Homestead Going Dark for Summer Solstice

By , June 20, 2018

Ironically, as we approach the Summer Solstice, the blog’s likely to go dark. But, that’s because it’s the solstice.

You may remember that, in 2015 when we installed our new solar array, I thought that we should replace our aging and ailing battery bank. I researched and settled on a new bank of nickel-iron batteries (Ni-Fe) (see Power Shift: A New/Old Battery Bank), an Edison invention (or, at least Edison patented—I read history, and agree with this hilarious encapsulation from The Oatmeal). But, much to our delight, the new solar array “healed” our battery bank, infusing it with new life.

Now, three years later, it’s time to go ahead and get the new batteries going, rather than wait another year to do so.

Edison Ni-Fe battery bank

The new Edison battery bank under construction, inside the front porch (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The Summer Solstice is the key. Since the new batteries must be fully charged from flat, we’ll need all the power we can offer them from our charging sources, both solar and wind.

I’ve built most of a new box for the NiFe bank, and am about to connect them up, and couple them to the charging sources.

Even at the Summer Solstice, this could take several days to accomplish. In that time, I’m not sure we’ll be able to draw off the old battery bank and charge the new one at the same time—this is one of the many questions that delay the whole project endlessly.

fine weather over the Zeiger homestead

We’ve got the weather for it! Although, I might accept a good charging wind as well . . . . (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

It’s also why we may disappear for a while. I’ve barely managed to carve out time to write this brief post, as the project has consumed my time thoroughly. We’ll shut down almost all electricity during the transition—I just don’t have the wire or the equipment to manage both battery banks at the same time.

Watch this space for news of our success!

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