Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New RainWater System Items

Even though I am a junk collector and reuse everything I can, I still have to get new items from time to time. I have come to realize there is no possible way to be one hundred percent self sustainable or self reliant no matter how hard you try. There will always be something to buy you cannot make yourself.

For example, to complete the new and improved rainwater harvesting system I had to buy a new pump and solar panel. "Had to" really? Well no, I am sure I could have done without them and kept my old inadequate system, or just used a bucket for that matter.
Don't fret, the old equipment will be reused on another project.
The idea is to deliver enough GPM and PSI into the bathhouse so as to have all the comforts of home, plus to run more than one sprinkler head at a time while watering the gardens. The old system is not capable of handling anything of the sorts. 

This new system will up my GPM from one to three and charge the batteries a little quicker every day instead of topping them off every other day. It will up the pressure from 30 to 45 PSI, Plus it will give the option to switch from DC to AC power if needed with a added power supply.

Extra plugs are being added for options to run more DC powered devices if and when needed. This new system will have the capability to expand so it can accommodate the extra amp draw when new items are added on.

This lightweight, portable charger uses amorphous solar technology to charge any 12 Volt rechargeable battery, anywhere. Solar panel works in sunny or cloudy conditions, delivering up to 6 Watts and 0.4Ah for each hour of sunlight. Included blocking diode prevents power loss overnight. Panel features rugged aluminum frame and tempered glass for durability. Includes panel, clamps and 12 feet of wire. 12.5in.L x 12.5in.W x 0.5in.H.

Flow (GPH) 180

Volts 12

Max. PSI 45

Suction Port (in.) 1/2

Discharge Port (in.) 1/2

Self-Priming Yes

Valves Viton

Diaphragm Santoprene

Dimensions L x W x H (in.) 8 3/4 x 5 x 4 1/2

Manufacturer Warranty 12 months limited parts / No labor

Ship Weight 6.0 lbs

Item# 52063

Above are the descriptions Northern Tool had. The solar panel is a 6 watt panel that will charge the batteries in one day. The calculations on the new system says this is the minimum I can use for my needs. I will be pulling seven amps about 45 minutes to an hour a day. Another 6 watt panel can be wired in when more charging power is needed. The cost for one 15 watt panel is a more than two-6 watt panels by about forty bucks.
I will not be using deep cycled batteries at first because the ones I am using are just fine for now. It is not in the budget to buy two, $120.00 dollar batteries right now. A normal car battery will only last about a year because they are not designed for this type of use. When they start to go bad I will replace one at a time if I can. 

I have the box that will house the electrical and pump equipment cut out and ready for assembly. I will post about how I am going to put it all together and hook it all up soon.
I have some other pressing things I need to attend to this weekend so I will not be able to post. Tomorrow will be my last post until Sunday night.  

Disclaimer - This may come off as rude, but here you go. So if you get offended easily I would not read on.
For those who know all about this stuff and want to criticize this small system here, keep in mind this is only for the rainwater system to power the bathhouse and to water the gardens with the ability to expand if needed. I do not have seventy five thousand laying around to build a solar tracking system for the whole house, One step at a time my friend. I have done my research diligently on this and I know it would have been easier many other ways. These items fit into my small budget so I do not need all the "You should haves". If you do not like this system then hit the donate button and I will build the system to your specs that you bought.
On the other hand, if you do have some pointers, I am willing to listen and learn. I am not an expert on solar equipment being this is only my second time messing with it.        



  1. Way to go MDR. I can't wait to see what you do with it. How exciting!

  2. rude? nah!!! i dont know diddly squat about such things and i get mighty confused when questioning the experts, except when they start talking money. i will admit though that i find solar energy to be fascinating and wish that we could afford it...if more of us could afford it we would put the government out of the energy business-now would'nt that be something!

  3. Can't wait to learn w/you! IMHO - no one has an extra $xxx to spend. We all do what can w/what we have.

    We don't want to run conventional power where we can run solar (lots of sun) to power whatever ... small (or medium) pump, lights or whatever. Learning along with everyone else .....

  4. Thank you sista. Last night I got the housing for all the equipment completed.

    Anony - Thanks for the comment. I am no expert by any means but I can tell you this, There will never be a day we will not buy electric from someone else. Just like we will never be clear of oil and gas. There is just too much money in it for the big dogs. We can lessen our burden and dependence on them some but will never be completely away from the deep pockets.

    DFW - That is all I am doing, learning. I can read about it and visit places that use it all day long, but until I start building it myself, I will never really know.
    The expense already for this little system is over the top. I will never be able to recoup the cost from the well and septic electrical use, but when the well goes down, and it will, this will be priceless.

  5. I'm so impressed by your determination to do more than talk about all are DOING it, even if you are doing it in your own unique way, it is working for YOU. Meanwhile, you are teaching others of us who want to learn more that this is something we should tackle. Your creativity and thoughtfulness through the entire construction process has been detailed and very interesting. I can't wait for us to build a bath house near our little lake on the backside of our property. Keep going and don't worry about those out there who have the bigger and better solution, we like your way of doing things just fine around here.


  6. Lana - Thank you for those kind words. If you need more detail just let me know. I don't put them all on here because to most it is just boring stuff.

  7. Not sure what you spent on the panel but I got two 20 watt panels from for $82.00 each and free shipping. This summer I hope to get a couple of golf cart batteries and inverter and finish up my little solar generator. If you don't have a lot of cash to spend picking up the individual parts every few months can ease the pain.

  8. ASR - Did those have the blocking diode and charge controller included in them or did you have buy all that separate? This 6watt cost $32.00 and had it all included. I think that after 15watts you have to add all the extra yourself at an additional cost.
    I didn't even think to look on Amazon. For some reason when I hear that name all I can think of is books and not other stuff.
    Thanks for the tip. I will check them out.

  9. No, on the diode as far as I know. Everyone who bought these panels, also bought a charger controller and use them either for an RV/boat set up or like I'm doing like a small solar generator that consists of panels, a charger/controller, batteries and an Inverter. Not a DC power system, but as a small AC system via inverter and the panels keep batteries charged.
    You might check out the comments as folks are free with info on what they have set up and how efficient the panels are putting out the wattage.
    I still have a few parts to gather for my system but I like these panels they are about the size of a big cookie sheet and the come in a nice solid aluminum frame that has holes drilled to connect or mount them in a larger frame. They feel solid without being heavy nor do the flex in the frame mounts.

  10. ASF - That is good to know. When I need to expand I will sure check them out.

  11. MDR, I know those haters all too well... I've dealt with them for three years now. They love to tell me that cheap 12v solar panels and car batteries will not work to run a house on... well for the past 3 years they have done just that. We wired the house for both 12v and AC. We have two 40w sets from Harbor freight and a battery bank of a half a dozen car batteries/deep cycle batteries some as old as 12 years. We run 5 12v compact florescent light bulbs for up to 10hrs a night. During the day we run two inverters (one 1k watts one 2k watts) to watch TV, charge power tools, vacuum, etc.
    For those who love to tell me what this system won't do, I ask them what kind of a system they have. I always get one of two answers. Either they live on grid, or they have spent 30-50k for a 24v full time AC system. I think they are just mad that my system only cost a tenth of what they have spent on theirs. I may not have the wattage to run a refrigerator (mine uses propane), or watch Satellite TV all night long (can during the day!), but then again do I really need to do those two things to have good life?

    Wow what a rant... sorry about that. I just had a nice discussion about this with a coworker... one that lives on grid I might add...

    Have a great weekend!

    1. King, that is what I want to do but in a smaller and mobile set up I can use for the house and RV. I'm just have to buy the parts a little at a time. I'm going to buy 6 volt golf cart batteries and hook up a 12v DC system
      Glad to know my system can work because you have done it.

  12. King - Rants are good. From the sound of it you have it all figured out. I am not that far along yet to run the house or even begin to run parts of it yet. Still working on the outside.