washing machines

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astar

washing machines

Post by astar »

Hi there :)

I'm shifting into a housetruck this year and am thinking through clothes washing options. I need to know how feasible it is to run a washing machine from solar. I'd have to get a modern front loader that is water and power efficient, and I'd have to upgrade the solar system (only got DC at the moment) which I am probably going to do any way.
Sharkey
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Post by Sharkey »

Welcome to the forum.

My experience is that my PV system makes more than enough power in full sun to run my Splendide 2000 horizontal axis washer. Of course, I have what would be a very large array were it mounted on a vehicle.

A better explanation would be to mention that you would need an inverter of no less than 2,000 watts and some fairly substantial batteries, then you would only need to be concerned with recharging the batteries after the wash was done. I would recommend only using a sine wave inverter, the motor in most washers would have a hard time with the modified square wave that most inexpensive inverters put out.

My washer includes a 700/1400 watt dryer element. This you probably wouldn't want to run from batteries, so line drying would be preferred.

Back issues of Home Power magazine have featured reviews of washing machines and their performance on RE systems, whcih might give you some insights into what to expect.
astar

Post by astar »

Thanks Sharkey! That's helpful information. I'll have to sit down and figure out the system now. Cheers.
Dualfuel
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washing machines

Post by Dualfuel »

Dear Mr. Sharkey,
I would like to share my experience with using solar for washing.
I have two regular OLD Whirlpools. I don't know the exact nomenclature but they both have belt driven transmissions with wig-wags.
The inverter is a 5000watt continous modified sine (purchased on ebay) powered with 8 T- 105s.
I can do more loads of wash then I have drying lines for. I've used the inverter to power the Whirlpools for 4 years now. No problems, no buzzing, no issues at all.
I have a 600watt dishwasher that works on the inverter too.
I always figured these machines would not work because of their timers but its never been a problem.
I guess I had to fly in the face of your sound advice. If thats not tolerated under your regime, please delete.
Yours,
Dualfuel
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Post by AccordGuy »

The main problem with washing machines is the heater.

In UK machines that work on 230V the heater can be a 3kW element. If you can heat the water with something else (gas?) and use the hot water feed on the machine instead of the built-in heater, then the rest of the machine has a much lower power requirement in terms of the spin motor and water pump plus the timer gubbins.

Of course if your machine will cold wash (15'C) and you use modern powder that is supposed to work at that temperature then that would be best.
rlaggren
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Post by rlaggren »

I read somewhere that detergent is _way_ oversold. Ie, you'd get 90% of the bang with no bucks at all - just water and agitation.

Rufus
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Post by Stealth Camper »

I have used about 1/4 of the recommended amount of detergent for many years. No complaints ever. Plus rinse is always easier so no residues to irritate.
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Post by Stealth Camper »

Dualfuel,
The modified sine wave may not effect the timer as much as the motors. The "noise" on the wave form is in the form of high voltage spikes at the 'switch' points of the semiconductor devices that drive the output. This can be as much as 2 or 3 times the nominal output voltage. (At a submersible pump company I worked at, the 'spikes' on a 4160 vac line could be 11,000vac ++. Same thing at 240vac - can be 800 or 900 or more.)

These spikes hit the end turns of the wires in the motor and can have very serious effects on the insulation. The closer to a real sine, the better. The submersibles were designed with extra insulation to take account of the effect.

If you can find "inverter duty" motors for the machine, then all will be well with the washing world for the modified sine output.
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