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SkyMan

PVC molding experiment success!! (And a bit about solar wiring.)

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SkyMan

A longer read than I intended so you're warned.  Mostly background so if you just want the solution, skip to the end.

Years ago I ran the power lines for my house underground from the well pump house, 2 lines inside about 55 yards of 3/4" GI pipe.  I don't recommend GI pipe and we had a few problems over time, mostly with insulating the wires and water getting in the pipes, etc.  The biggest problem came over a year ago when we had a lightning strike within maybe 10 feet of the house and about 5 feet from the power lines.  That strike must have made a 90 degree turn in the ground and went through the pipe burning a hole right through it.  That didn't immediately take out the power but it did start causing some problems so I made several attempts to fix the old lines and finally gave up.  Since then we've had an open trench in the yard and alternate lines running out of the ground to the house, bypassing the problem area.  I decided to just scrap the old system and run brand new lines in a new pipe.  I thought about using PVC but for the cost, there wasn't much difference in using HDPE pipe so I bought a 60 meter roll of 1.5" HDPE pipe.  Nice not having to make all those PVC connections too and no worries about leaks, etc.  There is a place near me that makes HDPE pipe but only a few sizes and SDRs.  I think it's SDR 11 which is way overkill for conduit but with the thick walls it makes the OD about 2".  The reason I bought pipe this large is because I plan to run 5 conductors through and room for possible expansion.  There's no way I could have pulled anything else through that 3/4 GI that I had.  The 5 conductors I'm running now are one pair to supply VECO power to the house.  One pair to supply power back to the well pump, and a smaller gauge wire to run a VECO neutral to the house.  Currently, (no pun intended) VECO power supplies the well pump in the pump house and then on to the house.  That will remain the setup until until I go off-grid solar.  Initially after solar, VECO will still run the pump.  The solar system I'm looking at automatically switches over to mains power if the batteries deplete to a set level, and then back to solar after charging.  If the solar produces enough power I will want to switch the pump over to solar as well but there may be longer dark periods where it's just better to go back to the mains for the pump.  Hence the need for the ability to have power going both ways.  It could be done with a single pair but that would require some manual switching out in the pump house so this is just easier.

Anyway, should PLDT or someone else run fiber up my road I'd also like to be able to bring it to my house so I need room in the pipe to pull a fiber line as well.  So, when I hook the pipe to the pump house I need to consider bend radius because you can't bend fiber as sharp as wire.  I'm running the pipe out the back wall of the pump house I needed one bend coming out of the wall down and then another in the ground towards the house.  You can put a bend in HDPE pipe with heat but it's a little tricky to do so without kinking the pipe or blowing a hole in it.  I did manage to make the in-ground bend with my heat gun because it could be a fairly large radius and I wanted to keep it water tight with no couplings to worry about.  Even with the larger radius I did manage a little kinking so I didn't want to try that method on the upper bend.  I was looking for a PVC street elbow and even a regular elbow didn't fit very well.  One size too small and the next too large.  I found a 2" conduit elbow and that fit fairly close.  PVC conduit is about half the thickness of water PVC pipes which was why it fit better.  Also, most of the water type PVC fittings have thicker, molded ends while the conduit fittings are just flared a little.  Still there was a little too much gap in the connection to the HDPE pipe to work right.  I don't think you can just pour a bunch of PVC cement in a big gap and hope it will connect right like super glue or something.  It has to be a snug fit to begin with.  

I thought of a couple ways to do this like heating the pipe and then putting the conduit it on and flaring the pipe inside that.  I'd done something similar before but not sure how I could do that this time since I was connecting an elbow and couldn't push something through into the end.  I thought of putting some short ground off screws through the PVC, not long enough to penetrate the HDPE but I kind of wanted to keep it water tight and critter proof.  I thought of heating the HDPE and shoving it into the narrower part of the conduit but that would pinch down the HDPE pipe and didn't like that either.  

Finally, I came up with this.  I took a scrap piece of the HDPE pipe and put it in the conduit.  I cut a strip of thin sheet metal as wide as the conduit bell and just long enough to wrap around the bell of the conduit plus a little overlap.  I wrapped it around and secured it snugly with a couple band clamps.  After a few seconds with the heat gun, the clamps tightened a few m ore turns easily and then stopped and left it a while to cool.  The result was a very tight fit without deforming the HDPE.  In fact, it took some work to get them apart.  I thought maybe if I heated it more the two might weld together but figured being 2 different plastics the likely result would be pinching down the HDPE end.  I don't even know if PVC cement will adhere properly to the HDPE to where it would work as a water pressure fitting so if someone wants to try that they should test it themselves.  I'm satisfied that with what I have, the cement and a little up pressure from the pipe it should stay well and waterproof.

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noddle

you mentioned

"The solar system I'm looking at automatically switches over to mains power if the batteries deplete to a set level, and then back to solar after charging. "

Yesterday I came across this,  which is what i'm looking at...

https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/automatic-transfer-switches.html

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F12RDZ2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=vehicledwelling-20&linkId=0a987bfeb42fa50a7989d054b5b1e653&language=en_US

 

Nigel

 

 

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SkyMan
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, noddle said:

you mentioned

"The solar system I'm looking at automatically switches over to mains power if the batteries deplete to a set level, and then back to solar after charging. "

Yesterday I came across this,  which is what i'm looking at...

https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/automatic-transfer-switches.html

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F12RDZ2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=vehicledwelling-20&linkId=0a987bfeb42fa50a7989d054b5b1e653&language=en_US

 

Nigel

 

 

That one is intended for an RV so you really need to call them and check it out to see if it would work for your home or whatever.  This is the one I'm looking at....

 

Edited by SkyMan

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SkyMan
3 hours ago, noddle said:

you mentioned

"The solar system I'm looking at automatically switches over to mains power if the batteries deplete to a set level, and then back to solar after charging. "

Yesterday I came across this,  which is what i'm looking at...

https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/automatic-transfer-switches.html

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F12RDZ2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=vehicledwelling-20&linkId=0a987bfeb42fa50a7989d054b5b1e653&language=en_US

 

Nigel

 

 

I think you may also want to make sure the depletion level is adjustable.  That one says it switches over at 25% which I think is too low and 50% is more what I've heard for longer battery life.

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