This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

If you have any questions send us a comment; we love to hear from our readers.
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Wednesday 5 March 2014


Living off grid isn't free but so far it is cheaper. Our system does require some work and checking the batteries every three months is just part of the routine maintenance anyone living off grid needs to be aware of.

Here I'm checking the water level in each cell and topping them up. Checking your batteries is critical as allowing even one cell to go dry would ruin the battery.

We have a 2.8kw system and the power generated by our solar panels is stored in 16 East Penn 8L16, 6 volt batteries housed in a sealed, vented plywood box in our mechanical room.

The white box is our Magnum MS4448PAE 4400 watt inverter/charger. The black box is our Outback FM60- MPPT controller and meter. That little black box (top right) is the relay control for the generator.

In the hall where it is convenient we have a display monitor which tells us the status of our system at a glance. There are five reports shown, this one being F1 the SOC (state of charge) of the batteries. We don't want to see this number below 50%

F2 tells us how many amps are going in (positive number) or how many are going out (negative number) Yesterday when these photos were taken it was very overcast and yet we were still putting power into our batteries, more than we were taking out to run the house.

F5 is the state of our generator. As you can see we have it turned off as we are home and can monitor the batteries for ourselves. If we go away we set this for automatic and if the battery SOC drops below 50% then the generator will come on by itself to charge up the batteries.

Of course if we go away for any length of time our neighbour checks on our system every day and can call our installer if there is a problem.

So that's our battery setup in one short post. If you have any questions or are considering a solar system send us your questions and we will try and answer as best we can.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.


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  2. art we are off grid down in arkansas USA. we use Iron Edison batteries. they are nickel iron instead of lead acid batteries. some of edison's batteries are still functioning from the early 20th century. we expect at least a 30 year lifespan on our batteries. they weren't cheap!!! but in the long run they were the best investment for us. glad i found your blog through the youtube show you were on! keep on keeping on! we have a youtube channel where you can check out our homestead.