Author Topic: Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting  (Read 1336 times)
davidnonledfan
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Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting « on: July 17, 2022, 11:08:48 PM » Author: davidnonledfan
I want to know what would be the best way to run higher wattage bulbs/lamps off the grid without running out of power. Lamps I am thinking of are non-LED lamps, some hid included too. I will have some LED on my property but I would like to run the old school stuff too. All the suggestions will help! Thanks, David!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2022, 11:49:28 PM by davidnonledfan » Logged

While LED bulbs (not integrated units) aren't terrible and most are long lasting, I always find 30+ year old Made in USA magnetic ballasted T12 fixtures and lamps so awesome to see running in this day and age where 90% of lighting is now LED. Always fond of all HID lights too such as MV, MH, n HPS.

Al_M
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Re: Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting « Reply #1 on: September 21, 2022, 03:49:17 AM » Author: Al_M
All the lighting in my house is 12v off-grid (which was done out of necessity) using batteries and solar panels and I'm sorry to say but LED is your only option unless you want to pay big $ for extra batteries and solar panels if you wish to run older lighting technology. I also have a huge shed that is mains powered, so that is where I use all my HID and fluorescent. Almost all the lighting in the house is 12v LED and it works really well.
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Medved
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Re: Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting « Reply #2 on: September 21, 2022, 01:35:37 PM » Author: Medved
Depends what is your power source and what is the use pattern (butn time per switch on,...).
For a regularly (daily,...; like cabin indoor lighting) used solar+battery power you will be limited to really an intermittent use of incandescents (turned on only for the few minutes when really needed), for longer time you have to keep the power down, so you are stuck with just some low power fluorescents. So generally not much light available. Otherwise the required battery and panel will get really expensive...
Of course, LED efficacy allows moderate light output (full room light) for not much restricted time (whole evening) with not that expensive battery/panel source, but when you don't wan't LED's, you have to suffice with really dim or local light, or just really short flash use (in case of higher power incandescents).

HID's make sense only when you want to operate then continuously for at least a few hours. Given they use to cover rather higher power levels, it means they are practical only with some generator. Given the cost of engine fuels, it means just occassional use (e.g. as a lights for an overnight party, some construction project,...; used few times a year, but if so, it is rather high power and for the whole night or so continuously).
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Mandolin Girl
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Re: Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting « Reply #3 on: October 02, 2022, 02:10:16 PM » Author: Mandolin Girl
On narrowboats the lighting is 12 volt, and the preference was to use halogen MR16 lamps.  :wndr:
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arcblue
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Re: Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting « Reply #4 on: October 14, 2022, 10:34:08 PM » Author: arcblue
If one has significant money to install a large system (like 12+kW), you can run anything you want, particularly in the summer or if you live in a sunny area. But generally with off-grid systems, you compromise. More so, the smaller your system is and if you are completely off-grid. So, using the least wattage for lighting is an easy compromise because you usually want to run the TV, refrigerator, fans, and other appliances. 12V LED is most efficient on a 12V system rather than using an inverter for lighting. Some larger systems may be wired at 24V or 48V...though some low-voltage LED bulbs will accommodate these higher voltages too I've found. I saw someone who had wired their batteries to get 110VDC....it was quite interesting. Higher voltages mean less current, and you can use thinner wires, so that can save money.

At any rate, you want to have a pure sine wave inverter because some appliances and magnetic ballasts often do not work well with modified sine wave (cheaper) inverters. With fluorescent and HID lighting, you want to make note of the the startup current and the total VA, not the wattage, of each light you want to use. High power factor ballasts, and electronic ballasts in most cases, are a better choice for solar. An 18w SOX fixture may seem like it won't use much power, but my magnetically ballasted fixture with LPF ballast draws a whopping 137VA! That's more than my 50w HPS wall pack with an electronic ballast. Also, if you are running, say, a 175w mercury yard light with an HX ballast....the current starts quite high and slowly falls during lamp warmup, so that's something to be mindful of on a small system. A CWA ballast doesn't have this issue.

I have a small off-grid circuit just to cover the necessities during power failures and I use it mostly for battery charging and free lighting the rest of the time. I would definitely want a much larger system if I had to live off-grid 24/7, but would probably be limiting my use of less-efficient lighting to one "vintage" fixture a night for a few hours. I run some low-wattage (5-11w) electronic CFLs for low-level light in the evenings anyway, and I could probably continue that habit off-grid with no issues, being mindful to power the larger lamps only as necessary and avoid switching them on & off frequently.
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marcopete87
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Re: Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting « Reply #5 on: October 16, 2022, 04:04:14 PM » Author: marcopete87
I saw someone who had wired their batteries to get 110VDC....it was quite interesting
You really shouldn't want DC in your house.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zez2r1RPpWY
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Medved
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Re: Best off-grid electrical setup for Non-LED lighting « Reply #6 on: October 16, 2022, 04:40:06 PM » Author: Medved
Yes, anything DC above 24V is asking for big troubles. The thing is, it tends to draw arcs at every contact just switching off under load. So it requires special construction ro quench those arcs. Be it double/multiple contact points in series (used for lower currents), or special arc blow off and quenching chambers for higher current ones.
There is a reason, why you won't find much switches or relays with contact rating above 24VDC,
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