A minor bout of nostalgia here…

…just short of making another big change.
The Interim Lair, in all its deteriorating glory. Judging from the shadow and the detritus this picture was probably taken sometime late in 2011, shortly before it was abandoned. Just can’t understand why Landlady was so insistent I get it the hell off her land.

And that’s the same site this morning. Seems kind of lonely. But not for long. Rotate 180o

…and those red flags you can barely see mark the approximate locations of the pylons for the new ground-mount solar panel array. It’s gonna be YUUUGE. Yes, we may not have the means to Make America Great Again, but we’re closing in on Making Landlady’s Solar Power System Adequate.

My first duty in relation to that job was to eradicate a big red ant nest that was right in the path of the conduit trench. I poisoned it two days ago, and this morning it’s just some crumbling entrances and a couple of streams of tiny black ants who may be making a terrible mistake.

But setting aside Joel’s genocidal hobbies and getting back to the solar power…

In the fullness of time, all these panels will come down. The four roof-mounted ones will go on the new ground mount where they will join eight more just like them. Claire and I built those roof mounts from 2X4s in 2010, Ian and I mounted them on the roof, and I’m happy to say they worked very well. In fact getting them off the roof is going to be quite a project because they are most securely bolted down. Claire worried for the new panels in the windstorms, and I said, “The roof may come off the building, but the mounts are not coming off the roof.” Six years later, they have indeed not done so. But now they have served their purpose.

Those tower-mounted panels are being retired – which is to say, assuming they pass function tests they’re quietly moving to the Secret Lair. Landlady’s generating power will triple, and if all goes well mine will at least double. 🙂 BUT: admit impediments. Those six panels are among the final remnants of the original solar power system, which was sold to Landlady and T by a huckster who didn’t know what he was doing, or didn’t care, or both. None of that was ever right, and I’ll believe those four big panels are worth moving when they’ve been taken down and certified to be worth moving. Until then, I’m not making any revisions to my own (adequate but could be bigger) system.

These batteries are also six years old and have been rather abused, but are still doing their job. Therefore replacing them is not on the docket for this phase of the rebuild. Provide adequate generation, then worry about bigger storage.

The system is getting a new inverter to replace the old, incomprehensible Zantrex…

charge controllers
And we’ll replace one of the current two charge controllers. Turns out – who knew? – you can use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) or MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controllers, but you shouldn’t use both in the same system. According to S, it’s one reason we’ve never really gotten the full potential power from all those solar panels. So the old one is going – to the Secret Lair. 🙂

As you can guess, I wouldn’t be getting paid money for my part in this job even if the customer weren’t Landlady. If this works as hoped, I’ll be one of the biggest winners without ever making a dime.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to A minor bout of nostalgia here…

  1. MamaLiberty says:

    That little travel trailer looks nice, not “deteriorating” at all. You should see some of the little trailers in our local slum “trailer park” on the road to the gun range. Most of those look as if they should have been abandoned a very long time ago. Yet transient workers live there even in the middle of the winter. I shudder to even think about it.

  2. Joel says:

    I hope they have better furnaces than the Interim Lair did.

  3. MamaLiberty says:

    Not likely… probably just a little electric heater on the wall and maybe a free standing one in the bathroom – if there is room. At least the electric here isn’t too expensive. 🙂 Our only thrift store is open just one day a week, but they give away a truck load of winter clothing each fall, as do the churches.

    Not going to be too many transients here this winter. The slump in the energy mining employment has seen most of them leave already. The little trailer park by the gun range is starting to look fairly deserted. They’ll come back in the spring, especially if the coal and oil fields are hiring again.

  4. phred says:

    I’ve gotta ask – how did you eliminate the ants?

  5. Joel says:

    I forced them to listen to this.

    Official cause of death was suicide, nobody even noticed the poison.

  6. coloradohermit says:

    “If this works as hoped, I’ll be one of the biggest winners without ever making a dime.” or having to spend one……

    You betcha! While we’re getting our off-grid forest house up to snuff to sell it, it was necessary to replace the 8 year old batteries. 12 Trojan L16 108pound batteries for a whopping $3000. They’re not even top of the line for amp hours. Thank heavens the inverters and the panels are still doing just fine. Our panels are 20 years old and were top of the line 20 years ago. Now, the 24 75watt panels are old dinosaurs. For what we paid for them, you’d now get 200watt panels. Solar still isn’t really in the realm of affordable unless you’re building remote from scratch and running electricity would cost triple. So congrats to you, Joel, on your windfall!!!

  7. Buck says:

    “I forced them to listen to this.”

    I’ll git you for that.

  8. Dan F. says:

    “I forced them to listen to this.”

    Deployment of the family atomics sounds about equal for that crime

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