diy solar

diy solar

Massive Texas power outage

We have seen in the past battery back-up for sump pumps, to avoid flooding during utility outages.
Seems like a simple step-up to provide a CLP powered by back up batteries, charged off-peak and ready to power fridge, freezer, internet and a few important lights in a home.
Make it "solar-ready" so the homeowner can add some PV if they want, THEN they will Catch the BUG and join DIY Solar Forum!
 
Sort of crazy that they still don't expect power to a lot of these areas until at least the 22nd.. and a lot of the areas aren't rural areas they are right in Houston itself.

I'm not even sure how this is possible considering they have hurricanes.. is their infrastructure that fragile??
CenterPoint sent out a map on Saturday night showing estimated restoration days and times.
 
Sort of crazy that they still don't expect power to a lot of these areas until at least the 22nd.. and a lot of the areas aren't rural areas they are right in Houston itself.

I'm not even sure how this is possible considering they have hurricanes.. is their infrastructure that fragile??
CenterPoint sent out a map on Saturday night showing estimated restoration days and times.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including their infrastructure problems?
 
THEN they will Catch the BUG and join DIY Solar Forum!
You make it sound like a creepy religious cult.
Hare Krisna...
Krishna Krishna...
Hare Hare...
Krishna Battery...
Solar, Battery....

Now on a serious note.
I see a lot of retired, redundant old UPSs get recycled, but you can get them cheap too.
Snoop around you find stuff like this.

When you are aware of a power outage something like this can keep your electronics around the house alive and buy you time to do toerh things.
You can also run something like a gas fired hot water tank on, sump pump ( 1/4 hp ) or furnace.
Depending on the type and age some even have dry contact you can use to signal other things like a generator to start in the event of an extended power failure.

This is a real nice old Kohler RV unit
Hes wrong about the model number thats a 4RM21 made sometime in the 70s.
all electro mechanical controller ( this is not the EL-8, the one I prefer thats fully automated a make to run set. Video unit has a hold to start and stop style control )
This is what you want for back up.
Small unit that wont burn excessive amounts of fuel but can put out 4000 real watts of work.
Don't be confused by a Chinese set that says its 4000 watts start, 3200 running ect.
(Those are small machines that only reliably put out 80% of 3200 watts watts for continues service )

There is a very simply reason I tell people to buy stuff like this.
It is reliable and can be repaired easily in the field if you have a break down.
in a power outage there will be no Generac repair man to help you ( and he probably wont show up for a week at normal times )
The Voltage regulator for the battery charger is an obsolete hard to find part but there is a work around for that ( use a small battery charger powered off the generator if this component fails or use a diode and dropping resistor and steal about 20 watts off the main exciter to recharge the battery.
Over all simplicity and ease of repair.
You can fix a lawn mower you can fix this

Older units without complicated electronics will always be easy to fix.
Saturated pole head like this generator have no electronic AVRs to fail.
Exciter cranked units have a minimum of parts to fail.
And it too dam heavy to steal in the middle of the night so it will be there when you get up in the morning on day 2 of a power outage

Neglect kills generators.
The ones I get calls to look at have sat and when the owner needs it that machine will not start.
These units with the Kohler K series engines can be fogged in oiled up and sit for years.
They will work, but I suggest you start them up and test them at least once a year and do a proper service on them.

The guy in the video is your typical novice.
He does not know the fuel pump has a manual prime leaver, does not recognize the engine is over speeding.
There are some safety considerations he has not considered...
Pretty obvious though this is an old machine that sat broken down and neglected after the RV was scrapped and without much fuss it came back to life.
Ya try that with a Champion ( insert your preferred brand of China generator, and not to bash them I do like China generators too they just require a lot more care )...

A good source of parts for a NG or profane conversion are components made by US carb...
If you have enough capacity in your home gas meter to feed a generator its not a bad option.
You could chepa out and use Chinese parts, I don't judge, but consider safety and home owners insurance

Here is another nice old Kohler with the EL-8.
Blue so thats early 60s.
engine is K341 so parts are very cheap and easy to get.
My big concern here is how he deals with the stuck valve.
That's a short sighted move!!!!
Check the bore first see if its worth trying to salvage.
Pull that valve and scrap it buy a new valve and carefully clean and oil that guide.
What he has done is introduce rust, and thats abrasive.. into the guide and it will wear out fast.
A new valve is very cheap in the aftermarket and will last much longer even if that guide is damaged by rust.
all comes down to doing things right...

Shielded ignition
Probably going to set you back 50 bucks to buy a plug for that.
I might consider using the points and an automotive self ballasted coil with a conventional carbon ignition wire and resistor plug for RF suppression.
That Ignition is a Phelon unit old as the hills and not easily found. ( maybe you could swap in a coil from a old Merc like maybe a 20 hp or something from the 60s... I would not bother if it had an ignition problem thats a lot of trouble to go to to fix it. )


Sisson electric choke hard to come by part but you can swap in a 6 volt choke from an old Chrysler and use a dropping resistor.
( an Onan CCK uses the same 12v choke, thats another source of parts )

The two extra wires are 1 for the choke, other is probably a safety, this unit probably had a thermostatic switch on the head to shut down if the unit over heats.
No in another vid I see the thermal switch.
K331 powered units, L600 had an oil pressure switch, this one does not.....
Hmm...
Might be for a fuel shut off relay....
Inside the cover there may be a print if its missing there is a former employee in Wisconsin that will send you prints for that ( if he is still around ).
Sets like this have a following people in the know will help you,

Dead simple machine.
 
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Everything is bigger in Texas, including their infrastructure problems?
Well, Texas doesn't believe in regulation so companies can do whatever is the cheapest to maximize profit. Centerpoint is on the NYSE. Same thing happened with the last big power outage few years ago with the great freeze and governor blamed it on the wind turbines.
 
Well, Texas doesn't believe in regulation so companies can do whatever is the cheapest to maximize profit. Centerpoint is on the NYSE. Same thing happened with the last big power outage few years ago with the great freeze and governor blamed it on the wind turbines.
The flip side to this is the Texas power grid is completely independent of other states and rates for utilities I am told are cheaper.
Down side is they need a lot more standby power generators, but they have plenty of natural gas to burn fuelling them.

The monopoly power of the current grid operators, generation sources is a serious problem.
A lack of will from govs everywhere to build more diverse sources of energy and especially green energy...
Well lots has been written on that.

Lots of govs on the state provincial levels have their heads stuck in the dirt with regards to grids and climate change.
Again lots written on that I won't repeat.
 
Well someone is going to get in trouble because the whole reason Texas went the way they did was to keep consumer power costs down and support the fossil fuel industry.
Now they are only doing one of those things..

I need to read up on that.
I've never been to Texas, I have a step brother that lives there.
He likes deregulation the way they are.... and fiercely apposes changes to the way things run now.

a snip..
"Rising heat, which hikes up demand for cooling systems, coupled with computing-intensive businesses like data centers and bitcoin mining,"
( When I spell Centre like this do you guys notice it on your spell checker, mine flags Center... )

Ya ok The computers.
Those businesses moved to Texas to take advantage of the low power rates.
Very obvious things are changing, and not for the best.
 
Is this Normal or has the weather become more damaging in your opinion?
Your right there what are your seeing last few years?
What is your honest opinion and perspective?
 
I’ve lived here my whole life. The weather pattern has definitely changed. The last few times it has rained, it has also hailed.

This never used to happen. In 2021 the freeze happened and I had no water or power for 10 days.
 
My step brother has a real nice house that was on high ground when they had flooding in Texas last time.
Nothing much was ever said about the weather.
I wonder how may people share this opinion of weather is just bad weather.

I never worried about Tornado.
That's now something I look up into the sky for when we get hail.
I think we have more hail, micro bursts and heavy rainfall then we used to.
North Ontario
Less snow, now you really need AC in the summer, and snow fall in winter is late melts early and in between you never know what your going to get.
We had a thunderstorm at Christmas this year, I never saw that before..

Im worried.
 
There is probably a lot of grid tie net metering solar systems that aren't doing anything right now. It could be cool if someone could come up with an idea to simulate the grid enough to get them to produce power for the homeowner safely
Many people are doing this every day. Just need to update the equipment.
 
Those businesses moved to Texas to take advantage of the low power rates.
Very obvious things are changing, and not for the best.

They are building two Microsoft server farms near me. Nobody is happy about it. We also have been in stage 3 water restrictions for like two years now and yet they keep building housing developments everywhere. I'm more concerned about water shortages than power.

That said, I keep track of my electric rates/bills. In the 20 years I have been here, the rates have only gone from $.07 to $.10 kwh , That is the reason I only do solar as a hobby vs trying to cut my bill down. It's just not cost effective. And ever since they put a substation about a mile down the road a couple of years ago, I have not had a single outage.
 
They are building two Microsoft server farms near me. Nobody is happy about it. We also have been in stage 3 water restrictions for like two years now and yet they keep building housing developments everywhere. I'm more concerned about water shortages than power.

That said, I keep track of my electric rates/bills. In the 20 years i have been here, the rates have only gone from $.07 to $.10 kwh , That is the reason I only do solar as a hobby vs trying to cut my bill down. It;s just not cost effective. And ever since they put a substation about a mile down the road a couple of years ago, I have not had a single outage.
That is exactly what I am doing. Original goal was to keep the fridges going and mini-split in master bedroom. As projects to it grew a little here and there. Put soft start on 5 Ton HVAC, Solar Pump Inverter on Pool, and kitchen appliances. I saw a >50% drop in the electric bill as off-grid system. Now I just to make it wife proof. Living in hurricane strike zone I didn't want to sit in the dark waiting for the storm to pass. Not trying to replace grid or a generator. Just making things more better in-between.
 
They are building two Microsoft server farms near me. Nobody is happy about it. We also have been in stage 3 water restrictions for like two years now and yet they keep building housing developments everywhere. I'm more concerned about water shortages than power.

That said, I keep track of my electric rates/bills. In the 20 years I have been here, the rates have only gone from $.07 to $.10 kwh , That is the reason I only do solar as a hobby vs trying to cut my bill down. It's just not cost effective. And ever since they put a substation about a mile down the road a couple of years ago, I have not had a single outage.
WellsFargo is building 2 Massive Data centers in TX.

One in Garland and one in Lewisville.
 
WellsFargo is building 2 Massive Data centers in TX.

One in Garland and one in Lewisville.
Data centers create good paying jobs in the area! That said, my last trip through Texas bummed me out.

I visited relatives in Houston and at Lake Conroe, and then headed past the panhandle using country roads through Austin, Waco and Ft Hood (I was stationed at fort Hood for a year with the 2nd Armored Div).
That once beautiful scenery is now obliterated with thousands upon thousands of non-spinning windmills. Discarded broken turbine blades are dumped along the roadsides in places.

Maybe a couple are spinning here and there. So sad. Even the crossroads where Tom Hanks stood at the end of Cast Away now looks like a mutated green energy nightmare.
We need more NUKE plants, Hydro-power, and space based energy plants, not stagnant windmills and hail damaged solar farms.
 
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