Off Grid LifeStyle Page 1

Solar Homestead Property

Lifestyle in an Off Grid Endeavor

Photo of So-So Shower

The first hot showers in the off-grid lab were firewood stove-heated.

Water added to a large pot with a bilge pump dropped in.

Common small bilge-pumped water

Although appreciated (and of course necessary), this was a time-consuming makeshift shower.

The bilge pump was connected to one end of a garden hose that delivered the shower to the other end of a garden sprayer.

It was messy means to a shower.

Photo of Solar Water Heater via Black Poly Pipe

Later, I evolved to using black pipe placed out in the sun.

The black pipe seen in the photos is actually over 200 feet of thick-walled hard poly pipe (typically used for underground water lines).

I draped the black pipe wherever I could, all over the roof, then down the side of the garage, back and forth on a wire fence...

However, the solar-heated water pipe was an ineffective and unreliable.

Inconveniences, such as waiting till 11am when the water in the pipe was hot enough to be able to take a shower. One minute too long and it could be the end of you (scalding at about noon).

Photo of Black Piped Solar Water Heater

In the summer, the heated water was at times unbearably scalding, with no means to adjust the temperatures.

When the hot water ran out, the shower was over.

Jump to what is working to offer free hot water in 2021 !

The date is July 24, 2021 and presently the hot water is heated for free daily via direct connection to solar panels and has a manual cut-off switch (a breaker).

Free Hot Water

The energy from the solar panels connects directly to the hot water heater's heating element (a.k.a. a bar of steel).

There are 12 100watt solar panels comprising three strings of 48v which powers the 110v water heater with ease.

May 14, 2022 update

For about 6 months or so I've increased the panels to 24 (6 strings of 48v).

The hot water is created in a much shorter period of time (less than an hour in full sun).

Since it's not possible to use the incorporated AC thermostat that was born into the AC hot water tank using DC energy, requires one to monitor the water somewhat (may require washing hands and doing a dish or something).

Although the safety switch incorporated within the hot water tank will trip the unit off at a certain temperature, and although there is a pressure-relief spigot to ensure the tank doesn't burst, this method of more panels has its merits, too.

With more panels allows more freedom to not be conscious of the temperature in the tank so much (basically because it's almost guaranteed to be too hot to shower). So what seems to work is to either allow the hot water tank to trip off by itself or whether I manually turn it off, the longer it takes the water to cool down in the tank to a temperature my body is agreeable to seems to work perfectly to keep me up all night long waiting for that perfect temperature (periodically washing a dish or hands to test the waters).

The solar energy connected directly to the hot water tank will need an AC-to-DC thermostat replacement (to become civilized). There are certainly better alternatives and modifications that would automate the procedure (in case I get older).

Hot Water Free

Adapting to the never knowing what the temperature will be has been relatively painless. If I notice the water is too hot to do dishes or shower, I divert the hot water to the washing machine or give my sick chicken an epson bath.

Not to change the subject but...

Aside from the first winter out here, the subsequent winters have been a breeze due to a fire-wood stove adaption.

The Stove has its own page allocated toward explaining what worked, and what did not work.

Ohio outside; Sauna Inside

Since the stove stays fired 3/4 of the year anyway, cooking is anytime-ready.

Shown is my second attempt to make a decent pizza.

Off-Grid Pizza

(Later on the phone)

"Hello, Dominos?!"

Photo of Off-Grid Pizza

Adjusting to the Northern Solar Sun

With the additional solar panels and deep-cycle batteries that have been added here to requisite Ohio-climes, available power has finally become almost entirely stabilized.

As already mentioned elsewhere within this site, the amount of solar panels and batteries I brought to Ohio from Florida was totally insufficient in Ohio's Climate.

Springfield Ohio Solar Property

I hadn't even taken into consideration that there is snow here (and less sun and wind in general).

Finally, almost three years of saving and striving, all appears to be at the point where a YEAR-round stabilization of available power has been attained.

To be honest, there's still two hurdles to overcome, the largest of which is the 220v pump that is placed in our well.

Plans are to allocate a solar panel array and battery bank JUST for the pump alone (as opposed to sharing off of any of the other battery banks here).

The photo shows one of the battery bank / solar arrays' statistics.

Photo of Off-Grid battery bank consumption of energy

My initial premise to plan is to link 20 (qty) 6v batteries in series (x 2 in parallel) to total 120v x 2qty. This is actually just a dream because I don't have the 5-thousand dollars to allocate toward the 40 batteries (see that? The problem is compounding already), nor the cost of the additional controller(s) and solar panels and wire and cable and quick disconnects and fused cut-offs and...the plan suddenly doesn't look so attainable by today's economic clime.

The aforementioned is however the ultimate aim as it would be an awesome test overall as to what can and cannot be attained using this method.

The other option is to simply pull the 220v pump out of the well and drop down a 24v or 48v model.

However I already chased this rabbit with the local well contractors in my area and ended up less optimistic.

After several calls, and even less amount of replies from the contractors, I'm beginning to realize that this might be a task better suited for me to do personally.

It seemed the contractors were clueless or not so interested in the project. Their prices varied with statements such as, "well that's if something doesn't go wrong", and "the price is variable upon..."

Then I was hit with their prices (to simply pull up a pump, and drop another in the hole).

Another someday task takes a back-burner to hell.

Cooking with nothing, etc.

It is 2022 and I can say conclusively that the method shown within the video works perfectly and without errors or flaws (but it doesn't do night-time very well).

The hacked cooker however will out-live you and me requiring only ambient light or sunshine, is safer for camping and our military (and etc., etc.).

The cookers require no circuitry, no batteries or available AC electricity, no inverters or controllers (just add panels and stir).

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