I sincerely feel your pain when it comes to ridiculous practice of "load shedding". Not much we can do about it, I suppose, other than complain all day (a favourite pass time for the inhabitants of the dark hole) and blaming the Racist Government of the dark hole AKA the cANCer. But what if that could all change and I am referring to the load shedding and not the complaining? There is a simple and a cost effective way to power your house up. You don't have to go big all at once, but rather build on as you are expanding your system.
What do we need?
- 70Ah car battery, preferably two depending upon total draw
- 6-10 Amp car battery charger or 30 Amp Charge Controller for your solar system
- 30-40 meters of 4MM of cabling depending of house length (well insulated SABS approved)
- 100 meters of 1,5MM cabling depending on house length (well insulated SABS approved)
- 10 LED light strips 8 Watts
- 2 10 Watt spot lights
- Switches and switch box housing or remote controlled switches
- Inline fuse 7,5 or 10 Amp depending of total draw
What does it cost?
- 200 Watt solar panel if you want to power your house by means of solar at R3300
- 70Ah battery, lead acid around R900 per battery
- 6-10 Amp battery charger around R800 or 30 Amp Charge Controller at R1000 for the solar panel
- 4MM cabling at R24 per meter
- 1,5MM cabling at R15 per meter
- 10 LED light strips R1000 (R100 per LED strip)
- 2 10 Watt spot lights at R180 per spot light
- 6 switches and box housing at R130 for all, remote controlled switch price unknown
- Inline fuse box and fuse at R150
How does it work?
I will keep this article simple so that even people from Brakpan will have a general idea on how to do this properly. Below I have included a simple schematic on how you should have it wired. Make sure to pair the batteries (if you decide to go with a 2 battery system which will give you more capacity) in parallel and NOT in series, IE the plus connects to the plus and the minus to the minus. The lead battery will be the one you hook your charger up to and draw from, NOT from the second battery.
At the battery side, place an Inline fuse (7,5/10Amps) using a 4MM piece of cable at the plus pole (around 50MM away from the pole).
To work out how many Amps the fuse should be, calculate the following: add total wattage together (10 LED strips: 80Watts, 2 LED spot lights: 20 Watts) and divide that by the total Volts= 100Watts/12Volts=8,3 Amps. That's with all lights running at the same time or running at max capacity.
From the other end of the fuse you can run your 4MM Main Supply Line to the house. Run a 4MM cable from your the end of your fuse through the roof of your house/shack to the last or furthest room in your house/shack. Make sure that the 4MM cable is properly insulated (the flex type) and NOT the "speaker" type. If you decide to go cheap and use the "speaker" type you will have to run the cabling in a conduit as it will not comply with the code and law of the dark hole, the flex type well insulated cabling does comply and doesn't need to be placed into conduits or trunking. This 4MM cable will serve as a Main Supply Line.
Mark in your house where you would want to place the LED strips. For best results I would place them on the cornices so they will shine still above your curtain line. Insert a hole into your ceiling panel where you can fit the 1,5MM wire through. Once you have all your LED's fitted or marked to be fit and the holes are made it's time to wire it up. Splice from the 4MM Main Supply Line a 1,5MM line to your switch (should you decide not to use remote switches).
From the switch run the 1,5MM line back to the LED light strip so the LED light strip can be powered through an ON/OFF switch. Do the same for the LED Spot Lights (designed for outside usage). See the basic wiring picture above how to wire to the switch
Your house once wired correctly will look something like this:
Now that we have lights, let's stay connected to the internet shall we?
All we need is a "voltage regulator". This device will regulates DC voltage between a range of 9 to 18 Volts DC and costs around R500.
Check on the back of your router what voltage it uses, they vary from 9 to 12 Volt DC.
Check on the back side of the modem for polarity, the inner side of the connector is usually the plus. In my case it's 12V DC and the plus is in the centre.
Again, we tap off a wire in the ceiling (from the Main Supply Line) with a 1,5MM cable. This cable will go in to the "supply in of the "voltage regulator". Make sure the polarity is correct!!! You can easily test this with a volt meter, should the reading become minus, the polarity is reversed and will result in damaging your router. On the output of the voltage regulator check for the correct voltage output that you will need. There is a small turn knob which you can turn to adjust the voltage. Connect your router to the voltage regulator on the output side. Now with that connected you have working internet.
As I will be expanding my shack, I will update this thread. So far I have powered my shack inside and outside and have working internet. In fact the lights and the modem are continuously working off my 12V DC Main Power Supply and the battery is charged by a battery charger. I will change in the next few months to solar. The installation is simple and needs no changing to my existing setup. The only thing that will be obsolete will be the battery charger as a solar panel requires a charging regulator. The battery charger will come in handy when I will build my own UPS module so we can watch TV in the dark hole during load shedding.
Cheers for now,