CRAZY AUGUST STORM

August 4, 2010

Wednesday

Linda

A loud rumble of thunder was my alarm clock this morning. It was 0630 and the overcast sky was dark.  We already had a good storm last night with rain and thunder clappers and lightening.  It appeared this morning may be a repeat.  I threw on some clothes, let the dogs out and hurried down to the coop to check on the chickens.  I wanted to make sure they had plenty of food and water in case this was going to be an all day thing. The storm passed but the sky was still cloudy.

I thought I better turn on the generator for a while since we didn’t have much sun the day before to charge the house batteries.  I hit the manual start button. Nothing.  I checked to make sure that the main switch that connects the generator and the charge controller was in the correct position.  It was.  Tried the manual start switch on the generator again. Nothing.  I checked the propane tanks. Full.  At this point I was at the end of my trouble shooting abilities.  I emailed Sonny at work to see what he thought.  Apparently we left the cut-off switch on the generator panel “on” and it ran the primary generator battery down.

So Sonny called John (since we don’t have a phone yet) to come over and hook up a external charger to it.  In the meantime I dragged our backup gasoline powered generator out of storage and hooked it up and with a couple of pulls on the rope it fired up.  It worked just fine.  I let it run until John and Carol showed up. I was already supposed to be at their house this morning.  Instead they had to run over and rescue me.  Once John got everything set up they went home and I let the battery charge for about three hours.  I think we’re fixed now. I won’t be leaving that switch on again.

The sun popped in and out for a while and I headed over to John and Carols for the afternoon.  Carol was going to make me a home cooked meal.  We spent a nice afternoon in her studio.  She’s a great sculptor. She is working on a bust of John.  I’m amazed at the likeness.  While the artist was at work I played with some clay myself.  My fourth grade art teacher would have been proud of the Magnolia flower I created.  I didn’t intend for it to be a magnolia but that’s what it turned out to be.  You can’t argue with art.

I was getting hungry and looking forward to that ham and homemade macaroni and cheese.  John came in and informed us that a big storm was on it’s way heading East from Ohio.  Sonny called shortly after that and said it was getting real close.  Around here the roads can quickly flood and there is always a chance that a tree can get washed out and fall across them as well.  I had animals at home to think about so I hightailed it home.  I was getting close to my destination, about two miles away from home when the sky became angry and drops of rain hit the windshield. The wind was beginning to whip up and blow leaves and brittle branches off the trees.  I prayed a tree wouldn’t fall on top of the Jeep.

Cold Front

When I reached the mile mark there was a huge limb across the road. Thank goodness it wasn’t a full sized tree.  I really hate backing up (my tracks look like a snake).  With some maneuvering I was able to drag the big branch to the side of the road.  When I reached home the wind had blown over my patio chairs.  Once again I let the dogs out before the storm really hit hard and ran down to check on the chickens.  They were safe and sound in their little coop and I battened down the hatches.  The dogs and I, and of course Annie the cat were safe and sound while the storm raged. I just wish I could have had my ham dinner first, but that’s August.

Heat, humidity, and big storms to remind us that we are pretty small in the scheme of things, and the Almighty has the reins.

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Alternate Power System

May 5, 2010

Wanted to take a few minutes to explain my back-up charging system that I use to keep my batteries charged. I got this great package from Lowe’s and have been very happy with it so far. I had to do a few minor mods and tossed the switch box that came with it. My Xantrax inverter automatically detects the generator, syncs the cycles and controls the charge for my 380 amp batteries.

The Guardian 8kw provides around 25 amps to feed my batteries on those days that give me little to no good sunshine for a couple of days. This only happens during rain storms or heavy snow falls. Typically last winter when the days were short and the sun was low in the sky we got buy just fine running the generator for 1 hr in the morning and then late in the afternoon for about 1 1/2 hrs.  But on days with fair to moderate sunshine it just sits there looking good.


Battery Back-Up

February 3, 2010

Battery Bank before the Upgrade

When I ordered my batteries for the solar system the company recommended that I use a 48 volt setup. I then purchased eight 105 amp AGM 6 volt batteries and connected them in series. A few weeks later we decided to get a second identical setup and connect them in parallel. This configuration still gave me 48 volts but with twice the amperage.

I had originally put a “Battery Room” next to the “Electrical Room” (as pictured) and vented it for safety.  As it turned out, the AGM glass mat gel batteries do not “off-gas” which means that I could have put them anywhere I wanted. We still put them in the Battery room and now also store the backup 3500 watt Champion generator in there as well.

More on the primary Guardian Whole House Generator later.

Electrical Room and Battery Room


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