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I'm working on constructing a totally self sufficient (i.e. totally off grid) building in the wild.

I do not want to restrict myself to any particular source of power (hydro, solar, wind etc), but I want to build up my knowledge of electrical power systems (and supporting electronic circuitry such as invertors/ voltage boosters etc).

The goal being that I will be able to create a composite power system that:

  1. Combines multiple power sources of different types (DC/AC) and different voltages and currents
  2. Produces an A/C output of a required frequency, current and voltage

Wherever possible, I would also like to be able to build the circuitry required (inverters, balance of system etc.)

I was a passionate electronics enthusiast in my youth - so I have some basic electronics experience (though most forgotten - the interest is still there), I am a software engineer by profession - so programming microcontrollers/EPROMS etc is something I can definitely do.

My question then is this:

Given the objectives listed above, what is the best course of study (links please) to help build the competence level required to do build my own power system as described above.

Note: I am fully aware that power systems can be lethal if appropriate care is not taken - I can assure you that I will always verify from a professional, before I do anything - so don't worry!.

Does this question belong in engineering?

  • I feel this would be better suited to the Electrical Engineering SE site electronics.stackexchange.com, but perhaps it's worth seeing if you get an answer here anyway. – Highly Irregular Mar 9 '17 at 20:19
  • And this would seem to be impossibly broad. You're asking how to become a highly-skilled electrical and electronics engineer; that sounds like a six-year training programme. That's not something we can really handle on any Stack Exchange. – EnergyNumbers Mar 10 '17 at 5:12
  • @EnergyNumbers Not really, in terms of electricity, I'm only asking of the knowledge required to combine different voltages and currents - no disrespect, but this should be relatively straightforward. In terms of the electronics, there are only a fixed number of devices (AFAIK) - namely; invertors, phasor measusrement units and voltage regulators. This is the lay man's view (i.e. mine, from what I've gathered so far) - I would like the view of someone who's actually implemented such a system. – Homunculus Reticulli Mar 10 '17 at 6:51
  • Don't forget that you also need (or are required, if you have fire insurance) to build a safe installation. It is not that straightforward. – Jan Doggen Mar 10 '17 at 8:48
  • @JanDoggen: That (i.e. safety aspect) is taken as a given. What I want to do, is basically come up with the basics of a system that meets my goals and required functionality - and then get a professional electrical engineer (acting in the role of a consultant) to "kick the tires" and suggest improvements/modifications etc where needed – Homunculus Reticulli Mar 10 '17 at 11:18
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it is very likely you have already checked this but if you have not: http://www.earthship.org, they have some designs combining wind and solar.

If your terrain has a good water current you can also apply a water mill generator (depending on climate could be your most reliable energy source). You can put converters in your circuit but it is best to first plan your consumption (with some proper forecast if you see yourself expanding your electrical consumption) and then design the best system to fit your needs.

I am also planning to build a completely off-grid home and would be very keen to share plans with you if you are interested.

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