All The Best – Efficiency and Excellence

All The Best – Efficiency and Excellence
You Were So Good To Me
She calmly sat in the car as I drove her to the house, she kept talking about something and I wasn’t listening, the Chief’s vote had been in our favour and of course, she had forgotten that she had shouted at me.
It had taken a while to calm myself down, “Seeing her true colours?” my mind had snapped back at me, and I had told myself to calm down, I had seen this before so why was it hurting me so much today, I drove the Dodge V8 slowly while she spoke of what we would do now, maybe eat and get to the house again. 
I was the chaperone I knew that, my role was all figured out
until today, then it had dawned on me that I was nothing to her.  I had side stepped questions from her friends in the city council building and had walked out, seeing from the corner of my eye Chief’s approval only.  
I ran around the back soon as we got home, looked around for my bag and started packing clear in my head that it was time to get back to where I had come from; truth had been made abundantly clear to me, leaving me in doubt what my next step was going to be.
“Aren’t you going to be making some dinner,” she shouted from the living room, I quietly left the house and walked on to the stream that flowed close to the house, there was a cluster of trees where I usually sat down to smoke.  I sat there and waited for a sign, ten minutes turned to fifteen before this old man appeared out of the background, he wore a thick robe, it was cold, he was smoking a cigar with a Stetson on his head, I wasn’t sure about the gun running laws here but I think I spotted a holster around his belly.
“You waiting,” he asked, I just nodded my head and pointed to the stream, “Fishing then?” he said with a grimace, “It isn’t allowed here.”
“Yes sir,” I said melancholically, no peace today here either, “Goodnight boy,” he said as I walked away.  I took the long route home and reached at 11pm, late enough to avoid her.  Next morning I sold my Dodge V8 and took the train home.
                                    “I Just haven’t met You Yet.”
Taming the Shrew
I have been hearing a lot of talk about why should we change equipment to get Solar installed, shouldn’t solar work for our existing equipment?
A few interesting points here:
1.     Solar will work for the existing equipment
2.     It will work as efficiently as your grid does for the equipment
3.     Savings on the Grid are magnified when converted to Solar
4.     Grid and Solar are both electricity

What constitutes an energy efficient system is the Energy Star Rating, so let’s break it up, bird by bird, stone by stone, to the top 5 in each category:

Ceiling Fans



Computer Monitor

More on how these efficiencies affect the electricity that we pay for later on, for today I think I could rest my case.
                  “I got The Blues Tonight and The Rhythm is Awesome”


Saltpeter Brewing up – Taming PC’s

Saltpeter brewing up – Taming PC’s
Heading West Virginia
“She is calmer than ever now, back in her seat behind the glass,” I thought to myself as I drove Deanna back to her house from the City Council.  This day stood out in my memory as the saddest day in my life, I had worked for over two days to get this final vote and we had won, but I had got shouted at for being myself, it really was a sad day.
The next day, I went to the car dealer to sell my Dodge V8,
he was a slick old wily man, and told me I wouldn’t get more than “a thousand for this old hag,” this town was doing me no good now, I knew the moment she had shouted at me in the city council, something had changed within me.  There was “Saltpeter” blowing up in my mind and I would find it almost uncontrollable to handle my own temper, for the next week I stayed away from Deanna.
Ten days and I was back, away from Reno and Deanna, wondering if I had lost the game of life, either ways the design of things was becoming clearer to me.” I am a gambler and I m not in the habit of losing.  And I have never seen a woman I thought was more man than me.  I don’t care if I can get it up for her or not, but I must win no matter what,” this thought kept me busy all the way to New York airport, I was heading home to a new job, a new lifestyle and a life away from these broken dreams of hers.
In New York, Frank had asked me, “Why didn’t you tell her to bugger off there itself?” the bartender had got us two Jack Daniels neat and I had quickly slithered mine into my mouth and he did the same, the only thing this time around, his drink was down his throat while mine was still in my cheek and I showed it to him smiling.
I had held back and everybody in the country knew about it, the reasons were becoming evident enough to anybody and my mind sang, “A bee in her butt, a burr in her bloomers, Get her goat, bug her till she comes apart,” I thought wildly but had still hung back.  It was happening all wildly but certainly not to me, I was still at the same place safe and sound.
The chief had been sure,”I know I have made the right decision.
Taming the Shrew
All equipment has a base load that adds up when they are not switched off, that red light that glows in the dark while you are sleeping, the TV or Home Theatre doesn’t go to sleep when you do, is adding up to this base load.
My two PC’s used up 270 Watts of electricity while they were ON.  Realising this and understanding that these very a lot of watts, I decided to put my two PCs on hibernation while I went to sleep and suddenly realised that the power I was saving was close to 1780 kWhrs every year, that’s 3560 lbs of green house gas and a dollar $178 per year.  The computers use zero power while hibernating and come out of it in a few seconds or do they?

 Cost Estimate:
Cost was two power strips — $20 — they also provide some surge protection.
Dollar Saving:
I measured the power levels:
Everything turned on (2 PC’s, printers, …):   297 watts (174 downstairs PC + 123 upstairs PC) — this is measured after everything settles down.
With PC’s in hibernate, but other other peripherals on:  59 watts (54 downstairs + 8 upstairs)
Saving is: 
Power strips for night:   (297 w)(10hr)(365 day/yr)(1/1000) = 1084 KWH!
Hibernate after 15 min in daytime: (297w-59w)(8 hr)(365 day/yr)(1/1000) = 695 KWH!
Where 8 hours is the estimated time in hibernation during the day.

This adds up to 1779 KWH per year for a $178 saving at 10 cents a KWH.


And all I did was put my computers on hibernation, they stopped right where they were using zero power and started back from the same spot without any problem.  In conclusion, this was the best thing I had ever done for my home.  More on energy efficiency in other posts, at least I know what the readers want now.

Ear for Words – Collectors Loop

Ear for Words – Collectors Loop
Open Them Floodgates
It had been a rough day in Reno, we had worked out a lot of stuff today, we had been shopping, picked up some clothes and I was loving this feel of having bought a book to work out the technicalities of the Solar part, it was technical book and as I sat in my rucksack that night and begun to read, there chapters on Solar Water Heating, starting from Gravity Feed to All Seasons Systems, there were systems that had a mixture of glycerine in them to keep the freezing away.  The book was getting better and better when Deanna called me over to look at the moon which was brightly lit for a winter night.

The chief had been sure,”I know I have made the right decision,” and this had been despite the opposition from a section of the council.  The thing about US was that these meetings were held under camera, I had never seen this anywhere, funnily enough he looked very handsome, the chief, he had long hair and was tall about 6’4” and was dressed up moderately.
I had this ear for words and I was beginning to like even his prophetic statements, these normally were my bane but coming from him they sounded just right, there were ominous warnings of climate change, the “The Killing Fields of Great Glaciers” and “the Mighty Wave in the Ocean” – they were almost biblical and fascinating.
It was this ear for word that caught his fancy and over two days  we spent talking about lifestyles, cultures and politics in US, it wasn’t as if we had whole days but even half to one hour with him was enough, Deanna started getting angry at me, “That is good PR, however we have to think of other members here,” she had shouted at me with her friends looking up in glee,
“I’ll keep that in my mind,” I had replied back, not knowing, that in 2012, this skill would actually get me to a Public Relations assignment.
There had been a wild flurry of activity at the door  when the Chief had voted for us, there was crowd there, probably Deanna’s friends, all stunned as much as Deanna was, she had thought I was chatting up the Chief for Solar, until he had voted for us.  Chief was as stoic as ever with only a faint hint on his upturned lips, and a twinkle in his eyes when he had looked at me.  It was obviously going to be a fine summer in Reno now, but I was going to head home, I was sure.

“Systems Are Never Wrong, It’s the Logic behind Them”
The Glazed Collector
Swimming Pool Heaters are different from normal Solar Water Heaters, in the sense that since the water that needs to be heated is larger in volume the Collectors need to be cheaper build and though they are numerous DIY kits that cut the cost by almost 1/4th, in this post I look at the Glazed Solar Collector water heating.
A Solar water heating system is made up of Solar Collectors and a solar tank with the required plumbing.  A pool is a large water body that is exposed to the ambient temperature, every minute of exposure cools down the temperature especially in the night.
The glazed collectors are special collectors that do not have a glass covering on top of them, just a glazing that focuses sunlight on to the fins and tubes under them so that the water passing through them heats up because of the Sun Light.

The pool heater is a collection of:
1.     Glazed Collectors
2.     Plumbing pipes in the range of 20-25mm
3.     An assortment of Non Return Valves
4.     A vacuum breaker
5.     By Pass valves
6.     Pump
The water goes from collector to collector while it gets heated up to the required temperature and is fed back into the pool while the cold water is pulled away from the pool by a pump.  NRV (Non Return Valves) and BPV (By Pass Valves) are used to configure the stream of water to and fro from the pool.

                      “The Community Collector Loop Phenomenon”

Chief’s Vote – Bubble Wrap Windows

Chief’s Vote – Bubble Wrap Windows
Gentle Overtures
Deanna and I had been sitting at the city council, Reno, waiting for this one vote that would allow us to change the schedule of construction to include a little bit of more area towards the forest.  We had been here waiting for over two hours and the business was being conducted as usual before our name was called.  Another hour of friendly jibing, answering questions and displaying photographs of the site, it all came down to one final vote.
Deanna was the most fantastic dancer I had come across and 

and be it on the wooden floors of her living room, jiving to the alternative rock or the Moonlighting bars in the town where they played Joe Crookston like Jack Daniel and coke, her fame had preceded her.  

“This was the best mistake we made,” she said panting as we climbed another few feet, it was cloudy and misty, and we were still a long way from the peak.

“Remember, the final vote, did you thank   Chief?” I asked her. 
The Red Indian population was only a meagre 2 percent in this town but Chief’s vote had turned everything in our favor.
“Yea, wasn’t he the best man in our deal.”
“Like baked beans and coffee eh? I asked happy now.
“And in he rode with his horse,” she screamed from a few feet behind.
“Then, in rode the sheriff and said “Git,” I said laughing out loud, “ and he scampered and scurried off the broken trail.”
We both were laughing as the sun broke through the clouds, it had been a fabulous outing, the kinds that your mind breaks  the freedom barrier for.  I was sweating and my mind had nothing in my head but a blankness that comes from tiredness.  We sat on the top of the green that had opened up, to sip coffee and eat  sandwiches.

“It had taken its time coming, this one vote.”

Bubble Wrap and a Double Back
Interestingly, before you start to put Solar Equipment in any house, it becomes important to understand the heat retaining capabilities of the house, in the winters when the cold wave kept hammering on Deanna’s house, it was kept at bay by adequately protecting the windows with bubble wrap insulation.  We had done this
this one cold winter and had taken us all but 4 hour to accomplish it.

Insulating Windows
Generically speaking, Bubble Wrap comes in 3 varieties: Small/Medium and Large, I particularly prefer the large variety as it traps the cold air much better, also the large one look very nice as they don’t block the view as much as the small Bubble Wrap does.
Installation Technique
1- Cut the Bubble Wrap to the size of the window pane
2—   Spray a film of water and glycerine mix and then stick the bubble wrap onto the windows, bubble side facing the glass pane
3- You Can also use a double back tape for messy installations
4-  Install in Fall and take off in Spring
5- This method can be used for years as long as the compromised view doesn’t affect your visage.
6-  Bubble Wrap Life about 5 years. 
Installation Pictures

Tones Of A Winter – Inverter Sizing

Tones of A Winter – Inverter Sizing
Continuous Thought
Deanna had called for me from the Sierra’s and asked me whether I liked the photographs of the Solar Energy System she had sent me, “Doesn’t it look pretty sitting on top of the tiled roof?”
Once the conversation began, it never stops for both of us and she had just stopped short of asking me that critical question, whether I was monetarily doing well in my country now. “There is a depression around these parts and more so when one goes to the consumer market.”
I could sense this urgency in her to tell me something,
it was her boyfriend back in Reno and I waited for more, though she spoke more eagerly about the Solar Energy System.  Here life was going through a crisis today, it was obvious, and to me as somebody who had always relied on her for advice this was a abberation, I had grown to like her a lot in those early days of friendship, till it had evolved into a peer bond that was ever lasting.  I laughed at the irony of things, after all I was just a country boy compared to her sophistication, and had never occurred to me that she was herself human and not super being.

“I want you here with me,” she had spoken urgently, there had never been a hunger for money in me, it was always the love of people that had driven my life and she had told me to live the life that I thought was mine.  So I started thinking on these lines soon as I put the phone down, whatever I was doing here, I could very easily do there and her voice with all the connotations and tones always had me sensitive to her point of view, especially so today.
Those days I would sit on the balcony of the house which had its north side built in concrete and pretty windows on the South side and sip cups of tea, it had been a beautiful winter, especially when the Sun shone on the snow covered plains, suddenly those floods of the past seemed to have come back to her and as human beings we are borne to believe that the illusion would last forever, probably she was more aware than anybody else that nothing seemed to last forever.
“I am game,” I said eagerly, anybody overhearing this conversation might have thought of it as pillow talk; these were just two friends talking about a future that could be mutually beneficial to each other.  It was the symbiotic relation between the Sun and the Solar Equipment, when they exchanged roles to understand each other and learned from the mutual intensities.
“Sometimes She Was Me, but Mostly I Was Her.”
The Surge of Memories

Deanna’s house was ready and the specifications were as below, what was the rating of the inverter we would have to install in the system to handle existing watts and surges in equipment especially when they start:

Inverter Sizing

There are two ways to tie an inverter, off grid with a battery and grid tie without the battery.
Off Grid
For Off Grid Inverters, simply add up the Loads, Base Loads of

equipment and add  cumulative Surge Load values.  In our previous example as seen in the table to the right, the Load Watts were 675 watts.

Design criteria for the Inverter include:
1.     –Surge Load which could include Clothes Washer, Refrigerator or other such equipment, remember not all household equipment surge
2.     -Surge requirement is calculated by simply multiplying the Total Watts of the equipment by 3
3.     –Also compare the surge rating of an inverter with the surge requirement of an equipment
4.     –Match the inverter input voltage with the nominal battery voltage, while choosing the desired AC volts at 120VAC or 240VAC
So from our example of above, the Total Load Values for the inverter can be defined as follows:
Final Inverter Ratings
Minimum Inverter Continuous Rating
675 Watts Total AC Loads
You could round this to 700 Watts or two inverters with 350 Watt rating
Minimum Surge Rating
(250W refrigerator) x 3 + 100W Base load = 850 W Surge Rating
Desired AC Output
120 VAC

The Inverter model chosen should also have input voltage of 24 VDC to match the nominal voltage of the battery banks of our example.

            “Did You Think Of Me at all, or Just Let Your Dreams Fly”

Reno Rhythm – DIY 2.2kWp

Reno Rhythm – DIY 2.2kWp
Switching Domains
My mind was constantly switching between loneliness and fulfilment; I had walked into the National Art Gallery, looking at painting and browsing through pictures that expressed abandonment.  Pictures that expressed this feeling of total sense of bliss in loneliness.  There was an exhibit by Amrita Sher-gil called “The Passionate Quest”.  Amrita Sher-Gil had had a short life (1913-1941).  It was the human touch that one saw in all her paintings, the emoting and empathising with the human feeling made me stand up and stare.

Sometime back, I had driven with Deanna through the Sierras about an hour from Reno.  I was still an intern and this was 2007 when I had realised that art ran through my blood, I had in that year quit my job and bought a trailer home to go with my Dodge V8, Deanna had been happy for me and had agreed to travel with me, she was building a Summer House in the Sierras and we had travelled from the city to the outskirts of the Sierra and parked right next to the construction.  It was a large house facing the mountains which were towards the South.  It had a 2.2kW Solar Photo Voltaic system that was being installed on the roof and Deanna’s face beamed every time I spoke of how beautiful the place was. “I wouldn’t have got here without you,” she spoke in a soft adoring voice.

We went back a long way and this drive was more in lieu of me quitting my job, I would head back to my country this summer, and wanted to spend time with my friend.
“It’s cold here,” I mentioned.
“Yes, country boy,” she had jest fully replied pointing to the setting sun by the yonder mountains.  “It normally is cold in the winter,” she smiled and we moved into the living room that was ready to move into, while the rest of the house was still being constructed.  There was a satellite link for internet and we both got our laptops out, the rucksacks were in place for the night and the fireplace had a bright glow to it as a fire was beginning to roar.  I had cut the firewood from the nearby forest, “It’s allowed?” I had asked and she had replied, “Go right ahead.”
Firewood crackling and a dinner to cook, she and I had slipped quietly into the browsing mood, I had started to play some music on the laptop, while she continued on the internet, I walked to the semi furbished kitchen and had decided to fry some baked beans with pita bread.  While I corked open the baked bean cans, there was already coffee brewing, I had made sure that I had made enough to last us the night.
“You look busy,” she said, looking over, I was snappy and fast at cooking and she could see me running around with the utensils and cans, organising, cutting and beginning to wash the used dishes simultaneously.
“The salad to go with the baked beans and lots of coffee,” I beamed as I walked back into the high ceiling living room.  This house was going to see more of me.
          “Stories to Be Told and Not Much Talking To Do These Days”
The 2.2kWp Solar PV
The house was ready in the summer of 2008 and along with other components that went into making a green certified house; it had Solar PV system installed on the roof.  The Solar Panels came with Trojan Batteries and Inverters and the specifications are as given below:

Solar Design for roof mounted Solar PV system for Remote Regions with no or little grid power.

Total Watts = 675 Watts
Total WHrs/day = 5400WHrs/day
8 nos. 12v/150 Ah individual battery
12 nos. 12v/185Wp PV modules

Battery Sizing

Step I
Find the inverter efficiency which in this case is 0.9
5400 /0.9Inv Eff = 6000 Whr/day
Step II
Calculate the ampere-hour/day, remember  watts = Volts x Amps
6000 Whr/day / 24 DC system Volts =250 avg    AH/day
Step III
Use the above figure to find the System AH which will generate the battery specs
250 x 1.11 battery temp multiplier x 1 days    autonomy /0.5 DOD
= 555 total system AH
Step IV
555 total AH / 150 Ah individual battery    capacity = 4 parallel battery strings
24 V system voltage / 12v battery voltage = 2 batteries in series
4 parallel strings x 2 batteries in series = 8 batteries

Array Sizing

Step I
Get that formula:
5400 Whr daily load / 4.6 peak sun hours /0.8 battery eff /0.88 temp losses / 0.9 shading coefficient / 0.85 system derate
= 2200W peak array

Step II
Find the no. of modules needed :
2200/185 W STC@12V = 12 modules needed
24 V Nominal array Voltage / 12 V nominal module voltage = 2 modules/string, 6 strings total
 “It’s all in the Rhythm, That’s When I Find Out The Design Of Things”

The Appointment – Angle of the Sun

The Appointment – Angle of the Sun
Got a Light
There had been a confrontation at the doctors, I had entered the cabin with a headache that wouldn’t go away, he was a tall guy, slim and with a very amiable antiseptic demeanour, he wore specs that rode on his nose whenever he started to speak and wore a suit and tie.  I hadn’t shaven in two days, this dull throb hadn’t gone away even after I had popped in some Aspirin, which was my regular course of action.
It had all begun a week back, I had been playing rugby in the army field with a few soldiers and had been knocked down on the 5 yard line by a large guy with smirk on his face
and after bulldozing me over he had made beeline straight for the pits, “Good Job,” the coach had praised him, and I had realised that they had been tracking me on the field, I was a good runner and they had spotted a threat immediately.

After that fall there had been a dull pain in my head, the sought that is constant enough to be noticeable and two days into it, I had gone to the hospital to meet Dr Ryan.  The appointment had been fixed the previous day by Deanna and I had taken a train to the city hall and then walked over from the station to the government hospital.

Under his amiable veneer there was a shrewd mind, it taken me half hour into the conversation to realise that he had during this time been scribbling notes to cut my personality down into pieces.  I pieced up everything he had told me when he suddenly stopped me midway into my sentence and said, “You have to stop your cigarettes.”  I stared at him and started to tell him a story about my youth when Deanna and I had handled a couple of packs a day.
“These cigarettes do you no good, Mr Murphy,” he repeated with an ominous pause.
“Mind if I smoke?” I asked him, instantly angry, I hated ominously loaded statements.
“No,” he responded stunned.
I picked out one from the pack in my front pocket, I could see the traffic in the window behind him, it was a ground floor clinic and it was humming. 
“You know what I do with people who give me bad advice,” I asked softly, my mind had receded into a shell to keep the anger at bay.
I had leant forward and blown a blast on his face, he had started to cough, “Mr Murphy, please leave,” his voice was raspy with the thick smoke on his face.
I had calmly got up with my file and walked out, repeating over my shoulder, “I am not going to pay for this advice.”
            “Sooner or Later, Respect becomes a Two Way Street.”
Angle of the Light
As a first step towards a DIY Solar Power System for your house, identify as shown in the diagram


 To measure the angle of the Sun in different seasons, here the steps you need to follow:
    1. Begin by identifying a small in height object which is easily accessible, like a pole.
    2.Measure the height of the pole in daylight (a)
    3. Measure the height of the shadow (b)
    4.Remember the shadow will vary according to the time of day
    5.Next divide  a/b as shown in the diagram below
6.     This will give you the tangent
7.     Use trigonometry to get the angle or use a scientific calculator

Compare the angle of the Sun during different seasons of
the year to get an accurate idea of what angle the panels should be place.  This angle will vary from the Longest Day of the Year, also called the Summer Solstice to the Shortest day of the year, called the Winter Solstice to the day when the day and night are equal in number of hours, called the Equinox.
The above measurements are all part of the preparation to installing a Solar PV system in your house to generate electricity.
We have handled all points in the  Table as above and as is obvious the other points are easy to handle, to get the yearly temperature use a standard thermometer year round to plot a graph.

                    All Experiments Begin with Empirical Thought”