Solar/plug-in 12V system, alternator optional - Fuelly Forums

Android Users - Coming Soon! - Migrating from aCar 4.8 to 5.0

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-18-2005, 08:38 PM   #1
Registered Member
 
MetroMPG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,223
Country: United States
Solar/plug-in 12V system, alternator optional

hi all. my first post. i'm pretty impressed with the signal/noise on this site. good work.

here's an idea to mull over. pardon me while i think out loud...

i read recently about a guy who removed the alternator from his vw bus, installed pv solar panels on the roof and a couple of deep cycle (marine/RV) batteries on-board. The output of the panels and the extra storage capacity of the deep cycle cells kept the sytem working fine, even at night - he drove round trip from texas to seattle on this set up.

how much fuel would it save if an engine didn't have to turn the alternator? depends on how much power the alternator is supplying and the parasitic losses needed to supply it.

if i had to guess, i'd predict savings between 1 to 5% - but that guess is based on a series of assumptions so unfounded, i'm not even going to bother sharing them here. maybe someone else is more informed on this topic and can accurately predict (if so, please share).

other options...

<ul><li>leave the alternator on, but add a switch in the rotor field control wire, effectively giving YOU control over when the alternator is active (from an efficiency standpoint, it's best "ON" when you're decelerating or descending a grade - the same times regeneration is active in hybrids)<\li>


<li>same setup as above, but only use the alterator switch as a back-up for long range trips. for short-range use, re-charge the battery with a charger in the evening. (you can tell your neighbours you've got one of the first plug-in hybrids.) or recharge with solar when you're parked.</li>


<li>even more efficient: take the alternator belt completely off (there are still parasitic losses (bearing/pulley fan) in options 1 & 2). again, recharge when only when necessary via solar/dc charger. downside: less convenient when you need the alternator for long-range trips or "emergency" charging</li>


<li>buy 2 batteries and charge one (trickle/solar) at home during the day, then swap batteries each evening or as required</li></ul>

just a note: deep-cycle type batteries (RV/marine) would be a necessary part of this approach. a regular automotive battery will be damaged/degraded from a significant discharge.

anyone with a scangauge want to do a quick'n'dirty run to give an idea of potential savings? "normal" vs. belt on/alternator disconnected vs. belt completely off?

i've got a scangauge, and would do it, but don't have a heated garage. winter has truly arrived here in ontario, with the result that further efficiency mods are on hold until the spring!

darin

www.MetroMPG.com
.
__________________

MetroMPG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2005, 09:16 PM   #2
Registered Member
 
kickflipjr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 933
Country: United States
I think they best setup

I think they best setup would be to get a low amp alternator (these can be custom ordered for place theat sell high amp alternators for audio system). A race battery will save around 25 lbs too.



This is a race type setup and would be very efficient, But It wouldn't work good in the winter. And I would be very nerous with this setup (i don't know if it would work in a rain storm with the high beams on). Gains would be minimal.

^
this who post is sorta off topic from the original post...
__________________

__________________
2008 EPA adjusted:


Distance traveled by bicycle in 2007= 1,830ish miles
Average commute speed=25mph (yes, that's in a car)
kickflipjr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2005, 04:55 PM   #3
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,978
Country: United States
Re: Solar/plug-in 12V system, alternator optional

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
hi all. my first post. i'm pretty impressed with the signal/noise on this site. good work.

here's an idea to mull over. pardon me while i think out loud...

i read recently about a guy who removed the alternator from his vw bus [snip]...

i've got a scangauge, and would do it, but don't have a heated garage. winter has truly arrived here in ontario, with the result that further efficiency mods are on hold until the spring!

darin

www.MetroMPG.com
.
Welcome and good site as well. This idea brings up something that I hadn't thought of. A popular add-on to make more horsepower are "underdrive" pulleys that make the belt-driven items turn more slowly, and reduces parsitic loss.

I like your idea of removing the alternator from the equation, especially for short hauls. I'm not sure how much fuel savings can be realized, and if you add batteries, that's extra weight.

Does anyone have underdrive pullies installed?

RH77
__________________
rh77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2005, 05:14 PM   #4
*shrug*
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,195
Country: United States
Think you missed the

Think you missed the underdrive pulley thread on the general area.
SVOboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2005, 05:28 PM   #5
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,978
Country: United States
Re: Think you missed the

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVOboy
Think you missed the underdrive pulley thread on the general area.
Crap, I've committed the Cardinal sin of posting. Sorry... :-(

How did I miss that thread -- I'm slipping.

RH77
__________________
rh77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2005, 05:53 PM   #6
*shrug*
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,195
Country: United States
Haha, posting is good, wish

Haha, posting is good, wish I had some time to.
SVOboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2005, 06:57 PM   #7
Registered Member
 
MetroMPG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,223
Country: United States
Re: Solar/plug-in 12V system, alternator optional

Quote:
Originally Posted by rh77
Welcome and good site as well.
thanks.

i wasn't going to say anything about the cross-posting
MetroMPG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2006, 10:21 PM   #8
Registered Member
 
GasSavers_Ryland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,325
Country: United States
Send a message via AIM to GasSavers_Ryland
I compleatly lost the

I compleatly lost the information on it, but a few years back I saw a product that replaced your alternator with a perminent magent motor/generator that monitored you battery, to run free when not needed, charge the battery when needed, and had an extra deep cycle battery I belive that it drew from when you needed more power... basicly a bolt on hybrid drive... yes slightly off topic I know.
solar charging your battery so you could remove your alternator is a fine idea, but not one that I would put out to the world at large, to many people have cars that never see sun, pull out of the garage early in the morning, park in a parking ramp, drive back in the evening.
GasSavers_Ryland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2006, 05:44 PM   #9
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 409
Country: United States
Quote:
Originally Posted by kickflipjr
I think they best setup would be to get a low amp alternator (these can be custom ordered for place theat sell high amp alternators for audio system). A race battery will save around 25 lbs too.



This is a race type setup and would be very efficient, But It wouldn't work good in the winter. And I would be very nerous with this setup (i don't know if it would work in a rain storm with the high beams on). Gains would be minimal.

^
this who post is sorta off topic from the original post...
I had a $45 dollar hawker battery for a while, it weighed in at 9lbs I believe, It worked fine for me even in the winter (-20 f.) I forgot the lights on one day, it quickly went dead and would no longer hold a charge. I couldn't locate the battery again, otherwise I'd buy it again.

BTW I think that dyna-batt is actually a higher priced Hawker, just with a different sticker on it. Rumor has it they dont' last as long because the sticker is also the vent cover. The Hawker one was supposedly better sealed compared to the recovered Dyna-Batt. I read this all many years ago, so things could be wrong or changed by now [/disclamer]
__________________
red91sit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2006, 06:37 PM   #10
Supporting Member
 
DracoFelis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 265
Country: United States
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
i read recently about a guy who removed the alternator from his vw bus, installed pv solar panels on the roof and a couple of deep cycle (marine/RV) batteries on-board.
I've been thinking about alternator drag due to electrical use as well. The idea has merit, and it might save you more FE than you realize. However, the very first thing I would do (and did do in my CRX) is to convert many of the lights to LEDs, to greatly lower power usage. This will help (by allowing the alternator to work less hard, and thereby put less drag on the engine) even if you don't do anything fancy with the alternator setup.

See this thread for some ideas on LEDs:
http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=1558

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
how much fuel would it save if an engine didn't have to turn the alternator? depends on how much power the alternator is supplying and the parasitic losses needed to supply it.

if i had to guess, i'd predict savings between 1 to 5% - but that guess is based on a series of assumptions so unfounded, i'm not even going to bother sharing them here. maybe someone else is more informed on this topic and can accurately predict (if so, please share).
I think you are underestimating the loss due to the alternator. Follow the links in this thread for more info:
http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=1798

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
<ul><li>leave the alternator on, but add a switch in the rotor field control wire, effectively giving YOU control over when the alternator is active (from an efficiency standpoint, it's best "ON" when you're decelerating or descending a grade - the same times regeneration is active in hybrids)<\li>


<li>same setup as above, but only use the alterator switch as a back-up for long range trips. for short-range use, re-charge the battery with a charger in the evening. (you can tell your neighbours you've got one of the first plug-in hybrids.) or recharge with solar when you're parked.</li>
Yes, you would always be paying the price of the "no load" alternator drag with this setup.

However, it would be easy/trivial (even when driving down the road) to switch between "no load" alternator and full alternator drag. So it is "friendly" to the driver (especially when you find yourself on a long trip, and need that extra power)!

Some other thoughts:

1) If you want to get fancy, rig up an electronic relay setup, to engage the alternator when you want "regenerative breaking" (you could still have the "always on" override switch, for long trips). The easiest (but not quite the most useful) way to do this, is to have the alternator engage the same time the break lights come on (and the car is in gear, as it does no good to engage the alternator when the car is in neutral and/or the clutch is in). This will give you the extra "regenerative breaking" drag when you step on the brakes!

2) I'm not sure if you would need some voltage regulator to use them in a car setup, but you can get reasonably powerful solar panels designed for solar power in a home. And while they still cost a bit (about $80 for the cheapest ones, and closer to $300-$400 for a few amp unit), they are much cheaper per watt of power than many smaller panel setups. Even one of these panels could (on bright days) get you a few amps of power for your car. As just one example of what is out there, perhaps the panels sold by "Backwoods Solar" (a company catering to homeowners whose home is off the main power grid), could be easily adapted for use in a car:
http://www.backwoodssolar.com/Catalogpages2/solar2.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
<li>even more efficient: take the alternator belt completely off (there are still parasitic losses (bearing/pulley fan) in options 1 & 2). again, recharge when only when necessary via solar/dc charger. downside: less convenient when you need the alternator for long-range trips or "emergency" charging</li>
Yes, that would avoid the drag of the alternator at no load. However, it is a PITA when you need the alternator power.

If you were going to take that approach, I would recommend wiring things in with the switch setup (discussed above), and then only remove the belt when you are reasonably certain you won't need the alternator for a while (and when you do remove the belt, keep it in the trunk). That way you can "easily" revert to the more flexible "switched setup" (when needed) by just popping the hood and putting the belt back on...

NOTE: With the belt off, you will not get the "no load" losses from the alternator. But you also will not have any option for "regenerative braking".

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
just a note: deep-cycle type batteries (RV/marine) would be a necessary part of this approach. a regular automotive battery will be damaged/degraded from a significant discharge.
Agreed. You would want to replace the normal car battery with something designed for "deep cycle" (and hopefully with more amp-hours than the normal car battery as well).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG
anyone with a scangauge want to do a quick'n'dirty run to give an idea of potential savings? "normal" vs. belt on/alternator disconnected vs. belt completely off?
Sorry, don't have a scanguage.
__________________

DracoFelis is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
More detail josh434 General Fuel Topics 2 06-28-2009 03:39 AM
Article about the site on Boing Boing Gadgets. Honad General Fuel Topics 3 08-22-2008 12:18 AM
E85 - 85% Ethanol 15% Gasoline JanGeo Vegetable Oil and BioDiesel 30 06-29-2008 06:33 AM
Altima aerodynamics Compaq888 Aerodynamics 21 06-22-2006 09:57 AM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.