Off Grid Solar Panels and Batteries for My Secret Yurt in the Forest
We’re gonna measure from center to center. It makes its 34 okay screaming. Okay, thanks all right the size of that tree, yep. No! Let’s. Leave it in its place here, Wow. What’s in there? really cool it’s a tree cave.
I hope I can get Kenny fair. Not my backpack on whoa come check out these two over here. Where did you find down there? They’re everywhere for sure they’re all over the place. How long did we get wet in the rain for hiking around the whole area? Only two hours more, maybe tonight we’re right in our backyard.
This is the part of our forest that we haven’t expanded out to yet, and they’re everywhere. So, like I’m using my cool grafting knife, it’s, pretty sweet for mushroom eating that hook on there just check this out.
I don’t want to damage. I’ll. Let the camera get a little. Those are some beautiful, looking ones, and then I flip them over for you guys to check this up. It’s, the underside he’s. Like really good. Did you this one is really cool check that one? Oh, that’s, a good-looking one yeah ray she’s, falling asleep for sure and ginseng’
He’s like annoying him. Nicole, insists on wearing these flip-flops these thongs all the time. How much did you pay for those they look cute, but not for what we’re doing. You are going to wind up with a toe missing, get eye.
You put them on for chopping, wood for doing work, and I love your toes. You need to protect them. What’s? The number one rule? No safety number one standing here – guess where you’re getting bit on your feet: ; okay, you’re, clear Right out here you want to go right out and then build.
Oh, hey! Everybody’s, cheek mace, Jake off-grid. I’ve, always thought of YouTube as like a video journal, I’ve, never been much into journaling writing, but I’ve made. You know close to over 2,000 videos of my life here on YouTube for the martial arts.
For fitness, for gardening and now for off-grid living and for traveling, so I want you guys to check out the yurt that we build. You guys have seen us build here at the Jake and Nicole video blog, but also at Jake, mace, off-grid, off-grid athlete.
Then look above the yurt and look at all these trees and they’re shading out the Sun. They’re, probably about 50 years old. They’re, very tall, very healthy, very straight, but the Sun right now is about three o’clock and it’s over there and I’m being shaded out.
I do get a lot of Sun about six seven hours of Sun in this spot right here, so we have chosen so far Nicole and I to gather pretty much 95 % of our power that we use from the Sun. Even though we’re here on Vancouver Island, so I want to spend you guys around and show you guys the rudimentary system that I’m using and talk about how we get power off the grid and what I’M doing: okay! First off for years now I have gone after information from my friends and family.
Anybody who has had any experience, hooking up a solar power system and I’ve, been a sponge trying to absorb all of their experience and knowledge. Look at all these fruit trees here these Kiwi vines roses, jujubes, cherries, all different fruit trees.
We’re, starting to build a network of here in anticipation of the garden coming up. Okay, look at the leaves it blows my mind how nature functions. Ok, these guys get so much of their energy from the Sun and the leaves are their solar panels and we all know from school.
The word photosynthesis and I love the idea of humans acting like plants and trees to get their power. So for me, looking at these six solar panels here they’re very sexy and they’re. Very good-looking.
Wind turbine energy is not really an option for Nicole and I at this time, because we’re in the middle of a forest, and the wind is not able to get to us unless we were to put the wind turbine the windmill.
On a pole that was above the trees which we can’t go like 80 feet up in the air. So while we’re in this dense forest, it’s good because it protects us from wind gusts, but it also limits us with the wind energy we otherwise could use.
So we’re gonna go solar. You guys know I do martial arts – and I rarely ever talk about my martial arts background here at the video blog and I don’t talk about it, much on my off-grid athlete Channel but solar power to me and a lot of things in Life are like martial arts, you start as a white belt and you have to start slow.
Okay and other people who are black belts have to teach you stuff, and you have to kind of slowly build your skill as you build to yellow belt blue belt. Green belts, brown belt black belt, so these panels are my wiped-out panels.
Okay, I really recommend you guys go out if you have an interest in solar energy and buy this set. This was from Harbor Freight. I believe, Nicole’s, dad gifted us these and they’ve, been a great great tool to not only give us power but also teach us about how solar energy works.
So each panel is 25 watts. So together it’s, a hundred watt system and we just hooked it up it’s, really easy. All the four panels hooked together into this one wire and then this wire has this wire. You hook these guys together and then this plugs into a controller that then plugs in to watch a car battery.
Okay, a lead-acid battery. They call it any kind of like boat battery or car battery. So what we do during the day is we take a battery, and we plug this in to a controller that then plugs into the battery, and that is how we’ve, been getting our battery charged during the day with these 25 watt panels.
Four of them equals 100 watts and that’s been enough for us to bring the battery inside at night and run two LED lights and a USB charger for charging our phones and charging our computers. This was white belt.
So now we’re, going to go here too, like a blue belt solar setup. I’d recommend if you guys are interested in solar to get this little system, and this is from Rena G. This was something we got of Amazon and each of these panels are a hundred watts each.
So there are more efficient panels and we have a 200 watt system here. Okay hundred and hundred – and I have these two guys hooked up with wires and then they go into this controller right here and you can see how the PV is flashing at that appropriate speed right now.
That means I successfully have energy going from the Sun into these panels into this controller. If you guys can run back here, it then goes into this battery, so everything is going from these panels into that charge controller and then into this battery.
That’s; it okay! It’s, a very simple system, so we’re gonna take those four panels and use them coming up for a electrified-fence that we’re gonna put around our new kittens and our garden to keep bears and Cougars out of our garden and out of the cat atrium, so that way there’s, electric fence charge by a car battery charged by those panels.
So I’m making this video to inspire and show you guys, but also as a video journal, so that Jake mace in a year two years and 10 years from now can look back and see a much younger Jake mace talk about the origins Of his and Nicole’s, electric system that gonna be creating themselves off the grid from the Sun.
Okay, a little bonus. We’re back inside the yurt first off everyone’s, asking me where this trick comes from it’s, got a really cool native british columbian west coast, vancouver island vibe. Here on the side show in the floor of the area and then the back is the fauna.
We got the cool eagle and this comes from Pina style. So we’re gonna put a link down below where you guys can go, join their Instagram and order stuff. This guy is 100 %, cotton right all natural materials and love supporting these local companies.
This is that my favorite shirt right now that by far Pina Styles check them out so three things before this video ends this guy this anchor. This is a amazing thing you should also get. This is like yellow belt, maybe okay, maybe it’s like clear milk.
This is like before weight. This is a solar panel. You couldn’t. Take with you, while you’re hiking, so I use this all the time. If you guys go back and watch the video of Nicole and I swimming at the lake, we have this out charging our phones and our cameras.
While we were swimming in the lake and then right in here, there’s, two USB ports, where you can plug in your iPhone cord or your whatever cord and charge your gadgets right there, and this is the inverter that allows us to take the Car battery at night put it in here, and I cut this piece of wood from one of our fallen trees, so the battery just sits on top of this right.
Here we clip these alligator clips onto the car battery, like you would when you jump a car positive negative. You know I’m saying and then this just turns on and we plug in our computer and our camera batteries and our phone to this inverter, and this is the charge controller that we use at night for the lights.
So we just take these wires plug them in right there and then right here. This is DC. Output DC means energy from the Sun, and, if you guys look above me, you’ Ll, see those two LED lights up there.
Above all, the herbs and spices and those are the lights that are where this cord comes from. We just plug this into there and the lights turn on at night for us and we’ve, never run the battery down too much and every day, the six hours or so of Sun.
We get on those panels charge the battery more than enough to power our computers, our phones and those lights above us and remember, batteries get out there and get some of these little systems because it’ll wet your whistle and give you the knowledge And some inspiration to understand how solar power works and then slowly you can advance in belt rank and get up to the brown belt and the black belt solar energy systems.
nice to meet you Jake, you’re with me, go solar! We go solar here. Your local company here on Vancouver Island, correct yeah. We’ve, been here for well. We’ve, been in the valley. Since 2009, mmm Carolyn comes with a lot of background experience and contacts that we’
Ve actually been able to expand and grow a business, so we basically started from scratch. We had some support and her knowledge that has taken us to where we kind of are today. So we’ve got some great support from Canada’s largest solar provider, which is a ESP B home energy solutions.
They are our big sister. 22 years later. We are business owners and providing solar solutions for fabulous people like Jake and Nicole, and allowing them to be sustainable, living off-grid. Three things.
I want to ask you about one Ron, Vancouver Island people know this is Canada. Can we generate solar energy in Canada? Yes, so the the biggest misconception here is: we have cloudy rainy weather living on the west coast.
It’s like blisteringly sunny. Today, we are in probably about 27 28 degrees. The we’ve got some spotty Sun with clouds, but the Sun at this point is very intense, so harvesting under these conditions is absolutely possible.
Good solar systems, love t-shirt weather that’s when they’re compromised. When everything is running at its best, so number two I want to ask you about is what am I getting from you guys for our blackfish holo, awkward pops? So what we are providing for jake and nicole is.
We are basically a ground up system, so we’re battery bank. We are in charger, we are charge controller. We are all the breakers that we would anticipate to use for multiple strings. We’re, going to have four strings of three panels: six to sell modules and we are in stable panels twelve panels in total.
What’s, the wattage? We are to 75 watts, or just about the three kilowatt range, which i think is going to be optimum size. I know you’re, also interested in like how much solder we can generate in the winter time, because your concern is keeping the quality and the longevity of the batteries up correct.
Let acid batteries you don’t want them below fifty percent charge correct. So basically, we want to have or sure we have enough watts which calculates into hampt-inn put into the battery bank keeping these guys in an optimum condition.
If we are looking after these batteries, we’re doing our diligence. We are doing our maintenance about every four to five weeks. They should, unless we should have 10-year lifespan out of these batteries without really any question.
Okay, if we are sliding on an anus that’s, the safe estimate there’s. No reason why you can’t get 12 to 14 years. Out of these okay, I have clients in a similar L, 16 battery. We are replacing, but we’re out of 12 year.
Now I’m, like we break that down into dollar figure per day, we’re at pennies per day for the cost of the most key elements to keeping your battery bank healthy. First off, we look at. We look at our wattage and our current being produced for the batteries we size that correctly, we have roughly three kilowatts of solar coming in.
We have a 400 amp hour battery bank, so my solar is way up here. My batteries here we can add more batteries to the system. The basic elements that we are going to look at right now today on keeping batteries in a premium condition, is a the level of our electrolyte in the actual batteries per cell.
So each cell, we’re, going to inspect and make sure that my fluid level in there is at a nominal sort of State. What does it mean like a beginner like is one battery one cell or okay? So each battery here is three cells.
We are working with six volt batteries. Each battery cell should be roughly about two point: two volts giving us about six point: six volts per battery. We’re, actually going to run these all in series for a 24 volt system.
So Jake and Nicole are getting a 24 volt e panel, so that means we’re, like I’m, combining them together, correct 24 volt system. We are gonna hook, these all up in a series configuration series actually bumps up voltage for us and we can achieve the higher voltages needed if we were gonna parallel per say: a 12 volt battery bank and a 12 volt system.
We would series two batteries together and another two batteries together. Then we’d, have our jumpers or our parallel cables coming over, but in this application it’s, going to be a 24 volt system. So we’re gonna series, all four batteries up getting or achieving our 24 volts for our system same thing as your muscles in your body.
We want to have these batteries strong, so the best way to keep them strong is actually through cycles and using the battery using the capacity but initializing or them charge back to actually give them that healthy, hundred-percent state so for it for a newbie out there for Solar, what’s, going to tell me what state they’re in okay, my controller, who has a readout, yes so charge controller, is gonna.
Tell us the voltage on the battery bank itself so and it will model and do if I might cross into that dangerous, so baby. If you cross into getting up to that fifty percent state of discharge, we have what’s called a BM k, a battery monitoring kit that battery monitoring kit is as adjusted by voltage levels.
It physically tells our inverter system, which is supplying our 110 power, where our threshold is and where our lvd low-voltage disconnect is so the low-voltage disconnect and our BM k are set a default right now, which default is usually a beginner’s friend.
Let’s, just say: Jake’s running his skill saw he’s, building some of the some of the actual racking for the panel’s and he’s running his skill saw and physically. He comes to a point where this battery monitoring kit has sensed the voltage.
It is now sending a signal to the inverter. I’m gonna shut down until the actual batteries have recouped again, so they would look for probably about eighty percent recovery before that they’ll, actually initialize, and for that inverter to come back on it’s.
Gon na wait for the next day getting Sun, either glass to have a generator that or generator backup power. So if you want it to continue working, you suggested we have this in the winter. Just in cases we don’t know what we’re gonna be generating that’s right, not any.
We’re gonna be using it. So this is because Jake is gonna be. This is a green system and he’s new with this. This is a system where he can grow with it, but we want to implement gear that’s. Gon na be exciting guard up to your standards, but still allow for us to add to it and grow the system.
So I can physically add three more banks of batteries like this, so we could have three parallel connections for a maximum capacity of about 2400 system. 24-Volt read sets running in parallel yeah, that’s right.
We would go now from the 400 amp hour to roughly 600 am power capacity, which is astronomically huge yeah unless you’re running a hot tub or a wood shop. That kind of power really is is up and above what we would estimate for pastas like in an off-grid lifestyle somewhere between forty and a hundred amp hour.
Capacity per person in the dwelling is really a a a common number that we see for usage into the battery maintenance for prolonged longevity for anybody’s batteries. As long as we’re talking about wet lettuce, batteries does even like a car battery same thing same idea.
We lose our cranking amp capacity, but we gain the the low discharge, as well as the high power capacity, mostly for the deep cycle battery. We anticipate that we have a lot of apps on backup for us, so car battery a little amount of apps but high cold cranking delivery.
So you can use it to turn starters over to initiate the engine or the motor to start. So we’re at six point four bolts, which I’m, loving it. This is nice. Nice voltage on these batteries danger voltage would be anything below 6 volts, so anything lower than 6 volts on these batteries is danger zone so 5.
99. We are 1 % off of being not in danger. Realistically, I would love to have each of these batteries all at the same physical level. 6.4. So these all are friend name from the factory. These are all brand new from the factory.
These caps is a new design. Most manufacturers have gone with the design. It will actually capture the evaporated vapors of hydrogen gas from the batteries that the battery is being produced, that hydrogen gas under current receiving current, and it will actually turn that gas back into a liquid form and drip it out of that hole back into the actual Cell, so it’s, a way for the batteries to actually retain some of their electrolyte in these batteries on these cells.
We have a tank on here this tang right here at the bottom of that tang. When you look for about a quarter to a half inch gap between the tang and the fluid level, so that fluid level is about an inch above the lead plates in these batteries, we can go down.
I can feel it and then I got about a quarter inch that guy’s perfect. Now I got battery acid on my finger yeah. Well, the quickest way to get rid of that is a nice clean bucket of water. So, okay, I have a cheating a little bit.
We should probably have glasses on for safety and gloves. Haha generals are gonna, come generally come and we I don’t, see too many people do that, but there’s. No reason why we can’t have a bucket of water, this side, okay, so this is gonna, be your biggest friend.
You probably want to have a box of a suggest, a box of baking soda and some rubber gloves. If we actually determined that we have one sell low and let’s just say the plates are almost exposed. What we want to do is add distilled and distilled water.
Only no River Catch knows no boiled water, no City, Creek or city, water or Creek. Water reason being is city, water has chlorine in it. It distorts the electrolytes and physically nulls their performance.
Could I do like if I had a pot of rainwater and then I were to catch the evaporated, found out theme of the rainwater? The only way you can do it is, if you have a still so you might be making as a moonshine.
If you have a still, then yes, you can make your own. I spilled water. The reason they want distilled water in here is because all the small particulate minerals amendments have been removed. What happens when we had Creek water or lake water? Those minerals get added.
When you add that water to the battery and physically bond themselves to the place, they will not come off now, they are hindering any performance that is going to be made within that electrolytes on those plates.
So what we end up doing, if we have a low sell, is we’re gonna top it up about two to three millimeters, that’s, it just initially of water of distilled water survive my mind, you, like a distilled water From the grocery store and that’s gonna last, you probably well over a year, okay.
Now, how often should they should? I see them drop in in love, so the only reason that you’re gonna have a big variance and if they are dropping in level, is if my input voltage is a little bit too high.
So we are running at 24 volts. We’re, going to be charging roughly about 20 volts, so we can dial down the charge controller or the inverter charger just a little bit and I usually go by 22, so the xotic is operating out.
I can bring it. I can bring my input down point to that’s right and point to not not that not like to 2 volts or anything it’s. It’s. Point 2/10 2/10. Thank you and that will actually affect that way.
That the batteries receive their charge that should lessen the of actual distilled water. You’re putting into the batteries I find if we are putting more than about three or four ounces per month per cell.
In my bowl tidge is too high. I would dial that down by point to two tenths of a bowl, we use my specific gravity meter to tell us the condition of the actual electrolyte levels within the batteries themselves.
So we’re set and jake and pull up with one of these guys. This will actually give you a reading to where we want to have our batteries so on a specific gravity, meter hydrometer. We want to be somewhere in the green zone.
Even if we’re on the low side of the green zone. We’re still good. We’re golden it’s. If the batteries start deviating – and we start hitting a little bit in the blue – that’s when we want to initialize an equalization charge, equalization charge can be important for two reasons: reason: one balancing out all the cell’s.
It will physically make the cells or just allow the cells to come to an even playing ground, even level. Reason two is: if we ever had a low cell a deviation on let’s. Just say: cell number, five everything else looks perfect, but cell number five is going down.
We want to initialize an equalization to try to get that cell number. Five back at the same level as the rest of my other eleven cells. How do I initiate equalization equalization can be done two ways you have enough solar that we can absolutely initialize equal H, equalization through the solar controller and implement higher voltage to the batteries.
That controller can controller, can do that generally. Equalization is probably between an hour and a half two hours, and that’s, a full cycle as charged cycle on to the batteries and step 2 or how we can get it via 2 is the Magnum power panel can actually we can force charge Via a generator or backup and charge through the actual battery charger in the Magnum panel, so my question that I wanted to ask: you was for somebody who’s installing a 3 or 4 kilowatt hour system like this themselves.
Where are the one or maybe two areas where you could really get hurt? Where are you gonna have like, where’s, a newbie gonna punish themselves with a shock if they, if they are great great questions? Where should I have some red flags up along the installation process? Okay, so to watch it out the biggest the the biggest danger in an off-grid system is the battery bank and the reason being is: is we’re playing with DC current? We have about a hundred amps going on of delivery power.
We have nearly 400 amp hour capacity in these batteries. We have a very high risk of electrifying and we’re, getting shocked if we aren’t taking some simple procedures like what rule of thumb for number one.
If you’re using a box ended wrench, you have tape on one end of that wrench so make electrical tape electrical tape, so you cannot physically reach over and arc out the actual terminals. Rule two is make sure that you got some decent boots or shoes.
Vans works great and then just using you know, do care and attention on what you’re doing when you are hooking up and we’re wiring batteries with two open ends on a cable. It’s nice to either have that one end either wrapped up.
If you want to with some electrical tape, put a put a glove on it, I’ve, had guys a rubber glove and physically. Now you can focus on your one side. Are you hitting something exactly are not flopping over and arcing out on another terminal that’s? The biggest danger in system is making sure that when we are hooking up the battery’s, positive hookup is a must and keeping one end of that actual open-ended cable away.
From the second terminal, you’re physically trying to reach over to when we do our hookup. We are going to be in a series configuration, so we’re, going from a positive to a negative to a positive to a negative to a positive to a negative in a group of four.
Now we’re, going to implement my inverter cables onto these, so we’re on those last positive and negative terminals. That’s, going to complete our circuit. That’s. When I met the risk because I’m dealing with the full power of the bank correct, we do have the main breaker, which is going to be your friend.
At that point, we’re, going to make sure that enough in the off position, so we have no power running through the system. We’re only implementing our inverter cables up to the battery bank. You might get a little snap, but again positive contacts, our contact with the cable to the terminal, even if you don’t, have this with the entry gate ready to them.
That’s right, even if this bolt is just sitting here to the side yeah, so it’s close enough to my bring in that actual battery cable or our inverter key. When we hold it there now, we can implement our bolt through holding the actual terminal on the battery the inverter heels and then bring your other nothing around.
Tighten it up finger tight and then get your wrenches and give them about another half turn so rule of thumb. If you tighten the battery terminals on and your inverter cables and you can wiggle it it’s, not tight enough.
So do another quarter. Turn until you cannot wiggle the battery, you’re, a fit guy. You don’t have to refit, but if you should not be able to teeter-totter it back and forth, it should be taught, and you can’t move that terminal .
It’s, funny everyday