DC Supply! Monthly Electrical Ezine

CBC Design (tm) - December 2001 Issue. ISSN 1475-3464
Email: cbc_design@btconnect.com

"...Maintaining a reliable DC supply."



- Editorial

- Free Power Sources. (Article)
- Wind Generators. (Article)
- Competition - Win FREE battery pack!.
- Readers Questions

- Subscriber Ads



Welcome to this months issue of "DC supply".


This month we look at free power and how for a reasonable cost, we can generate

our own electrical supplies in an environmentally friendly manner and keep those

unwanted bills to a minimum if not eradicate them altogether.


Wind and solar energy are rapidly becoming more popular with the advances in wind

generators and solar panels. Indeed if properly utilised, it is perfectly feasible to run

an entire house using one or a combination of these two elements.


There is no doubt that electrical energy now has a more promising future in automotive

applications too. Recent reports suggest that a new vehicle being developed in the far

east can reach speeds in excess of 120km per hour and last for approx 300km on one

charge. Charge a vehicle of this nature with solar power and wind generators and the fuel

savings could run into thousands of dollars per year.


Take a look at our two feature articles for an examination and practical solutions

to electrical power generation from two of the most prolific and FREE energy sources

available, the wind and sun. 


We hope you enjoy this months publication and would like to take the opportunity to

wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. We hope you have

enjoyed our content this year and look forward to helping you get the best from your

DC supplies in 2002.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Editor: Alan Fidler.

Alan is the owner and manager of CBC Design, a leading battery management company based in the UK. He has worked in the industry for over seventeen years and has designed charging equipment and battery monitors for some of the world largest companies.

ARTICLE: Free Power Sources. Author: Alan Fidler.


I don't know how many of you have looked at your electricity bills and

thought how nice it would be not to have to pay them, I know I have. So is there

a practical way of generating enough electrical energy to run an entire house so

bills become of thing of the past?.


In reality it is practical albeit expensive to begin with in some cases. There are a

number of difficulties to overcome as well as planning and building regulations to

consider before one can even begin looking at the actual installation. You may

need permission from your local authority to install masts and turbines.


First off, how will we generate enough energy to run those appliances we all

depend upon and how can the excess be stored so it can be re-used as and

when required?.


The first thing to do is to decide what we use as our primary power source. Free

power sources include wind and solar primarily. In some countries, solar energy

will be more abundant that wind energy whilst in others the opposite may be so.

Ascertaining how much of each is available is the first consideration then.


Once we have decided upon our primary power source which will be one of the

above or a combination of the two, we need to measure our daily electrical energy

consumption so we can calculate how much energy we need to generate.

Make notes over the course of a week or two on every electrical appliance used

and for how long. This will help build an accurate consumption record.


The next course of action is to contact a local company who supply wind & solar

energy products and cost the installation as a whole. Get as much advice as

you can from them along with a detailed specification for the solar panels and

wind generators. They should be willing to help you design an efficient design

that harnesses as much power as you require, subject to budgetary restraints

and local planning restrictions.


With an absence of wind and sun your electrical supplies will be derived from

batteries that have stored up excess energy generated beforehand. Your

installation should therefore include, solar panels and or wind generators, a

single or number of voltage regulators to maintain the batteries in a fully

charged state when supplies are abundant and inverters to convert your

DC supplies into the useable AC your appliances require. You may even

require a standby-diesel generator for emergency use.


Energy conservation is important too. Use as many energy efficient appliances

as you can to reduce your daily consumption and remember to turn off items

in unoccupied rooms, particularly lights which are regularly ignored.


Costs on an installation of the type mentioned above could run into many thousands

of dollars but the potential savings over a number of years should outweigh

the initial purchase costs by a considerable margin. Of course the environmental

savings are substantial too not to mention the sheer satisfaction derived from

not having to pay those electricity bills.


If you have the space and the finances required, it is perfectly feasible to

generate reliable electrical supplies in your own back yard that can meet the

demands of your entire property. If you have mechanical and electrical skills,

you can design your own wind generators and install solar arrays yourself

and reduce initial costs too.


Which ever source you decide to use, it is not only possible to generate

your own electrical supplies but highly desirable in an age in which fossil fuels

are rapidly losing face on a planet suffering from the effects of global warming.




*** NEW! 12 and 24V DC 60 Watt lamp dimmers ***

Dims single or multiple lamp assemblies with a maximum rating of 60 watts!

Lamps can be adjusted from a dim glow to bright light!

Regular use reduces battery power consumption and increase lamp life!

Go to http://www.cbcdesign.co.uk/chargers/dimmer.html and take a look at the

product in more detail NOW!.


ARTICLE: Wind Generators. Author: Alan Fidler. 


Wind generators are very useful in the right environment. It the UK, there is enough

wind to generate electricity on most days, if not all year and they are becoming

increasingly popular on houseboats and narrow boats to boot.


A typical generator includes a propeller connected to a wind turbine that generates

the electrical energy. The electricity generated is then regulated by an appropriate

electrical circuit and stored in batteries or used by connected appliances.


The prop speed is generally limited using a slipping clutch to prevent excessive rotation

and premature failure. The assembly is normal mounted atop a metal pole or mast that

is fixed to a suitable surface using a bracket and a number of securing wires. A secure

mounting method is obviously very important if the installation is to withstand strong

gusts of wind when the propeller speed will of course be at maximum.


Generators are available in a variety of ratings depending upon the application in which

they are designed to function. Smaller units can supply up to 100 watts of energy per hour

or 2.4KW per day. Larger 1KW, 1.5KW, 5KW or even 10KW units are also available

although the cost can be as high as $20,000 dollars for the larger model. A 100W

model could cost anything from a few hundred dollars upwards.


Do it yourself versions are also a possibility using simple components available from

most hardware and automotive stores. See http://www.lookout2000.com/windpower

for a detailed plans on how to construct your own high power wind generator. Self

made wind generators have several advantages including ease of maintenance,

low manufacturing costs and the sheer pleasure of building your own unit.


Of course efficiency is an important first step in getting the best from any electrical

supply and you should do as much as you can to reduce your energy costs before

purchasing a wind generator of any description.


Use as many energy efficient items as possible and consider fitting sensors to switch

off appliances in unoccupied rooms. Once you have mastered energy conservation

you can easily calculate how big your generator and battery installation needs to be.

It is important to size the installation so that you generate more electricity than you

can use if you are to avoid potential problems.


There will be days of course when the wind speed is just too low to generate much in

the way of energy but most generators will function in a wind speed of 10mph or above

and deliver some power to the batteries or loads. Of course, it stands to reason that

the generator must not draw power from the batteries at very low speeds so isolating

power diodes will be required between the batteries and regulated supply to prevent

unwanted discharge.


A detailed description of a typical installation is beyond the scope of this article but

I hope it has at least opened your mind to the possibilities that wind generators

present. Realise that a 12V 100A alternator connected to a suitable impellor can

generate as much as 1200W per hour or 28,800watts per day. That's enough power

to run the lights in most houses with a little bit to spare for your back-up batteries.


Use several generators at once along with suitable batteries and inverters  and you

could be entirely self sufficient and never pay an electricity bill again.





*** NEW! 12 and 24V DC Low Battery Alarm ***


Protect your vehicle batteries from deep discharge with a low battery alarm.
Easy to Fit, Easy to Use and inexpensive!
Designed to protect batteries in cars, trucks, boats and mobile homes!
Built in warning sounder!


Goto http://www.cbcdesign.co.uk/battalarm.html and download a data sheet or

order a unit NOW!


Subscribe to our ezine and you will be automatically entered into our competition where you can win a FREE Nicad "AA" battery pack.

Simply send your email address (No free email) to cbc_design@btconnect.com with the words "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.



Questions from Ben Crizeman! What does "Float Voltage" mean? 

The output of most mains powered battery chargers is isolated with respect to

earth, the output is floating at a specific potential and this is referred to as the

float voltage. A 12V lead-acid battery is float charged at 13.6VDC @ 20oC.

Question2! Can a floating output be earthed? 

In some applications, the output negative must be earthed to meet the requirements

of a particular specification but specialist knowledge is required to safely earth an

output that is designed to be fully isolated from the input supply.


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