All my questions in one spot!-Brian Dessauer- Alternative Power

So, I have like a ton of questions scattered all over the forums, a pain to try to follow and understand with everything else mingled in. So, if ya all don't mind I thought I would just start this one page that I can post to and do be able to find it easily later for future reference.

Currently I have a one set of HF 45 watt system. It is the old kit....ugh....hate the metal mounting system...thank God I don't need it! 

I just bought my battery, I considered the golf cart option but opted for a deep cycle 12 volt anyway....just used to dealing with normal batteries I guess. 

Here is the battery I bought , I paid $69.00.   I really went what I can afford then anything else. I had to pry this much out of my wives hands as it was!

My goal is to just have emergency power for now. Sure I would love to run the whole home off grid BUT I need to take baby steps. 

I am posting a picture of my water pump for my well.  Hoping ya all can help me with what I need to run it on HF kits when the power goes out.  Here is the pic....

it says 230 volts...I am not sure what I am dealing with is my well system...and when power goes out...I have  no running water!

so How can I hook this up to run off HF panels?

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Looks like that part number is only for the control box. What is the power specs./requirements of the motor?

no ideal.....cant find it?lol...all I see is the control box.....



     Truely, running that pump from harbor freight cells isn't practical. Most modern deep well  pumps run around 1/2 Hp and are 220 volt. Thats 1/2 horse is working on 500 watts real hard. The inverter to handle the starting load will need to be big wattage and most likely be capable of 220 volts, there are 110 pumps out there,  also for efficiency and motor life it should be pure sine wave, MY OPINION! some will argue that, time will be the test! The amount of battery to cover the reserve for this you don't have.

    Folks seem to want solar for back up power and forget it's real value, that being put it to work every day! Batteries work best and last longest working regularly, not setting waiting. The other problem is folks want to run the world on 3 sets of 45 watts panels!

     I do run my deep well on solar, and a lot more, however I had a 110 volt pump set when the well was put in, had to request that, not thinking solar at the time but for the back up generator, generator that doesn't mind waiting.

   I have over a kilo watt in pannels and 1200 amp hours of deep cycle batteries with 2400 watts of inverter. Run a fair share of the home with this, still have grid power and a generator!

    If back up is all your looking for, Harbor Freight has some very nice low dollar generators, generators that will handle what you want for back up. The small solar panels are just that SMALL! To run a few lights and a radio there great. I have two sets myself, thats where I started and they still run a 400 watt inverter that keep my computer charged, a table lamp and sometimes a radio but thats all they will do.

    Thats all my opinion and others will disagree, so be it, but I hope it helps.


My long term goal is running more of my home on solar and investing in larger panels  and a bigger system.   However, I  am a newb and have no ideal what I am doing!    SOOOO, I am starting out small and getting used to what I have and how not to kill myself.....

I am happy with running a few things only for now...a couple lights and computer or radios....your insight to the full spectrum and small HF panels is noted sir ...ty!

also, after looking over my pump...there is n o way to run it off HF system...looks like option for generator for that

Wrong. You can do it with harbor freight panels. I have 24 panels myself on one array. 
I would suggest at least 12 panels a good charg controller and 6 12volt batteries . You'll also need a 12 or 24v pure sinewave inverter. 
And finally you'll need a 120v pump. You could use your current pump but you would need a large system with 240v pure sinewave inverter.

Hi Jason,


Why would you need a larger system just because the pump is 240v AC?  Wouldn’t the power required (translated to watts) to pump water be the same with both 120 and 240?


Power is the ability to do work; wattage is the work being done.


Assuming the pump is ½ horse, the wattage would be 746/2 or 373 watts.  (I’m using the standard conversion of one horsepower = 746 watts.)  373 watts/120v AC = 3 amps.  373 watts/220v AC = 1.7 amps.  The wattage (and pumping power required) remains the same.


The biggest design problem for pumping water, as I see it, is the surge wattage of the pump, not the running wattage.


And you’re right, enough HF panels, with associated charge controller, batteries, and pure sine wave inverter, will pump water.  But I don’t believe a higher voltage of the pump should require more HF panels.


I also agree with Mr. Bill.  Only a pure sine wave inverter should be used.  But a backup 220v generator for emergency use is probably the better way to pump water when the grid goes down.


I have been married, so it’s an established fact I can be wrong.  Many times.  Might be wrong this time too.  Maybe I misunderstood the “large system” comment.


Hillbilly Gene


The hillbilly and I agree! The only thing I would point out to Mr Gene is he assumes 100% efficiencies. His math is correct to that point.  The pump motor is not, nor is the inverter and it can add up to a fair amount. There are many variables here. High end inverter, or ? can radically effect this. These need to be considered, especially on a minimal size system.

My last thought for Brian, you can start your car with enough of those rayovac "D" cells, it will work. But at some point you need to ask......... maybe if this is so good why aren't the others doing this? You think she is upset with the expense of a battery,,,,,, wait until the pump controller dies from low power!

Hello to Mr. Gene from the woods of Minnesota! Bill here.

Brian, I lied, one more thought! No ones upset here. And we have many varing opinions. Raymond, Gene and I all agree....math! Before you do anything is the smart way to go. The math were using here is simple and any of us will be more then willing to help you learn and understand it. Rest assured it will save you time and money in the end!

It's beer drinking time in the midwest!


The best thing to do is write out a plan and do the calculation as to what you will need. With your end goal in mind you will be able to buy the proper equipment now to support your expansion later. Otherwise you will find yourself limited or having redo everything over and over.


Raymond is exactly correct, it all can be done with math quickly and easily, you don't need trial and error. If some one would read exactly what I said! I never said you couldn't do it with Harbor Freight panels, I did say it's not practical! There talking of a mountain of panels and a bunch of batteries then a hudge inverter,yes it can be done, but weren't we talking about how much were spending? Price a watt of energy from a Harbor Freight panel, then price the cost per watt on big panels, the ones ment for big jobs. The batteries are the same, consider life span and cost per watt over it's life, big jobs need big batteries.

Lets look at a 100 amp hour battery, 12 volt! The available wattage is 1200 for one hour. Lets realise as that battery looses charge things change, like voltage. Lets consider that if we draw that battery down quickly it makes heat, power that could have been electricity. If we presume your pump is 500 watts, it would run about 2 hours, bit over. BUT! pumps cycle! as we draw down that battery we loose the power needed for the starting surge and the Harbor Freight panels won't produce it fast enough to keep up, atleast cost effectively. Now what happens??? Price an inverter big enough to handle the starting surge and running wattage of this pump, it's not 500 watts. Then read the manual for that inverter and what the manufacture advises for battery reserve to handle the inverter, it isn't a 100 amp hour battery!  

Lastly, I own 2 Harbor Freight panel sets 90 watts, they cost me $360 shipped to my door. I also own 1200 watts of large panels, they cost $1400 delivered to my door. Take a moment, think on that. How many Harbor Freight panels to make 1200 watts? What did they cost? Be careful where you get your advice, I never said it couldn't be done, I did say I'm actually doing it and that practical, cost effective isn't the way its being proposed.

I have take equipment because I never intended to grow anywhere near what I have done. That's also not cost effective or practical. If your thinking on growing the capacity do the math and get what you need one time. The lay out can be easily done with simple math and lots of folks out there are willing to help you.   

Ok , ya all want me to think in advance and build/buy the system I want...problem is...I got 5 kids and one grand kid. In order to get one system I had to ask for it for my anniversary.  I had to save my allowance for a month to buy my deep there is no way I can get the woman to spring for what I want to the hole dang house!

So, I have no choice to start out small and build, even if it means more smaller panels then  a few big ones.....sorry guys I cant work the math for long term...I gotta take it one light bulb at a

Please take a look at the graph I made of my install...and if I need any help please let me know


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