Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

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Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:54 pm

Does anyone have experience with building a solar powered walk-in fridge? My old camp recently built a walk-in trailer fridge for serving beer. I also know that commercial solar powered walk-in fridges exist. I always wanted to build a trailer like that but I want to make it as a solar device. Does anyone know about making one from scratch?

I'm also looking for help on procuring a generator that will run our ever-expanding camp power-grid. We have a grid of 50A spider boxes. That question is on a separate post.
http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=278&t=64171
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby Agaton » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:13 pm

I have no numbers to give you, but I bet this wood be mostly a matter of the insulation. Tons of insulation, to hold onto what little cold the solar can make.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:59 pm

Maybe I should try this another way... Some students from Michigan State University made a fridge using activated carbon and ethanol. Hmmm.
[url]http://apptechdesign.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/finalfridgereport1.pdf
[/url]
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:03 pm

You'd be surprised at how affordable it is to rent large diesel generators of about 25 kW or so. You can rent from the same place BM does and they will even take care of on-playa refueling.
Not in my wildest dreams can I imagine a practical and effective solar powered large walk in fridge - particularly not a cost-effective one.
I'm sure it's possible... damn near anything is...
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby ygmir » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:14 pm

for instance, I just built (then took apart to sell) a 2500 watt solar system. the panels covered an area 22'x9' ish.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:16 pm

Well, how do you expect to keep huge volumes of beer cold on the playa??!

I guess it doesn't need to be a walk-in. It just needs to be reasonably large. And reasonably cool. And keep my beer nice and chilly. :D

BTW, have you had experience renting those generators yourself? What kind of price are we talking? I can buy a 10,000 Watt generator from Costco that would be enough for my power needs and it costs about $900. If I add in enough fuel to run it for a 10 days... Probably another $1,000 to run it 24hour/day for 10 days. Could you rent a generator for less than $2,000 that includes fuel and hourly charges?
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:17 pm

ygmir wrote:for instance, I just built (then took apart to sell) a 2500 watt solar system. the panels covered an area 22'x9' ish.


When you say "system" do you mean the distribution and battery storage as well? What did you build it for?
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby ygmir » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:20 pm

bm_cricket wrote:
ygmir wrote:for instance, I just built (then took apart to sell) a 2500 watt solar system. the panels covered an area 22'x9' ish.


When you say "system" do you mean the distribution and battery storage as well? What did you build it for?


it's a "grid tie" system...........and I built it for electricity.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:24 pm

ygmir wrote:it's a "grid tie" system...........and I built it for electricity.


How effective was it at offsetting your power needs? Why did you stop using it?
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby ygmir » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:37 pm

bm_cricket wrote:
ygmir wrote:it's a "grid tie" system...........and I built it for electricity.


How effective was it at offsetting your power needs? Why did you stop using it?

circumstances changed. it was sized to zero out my bill, about 40 bucks per month. Last minute events stopped installation and reversed the notion.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:51 pm

ygmir wrote:
bm_cricket wrote:
ygmir wrote:it's a "grid tie" system...........and I built it for electricity.


How effective was it at offsetting your power needs? Why did you stop using it?

circumstances changed. it was sized to zero out my bill, about 40 bucks per month. Last minute events stopped installation and reversed the notion.


I've only ever seen costs for commercially built systems. How much does it cost to build and install a system yourself? I assume that is what you did....
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby ygmir » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:56 pm

yes, it is what I did.
cost varies so much, depending on what you can do yourself, and, what you can scrounge for materials.
google 2500watt solar array, grid tie.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:16 pm

Here is everything you could ever need to know about running large Burning Man power grids:
http://www.templetons.com/brad/burn/generators.html
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby lucky420 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:25 am

Just serve warm beer. Isn't that how Germans drink it?
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:37 am

lucky420 wrote:Just serve warm beer. Isn't that how Germans drink it?

I think germans also eat penis but that doesn't mean I want to try it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armin_Meiwes

Captain Goddammit wrote:Here is everything you could ever need to know about running large Burning Man power grids:
http://www.templetons.com/brad/burn/generators.html

I've looked through his site and it's great... but it leaves a few questions. Specifically, what are people's experiences with something like this http://www.costco.com/PowerLand-10000-Watt-Pro-Portable-Generator-With-Electric-Start.product.100000243.html to run a modestly sized village with no RVs. It needs to keep the lights on, batteries charged, two small sound systems running, and ideally one chest freezer. The wattage should be fine but the whole thing is running through 200 ft of 50A 250V spider cables to two spider boxes. We like to keep the generator and fuel nice and far from any tents or domes. That specific question isn't answered on his otherwise exhaustive page. The question really has to do with small generators running physically large grids that have electrically low demands.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby ygmir » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:32 am

I might propose (without intended insult) bm_cricket, you are being a little lazy.

you are asking people to determine your power loads and requirements, and then tell you what size generator to buy.

You, are the only one, who can determine your power requirements, by adding all the loads of your need, and matching, or better yet, exceeding by a percentage, that, to a generator.

stating "moderately sized village" tells no one, anything.

You need numbers.
Then, ask for means and ideas for handling them.

just my opinion, but, seems without specifics, these generalities are going nowhere.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:48 am

I looked at the Costco link... the problem with units like that is they are obnoxiously LOUD!
Cheap, yes... but no bargain because they produce exactly zero watts when you can't stand to leave it running!

Cheap gas generators have been discussed to death in prior times, the overall consensus is there's no free lunch. Yes they work but you and everyone around your camp will hate it. The two standard producers of power on the playa are the super-quiet Honda EU-series (and equivalent Yamaha) units for smaller loads, and the big usually rented "Whisper Watt" diesel units for larger loads or for shared use across big or several camps.

I've done all three - including the cheap-but-loud way at first. I'll never forget the first Burning Man I attended, I fired up my generator (it was even a Honda, but it was an open-frame contractor-style set) and within minutes neighbors came by asking "How long are you gonna run that thing?"
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:19 am

Re: the original topic - walk-in cooler...While the cooling need is less at night, solar is zero. The weight of batteries to carry you through would be ridiculous given the power consumption that would be >5kW. Cost of those batteries >$20K. If you are serious, you can rent a refrigerated container or truck, they even have refrigerated vans. Some run off fuel, and or plug in. There could probably be a business created for on playa refrigerated storage, and the org itself may have come reefer suppliers under contract.

There was a great dance party one year in a maybe 40' refrigerated trailer that went on all day.

Maybe you coud hook up with Ein Hammer for power, or one of the perpetual motion machines on the playa.

I always suggest people new to solar electricity make in person contacts with DIY solar people locally. And on playa, visit the AEZ for a tour.
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Re: Solar Powered Walk-In Fridge

Postby bm_cricket » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:32 am

some seeing eye wrote:I always suggest people new to solar electricity make in person contacts with DIY solar people locally. And on playa, visit the AEZ for a tour.

I'll give this a shot. I live in Santa Cruz and there are a few smaller commercial solar power installation companies around town. I'll see if I can chat with any of them in person. Maybe some of them are burners? :wink:




Captain Goddammit wrote:I've done all three - including the cheap-but-loud way at first. I'll never forget the first Burning Man I attended, I fired up my generator (it was even a Honda, but it was an open-frame contractor-style set) and within minutes neighbors came by asking "How long are you gonna run that thing?"

So far I've only done the Honda EU3000is route and the >6,000 watt contractor generator route. We haven't tried the big generator yet. My EU3000is could run anyplace and never upset anybody. The contractor generator was always boxed in by cars to keep the noise down.

My single EU3000is isn't able to drive a 50A 250v line. (I actually have two generators but because business must continue in the off-playa world I can only bring one of them with me.) Honda does make a parallel kit for the EU3000is that makes a 50A circuit but I've never found a review online. I'll probably just need to contact a distributor to find out if it can run our spider boxes.

I guess I'm just sad because we don't actually need to run that much juice but we do need it all over the camp! Lights in the kitchen area, public domes, private dome, etc. Some music all around. Charging stations for all the gizmos. We've got 50 people and no RVs or big appliances so now we just need a simple way to keep everybody's headlamps charged. :cry:
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