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I'm still reading & learning here..in fact my HF kit is still in the box, I'm the scaredy cat here until I learn more.
I have watched YouTube videos on the kits..a guy on there posted a vid of his HF setup (his name was survivalist2012)...he wired a couple of ceiling lights & receptacles in his home from the HF kit. he painted the switch covers green to signify solar. He used extension cord wire to these outlets/lights--this something I would NOT do. The guy doesn't say what type of light bulbs he used.
This is what I want to do, just power a couple of ceiling lights & maybe a receptacle for a lamp in an emergency situation for now. I just don't know if 12 volt bulbs or LED would be better. I want to run 12/2 wire in attic for the 2 ceiling lights & 1 receptacle.
Can any of you recommend bulbs to use--LED or 12V?
My temporary signature for now:
(1) Harbor Freight Kit still in Box
(1) Sunforce 30 amp controller still in package
(2) Deep cycle marine batteries
(2) lights & receptacle still in my head
Signature will be updated as I get courage up to hook all the above up!
If your batteries are 12v, they should be in parallel if your going to use them both. 1 kit will trickle charge the bank, on a good day maybe over 2 amps so you might not need the 30 amp controller for a while. I like the led's but I'm lighting a camper not a room in a house. Found the included cfl to be very mild light but it only draws about .3 amps.
On the issue of the 14/2 wire. I wouldnt use anything other than 12/2 wire in a in home installation. 12/2 is the wire I have used and is the NEC standard for house wiring (per code) for lighting and small appliance use.
I have 3 HF panel kits, a morning star 20 amp 12 volt charge controller, 4 125 ah deep cycle batteries. All batteries are connected parallel + to + and - to -. All batteries are connected using 4 gauge battery wire and terminals. Currently I am using a Xantrex 1000/2000 ProWatt sw pure sine wave inverter. On the 12/2 wire I am running all, YES ALL, of the lighting in my home and small appliances i.e. can openers, coffee pot, (micro wave minimal use) and a 32 inch lcd flat screen TV ( tv for about 3 hours a day) alarm clock etc.
All of my lights are 13 watt cfl bulbs that you can purchase at your local home depot. I have used bright white bulbs to get the max. amount of light possible out of the low wattage bulbs. If you have the extra $450-$600 dollars laying around to go all LED lights, it is well worth it. I am buying led lights when I can to replace my cfl lights when I can afford them. There going for $20-$45 dollars a piece for the good ones. I hope all this was helpful.
Have a sunny day!
James... I think you should determine what you want to use it for firsty.. I gather you are just wanting to use this as a back up system in the case of a power outage? Next Ask yourself how will you power the loads? thru an inverter (which is nice but wasteful when it comes to conserving power) or Straight DC?
Here is what i use my kit for. I bought it to fool around with (actually my GF bought it for me as i am always tinkering with something electrical as I am an electrician)
Everything I power is straight DC to cut out the inverter losses from going from DC to AC. I do have an inverter if needed but have never had occasion to use it with the exception of once I used it to power a dremel tool.
I power my wireless router , a small 7" HD TV to watch the local news and maybe a PBS show now and then (only cable internet) and my internet modem daily from my batteries. In the event there is a power outage such as there was here about 3 yrs ago due to an ice storm (I'm sure Jesse M remembers it as we live in the same town) I got a 10 to 12 v input to 12 to 32 volt out put DC - DC step up converter and took a "brick" from a shot lap top power supply,gutted it,inserted the converter,set the voltage and made the proper ends (input/output) to run a laptop. I also power LED strip lights that are 12 volt in case power is out... not super bright but enough to see by and also can use the CFL's that came with the kit. Not a massive system but most days The one kit has no problem recharging the 2 - 115 aH marine batteries i use easily.. again.. i am only using it as a back up power source for 2-3 days of no power so I can run a small netbook,my network,have a few lights so I don't trip over the cat (he appreciates that as he is all black and hard to see at night) and also the HF charge controller makes a nice power distribution block to charge my cell phone,re charge AA/AAA batteries with a 120/12v charger and power an AM/FM radio. Just enough for communicating and make it a little easier... in a pinch i am sure I could hook up some of my ham radio gear...
Heavier wire I agree with Mike on.. at least 12 gauge depending on how far you want to run. Longer runs/heavier loads require larger wire.
Several of us here have replaced the 120v lights with 12v lights in our houses (or added separate lights and kept the existing 120v in place). Doug hit the nail on the head....determine what you want to run and build your system for that. An inverter is never perfectly efficient. They use power to make the changeover. LED's are the way to go. The are more expensive. You must focus on conservation first. Use less power, then see what you need to connect to the battery bank. Never run a battery below 50%. This does not mean to keep it over 6 volts. It means do not use over half of the battery amps before recharging it. There are a lot of forums that talk about this. Make sure you have the right batteries, large enough wiring for the amperage and distance, and enough solar wattage to do the job at hand.
Yes, I do remember the ice storm of 2009. We were without commercial power for 8 days. The generator ran out of propane after the second day. We had no solar, so we had to leave until we could get the propane tank refilled. We are better prepared for this event now.
for dc power 12 gauge wire for short runs.....or yes you can send it through a inverter and send your power a country mile. ther are draw backs for both ways to run it. i can except minor losses with my system...i can also except my 60 dollar a month power bill as well :-)
I use LED lighting pretty much my whole house is 100 % LED 12 Volt lighting now. I do use special LED for area's i want lit up bright, I am awaiting another order of LED's to finish up ..Just 2 more lights. You would be surprised how much power you consume in lighting alone. You could be throwing away $40 to $60 a month away in just lighting alone to the power company.
Mr.Dale...that is very true...and even more than that if your pushing standard light bulbs....i run my solar instalation every night for lighting and most small appliances and tv,and cell ,and laptop charging...my average power bill was running between 210-285 a month for comercial power,and now i have it down to 55-85 dollars a month.....l.e.d. is the way to go for excelent power consumption.
Dale, That is cool. If I did it, all I would see would be smoke...or not working at all. My hat is off to you. I told wifey you had me going last night on those Sharp panels.
I use 12v LED light strips for computers as night lights throughout the house. I will be inverting my office, storage room, and guest bedroom from the 24v batteries.
i can accept my 35 - 40 dollar a month bill for power in the summer and that is running AC... by turning up the level a little (here in arkansas after working all day in 95 to 104 degree heat with 90% humidity 80 degree's feels awesome) and by switching out what AC lighting i Do use from incandescent to CFL then to LED.. it's dropping... our power rates here are not terrible.. I don't need the whole house lit up at night like blue blazes either.. I prefer ambient lighting and then spot specific lighting.... makes power consumption a lot easier to figure out... why pay for un needed light in a room that is doing you no good... not only is solar about saving money it is about using what you have wisely... it changes your way of thinking...