Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #86

4 July 2005

Online Watt + Amp Hour & Solar Calculator

Thanks to Zac for contributing this neat little calculator to help you understand and estimate your loads etc. Have a read first of the Introductory Explanation – it does have some limitations and isn't meant to be a 'professional' design tool. If you like cool computer graphics design, click on Zak's banner on the bottom of this page.

Living with Solar Weekend Course

There are still openings available at Karlin’s very popular course to be held on July 9th & 10th.

Website CD

Our latest Edition of Energy from Nature is now released and is now being sold with a CD of our popular website (with 3000 pages of information). Together the cost for both posted worldwide is AUD$30. Order this month only for $28. Customers (retail) purchasing $500 or more of goods this month will receive a free copy!!

If you have our 12th Edition of Energy from Nature, we can mail you a CD out for $5.

Large DC Fridges

We will be releasing a top of the range series of fridges in the coming months. They range from 280 to 390 litres and will come with a host of features including digital defrost controller, separate Fridge and freezer controls, humidity controlled crisper, egg & dairy bins etc. More about that with the next newsletter. Some existing fridge prices have just gone up. Please check with our office for the latest price.

Solar Pumping

With ever spreading drought conditions coupled with rising fuel costs, solar pumping solutions are an increasingly attractive option for rural properties.

While solar panels are expensive, you need to remember that they come with a 25-year warranty – 30 to 50 year design life. How much would it cost you to buy 25 years of fuel supply for your pump?

There is a large range of solar pumping systems starting at about a $2000 cost for a small one. Cost will be directly proportional to the litres per day required and to the pumping head. So try and use water efficiently with low head storage tanks.

In the smaller range of solar pumps, diaphragm pumps are economical and very efficient. However, the diaphragm does need replacing every one to two years.

The larger range use helical rotor or multi stage centrifugal pump ends. These are very robust and can pump up to 230 metres. At low heads of around ten metres, they can deliver 70,000 litres per day. There are no diaphragms, brushes pistons or delicate plugs to replace.

Contact us at Rainbow Power Company today for a pumping solution to meet your requirements.

Using a rice cooker with an inverter

I recently bought a rice cooker. They come in a variety of sizes (generally referred to 3, 6 or 9 cups). The so-called 6-cup is the most common size.

I decided on a Tiffany brand 6-cup model. The compliance label rated it at 350 watts. On the DC side of my Selectronic SE22 inverter it used 412W.

Using it to its full capacity required about 900 grams of wholegrain rice (about a one litre container). I added 1.3 litres of water and turned it on.

Some 1-¼ hours later I had three litres of beautifully cooked rice. Total power used was 20Ah@25.8 volts (about 515 Wh).

I also tried it with 1 kilo of white rice and 1.3 litres of water. Interestingly it absorbed the water and cooked a lot quicker. It took about 45 minutes and only used 310 Wh of power.

A rice cooker works by having a thermostat touching the bottom of the inner pot. Once the water is all absorbed, the temperature of the pot bottom goes up and it shuts down. The element is also on the bottom. I feel a rice cooker is quite energy efficient as most of the heat from the small element is directed to the bottom of the inner pot. The 20mm air gap between the inner and outer pot is quite a good insulator, as the outer pot only gets a bit warm to touch.

For those of you who like a bit of spice in your life, try adding a few bay leaves, Garam Masala, Cardamon or Italian Herbs to the pot. If you like a lot of spice to help warm you up those winter nights, try adding a bit of Tandoori spice or chilli powder. For a yummy dessert, try using some coconut milk, currants and a little cinnamon.

While we don’t normally suggest using solar for your cooking requirements, you may find that you have excess power on sunny days. Why burn wood or gas if you have excess solar power?

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.

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

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

We also have sales agents in
Grafton:contact Andy Wilkinson directly on 0409 508 144, and
Tenterfield:contact Diamond J Legend directly on 0425 769 444.