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Archive for March, 2009

My solar power design

Posted by derekbobo on March 16, 2009


As promised this is the rough design of my solar power backup system. I think it’s really going to be pretty simple to get my test system going. To implement a system that would power my whole house would be much more involved, but I’m not there yet.

Basically the solar panels generate energy from the sun. These pass the current through the charge controller to the battery bank. The charge controller essentially protects your batteries from over charging. The 12V battery bank will then pass the electricity through the inverter. The inverter does a couple of things but the most important is it converts DC power to AC household power. At this point you have usable electricity.

What gets tricky (and what I’m currently wrestling with) is exactly what, and “how much” to buy. With solar panels you need to basically compute your electric consumption and then buy enough panels to generate enough power to accommodate that. This isn’t too painful.

Since I’m not an electrician I’m a little more confused with how big of a charge controller to get. I’ll need to investigate this before I make my purchase… but I imagine something small should be fine for my initial testing.

When it comes to batteries I keep hearing that golf cart batteries are the best. These are built to be charged and run down over and over again. The only caveat is that they are only 6V and the system counts on 12V. If  you had 2 6V golf cart batteries you can wire them together in a series to take it to 12V… but without any additional storage capacity. If you wired them in parallel it would basically double the storage capacity (think battery life).

The inverter needs to be big enough to handle your usage. As I noted in my other post, I only got a 750W inverter. This is pretty small and would not handle any major appliances, but should be fine for my initial tests.

So that’s where I stand right now. Right now I’m trying to figure out somewhere local that I can get a couple batteries to test with. I’d really like to get the golf cart batteries. After that it’s the charge controller and a couple solar panels!

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Sales, ugh

Posted by derekbobo on March 15, 2009

I’ve been spending some time getting back engaged with my business ideas. I have a couple of projects on the docket and it’s really helped to get me motivated to get back after it. I’ve been jotting down my thoughts in todo lists and trying to work on things a little bit each day. Thus far it has been pretty productive and I’m happy with the progress I’ve been making.

With some new ideas under wraps I spent some time identifying a handful of prospects, which I intend to approach within the next week or so. This has gotten me back in the whole marketing/sales mindset that I dread. Doing the work is relatively easy for me… finding the work is just not something I’ve spent a ton of time on in the past. Since I wasn’t driving full force I always just kind of did projects as they found me. Now I want to be proactive.

I’ve been thinking back to my marketing days. Personal selling in particular. With some potential clients in mind, I’ve now switched my focus to thinking about how I want to approach them. What would I want to see if I were in their shoes? Why would I want to buy from Derek? I have some pretty good ideas surrounding this, now I just need to figure out why the “players” are that I need to speak with. They need to be MAD… they need to have the (M)oney to buy what I’m offering, the (A)uthority to make the purchase, and the (D)esire to make the purchase. Getting to these people is going to be key. Now I just need to figure out how to navigate to these folks.

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Today I took the first step towards my solar system!

Posted by derekbobo on March 13, 2009

Today I took the first step on starting my solar powered system. I bought a 750W Black & Decker inverter from Walmart. In it’s simplest form it takes DC power from a car battery and turns it into AC household power. A small 750W inverter like this won’t power any major appliances but would allow you to run a handful of small gadgets (a light, a tv, a laptop, small power tools, etc) which would certainly make things more enjoyable than sitting in the dark without power for a week.

Next I need to purchase a handful of golf cart batteries. I hear they are better than your typical deep cell battery. This certainly won’t get me off the grid, but right now I’m just trying to get a proof of concept system running that might hold up in an extended power outage. I’ll try to upload my hand drawn sketch within the next few days.

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