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Everything else / Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Last post by glort on May 16, 2019, 11:42:55 PM »

7 Am Observations.

Ambient temp outside was 6 oC.  Water tank was 30oC ( again!)  Temp of various pots in the greenhouse was  12o C.

My conclusions are I simply need more heat or less heat loss to keep the temps where I want them when the weather get cooler as it is set to do.
I'm reluctant to increase the temp of the water any higher because the initial temps will make the GH too hot.   I'm limited in the amount of thermal mass I can store, could add another 10L of water which will hold about a KW of energy but probably not enough and then one is limited by the input from the panels anyway.

Insulating the structure seems the best way but depends on materials.  Seems styro is very hit and miss to find and surprisingly and over the top expensive here.  I did see a place giving away  thin corflute, wonder if that would be any good at all?
I might try an old blanket over the top tonight and see how that goes but would be of limited help in wind and if it rains.

Other options are simply more power.  Adding panels is a very Limited option as I need to stay in the resistance rage of the panels and the element.  I could go to a 6 panel array but that's not going to do a lot and the effect would be merely to heat the water hotter. The panels stop producing much earlier in the day than i'd like so even a limited intput to maintain temps longer would also help.

I could go back to turning the light on which would negate some heat loss and I could put a 2nd element in the tank with a thermo that kicked in when the water got down to say 40o C to maintain the inside temps.

As usual, extra insulation would be the best solution but not necessarily the most economical or easiest to implement.
Not sure where I would look to find it as a waste product and whom might have sheets of it they wanted to get rid of.

 I'm also wondering about just a tarp or a second cover over the top. I have seen replacement covers available and they seem generous enough sized.  the one on there is quite loose so I may well be able to put another over the top. If I put some " Spacers" in the form of small foam blocks between the covers on the top particularly, I could trap some air which would act as insulation. If I found some foam would work nicely to keep that in place.

In the mean time I'll see how much difference the light and a blanket would make.
Things I want to Buy / -Start-0-Matic Items
« Last post by queenofjacks on May 16, 2019, 11:31:31 PM »
Hi, Folks-
  I have recently acquired two Start-O-Matic Lister engines (8/1 @ 850RPM).  These are engines only.  I am looking for Bases, Generators, Controls, etc. ---- anything associated with the Start-O-Matic system.  I know that I can set them up as regular Lister 6/1's or 8/1's, but I would really like to restore them as original Start-O-Matics!  Any help would be appreciated.   Thanks!
Lister Market Place (things for Sale) / Re: New Listeroids for sale
« Last post by glort on May 16, 2019, 11:19:58 PM »

Very interesting.
I havenít sold any yet, hence the ďramping upĒ in my first post. I wouldnít use a customer as a test bed. I donít sell equipment unless Iím comfortable with what it is and what it does. Iíve spent the last 4+ years testing to make sure these machines are reliable and what I get from the factory is repeatable. When I started importing the Chinese tractors I didnít sell them for 3 years because I wanted to run through 2 growing seasons to see how they performed in the fields, plus a couple of winters for cold starts and plowing. 20 years later I still have most of the spares I ordered because they were so reliable. For the Listeroids I wanted to run them at no-load, partial-load and heavy-load for extended periods, 24-36 hours continuously with at least 100 thermal cycles over time. The heads are big and have a lot of mass. I wanted to heat and cool them many times to test the head bolts and make sure they were consistently well within their plastic range so they didnít lose the head gasket as the parts expanded and contracted. What I found was no leakage, zero. I also wanted to measure oil usage under different load conditions. I wanted to check the particulates in suspension in the lube oil after ďXĒ hours of runtime. Which oil seems to work best?  I wanted to check hot starts and cold starts in the winter, in humid conditions and in summer. The only issue I found on one machine  was an oil pump that wept about Ĺ teaspoon of oil every 10 hours of run time or so. It was a bad stem seal and being an external pump took about 30 minutes to replace. After 4+ years of testing not a single critical failure, No seal leaks (other than the one pump), no fueling system issues, no abnormal clearance wear (bearing lash), no valve gear issues, no need to adjust the valves, no issues with the transfer valve leaking, no visible smoke at no or low load after break-in and warm-up. They do take 10-20 hours of run-time to seat the rings. Until they do, they smoke a little but after break-in they are remarkably clean. The only issue other than the oil pump was the leather ďVĒ belts which stretch so I replaced them with green stripes. That was about it. So Iím comfortable that these things are pretty much bullet proof and Iím ready to sell and support them.  Iíll tell you one thing I did not expect was the stability of the governors. I expected that the ďKĒ factor of the springs and the masses of the centrifugal weights would be all over the map and the speed would drift a lot under varying loads when used as an A.C. generator. That didnít happen. I loaded the generators to 50% and only lost about 40 - 50 rpms on a 1,000 rpm engine. Thatís only about 2 Hz drop. So setting the governor to run no-load at 62 Hz is well within electrical tolerance and speed limits for the ST alternator head and any residential load. I was amazed at how well the governors worked. I did not expect them  to work that well. Bottom line these Listeroids will make incredibly reliable and stable off-grid and/or emergency power generators.
Everything else / Re: Finally, some use for excess solar power.
« Last post by glort on May 16, 2019, 11:11:38 AM »

Playing around a bit last couple of days with some solar heating of my toy greenhouse.
Temps have been down to 1 oC here already ( Converted for the American readers, thats' ahhh, 1o C !)  and I want to keep some plants alive and growing.
I put in some hedge cuttings I wanted to propagate as I will need about 100 plants that they have been doing fine as well as some tomato plants, Rocket, parsley, passion fruit, a bamboo and Moringa plant.

The little plastic tent can easy hit 40+  during the day but I believe because I have most of the plants sitting in trays and have been keeping a few MM of water in the bottom, the humidity is 101% and the plants never show signs of wilting or any kind of stress.  Quite the opposite in fact. The growth rate has been outstanding and I am pleased that not one of the hedge clippings has faltered and all of them have taken well.

The trick is going to be keeping the plants at a decent temp when we get to the sub freezing temps here as we got too much of last winter.
I could go about this a bunch of ways, the first one was to put a 150W incandescent spotlight in the thing. It was keeping things about 3-5o above ambient but that's not going to be enough. I tried a stove element in a bucket of pebbles but I think that made the element over heat and it burned out. In fact it burned away no doubt due to the arcing of the DC power.  I knew that was never going to be enough thermal mass but something to play with till I got some water heater elements.

Water has far and away teh best thermal retention of any non exotic thermal mass but a long way.  At one stage I had the bright idea of just placing an element in a vessel and pouring 50 Kg of aluminium over it but crunching the numbers found that ally has about 1/4 the thermal mass of water.
Only one way to go with this clearly.

A few pics to add interest to my ramblings.....

My first little greenhouse outside my office window. It is tied to the 400L water heater ( For the US readers, that's a big mutha!)  because a stiff breeze came up here which anywhere else would probably be called a gale and I could see the writing on the wall when the wind did come up here proper.  Might look at re-enforcing that some more.
Structure is about 1.5m Wide, 90cm deep and 1.8 H.

Opened up  the little greenhouse is quite full and the water tank doesen't take up that much useable space really.
The element I screwed and siliconed into the side can be seen. It's a 3.6 Kw, 240V rated element I measured at about 15 ohms. Picked up 2 of these and 2 4.8 Kw units from the local friendly scrap yard.

The tank is 110l Capacity and I have 100L  in it to make the heat calcs simple.  The 150W lamp can be seen at the top. I'll probably use that in a month or so to extend the light the plants get.  I did take Bruce's idea on board and get some LED strip but it is disappointingly dull  so I'll have to do some research for some better type. I have a couple of small LED Ligh bars up the back so I might put them on the sides facing in and across.  The 150 Light throws quite a glow in teh yard at night, I can Imagine what these light bars will do. The sheep next door that happily came back today won't know what's going on!

I have a bit of styrofoam over the top of the drum to stop too much moisture loss and avoid cooking the tray of plants sitting on the top.

This is the panel array across about 3M from the greenhouse.  The panels are set up 5 in the string with the 2 strings paralleled to get the right ohms for the heater element.  The panels are 250W so 2.5Kw in total. Matching the Ohms is very important when using panels and mains rated elements.  It's not a matter of half input equals half power. One needs to match the resistance reasonably closely to get decent output.  If this is not done it would not be unusual to have say 1 Kw of panels and an actual heat output from the element of 150W.

My panels work out at about 10.8 ohms and the element is 15 Ohms. From what I read having a 40% over rating on the element aids in the power levels during ramp up and fall off in solar production.  It seems to work

Today I took some measurements of temp and power input.

The position of the panels although facing north ( Being down under as we are is correct)  is such they don't get complete sun till about 10 am being shaded by the house till about then.
At that time and after putting about 25L of water in the tank I had heated somewhat yesterday, the water temp was 30.5oC.
Electrical input to the element was 11.4A @ 132V into the 140V element for a heating input of 1508 W which I was really happy with.

By 11 am the water was up to 42oc and the element was getting 13.7a @141V for a total of 1931W.

Unfortunately I didn't get to check the 12 Pm time as the mrs summoned me to come hold her hand at the dentist. So much for appreciating my putting my day aside to be with her. Not my fault If I laughed at the way she jumped when he put the cold spray on her cracked tooh and then tried to curl up in a little bally in the chair, it was funny as fk and even the dentist and the nurse were laughing. As the dentist pointed out, with hat he had done to me over the last couple of years, I had well earned the right to laugh at anyone in that chair.

Returning home at 2:30 ( no, you can never go just one place with my wife once you are out the house)  The tank temp had risen to 69oC and was getting 12.3A @ 105V for a total of 1291W

By 3 PM the panels were back in shade and producing next to nothing.  I hooked in an array of 16 Panels on the roof but probably due to the ohm Mismatch and the failing light, I was only getting about 800W input  from 3.8 Kw of panels.  These are wired in series so the open voltage is a bit over 300 but it fell to around 60 when the element was connected.

All input would hae stopped by about 4:15 and I measured the tank temp at 5 at 64o. This may have been because the temp of the pots inside when I checked at 2:30 was up around 40oc so I left the door open to give the plants some air and cool them off a bit.
I'll go out about midnight and shoot the temps now the tent is sealed up again and see how it's going.
I noticed last night I had a tank temp of over 50oC and the temp of the pots was around 18-20 . The heat loss through the plastic would be huge but if I can keep the soil temp of the plants no lower than 15 I'll be a happy camper. I suppose I could also throw a blanket over the thing at night to slow the heat loss and I'd also probably have to partially wrap the tank as well as I wouldn't want the soil temp getting too high.

I am on the lookout for some large sheets of styrofoam to put on teh bottom of the tent to stop the cold radiating up from the pavers.  If i could put some styro on the back of the structure  where it goes up against the house and on the south side opposite the direction of the sun, that would be helpful in slowing heat loss and probably reflect the light around a lot better as well. I think If I start insulating I'm also going to need to put in a small fan ducted to the outside attached to a thermo to start cooling things when the temps go up during the day. Better air Circ wouldn't hurt the plant development Either.

This is the south end of the rear of the house which faces west. There is a clear 7x4.5M clear, square area there not counting the diagonals on the ends where I can put more panels. easy enough for another 5Kw+. Being west facing, I'd probably need that much at least to get the same daily total generation as I have from half of that which now faces north.  The west panels did pretty poorly last winter but brute force of adding a load more since is yeilding some good numbers on the other end of the house and there is still room for another 2.5 K up there at least and another 5 KW on the north roof.
In several minds about putting them on the north end.  Dor the moment I think I'll hold off.

If they change my meters to smart arse meters I'll look at getting a " legit" system put there and see if it's possible to get certified for 10Kw and only install 3 or so and then hook my current system back in.  Save on the costs of having a certified system installed but allow me to feed back from my present setup without causing too many problems.  From what I read repeatedly, They don't even bother with the amount you have installed, power co is only interested in what you are approved for and aren't going over that.  Don't want to loose any more profits than they have to.

For this winter and untill I finish the outdoor tropical bathroom I'm putting down that end of the house the panels can stay in their present temporary position.  Next winter I'd like to have a bigger greenhouse or even a shed would do me.   Easy to put in clear panels in teh roof or insulate it and just light it with LED's and have better winter heat retention.

This setup is interesting but I am mindful at the end of the day, I'm probably better off all round just hooking the panels to a GTI, feeding them back to the mains and powering a heater, be that a thermostatically controlled fan heater or a storage setup like I have than having a dedicated array.

It's SOOO much easier and cheaper to control things with AC than DC. I could use a thermostat or 2, a PWM controller to regulate the input to the heater element and incorporate an earth leakage detector as a life preserving measure to run it all and it would all be cheap, off the shelf stuff.
Dc is fun but one is limited with power control above 100V, there are no earth leakage devices I am aware of to stop one getting a heart stopping belt in case of brain fade and DC thermostats become more complicated as the whole lot is far more exy than AC. One thing to have your house on DC where the cost and setup is worthwhile but the perspective is this is a cheap arse Greenhouse with highly questionable Longevity.
Expenses need to be looked at accordingly and I already have EVERYTHING i'd need made up in AC.

The other thing with this is where does the point come where I don't have the solar to spare and it's more valuable in the home?  In a larger and more permanent setup it would be easy to install a water heater with a draft oil burner and run the whole thing off 12V which is easy to work with.

For the meantime though this is proving to be a lot of fun and an interesting learning curve.
be interesting to see what the temp inside in the morning is.  only going to get down to about 7 tonight so not really cold but i will get an idea what to expect in about 6 weeks when there is frost every morning.

I think I might do well to find some styro to insulate the little structure with by then.  :0)

Everything else / Re: Compressor oil grade
« Last post by mikenash on May 16, 2019, 10:01:16 AM »
Nothing "typical" about it

An honestly-expressed opinion cos the electric chainsaw IS a great tool for anyone without the ability to use a petrol one.  I traded my 63cc Jonsered in on a 39cc Husqvarna last year & when I get older & slower I figure I'll end up with an electric chainsaw on the shelf alongside my battery angle grinder, battery rattle gun, battery drill . . .

No agenda at all attached to that comment
Everything else / Re: Compressor oil grade
« Last post by glort on May 16, 2019, 09:05:39 AM »
The electric chainsaw is a wonderful tool for women, older folks or people with big gardens

 ::) ::) ::)

Everything else / Re: Compressor oil grade
« Last post by mikenash on May 16, 2019, 08:53:28 AM »
The electric chainsaw is a wonderful tool for women, older folks or people with big gardens

Once you own one you won't be without it I would guess.  Just like me and the 18V battery angle grinder
Everything else / Re: Compressor oil grade
« Last post by BruceM on May 16, 2019, 12:43:52 AM »
I'm sure sheeple are global.
Everything else / Re: Compressor oil grade
« Last post by glort on May 15, 2019, 11:51:18 PM »

I was only looking at Ryobi electric Chainsaws yesterday.
First thing I discovered is that the US at least has a model that has been available for over a year and all the reviews I found said it was a great improvement on the old model.  Seems they are unloading all the old ones here before we get the new and improved one as it's not even on the local site nor is the 40V one that's also been around a few months in the US.
I did see on the Ryobi site they have put a " Limited Stock" tag on the 18V model we have here so perhaps the new model is due shortly.

Another thing I noticed is a lot of the reviewers saying Ryobi sent them the saw to do a vid review on. The interesting thing is many of these Channels had less subs than mine has, some less than half so I'm thinking maybe I should be looking at a new angle for my YT vids and approach some companies for tools and equipment to do some reviews on?

Would be different to mucking round with burners all the time although I wonder if the Australian branch would be as keen for Publicity in this medium as they seem to be in the US?
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