"Green" Power?

I'm planning to put a layout in a shed. I had been assuming I would run a sheilded cable from the house for electricity.
Then, today, I saw a narrow boat with a windmill on it and wondered if I could dispense with a mains connection and use "green power". After all if they can run things like lights and a TV .....
Has anyone one else tried this? I'm thinking I'd be running lights (in the shed) and possibly a computer in addition to the layout. I've got an old laptop which will run what I need so 19.9vdc 3.4a for that and I could use low voltage dc lighting. So far, so DC but I want to use DCC to control the trains and the reason for the computer is to apply train control/points/signalling (one day). I might want some heating too. I'll have space for batteries and our house is in a good position for wind power. Unfortunately the roof of the shed won't be ideally placed for solar pv but I can find a way around that.
Yes, it's probably a pipe dream but if you don't ask....
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Graham Harrison wrote:

Solar panels and/or wind power will charge batteries. That covers lights, train power and computer. (you can buy whatsits so that you can operate computers in cars) Heating from 12 volt batteries isn't really practical, but you could insulate and double glaze without breaking the bank. Emergency heat would have to come from other old-fashioned means. Assuming you're like normal people and only spend a few hours per day in your shed quite a modest solar panel or car generator wind generator with a couple of adequate car batteries will be sufficient.
Greg.P. NZ
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On Tue, 27 Nov 2007 19:38:30 -0000, "Graham Harrison"

Well if you get a narrowboat with a windmill it would save building a shed.
G.harman
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wrote:

Hmm. Problem 1 - no canal/river at the bottom of the garden (or anywhere near). But then I suppose I could dry dock it in the garden! Problem 2 - shape of the resulting layout. Not sure I want to build a 72 foot long shunting yard!
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On Tue, 27 Nov 2007 21:00:23 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@interalpha.couk wrote:

    Are there such things as Controllers which will operate from low DC? Otherwise an inverter will be called for.
The people of North Sutherland (Loch 'orrible & environs) all used fields full of old lorry batteries with wind powered turbines up until the 70's when they gratefully grabbed the mains supply offered!
    As we all tend to instant gratification these days I would supplement the Green energy with a power cable ( in the Andrew 'lectricity was always green in any case.)
    I am not sure that a garden corner porting solar panels, a frenectic or stationary wind turbine and I suppose a few violently rattling hailyards with Inglefield clips beating out on an aluminium mast would completely meet the approbation of the neighbours. (he, he) Regards
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A lot of DCC systems (as per the OPs requirement) have external transformers. Anything that will run on low V AC will be fine on low V DC.
MBQ
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

The specs for the Digitrax systems mention low voltage AC and DC for input minimum 16V though.
Chris
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Graham Harrison wrote:

You might want to discuss it with neighbours first? Some take extreme exception to having a wind turbine within sight and earshot of their homes. As for being "green", I suspect more energy is used in the manufacture of a wind turbine than will ever be used by a model railway over its lifetime.
(kim)
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Have a read of this article from Toms Hardware, it covers the principles and test bed for a solar powered PC, the methods etc should be transferrable.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/solar-livetest,review-29627.html
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One should make sure both the shed and 'turbine' are securely anchored. I have just been reading a story in a magazine about a chap who wind-powered his shed without making sure it was securely anchored. I'll leave the group to imagine what happened in some very high winds !!!
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I do have neighbours but not very many - I live in the countryside. One of my sillier thoughts had been to approach them all with a suggestion for a co-operative power scheme. In the immediate vicinty there are 7 other households. We're on the side of a hill so if I put the windmill/panels uphill from my house I don't believe any of those 7 would see it (some hedgerow trees help in one case). That's not to say noone would see it - there is one house uphill (but about a quarter of a mile away) and two more down the lane who might be able to see it from upstairs windows.
The idea of a flying shed is amusing. I had already recognised that attaching a windmill might not be appropriate - I have heard it suggested that some houses may not be appropriate either. On the other hand, there are windmills and windmills. I tend to think of something like an old wind driven corn mill (think Windy Miller!) but I have seen pictures of wind driven turbines (maybe a better term than windmill) that one could almost wrap around a chimney. Oh - I'm going into dreamland again.
Tom's hardware is interesting. They comment that driving a laptop was deemed simple so they went to build a desktop and found they had to build something specialised.
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Ypu have to remember laptops are already designed to be low power usage etc, so what you would have been doing with that is vharging the laptops battery.
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Try www.greenphase.com/wind.html
Pity you don't live near to the House of Commons as with all the hot air coming from that lot over the past few days you could power a full scale railway.
Possibly the best way to heat a shed by a wind turbine is via a heat pump .... to be honest it would be cheaper by many times over to run your shielded cable from your domestic mains !
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2007 09:28:07 -0800 (PST), Dragon Heart

My shed is heated by a home made heat pump arrangement. Got almost everything from skips so it hardly cost anything. Couple of old radiators and an adapted Beer cooler. The cooler instead of cooling a water bath too ice and loosing the heat through a cooling fan normally situated outside a cooled pub cellar now dumps the heat into the radiators in the shed. The water bath has been linked to a couple of water butts so it takes a fair few hours to get them really cold when the efficiency drops a bit. Takes about 800 watts from the mains and brings the temp up just as fast as a 2kw heater I used before. The shed is well insulated and once the temp reaches the 70's F stays well warm enough for a few hours in there with just the reflected heat from a couple of ex shop fluorescent light unit banks also found by skipmining. I hate working with shadows. G.Harman
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