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Conclusion [and further developments WRT KISS wind generation] (was) Re: Water Heater experience sought mo

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  • Skip Gundlach
    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,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 4, 2007
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      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
      unit.

      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
      way.

      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
      to Raritan.

      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...

      L8R

      Skip

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      m
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