SOLAR: ghost loads?


Old 12-24-04, 06:48 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
SOLAR: ghost loads?

I got as call from someone in Hawaii ( long story) : they have a place out in the boonies (if you can call anyplace in Hawaii the boonies!) with ONLY solar for electric service. They do have gas. She wants to know if the electonic ignition system on a regular GE 30" gas range is too large of a ghost load for her system. Sorry, right now I do not have the specs on the range or the solar system; but does anyone have any general comments about this issue of ghost loads and will something like an electronic range have to be avoided completely?

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Old 12-24-04, 08:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,659
I have never heard the term 'ghost load'. Can you define it.
The electronic ignition of a range would draw very minimal power though.
Old 12-24-04, 08:48 AM
hornetd's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 695
Define Ghost load.

I would guess it would mean a needless drain on capacity such as the indicator lights in a motion detector. Since the ingniter circuit draws no current untill you go to turn on a burner I cannot imagine it being a problem but if the range has a clock and electronic timer that is a significant load that has to be budgeted for when you use Photo Voltaic (PV) for your power source.
Tom H
Old 12-24-04, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
As I understand it, the term 'ghost load' is applied to any electrical device that is active at a low power level while the device is nominally 'off'. Examples would be the clock on a VCR, or the primary of a doorbell transformer, most 'wall warts' for electronics, etc.

Some of these things may use 5 or 10 watts of power; not much, but quite a bit when you consider that they operate continuously. 1W running continuously means 9kWh per year.

What can be worse in a solar electric system is that there is an inverter that converts the solar DC to AC, and it has to run whenever there is a load on the system. This means all of the losses and parasitic loads of the inverter, just to run a couple of watts to a load that is nominally 'off'.

Old 12-24-04, 01:30 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
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Yes, ghost load refers to a device which has some 24/7 current draw even if the device ( TV, etc. ) is turned "OFF". In a solar or battery supplied situation, you have to be careful of these 'stealth' draws. I couldn't find any thing in the specs of the ignition module as to what the so-called standby draw is. On the solar, a watt here and a watt there, pretty soon your talking serious money!

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