Solar Power, Dain Bramage & A Lazy Dog Story...

JeepHammer

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
875
Disclaimer:
No insult to the Small DIY guy, or anyone that doesn't have an education in electricity, EVERYONE'S education lies in different areas,
Some of us are 'Nerds', head full of factoids we don't put into practice,
Others are 'Geeks' that actually get *Something* wired up, usefulness is Subjective, so it's not up to me to say what works for someone else.
This is just a story about what I've seen and what some folks use for terminology re-guarding people of different skill levels.

------------------

So, after 17 years on the farm, 16 years in the Marines as a self propelled sand bag, Disabled, and then back to a 'Farm' I didn't do research on before I bought, No power or Water service...
(Starting with the Brain Damage part right off here...)

I NEED power... The old '73 Jeep CJ with no top is fine for getting around, but lets face it, you need an INDOOR outhouse and electricity if you want to attract a female,
You rarely find a female shaved 'Bigfoot' that will tolerate crapping in the weeds and breaking ice on the rain barrel to bathe,
(Do 'Bigfeet bathe?)
And besides, even shaved 'Bigfoot Females' just aren't that attractive, and who wants to date anything that can break you in half by mistake?

AND...
It's time to charge batteries since the closes power pole is a mile away, and running the Jeep to charge batteries isn't all that efficient,
I got some 'Battery Maintainer' solar panels to do that job.
Fine if you have all day to charge a cell phone, 3 days to charge a cordless drill, ect...
I NEED BIGGER PANELS!

This is where I caught the 'Sickness'... And the old dog shows up...
Not my dog, just a stray that through my solar panels were a good place to lay down since they were on the ground...
Shows up and never leaves, and I think he was just too lazy to trot down the driveway a mile to someone else's house.
You don't 'Buy' lazy farm dogs, they come with the land and just show up, just in case you never lived on a farm...

25 years ago you have to consider the solar panels *I* could afford, 60W was a 'Big' one, most were used, but the Dain Bramage kept me accumulating more and more panels, a constant struggle to get these mismatched panels wired so they were producing something usable,
This is where DC Coupling comes in, even though I didn't know that term until about a month ago...
This was when I kept getting MORE small batteries, instead of looking for BIG batteries, and wound up with 2/0 welding cable to carry amperage at just above 12 Volts for my 'Power Plant'... (a string of mismatched batteries I was killing faster than I could afford new ones).
... And the lazy show-up dog kept figuring ways to lay on the panels for some reason even though I was doing my best to get them up off the ground...
The dog was lazy, not stupid, outsmarted me every time!

You know you 'Own' a farm dog when the neighbors start referring to it as 'Your Dog' when you see them, and he is in the vehicle before you when you go someplace... I made it easy for him, I didn't have doors on my Jeep...
You know you figured out how to mount a panel when the dog can no longer get on them, so he sleeps in the Jeep seat or your favorite chair.
You know you are addicted to solar power when you start looking for BIG batteries instead of a crap load of little ones...
You know you are a 'Farmer' when you have more produce plants in the garden than weeds and critters eating your garden plants.
This took about 3 years for me, I'm a little slow on the uptake, and everything I did looked like it should have been on a 'Mad Max' movie set.

Being a farm kid and Marine, I know how a shovel works! I just started digging...

Anything else and I did it wrong about 3 times before I figured it out (or read the instructions).

Murphy's Law as connected to farming/homesteading...
1. I leaned I have PERFECT aim when the hammer is headed for my thumb... Keep a supply of bandages, or electrical tape and toilet paper/paper towels...
2. Eyebrows will grow back even when you burn them off repeatedly...
3. The Show-Up dog knows exactly where the leather work gloves are, but he will NEVER tell *YOU*...
4. If you drink raw (untreated) water off your property, NEVER TRUST A FART!
5. Ground Hogs/Wood Chucks know EXACTLY when the produce plants are best to eat off at ground level, after all YOUR hard work is done...
6. For what ever reason, squirrels, lizards & mice know EXACTLY where to chew on the wires/cross terminals for maximum effect...
7. Even if it makes sense to you, and works, the code enforcement guy isn't going to approve it, no exceptions...
8. PVC glue takes 6 weeks to grow out of your hair, watch where you put the can...
9. Bolt 'Never-Seize' and thread locker are your best friends on a farm, but a huge pain in the ass to find and one excess drop of either will coat your entire shirt/skin...
10. EVERY loose wire is 'Hot' when you touch it, no matter if you have 15 breakers turned off... Get used to wringing the electrons out of your arms...
11. Transmission fluid, engine oil, and anything else nasty/sticky defies the laws of physics (particularly when it's HOT) and winds up in your hair... Some force of nature science needs to look into...
12. When it rains, or heavy dew falls, the toilet paper is ALWAYS the first thing soaked... Your lunch is second if the dog didn't already get it...
13. Birds, Mulberry Trees & Solar Panels Will Meet when it's mulberry season, and mulberry bird shit has to be scrubbed off panels, rain won't take it off.
14. Mud Dobbers and Wasps have a registry of exactly where the cooling fins are on your charge controllers, inverters, combiner boxes, ect...
15. When your mower/bush hog throws a rock/stick there WILL be a solar panel or window directly in the flight path...
16. Every post hole has a rock or root directly under your carefully measured off 'X' mark... Just get used to it...
17. No matter what the project, the last board, pipe, post, wire ect. will ALWAYS be at least an inch short...
18. EVERY dropped bolt, screw, nail, welding rod will show up IN A TIRE sometime after the project is done...
19. "4 Wheel Drive" doesn't mean all at once, so that mud hole IS deeper than it looks...
20. No matter how the job gets done, the mother-in-law, or the code guy will find something to complain about...

Rules To Live Buy,
No such thing as 'Too Many' panels or battery cells.
You take care of connections, corrosion takes care of itself.
If it doesn't get thread locker, use 'Never-Seize' or grease on it.
No such thing as "Too Many" 1/2" or 9/16" sockets...
The code guy IS out to get you.
Everything GETS a fuse, or it IS the fuse.
No such thing as a 'Free Dog'...
Never lend out anything you want to see again.
It IS as 'Bad' as it looks, probably worse...
The tax man cometh, be ready to hide everything.
If you didn't get it in writing, what you purchased "Doesn't Do That/Isn't Included".
Your mother doesn't work here, but your 'Mother-In-Law' *Thinks* she owns the place.
'Grounding' isn't just for teenagers that misbehave.
If you have $20 in your pocket, the part you need is $300.
No, 4ea 100W panels and a 300W inveter WILL NOT power the entire neighborhood...

'Advise' is free, and usually worth exactly what you paid...
 

JoeHam

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
2,774
Where has @JeepHammer been?

Last I heard he was getting a bunch of solar equipment in Indiana I think but that’s been quite some time ago
 

HRTKD

Boondocker
Joined
Apr 24, 2020
Messages
7,471
Location
Somewhere South of Denver
He mentions a mother-in-law towards the end. He must have found just the right shaved Big Foot.
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