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Messages - BruceM

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1
Changfa Engines / Re: New Watercooled Diesel Toys
« on: July 22, 2019, 11:27:50 PM »
Seasonal heat/cold storage would be sweet, the the amount to be stored is brutal.  You need to make an ice house of sorts in the winter...to be used in summer, and a huge superinsulated tank of molten salts in summer for winter.  Rather brutally expensive in each case.

The problem with home design is that we've left it to "the marketplace" with a few architects as hangers on.  Architecture is an ART SCHOOL, so any technical knowledge is superficial at best, and the focus is on things like esthetics and lots of glass, which are a thermal disaster.  (A greenhouse for growing food while providing a sunny space seems a lot more sane.)  Marketing types rule, and people don't have the technical savy to sort it out.  I remember a former neighbor raving about a (resistance) water heater he bought that was advertised as 99.9% efficient.  I hated to tell him all electric water heaters were, as the elements are in the tank of water.  He was pissed...and not happy with me for busting his delusional bubble.

In much of the US, there are no practical guides to higher efficiency houses..not even recommendations for your local county, etc.  Just the minimum insulation requirements in the UBC. 

The best education I found was to play "what if" with a computer thermal model to determine BTUs of heating or cooling needed.  The hard part is getting good data on soil temperatures, a foot, 2 foot and 3 feet down for the winter scenario.  Losses at the edge of an exposed concrete slab are huge, the more exposed with say fancy split face block, the worse the losses. A slab poured up to the uninsulated stem wall is the kiss of death, thermally, though fortunately in time it will usually creep away from the house and make a poor thermal break.  Perimeter insulation is the hands down best bang for your buck, since there is so little surface area.  There don't even sell affordable and easy to use products to put an insulating skirt at the stem wall...you have to make them, which explains where the builders are at. 

Almost any field I've studied in detail appears to have be largely based on misconceptions clung to like a religious zealot, with precious little real science and data.  Where humans are involved, it's a good idea to be skeptical about the prevailing wisdom and take a much closer look.  That's hell for working stiffs, and they just don't have the time and must rely on local zealots.







2
Listeroid Engines / Re: Excited soon-to-be caretaker.....
« on: July 22, 2019, 09:59:44 PM »
Nice gib key puller!  Looking forward to seeing more of your progress!

3
Petteroids / Re: LPWS3 exhaust manifold > silencer gasket
« on: July 22, 2019, 05:49:24 PM »
Copper filled silicone (the highest temperature rated silicone) from Permatex comes to mind...with no gasket at all.

4
Changfa Engines / Re: New Watercooled Diesel Toys
« on: July 22, 2019, 05:12:38 PM »
I looked into earth sheltered for my off grid home- not so cheap insulation, as it turns out, nor easy to build without having mold and ventilation issues.  Here the stable earth temperature (63F) is down at 12 foot depth. I only have 4-5 foot of dirt on top of sandstone. Just adding insulation, and having the slab fully insulated as valuable thermal mass was the best bang for the buck, for my climate/location.  I bumped the slab thickness to 5.5 inches and used 5/8 sheetrock to boost interior mass on the cheap. 

Every region has it's own resources (such as  ground water) and earth temperature... pity we've made so little effort to use them wisely. 



5
Changfa Engines / Re: New Watercooled Diesel Toys
« on: July 21, 2019, 04:52:08 AM »
I understand the cost, which is why the codes must change.  In truth, the cost can be near neutral, as big savings in heating and cooling plants can be had.  If your heating and cooling needs 1/6 the BTU's or less, it doesn't take much.  And you can save on windows, as large expanses of glass are a thermal disaster. 

Superinsulation via double wall is way cheaper than thick foam cladding.

No hope for affordable housing in Sydney, it's getting like San Franciso, property wise. 

6
Changfa Engines / Re: New Watercooled Diesel Toys
« on: July 20, 2019, 05:02:50 PM »
Glort's right about batteries, and for now, avoiding them.  Sad that wet lead should still (100 years!)  be the most cost effective battery for stationary power, but it is, and by a large margin.

A look at ongoing battery replacement cost should be a huge driver for super insulated off grid homes, but in my very rural area, it's not.  People just can't grok it, and don't want to deal with the 3rd rate builders in the very rural SW. Instead they get a manufactured home and then find their AC eats batteries in no time, their PV and battery system is inadequate, and their propane bills in winter are huge.  They go through the first set of batteries in 1 year, and that provides motivation.  Then they switch to a evaporative cooler and other power conservation measures.  Typically their battery bill is pretty painful, replacing 8 or 16 Trojan L16's (400ah) every 4 years, at $380 each plus tax and freight.  Battery replacement cost of $100 to 150 month is common.  They are energy independent but now battery dependent.

Building codes need to change, big time, and manufactured housing needs even bigger changes.  My work with thermal modeling showed that a very well insulated slab, thicker than usual, was hugely helpful thermal mass for my SW high desert climate, when coupled with Canadian style double framed walls (R40) and raised heel trusses (R80).  My next step is water cooling of the house though the in-floor pex system, which I keep stalling on.

My battery replacement cost is $15 a month, plus $15 a month for refrigerator propane for my larger sized propane refrigerator.  By not having an electric refrigerator, and no 24/7 inverter losses, my DOD is only 10%, and cheap marine batteries do the job nicely. Heating is solar hot water and cooling I open windows at night.  Works well except for periods of wildfires, when I can't open up, though I haven't gotten over 78F yet this year despite a lot of wildfires.






7
Everything else / Re: Solar Inverter - Load sensing
« on: July 20, 2019, 02:20:08 AM »
Yep, little cheap switching power converters can be quite a radio transmitter.  One lady I was helping by phone had become newly electrically sensitive...she was getting headaches from her computer and other equipment.  I had her snoop the house wiring at the circuit panel with an AM radio...and in 20 minutes with some phone coaching she found the offending circuit at the panel, then traced it to the wall behind her desk (she was a writer) there was a POS battery charger plugged into an outlet inside that opposite room's closet.  She'd bought it and used it and then forgot that it was plugged in i that closet. Her problem got much better after that and fixing/unplugging some other things to dramatically reduce her daily exposure. 

In most homes now, there are so many sources it's downright discouraging.  The smart meters are a significant offender- cheapo switching power supply on the board, designed by an EMC illiterate moron, with not even a common mode choke between it and the line. Besides the switcher, the conducted radio frequency emissions exceed the insanely high FCC part 15 rules, but the power co is exempt.  The inverter type split systems are an EMI horror show, even when the room units are "off".  Crazy world, we have no idea what we're doing. 




8
If you are only charging batteries, I wouldn't be so quick to change it from a 3/1.  A 3/1 might be a better match for a battery charger.  Think about what your expected battery bank is going to be, and how many watts you are going to push into them. More charging time is spent on the tapering charge and you might be better off diesel engine life-wise going a bit slower. The alternative is AGMs, which will take massive current but no so much wet lead.  I never switched to AGM for my main 120V bank as the cost was just too high for somewhat increased life.  The better performance I don't need.  I don't do winter dark day generator charging anymore since increasing my PV from 800 to 2300W. 

On second thought those valves do look the same as 6/1 types.  We had one member (Starfire?) who had reported on modifying a 3/1 to a 6/1 and I vaguely recall the head is the same.


9
Everything else / Re: Solar Inverter - Load sensing
« on: July 19, 2019, 09:02:20 PM »
The Techluck is only a DC PWM unit, with no voltage shifting ala boost converter, so wattage to element depends entirely on the panel array and element voltage.  Open circuit max PV voltage is 250V, and max operating PV voltage is 200V.   Frankly MPPT is a waste of circuitry and complexity for this application, and a simple DC solid state relay driven from a non-load carry thermostat would perform similarly and without any EMI, at a small fraction of the price.

Your scheme will have the same limitation, Glort, in that 90V applied to a 230V, 4500 watt element (11.5 ohm) will only consume 704 watts.  You must either increase panel voltage or use a DC-DC boost converter (or other DC-DC transformer based design) to raise the panel voltage to match heating element, or find a lower voltage, high wattage element.  Ohms law lets you calculate it.

Most cheap hard switching and badly designed devices make me cringe; EMC is typically ignored, the cables to the panels will likely obliterate radio reception in the home.  Sadly it is now normal to have hobbyist design level switching power supplies in appliances of all sorts and this does not bode well for public health since conducted EMI goes back on all the home wiring.  Our home's wiring is typically totally unshielded, thus acts as a radio transmitter for high frequencies and is literally wrapped around us as we sleep.  Switching supplies were unheard of in appliances and HVAC just 50 years ago, so now we are in the midst of a huge public health experiment; both wireless and EMI levels  in homes are now typically 100,000 times higher than 50 years ago.  Neurodegenerative diseases, autism and other chronic illnesses are on the rise.  Hmmm.




10
The valves look smaller to me (???), though I could be mistaken.  That might be a show stopper for using that head as a 6/1 or 8/1.  Weird sleeve with those notches in the bottom. What are your intentions'/desires for this one?

11
Listeroid Engines / Re: oil sump intake screen blockage
« on: July 18, 2019, 11:22:49 PM »
Hugh's surprising magnet warning is the first time anyone has reported finding a magnet behind the oil screen on this forum or microcogen.  "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." - Thoreau  An interesting philosophy for engine manufacturing.









12
Everything else / Re: ESD 5500E engine speed controller unit
« on: July 18, 2019, 12:12:18 AM »
Most of the old famous ICs and microprocessors are still being made.  Not so with power transistors of various sorts; they pass into oblivion rather quickly. 

The newer micropower components by Microchip are damned impressive.  Quiescent currents of a few microamps for quad comparators, and around 20 uA for a 5V op amp with 100K bandwidth.  Others have them too, some are rail to rail inputs and outputs as well. Analog has never been better.

The range of applications for MOSFETs keeps getting bigger too, several manufacturers now provide full SOA data (safe operating area) for linear operation.  I converted my linear PV charge regulator over to MOSFETs instead of Darlington Bipolars last year...by luck of design, no circuit changes were needed but the power requirements dropped substantially, and the capacity increased nicely as well.

Alas, wildfire smoke has me laid low, health wise, so projects are on hold.


13
Everything else / Re: ESD 5500E engine speed controller unit
« on: July 17, 2019, 04:10:58 PM »
The inductive type pickups are also quite common - an oscillator circuit is applied to a small coil in the sensor, the presence of ferrous material close to the coil changes the inductance of the coil, which is sensed.  They use more power and generate a fair bit of EMI.

For my neighbor's spark modified CS clone, I decided to save a bit of power by quashing the wasted spark. I didn't think of the nicer far side camshaft -magnet-hall effect method Stef showed, but instead sensed a magnet on the IP cam follower.  That hall switch powered the second one sensing a magnet on the flywheel.  That was the trigger for a 555 cmos timer which generated a pulse for a GM spark module.  Pulse width determined coil charging time, spark at falling edge of pulse, so flywheel magnet location had to lead spark timing by the fixed coil charging time.  Took some experimenting to get the timing just right, facilitated by fast setting cyanoacrylate.

14
Everything else / Re: ESD 5500E engine speed controller unit
« on: July 17, 2019, 02:46:38 AM »
A two piece steel sheet "rim" bolted to the hub with holes or slots would also suffice to keep a inductive coil pickup system happy.  I did experiment with one before going another way.

I instead used a Cherry brand gear tooth sensor on my CS for speed sensing; it uses a tiny magnet within the unit and hall sensor to detect teeth or slots in ferrous materials. The spokes on the flywheel sufficed, I didn't have to use magnets.  I use the PICaxe 40X2 chip to compute RPM in this manner for starting and engine monitoring.  The generator isn't always operated as it's a dual air/genny setup. 

For my neighbor's setup we used 4 tiny magnets on the CS flywheel hub just as Glort suggested, with a hall effect sensor (about a buck each) and a little frequency to voltage IC to turn it into a DC voltage that could be easily remotely monitored via analog panel meter.


15
Petteroids / Re: PETTER - PAZ1 - New project
« on: July 16, 2019, 11:33:00 PM »
Beautiful restoration work; even copper plating on the injection lines.  Wow!
Well done, VP!

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