Picaxe Kayak Control Project

mikeyBoo

Senior Member
Well… it’s been said that all fishermen are liars. All seriousness aside (I don’t do serious), I think they are just “prone to exaggerate”.

However, if you’ve ever hauled up a big catfish & tried to remove a stuck hook, the fish may start a sequence of load belching & it does sound like he’s trying to talk. This happened when my girlfriend’s little dog (shih tzu) was on my yak & he went absolutely berserk (WTF!? fish ain’t supposed to talk!). I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of the boat.

So, if your California friend wants to go catfishin’ (or worse yet noodling) with you down south , it’s best he leaves his “medical marijuana” at home. Else you may have to haul him outa’ the water!

CATFISH NOODLING: Girl Catches Huge Catfish With Her Hands!

I love Southern culture! If it was up to me, we’d succeed from the union & make “Free Bird” the national anthem!
 

newplumber

Senior Member
@newplumber -- Here's another good video on a LiFePo4 system (and might even work on a boat):

I'm going to try this route for a power outage backup for my boiler and water pump. I found a probably-too-good-to-be-true deal on the LiFePo4 batteries, and even if they don't work out, learning about the other components of the system will make it worth it. In my unfinished, gravel floor basement I happen to have the perfect "containment vessel" for the batteries--a 4-foot diameter sheet metal shell around a not-used-in-decades coal furnace.

(You've got me looking at the fiberglass runabout that's been sitting overgrown with weeds in a yard about a quarter mile from me for 10 years. I should probably put that thought out of mind.)
thanks... I was watching him ..he keeps it simple ..so i can only watch it 4 times to understand
I might do a few cool things since i have all winter to piece together
let me know how the lifepo4 batterys are if you get em ...maybe i'll try them too
coal furnace? ha ...I never actually seen one run/burn....all the ones i seen are switched to wood or
thrown out and turned to lp or nat gas
 

lbenson

Senior Member
he keeps it simple
Will Prowse is good--I've watched a lot more of his stuff. Also David Poz and off-grid garage. I don't expect to see my LiFePo4s for a couple more months. The rack-mounted 5kWhr battery + BMS for $1,500 also looks very good for what I want (resilience if the power goes out for a few days) with relatively little fiddling to be done on my part. I don't think there's any hope for solar in a Nova Scotia winter (fall, spring), so I'm not even going to try.
 

papaof2

Senior Member
Will Prowse is good--I've watched a lot more of his stuff. Also David Poz and off-grid garage. I don't expect to see my LiFePo4s for a couple more months. The rack-mounted 5kWhr battery + BMS for $1,500 also looks very good for what I want (resilience if the power goes out for a few days) with relatively little fiddling to be done on my part. I don't think there's any hope for solar in a Nova Scotia winter (fall, spring), so I'm not even going to try.
Will and David both provide good information - I've watched a lot from them.

Solar in winter just means you have a battery bank to keep a few things running in-between generator runs ;-) I'm in the Southeast US but there are mutliple days of clouds/rain so periods when "Today each 250 watt solar panel is producing 5 watts."

If I moved the fridge and freezer to the screened porch, they'd need very little power in the winter so solar might work for those months ;-)

I've gotten my feet wet in LiFePO4 batteries, replacing the $50US (from the manufacturer) 12 volt, 4.3AH AGM battery in a small discontinued UPS with a 12 volt 3.8AH LiFePO4 pack for under $20US (I have the battery welder and nickel strip from previous projects). The numerically (and physically) smaller LiFePO4 12 volt pack runs the UPS just a bit longer at the same load. The minimum voltage for the LiFePO4 pack is 10.0 volts but the UPS has a 10.7 volt low voltage shutdown. I'm giving serious thought to replacing the 420AH AGM solar battery bank with a 704AH LiFePO4 bank. Sixteen 176AH cells (for 4S4P) would be $1850US (shipped from US) and four 150amp BMS units would be about $350US but that would be a system with 2,000+ cycles to 80% DOD (probably 4,000+ cycles tp 70% DOD - one vendor has a chart that shows 10,000 cycles to 70% DOD at 0.25C discharge). Just need to clear that expense with the resident accountant ;-) Knowing how much of our state's power is generated from natural gas, how poorly natural gas supplies worked during the freeze in Texas last year and having forecasts of "a colder than usual" winter, having a bit more alternate power might be a good investment. That would be a project with life comparable to the PICAXE fan controller that's been running 15 years ;-)
 

lbenson

Senior Member
papaof2--glad to hear of your success. What you're planning is in line with my thinking, except that I don't plan on solar. My 180+ year-old house has no suitable place for mounting solar cells, and I don't think they would do any good in winter anyway.

In 20 years here, the longest outage I've seen was just under a day (though my wife once lost power in her house for a week). We're about 2 miles from the substation and 3 from the hydro dam, so they pretty much have to get us back online to be able to get anyone else back. Heat could be necessary (though of course the house was built to be heated with the still-functional fireplaces), running water would be good (though we've filled the tub when storms threatened), and for longer outages, keeping the fridge and freezer running is desirable.

I'm now thinking that two 200Ah 12V LiFePo4 batteries in parallel could bridge any likely outage. I have two 1200-watt AIMS auto-transfer switches which I think could both be fed off of that battery set. I have run the boiler for 24+ hours off of a 100Ah lead acid 12V battery using the auto-transfer switch (I can turn off the mains into the transfer switch with a Sonoff POWR2 module with the Tasmoto firmware loaded).

I still want to have a play with the DIY LiFePo4 cells plus battery management system, both with the larger cells and with the smaller 32700-style 7200mAh 3.2V LiFePO4s for things like your UPS. A lot of intriguing options coming into view.
 

papaof2

Senior Member
Solar cells can be mounted on poles or ground mounts - but above the usual snow height - not just on the roof. The roof is often used because it's the largest open space that's exposed to the sun and people can't easily A) walk on it or B) steal panels from it ;-)

I can say that the winter we had a 7"-12" single snowfall across the county - in an area that rarely sees more than 3" at a time - the ground-mount solar panels had higher output the first sunny day after the snow than on the last sunny day before the snow - probably reflected light adding X% to the total illumination. 12 hours without grid power for us, but we were warm and not in the dark - other people had longer outages and were in their cars for heat (house at 57F and no alternate source of heat) and to charge their iPhones. I suggested that couple sell one iPhone and buy a generator and they've not spoken to me since...

If you know the daily/hourly power use of your fridge, freezer and any other essential devices (KillAWatt works for most things), there's a spreadsheet online that's a bit pessimistic but can provide some AH vs %DOD vs hours of use figures when you plug in the AH, %DOD and watts used. It has a line for generator input to recharge batteries and a page for solar charging. It may have more info than you want but the numbers seem to work, based on those calculations versus my system. One thing I found in measuring the power usage of a recent model Samsung French door fridge with bottom freezer was that the instantaneous power ranged from 4 watts (one internal circulation fan running) to 560 watts (defrost heaters on in both fridge and freezer evaporator sections). The average hourly power use (measured over 6 weeks) was 76 watts/hour in summer (78F ambient) and 59 watts/hour in winter (68F ambient). It's a big spreadsheet with 6 or 8 pages so see if any of it works for you in estimated runtime on batteries.
 

lbenson

Senior Member
Thanks for the spreadsheet. Good numbers. Thanks especially for the notes.

The Sonoff POWR2 with Tasmoto firmware reports the previous day's total usage in kilowatt hours, and I have gotten that in place for boiler, freezer, and water pump. I'd have to pull out the fridge to be able to plug in a cord with the Sonoff device on it. I hope soon to set up a daily-run chart showing daily usage for all of those for the past 28 days. Boiler usage will continue to grow for the next 4 months or so.

Yesterday's usage was: freezer .597kWh, water pump .247kWh, boiler .683kWh.

[EDIT: Working through the spreadsheet tabs I see you have provided a huge amount of information. Have you blogged or vlogged this anywhere? (And I'm looking at http://www.jecarter.us now.)]
 
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papaof2

Senior Member
No blog or vlog, just been building/updating the spreadshet as I work on my small solar system. One reason for all the notes is that it keeps everything in one document and ensures I can find the info, including the solar irradiation link ;-) The closest to pictorial documentation is that I used a picture of the battery bank as the cover "art" of one of my PAW/dystopian fiction ebooks entitled "In The Dark".

I suspect a blog that covers all the info and the math would take weeks to produce as it would need to be in relatively smal bites. The spreadsheet is the result of about 4 years of "Need this" and "What if I could compute that?" such as the bits on how much power the furnace needs based on the average outside temperature and the thermostat setting - that one took a while to work out but, in hindsight, it wasn't as much complicated math as just getting the data for a given set of conditions and putting together the "What ifs".

Most recently I've started working on long term solar solar calculations to have a small fridge (4.4 cu ft) and run the blower on the central heat - if the blower can be powered, a kerosene heater or a wood stove can heat a much larger area because the warm air can be moved as needed. For typical winter days, having the thermostat at 63F and having laptop PC power for a few hours, charging cell phones (if that service is available) and limited LED lighting, sixteen 176AH LiFePO4 cells in 4S4P for 704AH plus 2800 watts of solar gives us a little over four days of that power level and the ability to recharge the batteries in one day of sun. With typical winter weather, we'd probably not need to run the inverter generator more than a few hours a week. That's currently a $3600US (or more) project (batteries, BMS units, solar panels, wiring, fuses, circuit breakers and lots of etc). Don't have that in one block of $$$$ so I'll be acquiring things as I can. I have enough MPPT controllers (acquired singly over time) for more than 3000 watts of solar panels and the solar installer/uninstaller who occasionally offers 10 used 240 watt panels for $999US has his ad back up on craigslist.org so that, plus the panels I already have, would more than cover 2800 watts of solar and having a few spare panels. Then there's the "Where do I put them?" as the house's orientation isn't optimum for solar :-( The shed out back could take 4 panels on the roof and there's space to ground or post mount more panels, mostly in 2 or 4 panel groups - lots of wire to be run, mostly underground. Still working on that layout ...
 

lbenson

Senior Member
Good info and except for the solar, similar to what I am looking at. Thanks.

Interesting to compare the cost of running the boiler from mains power for a day at this time of year--under ten cents--to the up-front cost of being able to run it if mains power is not available. There's a value to being able to stay in the house and be comfortable. Fortunately, prices have been falling rapidly.
 

newplumber

Senior Member
No blog or vlog, just been building/updating the spreadshet as I work on my small solar system. One reason for all the notes is that it keeps everything in one document and ensures I can find the info, including the solar irradiation link ;-) The closest to pictorial documentation is that I used a picture of the battery bank as the cover "art" of one of my PAW/dystopian fiction ebooks entitled "In The Dark".

I suspect a blog that covers all the info and the math would take weeks to produce as it would need to be in relatively smal bites. The spreadsheet is the result of about 4 years of "Need this" and "What if I could compute that?" such as the bits on how much power the furnace needs based on the average outside temperature and the thermostat setting - that one took a while to work out but, in hindsight, it wasn't as much complicated math as just getting the data for a given set of conditions and putting together the "What ifs".

Most recently I've started working on long term solar solar calculations to have a small fridge (4.4 cu ft) and run the blower on the central heat - if the blower can be powered, a kerosene heater or a wood stove can heat a much larger area because the warm air can be moved as needed. For typical winter days, having the thermostat at 63F and having laptop PC power for a few hours, charging cell phones (if that service is available) and limited LED lighting, sixteen 176AH LiFePO4 cells in 4S4P for 704AH plus 2800 watts of solar gives us a little over four days of that power level and the ability to recharge the batteries in one day of sun. With typical winter weather, we'd probably not need to run the inverter generator more than a few hours a week. That's currently a $3600US (or more) project (batteries, BMS units, solar panels, wiring, fuses, circuit breakers and lots of etc). Don't have that in one block of $$$$ so I'll be acquiring things as I can. I have enough MPPT controllers (acquired singly over time) for more than 3000 watts of solar panels and the solar installer/uninstaller who occasionally offers 10 used 240 watt panels for $999US has his ad back up on craigslist.org so that, plus the panels I already have, would more than cover 2800 watts of solar and having a few spare panels. Then there's the "Where do I put them?" as the house's orientation isn't optimum for solar :-( The shed out back could take 4 panels on the roof and there's space to ground or post mount more panels, mostly in 2 or 4 panel groups - lots of wire to be run, mostly underground. Still working on that layout ...
I second that of Lbenson said....... very good info " my solar generator"



lbenson --- not to expect the lifePO4 in a couple months?? did you select turtle express? jk it is crazy how many boats are sitting
of shore waiting to unload.....I almost am getting the list done so hopefully it doesn't take forever to get here
 

papaof2

Senior Member
I'm in the US, so I could order LiFePO4 cells, modules or batteries from the Aliexpress US warehouse or from batteryhookup.com. Their prices are comparable for the same total AH capacity. For 12 volt use, Battery Hookup has four 3.2V 100AH modules of cylindrical cells (their own brand) and the BMS (with low temperature charging protection) for $260US plus sales tax (6%) and shipping. 800AH (with BMS units) would be about $2400US delivered. If you're using a higher voltage battery bank, you can order the modules without the BMS and use whatever BMS is needed for your voltage range. These would be "on the truck tomorrow" ground shipping (FedEx, UPS, DHL) so just a matter of a few days. I have been pleased with the quality of other LiFePO4 cells from Battery Hookup so I'm likely to use a vendor of known quality for a purchase of this magnitude. Still looking for the $$$$ for the batteries and the next 2400 watts of solar panels. Contribution$ welcome. Just ask for my PayPal PayMe link and specify an amount ;-)

Please stick to Picaxe and directly related topics. e
 
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lbenson

Senior Member
I won't even be in the U.S. (for the first time in 20 months) for another 5 weeks. From what I've read on other forums, the large LiFePO4 cells from Aliexpress are shipped by boat, and that is taking a long time. papaof2--thanks for the reference to Battery Hookup--I'll order a smaller set for a shed and to experiment with when I get to Florida.

(Sorry to be so off-topic, but it's hard to resist when you find someone knowledgeable in an area of interest. Still thinking about LiFePO4 for trolling battery use with PICAXE speed control.)
 

papaof2

Senior Member
A 3 volt PICAXE should run for a LONG time on a 3.8AH, 3.2V LiFePO4 cell; possibly forever with a solar panel which can deliver a little more power than the project uses ;-) Since the maximum voltage for the LiFePO4 cell is 3.65 volts, would a 3 volt PICAXE still be happy, or would you just not charge the cell above its nominal 3.2 volts, or use a 5 volt PICAXE and not worry about the voltage, or use two cells in series and a DC-DC converter for the PICAXE voltage you need? Those cells do have a long flat section of their discharge "curve". That flat curve would be an advantage for your speed control project as XX% PWM would be a fairly constant power value over much (90%?) of the discharge range of the battery.

Aliexpress has a US warehouse in California and some things are stocked there. The prices are a bit higher than from China, but you're paying for the shipping that got them to the US (bulk shipment in a conex box) and possibly some duty/customs is included in their US prices - not something I've had need to research.

The 3.8AH LiFePO4 cells from Battery Hookup may actually deliver a little more than their rated 3.8AH, based on the run time of the UPS I installed them in. Nice to get at least the capacity they advertise - even better when the capacity is better than advertised.
 

lbenson

Senior Member
A 3 volt PICAXE should run for a LONG time on a 3.8AH, 3.2V LiFePO4 cell; possibly forever with a solar panel
I think most of the current PICAXEs are happy to run at 3 volts and well below that, and considering the 11+ year run off of the same 3-AAs for this 08M setup, I think 20+ years on a 3.8Ah LiFePO4 would not be beyond question even without any solar panel.

Perhaps a younger PICAXEr might try the experiment--I somehow doubt that I'll be around for 20 years to monitor the result.
 
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