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EarthEnergy Blog: Information to help "make your home wherever you go."

Interesting Things on YouTube: ORNL

If you’re inclined toward being a bit of a science geek, who’s particularly interested in alternative energy and energy efficiency, I highly recommend following Oak Ridge National Laboratory on YouTube. ORNL has some amazing videos about up-and-coming energy technology (I’ve embedded two of them below), and other interesting topics.

Save on your electric bill with high-pressure water storage tanks? Could be a possibility for homeowners someday:

Rest assured, if ultrasonic clothes dryers that can dry your laundry in a fraction of the time/energy usage become a commercial reality, EarthEnergy will carry them for you:

Charge a 6V Battery with 12V PulseTech Chargers

PulseTech XC100-P

Over in the online store today, a customer posted a question about PulseTech products. If you read our last post about PulseTech and battery care, you already know how beneficial PulseTech products are for extending the life of your lead-acid batteries. But what if you want to enjoy the benefits of pulse charging for a 6V battery? Browsing through our selection of PulseTech products turns up a bunch of 12V chargers, and on-board conditioners for 12, 24, 36, and 48V batteries, but no 6V chargers.

Visitor Arrnold asked if we carried 6V PulseTech products, and the answer is no. PulseTech doesn’t make 6V chargers. It seems unfair, but there’s a manufacturer-sanctioned workaround: If you connect two 6V batteries in series, your charger sees them as a 12V battery, so you can use any PulseTech product you want! According to PulseTech’s FAQ:

Although all of our products are designed for 12-volt systems, application of Pulse Technology on 6-volt batteries can be achieved through series connection of 6 volt batteries creating a 12-, 24-, 36- or 48-volt system. Product use is dependent on final overall system voltage.

OK, so they said it can be done, but it’s not the most user-friendly explanation if you don’t already know how to connect batteries in series. So, we’ve created a simple diagram showing how to connect either two or four 6V batteries together, to create a 12V battery bank. But first, a couple basic things to remember:

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Hello again! Been busy in the store…

It’s been a while since we posted anything here on the blog, but with good reason! We’ve been busily upgrading the product listings and navigation in the store. Now, when you visit the product page for any of our Flojet water pumps or Flojet and Jabsco macerator pumps, you can click on the “Related Products” tab at the top of the product description, and see all the repair parts and accessories we carry for that specific pump. We’re going to be adding parts and accessories to Related Products throughout the site. We’re also working on enhancing the store navigation, with thumbnail links to subcategories on our main category pages. You can see an example on our Appliances page.

We want to make EarthEnergy the most helpful renewable energy supplies site on the internet, and making sure the site is easy to navigate, and full of useful information is key. Are there any new features or added information you’d like to see in the store? Hop over to our Contact Us page, and let us know!

What & Why: Charge Controllers

PWM & MPPT charge controllers

Charge Controllers & Your Renewable Energy System

If you’ve checked out our Renewable Energy System Diagram, you know all alternative energy systems use a charge controller between the power source (solar, wind or hydro) and the battery bank. In simple terms, the charge controller regulates the power delivered to your battery bank, to prevent damage to either the batteries or the power source. But when you actually go to buy a charge controller for your system, choosing the right one from all the models available can be daunting.

Of course it needs to be sized appropriately for the amount of power you’ll be generating, but beyond that there’s load-diverting controls, pulse-width-modulated (PWM) models, and something called Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). Knowing which controller is best for you may seem confusing. In this post, we’ll explain all that terminology, and make sure you know everything you need to choose the right type of charge controller for your needs!

Load-Diverting vs. Solar Controllers

Solar panels and turbine-based generators (wind or hydro) require different kinds of charge controllers. In short, solar panels only produce power when power is actually needed (when an electrical load is connected), so a solar controller just needs to be able to shut off the flow of electricity when your battery bank is fully charged, to prevent damage to the batteries. Wind and water turbines, on the other hand, produce power whenever they are in motion. Having an electrical load connected helps control the speed of the generator, and the turbine can be damaged if it’s left to spin uncontrolled when no power is needed.

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Check Out Our Information Pages!

Earth Energy US

We may not have posted too many blog posts lately, but we’ve been busy adding all kinds of useful stuff to our Information Pages. Look right over there to your left, and you’ll see the alphabetical list right at the top of the left-hand menu. I’m going to give you a quick overview of the pages we’ve put up so far…

Basic Renewable Energy System Diagram
The title is pretty self-explanatory, but this diagram gives you a quick explanation of every major component in a solar, wind, hydro, or generator-powered off-grid power system. You may already know the basics (solar panels create electricity from sunlight), but some of the details might surprise you. Check the page out on your computer, and scroll your mouse over the labeled components to see the explanations.
Basic Water Systems Diagram
There are a lot of variables in setting up a water system, especially if you’re used to having a city water supply hooked up to your home. Everything from power source (grid-power, solar or wind power, or a generator or battery bank) to whether or not your system will need a holding tank is covered in this diagram. Much like the System Diagram, you just scroll your mouse over any of the labeled components to learn what they do, and how they work together.
Calculate Solar System Output
Solar panels are the easiest of all the renewable energy sources to use, but if you’re planning a system based on solar power, you want to make sure you install enough panels to meet your energy needs. On this page, we give you a couple of different resources for calculating solar system output, depending on your location and some other variables.
Choose The Right Sun-Mar Composting Toilet
Composting toilets are a fantastic solution to locations where you can’t install a septic system, for occasional use vacation cabins where the expense of a full septic system doesn’t make sense, for homes where you need to conserve as much water as possible, or for mobile applications like RVs, boats, and buses. But even though a composting toilet is cheaper than a new septic system, they’re still not pocket change. Our quick (2-3 step) questionnaire will help ensure you choose the right model for your needs.

We’re planning a lot more reference pages in the future! If there are any specific topics you’re interested in, please drop us a note on Facebook, or fill out our Contact Form, and let us know. We’re happy to answer any renewable energy or off-grid living questions you have!

What & Why: Battery Maintenance

Anyone who has purchased a lead-acid battery recently, either for a car or a renewable energy system, knows battery prices have gone through the roof in the last couple of years. Battery maintenance used to be of interest mostly to people with fleets of vehicles, or large power storage systems, but now maximizing battery life has become a major money-saver for almost everyone.

Basic battery maintenance includes making sure your battery electrolyte is topped off (unless the battery is fully sealed, like most automotive batteries are these days), and making sure the battery stays charged. But even then, especially if you live in an extreme climate, you’ll still notice your batteries wearing down over time. Using a pulse charger or pulse conditioner takes your battery maintenance routine to the next level.

Battery pulse conditioners can triple the life of lead-acid batteries, as well as keep them performing like new. This means your power storage system is always operating at peak capacity, and your vehicle’s engine turns over and charges more easily (minimizing wear and tear on your starter and alternator).

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Welcome to EarthEnergy US!

We’re excited to launch Earth Energy US, with the aim of providing you with the best alternative energy and off-grid electrical products available on the internet. We’ll be writing new blog posts once a week, or more, highlighting different products we offer, and explaining how they work and how they can benefit you. If there’s a particular product you’d like to learn more about, just click the “Questions” tab on any product page, and submit a question for us!

Ask Earth Energy your product questions

The Questions tab appears on every product page.

If you have any general questions about alternative energy, off-grid electrical systems, or backup power systems, you can pop over to our contact page, and drop us a line.

We look forward to hearing from you, and helping to answer all your alternative energy questions!