Conclusion [and further developments WRT KISS wind generation] (was) Re: Water Heater experience sought mo
- Thanks to all who made recommendations for our water heater replacement.
What follows is how we got to where we ended up, which was a Super-Stor 6
gallon unit, from Defender.
One of our driving data points was that we have a KISS wind generator. The
controller for that unit has a diversion mode for times when the batteries
are full, but the generator keeps on making electricity.
In our case, that diversion was directed to a dual-voltage heater element in
our Raritan. The element looks essentially the same as one you'd find in the
hardware store - a 6-sided place to put a 1.5" socket, or one of the units
pressed from conduit or fence post material available cheaply in the
plumbing departments. We replaced the Raritan unit with this dual voltage
unit, provided by Hotwire, the alternative energy vendor. That's quite an
expensive unit, so we wanted to keep it, and went looking for other units
which could use it.
Isotherm won the heating and keeping-it-hot race hands down, but only a
model which had been discontinued had a screw-in element, and at that, it
required an adapter at another $40. The discontinued part had us abandon
that potential as unlikely to be available in the future. We liked it for
its horizontal orientation - it could have allowed us to use a 12 gallon
Super-Stor uses the same "wrench" (1.5") size and thread pattern heating
element as the Raritan unit, and it was a close second in the make-it-hot
and keep-it-hot race, but the 12 gallon unit was just a little too tall for
the space available for us to install it, so we went with the 6 gallon.
Interestingly, not only was this less expensive at Defender, it was less
expensive than the Raritan unit it replaced.
Unfortunately, when we got it here, and removed the element, we found it to
be folded. That is, the two rods which made a loop also were back on
itself. You'll find those in the hardware department, sometimes, for high
efficiency heaters - you can double the surface area in a given space that
However, in this case, it was because the design of their heat exchanger
required a shorter element. Ours would not go in. Turning the air blue, I
considered sending it back and returning to the Raritan. Defender was quite
accommodating, should I decide to take that path.
However, on removal and post-mortem, we discovered that the reason the
Raritan leaked was a pinhole rust point in the welding on one of the heat
exchanger points in the galvanized shell. Super-Stor (and others) is
Stainless, less likely to have that problem. I really didn't want to return
However, the Hotwire guys have become personal friends, and after all the
research they did to finally confirm that Super-Stor's unit used the same
threads, kindly offered to exchange our (used!) element for their custom
designed heat dump.
We went that route. The heat dump (lots of watts of power sucked up from
the wind generator when the batteries are full) is located in a place where
it can't overheat anything. More importantly to me, though, is we're running
an incandescent (because LEDs are voltage sensitive) indicator light in
parallel with the dump. When we see the light, we'll make use of the excess
power in AC/inverter modes. With our 370W of solar, we're hoping that will
be a frequent occurrence. Running the computers, charging handhelds and
computer batteries, and the like will be a non-event to the house batteries
with the KISS providing the excess power
Initial experience with the Super-Stor has been great. Very quick to heat
up either with the AC element or heat exchanger, and keeps it hot for a
couple of days. Because the mounting is via tabs they provide, rather than
the molded-in base (thus having a wider radius than the tank itself) of the
Raritan, I was able to tuck it further out of the way and gain some more
storage space in the ER because the effective size was smaller (no extra
sticking out at the bottom).
Thanks again for all the great leads from all here and elsewhere. For others
without the dual-element concerns, the Iso-Therm is similarly priced, but
has a slightly superior retention of hot water, and is horizontal, which may
or may not be useful to you. Of note, however, it can also be wall mounted,
which may well be very helpful depending on your space configurations...
For those who have gotten this far (and therefore presumed interested in our
rehab/refit), a quickie update on our progress: We had a most marvelous 12
hour sea trial on Sunday a week ago, exposing some minor stuff, which is
being addressed as I type, or already finished. This week we're replacing
the entire motor mount system and still trying to slay the driveline flop
dragon (the drive shaft moves when rotating, despite fully aligned, straight
shaft and balanced/rebuilt prop). A laundry list of minor other stuff, none
of which would prevent our departure if we wanted to address it along the
way, but some of which will be easier here, with transportation and
mechanical assistance at hand, remains. ETD mid to late June...
Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !
Follow us at http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog and/or
"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)