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Topics - Nearingsfault

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1
Doomsteading / The new 'Stead
« on: May 31, 2020, 03:44:36 PM »
We spent a long weekend at the new property. This weekend was devoted to clearing some trees from around the existing 24x24 shed to give it better solar exposure mounting the rewired inverter setup for site power and mowing the back meadow. It seems we have about 30 mature maples we could tap and at least 2 old apple trees... lots of potential for coming years... pics are inverter, meadow, front pasture.

2
The Diner Pantry / Snap worthy Friday dinner; Burger and fries
« on: February 21, 2020, 04:38:37 PM »
I have two girls under the age of 9 so my meals have to be different then most here. They go to school, so lunch stuff is required, they can be fickle and like a good variety. You could try a casserole four meals in a row but would face a mutiny. I love food in case you did not know that. Tonight I really wanted a burger which I don't really crave more than once a month but when I do watch out! I have never come across a child that does not like a burger and fries so the girls were on board. Michael Paulin who I really like says if you want a burger and fries then go ahead and have one but make it yourself. If you have to make the fries trust me you won't have them all that often.  So, tonight's dinner was 1/4 lb burgers, with cheddar cheese, fresh crusty buns lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and homemade fries cooked in beef tallow. If you have had the misfortune of only having had canola oil fried fries I feel for you. Lard works as well but beef tallow is supreme for fries. This is an expensive meal for us so don't extrapolate my week expenses from this.
So what does it cost? Remember I shop in canadian dollars so subtract 25% from the numbers.  I found a good deal on beef recently and bought 8 lbs at 50 percent off for $3.50 a pound for lean ground beef. Its a few days before expiration so you freeze it and thaw as needed. So roughly $0.88 per burger. good crusty buns run at $0.40, A slice of tomato $0.20, (highway robbery but its winter and it looks pretty) some lettuce, and condiments another $0.20 same on the potatoes $0.20. I used up some Tallow so add another $0.20 for that... We went all out and had apple juice for the girls and a pepsi for me (living large I know) so add $0.90 or$0.30 each . Grand total of $2.38 canadian or $1.78 each in USD.  My partner was away for dinner so her burger is still in the fridge. total for 3 people of $7.14 canadian or $5.36 USD. OK I hear you ask if its such a big night why make it go to Mcdonalds it costs peanuts right?
Happy meals are $4.50 each, and a Quarter pounder meal is 10.50 so for three people that is $19.50 plus 13%sales tax as restaurant food is taxed, groceries are not so $22.05 or $16.50 USD. But it gets more fun then that! The nearest Mc D to here is 25 minutes away and would cost $8.00 of gas to get there and back. for a non spend of $17.15 USD... Money mustache guy who I also like  says a millionare is made one $10 decision at a time... Happy friday

3
Energy / Things that work: Solar inverters
« on: February 18, 2020, 08:54:45 AM »
So I have decided my lesson is learned and I will steer away from any and all political subjects.
On to better things:
As some of you know I will be building a new homestead starting this year and taking  probably a year or more for the home part alone. After looking into the energy tea leafs I have decided in the immediate term to go all electric for heating and cooking. I'm not quite sure if the energy profile of the house will work for this or not due to some restrictions placed on ontario homes of no more then 10kW of net metered feed. This causes problems because in this climate that limits you to about 12000 kW of production per year credited to you. Yes that is a lot but maybe not enough for an all electric home in a climate with 6 months of heating. So how do you win? I came across this company while researching a system for a client. He did most of the discovery I did the project oversight and commissioning.  Company website: https://www.sol-ark.com/
Here is a decent video...
 <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/BOtJ0MnY8W8" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/BOtJ0MnY8W8</a>
Conventional inverters use a large transformer as their heart to convert Battery dc electricity to ac more common in homes. They are great machines but eat up a lot of energy to heat loss and don't do peak load well in some situations. High frequency inverters have been around a long time but are mostly limited to cheap consumer crap. So What if you took the reliability of low frequency inverters and matched it to the efficiency of high frequency? There you have it that is the heart of the Sol ark inverters. But wait it gets more fun!  Usually in traditional inverter systems you bolt on charge controllers to the outside as needed. It adds cost and wiring complexity and additional losses. So what if you incorporated two charge controllers into your system? Remember that 10Kw cap common to a lot of North American jurisdictions? What if you made the charge controller so huge you could attach 16500 watts of solar panels to it but have it only send 10kW to the grid to stay legal?  Then what if you built in a priority load feature so if you batteries were full and you were selling as much as you could you could also say heat water or run an AC?  Yup all there all built in.  Then lets say you are a doomer what about solar flares? lightning? emp? Well there is an emp add on lab tested for the system ... I'm quite enamored with this little baby right now... We will see if the budget allows but this will be my number one item on my go to the mat budget negotiations...  All this started based on Eddie's net metered system install last year that got me thinking what I would want to see...

4
Energy / A new 'Stead
« on: January 28, 2020, 06:00:42 AM »
As some of you know I am uprooting myself and planning on building a new 'Stead. Its been coming for some time but My partner and I have recently purchased land and are preparing our households for sale.
A great deal of technologies have matured in the last 15 years and the next house will incorporate a lot of those technologies while maintaining the low running costs of this one.
Main construction: ICF right to the rafters. This home used an ICF basement and traditional above ground framing. The cost for doing it yourself has fallen so that apart from much more labour the material costs are in line with each other. You end up with a completely sealed structure with R28 walls and no thermal breaks. The energy cost of the concrete is high of course but the lower energy costs of lifetime operation makes it balance out within 3 years. Windows will be triple paned north shield https://www.northshield.ca/windows/casement-windows/ I've used them before and the price has come down as the technology has matured.
Heating and cooling is still up in the air. The plan for this house will be an all electric.That was a tough decision because I am a very conservative builder but the time is right.  Backup heat and cooking will be looked after by a battery bank and inverter for a hotplate and to run the heat pump. Induction cookstoves, on demand electric hot water, grid tied solar, radiant heat, and geothermal are all in the batting cage. The winners will have to undergo some Darwinian scrutiny and also answer to budget pressure.
Geothermal is looking good though. 15 years ago geothermal was specialized and insanely expensive. Today you have choices. I'm looking into a kit myself where the unit come precharged with refrigerant, the ground loops are pre measured, concentrated antifreeze is shipped to you, the water pump unit is unpressurised so no air purging... The list goes on and on and gets a little technical but someone took a good hard look at all the elements that made geothermal expensive (mostly specialized labour) and solved them.  I'm looking at this company here:   https://www.123zeroenergy.com/geocool-2-0-ton-geothermal-heat-pump-with-install-package.html. The same company does cold weather air to liquid heat pumps for heating and cooling... Cheaper and less work.

Solar is my baby so I will be installing a net metered array either on the roof or the ground depending on final home design and approval from the aesthetic committee. I looked at offgrid as that is where my heart lies but I do not want a propane backup genny again and it would defeat the whole all electric vibe. There will be an offgrid array feeding a limited amount of house loads though. The reason for going ongrid with the main array is largely the way the utility costs are going. Propane prices fluctuate as much as 100 percent over the course of a year and that is in a time of record low gas prices. At some point the price will rebound and I do not want to be on the wrong side of the fossil fuel curve. On the electric side Ontario has a large hydroelectric and nuclear supply of electricity which is fairly green but expensive. the cost of delivery has stabilized but the cost of a KW Hr of electricity is going up. Currently in a rural low density area in ontario its about $0.25 per KW Hr with delivery. If you can take out the consumption side with a solar array it can make for very affordable energy. Yes electric heat is inefficient compared to gas but if you add in geothermal you gain back that efficiency and more with the 3 to 1 heat gain magic of compressors. Again its early days. A 10kW solar array can produce about 120000kWHR a year in my area. If we find in the first year that we can make due with an all electric resistive heating system that is the path we will take... Its hard to model since the home will be crazy efficient... There is another element which is you have to think of it as an investment. I could take the money I'll spend on solar put it in a savings account and make 2 to 3 percent on the money which I will then pay tax on or I can invest it in solar which will reduce my home operating costs thereby acting like a 6 to 8 percent return on my money without a tax burden... In this era of crazy volatility in the markets and extremely low interest on safe investments if you have the money to invest solar is worth it!!!
Cheers,  NF

5
Environment / Modeling future climate city by city app
« on: February 12, 2019, 03:04:58 PM »
I found a link to a cool app that tries to equate the future climate of a city to that of a city today... It uses the climate projections for 2080 which are probably too conservative so grain of salt and all that. Still fun though.
https://fitzlab.shinyapps.io/cityapp/

6
Doomsteading / how little food does it take
« on: January 28, 2019, 12:20:58 PM »
I've decided to do a little experiment involving storage food. This came about because as we all seem to do I stockpile some food. As my girls grow and I think of expanding my circle the issue comes up of how much food should I store and what kinds. I understand all the basics but most of it involves a sized up pantry and foods sealed for some kind of long-term storage. I get that and I have mostly followed that path for my basic stores. You pay a hefty premium for that long term food though and in my location freight can easily double that already high cost shipping time can also trip you up even in good times. Then there is the issue of what if you are new to the game? What about if a friend comes a knocking? do you divy up your mountain house freeze dried buckets or turn him down cold? What if I decided to drastically increase the amount of stored food tomorrow using what was available to me locally and store it only for relatively short term consumption? How low can you go and make it? I'm not finding many first person accounts on this, its winter and I'm bored. I've chosen corn as my test mostly due to availability. At the feed store with taxes its available for $12 canadian per 25kg bag. That works out to $.48c per kg.  Corn contains 370 calories per 100 grams. At 500 grams per day that is 1850 calories or 24 cents canadian. Even at 400 grams if you top that up with 400 calories of food stores and oils so you do not go crazy you have a full day of calories for a moderately active male. You are going to lose weight on that diet and the nutrition sucks but you live...  I've decided to try it out for a few days. Its conventional corn so GMO pesticides, herbicides yada, yada, its meant for deer so buyer beware.
To start I sorted it out to try to remove dust, gravel, straw, and already cracked pieces to try to cut down the junk.  I ground it in a ninja mixer; sort of a knock off vitamix 1/2 cup at a time for 10 seconds. The result is indistinguishable from store bought cornmeal. I'm not crazy so ill eat two meals a day of this stuff and share a diner with my girls. They already have figured out daddy is a little weird so no need to add more examples. I'll probably add some tomato paste to make it tolerable and oil. Just mash for now. I do like polenta though so maybe later. I'll get back as this moves ahead. not every day probably... I would love any links people have of something similar or experiments they have run.
Cheers, 

7
Energy / something energy related worthy of posting
« on: May 18, 2018, 07:41:24 PM »
If you are interested in alt energy then a look at this link... http://www.greencarcongress.com/2017/08/20170803-arl.html
If you prefer a science paper check this out: https://waset.org/publications/5508/hydrogen-generation-by-accelerating-aluminum-corrosion-in-water-with-alumina
Nano aluminum that reacts with water to produce massive quantities of hydrogen gas. Yes you would have the energy to make the aluminum but you store it in a nice neat package and make hydrogen from it on demand... This is fascinating technology...  I rarely beat this drum but this is worth it.
David

8
Energy / Grid Down
« on: April 04, 2018, 07:05:56 PM »
We were hit hard today by a storm. A Colorado low came a knocking with 80 km hr winds some rain/snow/ice and a low tonight of -14c. If it was early march it would be expected but in april highly unusual. There are lots of large branches down all around and the grid is down in my area. Local utilities expect power back by 11:30 pm tomorrow evening...
As some know We used to be fully off grid but evolved into an on grid/offgrid hybrid. Basically instead of spending more on the solar we decided to hook up to the grid and let it run the creature comforts of the house. The dishwasher, DVR, Modem/router, washing machine, propane dryer, chest freezer all run on the grid. All the crap that while not necessary make life with young kids easier. The back up heat circulator pumps,the main fridge, water pump, uv filter, one plug on each floor and most of the lights all run on solar. Those loads are powered by 8 L16 sized batteries and a 4000watt inverter/charger. The batteries store a total capacity of 19.2 kW Hr but realistically pull more than 10kW Hr from them regularly and they would loose lifespan. So 9.6 kW Hr is my useable budget. The house in bare bones survival mode uses about 3kWHr per 24 hours so call it 72 hours to be safe. I will make some power tomorrow but since its stormy and cloudy probably less than I'll use. I only have 960 watts of solar and on a cloudy day at this time of year can only count on about 1.5 kw Hr. 3 days of crappy solar production will buy me another day over the next 3. Since getting home I lit a good fire and have lowered the back up heat which turns off the circulator pumps so that should cut almost a kW Hr per day. I don't need the backup at -14c the wood stove keeps things toasty warm... Since I'm typing and tethered to my phone, the lights are on, the house is warm life is good. If power is not back by tomorrow morning I'll hook up the genny and test fire it. I fired it up about a month ago for an hour so I'm not too worried. I have 50litres of fuel and a second one that runs on propane so should be good there. I can hear neighbours' generators as I go out to fill the woodbox. They will be running non stop probably expecting the outage to be over soon. The bet has always paid off for them in the past. The winds are picking up again so the repair crews will not even be out yet. Who could blame them Would you go out in this? It does make one ponder the crazy climate world we seem determined to bring about.
That's it for now
Night night...

9
SUN ☼ / Official Solar PV & Electrics Thread
« on: December 21, 2017, 08:00:21 AM »
Nice website. Looks like a good company to work for. (Small, LOL.) Solar here is kind of a mixed bag. The city has their "approved list" of installers. DIY is not possible for a grid-tie if you are on the local public utility grid. But....they do encourage grid-tie if you do it their way.

Out in the hinterlands it's all up to the utility. Both my lake cottage and the stead are on co-ops (sounds good but they are notoriously mismanaged). Last time I checked, the co-op I deal with on the stead still required buying insurance to protect them against the possibility of your system feeding power into the grid when they take it down for maintenance.

For those reasons I lean toward stand alone off-grid parallel set-ups, for the most part. I think it's good to be able to work on your own system.

 I just got a new roof on our house. Time to get some panels there. Hopefully soon. I guess I'll have that done professionally and do a grid-tie on it, when I find the money. Seems like the best investment, especially since we'll have to sell the house and downsize in the not-too-distant future. Nobody but me would want off-grid on a house in the burbs.
I'll stop crashing LD's thread but grid connected microinverters can link up to battery backup and storage. The backup can come with you when you downsize. Magnum has a nice product for that they call it ac coupled systems. Outback calls theirs grid zero bur it's more of a solution where the utility won't let you sell back. It can come with you as well and operate as an off grid system. All of those systems came about because of utility pushback. They also make an offgrid direct system that just does air conditioning. In your climate it might be the most cost effective way to beat the utility and stay legal.You can always message me about solar.
Cheers,  David

10
Energy / Solar tech
« on: April 01, 2017, 07:08:51 AM »
After 18 years in the construction industry I've decided to take the plunge and jump into the solar world full time.  It's always been an obsession so being paid to do it was the natural next step.  Here is a video for our company.  I'm the pudgy one in the charge controller video. https://m.facebook.com/pg/HaliburtonSolarandWind/videos/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=1
As some of you know we have 960 watts on the house and an inverter setup and battery bank in the garage.  We were off grid for 8 years and now run a custom hybrid on grid/off grid setup.  I would love to see what other members have setup or planned. I'm a big believer in controlling my own utilities within my budget and abilities.
Best regards,  David

11
Energy / Resources for controlled descent
« on: March 12, 2017, 10:42:10 AM »
I very much like all the BBC farm series. They try to encapsulate a year in the life of a farm in different eras.
Most modern would be the farm at war.  Using ww2 Era tech to boost farm production to counteract the blockade.  I'm a gear head so my favorite.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CUsU5s0ofYo
Next is edwardian farm
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UcBl4_2FJX4
Older still victorian farm
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4apIM4l0laY
Older still tudor farm
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t1ERDYjsHBg

It keeps me amused. I would like to know what other people turn to when they ponder managing descent.  R.E. I know we are all in bear skins with stone knives but that does not count here!
Cheers, David


12
The Kitchen Sink / Coping, hoping, doping, shopping
« on: February 13, 2017, 09:37:54 AM »
Interview on cbc, I liked it will have to relisten when less distracted... Probably a little more hopeful then my own view of things but interesting to hear it said on the national broadcaster.
http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/surviving-post-capitalism-coping-hoping-doping-shopping-1.3973042

13
Energy / Machinery for a post collapse world
« on: February 06, 2017, 10:16:51 AM »
I've been interested in collapse for a very long time.  After lurking for a while on the diner I thought I would share one of my favorite projects.  This is my 1953 ferguson tea20 tractor.  It has been modified to run on charcoal.  Charcoal gasification suits my cold woodland.
The full thread can be found here: http://forum.driveonwood.com/t/my-charcoal-tractor/1200
Here is a video of it running:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQHN7lGI6ok
and a stationary walk around
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DKOWNKsl30
The theory I was working on was the fuel to run the machinery will run out long before the machines stop working. This Era of tractor was made to survive as well.  Every part for it is still available and it was the most common tractor of its day so spares are still common. Fixed with hand tools and made to run even in poor repair. I'm a great fan of manual labour but I want to put it off as long as possible as the long descent gets under way. It can log, plow, cultivate, pull trailers, you name it.
Best regards, David Baillie

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