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Tue, 22 Aug 2017

solar eclipse as experienced by solar panels


We had about 70% coverage of the sun where we were which actually seems to be about 70% less production on the graph (which is what you'd expect, but neat either way).

posted at: 10:25 | path: /energy | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 22 Jan 2010

Power Supply Efficiency

So a few months ago I was about to upgrade my video card in my main desktop/gaming system, and realized I needed a new power supply. I was still running the stock Antec 380 watt PSU that came with the Sonata case. It wasn't going be able to power the new video card properly, and infact was alredy underpowered for the system it was running in. Anyways, I went out and picked up a Seasonic M12 600 Watt 80 PLUS power supply. The 80 PLUS designation means the power supply is more efficent (the rating states they are 80% efficent at 20%, 50% and 100% utilization). This is somewhere around 20% more efficent than standard power supply units. So anyways, since I was upgrading I decided to run some test before I put the new video card in to see what difference it was making, and here are the results. These are measured using a Kill-A-Watt device.

System: Intel Quad Core Q6600, running a radeon 4830 graphics card.

Antec 380 Watt PSUSeasonic M12 600 Watt PSU
System Off6 watts2 watts
During Bootup218 watts190 watts
Peak During bootup240 watts202 watts
Windows Desktop Idle128 watts111 watts
CS:Source Video Stress Test222-240 watts188->204 watts

And just a quick comparison, this is the seasonic PSU but with the new video card (Nvidia GTX 260) during Counter-Strike Source Stress Test: 189-208, so it seems to use just a tiny bit more power than the ATI Radeon 4830.

Anyways, it's interesting how much of a difference in power usage a quality power supply makes. Those test are identical except for the power supply change, and as you can see it really does make a noticable difference.

posted at: 15:28 | path: /energy | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 07 Jun 2007

solar powered t-amp

solar panel laying on the roof
Solar panel laying on the roof.

I've been working on this project over the past couple of months and have finally got it all together. It's basically just a little T-Amp running from a battery bank that I power with a solar panel. I had the idea a little while ago as it pretty much all fits together nicely since the T-Amp is designed to run from a 12Volt battery source, and it just so happens many solar panels are designed for charging just this type of battery. Searching on the net I found someone had already done this as well as outlined on an article on New Consumer. And searching for that article to add the link to this post I see someone has recently posted an instructable for this same idea as well.

But anyways, I thought I'd post what I did anyways even if it's not unique :)

The first thing I did was get a reasonably sized solar panel. I ended up finding a 40 watt SL040 Sunlink PV panel on ebay, sold new from a seller in Toronto who runs a store on ebay called Go Green Energy. The panel was about $320 all said and done and it came with a charge controller as well. This panel is rated at 17.2 volts at 2.33 amps, however since I am charging a 12 volt system with it my effective wattage form the panel is ~28W, but it seems to output that even on cloudy conditions and such which is why I think the panel is designed to be 17.2 volts. It's a little bit wasteful in full sunlight, but does work in a wider range of partial sunlight conditions. (At least thats how I understand it. I'm no expert). It's also pretty small measuring 25"x21" so it fits on our little porch without having to do any work mounting it to the roof or anything.

view from porch onto street
View from porch onto street...

close up of the panel
Close up view of the panel.

two workaholic U2200 batteries in series
Batteries wired in series.

So with the panel I was able to hook the T-Amp directly to the battery terminals from the charge controller and listen to music when it was daylight. However I needed to get some batteries so I could keep it running beyond that. I managed to get two Interstate Workaholic U2200 Deep Cycle batteries from a guy at work for free which was a pretty good score as they would be around $80 each to buy I believe. These are 6 volt batteries with 220 amp hour rating. I hooked them up in series and so I have a 12V battery bank with lots of power now. This should be enough to run the T-Amp for 200+ hours. I'll probably end up hooking up some other 12 volt items to this bank though as the panel should be able to keep the battery charged pretty easily.

To wire everything up I've run the solar panel into the charge controller (as seen in the photo below). I then have the positive feed from the charge controller running to the battery where it is fused off with a 4 amp automotive fuse as close to the battery as possible. The negative lead simply runs directly to the battery. I then have the T-Amp power running to the positive terminal where it is fused off with a 5 amp fuse in another automotive fuse holder. (I purchased the fuses and fuse holders from the automotive section at canadian tire). And the negative lead from the T-amp wried in directly to the negative side of the battery terminal as well. You can also see the jumper cable I'm using in between the two batteries to wire them in series (connecting the positive post of one battery to the negative post on the other battery.

And thats pretty much it. I've been running it on the battery bank now for a week or two and it's been working like a charm.

fuses connected to the postive terminal
Fused positive terminal. Using a 4 amp fuse inbetween the charge controller and the batteries, and a 5 amp fuse between the batteries and the T-Amp

charge contoller
The charge controller, black wires are coming in from the solar panel, and the blue wires are running to the battery. The T-Amp (load) connects to the battery itself.

T-Amp hooked up and running
T-Amp hooked up and running from solar power.

posted at: 20:21 | path: /energy | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 10 May 2007

power usage

I purchased a Kill-A-Watt (P4400) a few days ago and started measuring my energy usage to see what I could conserve on. I thought I'd publish what I found to give an idea on what devices drain the most electricity. Everything listed here is measured in VA (Watts).

DeviceStandbyIn Use
AVR 230 Audio Recevier160-75
Toshiba DVD Player012
Goldstar VCR2.59
19" Acer LCD Monitor126
21" Viewsonic CRT Monitor260-70
Athlon 3500+ gaming computer4165-185
Athlong 3000+ desktop499-125
Epia M6000 computer316-22
Epia M10000 computer447-60
Apple iBook G4-15-22
Linksys WRT54G wireless router-4
Linksys VOIP router-6-7
RCA Cablemodem-4
D-Link 8 port switch-4
BenQ BP6100 Projector11245
Toshiba 32" CRT TV161
Compact flourescent lamp-13
Small Compact flourescent lamp-3
Small lamp with small incadescent bulb-36
Aquaclear 150 Pump-3
Rena Filstar XP 1 Pump-17
Aquaclear 50 Heater-180
Rena Air Pump-2
2 x 48" T8 Flourescent Lights-50
2 x 24" T5 Flourescent Lights-30
65W 24" Compact flourescent lights-50

posted at: 20:03 | path: /energy | permanent link to this entry

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