An old solar-powered house
This house was built in the mid 90's, and designed for both passive solar power (with its southern exposure and earth-sheltered rear), and solar power, with a wiring system that is entirely 12 volt throughout. But 15 years is a long time for a solar system to age, and as it degraded, the occupants adapted to living with less and less power.
That is an adaptation I have not made yet, so will this aging system be able to meet my needs? Like Anna, I am starting off with some experiments. The first was to go live there for a week and use as much power as I wanted.
Today I'm back in town. After approximatly 4 full days of use, the first battery bank dropped to 9 volts, my cutoff point for safe use. Which turned out to be below the safe use point of my laptop power adapter, which burnt out the last evening I was there.
I decided to come back while the other bank is still relatively full, leaving the low one connected to the four 64 watt solar panels to charge.
Hurrying downtown to grab lunch in between work on Branchable, I noticed it was a beautiful sunny day, and I realized that this makes such days even better, because besides enjoying them, I know I'll be enjoying the yield on chilly nights sometime later.
Well, in theory. Actually, the very antique charge controller in the house was dead and bypassed, so I removed it. I called its manufacturer wondering if it could be refurbished, but they suggested it belonged in a museum. So I've ordered a new controller, a Xantrex C-35. Until that comes, pretty days like today will charge, or possibly over-charge the batteries, which will then drain back out at night.
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