AUDIO FORUMS >> General Discussion and Support >> Solar Power and audio

Message started by SonicSeeker on 07/15/17 at 15:08:28

Title: Solar Power and audio
Post by SonicSeeker on 07/15/17 at 15:08:28

Does anyone have solar power.
Was wondering if anyone had any info or opinions about the positives and or negatives in general and especially as it would apply to audio.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by stone_of_tone on 07/15/17 at 16:32:52

Solar & Wind.......... .

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by Archie on 07/15/17 at 18:01:29

If you use battery storage then you'd be running off of batteries which is supposed to be the gold standard, yes?

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 07/15/17 at 18:34:55

I was thinking the same.  DC power, completely isolated from the grid.  

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by stone_of_tone on 07/15/17 at 18:58:05

Yes! I want a solar & wind combo in to battery storage.....down in Mission, where I get plenty of both sun and wind. Even here in the northland with the wind.

China, will lead the way in solar panel affordability, out of necessity in Beijing alone. Hey, if we don't get in a flashpoint war because of North Korea and then subsequent world war with China......? .....we might get our Panels.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by SonicSeeker on 07/15/17 at 19:23:05

I was thinking the same thing as far as the batteries providing clean power.
I have an appointment Monday to discuss it with a Solar company.
I live in the Rocky Mountains, plenty of sunshine here.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by will on 07/15/17 at 19:55:39

I was off-grid with micro hydro for 25 years. We had a small, efficient turbine, a battery bank, a shunt regulator keeping battery voltage from going over a certain setting by dumping turbine (DC) power to water heat, and a 24v DC to 120v AC inverter for power.

We left that place and power system over 10 years ago now, but by then, even most "sine wave" inverters, though getting better and better, remained a little noisy for audio...This was pretty minor, and I had pretty good sound, but persistent noise damped the audio enthusiasm a little. This was totally off-grid, so different than a lot of systems these day where grid-tie is so prevalent. But if you are using batteries, grid-tied systems, or hybrids, inverters are used. It just takes a lot of electronics to convert great deals of power from direct current to alternating current and make that AC wave stable and smooth/quiet.

May be all good these days, but noise is a consideration I will look at as we look into a grid-tie solar system. Refrigerators can be made quiet without costing much, but being conditioned to a fair bit of electronic and ambient noise, most of us just expect it, so little changes. Pointing to a good possibility that many solar sellers are not necessarily sensitive to "subtle" noise, the environmental sweetness of solar power also perhaps helping to overwhelm the need to look carefully at EMF/RFI concerns. Being an audio head, most things others don't concern themselves with in terms of noise are on my radar. I am also more sensitive to EMFs than many seem to be. And since noise and EMFs are the same audio wise, I figured I needed to research it.

A few years ago, when I was looking at it, there was a German company that was actually looking at EMF/RFI as bigger concerns, and doing something about it. They may or may not be the best for the job, but I was glad to see they were addressing it to some extent for health reasons, also likely making the things quieter for audio. They were called SMA, and the American branch was I think SMA, or Sunny Boy.

There are bound to be more and less optimal ways to solve these things before the house...something to consider anyway.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by SonicSeeker on 07/15/17 at 21:06:36

Thanks Will, some good info.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by 4krow on 07/15/17 at 23:01:08

There may a few notable exceptions for battery powered systems. I am thinking about an amp that I recently sold. True enough, it required 100v for the battery charging, but could put out 15 decent watts of power to the speakers by means of the charged battery alone. Since this may a bit of apples to oranges reply to what you are actually discussing, I still think that it is a worthy consideration to use battery powered equipment already made to run on it's own power. Now, probably the more important question would be, how or can this be accomplished for those devices that aren't available as the kind of thing that the amp that I just mentioned is. I have considered for that case, the possibility of disconnecting the AC portion of the equipment, and supply it with the needed DC voltage. Much more involved, I know, yet have wondered about this more than once. Imagine a dedicated battery design for the needed DC voltages for each piece of equipment.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by stone_of_tone on 07/16/17 at 00:32:06

I like that idea 4krow. Disconnect AC and run DC direct, off a scaled down affordable Tesla (Elon Musk) low noise battery with charging station.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by Martindfletcher on 07/16/17 at 01:51:46

Stone do you know of such device besides the Tesla ones?  They about 12K for my solar system, the financial issue is I was an early adopter and get reimbursed for everything that goes back to the grid, the only advantage is the sound improvement.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by Lonely Raven on 07/17/17 at 15:53:55

Will already pinned down what I was going to say - while you are running on batteries, it's all going through an inverter back up to 120v and those inverters are made to be cheap and durable, not clean.

To really go battery, you'd need DC wired directly to the DC needs *in* the amps and gear. I've heard a small system like this and it was stunning in how black the background was. It's what inspired my mad research on better grounding schemes for the house, and outlet rewiring. Even adding extra/better grounding rods made a difference.

Just getting off the grid isn't really enough, otherwise good isolators and PS Audio Powerplants would do the job.

To add a wrinkle to this - RF, EMI all those wireless nasties I'm sure are adding noise your wires and gear are picking up. IMHO, we really need faraday cages, better grounding, *and* vibration isolation.

Lots of great ideas in the forum - who's actually going to go through with it though?

P.S. I may perhaps be working on a secret project, building a rack from scratch that may be a faraday cage, with copper screening all around, and on the shelves between each piece of gear.

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by will on 07/17/17 at 17:09:18

Hey Raven,

I have not studied Faraday shields. Does the "shield" work both ways, as an "absorber" from gear created noise also?

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by Lonely Raven on 07/17/17 at 18:15:41

Yes, think of it like a net - it's catching waves that are bigger than the openings in the screen and dumping them to ground. That's why I'd have a layer on each shelf to help catch inter-device noise as much as I could.

It wouldn't be 100% between shelves because any openings in the screen, and/or cabling could be "leaks".

Title: Re: Solar Power and audio
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 07/17/17 at 20:24:23

I can attest to the pitch black background of DC powered audio equipment.  My phono stage is DC powered.  It has two sealed lead acid battery inside the case so does not touch any AC power when in use.  I simple charge when not in use.  Its pretty sweet.  

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