Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quilting at the cottage using solar

Now that is a catchy title, isn't it?  Our cottage is in the middle of nowhere and it is too far out to have electricity brought in.  So, we do what we can to make things function and the older we get, new technology is helping us get more comfortable.

During the day, hand quilting on the screened-in porch or inside the cottage is not a problem.  Lots of natural light.  Nighttime is a different story.  Until a few years ago, all we had were propane lights and they were not the best for hand work of any kind.

Below is a closer look at my hand quilting:
So, what to do about the nights and a poorly lit up cottage?  Enter solar and a 12volt battery (a car battery).  During the day, we put our battery (the item sitting on top of a pale colour piece of wood with wires and clamps) outside and hook it up to a solar panel (the mirror looking rectangular item).  A good day of sunshine will have the battery recharged by supper time.  The solar panel needs to be moved around as the sun moves around during the day so that we capture the full effect of the sun rays.
Once our battery is recharged and back inside the cottage, we hook it up to an inverter (the little black box on the right) and plug in a lamp (yellow cord) that has a low wattage light bulb and viola ..... instant lighting for a cozy evening of hand work or reading.  There is no noise with this system, so quiet.  When we want to run a vaccuum cleaner or a tool, we do have a generator that we can start up and use, but it is so noisy.  When it is time for bed, we unhook everything to save energy because that little inverter will keep using power unless it is shut down (unhooked).
Our battery is placed on a rug because if it sitting on a cold floor, the battery will slowly drain energy away.  We found this out by testing the voltage at night and then in the morning and we noticed a slight drain of energy.  The little things we have learned along the way.

What happens if it is a cloudy day?  The battery will still recharge a bit.  We could probably go about 3-4 days before recharging, but we like to have it charged up and ready all the time and we take advantage of the sun whenever we can.

So, now you know how we do it here in Canada. There are far more elaborate solar systems, but this works for us for the time being and it is not very expensive to purchase and install.

Have a great day!


Jennifer said...

That battery is a great idea! Your hand quilting is beautiful....that quilt will be done before you know it, a lovely souvenir of your time spent at the cottage.

belarmina said...

que guapo!!! me gusta el jardín de la abuela, y trabajando en esas condiciones lo hace mas querido

Design Originals by KC said...

Love your blog and your hand quilting is magnificent... Love your porch area too! What a great way to get light sans traditional electricity! love that :) Thanks for sharing how you do it too! Kathi

Quilter Kathy said...

What a great idea!
Love to see your stitching on this quilt!

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

We have the same solar panel and battery - we use it on the boat lift!

Susan said...

It's very efficient! Great idea, and you don't have to have a lot of $ output for a whole solar panel array.

Barb said...

incredible use of solar power!
Your quilt and stitching are beautiful.
That looks like a very cottagy quilt

Dora Valverde Méndez said...

Thank you for sharing tips and talents with others. Sure, I will use them!