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Our Test and Analysis System

Over the years Erhard has used, analysed and tested various products. The current system consists of the following systems.

The Main System that powers the house, garage and office has

  • 1 – Outback 3600 watt inverter
  • 1 - Outback 3000 watt inverter
  • 1 - backup Outback 3600 watt inverter
  • 36 - 110 watt solar modules
  • 14 - 185 watt solar modules
  • 8 - 85 watt solar modules (not shown)
  • 3 – 305 watt solar modules (on the wind tower)
  • 3 - Outback FM 60 charge controllers
  • 1 Midnite Classic charge controller
  • 1 - Mate 3 system controller
  • ARE 110 wind generator (on the tall tower, the other 2 towers no longer have wind generators on them and the ARE 110 needs repair again so it is not in use at this time)
  • The main battery bank is a Rolls/Surrette 6CS25-PS 48 Volt bank
  • The current second test bank is a Rolls/Surrette S 550 - 48 Volt bank (2 banks in parallel)
  • The current third test bank is a Trojan L16RE-B 48 Volt bank
  • Any of the 3 battery banks can be used at any time as they are all connected

A backup 12 Volt system is in place to use when modifications are being made to the 48 Volt system. A transfer switch chooses between the 48 Volt system and the 12 Volt system. The 12 volt system consists of

  • 1 - Outback 2000 watt inverter
  • 2 - strings of Trojan L16RE-B batteries
  • 1 - 55 watt solar module
  • 1 - 50 watt solar module
  • Additionally, 680 watts of solar modules from the main system can be used to charge the batteries through an Outback FM 80 charge controller

The main system sets up the "Local Grid" as it were so that the Shop System can "AC" couple to it and allow the sharing of power. This is also called a mini or micro grid.

The shop system consists of

  • 1 - Outback 3000 watt inverter
  • 16 - 130 watt solar modules
  • 1 - string of Rolls/Surrette 12CS11-PS batteries at 48 Volts
  • 1 - Outback FM 60 charge controller
  • 1 - Mate 3 system controller

The Mate 3 system controller allows for local and remote monitoring of the system

The Midnite Classic allows for local monitoring as well as remote monitoring and data storage on Midnite’s server.

There are also various control and monitoring devices for the systems.

Since 2001 when we went "Off Grid" we have never used a generator. I have always believed that I need to test things here and not have my customers be the guinea pig!

The Thermal or Heating systems consist of the following

6 -- Flat Plate collectors on the wall of the garage

4 -- Single wall evacuated tube collectors close to the main building

6 -- double wall evacuated tube collectors on the roof of the old house

5 -- double wall evacuated tube collectors on the roof of the shop

1 -- IBC 15-150 modulating condensing boiler

1 -- Inside wood burning boiler

Control systems to integrate all the heating systems to work efficiently and smoothly.

We are now totally out of room for more solar since I like my trees and do not want to cut any down.

Past products that were evaluated and have led to the present combination of system components.

To this point there have been a total of 8 wind generators that have been tested here. (There is a good reason why there is only one now)

Various other charge controllers have been tried.

The original Trace SW5500 watt inverter was replaced because of its poor surge capacity and poor sine wave.

Several different battery banks have been tried over the years.

A few other inverters have also been tested and tried over the years.

Various solar heating piping arrangements and control systems have been evaluated. These have led to the development of the current controls for the heating systems that Boyd Solar produces.

The construction of the main house is 2 -- 2X4 walls that are separated 5 ½". Most of the windows have 2 sets of triple pane windows. (This works wonderfully, no more cold from the windows). The ceiling has 2 feet of fiberglass insulation so it does not take much to heat this home.

The shop is ICF (Insulated concrete form) with an extra 3" of insulation on the outside. The ceiling roof system has 3" of Styrofoam under the trusses, one layer of spray foam, then 32" of blown in fiber glass and then another layer of spray foam against the metal roofing. The windows are all 2 sets of triple pane windows and a top of the line overhead door. The floor has 3" of EPS foam (I would use more next time).

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