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Do you have any other simple ideas

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I've an old stream culvet which runs directly under my garden :) ... but I bet the amount of electricity from it would still be pointlessly tiny.
 

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I've an old stream culvet which runs directly under my garden :) ... but I bet the amount of electricity from it would still be pointlessly tiny.
There is a formula for converting water power to electrical, it goes something like; Flow (in Litres per second), multiplied by Height/Head (in metres), multiplied by Gravity (about 9.6) = Watts. Take off about 20% to allow for conversion losses. Navitron.org sell water turbines if you don't fancy making one.
The result may not be enough to directly power anything, but trickle charging 12v batteries for emergency use can be good. There was a guy stateside who owned a log cabin up in the wilds. He found a tiny spring and ran an old hose pipe from it to a bicycle wheel with plastic spoon heads glued to the rim. This ran an alternator and charged up his battery during the week. Now his cabin has lights at weekends.

I have three little 10W solar panels in the window that each keep a 90Ah deep cycle leisure battery charged.
When there's a power cut, we can run SMD LED lights, watch a portable TV, record a show, watch a DVD. The main batteries can run an intelligent charger for AA and AAA batteries for torches. We can also charge mobiles. The mobiles have 5,337 mp3 tracks and can be boosted by AA powered speakers. 10 AA rechargeable batteries in a holder give 12v. This can be used to power the router for broadband. A DC-DC converter running off another pack will run a Raspberry Pi using the TV for output.
We bought a 12v camping shower. Four days later our hot water died. Two thirds cold water to one third boiling water from the kettle gives a nice hot shower from two clean builder's buckets. My wife said it's one of the best showers she has ever had. Four long showers and the battery voltage only dropped by 0.4v.
At Christmas, all the lights run from rechargeable AAs, although, unless there's a power cut, we usually charge them from the mains. If the power cut is in Winter, we have the gas stove running from two large bottles (no mains gas here) and the woodburner keeps us from freezing.
No, I'm not a Survivalist, just that we live on the top of a very windy Cornish hill!
 

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My van is self contained, I have run for 2 weeks off the solar/batteries with a fridge, internet router, laptop, lights and phone charging. It could go longer but my holiday had to finish :( All my van stuff is 12volt so no need to run the inverter.

If the power goes out at home I could keep the house fridge going on the inverter as well as some 12v LED lights for a couple of days (or start the diesel engine and keep going as long as the fuel lasted).
 

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A 30 watt solar panel on the roof of my caravan meant that in 15 years I never needed to 'hook up' . The 2 x30 watt panels on my motorhome , plus a second battery, runs all the LED lighting plus the Inverter driven microwave cooker. .
In a short time a set of solar panels via some old fork lift truck batteries will be running ALL of the lights in my house, plus the base load of pumps and other small loads (TV. computers, and phones) Except on a few days a year when there is insufficient light, but the very large batteries should overcome this.

All of this in a suburban street on a small site.
 

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@BarryP well done in showing that you don't need large, expensive grid tied arrays to get useful 12v power.
You mention pumps. We get all our water from a 125 foot deep bore hole run from a 1.5hp (1,119W) pump.
No mains power = No water. The problem seems to be that this type of load needs 7 or 8 times the power at startup. Way outside of the range of affordable inverters or soft-start options. Have you had any luck with this type of pump?
 

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@BarryP well done in showing that you don't need large, expensive grid tied arrays to get useful 12v power.
You mention pumps. We get all our water from a 125 foot deep bore hole run from a 1.5hp (1,119W) pump.
No mains power = No water. The problem seems to be that this type of load needs 7 or 8 times the power at startup. Way outside of the range of affordable inverters or soft-start options. Have you had any luck with this type of pump?
The pumps I am referring to run the circulating thermal solar system and the hot water taps, (dual pipes), plus the underfloor heating. Individually each has a low starting load. We intend to leave the water harvesting pump on mains supply as it is only needed once or twice a day. Sorry can't be more helpful.
 

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There is a formula for converting water power to electrical, it goes something like; Flow (in Litres per second), multiplied by Height/Head (in metres), multiplied by Gravity (about 9.6) = Watts. Take off about 20% to allow for conversion losses. Navitron.org sell water turbines if you don't fancy making one.
The result may not be enough to directly power anything, but trickle charging 12v batteries for emergency use can be good. There was a guy stateside who owned a log cabin up in the wilds. He found a tiny spring and ran an old hose pipe from it to a bicycle wheel with plastic spoon heads glued to the rim. This ran an alternator and charged up his battery during the week. Now his cabin has lights at weekends.

I have three little 10W solar panels in the window that each keep a 90Ah deep cycle leisure battery charged.
When there's a power cut, we can run SMD LED lights, watch a portable TV, record a show, watch a DVD. The main batteries can run an intelligent charger for AA and AAA batteries for torches. We can also charge mobiles. The mobiles have 5,337 mp3 tracks and can be boosted by AA powered speakers. 10 AA rechargeable batteries in a holder give 12v. This can be used to power the router for broadband. A DC-DC converter running off another pack will run a Raspberry Pi using the TV for output.
We bought a 12v camping shower. Four days later our hot water died. Two thirds cold water to one third boiling water from the kettle gives a nice hot shower from two clean builder's buckets. My wife said it's one of the best showers she has ever had. Four long showers and the battery voltage only dropped by 0.4v.
At Christmas, all the lights run from rechargeable AAs, although, unless there's a power cut, we usually charge them from the mains. If the power cut is in Winter, we have the gas stove running from two large bottles (no mains gas here) and the woodburner keeps us from freezing.
No, I'm not a Survivalist, just that we live on the top of a very windy Cornish hill!
Utterly inspiring. Love it :)
 

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The pumps I am referring to run the circulating thermal solar system and the hot water taps, (dual pipes), plus the underfloor heating. Individually each has a low starting load. We intend to leave the water harvesting pump on mains supply as it is only needed once or twice a day. Sorry can't be more helpful.
@BarryP Drat! But thank you for taking the time to reply. Looks like I'll have to use the rain water butt.

Here's a tip: If there is no other source of water, filter it through a piece of kitchen towel and boil it for at least 10 minutes. Boiled water tastes awful because there's no air in it. Pour into clean screw top bottles but only fill them just over half way, leaving the tops loose. When cool, give the bottles a darned good shake to get the air back in and reinstate the taste.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The Good Life was one of my favourite TV programs, always wondered what became of Tom and Barbara, now I know ;)
A favourite of mine too.
A retired Judge speaking at a friends' wedding said something nice.

"May your marriage relationship be always civil, often electrical and with the right combination of chemicals. BUT NEVER mechanical." They met each other at university and were mechanical engineers.
 
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