Hello, I'm building a micro house (120 sqft) and I'm going to power it up with a thermo-electric generator and solar.
I'm definitely going with LiFePO4, and tentatively settled on " LiFePO4 Battery: 12v 20Ah (240Wh) with controller for Solar Power Storage (24.0) " from batteryspace.com
My plan is to pair the battery and controller with a 40Watt solar panel, the whole setup will run around a little over 300$.
Here is where I'd like some help:
I'm sure that I can feed TEG power (15V at 1A per unit, aiming for 60W after 15W prototype) into the LiFePO4 charge controller no problem so long as I don't exceed the controller's 120W limit, the machine should treat it just as if it were a partially shaded solar panel...
BUT I'd like to be able to supply the controller with the TEG at 15V and PV at 17V or so at the same time, and that seems like it might be a problem.
I think I understand that the battery in such a system acts to buffer the power supply when drawing 12V, but I'd really like to find out how to draw directly from the controller in times when power is abundant (the wood fire raging, sun is shining, the modest battery is already full) -otherwise it just seems like this would be unnecessary wear on the battery and possibly a bottleneck, not to mention the 20% loss of charge-to-battery-to-load. So how can I have automatic switching between battery charging, direct power to loads, and draw from battery when loads exceed power generated???
Basically I want the controller to do what I'd do if I could just stand there and micromanage:
Firstly: Run lights, pumps, radio, etc. from TEG and PV power sources.
Secondly: Send excess capacity to battery
Thirdly: Draw from battery when incoming supply is insufficient.
Any well meaning help is appreciated, the better the more of course. ;-)
Details unnecessary for the questions for those interested:
The appeal of TEG is that I can generate electricity whenever I'm burning wood for heat, long periods of bad weather are not going to run my batteries down so long as I don't mind keeping a fire, and keeping the cool side cool will synergize very well with water heating.
I realize that this isn't a lot of power capacity but the battery and controller fit with the small scale of the building, are very light, can be upgraded to 120W solar, can add more identical batteries, and as the whole setup is weatherproof I'll be able to re-purpose the whole system outdoors for a repeater, area light, small pump or other uses if I decide to upgrade later.
So basically I'm fine with it, want to get into LiFePO4 and am not interested in getting a bunch of lead acid batteries, light weight and long life is key, this project might well get hoisted up in the air to become a tree house before it's all over after all.