Increased output from fractured cells

I looked for that article we were talking about, regarding fracturing cells for greater output. I found lots of articles on how fracturing can reduce output, but not the one for which I am looking. I did find a patent for manufacturing cracked cells to increase output. Patent for fracturing cells. Link Here are my observations on the subject. I test my panels with an ammeter instead of a voltmeter. A tiny section of a […]

Basics

I started taking old radios apart as a very young kid, began my career in electronics at 16, was a licensed broadcast engineer at 19. That led to computers and all kinds of electronic gimcrack design. Having been making sparks for so many years it is easy to forget that some of the basic stuff might seem scary or mystical to folks just getting started. Today, let’s look at a couple of very basic and […]

More Parallel and Series Stuff

The other day we talked about series and parallel connections of batteries. You know, getting 24 volts using four 6 volt batteries in SERIES and getting lots of amps at 24 volts by using 2 of those 24 volt strings (8 batteries total) in parallel. What about connecting your solar modules? Yes, it applies there, too. These roof tiles John is giving away, put out about 4 volts under load, so you use 3 of […]

Enough is enough? Nah!

Can you get too much solar power? Spend too much time on Pensacola Beach and you’ll think so, and have a red face to remind you. But, no, I am talking about photovoltaic power. In the case of grid tie, it has gotten to the point in some places that they are having to add battery storage systems to balance things out. The lack of battery saw the advent of the “duck curve” in utility […]

I want to talk about the Solar Lifestyle and what that means. Elsewhere, I have given links to the Home Power Magazine Archive. That is a treasure trove of information and each issue is a time capsule of where the state of things was at that time. Early on, solar panels were small and expensive. I have paid up to $11/watt for solar panels and I was not exactly a pioneer. Early adopters would have […]

Cut Out The Middleman

Utility power began with a fight between AC and DC systems. Thomas Edison promoted DC distribution. His ex-employee Nikola Tesla, the real Tesla, came up with the AC system for George Westinghouse. Both sides advertised how dangerous the other way was! What a way to promote a new industry! Power stations were not the huge plants of today. They’d be tucked into a building on a corner and lines would run out a few blocks […]

New System, Problems, Solar Daiquiris

Stan-the-Hermit called Friday, needing some bits and pieces to finally get his 24v solar power system running. He’s had his panels for well over a year, having accompanied me on my final run to John’s old Miami Gardens warehouse. They’ve been mounted for months. He left my place happy with an armload of switches, breakers, fuses and solar wire. If I had more friends like Stan I could open a solar hardware store. I expected […]

Time to Hang it Up!

I like wristwatches, especially ones with classic art deco styling. I quit wearing them when I had my hands in commercial radio transmitters a lot. Other people got away from wristwatches for a while, having their phone has an accurate timekeeper, but watches are making a comeback. They are becoming quite the investment, too. If you have a Patek Phillipe Grand Complications Celestial model, you probably have your people work on your solar system. I […]

Why not?

I figure anybody who has built a solar power system has good reason to take pride in their work. I know I am proud of mine, but now I am a little dismayed. My system is just a solar-roofed shed. It is practical and it works, which is fine, but now I have seen that others with a little more room and a bigger budget are also having fun with their systems. I am jealous.For […]

Waiting my turn in Nawlins

Is that a smile or did I just put my elbow down on a hot PV module? I’m catching some rays through the sliding module hatch of my solar expedition launch, Sun King. This is at New Orleans, home of the weirdest lock and drawbridge combination I have ever seen. 1620 watts of “B” panels on the boat. Are you afraid of “B” panels? I’m not. I put six of them on my solar-powered expedition […]

Solar everything, even the honey dipper!

If you spend much time around boats you know that you can’t just flush overboard. The holding tank has to be pumped out on occasion. Now there is a solar-powered roving pump station. http://www.solardaily.com/reports/The_worlds_first_solar_electric_sewage_pump_out_boat_is_powered_by_Torqeedo__999.html In my opinion, they got this wrong. There is way too much motor on this thing, probably because it was set up by the motor maker. Or maybe they can actually get that rig up on a plane, for speedy service. […]

Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

Over the weekend we really went to extremes to show just how tough solar panels can be. Today we’ll tell you the results. We started with a Suntech STP280 that had been hit by a tractor. The frame was bent, wires were ripped loose, glass was shattered and many of the internal cells were broken. Short circuit current of a shiny new panel should be around 8 amps. Open circuit voltage should be 44V. In […]

Here’s a handy idea for after a storm

You know those little solar sidewalk lights? You can put them outside during the day and bring them in at night. I wouldn’t read by one, but you can find your way around the house with it and it is safer than a candle. Most of these have a AA or AAA battery in them, either NiMH or NiCd. You can put regular alkaline AA or AAA batteries in them if you want them to […]

Battery Connections Illustrated

Elsewhere in the blog page is a post about battery safety. I have a couple of battery photos to illustrate what I was talking about the other day, easily making battery polarity easier to see.  The old 24v battery strings have decent cables, grease to seal out corrosion, but they are a bit dirty and it is hard to see the polarity, should I need to reconnect anything.  You can see where I marked the 2 […]

In defense of crappy free solar roof tiles

John’s right, the quest for attractive and practical rooftop solar with these tiles was a flop.  Some of it was design flaw and some of it was improper installation.  I hope Mr. Elon Musk, who is marketing solar roofs, has investigated this matter lest his quest should fail as well.  Stan-the-Hermit poses with 10 conventional panels for his cabin power upgrade and 300 roof tiles at the old Miami Gardens store.  I know about the […]

You could void your warranty doing this stuff

It’s a beautiful, cool sunny day here in NW Florida and you’re right, John, you can knock a hole in a solar panel and it’ll still work.  Just don’t try it with a hammer, because there is a tough plastic layer under that glass and another on the backside.  You need to be forceful to get a hole. I started with a Suntech STP280 that got hit with a tractor.  Yup, that’s a busted one!  The […]

Here we go again. Hurricane Michael is projected to hit our vicinity as a Cat 3 storm. Get ready everybody!

Hi John, John, you live in a glass tower, but out in the neighborhoods you can hear the generators buzzing after a hurricane has taken out the lights.  200 watts for the fridge and 50 watts for a ceiling fan and they’ve got those darn 3500 watt generators blasting away at 3600rpm.  Dumb.  Well, maybe not dumb, they just don’t know any better.  At my house, the ceiling fans have a slight buzz from the inverter […]


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