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New here

Postby snuffy » Mon May 12, 2014 3:04 pm

Hello to all. I just joined. I'm a 66 year old retired electrician from GM living on 17.5 acres 75 miles north of Detroit. I'm into gardening (veggies and fruit ). I'm not off grid but do have 2300 watts of solar that will allow me to run offgrid. As it is now the solar runs 2 refrigerators, 2 freezers, and some smaller circuits. In winter it has to be supplimented with grid power here in SE Michigan as the sun disappears then. I'm a vet from a long ago war married to a wonderful French Canadian girl. 2 children and 2 grand with one on the way. We heat with wood and I recently purchased something I've wanted for a long time, a sawmill. Looking forward to playing with that a lot. There you go. A little bit about me. Happy trails to all.
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Re: New here

Postby SilverFlame819 » Mon May 12, 2014 7:13 pm

Well hey there Snuff! ;) I hope we get to see pix!
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Re: New here

Postby Lollykoko » Mon May 12, 2014 8:38 pm

Welcome to the group, Snuffy! Glad you found your way here, and we are looking forward to hearing more about you, the family and your permaculture projects.
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Re: New here

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Mon May 12, 2014 10:37 pm

Welcome Snuffy, glad to have you with us. There are several of us old timers here getting back to the land. I am sure you will enjoy the conversation and be able to add many pearls of wisdoms from your years of experience. ;)
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
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Re: New here

Postby matt walker » Tue May 13, 2014 2:36 pm

Welcome Snuffy, glad to have you here. Looking forward to hearing more about your place and projects, and I'm really happy to see another fella here with real world solar power experience. I'll be picking yours and Manny's brains as I develop my solar stuff here, which I intend to do eventually.
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Re: New here

Postby snuffy » Tue May 13, 2014 4:15 pm

Thanks everyone. We're growing several varieties of apples, red haven peaches which took a beating this last hard winter, Bartlet pears, 2 varieties of apricots, 3 varieties of cherries, European plums, hazelnuts, strawberries, raspberries, black berries, blueberries, currents, gooseberries and some other varieties of fruit and nuts that haven't started producing yet so I can't count them. The veggie garden produces many of the common veggies grown in our zone. Can't figure out how to post pics.
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Re: New here

Postby SilverFlame819 » Tue May 13, 2014 7:33 pm

I think you need a photobucket account over here on Matt's site to post pix. You just upload them to Photobucket and then click on the "direct link" option for your pix there... then come over here and click the little image icon when you're replying and paste that link from the other site in. Or email them to someone else and make them do it for you. Lol
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Re: New here

Postby snuffy » Tue May 13, 2014 8:11 pm

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Re: New here

Postby mannytheseacow » Wed May 14, 2014 12:48 pm

Welcome Snuffy! That's great, it's so good to see yet another person taking advantage of free energy! It's really neat to see how people all kind of configure these things to fit their own personality and needs.

Your array looks like they are at a low angle... are they adjustable? Mine are set at a fixed angle. Someone that lives near by me recently installed a system that tilts to the sun and I noticed that theirs are almost always much flatter than my array.

So, are you just running specific circuits in your house at 12V or are you tied into the grid? If I were to build a house from scratch I would just wire it all at 12V and just learn to accomodate that. I think that would make it easier to live without all those electronic gizmos when 110V isn't even an option.

I've got a 4700 kW system, but it's powering 2/3 more energy than I'm using just to send back to the power company. At some point when it makes sense financially I'm planning a battery system and cutting that umbilical cord to the grid, but I have little incentive to do that right now.

It sounds like you're well ahead of many of us in your food production. It's pretty inspiring to see what you're doing. I've been planting like crazy for a couple years now but still realizing that many of the perrenial crop trees will take a while to really start producing. Keep the updates and photos coming!
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Re: New here

Postby snuffy » Wed May 14, 2014 1:43 pm

mannytheseacow wrote:Welcome Snuffy! That's great, it's so good to see yet another person taking advantage of free energy! It's really neat to see how people all kind of configure these things to fit their own personality and needs.

Your array looks like they are at a low angle... are they adjustable? Mine are set at a fixed angle. Someone that lives near by me recently installed a system that tilts to the sun and I noticed that theirs are almost always much flatter than my array.

So, are you just running specific circuits in your house at 12V or are you tied into the grid? If I were to build a house from scratch I would just wire it all at 12V and just learn to accomodate that. I think that would make it easier to live without all those electronic gizmos when 110V isn't even an option.

I've got a 4700 kW system, but it's powering 2/3 more energy than I'm using just to send back to the power company. At some point when it makes sense financially I'm planning a battery system and cutting that umbilical cord to the grid, but I have little incentive to do that right now.

It sounds like you're well ahead of many of us in your food production. It's pretty inspiring to see what you're doing. I've been planting like crazy for a couple years now but still realizing that many of the perrenial crop trees will take a while to really start producing. Keep the updates and photos coming!


The tilt angle is adjustable but not the azimuth. It's a home brewed system. My battery bank feeds an inverter/charger (xantrex) that feeds a separate panel of
SPDT switches that in one position selects grid power and the other position selects inverter power. A generator can also feed this panel. I do not feed any power back to the grid. The panels are a mix of Kyocera's and Evergreens. The charge controllers are a pair of Outback FM 80's. I could go offgrid but kind of like the grid as a backup and my electric bills run 50-60 bucks a month so it isn't that expensive.
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