Aquaponic Gardening

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TC brought up an interesting point on my solar aquaponics thread,about his like for his AC system.

So lets hear what you like about your application. Is it AC, DC  a bell siphon that uses no power or other?

I don't view this as an "us versus them" arguement or discussion, But rather a pros and cons of all types of systems for the pumping of water, heating and lighting that each individual might need to consider when starting or expanding an AP system.

So lets hear what you like about your sytems. This might even be useful for some of the resident pros on here that give seminars on AP systems discussing the pros and cons to their respected or prospective clients as to the considerations of what they want to achieve or how.

i'll go first, now remember this doen't make my system better in any way...it just happens to suit my application and works for me.

Pros,what I like about my system is 0 electrical cost, Recently I went out of state for 6 days and thought for sure everything would be dead or dieing when I got back, I haven't built an automatic feeder so I had a friend drop in to feed the fish every other day.

I never have to worry about a power outage. The DC bilge pumps are dirt cheap, If my batteries go dead or bad I have plenty more in storage, Electrocution is severely lessened with low voltage DC and water.

I use a float instead of a timer for water level and exchanges to cycle my DC pump motor.

I built it for applications where there is no power being somewhat of a survivalist.

Cons, if you were to automate with a computer you would need AC for a computer, the controls for automation are mostly AC and need an inverter, for heating AC is quicker and more responsive, An inverter would be needed which steals 5% minimum from the DC to convert to AC. For applications with major amp draws you would need a lot of solar panels which are costly and lots of batteries.

Additional space, time and cost are huge factors when setting up a DC application. Most Ac equipment isn't a specialty item and can be bought the same day at a local hardware.

 

Anyways, just some thoughts to ponder, and am looking forward to others input about their likes and dislikes or pros and cons of their systems

The mad german

 

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What sort of charger or charge controller then?

See the link below to the charge controller I'm using - I don't necessarily recommend it - very little info is displayed about the charging taking place.  I regret buying it actually and will likely replace it sometime. 

http://www.amazon.com/Instapark%C2%AE-MPPT-30-Solar-Charge-Controll...

Are you actually charging using solar panels?  Or are you having to charge from mains power?

If solar I would be interested in the whole system details and how it is doing at keeping up with keeping the battery charged while you are running an aerator 24/7.

I'm charging from three 195W, 12V panels.  It keeps up just fine, usually, 13V, running a 12V Rule 24 (1.5 W) Bilge pump/spray bar 24/7.  I originally tried to run from inverter 24/7 powering a Quiet One 4000 but it just couldn't keep up.  I have two AGM batteries.  If you follow the link to the controller I bought, you'll see a review which indicates that it doesn't perform as advertised and I suspected that about it.  Before I left town, I attached a trickle charger because I wanted to be sure the batteries stayed topped up with the storm approaching, clouds, etc.  Clouds definitely affect charging.  As I've said before, I'm not sure I would go this route if I had it to do over again.  Two or three good batteries in parallel and a good charger/generator would serve well.  I think of it as insurance.

TC, I'm currently installing a 2KW system on my greenhouse and the pumps are all DC.  I'm hoping to have it finished this weekend!  I can provide details if you're interested.  (Of course I'll do an entire video about it this fall!)  

Rob, which controller did you go with?

I have 2 Midnite classic 150's running in parallel for the charging.  This is charging bank or four 6-volt batteries that are connected in series for 24 volts.  Then there is a Xantrex C35 for the discharge which give me 12VDC.

I'm Just curious and think it's good to get info on the record (and hopefully keep the updates coming as you guys learn more about the equipment you are using and it's strength/weaknesses.)

I have NO budget to expand to any sort of solar power at this time (rain gutters, roof repair and insulation are much higher on my list)  And for my place for backup, I probably actually need to invest in a larger generator seeing as when major hurricanes go through, it is very possible to be stuck without power for 3 days though being in inland central FL it is far less likely though at the new farm having the power go down for an hour just because of a thunderstorm seems to be pretty common.  (it has happened twice in the past few weeks.)

Anyway, thanks for sharing the info on your systems.

I got this generator last year and ran it for a full week when the hurricane took out our power.  I think they make a smaller version too.  It has enough power to run my welder too! 

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200419025_200419025

I was without power two times for several days each a few years ago - haven't forgotten it yet. 

Rob, that midnite classic is rather expensive but I don't doubt that you get what you pay for.  If you know where to get a good price, please pm me or something.

Charge controller - I think this might be a better option for me and I'll research it further.

Blue Sky 2000E w/display

  • Patented MPPT technology increases charge current up to 30% or more
  • 12 Volt / 25 Amp rating supports medium sized solar module arrays
  • Multi-stage charge control improves battery performance and life
  • LCD digital display monitors PV charge performance
  • Available temperature compensation further improves battery performance and life
  • Electronic current limit prevents overload or fuse blow
  • Durable powder coat finish & conformal coated electronics resist corrosion
  • Fully protected against excess current, temperature, transient voltage, and polarity
  • Full 3 year limited warranty w/ optional extended coverage available

Most likely you are right.  I had to get the more complex chargers for the bigger system...and they are networked together to optimize the charging.

From what I understand, getting the temperature sensor for the battery makes a big difference with the charging.

I purchased my equipment from siliconSolar.com and it was a big package deal so I'm not exactly sure what the costs were on the individual components.  I just told them my power requirements and they said "but this".  

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