If this house looks familiar to you, it probably because you've seen "Tiny, The Movie", Christopher Smith wonderful tiny movie about his experience building a tiny house. Did you know that there house is powered by SolMan solar generator? Read more about it here. Find out why Christopher chose SolMan and why you might want to do so as well.
One of the most common questions we are asked is how did we set up the electricity in our tiny house. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not that familiar with all the technical aspects of our system so here is what we said about it on our blog:
“We designed the solar for our cabin by first minimizing our needs - energy hogs like electric stoves, fridges, washer / dryer, air conditioning, water heaters, microwaves and such were ruled out. Our system provides lights, small fans, and plugs for small appliances. When we need to run construction tools or other items with large power needs, we use a portable generator. The generator can also recharge the batteries if we need it to.”
We both work from our tiny house. I use a laptop computer which probably draws the most power. Matt is able to do most of his work from a tablet which uses a lot less energy to run.
We don’t have a traditional refrigeration system. We did find a great invention called the Coleman Stirling Engine Cooler that was used by long haul truckers and boaters. Coleman doesn’t make them any more. Even at its coldest setting it draws very little power. We don’t use it as our primary cooling source, however. We set it on freeze and put ice packs inside which we then transfer to a regular cooler. We also changed the way we buy and eat food. We bought into a CSA and we make frequent trips to the farmer’s market to get fresher ingredients that we use faster.
We also didn’t install the recommended propane fueled boat heater in our tiny house. We live in the southern Appalachian Mountains and during the summer it will never get cold enough to need it. For now, we don’t plan to live in our tiny house over the winter months because we’ll take that time to travel and see family in other parts of the country.
Next time, I’ll share our water systems and how we have a pressurized shower without any indoor plumbing.
In the previous two posts we discussed a couple of off-grid options. Wind and Solar and how they can generate power for your tiny home.
For both these power sources you need a place to store and distribute the power. In this article I will show you a basic power station set up to run a tiny house on a part time basis.
This unit consists of a box that contains all of your storage requirements. Propane to fuel your stove and hot water heater and batteries and inverter to power your electrical needs.
Here is the basic box under construction. Built with three compartments. The right one holds your propane bottle.
The top left is for your inverter and meters and wiring. The bottom left holds two batteries for your storage which is generated from either your solar or wind power or both if you are set up that way.
The next photo shows the inverter and the wiring involved with the setup. One cord coming up from the batteries and the second one going into the inverter to convert the electricity to the right output.
In the following photograph you see the meter that lets you know the status of your charge, etc.
The next photo shows the connections to the battery and the wiring going up to the inverter.
Following are the two batteries that power this unit. This power station is set up as a camping unit which is mainly used on weekends so two batteries are sufficient. If you are living in your home full time more batteries may be required to fill your needs.
This photo shows the completed unit with the exterior wiring and switches and adaptors for bringing in the power and also using it externally.
This article is not a how to article but an illustration of a power station set up. You should consult a professional in setting up your home power unit so that it is done the right way and you can sleep peacefully knowing that your power unit is working properly.
Written by Kent Griswold (Tiny House Blog)