2 of these in parallel would work.
Power it with one of these that can be quick connected to the AIO and taken with you for the winter.
In winter just plug directly into the generator.
 

Nan_wpg

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This would give you a little more power that the generator and would be super simple to add.
Its limitation is the low amount of solar it can handle but 2 of these in parallel would work.
Power it with one of these that can be quick connected to the AIO and taken with you for the winter.
In winter just plug directly into the generator.
This looks good. Awfully cheap though?? Is there a reason, or is that how it is now? (Price wise)

my older research led me to believe Bogart, magnum, and Morningstar was the way to go. Crown for batteries.

600 w ain’t much, BUT we could use the system for a few days, and let it catch up In between. Just us it would work. Problem is bil sometimes is out for 8 weeks at a time.
 

12VoltInstalls

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The all-in-one units the OP is leaning toward have built in transfer switches with their charging circuits. I have installed a number of the Midnite Solar units recently. They are very DIY friendly and have the bonus of Midnite's excellent customer service.
Yes. I was noting that if one went with the commodity components there could be a manual transfer switch.
The advantage of that is it trains people by inconvenience of the consequences of their behavior. A) tell them how to manage
B) say what will happen if they aren’t mindful C) review with the 20 second version of “A” D) remind them that the system is great if they observe it’s functional parameters. :)
ATS and auto generators can let people be lazy-minded or spoiled prissies.
 

Rednecktek

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If you are going for cheaper, cold resistant, and simple while still supporting your 12v stuff, a 1012LV, some DC29 FLA wallyworld batteries and you're good to go. You keep all your 12v stuff without need for converters, the batteries are good for 60Ah each, parallel to your hearts content, the 1012 will take care of the generator input and recharging, and when you leave and shut the MPP off the charge controller keeps working to keep the batteries topped off while you're gone.
 

Nan_wpg

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All I have is 1 12v battery and a 12v panel. I’m not heavily invested in anything. Like I said it’s a clean slate.

im ok with 12v. I’m open to 24 or 48.

I dont have the best site for sun. There’s tall trees, and sometimes things are shaded. Series wired panels may present a problem. I’m ok with parallel panels and a higher current.

itd Be way easier if the place was mine. I’d get a decent setup and leave it all cabin season. For winter tilt the panels upright (to shed snow and capture sun from the snow covered ground). Batteries would be kept in float all winter.

it’s the sporadic usage by people who won’t understand solar, or just not care enough to be mindful of things.
 

AnarchyJet

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This looks good. Awfully cheap though?? Is there a reason, or is that how it is now? (Price wise)

my older research led me to believe Bogart, magnum, and Morningstar was the way to go. Crown for batteries.

600 w ain’t much, BUT we could use the system for a few days, and let it catch up In between. Just us it would work. Problem is bil sometimes is out for 8 weeks at a time.
I would anticipate you would have to run the generator a bit in the evening and morning, depending on previous days sun and power usage. The nice thing with a AIO is it would run the cabin from the generator power while charging the battery until solar kicked in.
This model supports much more solar, but is not as plug and play. You could wire it with extension cord ends like Will does for demos, make your own MC4 connections for PV and use Anderson connectors for the battery. All easy to do, just time and a bunch of little components to gather.
Price wise, this seems to be the going rate. MPP and Growatt have comparable models in the 24v range. MPP and EG4 are the seem to be the go to for 48v systems.
 
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