Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #46

21 September 2001

Fish Tanks

Fish tank heating for tropical fish in a home aquarium is a 'problem' on a renewable energy system. The heater would keep the inverter on all the time and a fair bit of power would be needed to keep the water warm in cold climates.

Incidentally, goldfish do not require any heating. I have been told that in their native Japan, they survive quite happily in ice covered ponds.

A local fish enthusiast has come up with a back yard solution. He has a solar hot water system backed up by a slow combustion stove.

He purchased a standard 230V fish tank heater, took it apart, removed the heating element and uses the mechanical (bi metal) thermostat to turn on his 24V DC pump via a relay. The relay is required to prevent arcing and corrosion on the thermostat contactors.
The pump circulates hot water in a closed loop underneath the gravel in the fish tank.

Battery Terminal Covers

Under Australian standards, the terminal posts on batteries should be enclosed with an insulating type cover.
We have a good supply of these to fit the Trojan range of batteries. The use of these covers can help prevent an explosion in the event of coat hangers, umbrellas etc which could accidentally fall across the battery terminals and short them out.

Commercial Use of Freezers

The daily energy consumption of our DC fridges and freezers is tested at 35°C ambient during the day and 28°C at night. It is designed to simulate an average 'normal' domestic usage pattern.

It is important that our customers advise us if the fridge is to be located in an extreme climate or is to be used for a non-domestic purpose - e.g. vaccine fridges or a commercial usage pattern.

For example, a 220 litre deep freeze is normally rated at 880Whr per day for normal use. However, if it is used to freeze 20 kg of water or fish per day the expected energy consumption rises to 1500 Whr/day.
Therefore, the number of solar panels and the battery capacity needs to be almost doubled for this application.

Cheers from Dave and all the RPC crew.

Dave Lambert (Director)

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We install solar systems in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.


QLD:
Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)


NSW:
Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Yamba, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Grafton via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

For larger system we also go up to Brisbane or down to Coffs Harbour and even Glen Innes. Other places by arrangement.