DIY Solar Installation

| 9/17/2012 2:54:21 PM

Hello and welcome, all DIY Solar enthusiasts! I’ll be speaking at the fair again this year, and I’ll have plenty of new material to share with everyone! I’m finally getting around to adding batteries and an inverter to my weekend house to make it “Off Grid Capable.” The service is only 100 amps, so I’m also adding a “whole house smart switch” rated for 100 amps. This way, when the grid goes down, my whole breaker box just switches over to a 4KW 240VAC inverter. Of course, I have to make judicious use of the available battery bank capacity, so this means only the fridge, computer, a few lights and maybe a small TV can run if I expect to have anything left at the end of a 14 hour winter night!

Batteries require special care, and if you forget, or abuse them, you can ruin an entire set in just a few days – and NOT get the 10 to 12 year life expectancy from them. If you look at the photos below, you can see how my goodies arrived, packed neatly on a pallet, and what they all look like spread out on my basement floor.

Joe Utasi 1 Joe Utasi 2

Left to right are the Magnum 4KW inverter, the Magnum mini-mounting system with a Service Splitter box stacked on top, and the whole house smart switch on the right. The wall mounting plate for the inverter and mini mount is in back, and also acts as a heat sink. In front are the battery cables – 4/0 Gauge so they can handle 250 AMPS at 24 volts DC! In front on the right is a neat little in-line vent fan for the battery box cover. It moves 6CFM, which is enough to keep hydrogen gasses from collecting in the box, and only draws about 2 watts of power!

By the time I get to the FAIR in September, I hope to have the installation complete and running, and will have lots of pictures to show and discuss. If I can muster the courage, my seminar will be kind of a “Let’s Talk Solar” session, with about 50% Q&A, so bring your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them! In the meantime, you can visit my website at

See you at the FAIR!

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