Author Topic: "Shut off that inverter!!"  (Read 77233 times)

Nords

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"Shut off that inverter!!"
« on: May 07, 2016, 12:23:14 PM »
Here's a followup to my 2015 post on shutting off your car when it's parked:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/'shut-off-that-engine!!'/

A year later, Oahu gas has gone from $3/gallon to $2/gal.  But I'm seeing a new trend in electric vehicles, and it might be even worse than the other post.

Hawaii has the nation's largest per-capita use of residential photovoltaic power, so if you buy an electric vehicle then you can eliminate your entire fuel bill and have plenty of driving range.  On Oahu it's perfectly reasonable to use an EV with a range of only 80 miles, but if you need a little more range then you charge up at a shopping center or some other location with free EV charging stations. 
     
One morning last month I was doing errands.  It was yet another bee-yootiful day in Hawaii nei, with air temps in the mid-70s and tradewinds moving gently at 10 knots.  As I walked by the EV charging station at my neighborhood shopping center, I heard an engine running. 

No, wait, that couldn't be right-- when I looked at the EV it was plugged in and charging.  So what's the engine noise?  Upon further examination I realized it was the EV's inverter running its air-conditioning compressor.

There was nobody in the EV.  Not even a pet or a sleeping baby, let alone a grownup checking social media on their smartphone.

It appears that the owner had plugged in the EV, turned on its accessories and started the air conditioning, locked the doors, and gone shopping.  Their air-conditioned bubble would be ready for them when they returned, and they wouldn't even have to roll down their windows to start cooling off the car!

As a guy who was a teenager during the 1970s Energy Crisis, I'm even more deeply conflicted at this waste of "free" energy...

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2016, 02:27:09 PM »
Do you need a key to unplug an electric vehicle?

sokoloff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2016, 03:18:35 PM »
If it's a Nissan LEAF (and probably others), there is a telematic system on the car so the owner might have set it that way as they were starting checkout from the grocery. (Similar to remote car starter.)

There are also cooling fans that have to run during battery charging under some conditions, and that would be legitimate under any circumstances.

sokoloff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2016, 03:48:25 PM »
Do you need a key to unplug an electric vehicle?
Some have locks on the charger cable. I never use the lock on mine just in case some self-righteous jackass wants to come by and unplug my car, I'd rather not have them damage something.

MilesTeg

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2016, 04:13:06 PM »
More likely than not it was the battery cooling system. Charging batteries generate substantial heat when being charged and have to be actively cooled.

gaja

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2016, 04:59:47 PM »
You don't get any more power at the charging station if you run the ac or heater, you just reduce the charging speed to an annoyingly slow trickle. So I agree with the theory that it was probably the cooling system for the batteries you heard.

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2016, 05:23:07 PM »
You don't get any more power at the charging station if you run the ac or heater, you just reduce the charging speed to an annoyingly slow trickle. So I agree with the theory that it was probably the cooling system for the batteries you heard.

I don't know if I believe this.  It certainly doesn't have to work that way, but I don't design EVs either

Nords

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2016, 08:12:46 PM »
Do you need a key to unplug an electric vehicle?
Oh my.

Two words:  surveillance cameras...

If it's a Nissan LEAF (and probably others), there is a telematic system on the car so the owner might have set it that way as they were starting checkout from the grocery. (Similar to remote car starter.)
There are also cooling fans that have to run during battery charging under some conditions, and that would be legitimate under any circumstances.
More likely than not it was the battery cooling system. Charging batteries generate substantial heat when being charged and have to be actively cooled.
You don't get any more power at the charging station if you run the ac or heater, you just reduce the charging speed to an annoyingly slow trickle. So I agree with the theory that it was probably the cooling system for the batteries you heard.
Good point on the remote start.  I'm willing to cut a little slack for that.

Cooling fans and air-conditioning compressors have different noises!  This vehicle was jamming refrigerant, and it could've been cooling the battery too.  The noise was more than some internal-combustion engines, and way more than I usually hear from an electric vehicle.  Yet our tropical weather is not exactly Florida or Texas.

It's an egregious example, but it's only part of a perturbing trend.  Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy. 

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2016, 09:19:34 PM »
Some have locks on the charger cable. I never use the lock on mine just in case some self-righteous jackass wants to come by and unplug my car, I'd rather not have them damage something.

Most of the EV owners I know leave it unlocked so people can swap plugs around when one car is finished, but that's at a "office garage" type situation.

Do you need a key to unplug an electric vehicle?
Oh my.

Two words:  surveillance cameras...

Cooling fans and air-conditioning compressors have different noises!  This vehicle was jamming refrigerant, and it could've been cooling the battery too.  The noise was more than some internal-combustion engines, and way more than I usually hear from an electric vehicle.  Yet our tropical weather is not exactly Florida or Texas.

What kind of electric car was it?  That matters a lot, because there are a number of different systems in place for battery thermal management.

If it's a Leaf, it was the cabin air conditioner, because they don't actually have battery thermal management to speak of.

If it was a Volt or a BMW i3, they both have cooling loops for the battery that tie into the refrigerant cycle.

If it was a Tesla, they're well known for being insanely loud while supercharging.  Not sure if that was the case or not, but supercharging a Tesla is abut the loudest you'll ever hear one.

In any case, doing climate control on them while charging makes sense, because it takes a lot of energy to heat or cool them if they're hot soaked/cold soaked, and otherwise that comes straight out of the range.  It's not a big deal with a gas engine because running the AC compressor at 100% doesn't take that much power and there's plenty of waste heat anyway, but it really affects range on the EVs.

Quote
Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Oh, I think they'll understand it very, very well.

Nords

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2016, 12:05:23 AM »
Cooling fans and air-conditioning compressors have different noises!  This vehicle was jamming refrigerant, and it could've been cooling the battery too.  The noise was more than some internal-combustion engines, and way more than I usually hear from an electric vehicle.  Yet our tropical weather is not exactly Florida or Texas.

What kind of electric car was it?  That matters a lot, because there are a number of different systems in place for battery thermal management.

If it's a Leaf, it was the cabin air conditioner, because they don't actually have battery thermal management to speak of.
Yep, it was a Leaf.

gaja

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2016, 03:18:41 AM »
You don't get any more power at the charging station if you run the ac or heater, you just reduce the charging speed to an annoyingly slow trickle. So I agree with the theory that it was probably the cooling system for the batteries you heard.

I don't know if I believe this.  It certainly doesn't have to work that way, but I don't design EVs either

Well, it could of course be just me doing something wrong for the last three years when I've been charging my EVs.

There are three main types of charging systems for EVs:
-the "emergency plug", that a lot of people use for normal charging. This is normally capped at 3kW. It plugs into the wall socket, and has a 20x5 cm lump between the car and the plug, to regulate the charging
-the type2mode3 plug, where you can charge up to 43 kW with the Renault Zoe, and up to 6 kW with some Nissans. All the safety stuff sits in the wall box, so the cable itself has no box.
-Speed chargers, at 50KW and upwards. Normal plugs are ChaDeMo and CCS, Tesla has its own solutions.

Full blown heating or cooling pulls a lot of power in the car. My guess (based on how my cars have behaved) is at least 1-2 kW. If you are charging with the "normal" plug, or didn't bother to pay for the upgrade to a 6kW charger on your Nissan, you only have 1-2kW left to charge the battery. When you also know that the battery refuses to charge if the amp is less than 6A (1.38kW), you can see how this would be a problem. I have upgraded the "emergency charger" to on that can be regulated between 6, 10 and 16 A. If I plug in my car at home overnight, I usually set it at 6A. If I then want to heat it while it is plugged in, it will stop charging. The same happened in Iceland; cold night on a camping place, needing a full battery the next morning to get to the next stop, and only 6A available at the plug. There was some advanced mathematics being performed in the middle of the night to calculate how much time we could spend heating the car and still be able to leave relatively early the next day.

Charging at 6kW you will still feel the reduced charging speed, while at 50kW there won't really be an issue.

sokoloff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2016, 05:22:41 AM »
What kind of electric car was it?  That matters a lot, because there are a number of different systems in place for battery thermal management.

If it's a Leaf, it was the cabin air conditioner, because they don't actually have battery thermal management to speak of.
Yep, it was a Leaf.
The LEAF doesn't have active battery cooling, but does run the inverter cooling pump all the time while charging by design (and the radiator fans when needed, which are loud).

If you want to be sure it's the AC, look on the climate control panel for the A/C light. Or, you know, you could just go about your business and worry a little less about someone else is doing. :shrug:

-the "emergency plug", that a lot of people use for normal charging. This is normally capped at 3kW. It plugs into the wall socket, and has a 20x5 cm lump between the car and the plug, to regulate the charging
The trickle charger is limited to 12 Amps and 120V in the US, so a little under 1.5kW in the US. I think you're in the EU, which uses a 240V supply, so you get twice as much power during trickle charging. IOW, you're right for the EU, but that doesn't transfer to the US.

gaja

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2016, 05:44:25 AM »
What kind of electric car was it?  That matters a lot, because there are a number of different systems in place for battery thermal management.

If it's a Leaf, it was the cabin air conditioner, because they don't actually have battery thermal management to speak of.
Yep, it was a Leaf.
The LEAF doesn't have active battery cooling, but does run the inverter cooling pump all the time while charging by design (and the radiator fans when needed, which are loud).

If you want to be sure it's the AC, look on the climate control panel for the A/C light. Or, you know, you could just go about your business and worry a little less about someone else is doing. :shrug:

-the "emergency plug", that a lot of people use for normal charging. This is normally capped at 3kW. It plugs into the wall socket, and has a 20x5 cm lump between the car and the plug, to regulate the charging
The trickle charger is limited to 12 Amps and 120V in the US, so a little under 1.5kW in the US. I think you're in the EU, which uses a 240V supply, so you get twice as much power during trickle charging. IOW, you're right for the EU, but that doesn't transfer to the US.
I'm in Europe, outside the EU, but you are right about the 240V. The conclusion from what you are saying is that there is even less power left for charging in the US if you use the heater or AC.

sokoloff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2016, 07:29:26 AM »
I'm in Europe, outside the EU, but you are right about the 240V. The conclusion from what you are saying is that there is even less power left for charging in the US if you use the heater or AC.
Correct. I use it only on very cold mornings to pre-heat the car and that's after trickle charging. It seems on some days that it may have even taken more power than the EVSE was supplying.

GetItRight

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2016, 11:39:36 AM »
Hedonistic luxury to even have air conditioning, but to each his own. The absurdity is if that was your tax dollars paying that person's fuel bill. Hopefully it was paid for by the owner of the car or the store or shopping center. I've not seen any such charging stations local to me so not sure how payment works.

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2016, 11:41:03 AM »
You don't get any more power at the charging station if you run the ac or heater, you just reduce the charging speed to an annoyingly slow trickle. So I agree with the theory that it was probably the cooling system for the batteries you heard.

I don't know if I believe this.  It certainly doesn't have to work that way, but I don't design EVs either

Well, it could of course be just me doing something wrong for the last three years when I've been charging my EVs.

There are three main types of charging systems for EVs:
-the "emergency plug", that a lot of people use for normal charging. This is normally capped at 3kW. It plugs into the wall socket, and has a 20x5 cm lump between the car and the plug, to regulate the charging
-the type2mode3 plug, where you can charge up to 43 kW with the Renault Zoe, and up to 6 kW with some Nissans. All the safety stuff sits in the wall box, so the cable itself has no box.
-Speed chargers, at 50KW and upwards. Normal plugs are ChaDeMo and CCS, Tesla has its own solutions.

Full blown heating or cooling pulls a lot of power in the car. My guess (based on how my cars have behaved) is at least 1-2 kW. If you are charging with the "normal" plug, or didn't bother to pay for the upgrade to a 6kW charger on your Nissan, you only have 1-2kW left to charge the battery. When you also know that the battery refuses to charge if the amp is less than 6A (1.38kW), you can see how this would be a problem. I have upgraded the "emergency charger" to on that can be regulated between 6, 10 and 16 A. If I plug in my car at home overnight, I usually set it at 6A. If I then want to heat it while it is plugged in, it will stop charging. The same happened in Iceland; cold night on a camping place, needing a full battery the next morning to get to the next stop, and only 6A available at the plug. There was some advanced mathematics being performed in the middle of the night to calculate how much time we could spend heating the car and still be able to leave relatively early the next day.

Charging at 6kW you will still feel the reduced charging speed, while at 50kW there won't really be an issue.

Oh ok I didn't know

gaja

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2016, 12:31:40 PM »
Hedonistic luxury to even have air conditioning, but to each his own. The absurdity is if that was your tax dollars paying that person's fuel bill. Hopefully it was paid for by the owner of the car or the store or shopping center. I've not seen any such charging stations local to me so not sure how payment works.

The slowest chargers are usually free where I have travelled (paid for by tax dollars, car sellers or shops), because it would cost more to get the money than the cost of the electricity. YMMV, based on calculations shown above and electricity prices, but we are usually talking less than $1/hour, often as low as $.1/hour

Nords

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2016, 02:25:09 PM »
Hedonistic luxury to even have air conditioning, but to each his own. The absurdity is if that was your tax dollars paying that person's fuel bill. Hopefully it was paid for by the owner of the car or the store or shopping center. I've not seen any such charging stations local to me so not sure how payment works.

The slowest chargers are usually free where I have travelled (paid for by tax dollars, car sellers or shops), because it would cost more to get the money than the cost of the electricity. YMMV, based on calculations shown above and electricity prices, but we are usually talking less than $1/hour, often as low as $.1/hour
Yes to a taxpayer subsidy and an absurd waste of energy.  In this case the shopping center has two charging stations which are free to the customers, while the shopping center pays for the electricity at 30 cents/KWHr.  (The charging stations were bought by a Hawaii/DOE taxpayer-funded initiative.)  The shopping center assumes that the customers are shopping there by preference ("free recharge!") and spending money in the stores that otherwise would've been spent at nearby competing shopping centers (without charging stations).

This shopping center has plenty of roof space for a 400+ KW photovoltaic system, but (for whatever reason) they haven't invested in it.  I suspect HECO would be very unhappy with that grid-tied application because the Wal-Mart next door to the shopping center has already filled its roof with PV panels and the surrounding community (14,000 homes) already has something like 100% grid penetration.  (I'm pretty sure that's at least half of the homes if not more.)  HECO would certainly insist on doing a load analysis ($25K) and would probably use the application as the justification to make the shopping center owner upgrade a whole bunch of HECO's grid-control systems in the neighborhood.  Those are all good things in the long term but nobody wants to step up and make the investment.

Volta, a Hawaii-grown startup, builds charging kiosks equipped with advertising panels.  Last I heard they'd driven the unit cost down to about $5000.  They'll install the charging kiosks in a shopping center for free (which the shopping center loves) and then Volta sells the kiosk's ad space.  The payback on their investment is less than a year and after that it's just selling advertising space.
http://venturebeat.com/2015/06/10/volta-wants-to-power-your-electric-car-with-ads-and-it-just-raised-7-5m/
At the time Volta was raising the seed round with Hawaii Angels, Scott Mercer (the guy standing next to the kiosk) was still in the UH MBA program but was planning to drop out to work on the company.  They probably gave him credit for life experience...

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2016, 08:30:09 AM »
Nords - It sounds like you've stumbled upon Rebound Theory, and it's bothering you.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/12/20/the-efficiency-dilemma

Nords

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2016, 09:17:15 AM »
Nords - It sounds like you've stumbled upon Rebound Theory, and it's bothering you.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/12/20/the-efficiency-dilemma
Sure.  I'm fine with a rebound effect due to population growth (more people is theoretically better up to a point) or a leap in the economy (better tech) or an improvement in the standard of living (cheaper power).

But it bothers me when people waste more energy for a hedonic convenience that they only achieved by boosting their energy efficiency.  It's like getting a pay raise and using the $100 bills to light cigars at the promotion party instead of saving some of it for retirement. 

I'm not suggesting that we should all live like Tibetan monks.  But I think it's a blatant waste of resources to maintain an air-conditioned bubble in a vacant vehicle when most of that can be achieved by rolling down a window.

And as I mentioned in my first post in the other thread ("Shut off that engine!") it's a conditioned reflex.

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2016, 11:15:47 AM »
Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Perhaps I'm ignorant on the topic, but why is this a problem? If they have a self-sustaining power supply that is using the sun's energy that is beating down on us anyways, why should they or anyone care about running the AC constantly? I don't believe there's an environmental impact if it's a properly installed central AC unit.

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2016, 12:22:42 PM »
Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Perhaps I'm ignorant on the topic, but why is this a problem? If they have a self-sustaining power supply that is using the sun's energy that is beating down on us anyways, why should they or anyone care about running the AC constantly? I don't believe there's an environmental impact if it's a properly installed central AC unit.

Presumably, power being fungible, the solar power would otherwise be taking load off a peaking plant (bad for environment)

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2016, 12:34:19 PM »
Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Perhaps I'm ignorant on the topic, but why is this a problem? If they have a self-sustaining power supply that is using the sun's energy that is beating down on us anyways, why should they or anyone care about running the AC constantly? I don't believe there's an environmental impact if it's a properly installed central AC unit.

Presumably, power being fungible, the solar power would otherwise be taking load off a peaking plant (bad for environment)

To me that's like saying if you save up extra money during the month, you should transfer it to your neighbor who is a little short.  If someone wants to generate power using solar by making that investment, they should be able to use that power created however they wish. 

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2016, 01:44:08 PM »
Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Perhaps I'm ignorant on the topic, but why is this a problem? If they have a self-sustaining power supply that is using the sun's energy that is beating down on us anyways, why should they or anyone care about running the AC constantly? I don't believe there's an environmental impact if it's a properly installed central AC unit.

Presumably, power being fungible, the solar power would otherwise be taking load off a peaking plant (bad for environment)

To me that's like saying if you save up extra money during the month, you should transfer it to your neighbor who is a little short.  If someone wants to generate power using solar by making that investment, they should be able to use that power created however they wish.

No, it's like saying if your neighbor wants to buy your old rake instead of buying an expensive new one, you should be able to break it in half instead.  In that case, "you're not wrong, you're just an asshole."

Syonyk

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2016, 02:43:11 PM »
If "better use" is the metric, better stop using computers. Those resources could do something else.

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2016, 03:30:16 PM »
If "better use" is the metric, better stop using computers. Those resources could do something else.

Who are you quoting?

Syonyk

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2016, 04:10:36 PM »
Mostly this.

Presumably, power being fungible, the solar power would otherwise be taking load off a peaking plant (bad for environment)

But the attitude seems to be, "Even though it's solar, they're wasting it!  They could be sending that energy somewhere better!"

Which is a rather slick slippery slope to head down.

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2016, 04:28:10 PM »
Mostly this.

Presumably, power being fungible, the solar power would otherwise be taking load off a peaking plant (bad for environment)

But the attitude seems to be, "Even though it's solar, they're wasting it!  They could be sending that energy somewhere better!"

Which is a rather slick slippery slope to head down.

I didn't say anything about "better use."  I'm just saying why it's bad for the environment to "waste" electricity.

Syonyk

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2016, 05:00:04 PM »
And yet here you are, using a computer to post on the internet. :)  Wouldn't it be better for the environment to not do that?

Nords

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2016, 05:28:44 PM »
Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Perhaps I'm ignorant on the topic, but why is this a problem? If they have a self-sustaining power supply that is using the sun's energy that is beating down on us anyways, why should they or anyone care about running the AC constantly? I don't believe there's an environmental impact if it's a properly installed central AC unit.
From your perspective of the self-sustaining power supply, it's not a problem.  Like the old snack-food slogan, "Eat all you want-- we'll make more!"

However from a thermodynamics perspective they're cooling a space which lacks insulation.  Instead of investing a few thousand bucks on permanent passive cooling, they're burning hundreds of kilowatt-hours on active cooling (as long as their A/C plant lasts).  Regardless of the price (free!), they're wasting energy and resources.

Hawaii homes from the 1980s are built of single-wall or double-wall construction with no insulation.  Zero.  None.  Single-wall designs are board & batten.  Double-wall designs (most of our neighborhood) are 2x4 studs with drywall on one side, Masonite siding on the other, and just air in between.  Single-pane windows.  The roofs are plywood sheathing with asphalt shingles. 

More modern homes (since about 2005) are usually built with more insulation, but there's no mandate.  The state passed a law in 2010 requiring all new homes to be built with solar water heaters, and even that initiative was bitterly opposed.  (Especially by the island's small businesses which retrofitted solar water heating to older homes.)  However there are still thousands of homes on the islands heating their water with electricity.

We've extensively remodeled our 1980s home over the last 15 years.  I'm sitting 50 feet away from the neighbor's uninsulated air-conditioned bubble.  Our house has a roof with heat-reflective shingles and two inches of icynene foam insulation and reflective foil, our attics have solar-powered exhaust fans, our walls have shredded denim batts and reflective foil, and we use low-e double-pane tinted windows.  Our house cools off at night (open windows) and during the day doesn't start to warm up until well into the afternoon.  Their house probably cools off at night, yet their attic must heat up to at least 125 degrees by noon.  At 1 PM in May, the outside ambient air temperature is 76 degrees.  They have all of their windows shut and the air conditioning is running flat out to keep the house cool.

A rough analogy would be living in a winter climate surrounded by a sustainably-managed forest.  You have more firewood than you'll ever need because you can grow it faster than you have to harvest it-- but would you open the home's doors & windows in December and just have a huge woodstove roaring away in every room?

Sustainable or not, even when it's free, they're wasting energy.  Just like keeping a Nissan Leaf interior chilled by A/C while the car's battery is recharging.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 05:30:24 PM by Nords »

Syonyk

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2016, 05:34:53 PM »
Sustainable or not, even when it's free, they're wasting energy.  Just like keeping a Nissan Leaf interior chilled by A/C while the car's battery is recharging.

If it's hot, and you're about to make a drive near the limits of the car's range, the energy used from the battery pack to cool the car will significantly affect the range.  So pre-cooling actually is useful with an electric car.

*shrug*  Rant on.

sokoloff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2016, 06:49:04 PM »
Sustainable or not, even when it's free, they're wasting energy.  Just like keeping a Nissan Leaf interior chilled by A/C while the car's battery is recharging.
If it's hot, and you're about to make a drive near the limits of the car's range, the energy used from the battery pack to cool the car will significantly affect the range.  So pre-cooling actually is useful with an electric car.
Absolutely correct. It's about 10% range hit to run the phase-change heater or air conditioner at high demand. (It might be even more to run the resistance heater on the base model.)

dragoncar

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2016, 07:06:52 PM »
And yet here you are, using a computer to post on the internet. :)  Wouldn't it be better for the environment to not do that?

There is no significantly more efficient way to meet my computing needs.  The same cannot be said for meeting the cooling needs of a poorly insulated home cooled 24/7 by A/C.

P.S. if I was using some 1kw computing monstrosity, then I would totally agree that I am hurting the environment with my choices.  Even though it's totally my right and all
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 07:08:34 PM by dragoncar »

mwulff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2016, 11:46:26 PM »
As an EV owner I would add some observations:

1. You can run the AC while plugged in to pre-cool the car.

2. You normally only do this about 5-10 minutes before you get into the car as it reduces charging speed / eats battery

3. Ev like Zoe and Leaf have passively managed batteries, so the only fan you will hear is the ac fan.

4. Teslas have active cooling of the pack and will run it's fan when needed.

5. It is very likely that the owner was returning to his car in order to go somewhere.

6. He could have set up his climate-timer wrong and the car would be cooling itself for no reasen, it happens.

7. The power consumption of the recirculate-air AC mode is very low, the car will use more power driving just a few hundred meters.

Let's lay off the ev owners, even if they use their fancy pants phones to cool their fancy pants cool car. :)

sokoloff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2016, 11:27:34 AM »
As an EV owner I would add some observations:

3. Ev like Zoe and Leaf have passively managed batteries, so the only fan you will hear is the ac fan.
Incorrect, at least for the LEAF.

The LEAF will run the electric coolant pump (quiet) to cool the charger while charging. If the coolant rises enough in temp, the radiator fans will kick on to help with the heat exchange. All of that can happen without the AC being on.

Reynold

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2016, 01:08:21 PM »
The slowest chargers are usually free where I have travelled (paid for by tax dollars, car sellers or shops), because it would cost more to get the money than the cost of the electricity. YMMV, based on calculations shown above and electricity prices, but we are usually talking less than $1/hour, often as low as $.1/hour

Rode in a friend's EV in Atlanta, GA, and the restaurant we parked at to eat had a charging station which charged something like $2/hour.  He picked the restaurant because of that station, so the station worked to bring them business, and he happily paid the fee even though the car was basically charged (it charged based on time, btw, not electricity) because otherwise parking was almost impossible to find around there. 

Conversely I have a co-worker with a Tesla in Arizona, and when he goes to work he parks a couple of blocks away at a shopping center with free charging, and he parks it there for the day to charge it.  In general he doesn't even charge it at home, so he gets "free" mileage for pretty much all his driving.  That one doesn't work out so well for the shopping center, though he may buy things there sometimes, I don't really know. 

MilesTeg

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2016, 02:55:42 PM »
Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Perhaps I'm ignorant on the topic, but why is this a problem? If they have a self-sustaining power supply that is using the sun's energy that is beating down on us anyways, why should they or anyone care about running the AC constantly? I don't believe there's an environmental impact if it's a properly installed central AC unit.
From your perspective of the self-sustaining power supply, it's not a problem.  Like the old snack-food slogan, "Eat all you want-- we'll make more!"

However from a thermodynamics perspective they're cooling a space which lacks insulation.  Instead of investing a few thousand bucks on permanent passive cooling, they're burning hundreds of kilowatt-hours on active cooling (as long as their A/C plant lasts).  Regardless of the price (free!), they're wasting energy and resources.

Solar energy provided by the sun is effectively inexhaustible. Complaining about people "wasting" it is ridiculous in the extreme.

forummm

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2016, 06:07:49 PM »
Our next-door neighbors recently installed a 7 KW photovoltaic system, and then they replaced their home's old (broken) air-conditioning system with a new one.  (The owner said it was broken for the last few years because they couldn't afford to run it anyway.)  Now they run their high-efficiency A/C system almost constantly because it's "free".  This is almost literally constantly because our neighborhood homes lack insulation, energy-efficient windows, and other ways to maintain a temperature difference.  But it's free energy so they don't have to care, right?

Someday our grandkids will probably wonder why anyone would try to conserve energy.

Perhaps I'm ignorant on the topic, but why is this a problem? If they have a self-sustaining power supply that is using the sun's energy that is beating down on us anyways, why should they or anyone care about running the AC constantly? I don't believe there's an environmental impact if it's a properly installed central AC unit.
From your perspective of the self-sustaining power supply, it's not a problem.  Like the old snack-food slogan, "Eat all you want-- we'll make more!"

However from a thermodynamics perspective they're cooling a space which lacks insulation.  Instead of investing a few thousand bucks on permanent passive cooling, they're burning hundreds of kilowatt-hours on active cooling (as long as their A/C plant lasts).  Regardless of the price (free!), they're wasting energy and resources.

Solar energy provided by the sun is effectively inexhaustible. Complaining about people "wasting" it is ridiculous in the extreme.

Since the grid isn't 100% solar, and there is a limited installed capacity to provide solar energy, then using more energy means you are using more non-solar energy.

nobodyspecial

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2016, 08:55:36 PM »
Solar energy provided by the sun is effectively inexhaustible. Complaining about people "wasting" it is ridiculous in the extreme.
Solar energy from the sun is the major cause of global warming. We need to fight the nuclear menace in our skies

mwulff

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Re: "Shut off that inverter!!"
« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2016, 11:56:24 PM »
As an EV owner I would add some observations:

3. Ev like Zoe and Leaf have passively managed batteries, so the only fan you will hear is the ac fan.
Incorrect, at least for the LEAF.

The LEAF will run the electric coolant pump (quiet) to cool the charger while charging. If the coolant rises enough in temp, the radiator fans will kick on to help with the heat exchange. All of that can happen without the AC being on.

You are correct, the charger will be cooled if it heats up too much. I had completely forgotten about that. Still my other points stand :) Thanks for the correction.