Friday, July 4, 2008

Wheat Grinder Power usage test...

I have a friend who is a solar power whiz and very knowledgeable in various other forms of alternative energy. One of my concerns with using my food storage is how am I gonna grind all this wheat if I have no power for an extended period of time? WELL... this friend came over to test the actual power usage of my grinder (Wondermill) and 3 others to see how much power they would require and what kind of alternative power source would work for powering them. Below are the results of the test.....

We tested a total of 4 grinders using a product called kill-a watt, grinding 1 #10 can of wheat. They measured 13 cups per can against my original 12. I will remeasure on the next run on our grinder.

Here are the numbers (All are AC 120 volt grinders) :
*K-Tec*5.5 Amps / 650 watts operating consumption
14 minutes 17 seconds
130 watt-hours

*Nutrimill*5.4 amps / 625 watts operating consumption
10 minutes 1 second
100 watt-hours

*Wonder Mill*11 Amps / 1180 watts operating consumption
4 minutes 17 seconds
70 watt-hours

*Grain Country Mill - 35 years old and going strong*8.7 Amps / 700-850 watts operating consumption
4 Minutes 11 seconds
50 watt-hours

*Golden Grain Mill*8.7 Amps / 700 watts operating consumption
1 minute 50 seconds
20 watt-hours

The new Xantrex 1500 (this is a battery pack that has solar arrays to capture energy) has 51 amp-hrs of storage of which 25 amp-hours is usable.
25 amp-hours times 12 is 300 watt-hours of energy. Therefore, the Xantrex 1500 can grind the following number of #10 cans of wheat per charge of 300 watt-hours:

K-Tec (Loudest)*2.3* cans

Nutrimill *3* cans

Wonder Mill (quietest) *4.3 *cans

The Old Grain Country Mill (no longer made)*6* cans

The Golding Grain*15* cans *Recharge Time*

To recharge the battery will require over 300 watt-hours of solar panel time, say 330 watt-hours to make up for system losses.

In Utah, we could use the 5 hours of sun (averaged). 300 watt-hrs divided by 5 hours, gives a requirement of 60 watt panel. This will require a FULL day of FULL sun to recharge.

Cloudy days would double the time probably. More panels will work better, say 120 watts of panel will recharge in 1/2 the time, or 1/2 day of sun.

Adding the external battery will provide for more grinding if needed or power for other uses.

*Summary* The Xantrex 1500 is the *MINIMUM* size of power pack that I would recommend. Couple that with one 60 watt solar panel OR one 120 watt solar panel and a Morningstar SS-10, one could use any of the above grinders to grind your wheat safely. Obviously the more efficient ones will provide more wheat per watt-hour of energy.

(Andrea's Summary)While grinding wheat can certainly be accomplished by using a gas generator, those things are very loud. Couple that with the grinder noise and you might as well be hearing a jet engine, on take-off, in your garage...and also, we are talking extended power outage in this scenario, so.... how much fuel do you have stored to power your generator. My take on the whole thing is let the sun, that the Lord provided for us, charge those batteries and enjoy a little peace and quiet, (after the grinding of course.) Ladies, I think that it might even power that Bosch too. Never mind, we need some exercise anyway and the hand kneading will take care of those Relief Society upper arms. (I'm only speaking for myself of course )