The price of learning by experience

Anything about construction that doesn't fit into any of the above

Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby aero energy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:16 pm

There is still lots of room for improvements and further experiments.
Agreed that the 1.5hr eskom power is disappointing. But anything
less leads to "cold" showers (after 2 months of experimenting).
The geyser element is 2kW. My daily Eskom shower power is therefore
now 3kWH ~ R2/day. It is a bit hard to say what it was before
but i'm guessing it was about double that.
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:19 pm

Hi aero energy,

Your system looks great. I tried something similar but found that the wind played too big a role and so in my final efforts I just knew that my tubes had to be under a glass panel to eliminate that loss. It's absolutely amazing how well my solar geyser reacts to clean sunlight - NO CLOUDS !! - winter or summer and wind plays no role whatsoever. The water is so close to boiling that it can burn your skin and indeed pushes water out of the leak-off by the valve. Sadly at the first hint of the wispiest cloud and the efficiency is compromised - it was unexpected.

I think I confused Infra-red (IF) and Ultra-Violet (UV) energy. It's the IF that heats the geyser and cannot easily penetrate clouds and the UV contributes very little to the heating of the water and plays havoc with your skin and gleefully penetrates clouds. Now I wear my hat even when there's clouds but I know that my water just ain't gonna get hot.

By the way I looked at your pictures and I had a sense of deja-vu. The IBR plating is exactly what I had in Kempton Park and the slope looks similar ie. TOO SHALLOW !! You will not believe how much RAINCOAT with membrane I had on my roof eventually (RAINCOAT is acrylic paint that one can (optionally) apply with a cloth membrane). I started with the joins at the plate overlays but eventually I sealed the whole roof. You seem to be managing but believe me that system is no good against hail followed by rain. You very likely have ceilings that follow the roof contours as well and replacing those ceilings and the "think pink" I think has shortened my life-expectancy. There are so many safe alternatives to "think pink" and I wish I had known about them at that time. I was forced to work from below - I feel itchy just thinking back on it.

I'm amazed that your car fuel pump works under municipal pressure - I know that the recommended sealless and shaftless pumps (the vanes follow a magnetic field) are ridiculously expensive. It was one of the factors that convinced me to go for a "solar" geyser positioned above the panel. Now I sit with an idle conventional geyser. I think your thermostat idea is just fabulous.
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby Greystoke on Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:50 am

I am impressed by your endeavors. It looks great and I specifically like your idea for a water pump.

On the other hand, I have a feeling that some of your problems are related to the use of ordinary waterhose as a heat collector.
I think it gets heated-up only by direct sun radiation , and not by the conduction of heat from the hot roof. The PVC - from which the hose is made - is an excellent insulator, but - because it is dark green - it absorbs solar radiation very well.
I think (again :wink: ) that you should perhaps mount the thermostat INSIDE the hose (somehow) and measure the temperature of the water instead of the roof.
Image
Regards
Cor
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:36 pm

All makes sense now. My efforts were with blackened copper pipes and not PVC or rubber pipe. That's why mine were sensitive to wind.

There's a guy here that has dense plastic solar panels. There are literally hundreds of small tubes molded into the sheets. The sheets are about a meter square (meter by a meter) and black as the Ace of Spades. He has three sheets. They are impressively efficient - probably as efficient as mine and he has the advantage that he needs no massive sheet of glass that can be broken. It is unaffected by wind !!

I'm very content with my panel and it works but I think I'd have been satisfied with the plastic one's as well. I wonder if he'll eventually have UV problems with the plastic ?? Anyway I cannot change my mind now - the die is cast.

I think in his panels there is much more area of plastic in contact with water than yours and the plastic is thinner than the walls of your hose. In the final analysis it probably costs a good deal more than yours as well.

Nobody said it would be easy !!??
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby Derek on Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:12 pm

I think your fuel pump is a great Idea. Have you had any problems with leaking ( because of high temps ) or rusting.??

I had to rig up a normal pump with a timer and temp sensor to do the same job. Why are 12volt water pumps so expensive.??
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Fuel pump

Postby aero energy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:03 pm

It has only been running for 2 months now.
Maybe its a bit early to say but so far
no leaking and no visible rust.
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby JurgenKahle on Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:51 pm

I like the simplicity of the hose-on-the-roof setup! A thought: If you were to paint your roof black, surely it would absorb more warmth which pushes your water temp up? Not sure what it would do to the general living conditions in your house though!! :D
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:27 pm

I was getting into my stride with posting but then I went to visit my children in the USA and had a heart attack while there. Not fun and I think my wings have been clipped as far as going to the USA is concerned - my children cannot afford me over there !!!!

Recovery has been gradual, unlike previous events and the bypass. This time I took a bit of a hit. Anyway I'm up and about again and an update is in order.

I've built a bat-house !!!! A neighbour of mine had bats in his roof and he got rid of them so easily - I will not tell you how because seeing those bats dead was not pleasant and I don't want it repeated ----- ever !!!!! The long and the short of it is that I looked up "bats" on the internet and found out that our only flying mammal "friends" are under threat worldwide. How is that mankind cannot live with these little creatures ??? We destroy their habitat and when they move into our rooftops we exterminate them. I determined to make them welcome while I'm still alive.

I already had the solar geyser erected on poles and could easily build a house for my friends (I'll do my part) under the panel. It was not necessary to have them in the roof of my house.

Well today I completed the carpentry and the erection - only the painting remains.

As an aside, South Africa has a long and rich association with bats. When President Paul Kruger of the old Transvaal Republic had a rail line constructed to LM in Maputo he ordered that bathouses be built along the line to counter the malaria mosquito threat. That may not have been so effective but it does show that at that time they were regarded as friends and not vermin. These little creatures do not have to be watered or fed - we can use their droppings as fertiliser and they help us in our battle against flying insects with no insecticides involved. How did we become so alienated ?????

Now my fondest hope is that they will find and occupy the dwelling I have constructed for them. When and if they do they will be welcome and you will be the first to know. I pray that when they send out their audio signals their new house will return a big hollow ECHO and they will investigate and find it suitable. :mrgreen:
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby windgat on Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:46 am

Welcome back!

How about a microphone and circuit to drop the frequency, so you can listen in when you want to to activity in the bat house?

What's next - a bat-mobile?
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:20 pm

I was wondering how I would know when/if my guests arrive ....... Hadn't really given it serious thought yet as working at the top of a long ladder at my age was enough stress to keep me busy but now that it's finished there's time and yes .... it's a good idea.

I'm going to look for a baby monitor and cancel the alarm. It has everything I need and it is wireless. I'll start looking at Cash Crusaders and pawnshops - maybe I'll get lucky.

I was wondering what I would do if a pair of Starlings (or any other life form) took up occupation instead of bats. I've more or less decided that should that happen then I'd let the young breed out and then take out the nest (or whatever) and then decrease the gap at the entrance - the book states 20mm but I think I've made allowance for a fat bat, afterall I'm no picture postcard.

We shall see. Time will tell. I'm happy to be back - thanks for the welcome !! :D
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:48 am

As usual I'm on a learning curve or in the process of step-wise refinement. Of course this is the clever way of saying the current effort is either not working, or not going to work or it has failed.

Anyway, on closer inspection it now appears that the bats were not in my neighbour's roof but in the gap between the double outer wall. My bat-house, in all likelihood, will never attract the bats. Also I was about to seal the whole structure and it now appears that the bats do not like too much heat so I've held off on that process.

To cut a long story short I'm thinking in terms of relocation - for the bats that is. Some of the bats survived the holocaust at his house and I've begged him to go for relocation this time. He has agreed.

So now the next episode is to catch the bats and let them wake up in their new address instead of waking up dead.

Of course, they (the bats) might simply fly back to their previous dwelling. Well, in that case, I'll still be on the learning curve or in the process of step-wise refinement.

So --------- what's new ??????!!!! :wtf: :problem: :thumbdown: :thumbup:
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby windgat on Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:32 am

:thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:13 pm

Here in the Southern Cape we are having a granddaddy of a drought accompanied by heatwaves. It's not fun and if rain doesn't arrive within the next month we will graduate from a disaster area to a catastrophe.

Anyway with my house I have an inversion in the evenings where it becomes cooler outside than inside the house. Yesterday evening I sat outside and watched my bathouse and thought how lucky I would feel if a bat suddenly emerged from the entrance - didn't happen. When I saw bats flying around I realised my watch was over and I went inside. Maybe one day ................

I pondered over the day and I felt I'd come out ahead anyway. There was a special at the local co-op on 2.5 mm Surfix wire - R5.30 / meter whereas it is usually close to R12 / meter. I had determined to buy 100 meter. I went to the co-op and enquired how long the special would last and they said it had ended the previous Saturday !!!!!!! I was aghast and pleaded with the manager to make an exception and my plea was granted. Now I can dual wire my house with 24 V DC with lights in the four rooms I "live" in.

On balance it was a good day but just think how perfect it would have been if my "guests" had already arrived !!!!! :idea: and this would be me :yay:
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby jamec9869 on Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:35 am

That was an amazing funny story.Thank you so much for sharing.
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:08 pm

I've been away for quite a while. The main reason, I suppose, was that I had a heart attack in 2009 and again in 2010. That shouldn't have kept we away from this site but my first turbine also got blown out of the sky. I sort of gave up on wind energy. My solar geyser and PV panels have been eminently successful.

I hate failure and I hate to give up.

The broken turbine lying in my garage was an offense to my ego. I lasted two years and then gave in - started again.

This time round I was not going to let the wind win. There is a sort of goal for this site to keep things simple to the point that most things must be able to be done in a DIY manner. I honored that only in that I put the lot together in my garage and my backyard mostly by myself. Where I deemed it necessary to go expensive or hi-tech I went. This was going to be my swansong anyway.

The big picture required that I make the mast more stable and then make the actual turbine more robust.

The top end of the mast was a 60 mm dia steel pipe - that was replaced with a 100 mm dia steel pipe. I erected stays E, W, N and S for the two main mast supports and then four more stays to the top of the mast. It was all fairly lo-tech but it did require some poles to be planted and proper telephone pole staywires to be bought and installed. I got fairly good stuff at a metal salvage yard.

The turbine. The non-rotating tower (n-r-tower) is 100mm dia steel pipe (same steel as the top of the mast). The rotating tower (r-tower) is 80mm dia steel pipe (just fitted inside the 100mm pipe). The T-Pce base of the turbine is made of 70mmx35mm channel. The central shaft of the turbine is 30mm bright steel. I had the steel plates with the magnets machined for suitable 30mm bearings. The hub plates for the blades are 8mm steel plates. Between the n-r-tower and the r-tower is a 80mm ID thrust bearing (expensive and hi-tech). Above the thrust bearing is a 80mm electrical swivel and pick up (from an electrical motor - expensive and hi-tech). In fact, all that remains of the original turbine is the two steel plates with their magnets and the stator. I made suitable covers out of galvanised sheeting.

I've directed the total electrical output to my geyser element. I broke the thermostat to prevent any possible open circuit to protect the turbine and isolated the geyser totally from the mains. ie. No batteries - no control circuit. I might change my mind later.

We've had some fantastic winds and the turbine has shrugged them off.

I claim success !!!!
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby turning green on Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:30 pm

I claim success !!
Attachments
Turbine1.JPG
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Re: The price of learning by experience

Postby AlfredKlein on Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:13 am

Great going man,.., Even I do have plans of insatlling solar and wind farms very soon.. I think it is the best way in contributing towards saving nature.
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