Archive for March, 2008


Posted in Solar Power on March 31, 2008 by wizbandit

Well, I did it, over a beautiful weekend in sunny Florida.  I managed to fit twelve Kyocera KC130 PV panels on a single tracker for a total of 1,560 tracking watts!  It required a total of 6 more 10 foot lengths of galvanized 1 1/2″ uni-strut.  The reason for this maddness is the new Apollo T-80 MPPT solar charge controller will accept a higher voltage for my nominal 48 VDC battery system.  I have decided to use six panel arrays, this raises the voltage and I can use smaller source circuit copper wire to get the power into the garage.  The price of copper wire is still up pretty high so using a smaller wire saves money and the higher voltage has less IR losses.  We had a thunder storm fire up yesterday evening just as we were washing the PHEV with wind gusts around 20-30mph.  The new array stayed put and didn’t even shake.

mvc-846f.jpg  mvc-845f.jpg  mvc-847f.jpg

Since the rest of my system is on 4 panel arrays I have them wired as three 4 panel arrays for now.  Next weekend I will be digging the trench for the underground PVC conduits from the “tracker farm” to the solar power wall in the garage.

I must add, tracking controls designed and sold by Duane C. Johnson through his company Red Rock Energy 

 Duane was kind enough to put together a kit of parts for us “Electronic Wizards” and priced it very reasonable.  I really could not order all the parts for what he sells the LED3X kit for, which is around $20.  Duane has put a lot of thought into his design, saving myself and others that are able to design and construct such a device, TIME.  When you you finally reach 50 years of age you come to realize TIME is more important than a few pennies.

The theory of operation is unique.  There is a timer set on mine that goes off about every 60 seconds. The position of the sun on the two sensors (which BTW, are just a pair of Jumbo Green LEDs) determines whether the motor is driven to the East or West.  The timer continues 24/7, at sunset or shortly afterwards, the sensors both being DARK select EAST, so every minute the tracker moves EAST.  I have the duration set for 3 seconds of motor drive every minute.  At around 10:30PM both my trackers are at the full EAST position shut down from the internal limit switches built into the actuators.  When the sun starts to come up in the morning and it gets high enough to set the direction WEST the motor runs for three seconds starting the array on its westward journey.  I selected 3 seconds for one reason, so the array could play “catch-up” with the sun in case a cloud passed over the arrays.  After about 11AM the trackers move 2 seconds WEST and back 1 second EAST.  This goes on until about 3PM when the full 3 seconds is needed to keep up with the setting sun.

Good job on a well designed product Duane!

I used a peanut butter jar with a round aluminum backing plate inside to stiffen up the lid and attached it to an aluminum angle.  I used a Heyco weather tight connector for the wires.  I sell them with lock nut for less than $1.50 each if you want some.  That’s less than any one is selling them for online. I paint the yellow lid with flat black paint to protect it from UV break-down.

 led3xc3.jpg    mvc-848f.jpg

Tracker #2 had four KC120s and four KC130s feeding the Advanced Energy GC-1000 grid-tie inverter.  I moved the four KC130s to tracker #1 for the 12 panel setup and took four KC120s off the roof to put back on tracker #2.


Boy, the PHEV Prius sure gets a lot of attention now!

Posted in PHEV on March 2, 2008 by wizbandit

Lots of attention and a lot of jealousy from other drivers.


The blue berries are coming!

Posted in Gardening on March 2, 2008 by wizbandit

Yes, fresh Florida blueberries.  Given to me by a neighbor who owns a blueberry farm and admires my pet geese.


Well pump from HELL project…

Posted in Problems on March 2, 2008 by wizbandit

So…  I find out the motor in my 2hp MYERS PUMP is not a standard jet pump motor as evidenced by the FRAME number 56Z.  A replacement motor is neither available quick nor is it very cheap and I have a garden & animals in serious need of water.  It’s off to LOWES to buy a whole new pump to replace this just two year old one, $317 w/tax.

Saturday afternoon was spent removing the old pump and of course new 1 1/2″ PVC was required with some much needed unions to allow a bit quicker replacement next time, there always is a next time with pumps I have discovered.  This 2hp model replaced a 1 1/2hp model which replaced a 1hp model which was put in place of a 3/4hp model over the years as my GPM usage increased.  I got the suction side all hooked up but it was getting late and I needed some more PVC fittings, by the time I got home it was too late to finish so I waited until Sunday to finish up.

I slapped the rest of the output side together, added a few unions then went in and turned on the breaker.  “SNAP!”, it tripped.  I went out and checked the wires, all okay, motor wired for 230VAC, all fine, went back in and threw the breaker again, “SNAP!”.  Dam-it.  Upon closer inspection of the box, it had been tapped 2 times, son-of-a-*itch, some lousy, rotten person had probably hooked it up to the wrong voltage AND FRIED THE MOTOR!  Then, took it back for a refund with a “it’s the wrong one” line. 

I took it back to LOWES and went to the pump section and there were two other 2hp well pumps on the bottom shelf, both had been re-taped.  I didn’t trust them, one had the electric access plate laying in the bottom of the box, this signaled me with “customer return”.  I eventually got the last “NEW” one off the top shelf.

Slapped it in, turned it on, got water.  Other than this, it was a nice weekend, in the 70’s, crystal clear blue skies and a light breeze all day.


Parts for SALE – Coming soon

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2008 by wizbandit

I was going to put in a PARTS 4 SALE section this weekend but my 2HP Well Pump motor lost all it’s smoke and I’m on a quest to find a cheap replacement (read used) motor.  A new pump is Well <pun> over $300 and this one is just two years old.

My Parts-4-Sale section will include parts for PHEV conversions, surplus electrical & electronic components, Solar Electric system parts, wire and misc stuff I don’t have a use for anymore.