Rich's Cabin 12 Volt System

Photo of Rich's cabin.

This is a photo of Rich's cabin. It is relatively small at 220 square feet. When Rich moved in the cabin was no more than a simple woodworking shop that had been left in disarray. After cleaning, sealing the cracks, insulating, finishing off the sheetrock and installing a salvaged woodstove it was ready to move in. At this time there was no power system and reading was done by the glow of an oil lamp.

Photo of Rich's cabin with solar panels and windmill

Here you can see the basis of Rich's system. Salvaged Carrizo solar panels and a homebuilt 7 foot windmill in the back ground. Four Carrizo panels are run in series to charge a 12 volt system. You may have noticed two of the panels have been broken. So what once was two sets of quads is now down to one set. One set of Carrizo panels produce on average 60 watts of power for six hours a day. Total energy production from these panels average 10 kWh a month. Replacement panels were recently acquired for the simple trade of a cord of wood and will double Rich's solar power.

Rich's windmill in action

Here is the windmill in action. This is a 7 foot diameter 12 volt mill on a 50 foot tower. This is the first of this size with our current design and has performed very well since it's installation. The machine runs very quietly, furls at 300 watts and peaks at 500 watts producing 50 watts in average 10 mph winds. Total energy production equates on average to 30 to 50 kWh a month.

Photo of 1-1/2 horsepower International LB engine with Delco alternator

This is Rich's back up power system when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. The engine is an International LB with a one wire Delco alternator. It can produce about 500 watts, however it hasn't been run since the installation of the 7 foot mill.

Photo of rectifier box, charge controller and dump load.

The volt meter, rectifier box with ammeter and stop switch, Trace C40 charge controller and dump load are mounted inside Rich's cabin. To match the power system the dump load was built from two .15 Ohm resistors connected in series. The resistors were mounted using two pieces of scrap angle iron mounted on a wood frame with a sheet metal backing.

Photo of batteries.

This is the battery bank that powers Rich's house. They consist of twelve 6 volt T-105 golf cart deep cycle batteries wired for a 12 volt system. The batteries are rated at 220 Ah (amp-hours) for a total of 1320 Ah in this configuration.

Photo of installed inverter.

Rich has great neighbors. This is a Wagan 2500 Watt inverter that is on loan.

Photo of rain water collection system.

There is no running water at Rich's cabin. Rain water is collected from the metal roof to ease the back pain from carrying all the water up hill to the cabin from a gravity fed spring. The firewood in the background is the cabin's heat source.

Photo of windmill in action.

Since the installation of the windmill Rich has been able to run his electrical appliances more often than ever before. However at a maximum of 60 kWh a month the system can produce this does not come close to the average household consumption of 800 kWh a month. Currently Rich is able to run 120 Volt AC compact fluorescent light bulbs, laptop, the VCR/DVD and television a few times a week and a variety of powertools with power left over for future improvements.