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Q1: Aquaculture: Setting up solar panel power
Also known as Aquaponics, this system uses goose pooh to grow organic vegetables.
If you have grass in lush abundance, growing on good soil, the geese eat that grass with the soil goodness, and so poop that "soil goodness" into the water of their geese pond.
So using that water as a source of nutrient pooh for growing vegetables is a good idea, and the source behind aquaponics.
Begin with rolling out carpet (remove weeds)
Than banging in star pickets.
Wire on timber beams.
Wire on solar panels. These are 36Volts at 2 amps (second hand).
Ten panels @ 2 amps = 20 amps charging.
Next wire up the solar panels using crimps
Notice the ugly looking crimp, has wires twisted and crimped , not your usual crimp connection. I feel it's better electrically.
Hook up batteries. These are in theory brand new 170 amp/hr golf buggy deep cycle made in USA 8 volt batteries, now second-hand.
Assume they are 150 amp/hr, total storage.
Place Steca PMW solar controller in place.
Notice two wires:
Thus two wires are twisted together into the one controller hole.
So small wires carry current easily.
The flat batteries show 1% charging at 7 am.
Aspect of the system, near old barn.
Other aspect, showing geese pond.
The veggie building goes in between.
The geese pond is large, about 4m diameter and 0.7 m deep, with pipe in the middle.
Concrete sides, slope down as a funnel shape towards pipe entry, collecting sludge.
The sludge and water is pumped into troughs.
A Schematic of the Aquacultural system.
Assuming sludge pump draws 10 amps (330W tested already to draw 9 to 10 amps), these six times run for 3 minutes, hence the total discharge from batteries is 3 amp/hr per day.
Coming into the battery every day from 10 am until 3 pm, over 30 amps/hr enough to charge battery to 100%.
The 12Volt 1500 Watt inverter runs at a load of 10amps.
To make the system better, I have a meter moniter that reads current in and current out. So one can read exactly the storage of the battery system.
The ten solar panels 2 to 3 amps, not good for second hand panels, rated at 5 amps.
Why so poor? It takes one panel at say 2 amps to drag all parallel panels to this level, so one could test them individually, and reject the bad one, or accept the practive never matches the theory.
If you are fussy using second hand panels, test them individually for current, and reject any not the same in yielding amps.
The State of Charge shows 50% already after 2 hours charging already, from 10 am over the tree shadows, we have 3 hours at 8 amps is 24amp/hrs.
If this is seen as 50% SOC, and we assume intial battery SOC was 20%, than the total storage could be about 50amp/hr.
The energy in/out monitor will confirm this.
A view of expected veggie shed and troughs made of galvanized sheet ir on.
A change of batteries, two 6V, with energy monitor see red line, and inverter, 1500VA.
With new battery getting 64% SOC so far at 8:30 am. Old batteries holding SOC overnight.
Progress on veggie shed building so far.
Set the time on Auto off (press up) and set program modes (press menu) for the one and off times as follows:
These times consume only 21 minutes of run time, or about 21/60*10 = 3.5amp/hours of power. This is not much for the batteries to handle, most run times during solar times.
View of veggie shade cloth shed so far.
Goose pond to left, solar panels to right.
View from back end.
View of the troughs under construction.
View of 30% shadecloth for sunlight, keep cabbage moth out, and curved so gum leaves do not get stuck on roof.
The vegetable seedlings are planted, with coarse and fine crushed seashells.
View of vegetables from above.
The first attempt flooded things too much, so most of the water flows back to the goose pond, and only 1/4 is tapped off as shown.
General outlay of the aquaponic design.
The bottom end, showing seedlings.
The front end, showing the pond, unfinished shadecloth wall.
A close up of the goose pond, with 90mm pipe covering the 25mm pipe and 240V cable from inquisitive geese bites.
The return to the pond is, also 90mm pipe.
The 25mm black pipe returns 80% of the pumped water.
The system looks like draining the water nutrients too slow, causing possible wet feet for the vegetables.
Might have remove fine grit and use only coarse grit sea shells.
Or increase the times between waterings.
Such as water times:
Will have to trial various things. The 5 minute run time is just enough to fill all troughs.
The electrical appliances are not water proof.
Hence under cover.
The inverter is under a large plastic box with air gap under.
Over night the batteries drop from to 83%, but the inverter happily runs.
The slow drainage could be a concern, see red arrow:, showing water table under grit.
When pump is on the green nutrient water flows gently.
Until nearly reaches the return back to pond.
Another concern is filling the geese pond all the time. Will have to install autofloat filling device, to keep pond topped up.
Now all we need is the seedlings to grow.
The system runs OK all on it's own for it's second week. Notice components under cover.
Not much growth yet in winter.
Will see the system in it's 3rd week.
Slow growth, but growing OK.
Other troughs showing growth.
Inverter went red for 3 days, no pumping took place.
Not sure why? But it's green again.
Maybe rain got in somewhere? Or old batteries?
Detail of cabbage growth. Notice the 100 cuttings also added to system, see red arrow.
Created by Rob Thompson. Hosted since 10/01/2012. Visitors HOSTED by Prologic, my Son. A thin website.
Visitors HOSTED by Prologic, my Son. A thin website.