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Mockingbird Hill Farm(MHF) Powerwall 1
#1
This is also posted on another forum site, but it feels appropriate to document it here in different detail. This seemed like a good way to kick it off though...

The Background

A few years ago I moved my family back to the area where my wife and I grew up. Specifically the farm that my grandparents bought in 1968. When they bought it they did a lot of updates like running water in the house, an indoor toilet, electricity, etc. It hasn't really had any updates since then, so for the first year after we moved back I set about major system renovations. The electrical system in the house was replaced from the weatherhead all the way in with up to, if not exceeding, current codes. The primary reason for this was safety as nothing was grounded and most of the house was being run off two fuses. No breakers. So out with the old, in with the new. We are skookum now. 
So, now that the house was safe and livable I can start to look at peripherals like my shop. My shop is currently 15 feet of one end of a 40 foot High Cube shipping container. The container is next to a tractor shed that would be nice to have some electricity in, is 150' from the new main panel, and would require trenching through both gardens. Someday I would like to run a line out there, but that has not happened yet for many reasons. 
Enter Solar. I already had a handful of small panels, and initially setup a 45 watt system to charge 2 Optima Blue Tops I had picked up from a storage yard cleanout. It appears that those batteries may have set for too long as I cannot get them to take a good charge. Bottom line is I needed to replace them. Lead acid batteries worried me. I didn't want to worry about cooking them or topping off water all the time if I wasn't going to be using the shop regularly. So I started having many, many conversations with myself along these lines;
Where do I store them? 
Will they provide enough power? 
How much will I really need? 
Can I scale the system easily if I want to expand? 
How many panels will I need for that? 
Lifespan/cycles? 
Should I just trench in the grid power and forget it? But the power goes out sometimes. It would be nice if I could backfeed to the house. 
Grid tied system? No, no. That doesn't help me if the power goes out. 
Inverter. Two Phase? 
How many watts will I need if I want to back feed? Wow those are expensive. 
What about two inverters? Yeah, one to run my shop needs now and one I can turn on for high load or back feed applications. Hmm... but what system voltage should I run? 12? 24? 48?... 
What's the best battery type? AGM? Deep cycle Marine? Golf Cart? 
Are there other types of batteries? 
Edison Battery, what is that? 
Interesting. Can I build that? I CAN build it, but my wife says it's not in the budget. She is right.
Tesla. They do solar, what's this Powerwall thing.
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How much are they going to cos..

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So it was back to lead acid. What's it going to take? At least 2 batteries, 6 volt, in series... but that life cycle and maintenance...

Wow, this guys got an awesome setup. Man it would take me forever to get there...

All this time I have been gathering parts that could be used in various configurations. I scored a deal on 3 - 100 watt Renogy panels during Prime Day last year. Then recently I caught those panels on sale for $109 each, shipped. So i bought 1 more to give me 400 watts in either 12, 24, or 48 volt configuration. My current solar controller is able to handle 12 or 24 volts. 

I have an APC UPS that has a display on it. a few weeks ago I discovered the 2 SLA batteries had gone out. I started wondering if I could use the leads from that to connect to my Bluetops and use that instead of SLA's. A little googling and I ran across Jehu Garcia on YouTube. Specifically this video.


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So yes, it can, and is being done! And here I am. On this journey, trying to decide how I really want to configure this setup while continuing to collect components. 

Also, the Bluetops are no good. They don't hold a charge so I started my latest obsession of collecting, testing, and sorting 18650's. Progress and questions will follow.
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Mockingbird Hill Farm(MHF) Powerwall 1 - by Church1182 - 02-05-2019, 05:40 PM

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